Having the best portable infrared sauna in your home is a good budget way to reap the benefits of far infrared light without spending a small fortune on a full-sized traditional sauna. These portable models are easy to carry around, can be used in any room of your house and use no steam to heat you up, meaning you don’t have to worry about excess humidity.
While these saunas are a great addition to anyone’s home spa, there are quite a lot of models out there and going through all of them can be confusing, especially since they appear very similar at first. This is why in this guide we will go through some of the top models for this year and discuss their differences and advantages. On top of that, we will then dive deeper into portable saunas and see which are the features that you need to pay attention to when you’re buying one.
Radiant Saunas Rejuvinator Portable Personal Sauna
The Radiant Saunas Rejuvinator is one of the most famous models out there and there is a good reason behind that. It has a durable, yet lightweight construction that is also quite stylish. On the inside, there is a lot of room combined with a comfortable chair and heated foot pad. The heat comes from three low-EMF carbon heaters placed at different locations for perfect infrared distribution on the inside. There are two holes for your hands a well as a pocket for the remote that controls all the functions of the sauna. This model is also quite economical in terms of running costs since it only requires 900 wats per hour to work at maximum capacity.
When you are done using this portable sauna, it neatly collapses into a size that is easy to store and carry around. Everything from the materials to the heaters and electronics here is covered by a 1-year warranty.
- Comes with a chair and heater foot pads
- Decently priced
- Stylish and durable design
- Has a removable collar
- Low-EMF carbon heating elements
- Very economical
- Heating might feel inconsistent or weak to some people
- Struggles to reach its maximum temperature of 150 degrees
Durherm Far Infrared Portable Indoor Sauna
This Durherm negative-ion portable sauna is yet another quality option that can help you relax after a long day at work. It uses similar to the previous model ultra-thin carbon heating elements that can heat up the sauna in just 5 minutes. However, while it reaches its optimal temperature fast, once you are in, it struggles to maintain it. It also has a timer that allows turns the sauna off after an appointed period. Still, I would have loved if it allowed you to stay more than 30 minutes at a time, which almost never feels enough.
For nearly the same price as the Radiant Saunas model, you also get a chair and a heated foot pad. On the downside, materials here aren’t as premium as some other models in this price point.
- Heats up fast
- Includes a heated foot pad and a chair
- Well priced
- Comfortable hand slits
- Material quality isn’t perfect
- Struggles to maintain its maximum temperature
Gizmo Supply XL Portable Therapeutic Infrared Sauna
This fairly large portable sauna is one of your best options if you are into very hot sauna sessions. It heats up fast, maintains its heat well and has a timer that allows you to stay for up to 60 minutes at a time.
The heaters here are located in the upper back and both sides which is nice for your upper body but doesn’t do a great job with your legs, leaving them colder most of the time. Still, it does get very hot faster than most other models at this price. That is why I suggest having a towel inside for your chair and legs. If you aren’t used to the hot temperature, the foot pad might seem a bit too hot as well.
- Heats up to 140 degrees in less than 10 minutes
- Comes with a timer from 5 to 60 minutes
- Spacious design
- Economical power consumption
- Heat isn’t distributed evenly on the inside
- Foot pad runs far too hot to be comfortable
Durherm Low EMF Infrared Sauna
The Durherm Low-EMF Infrared Sauna is one of their top models but also one of their most expensive ones. While it is very lightweight and super easy to assemble and disassemble, it can feel flimsy at times which is almost unacceptable at this price point. The model comes with two removable cloth neck collars which are also quite comfortable when you are in and doesn’t allow any air getting in or any heat getting out and in your face. The sauna also comes with a chair and a remote to control its temperature. There are two holes for your hands upfront as well as a pocket for the remote. While the heaters here are some of the most potent ones on this list that, for me, doesn’t justify the high price tag.
- Stylish design
- Durable lightweight construction
- Powerful heaters
- Easy to fold and store away
- Has 2 removable cloth neck collars and a foam pad for your feet
- Very expensive
- Zippers tend to break
SereneLife Portable Infrared Home Sauna
Last but definetely not least is the SereneLife Portable infrared sauna. It is one of the better priced models out there coming from a brand that has a good reputation in the spa niche. The design and construction of this portable model exceeds the one of most other models at this price point. On the inside, you have a powerful heater that can get the temperature up to 140 degrees in a matter of minutes. The timer allows for sessions up to 60 minutes at a time. Despite the fast and potent heating elements, the unit is quite economical operating with only 1050 Watts per hour.
One major disadvantage is that it is generally smaller than most of its competitors and will be a tight fit if you are a bigger person.
- Powerful yet economical heaters
- Excellent price-to-value ratio
- Durable and stylish construction
- Heats up fast
- Runs up to 60 minutes per session
- Small footprint compared to other models
Portable Infrared Saunas Buyer’s Guide
Portable saunas aren’t really a new invention but they have definitely picked up some steam (no pun intended) as of late. While models using steam aren’t very practical for closed spaces and living rooms, far infrared portable saunas are really convenient as they are low-maintenance and are far easier to tolerate, especially by people that aren’t used to extreme heats.
Before we move on with the benefits and features of these saunas, we need to ask ourselves two very important questions – what are portable infrared saunas and how exactly do they work?
How do portable infrared saunas work?
These saunas use the same principles applied in the bigger stationary infrared saunas. They warm your body by emitting far-infrared light that has a heating effect on your skin and makes you sweat more. With most models being fairly small, these infrared heaters are usually positioned closer to your body than they would be in a traditional infrared sauna room. That makes these saunas a bit more effective and applies the effects of the IR light faster thanks to the reflective interior of the portable sauna.
When shopping for a portable sauna, you will notice that more than half the modes are “steam saunas”. These are, in fact, quite different than the infrared ones. Let’s see which are the main differences between the two kinds now…
Difference between portable steam and infrared saunas
One of the most important differences between steam and infrared saunas, in general, is their temperature. While steam saunas get really hot, infrared models tend to run at temperatures 20-50 degrees lower. Furthermore, steam saunas heat up everything inside, white infrared saunas heat up only the surface of your body without raising the ambient temperature by a lot, meaning they are far easier to tolerate. The humidity levels are also vastly different with the steam sauna being obviously far more humid.
Another aspect where these two types differ from each other is power consumption. Regular infrared saunas can run with less than 2000 Watts, while traditional saunas usually require triple that.
Most of these differences are also valid for the bigger steam rooms and infrared/traditional saunas. If you want to learn more about their differences, head over to my full article on the topic. With that aside, let’s go through some of the most important pros and cons of these saunas and see whether they are a good investment or not.
Benefits of portable infrared saunas
There are five major benefits associated with these types of saunas:
- They are very efficient with their heat distribution and usually don’t require as much heat as traditional infrared saunas to heat up your body to a certain level. Furthermore, the infrared rays act on your faster than they would in a wider room, meaning you won’t need nearly as much heat to achieve the same therapeutic results. For people that aren’t very resilient to heat, this is a great option
- Unlike big traditional saunas, these models don’t require a ton of electricity to run at their maximum capacity. This makes them very efficient and energy-saving in the long-run compared to other types.
- The practicality and convenience of these saunas is what makes them so appealing to customers. They can be easily folded and transported to another location or room in your house. You can also place them somewhere and let them heat up before you enter them, the same way you’d do with a normal sauna.
- These infrared saunas are also very low in humidity when operating since they aren’t using steam to heat up your body. That makes them suitable for living rooms and other rooms where you would’ve otherwise worried about the effects of humidity.
- Last but definitely not least, one of the biggest advantages of owning such a sauna is that it is the cheapest possible alternative to experience the benefits of far infrared.
If you want to learn more about the benefits that infrared light has on your body, click here!
Portable sauna features
As with all other sauna types, there is a list of features that defines a good model and you should keep your eyes open for any of these. Let’s go through them now and see how important they are:
- Heating Settings
- Chairs and foot pads
- Low EMF
Learning how hot the portable sauna model can get is one of the first things you need to do. Portable infrared saunas usually operate in the 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit range. If you want something hotter than that (up to 185 degrees) you can opt for a portable steam option. Inside these saunas, you won’t feel as hot as you would in a traditional sauna with that same temperature because the infrared heater heats up your body directly as opposed to heating everything around you as well. Still, if you are someone who wants to go after the highest temperature possible, make sure you pay special attention to this feature.
Almost all portable saunas have a capacity of 1 person. Make sure that there is enough interior room in the sauna for you to fit comfortably, as well as any accessories you want to bring with you or use to get even more comfortable. When not in use, most of the models collapse into a small compact footprint which is easy to transport and store.
When choosing a good portable infrared sauna, have in mind that you will be spending a considerable amount of time in them per session. The only part of your body that won’t be inside is the head (and maybe the arms). While size is one major factor that determines how spacious it is inside and how much room you have, having a good chair and foot pad is even more important. While most saunas come with included chairs and foot pads, they aren’t all that comfortable, so make sure you pay attention to that feature
Timers aren’t mandatory but are a welcome feature which makes it easier to track your sessions and not overdo it. For instance, you can set the timer to 25 minutes and it will cut off the heater at precisely that much time, allowing you to control your sessions better. Furthermore, some models will have the option to pre-heat, although that isn’t very relevant to infrared saunas as they are almost instantaneously ready when you need to use them.
Accessories and additional features
One of my favorite additional features in portable saunas is the heated foot pad. It allows you to raise your core temperature faster and is also really comfortable on the feet. Other features that you need to look for are neck collars that can be taken off and washed, hand holes, and pockets for various accessories.
When it comes to accessories, pay attention to the remote. A wireless remote is a good addition to any model and it makes using the sauna really easy. As I also mentioned, pay attention to whether the sauna comes with a chair or not. Some models do not come with a chair and foot pad included.
You might see this term being tossed around a lot and there is a good reason for that. All the electric appliances in your home produce electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) which can be harmful to us. The mechanism they affect our bodies with is via radiation. It all depends on your positioning according to the appliance and how much EMFs it produces. This is why some portable saunas are tested and labeled low-EMF.
Lastly, pay attention to that price tag. It is really easy to go overboard if you want to get every possible option and accessory with your model. If you are building a little home spa place, higher costs quickly add up, so it is good to make a list of the things you want out of your portable sauna and stick to it.
How to safely use these saunas
The rules that you need to follow here in order to stay safe are the same as with any other sauna. Don’t forget to properly hydrate yourself before entering the sauna. Drinking two glasses of water before a 30-minute sauna session should be good enough to mitigate the dehydrating effects of the heat inside.
Another tip that is especially important for older people is to let the sauna heat them up gradually. Don’t crank the heat all the way up, wait for the sauna to be ready, and then enter. Try entering at the beginning of the program and let your body get used to the rising temperatures inside.
Lastly, if you are new to saunas, try keeping your sessions shorter at first and as far in between as possible. Once you gather enough experience, you can include a second sauna session within the same week. Beginners should stay for 15-25 minutes but with experience, you can extend that duration to 30-40 minutes depending on the temperature you set.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the infrared sauna need to be vented?
As with any other type of sauna, you will need to vent your portable sauna after you are finished and it cools down. After all, there is a certain amount of moisture coming out of your body that can b damaging to the product if it isn’t vented from time to time. Furthermore, the unvented moisture will help the spread of bacteria and mold on the inside which will make your sauna harder to maintain and clean.
Can I use a portable infrared sauna outdoor?
In most cases, yes – you can, but you will have to take a look at your product’s warranty and see if outdoor usage voids it. Still, if you have a safe and stable platform to put it on outside, your portable infrared sauna is as effective outdoors as it is indoors!
Buying the best portable infrared sauna can be a challenging task, especially with so many models that are very similar in terms of their functionality and looks. This is why you should always opt for a model that has diverse heat settings, comfortable interior layout, and some good additional accessories. Make sure you keep the price in mind since it can easily go up with the added options a model has.