Ultra-low EMF emission - under 15 milligauss - much lower than competing brands. Neck collar is washable and comfortable; comes with 2. Big enough for larger individuals. Very effective for detox purposes. Comes with foot pad and folding chair.
Some users don't like the orange-pink color. Doesn't heat up to 150 degrees.
Heats up quickly and delivers a therapeutic, very hot sauna experience to relieve your stress and relax muscles. One of the lightest models we reviewed, coming in at just over 10 pounds. Comes with timer (up to 60 minutes) Temperature adjustable between 130 and 150 degrees. Very easy assembly.
Being too close to the steam pipe can easily cause an accidental burn. Floor can get very wet. Put down a towel as recommended.
5 temperature levels to customize your experience. No installation needed; just plug in, zip up, relax, and enjoy. Easy setup; no tools needed. 1-year warranty. Polyester "satin" material exterior is moisture resistant. We love the low-EMF carbon fiber heat panel.
Some models don’t heat up enough. Inside chair could be larger and more comfortable; may not be well suited for bigger or taller adults.
A great way to warm the body and provide overall relaxation, in an easily portable design. Remote control with timer (up to 60 minutes and 140 degrees). Weighs just 20 pounds. Zippered opening allows for hands to hold items outside of the sauna. Infrared heat means no moisture-related problems as can happen with a steam sauna.
Zippers can come off easily. Can take up to 30 minutes to come to fully heat. Some models quit working after only a few uses.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Sitting in a sauna is a time-honored way to relax, relieve muscle tension, and sweat out toxins. However, saunas aren’t always accessible or convenient. You have to travel to a spa, health club, or other wellness facility to experience one. While building a sauna on your property is an option for those who have the financial means and space, if you live in a small apartment or on a budget, it’s probably a pipe dream. Fortunately, affordable portable saunas are now available.
These standalone, single-occupancy structures are made of a wood or metal frame with a fabric tent. They require a power outlet and a corner of a room, and they use infrared heat to make you sweat. When not in use, the sauna is easy to dismantle and stow.
Purchasing a portable sauna is a worthy investment. It cuts out the nuisance and expense of booking an appointment; instead, you can relax and detox on your own schedule without leaving the house. There are a few things to consider before purchasing one, but we’ve sweated the small stuff so you don’t have to. Our shopping guide will get you started, and check out our top picks, too.
Traditional saunas: These are permanent structures that you enter through a door. They can be small enough for one or large enough for several people. While there are some stationary infrared saunas, most traditional saunas are heated by stoves that increase the temperature of the air around you to 185°F to 195°F. Traditional saunas require around 6 kilowatts (kW) of electrical power to operate.
Infrared saunas, including portable saunas, have many health claims, such as those listed here. Always consult with your doctor before using an infrared sauna. Do not use one if you’re pregnant.
Improves skin quality
Lowers blood pressure
Relieves muscle soreness and joint pain
Speeds recovery from sports injuries
Infrared saunas may also help with the following conditions:
There are three main categories of portable saunas: fabric-enclosed cabinet, dome, and wooden cabin.
Fabric-enclosed cabinet: This type of sauna is a zippered enclosure designed for one individual to sit inside on a chair. Your body is enclosed in this tent-like structure, but your head remains outside. There are also openings so your hands can be outside the compartment. This type is typically made from moisture-resistant polyester or cotton fabric. The fabric is lightweight and foldable, making this a highly portable structure that doesn’t require a lot of storage space.
Sauna dome: This is a tubular enclosure designed for an individual to lie down in, usually on padding like a mat and pillow, leaving the head outside the capsule. Some are made from fabric, while more expensive models are made of either wood or plastic. These vary in portability, depending on material and weight. Some sauna users prefer to lie down for deeper relaxation. These portable saunas can be used anyplace there’s room to fully extend the body.
Designed to optimize health, this fabric-enclosed sauna offers negative ion therapy using tourmaline panels and is virtually EMF-free. Be prepared to work up a good sweat in 20 minutes — users liken this sauna to a personal sweat lodge, and they especially enjoy using it during the long winter months.
Portability: Take into consideration your needs, physical limitations, and the space available in your home when choosing a portable sauna. Fabric-enclosed cabinets and sauna domes take up the least amount of space and are easiest to stow away. Be aware that while some domes can weigh less than 30 pounds, others constructed from more durable materials can weigh over 80 pounds.
Comfort: Saunas are supposed to be relaxing, so you want a model that enhances relaxation and doesn’t detract from it. If you’re claustrophobic, choose a model that leaves your head outside the enclosure. Component parts like mat, chair, flooring, and pillows also need to be taken into consideration for comfort.
EMF safety: This is a concern for some consumers who are sensitive to electromagnetic fields. Many portable saunas offer low-EMF emissions for your safety.
Chair: A chair is necessary when using a fabric-enclosed sauna, but not all models come with one. Check to see if the manufacturer provides one, and if so, opt for a foldable chair. We also recommend checking customer reviews to see if the seat is comfortable. Not all chairs included with portable saunas are comfortable to sit on.
Heated foot pad: This is a nice feature that comes with some fabric-enclosed saunas. It’s a way to raise your body temperature easily and provide some comfort for your tired toes.
Timer: One necessity is a timer because you don’t want to sit in a portable sauna too long. One is usually included in a handheld, fixed, or remote control panel.
Heat settings: This is another important feature we wouldn’t recommend skimping on. This allows you to adjust the temperature on a handheld, fixed, or remote control panel. While portable saunas that use infrared technology don’t exceed 150°F (or need to), some only go up to 120°F. Check the manufacturer’s specifications before purchasing.
Portable saunas use infrared heat that warms the body, not the air around you like in traditional saunas. This provides more intense sweating at a lower temperature.
People who can’t tolerate hotter dry saunas or steam rooms may be able to tolerate the lower heat provided by an infrared portable sauna.
For people who get claustrophobic in confined spaces, most portable saunas leave your head and hands outside the enclosure.
Inexpensive: Fabric-enclosed portable saunas are the most affordable type. These start at $90 and go up to $550 for a single-person cabinet. You can find many quality models for around $200.
Mid-range: Infrared sauna domes start at $450 and go upwards of $2,000. Domes on the lower end of this price spectrum, between $450 and $550, may only cover a portion of the body.
Expensive: One- or two-person cabin-style wood saunas are the priciest models for home use. They start at $1,000 and go up to $5,000. More expensive ones may include additional therapies besides infrared heat, such as light therapy, and are decked out with speakers and Bluetooth.
Budget-friendly personal spa
This affordable portable sauna is for fans of steam. It comes with a steam generator to provide humidity inside the fabric enclosure for up to 60 minutes. This model offers a very hot infrared sauna experience, up to 150°F. And at just ten pounds, it’s easy to move around your home.
Check with your doctor before using a sauna. This is especially important if you’re on any medications.
Start slowly. If this is your first time using a sauna, start with 10 minutes at a lower temperature of 100°F. Gradually increase the time and temperature with each session. The maximum recommended time is 20 to 30 minutes at 150°F.
Drink water with electrolytes before, during, and after sauna use to avoid dehydration. Never use a sauna if you’ve been drinking alcohol. This can be dangerous.
Watch for warning signs. If you start to feel faint or nauseated, leave the sauna immediately. These are signs your body is overheating, which can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Don’t use a sauna if you have a fever because it will only raise your temperature.
Don’t go to sleep when using your portable sauna. Try meditating, reading, watching television, or listening to relaxing music to occupy the time.
For a dome sauna experience, we love the Crystal Ray KOREA Sauna Dome, a hard-shell dome that’s simple to fold up and transport or store in its carrying bag. Unlike full-size domes, this partial tube allows you to target specific regions of the body for pain relief, and it’s easy to move around. It emits infrared heat at a comfortable, relaxing level ideal for users who don’t want to sweat profusely. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t make regular trips to a spa, you’ll love the AW Portable Sauna Folding Tent for a personal steam-room experience. This low-priced, fabric-enclosed sauna is easy to set up and has a separate steam generator, with an herbal box for essential oils, that helps skin stay moisturized, especially in the winter months.
Q. Do portable saunas steam up?
A. Most portable saunas don’t have the humidity element that traditional steam rooms or wet saunas do. That said, some fabric-enclosed saunas include a steam generator attached to the outside of the enclosure to add humidity to the mix. These steam buckets enable you to use essential oils and are available with budget-priced sauna cabinets.
Q. How often can I use my portable sauna?
A. Overusing a sauna can do more harm than good. We don’t recommend more than three or four 30-minute sessions a week. However, if your doctor says it’s okay, you might be able to tolerate daily sessions.
Q. Should I wear clothes in a portable sauna?
A. Clothing is optional in portable saunas. Because using a portable sauna in your own home is private, why not go commando? Most people prefer being naked when they sweat to avoid having to wash a bathing suit or other articles of clothing that get soaked in sweat.
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