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LAST UPDATED: 24 Mar 2022
The

Best Cold Therapy Machine

Staying Alive - Buying Guide

A cold therapy machine sometimes also called an ice therapy machine is a machine that provides cold compression in the comfort of your humble abode.

Cold therapy is an excellent treatment to reduce swelling and sprains, reduce inflammation, and is an excellent pain management tool for people suffering from sports-related injuries. 

The classic ice therapy machine is designed with an ice bucket, a tube that is connected to the ice bucket, and a cold therapy pad. The pads can come in different sizes.

Ice therapy machines are a must-have for anyone suffering from muscle soreness, acute pain, tissue damage, treating inflammation, and recovering from post-surgery, fitness enthusiasts, or athletes. 

We’ve rounded up the best ice therapy machines that will emit cold compression therapy and kick-start your blood flow recovery journey!

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This article was written by Staying Alive Crew Published at 04:19 pm
Contents

The Best Cold Therapy Machines

  • Providing cool, soothing relief for post-surgery swelling and inflammation, joint pain, and post-workout recovery, the Vive Cold Therapy Machine provides targeted ice therapy relief. 

    Equipped with an exceptionally quiet, compact cooling unit that holds 6 liters of water and includes a carry handle for easy portability.

    The extra-long tube is insulated to maintain the water temperature and secures the unit with leak-proof snap clips. 

    The Vive Cold Therapy Machine has a uniquely designed universal therapy pad that contours to the body for targeted relief with three sizes of non-slip straps for optimal positioning. 

    Three adjustable straps secure the therapy pad on the shoulder, arm, back, hip, calf, or knee, providing flexibility to use on different body areas. 

    Easily adjust the timer settings and variable flow rates for complete customization. 

    Get targeted cold therapy in the comfort of your own home with the Vive Cold Therapy Machine!

    Key Features
    • Universal therapy pad
    • Extra-long foam-insulated connector tubing
    • 3 adjustable secure straps
    • Low ice alert
    • Leak-Proof design
    • Secure snap lid
    • Convenient carry handle
    • Holding up to 6 liters of water
    • Cycle times of 30 minutes or less
    Specifications
    • Brand: Vive
    • Model: Vive Cold Therapy Machine
    • Specifications: 14.1 x 13.5 x 12.2 inches
    Pros
    • One of the best ice therapy machines available
    • 1-year warranty
    • Suitable for use on the ankle, knee, leg, hip, elbow, shoulder & arm
    • The pad includes 3 elastic straps for securing it in any position
    • Reduces post-surgery swelling
    • Low ice alert to maximize coldness
    • Flexible therapy pad ensures consistent flow throughout the entire pad
    • Leak-Proof design
    Cons
    • Not for people seeking an individual therapy pad for a specific part of the body
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  • Whether you are looking to reduce swelling, sports injuries, or post-surgery recovery, you'll have a comfortable recovery with the Arctic Ice Clear Water Therapy Ice Machine.  The 12-quart ice therapy machine includes a durable base unit, a universal cold therapy pad, and insulated tubing. All you need to do is simply add ice and water. Designed for ease of use, the cooling therapy system is whisper-quiet, compact, and portable with an integrated carry handle. The base allows for easy filling with marked guides for both minimum and maximum water levels.  The one-size-fits-all universal wrap fits securely around any treatment area. Additional joint pads are sold separately.  The extra-long insulated tubing ensures the water temperature remains consistent throughout the treatment cycle.  It's time for you to get as cold with the Arctic Ice Clear Water Therapy Machine!
    Key Features
    • Ice therapy machine
    • Universal therapy pad
    • Additional adjustable strap
    • Cold cubes
    • Integrated carry handle
    • Extra-long foam insulated tubing
    • Auto-shut-off
    Specifications
    • Brand: Pain Management Technologies
    • Model: Arctic Ice Clear Water Therapy Ice Machine
    • Specifications: 14.57 x 13.86 x 12.28 inches
    Pros
    • One-size-fits-all universal wrap
    • Whisper quiet
    • Easy, compact & portable
    • Provides cool, soothing relief for post-surgery swelling, joint pain & workout recovery
    • Competitively priced
    • Leak-proof design
    Cons
    • Short 30-day warranty
    Show Product Details
  • Designed to offer ice-cold relief for post-op discomfort, reducing joint pain, inflammation, and tenderness for post-workout recovery has never been easier than with the Ossur Cold Rush Therapy System.  The holistic design features a durable motor, a strong flow rate, and very high ice to water ratio that ensures longer cooling times. Whisper quiet and compact, with a built-in handle prevents you from annoying others while you're using it and it's easy to carry.  Insulated long tubing and an ergonomic pad mimic the body's contours to provide localized treatment.  Stay cooler, longer with the Ossur Cold Rush Therapy System!
    Key Features
    • Locking lid
    • Carrying handle
    • Insulated walls
    • Adjustable flow settings
    • Ergonomic soft pad & insulated long tubing
    • Brushless whisper-quiet motor - 30dB
    • Cold therapy up to 6 hours
    Specifications
    • Brand: Ossur
    • Model: Ossur Cold Rush Therapy System
    • Specifications: 18 x 12 x 10 inches
    Pros
    • 6-month warranty
    • Strong, silent & lightweight
    • Locking lid helps prevent splits
    • Improved cooling with insulated walls
    • Very high ice to water ratio ensures longer cooling times
    • Built-in handle for easy transport
    • The universal pad allows treatment of different body areas
    • Great for ankle, knee, lumbar & left/right hips pads
    Cons
    • You may get condensation around the tubing
    Show Product Details
  • You'll get an integrated approach to cold therapy on a modest budget with the Aircast Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy Knee Solution

    Delivers chilled water directly into a Cryo/Cuff that is anatomically designed to provide maximum cryotherapy, eliminating the risk of tissue damage. 

    Sporting a focal compression using a non-motorized, gravity-fed system the Aircast Cryo Cuff is lightweight and easy to take with you. 

    Ideal for anyone seeking cold therapy on the knee. The cooling pad is designed to fit either the right or left leg.

    Let your knee cool down in your humble abode!

    Key Features
    • Universal kneed pad allows fitting on the right or left leg
    • Focal compression
    • Non-motorized, gravity-fed system
    • Anatomically designed cuff
    Specifications
    • Brand: Aircast
    • Model: Aircast Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy Knee Solution
    Pros
    • Delivers chilled water directly into a cryo/cuff that is anatomically designed to provide maximum cryotherapy
    • Non-motorized, so lighter & travel friendly
    • Great for swelling, pain, post-op recovery, athletes & sports injuries
    • Budget-friendly
    Cons
    • Only ices the front part of the knee & does not circulate the water for very long
    Show Product Details
  • Being a jack of all trades, it's really no surprise that the ARS Aqua Relief System Hot or Cold Water Therapy Device has made it into our shortlist.  Equipped with a universal pad that allows you to treat different areas of the body, and the 15-minute auto shut-off or continuous settings allow you to choose how long you get treatment for.  The ace up its sleeve is, the ARS Aqua Relief System offers both hot or cold treatment settings, so you get two different treatments in one device. The hot water setting is great for painful joints and sore muscles, while the cold therapy setting is ideal for reducing swelling and chronic pain.  Easy and convenient to use from the comfort of your home, the ARS Aqua Relief System Hot or Cold Water Therapy Device will be a relief to banish soreness and pain!
    Key Features
    • Timed 15 minute increments with auto shut-off or continuous settings
    • Hot or cold treatment settings
    • Universal joint wrap
    • A 52-inch hose attached to the pad
    • Circulates cold water for up to 5 hours
    Specifications
    • Brand: PMT Medical
    • Model: ARS Aqua Relief System Hot or Cold Water Therapy Device
    • Specifications: 13.4 x 11.5 x 10.1 inches
    Pros
    • Auto shut-off or continuous settings
    • Offers both hot or cold treatment settings
    • Hot water ideal for painful joints & sore muscles
    • Cold therapy setting great for reducing swelling & chronic pain
    • Universal wrap for a variety of treatment areas
    • Effective for pain relief in joints & sore muscles
    • Easy & convenient for home use
    Cons
    • Does not come with a product manual
    Show Product Details
  • If you want a comfortable and easy-to-use cold therapy system that is great for drug-free pain relief look no further than the Polar Active Ice 3.0 Cold Therapy Machine.  Sporting double-insulated 9-quart cooling reservoir is large enough to provide continuous cold therapy for many hours, whilst being lightweight enough to easily carry around.  With a whisper-quiet brushless pump and an ergonomically designed cold therapy pad designed to fit you snugly, ideal for post-surgery or post-workout recovery.  The patent-pending programmable timer allows you to customize a personalized cooling on and off-cycle, to ensure safety is observed at all times.  Designed, engineered, and tested in the USA and backed by a 6-month warranty, you'll be cold as ice with the Polar Active Ice 3.0 Cold Therapy Machine!
    Key Features
    • 9-quart cooling reservoir
    • Long insulated tubing
    • Patent-pending programmable digital timer
    • Instruction manual
    • Designed, engineered & tested in the USA
    • Ergonomically designed cold therapy pads for the knee
    • Whisper quiet brushless pump
    Specifications
    • Brand: Polar
    • Model: Polar Active Ice 3.0 Cold Therapy Machine
    • Specifications: 16 x 12.9 x 10.5 inches
    Pros
    • 6-months warranty
    • Lightweight
    • High performance, quiet & powerful
    • Perfect for delivering post-surgery, drug-free pain management & relief through the night
    • Stimulates tissue healing, increases lymphatic drainage
    • A larger cooling reservoir means more ice & longer pain relief cold therapy duration between charges
    • Other models available for specific areas of the body
    Cons
    • Specifically for use on the knee & not other areas of the body
    Show Product Details
  • Rocking into our list is an outstanding ice machine from COOLMAN for treating post-surgical and acute injuries to reduce edema, swelling, and pain with the COOLMAN Cold Therapy System Cryotherapy Machine.  Using a pump to continuously circulate cold water onto a soft therapy pad, provides hours of comfortable and gentle cryotherapy, so you don't have to keep changing cold packs that aren't cold anymore.  Equipped with a high-quality diaphragm pump that provides a quiet and steady running state, brings a cold therapy machine that isn't a nuisance to others when in use.  The universal pad is suitable for use on the knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, arm, hip and leg and is soft and comfortable to use.  If that wasn't impressive enough it has 5 levels of flow rate settings and time settings within 90 minutes and allows the water temperature to be monitored like a hawk.  Backed with a solid 1-year warranty allows you to stay cold worry free!
    Key Features
    • Cold therapy machine
    • Universal therapy pad
    • Insulated circulating water tube
    • Elastic bandages
    • Non-woven barrier
    • Product user manual
    • Low noise, diaphragm pump
    • 5 flow rate settings & time settings
    • Water temperature monitoring
    Specifications
    • Brand: COOLMAN
    • Model: COOLMAN Cold Therapy System Cryotherapy Machine
    • Specifications: 14 x 12.25 x 12 inches
    Pros
    • 1-year warranty
    • Various running modes
    • Comfortable - the cold pad doesn't contain hard ice
    • High capacity water bucket allows the user's to store more ice
    • Portable
    • Soft elastic therapy pad can be bent into many shapes with elastic bandages to treat different body areas
    Cons
    • If you want an individual pad for a specific body part, the universal pad may not suit your needs
    Show Product Details

Cold Therapy Machines Buying Guide

Cold therapy machines are a great way to apply consistent cooling to reduce pain, aid post-operative recovery, and severe circulatory issues, without having to apply an old-school ice pack. 

With a wide range of ice therapy machines available, it can be overwhelming to know which ice therapy system to select. 

We’ve outlined the key features you may want to consider, to buy an ice therapy machine that meets your budget and needs.

Cold Therapy Machines

A cold therapy machine is sometimes also called an ice therapy machine. A cold therapy machine provides compression whilst providing a cold effect. 

Some cold therapy machines not only provide ice therapy systems, but some models offer hot or cold therapy. 

Aesthetically, a cold therapy machine looks quite similar to an ice reservoir and they use ice and cold water as freezing agents.

Cold therapy machines have a tube that looks like a hose, which is attached to the container that looks like an ice water cooler box. 

The other end of the tube is connected to the cooling pad, which is wrapped around the part of the body you wish to treat with cold therapy treatment.

The best cold therapy machines provide a continuous flow of effective cold therapy.

Benefits of Cold Therapy Machines

Using ice or ice-cold water, combined with compression therapy is considered an excellent treatment by physiotherapists, to sports trainers. Cold therapy helps to treat inflammation, injuries, and decrease pain. 

Cold therapy machines work by providing therapeutic cold to numb the area, hence reducing pain promptly, without you having to take medication. 

As swelling and inflammation reduction, the body heals the injured area faster.

Other benefits of an ice therapy system include stimulating blood flow and lymphatic fluid, which in turn rejuvenate tissues with oxygen and nutrients.

Features of Best Cold Therapy Machines

Motorized vs. Non Motorized

Motorized cold therapy machines have a motor and they provide a strong yet consistent flow of ice therapy to the area being treated. 

Whilst some of the motorized models can be quiet as a mouse, motorized cold therapy machines can be noisy. 

Non-motorized ice cold therapy machines are quiet and lightweight, making them easy to travel with, especially since you don’t have to worry about plugging them into any power source. 

On the flip side with a non-motorized cold therapy machine, you will not get the technical features that come with a motorized model such as auto-timers.

Tube Dimensions

Think about where you will want to use the cold therapy machine, sitting on a chair on your dining table, or whilst laying down on your sofa. How long do you need the tube to be? 

Many models come with an extra-long tube which provides greater flexibility. Other models offer the possibility to detach tubes which you can remove if you need to move whilst you are using the cold therapy machine. 

The tube is what will allow cold liquids to flow to the machine’s pads or wraps and provide you with relief to the treatment area. 

What material are the tubes made of? Opt for tubes made from heavy-duty material to prevent the tubes from breaking easily or leaking. 

How well insulated are the tubes? Tubes that are insulated will prevent cold air from escaping.

Pads vs Attachments

Which part(s) of the body do you intend to use the cold therapy machine on? Just your knee or shoulder? Or do you want to have the flexibility to use the pads on multiple parts of your body?

If you have a specific area you wish to treat, you may want to look for pads that cater specifically to that area. For example, you want to treat your knee, so you look for cold therapy machines with pads designed specifically to treat the knee area.

On the other hand, if you want pads that allow you to treat multiple parts of the body, you should opt for a cold therapy machine with universal pads. 

Another thing to bear in mind is whether the pads are reusable. If the pads are not reusable, if yes, can you wash them? Otherwise, you may end up spending quite a bit to buy additional pads.

Time Setting

The other thing to consider is whether you want the cold therapy machine to provide the feature to set timers or continuous use which can be a great safety attribute to have. 

Having an automatic shut-off feature can be quite useful to prohibit the ice-cold therapy machine from overworking, especially if you end up falling asleep whilst you are using it.

Weight and Size

Ideally, you want a cold therapy machine that is not too bulky and is compact. You want it to be relatively easy to carry.

Depending on the region of the body you wish to treat, will also determine how big you want the cold pad to be. The larger the surface area you want to treat such as the back, the bigger the cold pads should be. On the other hand, if you want to treat a small area such as your ankle, you should look for smaller cooling pads.

Ease of Use

How easy or complicated is it to use the cold therapy machine? How durable is the machine? Does it come with an instruction manual?

Special Features

Whilst many cold therapy machines provide ice therapy, there are some models available in the market which offer both cold and heat therapy.

Price

At the budget-friendly end of the spectrum, an ice-cold therapy machine is around $130 and can go up to $220 and upwards at the more premium end. 

Balance what your needs are, the features you are looking for, and the highest quality ice cold therapy machine you can get within your budget.

Warranty

Read the fine print and be clear who the warranty is with. Typically the warranty is with the original manufacturer. What duration is the warranty for? 

Does the warranty cover in-home repairs during your warranty period? Do your homework. 

Cold Therapy Machines FAQ

How does cold therapy work?

A cold therapy machine distributes heat therapy or cold therapy via the tube, which travels to the pads, that is wrapped around your body. 

When the machine emits cold therapy, it compresses the treatment area by removing fluid that may have built up in the region and is causing the area to swell. 

The cold temperature restricts blood flow to the injured area temporarily.

Can cold therapy machines be used on all areas of the body?

The short answer is yes. Many cold therapy machines focus on one part of the body only, such as the shoulder, or knees, or ankles. 

The best ice therapy machine enables use on multiple areas of the body.

Are cold therapy machines better than ice packs?

On the surface, it may appear that cold therapy machines operate exactly like ice packs. Cold therapy machines get much colder than ice packs filled with ice water do, allowing the coldness to seep into the area with pain and swelling deeper.

Unlike ice packs which stop being cold after a certain period of time, many cold therapy machines offer continuous cold therapy for a few hours and you don’t have to hold the pads in place as you do with traditional ice packs.

How long should you use a cold therapy machine?

The ideal time for you to use a cooling machine is for around 20 minutes. You should not ice an area for too long, otherwise, it will cause more harm than good. 

Make sure you follow the instructions, to ensure safe usage of the cold therapy machine. 

If you have specific health conditions, ensure you receive professional medical advice before using a cold therapy machine.

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