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The 7 Best Cold Therapy Machines for Faster Recovery Times



This article was updated and republished on Jan 14, 2023.

Cold therapy machines come in many different shapes, sizes, and functions, but one thing is always true: cold therapy is amazing. Whether you or your patients use cold therapy for prevention so you can continue to live an active lifestyle or post-operative recovery, the benefits are endless. Already convinced and ready to shop or compare? Check out our selection of high quality Cold Therapy Systems or shop Replacement Pads & Accessories.

But how do you know which cold therapy machine is right for your needs? We're going to break down the top-of-the-line options so you can choose the best cold therapy machine for you or your clinic. Let's get started.

What are the Benefits of Cold Therapy Machines?

First, let's talk about why cold therapy is so awesome. From ice-cold showers to polar bear clubs, cold water has gotten a lot of buzz in the healthcare world lately, and for good reason. 

Here are a few proven health benefits to cold therapy:

  • It speeds up metabolism
  • It reduces swelling
  • It reduces pain
  • It reduces inflammation
  • It soothes sore muscles
  • It improves sleep quality
  • It improves focus
  • It improves the immune system

It makes sense that cold therapy is used in hospitals and physical therapy clinics so much since they are amazing at reducing pain and swelling. Athletes who regularly push their body benefit from routine cold therapy sessions, as well as anyone recovering from surgery or physical trauma. 

So why use a cold therapy machine instead of just filling up an ice bath? The benefits of cold therapy machines make them a much better choice.

First of all, cold therapy machines offer controlled and located therapy with special pads. Some options are motorized or battery-powered for ease of use, and they provide hours of consistent therapy. The convenience makes them ideal for hospital or clinic treatments. 

However, since they are also easy to transport, patients can do cold therapy at home too and speed up their recovery. Some of the pads use compression for even more effectiveness. 

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Now let's look at the best cold therapy machine options so you can choose the right one for you and your patients. 

1. Breg Polar Care Wave

This system provides cold therapy and compression through anatomic wraps. It's a motorized machine that comes in a compact and quiet unit, so it's ideal for home use as well as facility use. 

It's designed to treat acute or post-surgical injuries to reduce swelling and pain, making it the best medical ice machine. Breg is the second-largest orthopedic brace provider in the US. Their mission is to elevate and simplify patient care, which they've done with this system.  

Users can easily take the Breg Polar Care Wave with them from home to physical therapy, the hospital, athletic training, or even during travel. 

For being such a high-end product, this system is extremely affordable. It's 10x less pricey than a comparable system, so you're getting a great value along with versatility.  

You can purchase the cooler on its own, or purchase the specific pads you need with it. They offer pads for the hips, knees, shoulder, ankles, and a universal pad. (The Wave is the latest generation of cold therapy which offers cold therapy with compression. The Wave unit is about 90% less than the comparable GameReady which makes this the best in-class cold therapy unit for the value.  

2. Game Ready Cold and Compression Therapy Unit

This system is another great option that uses circumferential wraps that administer active cold and intermittent compression therapy. It is hands down the best cold therapy machine on the market. So why #2 you ask? Price. This unit is pricing coming in close to $4,000. But if you are a collegiate athlete, a serious weekend warrior, or only want the very best, this product is amazing and will not disappoint: it is professional grade.  

It's comfortable, convenient, and easy to use. It's also adjustable for maximum compression. Post-surgery, patients can take this machine with them to shorten their hospital stay and continue their healing process at home. 

The Game Ready Cold and Compression Therapy Unit uses the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, which takes recovery to the next level. 

Patients will love taking their prevention or post-surgery recovery into their own hands with this machine, and the compression therapy approach will speed up their journey. 

Keep in mind, while this is a fantastic option, it is considerably more expensive than the other options. Learn more in our Game Ready Ice Machine Review (and Some Cheaper Alternatives) guide. 

3. Breg Polar Cube

This Breg system is designed for the following:

  • Postoperative
  • Arthroscopic procedures
  • Reconstructive procedures
  • Plastic surgery
  • General surgery
  • Post-trauma
  • Chronic pain
  • Physical therapy

It uses ice and water to provide four to six hours of cold therapy. From home to the clinic or hospital, it's easy to use and maneuver thanks to its simple and compact design. 

The Polar Cube uses WrapOn Polar pads that perfectly fit to the joint and attach with an elastic band, so you don't need any extra adhesives. However, you do need to make sure that there is an insulation barrier between the pad and the patient's skin. 

Just like the other Breg cold therapy machines, the Cube has pads for each area of the body. However, what makes this system stand out is the extended pad sizes. There are extra-large options for the knee, shoulder, and multi-use pads. 

4. Breg Polar Care Kodiak

As the only battery-operated cold therapy system on the market, this is Breg's most versatile, convenient, and compact cold therapy product. Each Kodiak battery pack (sold separately) includes replaceable AA batteries that power 10 to 14 hours of motorized cold therapy from anywhere. 

Your patients will love how easy it is to get their therapy done without disrupting their lives. It works at home, in the hospital and clinic, and even on the sidelines of their child's soccer game. 

The Polar Care Kodiak system uses ice, water, and Breg's unique Intelli-Flo pads for optimized cold therapy. 

For more information about the impressive cryotherapy machines from Breg, read on in our Is Breg Cold Therapy Right for You guide. 

5. DonJoy Iceman Classic3 System

This system is ideal for rehabilitation because it offers controlled delivery of cold therapy. Unlike competitors' simpler systems, the extra cold temperature stays consistent and accurate with the DonJoy system thanks to the patented dual pump recirculation system. 

The Iceman Classic3 system will speed up patient recovery by reducing swelling and pain. The forefoot pad is especially helpful after bunion surgery. 

We know this system is awesome because it was developed after 20 years of research and gathering customer feedback. It's made with durable materials that are meant to last; however, it is still simple enough for patients to use at home. 

6. DonJoy Iceman Clear3 System

This option also uses DonJoy's patented dual pump recirculation system, and the clear cooler makes it easy to know when it's time to refill the ice and cold water. It's also one of the most compact cold therapy machines you can get, which makes it even easier for transporting and storing. 

The Iceman Clear3 is compatible with the complete line of DonJoy pads, so it's also extremely versatile and easy to use for any kind of injury. DonJoy's mission is to "get and keep people moving," so this system is perfectly designed for recovery and prevention. 

7. Aircast Cryo Cuff IC Cooler

The Aircast Cryo Cuff IC Cooler and Cryo Cuff easily connects to the Cryo Cuff motorized unit and Gravity Therapy Unit.

The cuffs are anatomically designed to wrap perfectly around your joints for complete coverage. It's specifically great for knee recovery and will help reduce pain, swelling, and minimizes hemarthrosis. 

The Aircast Cryo Cuff uses measured compression for ultimate patient comfort, and the controlled cold eliminates the risk of tissue damage. The cooler is detachable, which means it's easy to carry around for uninterrupted cold therapy treatment.

You can get cuffs for the knee, thigh, shoulder, calf, elbow, back, hip, rib, and foot. It's great for adults and children since the cuffs come in regular and pediatric sizes.

Aircast has been a leader in ankle and sprain recovery products for over 30 years, and the patented technology and use of pneumatic compression can keep you moving while you heal from your injury. 

How to Choose a Cold Therapy Machine

We've shown you seven great options for cold therapy machines, so how do you choose the best one for you and your patients? First, think about your needs.

Do you need a portable cold therapy machine? Need one with a bunch of pad options and sizes? Are you looking for something battery-powered that can go anywhere? Do you want high-end technology so you can track your patient's use?

Narrowing down what you need will guide you to the best machine. However, we also recommend keeping several options so you always have the right one for your patient's specific situation.

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Find the perfect cold therapy machine for you with our easy and quick product finder quiz. Take it now and discover the best machine for your needs!

Shop Cold Therapy Machines with Ortho Bracing

At Orthobracing, we have everything you need to outfit your clinic or hospital. You can filter our products by brand, body area, or ailment. 

Whichever cold therapy machine you decide to go with, your patients will love experiencing the healing benefits of cold therapy. Not only can it prevent injury and reduce inflammation for athletes and those who live an active lifestyle, but it will also speed up recovery after a traumatic accident or surgery. 

Give your patients the best with one of these top-tier cold therapy machines. Check out our complete line of Cold Therapy Machines and other recovery products:

Breg Polar Care Cube

Breg Polar Care Wave Cold Therapy System

Breg Polar Care Wave Knee Cold Therapy System

DonJoy Sully Shoulder Brace

Breg Polar Care Cube Replacement Pads

Breg Polar Care Wave Knee, Hip & Shoulder Pads

DonJoy Tru Pull Lite Knee Brace

DonJoy Ultrasling Pro Shoulder Immobilizer

Read on for more content related to cold therapy and injury prevention / recovery: 

Best Cold Therapy Machines for Knee Pain Relief

Top Benefits of Cold Compression

At-Home Cryotherapy? Benefits & How to Do It

Cold Therapy for Arthritis: Benefits & What to Know

Best Knee Compression Sleeves

Best Hinged Knee Brace

Best Neck Stretchers for Pain Relief

Best Back Braces for Quicker Recovery

Best Shoulder Braces for Rotator Cuffs, Labrum Tears, & More