The 10 Best Cold Packs

Updated June 04, 2017 by Quincy Miller

10 Best Cold Packs
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We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. When you need treatment for work- or sports-related injuries, try an age-old cure with one of these cold packs. They're not just for soft tissue trauma, either; fevers, migraines, and arthritis pain can all be improved by icing the affected area. Our selections will get you back on your feet in no time, without causing any added discomfort. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best cold pack on Amazon.

10. Feel Better Chilly Bear

There's nothing worse than hearing your child cry, but the Feel Better Chilly Bear can soothe their pain and give them reason to smile again. The adorable and cuddly design comes in 3 colors, and provides a safe and friendly way to target any discomfort from head to toe.
  • uses natural nontoxic corn filler
  • comfortable to use while sleeping
  • can't be machine washed
Brand Feel Better Bear
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Adalid Gear Wrap

Adalid Gear Wrap features a polyester pouch with an elastic band and Velcro closure that keeps it securely in place. This makes it ideal for treating smaller body parts, or for rehabbing an injury while staying active around the house.
  • frozen gel insert remains flexible
  • compact and easy to store
  • not good for migraines
Brand Adalid Gear Wrap
Model pending
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Pro-Tec Wrap

The Pro-Tec Wrap can get you feeling better in no time with an advanced gel technology that remains hot or cold longer than other brands. The 3" wide dual strapping system effectively compresses the entire injured area evenly, giving you targeted relief.
  • flexible enough to walk around in
  • ice pack fits securely in the pouch
  • rear of wrap isn't very soft
Brand Pro-Tec
Model PTGel-M
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. TheraPAQ Flexible

The TheraPAQ Flexible is equipped with an extra long and wide Velcro strap that securely wraps around the waist or back, no matter your size, making it ideal for sports or lifting injuries. This also serves to keep the cold targeted exactly where you need it to be.
  • excellent for post-surgery recovery
  • won't irritate skin
  • gel compartments not filled evenly
Brand TheraPAQ
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. FlexiKold Gel

When you're already hurting, there's nothing worse than fighting your ice pack to try to get it in the right position. With the FlexiKold Gel, that's no longer an issue, as this extremely flexible option can be made to conform to any part of the body.
  • ideal for hip injuries
  • can be folded in the freezer
  • gel sinks when held vertically
Brand FlexiKold
Model 6300-COLD
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Brownmed Polar Ice

Brownmed Polar Ice is a long-lasting cold therapy solution that's made with a soft fleece covering that conforms to the body and insulates the skin, preventing frostbite. This makes it great for extended use or if you want to wear it while you sleep.
  • not as bulky as other wraps
  • hook and loop straps adjust easily
  • cold isn't distributed equally
Brand Brownmed
Model 30103
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Carex Bed Buddy

The Carex Bed Buddy is equipped with durable polypropylene rope handles for a secure grip while you move it around to your troubled area. This makes it easy to target spots on your back or neck, or if you really want to ramp up the pressure on the affected tissue.
  • made of pet-safe organic materials
  • can be used over clothing
  • curved shape contours to the body
Brand Carex Health Brands
Model BBF1998-12
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Cold One C1005

The Cold One C1005 is a 3-in-1 wrap that provides icing and compression to treat aches and injuries in the elbow, hand, wrist, and plantar fascia. If you have nagging pain in these areas, this specially-designed pack will be much more convenient than a traditional model.
  • ready to use after 2 hrs in freezer
  • good for carpal tunnel syndrome
  • machine washable for easy care
Brand Cold One
Model C1005
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Chattanooga ColPac

The Chattanooga ColPac is constructed of a latex-free material and is extremely pliable, ensuring that you stay comfortable while bringing your fever or swelling down. The gel inside doesn't fully freeze, either, so you don't have to deal with cuddling a rock-hard pack.
  • good for larger users
  • safe for all ages
  • doesn't leak and barely sweats
Brand DJO
Model CH153CT02
Weight 6.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Azmed Ice Bag

The Azmed Ice Bag is the ideal choice for work, home or in your car, featuring an innovative leakproof lock system that keeps accidents from happening. If you suffer with frequent migraines, or if you're constantly getting banged up on the field, this is a must-have.
  • made of latex-free material
  • fits nicely in a purse or bag
  • comfortable on bare skin
Model 859410000014
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Cold Comes To The Rescue

You don't have to be a bonafide clutz to get hurt. I never considered myself much of a clumsy person, but I've played ice hockey all my life, so I know a thing or two about being banged up. My sister, on the other hand, is the type of person who falls up the stairs, who walks into a closet door and gives herself a concussion. With these two personalities in my house growing up, you can bet your bottom dollar that we had a nice collection of cold packs.

The basic purpose of applying cold temperatures to an injured area is to reduce swelling and pain. This is a result of restricted blood flow to a cold area of the body.

In cold climates, the affect on your body is distributed throughout its circulatory system. The cold causes an overall constriction of blood vessels in an attempt to keep more blood flowing through to your vital organs. This is why your fingers and toes get colder first in the winter. When you apply cold in a localized fashion, as with these cold packs, your body constricts its blood vessels only in that area, reducing blood flow as well as the buildup of lymphatic fluid.

The cold packs on our list work in a variety of ways. The older style, which is essentially a rubber bag with a screw-top, is the one I used growing up. These work like a charm and they decently keep your ice frozen, though they can be somewhat cumbersome to operate.

The rest of the cold packs on our list need time in the freezer before they can be of any use to you. These will often include some kind of strapping mechanism that allows you to secure it to an injured area, freeing up your hands and giving you more mobility while you heal. Keep in mind, though, that ice is part of a four-stage treatment often initialized as R.I.C.E., or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Keeping to this method will heal you the fastest, so even if your cold pack allows for some mobility, it's best to stay still.

Where Does It Hurt?

I have a lot of nostalgia about that old-fashioned cold pack we have on our list. I spent countless hours holding that thing against sprained ankles, twisted knees, hyper-extended elbows, and a banged-up head. Still, for all its efficacy, it really only has one major advantage over the other packs on our list, and that advantage is–in some cases–also its weak point.

This particular style of cold pack requires ice. It's sealed in such a way that the ice you put in it stays cold for a good long while, but if the last of your ice supply went into the cocktails you made that got you drunk and caused you to stub your toe on a cactus planter in the first place, then you don't have a leg to stand on. Or a toe, for that matter.

On the other hand, if you have an ice maker in your freezer, or you keep a bevvy of ice trays frozen on hand, there is nothing more immediate for your relief. The other cold packs on our list all require time spent in the freezer getting cold, and as soon as they warm back up from the combination of ambient temperatures and your body heat, your relief comes to a screeching halt.

The best method, then, if you're going to go with a newer style of cold pack, is to get a pair of them. You keep one in the freezer and one in a closet. If you get hurt, grab the one from the freezer for immediate use, and put the closet pack in the empty place in the ice box. By the time the first one warms up, you'll have another waiting in the wings. If you choose one of the models on our list that can double as a heat pack, you can use the closet model in the microwave and it'll be ready much faster than the one you've got in the freezer.

Now that we've solved that debacle, you can narrow down your selection process to the packs that suit your most common needs. I had a great tendency to sprain my ankles all throughout my youth, so a pack designed for icing down the lower back wouldn't have made much sense for me. Know what ails you, and what you're most likely to bump or twist, and buy your pack accordingly.

Cold For Years

The therapeutic application of extreme temperatures is not a new technique. Like a lot of medical history, one can trace its roots back to ancient Egypt. Discovered in 1862 by renowned Egyptologist Edwin Smith, the Edwin Smith Papyrus is an ancient medical scroll detailing the treatment of numerous bodily injuries.

The scroll begins with injuries to the head and works its way down, cutting off at around mid-torso. The papyrus was either damaged after that, or was simply left unfinished by its author.

More recently, as the invention of ice boxes allowed us to keep ice and cold goods from the warmth of our environment, ice has been used directly on sites of injury, and as a numbing agent before surgeries and amputations. The advent of electronic refrigeration took the science even further, as doctors and scientists had a much more reliable and consistent source of research materials.

Today, gels and composite beads derived from petroleum have the ability to maintain temperatures for greater amounts of time, creating a whole new market of cold packs designed to stay cold and get you mended.

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Last updated on June 04, 2017 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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