The Best Ice Therapy Machines

Ice therapy has been used as an effective solution for treating pain and swelling for thousands of years. However, it is often very difficult for a patient to hold an ice pack for long periods of time, and this can often lead to discomfort.

The solution to this problem is ice therapy machines that can help patients relax without excessive movements. Therapists and physicians recommend these machines because it is the perfect answer for patients who undergo rehabilitation after constructive surgery.

Healing Process

Applying cold water to the body reduces the temperature of the area, which ultimately helps muscle growth from tissue regeneration. The automatic timer and cryotherapy techniques used in designing these machines ensure that patients are not overexposed to cold that can hurt internal tissues.

Temperature control and icing play a critical role in quick recovery because cells in the affected areas use less oxygen due to a slower metabolic rate. As a result of low oxygen, blood vessels constrict to reduce the flow of fluids, which further reduces swelling and cell damage.

There are a number of different ice therapy machines in the market that can help heal your injury. To make things easier, this guide is written to educate on and recommend products that are known to deliver exceptional results. Here are the top five picks:

Top 5: Ice Therapy Machines Review

Recommendation #1

Ossur Cold Rush Therapy System (W/Large Shoulder Pad)


Ossur Cold Rush Therapy System (W/Large Shoulder Pad)

If you're tired of using ice packs to relieve muscle pain, Ossur Cold Rush machine can offer long-lasting soothing treatment for a quick recovery. This product is specifically designed for post-operative pain and swelling making it easier for the patient to recover on their own. Patients can also use it outside their homes and in the hospital due to a super-quiet motor that won't disturb others in the vicinity.

Weighing just 4.6 pounds, this product contains a powerful motor that has one of the strongest flow rates in the industry as well as an equally impressive ice-to-water ratio. The machine usually comes with a pad, but you can either buy it separately or purchase additional pads, when necessary.

Looking at the price-value proposition, it is arguably one of the best products for ice therapy in the market. The quality is defined by a commercial-grade motor that is also used in large air-conditioning units, which supports deep compression enabling exceptional cooling capabilities even at high elevations.

Less heat transfer from to the water ensures that you're able to get a continuous stream of therapy for almost 6 hours. After intensive surgery, patients can safely use the pad under a post-operative bracing system. Elastic straps are used to secure foam wraps and almost any kind of approved therapy pads.

The system is tailor-made for use with a variety of Cold Rush pads that can help alleviate problems with knees, hip, shoulder, hand, and spinal cord. Such a holistic approach is visible from a well-designed Cold Rush box that you can operate easily without detailed instructions.


  • Powerful built-in motor for extended use
  • Pads are easy to wear and remove
  • The holistic design is easy to transport
  • A quiet motor that doesn't disturb others


  • Relatively expensive than compared to similar products

Polar Products Active Ice 3.0 Knee & Joint Cold Therapy System with Digital Timer Includes Knee Bladder, 9 Quart Cooler

This Active Ice 3.0 ice therapy machine is specifically designed for post-surgical treatments of knees and joints. It includes a trademark timer that can be set to specific intervals based on the recommendation of a therapist. The powerful motor is whisper-quiet allowing patients to relax while the machine works in the background.

A compression belt holds the bladder in place to deliver gentle, adjustable, and even pressure on each knee. After use, the coupling is disconnected within seconds making it easier to transport it around a different location, if necessary. Among the highlights of this product is a universal bladder that can also be used in other parts of the body with ease. You can use the bladder to treat shoulders, back, and foot. Due to its distinctive design features, it can also be used for targeted therapy on body joints.

Polar Products Active Ice 3.0 Knee & Joint Cold Therapy System with Digital Timer Includes Knee Bladder, 9 Quart Cooler
Polar Products Active Ice 3.0 Knee & Joint Cold Therapy System with Digital Timer Includes Knee Bladder, 9 Quart Cooler

You just need to add water and ice to the equipment and you can start using it within minutes. The adjustable temperature control is always helpful when you need therapy at a pre-recommended constant temperature. It should be noted that the timer can only be set to a maximum of 30 minutes before you're required to reset it again.

The automatic timer is used as a safety precaution protecting patients from overcooling. Overcooling can be dangerous because it can adversely impact the recovery causing nerve damage. Accordingly, designers have set the temperature to a maximum of 30 minutes allowing the patient can regularly check the area around the skin for signs of excessive cold.


  • The 30-minute timer is a great precautionary measure
  • A universal bladder ensures that you can quickly replace it other brands
  • Designed by a world-renown manufacturer of therapy products


  • Customers have complained that new valves and plugs of the hose leaked

Aircast Cryo Cuff Cold Therapy Knee Solution - Blue - Large, Non Motorized, Gravity-fed System, 1count

Don't underestimate the effectiveness of this cold therapy system as it really packs a punch by delivering one-of-a-kind gravity fed solution for knee recovery. Designed specifically for the knee joint, the non-motorized equipment offers systematic cryotherapy, which eliminates the risk of tissue damage due to over-exposure to cold.

The Cryo Cuff system is scientifically engineered to reach a certain temperature before resetting becomes necessary. This eliminates the risk of swelling, trauma, allergy, and hemarthrosis. The chilled water is delivered directly to the Cryo Cuff system by placing machine cooler on a higher level. Once the water reaches the system, the automatic compression starts relieving the pain, instantly.

Cyclical compression combines with chilled water inside Cryo Cuff unit, which continues for 30 minutes until the patient can reset it again. The intermittent use is beneficial for coping with the instructions of your physician who often discourage excessive use of cold therapy. The Cryo Cuff pad is a universal fit that can be easily worn on either knee.

Based on the recommendation of a physician, it can also be used on other parts of the body. However, you should always ask a certified physician before using the pad other than your knee because loose fitting can disturb the water flow making it ineffective. Due to its anatomical design, the water and ice mixture remains cold throughout the day allowing patients to use it at regular intervals. By lowering the cooler below the cuff, you can quickly drain the water.


  • Gravity-Fed system does not rely on batteries to operate
  • The universal pad design makes it easier to be worn on either knee
  • Almost half the price compared to similar products in the market
  • Comes in different sizes for increased flexibility


  • Lack of support for an electric outlet

Cryotherapy Arctic Ice Cold Water Therapy With Large Back Pad (13" x 24")

Using cryotherapy techniques, this product uses continuous cold water circulation to achieve maximum results. Unlike traditional systems that can often miss parts around the affected area, the Arctic Ice Cold Water Therapy unit offers optimal results covering the entire area through compression.

Patients can easily use the system for three to four hours continuously without interruption. Although uninterrupted ice cold water supply can harm tissues, regular circulation of the water reduces the chance of skin damage. The 360-degree flow also allows body parts to vibrate softly enabling quicker recovery.

Cryotherapy Arctic Ice Cold Water Therapy With Large Back Pad (13" x 24")

A patented semi-closed loop system is at the heart of the therapy. Using the water to its advantage, the therapy system maintains a constant temperature that also helps compress the joints. Prior to reaching the therapy pad, the water is insulated using a pressurized tube.

It should be noted that using such systems can often lower metabolism and reduce vascular permeability, which is helpful in reducing the internal flow of fluids. In simple words, cryotherapy techniques can help the patient recover quickly if conducted under the supervision of a trained physician.


  • Water circulation covers a greater area around the skin than most
  • The universal pad is easy to connect without requiring expert assistance
  • The internal structure allows water bottles to fit easily around the pump and flexible piping


  • The pump mechanism often malfunctions if used after a long period

Cold Rush Compact with Pad (W/Knee Pad)

This is a compact version of the original ice therapy system. Known for its durability, the light-weight 4.6 pounds container comes with a knee pad. The single flow setting offers a consistent and controlled pressure on the joints creating a relaxing sensation. You just need to put icy water in the container, which will remain cold for approximately six hours.

Backed by the award-winning services of Ossur, the tube is built to deliver added pressure if it is placed on a higher elevation. The entire package is designed for convenience as it is very easy to operate. It also comes with clear instructions. The tube works to your advantage as it can be connected easily to the reservoir.

Cold Rush Compact with Pad (W/Knee Pad)
Cold Rush Compact with Pad (W/Knee Pad)

Once filled, it's not heavy to move around the premises. The pump is in the lid allows added convenience for patients who want to use it without supervision. Just like its original version, it uses a super-quiet motor that is perfect for hospital and rehabilitation centers.


  • The motor is very quiet and operates smoothly
  • It is designed for flexibility and easy asembly
  • Easy setup and operation so you can use it instantly after unpacking
  • The long and sturdy tube helps reach almost any part of the body


  • The motor cylinder inside the container consumes a lot of space that could otherwise be used for ice cubes
  • It is expansive compared to some of the other products for its size and function

best ice therapy machine

With so many great products in the market, it's often difficult to recommend any one product; Ossur Cold Rush Therapy System is a great choice to consider. Despite its higher cost, you can use it comfortably for years without damaging the system.

Its stand-out features include a power motor pump that is built to provide powerful and stable pressure without leakage. In fact, leakage is the most significant problems associated with such products. To counter the phenomenon, Ossur Cold Rush Therapy System is engineered to deliver the right pressure using a perfect combination of ice-to-water ratio.

Ossur Cold Rush Therapy System (W/Large Shoulder Pad)

Despite its size, the overall weight is comparable to smaller sized ice therapy machines. Locking lids, insulated walls, and holistic design make it the favorite on this list. If customer reviews are of any value, then Ossur cold rush therapy is perhaps the best product in the market.

On this list, there is another similar yet compact version offered by Ossur. If you are the only one at home, Ossur Cold Rush Compact System is another alternative. In contrast, if your budget doesn't allow you to buy expansive machines, try Aircast Cryo Cuff Knee Cold Therapy, instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is An Ice Therapy Machine?

Ice therapy machines can be used to help reduce swelling, joint pain, and inflammation or aid in recovering from a workout. They are designed with a flexible pad that will wrap around the areas you want to target, including your legs, knees, shoulders, arms, elbows, and hips.

The pad connects to a water tank filled with ice water through a tube. To keep the pad on your skin cold, the ice water continues to flow through the pad to provide continued relief and treatment.

Who Should Use An Ice Therapy Machine?

Many doctors often recommend the use of an ice therapy machine for individuals recovering from surgery who need to control their swelling. They can also be used by people looking to help their body recover from a workout.

How Do You Operate an Ice Therapy Machine?

A typical ice therapy machines consist of three components:

  • A reservoir to hold cold water;
  • A pad, which is used to treat the affected area;
  • And an electrical plug to operate the system

Any ice therapy machine can be operated easily without expert assistance. If it's the first time you're using it, it is highly recommended to read the instructions in the enclosed leaflet.

Before using, add cold water to the reservoir. Depending on your convenience, you can pre-fill cold bottle waters to use it in the reservoir when needed or use ice cubes in the reservoir. Just make sure that the water is cold enough to operate the machine effectively.

After the reservoir is filled, it's time to place the pad on the injured area. Just be careful when using the pad because certain pads are not designed to touch the skin. This is specifically true for pads used to relieve back pain. As a precaution, you can ask your therapist or read accompanying instructions.

Once the switch is turned on, the water flows from the reservoir to the pad through a pipe. The cold water circulates in the pad to treat pain, stiffness, and swelling. A typical therapy can last for up to four hours.

If you read the product review, you must have noticed that some of these products have a 30-minute timer. The automatic timer is used to safeguard over-exposure to cold, which can damage tissue. As such, patients will need to restart the machine after 30 minutes based on the condition of the skin and individual requirements.

If your therapist has recommended extensive therapy, it is best to use a machine without a timer as you can get continuous treatment without moving excessively.

After the treatment, make sure to drain water from the pad. To do this, unplug the machine from the outlet. When unplugged, raise and hold the pad above the reservoir to let the water drain from the pad to the reservoir. Then, it's time to store the equipment in a dry place.

When you've fully recovered from the treatment, make sure to store the machine properly. If there are filters inside the reservoir, you should clean these to prevent mold. Otherwise, it is a good practice to clean the reservoir and other components before storing. As a safety precaution, avoid bending the pad or the attached tube to prevent leakage.

Should You Consult a Physician Before Using an Ice Therapy Machine?

No, you're not required to consult a physician; however, it is recommended to use it under the guidance of a trained physician. If you are using the machine to treat sore ankle and minor swelling not related to an injury, you can use it normally as you would when applying ice cubes.

In contrast, injuries or swellings that require long exposure to cold water must be treated carefully. Overexposure to ice can kill the tissue making recovery long and painful.

Can a Generic Pad Be Used with Most Ice Therapy Machines?

It depends on the manufacturer of your equipment. Some pads and accessories cannot fit a reservoir of another brand. Exclusive brands provide multiple types of bands that can be used on a variety of body parts.

A universal pad is also widely used, which can fit the reservoir of most ice-therapy machines. Still, you need to make sure that your pad will fit the reservoir before purchasing it from the vendor.

Is It Suitable to Buy Second-Hand Ice Therapy Machines?

Ice therapy machines are regulated medical devices, which are available from a licensed medical provider. It therefore makes sense to only buy these machines from a reputable source.

Don't buy it second hand because these machines are known to malfunction if stored improperly. Even if you're planning to get it from someone in your family, make sure that it is in a proper working condition.

How long should I use an ice therapy machine?

When using an ice therapy machine, it is essential to follow the machine's directions and the guidelines offered by your doctor. Most times, you will only want to use the machine for 10 minutes at a time. You can conduct multiple sessions each day, but you will want to give your skin time to recover after every use.

Is it OK to put ice directly on your skin?

No, you should not put ice directly on your skin. Since ice is so cold and your skin is so delicate, it can easily cause damage or frostbite. Instead of placing the ice directly on your skin, always place a cloth or another barrier between the ice and your skin.

What happens if you use an ice therapy machine for too long?

Leaving ice on your skin for too long can lead to a variety of negative side effects. These include frostbite, pain, blisters, redness, swelling, or burning. To prevent these side effects, use the machine only as directed and end your session early if you begin to notice any of these changes or feelings to your skin.

How can I avoid injury when using an ice therapy machine?

One of the easiest ways to avoid injury is to always follow the manufacturer's directions for using the machine. Be sure to use it for the recommended amount of time, and no longer, each day. Doing so could result in injury to your skin or nerves.

You should also place something between the pad and your skin; you don't want to the pad to sit right against your skin. An article of clothing or a towel should work fine. Also, periodically check the skin beneath the pad to look for any signs of damage or injury.

After you end your treatment session and remove the pad, be aware that your movement and reflexes may not be back to normal for up to 30 minutes. Don't rush to stand up and be careful when walking to prevent an accidental fall.

Will my insurance cover an ice therapy machine?

Insurance companies rarely cover ice therapy machines. You will need to check with your insurance provider about the specific coverage included in your plan to determine whether an ice therapy machine will be covered.

Is ice or heat better for nerve pain?

Using a combination of ice and heat may be the best option if you have a pinched nerve. Try alternating between the two since it can increase circulation and help provide relief from your pain.

Ice packs should only be used for about 15 minutes at a time, around three times a day. You can use heat pads for longer periods of time than ice packs. They can be applied for up to an hour at a time, three times a day.

What is the RICE method for injuries?

If you've sustained an injury, you may have been told by a friend or medical provider to use the RICE method. Rice stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. It can be used to reduce the pain you are experiencing and decrease swelling.

The first step of RICE is rest. If your body is in pain, it needs rest and time to recover. 'Pushing through' the pain will likely only make it worse.

Give your body time to recover and try to avoid putting any weight on the area for at least 24 to 48 hours.

The next step is Ice. During the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury, you should apply ice to the affected area for about 15 minutes every few hours. This can help reduce swelling and decrease the amount of pain you're in.

Compression refers to wrapping your injured area with a medical bandage to prevent it from swelling. Make the bandage snug so it can do its job, but be sure not to make it too tight that it cuts of blood low. If you notice that your skin is feeling cold or numb beneath the bandage, you have made it too tight and should loosen it to prevent further injury.

The final step in RICE is elevation. When you elevate your injured area so it is above your heart, it can provide additional relief to swelling and pain. Try to elevate your injured body part as often as possible to achieve the best results.

What should you do to recover from knee surgery?

Recovering from knee surgery is not a quick process. You, unfortunately, don't have the surgery one day and bounce back to your old self and abilities right away. Give your body time to heal and be sure to follow your doctor's recommendations to help your body recover quickly.

Here are a few things you can do to speed up your recover and help prevent any setbacks or new injuries:

  • Keep your knee straight: Keeping your knee straight, and not bent, is crucial when recovering from knee surgery. Use a wheelchair or crutches if you have to move around, but when possible try to limit your mobility as much as possible. If you're sitting and laying down, be sure to keep your knee straight. These steps will help it heal properly.
  • Wear a knee brace: You were likely provided a knee brace by your doctor after your surgery. Wearing it will help you make sure the knee stays straight and stabilized and will help your body heal.
  • Schedule regular physical therapy sessions: Physical therapist a trained to help you recover. They can aid you in learning how to use your knee again and can help you slowly and safely, regain your range of motion.
  • Follow your doctor's orders related to exercise: Don't overdo it! Listen to your doctor or physical therapist and only attempt exercises that are approved. Doing too much could easily set you back and make your recovery take longer.


Official Top 5 Review Team
Official Top 5 Review Team

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