The best infrared sauna
While saunas have long been popular to promote health and relaxation, the recent rise of infrared saunas has eclipsed the conventional sauna as the "hottest" wellness trend -- and with good reason. Infrared saunas emit a certain wavelength of light that can safely and deeply penetrate the body, providing all sorts of health benefits while giving you a good sweat.
Skip the expensive trips to the spa or health club and invest in an in-home infrared sauna. Our buying guide can help you find one that fits your budget and your space. We've also included reviews of our top picks at the end, like Radiant Saunas' Cedar Corner Infrared Sauna, which is loaded with extra features and can fit up to four people.
Considerations when choosing infrared saunas
Types of infrared saunas
In-home infrared saunas fall into two general categories: standalone structures and portable devices, such as partial enclosures or blankets.
Wood: Enclosed infrared saunas are constructed from premium wood and glass, much like your traditional sauna. These are typically one- to two-person structures, roomy enough to sit upright in. They have a well-sealed door to keep heat in and typically have a light inside. Significant assembly is required for these models and may require professional help to set up.
Portable: If you can't shell out the big bucks for a wooden sauna, a portable infrared sauna is your best bet. These zippered fabric frames enclose the body from the neck down (with holes for your hands), though they don't keep in the heat as well as enclosures with doors. They're easy to fold down and store in a closet until you're ready for your next sweat sesh and are ideal for tight quarters.
Sleeping bag/blankets: Also falling under the umbrella of portable infrared saunas, sleeping bag or blanket-style infrared "saunas" require that you lie flat on the floor and zip yourself up from the feet to the neck. Given that these blankets are the most affordable way to receive full-body infrared exposure, they are quite popular.
Wooden and portable enclosures require that you sit upright. Wood structures have built-in benches, and some are wide enough to lie down on. Portable models come with folding chairs or stools. Do some research to determine the comfort levels of these chairs since they can range from bare-bones construction to more sizable.
A buzzword in the health and wellness world, EMF stands for electromagnetic field -- a common type of radiation that many of our modern devices emit, from our cell phones to our hair dryers. Many experts are concerned about EMFs, so you may see some infrared sauna manufacturers marketing their devices as low EMF.
Wood saunas typically have a control panel for a timer, heat settings, and lights, whereas portable saunas have a remote control to adjust the heat and time. Some users prefer simpler controls, while others feel comfortable with more complicated controls. Read the manufacturer's instructions before using your sauna to learn its control system to avoid injury.
Infrared saunas equipped with a sound system such as Bluetooth-enabled speakers can hook up to an outside device so you can relax to your favorite tunes or follow a guided meditation while you sweat. This feature is limited to wood models.
Expect to pay as little as $130 for an infrared blanket to $3,000 for a wooden infrared sauna. Mid-range portable infrared saunas cost between $150 and $500.
Q. What's the difference between far infrared and infrared?
A. Infrared is a spectrum of light that covers wavelengths between 750 nanometers and 100 micrometers. Far infrared radiation is a region of that spectrum, often defined as 15 to 1 micrometers. It's believed to positively affect the body at a cellular level.
Q. Where should I install my wooden infrared sauna?
A. The best place is your basement, if you have one. Be sure the ceiling is high enough to fit the sauna and that your basement isn't prone to flooding.
Infrared saunas we recommend
Best of the best: Radiant Saunas' Cedar Corner Infrared Sauna
Our take: A feature-laden infrared sauna that fits the whole gang.
What we like: Large -- fits up to four. Made from premium Canadian cedar. Complete with stereo and light therapy system. Features 10 heaters.
What we dislike: Very pricey. Some users felt construction was flimsy.
Best bang for your buck: SereneLife's Portable Infrared Home Spa
Our take: A collapsible infrared sauna that won't break the bank.
What we like: Affordable yet effective. Compact design. Includes folding chair. Energy efficient. Comfortable holes for head and arms to rest.
What we dislike: The look of the individual-use design is a roadblock for some.
Our take: A low EMF, far infrared sauna that's a biohacker's dream.
What we like: Emits healing FIR from heating panels placed all around. Easy-to-use, user-friendly LED display. Roomy enough for two people.
What we dislike: Not only is the price tag hefty, but so is the unit at 330 pounds.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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