Updated on September 14, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
As a sufferer of chronic health issues, I’ve become an avid sauna user. Infrared Saunas are especially awesome for detox, weight loss, healing sore muscles and injuries, decreasing anxiety, soothing insomnia and simple stress relief. The biggest challenge is the cost and inconvenience of regular sauna use. Especially in the CV-19 era, it’s paramount to stay healthy — yet finding a community spa you feel is safe and clean is hard!
Have no fear, the portable sauna is here!
Below find our review of the 7 best portable saunas as well as the electrolytes and infrared re-emitting bamboo carbon towels we recommend. All the below saunas are made for indoor use, are collapsible, and perfect for smaller spaces.
7 Best Portable Saunas for Home Use
(Best Value – $)
Why it’s great: The Serene Life is our “best infrared for your buck” option. This far infrared (FIR) “tent sauna” folds up between uses and is very portable. It includes a comfortable sauna chair and a cozy heated foot pad. The adjustable heat goes up to 140 degrees, so you’ll be sure to sweat. It has a programmable timer as well as arm slots (so you can easily read while relaxing if you’d like.)
Keep in mind: It doesn’t include a steam option. That said, infrared heat is proven to penetrate the body more efficiently. This sauna, and all portable tent saunas, is made of non-organic materials. Only your neck touches the actual material of the sauna, but if you are concerned about this I would recommend one of the below dome saunas.
Good for: Infrared on a budget.
(Best Overall – $$$$)
Why it’s great: Dome saunas are the most effective portable saunas you can can purchase. Why? They provide close-range Far Infrared rays over the whole body more effectively than a tent or large and expensive walk-in-saunas, dilating blood vessels to improve fluid circulation and detoxification, as well as excreting toxins and chemicals from the body.
The Germanium Dome Sauna comes with 3 independently controlled heating zones. The temperature ranges from 77-190 degrees (the lowest and highest infrared heat range of any sauna on our list) surrounding your entire body, to receive the most profound absorption. It includes a control unit, two FIR domes, one FIR mat, a pillow, and two insulated curtains.
It uses low EMF carbon-ceramic combo heaters while improving skin health, circulation, metabolism, relieving muscle pain, improving lymphatic function, etc. It also uses the power of tourmaline and germanium for further detox. This dome sauna can also be stored very easily in a closet.
Keep in mind: Though a bit pricey, it’s a powerful investment for your health. If at any point you feel sauna use is not your cup of tea, just resell it! It will maintain its value very well and you should be able to easily find a buyer via Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
Good for: Individuals who enjoy using gemstones in their therapeutic routine, and those looking for a larger heat range sauna option.
(Best Steam Sauna – $)
Why it’s great: If you’re looking for a portable steam sauna the OppsDecor is your best bet. It’s easily collapsible, making it ideal for apartments or use in small spaces. You can also add essential oils to the steam pot to aid relaxation. Bonus? It’s super affordable. It also comes in five colors. So, get creative!
Keep in mind: This product is not an infrared sauna and can’t be used without the steam element. So if you want a dry sauna as well, this isn’t the option for you.
Good for: Getting steamy in small spaces.
(Best Oversized – $$)
Why it’s great: While still being portable and collapsible, the Radiant Sauna is suitable for folks up to 6’5”. It can reach temps of 150 degrees, comes with a canvas “directors chair” with padded armrests, and is more sturdy than comparable brands while remaining only 24lbs.
The Radiant Heat model is awesome because it comes with a self-cleaning air ionizer to help keep things sanitary. It has four carbon FIR heating panels (unlike most tent sauna competitors) and is ETL approved for low EMF levels meaning it won’t exceed 2.5 milliGauss.
Keep in mind: It’s a bit bigger so be sure the dimensions fit comfortably in your space.
Good for: men and women, or those wanting a more spacious sauna.
(Best Blanket Sauna – $$$)
Why it’s great: After reviewing various far infrared sauna blankets on the market, this is my top pick. It’s made of Japanese imported nylon — not PVC — which tends to be a more stable non-organic material at high heat. It’s a solid option for individuals who are interested in lying down when relaxing, who want low EMF carbon fiber heaters, but don’t have the budget to pop for a dome sauna.
The temps of this sauna blanket range from 77-176 degrees — the second-highest heating sauna in our list. It also has 96 germanium and tourmaline stones to help with further detoxification.
Keep in mind: If you are concerned about your skin being next to the nylon material while sweating, I suggest purchasing several bamboo towels as a barrier between your body and the sauna, or speak to your health care practitioner before purchasing.
Good for: Small spaces and those who want to lie down doing sauna use.
(Best Quality – $$$$)
The Curve Dome Sauna has two heating sources, separately controlled, that range from 110-150 degrees via five thermal heating pads. It uses ceramic carbon combination heaters, not plastic like the less expensive “tent” models do. The manufacturer claims it only emits 1-1.5mG EMFs across the dome, which is quite low. When you’re done using it, just slide the two dome pieces together and keep it comfortably in your closet.
Keep in mind: It is a bit more expensive than the Germanium Dome Sauna but it will also maintain its resale value.
Good for: Folks who value a true therapeutic experience and want a lifetime warranty
(Best Walk-in Portable Sauna – $$$)
Why it’s great: This far infrared sauna is a full body immersion. No head poking out here! It’s good for those who would feel more comfortable without the constraints of some of the other tent saunas’ “neck hole” features.
It’s super easy to set up, goes up to 140 degrees, and comes with a foldable chair and footpad. “Big and Tall” individuals can fit comfortably, but might want to use their own chair as the one provided might not do the trick.
Keep in mind: The EMF levels are relatively high at 20-80MGS, compared to the other saunas on this list which generally stay below 2.5MGS. If you are sensitive to EMFs this is not the sauna for you.
Good for: If you enjoy a fully immersive sauna experience.
Important home portable sauna accessories
Why it’s great: Being nude in your sauna is your best bet. That said, if you need a towel to cover your chair, or feel more comfortable covering up, don’t forget these towels. Bamboo-carbon towels maximize the efficiency of your sauna by re-emitting 91% of infrared rays they absorb. In contrast, cotton towels will only re-emit 30-40%. So you are only getting a fraction of the infrared rays your sauna is pumping out.
Bamboo-carbon is extremely luxurious, naturally deodorizing, antibacterial, and antifungal. Bamboo-carbon is unique to the regular bamboo fabrics you might be familiar with in that it’s made from 4-year aged bamboo that is then charred at 800degreesC and ground up into fine particles before mixed with natural bamboo fibers to produce a very high tech towel experience!
Keep in mind: Bamboo Carbon towels are the best way to ensure you are getting the most out of your sauna.
Important for: All sauna users.
Why it’s great: I love these electrolytes. They’re the brand my health practitioner recommended for before and after sauna use. These are stevia sweetened, and taste great. My children even ask for “pink water” daily. They prevent dehydration by replacing natural occurring electrolytes + trace minerals: Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Chloride, Sodium and Phosphorus.
Prevent post sauna headaches, or muscle cramps after exercise by guzzling some of this super yummy drink.
Keep in mind: Ultima comes in so many great flavors, try them all to find your favorite.
Important for: All sauna users.
FAQs about portable saunas
1. Is there a difference between far infrared saunas and traditional saunas?
Yes, there is a difference between infrared and traditional saunas. Infrared heat is very gentle and effective. Traditional saunas operate at well over two hundred degrees. Infrared heat has the benefit of being more comfortable in operating temperatures.
2. What are the benefits of a far infrared sauna?
Far infrared is generally considered a new technology. However preliminary studies have shown that far infrared heat promotes healing by increasing the blood circulation and oxygen supply to injured tissues and muscles. FIR is also said to aid white blood cell function. It also claims to remove accumulated toxins by improving circulatory systems.
In my personal anecdotal experience, I have used FIR saunas successfully as a part of my detox regime for over a year now. This was after finding out I had acute environmental poisoning, likely from being in lower Manhattan during 9/11, and living in Iowa next to industrial corn farming. It has helped my mental clarity and ability to heal as well as aided and supported other detoxification methods I have been doing.
3. Can I get dehydrated from an infrared sauna?
Yes! Be sure to drink an electrolyte supplement before and after your sauna.
4. If I am on prescription medications can I use a portable sauna?
It’s always recommended you consult with your physician before use. When using your sauna, your body’s temperature would become elevated, so depending on what kind of medication you take, it’s unsure if you will have side effects. Even some over-the-counter drugs, such as antihistamines, could also cause your body to be more prone to heat strokes.
5. Can my children use the sauna?
A child’s body temperature naturally rises much quicker than adults. The higher temperature occurs due to higher metabolic rates. If you plan to have your child use the sauna, you should consult their pediatrician first.
6. Can the elderly use the sauna?
Infrared saunas are a wonderful therapy for the elderly. As with children, all seniors should first consult their health practitioner to confirm it will not conflict with any prescriptions they might be taking. We suggest purchasing a sauna that has a wide temperature range. This will ensure their ability to start low and slow and then increase with comfort and tolerance.
7. Can you use a portable sauna while pregnant?
It is generally not recommended.
8. How do I clean my sauna?
We feel it’s best to clean your sauna using natural products. Isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle is a great way to disinfect. If you are still unsure, check with the product’s manual or the manufacturer to confirm the best way to sanitize your sauna.
Portable saunas are both effective and convenient. They are an excellent way to maintain a consistent therapeutic regime from the comfort of your home. We recommend the dome saunas for those who can afford them, and the portable tent saunas for those looking for a more cost-effective option. No matter your budget, we hope this list helped you find a portable sauna that fits your needs.