Best Ice Therapy Machines

We have reviewed the best ice therapy machines. If you are in a hurry, then the table below gives a quick snapshot of the top 5.

Editor's Choice
Ossur Cold Rush Therapy...
Ice Therapy Machine
Polar Active Ice 3.0 Cold...
Ice Therapy Machine
Best Value
Aircast Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy...
Ice Therapy Machine
ARS Aqua Relief System Hot or...
Ice Therapy Machine
DonJoy 11-1422 IceMan Classic...
Ice Therapy Machine
Price not available

Last update 2021-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What is Ice Therapy?

Cryotherapy, or ice therapy as it is popularly known, is a popular method of reducing pain and inflammation caused by injury or any other muscle/tissue related issue.

The basic principle on which cryotherapy works is that the application of “localized cold” helps to deaden your nerves, thereby making them less receptive to the sensation of pain.

Cold therapy also reduces blood flow to the affected area, which can significantly reduce inflammation. Cold therapy helps to reduce the metabolism of your cells, which prevents secondary tissue damage to an injury. Lastly, cold treatment is also so effective in reducing muscle spasms.

How do Ice Therapy Machines Work?

Now that we understand what ice therapy is, let us also look into how modern-day ice therapy machines work.

The principal of ice-cold water helping to reduce pain in your injuries or muscles and joints has been known for a very long time. Once upon a time, kings and queens used to sit in large hypothermic tubs with ice-cold water to help reduce their aching muscles and joints. Thankfully, modern-day ice therapy does not work in this way! 

Sitting in a large tub full of cold, freezing water MAY help reduce your pain, but it would ALSO most likely end up giving you hypothermia, which is a much more severe condition!

best ice therapy machine

Most modern-day ice-therapy machines use the following principle, with slight variations here and there: A pad is applied to the affected area, and ice-cold water is circulated through it using a pump that is either battery-operated or electrical. 

The water may have been cold, to begin with, or might be getting cooled during the process itself. Some machines may use tap water, while others might have a reservoir pre-installed. However, the basic principle remains the same.

Typically an electrical motor controls the flow of water circulating through the pad. The temperature of the water is controlled to a certain extent by reducing it first and then increasing it gradually so that it is not painful on the skin.

Ice therapy is typically applied for 15 to 30 minutes. It is usually followed by using a brace with a moderate grip to keep the affected area comfortable and maximize the benefits of ice therapy.

How is this different from using an ice pack?

The most glaring disadvantage of using ice packs is that ice packs are unable to cover the entirety of the joint. Most of the time, they will include either the front or the back but not the complete joint. 

Secondly, Ice Therapy is a combination of two techniques, namely compression therapy and cryotherapy. Using an ice pack is not able to deliver either of these to their fullest extent.

Lastly, Ice therapy machines can control the temperature being applied to your body. In contrast, ice packs are manual devices, where it is difficult to control the temperature being applied, and it may end up becoming uncomfortable on the skin and hurting the joint rather than helping to reduce the pain.

Which is better – Ice therapy or Heat Therapy?

This is a wrong and dangerous question to ask. Ice therapy is entirely different from heat therapy in it’s application as well as benefits.

Simply speaking, ice therapy is meant for acute pain, which may be caused by a recent injury or fall that has caused severe pain to you and needs immediate attention. In the joint, thereby reducing inflammation and giving you assistance from pain.

Heat therapy, on the other hand, is meant for chronic pain and works by increasing the blood flow to the affected area, thereby helping to repair the damaged tissue and therefore solving the problem at its root.

What makes for the Best Ice Therapy Machines?

Now that you are more familiar with the theory and functioning behind an ice therapy machine, let’s delve deeper into what constitutes a good ice therapy machine for your use and what all factors you need to consider before buying one.


Make sure that your ice therapy machine is not bulky. It will be easy to use and carry around. Secondly, make sure that the size of the pad that comes along with the machine is of the right size that you need for the joint or area of your body which you want to address.


The machine should be easy to disassemble and put away as and when needed.

Ease of Use

Ice therapy machines may have complex features, that you might find daunting to understand. Many people prefer simple instructions and easy to use machines with limited features and functions so that they don’t end up adding confusion to injury and pain.

Temperature regulation

As mentioned already, temperature regulation is one of the significant advantages of ice therapy machines over ice packs. make sure that your device has the right settings for you to gradually decrease the temperature without causing discomfort to your skin or joint


The tubing connects the machine’s reservoir of water with the ice pad. Make sure that the pipe is long enough for you to be able to move around a bit if needed. Also, ensure that the tubing is made of good quality material so that there are no leakages or cuts in the future.

Wrap attachment

Most ice therapy machines come with a wrapping attachment that allows you to wrap your pad around the specific joint or muscle that hurts.  Make sure that your machine has this wrapping attachment because it can be very beneficial for you in the long run. 

Auto Shutoff

Ice therapy can be very relaxing, and you might find yourself dozing off because of relief from pain. In such cases, it is good to have a machine that has an auto cut off feature so that you do not end up applying the cryotherapy for too long

Reusable Pads

Having reusable cloth pads will save you a ton of money. Make sure that your machine has these reusable pads instead of single-use ones.

Best Ice Therapy Machines

#1 Ossur Cold Rush Therapy Machine System

Ossur Cold Rush Therapy Machine System

Find out more on Amazon

This product provides soothing comfort to acute pain due to a surgical procedure or injury. It has one of the best ice to water ratios in the whole cryotherapy industry, which means that your ice pad can stay cooler for a longer time.

This machine is very lightweight and easy to move around. It has very few moving parts. It is also tranquil with the highest noise level of 30 decibels, which ensures that the patient can get the best therapy in the quietest of environments.

The Ossur Cold Rush Therapy Machine System also comes with a soft knee pad included, and a long tubing so that you can move about easily if needed full stop the whole product has been designed ergonomically for the best patient comfort

This machine has a 6-month warranty from the manufacturer, so you can buy it without any fear of losing your money.


  • Best ice to water ratio in the industry
  • Lowest noise level of only 30dB
  • Lightweight and easy to move around
  • Long tubing for patient comfort
  • 6-month manufacturer warranty


  • The tubing can become very cold to touch with moisture accumulating on the outside
  • One quadrant of the cuff doesn’t get cold for a few of the users
  • Pads are of small size than expected as per some users


Ossur Cold Rush Therapy...
1,148 Reviews
Ossur Cold Rush Therapy...
  • EFFECTIVE, SOOTHING AND LOCALIZED TREATMENT: Designed to reduce localized pain and swelling following surgical procedures or trauma. Offering ice cold relief for post operation discomfort and reducing joint pain, inflammation and tenderness. Improve joint function and quality of life. Ideal for post work-out recovery. Ergonomic pads mimics the body’s contours to provide localized treatment.
  • STAY COOLER, LONGER! The highest ice-to-water ratio in the industry and a design that produces less heat transfer from the motor to the water combine to ensure cold therapy pain relief. Bucket accommodates and delivers enough water and ice for 6 hours of constant use.
  • STRONG, SILENT AND LIGHTWEIGHT: Cold Rush uses a brushless motor to produce a whisper-quiet (30 decibel) unit that allows patients to get the rest they need to properly rehabilitate from their injuries. Submersible and few moving parts. Minimizes patient disturbance to keeps noise to a minimum, enhancing patient recovery.
  • INCLUDES A KNEE PAD: For ease of use, the Cold Rush Therapy System comes with a soft pad and insulated long tubing. Designed to elevate the cold therapy experience to a new standard of fit and comfort. Ergonomically- Engineered to improve function, patient comfort and compliance.
  • WARRANTY: Worry-free purchase. 6 month manufacturer warranty.

Last update 2021-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#2 Polar Products Active Ice® 3.0

Polar Products Active Ice® 3.0

Find out more on Amazon

One of the best features of the Polar Products Active Ice 3.0 is a programmable timer that you can set to on and off cycles as per your needs, a feature that is not available in most of the competitors of this device.

It is a very quiet device and has a 16-quart cooling tank, which means that the cooling on a single charge can last much longer than other machines.

The pad can connect to the device through easy couplings, which is very convenient in case you want to get up during the therapy.

Special elastic and velcro belts are provided along with the machine so that you can apply the cooling pad along with compression benefits as well.


  • Programmable timer for creating on and off cycles as per your need.
  • A quiet and durable device
  • Easy coupling/decoupling of the pad from the machine
  • Elastic and velcro belts included for compression therapy
  • Large cooling tank for longer cooling cycles


  • The hose tends to becomes lose leading to spill of ice water
  • Some users complained that the product stopped working after few days


Polar Active Ice 3.0 Cold...
1,292 Reviews
Polar Active Ice 3.0 Cold...
  • CUSTOM PROGRAMMABLE TIMER: Our patent-pending programmable timer allows you to customize a personalized cooling on and off cycle per your doctor’s recommendation; Never worry about the safety concerns of falling asleep with the unit on; Our timer will cycle on and off per your set times for as long as needed; This ensures a safe, convenient and effective cold therapy treatment perfect for post-surgery pain management and relief day or night; Most competitors do not have this important feature
  • COLD THERAPY ALL NIGHT LONG: Our double insulated 9 quart cooling reservoir is large enough to provide continuous cold therapy for many hours but lightweight enough to carry; Will fit 6 frozen water bottles perfectly; One load of ice and water will last much longer than other cyrotherapy systems; A larger cooling reservoir means more ice which means a longer pain relief cold therapy duration between ice charges; The Polar Active Ice machine provides cooling that will last through the night
  • HIGH PERFORMANCE, QUIET AND POWERFUL: Polar Active Ice cold therapy machine uses a whisper quiet brushless pump powered by a 12 volt 1.5 amp adapter which is perfect for delivering post-surgery, drug free pain management and relief while you sleep through the night; Our ergonomically designed cold therapy pads are comfortable and fit the desired body part perfectly for full coverage ice cold therapy treatment, pain management and compression; Great for surgery recovery or post-workout rehab
  • USA LOCAL: Proudly designed, engineered, tested, and assembled in Stow, Ohio, USA; Our customer service is located at our factory in Stow, Ohio and we answer our phones!
  • WARRANTY: Our 6 month manufacturer’s warranty and customer service oriented focus makes the Polar Active Ice machine a worry free purchase; We stand behind our product 100% and in the rare chance you experience an issue, we will do whatever is necessary to make it right!

Last update 2021-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#3 Aircast Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy

Aircast Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy

Find out more on Amazon

Anatomically designed cryo/cuff, which eliminates the risk of tissue damage since cooled water is circulated directly to the cuff itself.

The pads fit universally and can be worn on both the left and right legs. Once the cuff is filled with cold water, you can disconnect it from the jug and walk around, making this one of the most portable cryotherapy machines, when discussing movement during the therapy itself.

The cuff provided is relatively large and can cover the knee for most individuals.

Here we have a video that shows how to use Aircast Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy.

Aircast Knee Cryo-Cuff


  • Anatomically designed cuff for no tissue damage.
  • A universal fitting pad can be used on both left and right knee.
  • Large-sized cuff to fit any knee


  • Few users complained that there is leakage from the water hose at both ends
  • Does not stay cold as long as the other models in this list


Aircast Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy...
470 Reviews
Aircast Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy...
  • Delivers chilled water directly into a cryo/cuff that is anatomically designed to provide maximum cryotherapy, eliminating the risk of tissue damage
  • Anatomically designed cryo/cuff provides maximum cryotherapy, eliminating the risk of tissue damage
  • Universal fit allows the Aircast Knee cryo/cuff to be worn on either the left or the right leg

Last update 2021-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#4 ARS Aqua Relief System 

ARS Aqua Relief System

Find out more on Amazon

The device comes with a universal pad and hose so that it can be used on any part of the body. This device has the special feature that it can be used for both hot and cold therapy. It is particularly beneficial for diabetic patients.

It has the facility for both timed increments or continuous treatment, which is usually not available in other cryo devices either. 

The device has an auto-shutoff feature and is convenient to use around the house


  • Universal pad for usage in all parts of the body
  • Can be used for both hot and cold therapy
  • Timed increments or continuous therapy can both be done
  • Convenient Auto-shutoff feature


  • The heating core tends to stop working after a few days or months
  • A few customers complaint of Water leaking from the hose


ARS Aqua Relief System Hot or...
67 Reviews
ARS Aqua Relief System Hot or...
  • Effective for pain relief in joints and sore muscles. Can be used on the hands and feet ( and all other body parts).
  • Our Aqua Relief System already comes with a Universal Therapy Pad so you get everything you need for this system!
  • Hot water therapy aqua-relief system introduces a new break through in diabetic care and pain relief. NOTE: 1. Connect therapy pad (or booties if provided) to the cooler hose. Couplings will click when they lock together. 2. Make sure the power supply is unplugged while adding water; 3. For cold therapy, open the cooler and fill with ice to above the fill line and then fill with water to the fill line; for heat therapy, add warm tap water to fill line. NEVER OPERATE UNIT WITHOUT WATER. 4. Plug power supply into the wall outlet. (See power supply label for voltage.) NOTE: Always unplug unit when refilling with ice and water. 5. Position pad on the target therapy area with the smooth side toward the skin or slip on the booties. 6. If booties are included with your system, always use with the diabetic socks provided; the socks provide buffering and comfort to the area. Place feet into the booties and secure Velcro strap. Always use an insulation barrier (such as Webril, Kerlix, cast padding, or elastic bandage) between the ARS therapy pad and skin. NOTE: Do not let the ARS

Last update 2021-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#5 DonJoy 11-1422 IceMan Classic

DonJoy 11-1422 IceMan Classic

Find out more on Amazon

The DonJoy iceman classic cold therapy unit provides extended cold therapy. It uses a special semi closed-loop recirculation system, which delivers the right temperature consistently over a long period of time.


  • It has a consistently standardized cooling effect
  • A single set of ice can last for an entire day with a large tank available in this device


  • Few users Complain that the device stopped working after a few days


DonJoy 11-1422 IceMan Classic...
6 Reviews
DonJoy 11-1422 IceMan Classic...
  • Two-position locking lid
  • Hose stirrup for ease-of-use
  • Larger cooler size for extended cold therapy
  • Inlet temperature control and monitoring capability
  • Compatibility with a complete line of cold pads

Last update 2021-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


In this article, we have reviewed some of the best ice therapy machines. In our opinion, the Ossur Cold Rush Therapy...  is the best choice among the various options that we have considered. It has the best cooling capacity and effect amongst the various products.

If you are looking for a value for money option, you can consider the Aircast Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy... , which offers excellent value at a very reasonable price point.

While we make every effort to provide updated and correct information, the advice given in this article and website should not be construed as “medical advice”. Please consult with your physician or medical practitioner before using any ice therapy machine. Each individual may have his or her unique issues and your medical practitioner is the best person to decide the best pain therapy for your case.

About Dr. Aishwarya Joshi

I am a trained medical professional by education. I have completed my bachelors in dental surgery (BDS) from D.Y. Patil University, Pune, India and I’m currently a graduate student at University of Central Florida, USA majoring in Health Service Administration (HSA). I am working on a research for medication assisted treatment for opioid drug abuse. I am interning as an issue analyst for United Nations Orlando Chapter. I have worked as a dentist for over 2 years and I have also interned as a health administrator in Fortis Hospital, India.