Taking all the key features into consideration, our pick of the best ice therapy machine is Ossur’s cold rush device. It has a high ice-to-water ratio, insulated walls, and comes with an ankle or footpad. If you would like to find out more about this great ice therapy machine, as well as other top products on the market, read on.
A step up from ice packs, ice therapy machines deliver targeted cryotherapy or cold therapy. Ideal for alleviating pain and swelling, or shortening recovery time after exercise, ice therapy machines can be used on various body parts from shoulders and back to feet and ankles. Check out our guide to the best ice therapy machines, and soothe your aches and pains away in the comfort of your own home.
Our Top Picks
The 6 Best Ice Therapy Machines
Best Choice: Cold Rush Device by Ossur
Available with either a knee pad or an ankle pad, this machine features the highest ice-to-water ratio in the industry for up to six hours of cold therapy.
Despite the strong and durable motor, the system is compact and whisper-quiet to let you get the rest you need to heal. If that wasn’t enough, the insulated walls accelerate cooling and the locking lid prevents accidental spills.
- Brushless motor
- Locking lid
- Comes with an ankle or foot pad
- Stays cool for up to 6 hours
- Insulated walls
- Alleviates swelling
- Compact design
- Less motor heat transfer
- Some users report faulty pads
Top Performance: Cold Therapy System by Polar Products
Specifically designed for the knee, this cryotherapy ice machine comes with a hand-held digital timer that can be set in 30-minute increments. Unlike some other ice therapy machines, it also features an on and off switch.
This eliminates the need to plug it in and unplug before and after each use. The connected knee bladder features compression belts that keep it securely in place during treatment.
- On and off switch
- Hand-held digital timer
- 30-minute increment setting
- Knee bladder with compression straps
- High-efficiency pump
- Stays in place
- Reduces localized pain
- Very quiet
- Higher price point
- A cooling pad can be difficult to attach and detach
Can’t Count Out: Cold Therapy Machine by Vive
The highlights of this versatile machine include a quiet and portable design and a flexible pad with three elastic straps for the easy application on various body parts.
The clear double base unit holds up to six liters of ice water, and features marked guides for ice and water levels. The five-foot, foam-insulated connector tube ensures constant water temperature throughout treatment, while the snap and clip connectors make for a leak-proof setup.
- Quiet and portable
- Pad with 3 straps
- Carry handle
- Clear unit with marked level guides
- 30-minute cycle time
- Can be applied to different body parts
- Foam-insulated connector tube
- Leak-proof setup
- 1-year unconditional guarantee
- Timer can’t be set for longer than 30 minutes
The Other Ice Therapy Machines We Reviewed
Cryotherapy Device by Evertone
This multifunctional ice water therapy machine can be strapped to various body parts to alleviate pain, swelling, and bruising. Plus, it offers personalized settings for your specific needs and comes with nine protective pads.
This lightweight device can be worn comfortably under clothing. One downside is that this machine is not as powerful as some other ice therapy devices.Buy on Amazon
Cryo/Cuff Cold Therapy by DonJoy
This non-motorized, gravity-fed ice therapy machine delivers chilled water into a cuff for up to eight hours of cryotherapy. The unit comes with a tube, plastic fittings, and insulation disk, as well as an easy-to-follow user manual. Please note that the cooling pads are sold separately.Buy on Amazon
Personal Therapy Ice Machine by Pain Management Technologies
Designed to circulate cold water for up to five hours, this cryotherapy ice machine features a hi- and low-setting, a timer that can be set in 15-minute increments, and an auto-shutoff function.
It comes with an easy-to-open lid and a 52-inch leak-free hose. The universal wrap features Velcro straps to comfortably fit various body parts, including ankles, wrists, shoulders, and elbows.Buy on Amazon
Benefits of an Ice Therapy Machine
Ice water therapy has numerous benefits. Here are just a few.
Reduction in Pain and Swelling
Often used after an injury or surgery, cold therapy temporarily numbs nerve endings to alleviate pain. Reduction in body temperature also constricts blood vessels and reduces swelling. In addition, ice therapy keeps more cells alive in the injured area, decreasing bruising and fluid buildup.
Can be Used on Different Body Parts
Most ice water therapy machines are versatile enough to be used on different body parts, including the knees, feet, ankles, and shoulders. The larger the pad, the more versatile it is. Some ice therapy machine pads even come with elastic straps that deliver compression and keep them securely in place.
More Effective than Ice Packs
While it may seem that ice therapy machines and ice packs are designed to do the same job, cryotherapy machines stay cold for much longer than ice packs. Many ice therapy units also come with a host of additional features such as a hi- and low-setting, a timer, and an auto shut-off function.
How to Use an Ice Therapy Machine
Ice therapy machines are generally very simple to use. Most devices come with similar features—including a water reservoir, a wall plug, and a therapy pad. While you should always follow the product instructions, here are the general steps to help you set up your unit.
- Remove lid and add ice to the reservoir.
- Fill the rest of the reservoir with water.
- Connect the pad to the machine, ensuring a tight seal.
- Apply the pad to your body and start the machine.
- It is a good idea to use a barrier, such as a towel, between the pad and your skin.
- Use the machine for the prescribed amount of time—as every case is different, it is best to consult your doctor about this.
- After use, empty the device and let it dry completely before storage to prevent the build-up of bacteria.
Here are a few things to consider before deciding what kind of ice-cold therapy machine is right for you.
Cryotherapy ice machines come in different shapes and sizes. If portability and ease of storage are high on your list of priorities, opt for a compact and lightweight device that can be attached to your body. On the other hand, if you don’t mind icing while being stationary, select a larger and more powerful unit.
Ice therapy machine pads also come in various shapes and sizes. Some are specifically designed for a certain area such as the ankles or knees while others are versatile enough to be applied to different body parts. Some pads even come with straps that hold them in place during use.
Tubing connects the ice therapy machine to the pad on your body. As such, it is important that the tube is long enough not to be overly restrictive. A tube that is too short can make your therapy sessions very uncomfortable. In addition, it is a good idea to check that the tube is made of a durable material that will not leak.
Auto Shut-Off Function
Ice therapy machines can get very cold. This can be a problem if you forget to turn off your machine or fall asleep during your therapy session. An auto shut-off function will turn the machine off exactly when you want your session to end, thus preventing accidental ice burns or frostbite.
Weighing All the Factors
At the end of the day, Ossur’s cold rush device takes our spot of the best ice therapy machine. Suitable for the ankle or foot, it comes with a durable motor and insulated walls to speed up cooling. Other options, such as Polar Products’ cold therapy system and Vive’s cold therapy machine, have their own strengths. The choice is yours!