After using the Ice Barrel 400 for roughly 8 months, here are my pros and cons on the barrel and whether or not I would buy it again with the different cold plunge options growing considerably in the past 6 months.
- Plunging posture - I much prefer the upright sitting position vs. what you do in the tub cold plunges.
- Solid lid - the lid does a great job of keeping bugs and rain out of the barrel.
- Looks good - I don’t mind keeping the barrel out on the patio compared to other plunges that are covered in branding.
- Easy drainage - convenient spout at the bottom of the barrel makes draining the Ice Barrel easy.
- Price - 1000+ dollars for a plastic barrel with a lid and plastic spout can be tough to stomach.
- Does not hold temperature well - since the barrel is not insulated, I can barely keep the water cold enough for a 6 minute plunge in Michigan summer heat.
- Questionable quality - I was suprised at how cheap the spout is. I can see this easily breaking when moving. Luckily covered by the lifetime warranty.
- Can be difficult to enter/exit - for some folks, getting in and out of the barrel can be difficult vs. the ease of cold plunge tubs that are shallower.
- No chiller attachment points - and drilling into the barrel to add your own voids your warranty.
Would I buy it again? Tough but No.
These days there are a lot of other cold plunges on the market worth exploring. I would likely invest a bit more in a setup that includes a chiller to prevent the need for buying ice so frequently.
I am looking at buying a chiller unit to use with the Ice Barrel at the moment. So the price for the barrel and a chilling unit will likely come out to the price of some of the package deals being offered these days.
PS: I did not include this con because it is not a problem with the Ice Barrel itself, but I was not able to move the Ice Barrel inside to my basement for the winter months due to its size. My doorways were to small for the barrel to fit through. So I’ve resorted to using a 100 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank that I purchased before the Ice Barrel during winter.