Saunas can be expensive to buy and difficult to install, but the benefits of a sauna are too good to ignore.
You can benefit from detoxification, uplifting mood and weight loss without needing a massive budget or lots of space thanks to a new type of persosnal use portable sauna tents.
9 Key Portable Sauna Benefits
A portable sauna allows you to enjoy all the benefits of a conventional sauna anytime, anywhere. These benefits include:
#1 – Convenience
The biggest benefit of a portable sauna is convenience. To use a conventional sauna, you have two options:
- Visit a spa. Some gyms also have saunas for member use.
- Buy a standalone sauna.
Both of these options are inconvenient and expensive. Yes, you can buy a standalone sauna for home use, but you have to have the space for it, or you have to install it outdoors. In either case, you’re spending thousands of dollars. And if you live in an apartment, a standalone sauna is just not an option.
Portable saunas can be used virtually anywhere. They don’t take up a lot of space either. You enjoy the benefits of a sauna without having to deal with the complications, expense and hassle of a conventional sauna.
#2 – Detoxification
Heat can do marvelous things for detoxification. It improves circulation, and it also causes you to sweat. Both of these effects help the body’s natural detoxification process.
Research shows that sweating can actually reduce heavy metal levels in the body. A systemic review from 2012 found toxic heavy metals, like cadmium, lead and mercury, in the sweat of people exposed to the metals. One report found that mercury levels normalized after undergoing several sauna treatments.
These detox effects are due to the heat and sweating effects, and not to do with the sauna itself.
#3 – Improved Heart Health and Blood Pressure
Research shows that saunas also offer heart health benefits and can help normalize blood pressure levels.
A Harvard review of data found that using a sauna 4-7 times per week can reduce the risk of a heart attack by up to 40%. Going more often or for longer periods of time increases this benefit.
The effects of a sauna are very similar to cardiovascular exercise. Your heart has to work harder to get rid of the heat and cool the body down. Blood flow is increased, your body starts sweating and your cardiovascular fitness starts to improve. You also get the same euphoric sensation you get from exercise.
#4 – Uplifted Mood
Sauna use gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing. Much like a regular workout, you start to feel the same mood-lifting effects that you’d get when going for a run. That’s because the body releases endorphins (happy chemicals) and opioids (the body’s natural pain reliever).
The body also releases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which stimulates neurogenesis in the brain and also protects neurons from damage.
#5 – Reduced Stress
Another obvious effect of sauna use is reduced stress. The heat relaxes muscles and alleviates tension to promote relaxation and create a calming effect.
Infrared saunas are great for keeping the body’s stress response under control. Any type of sauna use can lower cortisol levels and improve the neurotransmitter norepinephrine for better cognitive performance.
#6 – Pain Relief and Improved Muscle Recovery
Many professional athletes hit the sauna after their workouts, and there’s a good reason for this. Saunas help with muscle recovery. They can also provide pain relief.
Sauna use increases antioxidant enzymes, shock proteins and cellular cleanup. All of these actions improve cell function. Certain heat shock proteins increase muscle mass.
Relaxing in a sauna can also increase levels of insulin-growth factor 1, which helps with injury healing. The anti-inflammatory effects of infrared saunas further help with recovery and pain relief.
#7 – Reduced Inflammation
Inflammation has been linked to virtually every major disease. The anti-inflammatory effects of sauna use may help prevent disease, help improve symptoms or even aid in the treatment of disease (if permitted by a doctor).
In one study, participants who used saunas on a regular basis had lower levels of antioxidative stress in just two weeks. Men who used saunas 4-7 times per week had 32% lower levels of c-reactive protein, or CRP.
#8 – Healthier Skin
When the body heats up, it sends more blood to the skin to cool things down and get rid of that heat. The skin adapts and becomes healthier as a result.
One study from Germany found that the people who used saunas regularly had skin that was better able to hold moisture and maintained healthy pH levels. Sauna users also had less sebum, which suggested that they were less likely to suffer from acne.
Other skin issues, like psoriasis and eczema, can also be improved by sauna use. The anti-inflammatory effects help reduce symptoms while the heat and sweating effects strengthen the skin barrier.
#9 Weight Loss
Sauna use can help with weight loss but in an indirect way. It won’t kill fat cells directly, but it can help with:
- Improving insulin sensitivity
- Balancing hormones
- Increasing lean muscles
- Reducing inflammation
One study from Japan found that when overweight people combined regular sauna use with a low-calorie diet, they achieved significant body fat (4.5%) and weight loss in two weeks.
Personal Sauna Tent Choices (Infrared vs Steam)
Personal, portable saunas come in two main types: steam and infrared. Both have the same results and benefits, but they each work in different ways.
#1 – Infrared Saunas
The sun produces both visible and invisible light spectrums. One of the invisible light spectrums is infrared rays. Infrared wavelengths are what make the sun’s rays feel warm.
Research finds that infrared waves are easily absorbed and provide many benefits, including the stimulation of the immune, lymphatic and cardiovascular systems. It can achieve these results without the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays.
The infrared spectrum is divided into three categories: near infrared, mid infrared and far infrared.
- Near infrared: The shortest wavelength with the deepest penetration. Effective at heating the body core and is associated with photobiomodulation, which energizes cells.
- Mid infrared: Improves circulation and is captured by water molecules. Increases heart rate, improves oxygen delivery and increases overall metabolism.
- Far infrared: Similar to the heat given off by the human body. Stimulates sweat glands to help remove toxins through the skin.
Infrared saunas use one or more of these spectrums to heat the body, get you sweating and produce the benefits that saunas provide.
Portable versions of these saunas usually consist of a small tent with infrared lights that hit the body. These tents have openings for the head and hands, so they can be kept out of the tent and protected from the heat.
#2 – Steam Saunas
Just as the name suggests, steam saunas use steam to heat the body and make you sweat.
Portable versions of these steam saunas come in the form of a tall tent you can place in your bathroom or anywhere with a hard surface (bathrooms are the best option). A separate steam generator device pushes the heat and steam into the tent to help you enjoy the benefits of a steam sauna.
The tent is enclosed by a zipper to trap the steam inside. A portable steam sauna is a surprisingly easy way to give yourself the home spa sauna experience on a budget.
These new home spa type products have a lot going for them- portable, personal and easy on the budget.
We were pleasantly surprised at the overall in-home sauna experience-, particularly with the new Serenelife portable steam sauna model. With its upgraded steam generator, and at just 1/10th the cost of a traditional personal sauna these products command your attention when looking for the best value.
Let’s look at which models are worth the investment.
What Are The Best Portable Saunas?
Now that you understand the benefits of personal portable saunas, you may be wondering which one to buy.
You have a lot of options, which can make the buying process a little overwhelming. We’re going to make your life a little easier and share our favorite product in each category for the best portable saunas.
Best Portable Steam Saunas
SereneLife Portable Steam Sauna – Model SLISAU35BK
In the portable steam sauna category, SereneLife receives top marks for convenience, ease of use and portability. While we respect the popularity of new full-spectrum products in the home sauna industry, we are traditionalists at heart and always go back to steam models when looking at new products. I’ll be the first to admit, that my initial expectations for a portable steam sauna were low. However, I have to admit that I was wrong. These portable saunas are legit and can be helpful for most users.
- Collapsible design
- Assembled dimensions: 35.4” x 35.4” x 70.9”
- 1600-watt heating element
- Max temperature of 122F/50C
- 9 power levels
- Comes with a foldable sauna chair
- Includes a 4L steamer
SereneLife’s steam sauna is easy to assemble and disassemble. While you can use it anywhere in your home, you may want to stick to rooms with hard surfaces because of the steam effect. Don’t underestimate the amount of steam that this unit can generate. It is more than powerful enough to raise the temperature to 140 degrees in 10 minutes .
The steamer unit holds 4L of water and has a convenient control panel. With the touch of a button, you can adjust the time and power. Both settings are displayed on the LCD screen. You can also adjust the settings using the remote control, so you don’t have to step out of the sauna to lower or raise the temperature.
There are nine power levels to choose from, and you can set the timer for up to 60 minutes.
In order to get the steam into the tent, you’ll need to feed the included pipe through the opening on the side of the tent. The pipe will funnel the steam into the sauna, surrounding you with warming mist as you relax in your chair.
SereneLife’s portable steam sauna is easy to use, has a convenient portable design and allows you to enjoy the benefits of a sauna from the comfort of home.
Best Portable Infrared Saunas
In the infrared sauna department, there are two products that top our list:
SereneLife Portable Infrared Sauna
SereneLife also makes a collapsible infrared sauna for home use. It uses the power of full-spectrum rays to raise your body temperature, make you sweat and help detox your body. As with the SereneLife portable steam sauna, this model delivers outstanding quality for the price.
It comes with everything you need to get up and running quickly.
- Dimensions: 27”L x 31”W x 37”H
- 1050-watt power supply
- Maximum temperature of 140F/60C
- Timer setting up to 60 minutes
- Collapsible and portable design
- Includes heated foot pad and folding chair.
SereneLife’s sauna dome is designed for use while sitting for relaxation and comfort. The dome zippers up to surround the body, with openings for your head and hands.
The included heated footpad is portable and further helps with detoxification. There’s also a wired controller that allows you to adjust the temperature, time and power with the touch of a button.
When you’re done using this sauna, fold it up and store it away. It also comes with a folding chair, so you can sit back and relax during your session. You do not have to use the included chair if you prefer to sit on the ground, but it is nice that they include the chair so that you have everything you need to get started.
SereneLife makes it easy to enjoy the benefits of a home spa sauna experience with their personal sauna models anytime, anywhere.
Radiant Saunas has a very similar design to SereneLife’s infrared sauna.
- Dimensions: 33.5”L x 33”W x 41.5”H
- 900-watt power supply
- Solid beechwood dowel frame system
- Portable folding chair that supports up to 220 lbs.
- Remote control included
- Padded floor mat
Like other radiant portable saunas, this model has a dome design that surrounds the body. Openings for the head and hands allow you to enjoy the benefits of an infrared sauna in a comfortable, safe way.
Radiant Saunas includes a durable folding chair that fits perfectly inside of the dome. A padded floor mat adds comfort, and the sturdy beechwood frame will ensure years of use. Again, you don’t have to use the included chair if you prefer to sit or stand.
When you’re done using your sauna, just fold it up and store it in a closet or corner of the room.
Best Low EMF Portable Infrared Sauna
If you’re concerned about or sensitive to EMFs, Durherm’s low EMF portable sauna may be a good option for you.
- Full far infrared spectrum
- Low EMF range of 5-15 milligauss
- Dimensions: 31.5”W x 33”D x 41”H
- Maximum temperature of 140F
- Timer setting for up to 30 minutes
- Power: 60Hz, 120V
- Includes folding chair, terry cloth neck towels, foam pad and heated food pad
Durherm’s far sauna has three heaters and offers a maximum temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperature can be adjusted in increments of 9 degrees. There’s also a convenient timer setting, which you can set for 5-30 minutes.
But most importantly, this sauna has a low EMF range of just 5-15 milligauss.
If you want an infrared sauna but are concerned about high EMF levels, this model may be a good fit for you.
Making The Right Choice For Your Portable Sauna Purchase
One thing we love about the portable sauna industry is that it is not cost-prohibitive like traditional home saunas. In our view, this opens up the health and wellness benefits for an entirely new market of users.
Besides the price aspect, most of the portable saunas we tested, comes with everything you need to get up and running in an hour.
Along with sauna blankets like the Higher Dose model, these portable sauna models give you a real choice in budget and quality. For most us, paying $1,000 for a traditional unit is not feasible. These new home products help bridge the gap between a major purchase that you need to save up for in advance and an impulse buy we need in the name of “self care”.