Portable infrared saunas have become really popular in the last few years. Generally, portable saunas are very affordable and you can move them easily. Not all portable infrared saunas are created equal though: each have their benefits and downsides. In this blog post I’ll look at the benefits of each of these models.
At Clearlight Infrared® Saunas, we’ve also developed a portable infrared sauna: the Clearlight® Dome. By reading this blog post, you’ll learn why I think we’ve created the best portable sauna UK option for most people.
Let’s first consider why you’d want to buy a portable infrared sauna though:
Why Buy A Portable Infrared Sauna?
A premium infrared sauna, such as a full spectrum infrared sauna, is expensive to many people. And, even though such a sauna can last a lifetime if you’ve got one for residential use, you’ll spend several thousands of pounds (GBP) to set one up in your home.
Today, with budgets being tight for many British people, spending £7,000 isn’t something everyone can afford. And, there’s a second problem people have: if you’re living inside a small apartment, you might not even have the space to set up an infrared sauna.
Of course, alternatively, you could set up an outdoor sauna but not everyone has a garden either. In both cases, a portable infrared sauna can make a big difference as it’s generally much smaller.
And, lastly, there’s another reason people might opt for a portable sauna: the ability to move the sauna to another location. If you’re buying an outdoor sauna or a regular indoor sauna, moving the device takes a few hours of work and is very cumbersome. So that’s where portable infrared saunas come in: you can easily take them to another place and set them up there without much hassle.
Some people also want to take their portable sauna on travel. In that case, options are available too, such as an infrared sauna blanket, one form of a portable infrared sauna.
Naturally, portable saunas can only be made for infrared saunas, not traditional saunas. The reason for this ability is simple: infrared heater technology, in many different forms, doesn’t take up much space. And, the infrared light - usually far infrared - heats your body up from the inside out. So for all portable infrared sauna models, you place some kind of device near your body that emits infrared onto your skin. That infrared then has the therapeutic effect.
A traditional sauna, or a portable version of that, is difficult to make tiny. The hot air from a steam room or Finnish sauna, for instance, needs to be contained inside a tiny space. The way that technology is built makes it impossible - with current technological developments - to make it small.
For that reason, I can only focus on portable infrared saunas. In the sections below, I’ll explore several of these options and their benefits and downsides:
Infrared Sauna Blankets
An infrared sauna blanket is a product that is placed on the floor. You then lay inside the sauna blanket that is wrapped around your entire body, except for your head. Next up, a control panel that’s attached to the infrared sauna blanket.
Soon, after you activate the sauna blanket, you’ll start sweating. The sweat will be contained within the sauna blanket while you’re laying inside and you’ll have to clean the blanket afterwards. So here are the benefits and downsides of this option:
- Benefit: affordability. High-quality infrared sauna blankets are priced between £350-600 GBP excluding shipping costs. So overall this option is far less expensive than a regular sauna.
- Benefit: 360-degree exposure to the infrared light. Because a sauna blanket wraps around your body very nicely, and your head sticks out during use, all the right parts of your body are exposed to the infrared light (heat) during your sessions.
- Benefit: best travel option. The infrared sauna blankets are really small and will fit inside a carryon luggage (even though it would take up a lot of space there). So, if you’re travelling a lot, a infrared sauna blanket strikes the perfect balance between therapeutic benefits and portability.
- Downside: not always non-toxic. Sometimes, infrared sauna blankets aren’t made from non-toxic materials or materials that don’t have a long track record of being non-toxic by humans. While there are nice improvements in this domain, often non-natural materials are still used.
- Downside: not perfectly comfortable. Blankets are not the most comfortable as the materials of the blanket are directly pressed against your skin during your sessions. Many people like more freedom of movement when they’re inside a sauna.
Examples of infrared sauna blankets that can be bought or imported to the UK are the HigherDOSE sauna blanket and Heat Healer, among others. These options have hit the markets since a few years and are quite popular for people who cannot afford a regular infrared sauna.
Next up, there’s the infrared mat product:
An infrared mat also exposes your body to far infrared light. And, just as with the sauna blankets that wrap around your body, the mat can be activated with an outside control system, frequently, or the on/off button is attached to the mat. This mat then heats your body when your skin is pressed against it. Tourmaline or jade is frequently used to generate this infrared light.
So here are the benefits and downsides of infrared mats:
- Benefit: affordable. You can buy a higher quality infrared mat for a couple of hundred pounds already.
- Benefit: easily portable. Just like the infrared sauna blanket, the mat is even smaller, so it’s extremely useful for travel or other purposes.
- Benefit: multitasking. You can put the mat on your couch and watch Netflix and still receive the benefits of the far infrared light.
- Downside: no 360-degree heat. The mat often only heats part of your body, such as your back and buttocks. Also, you’re not wrapped around the mat so the heat that’s generated is less than with other options, limiting sweating. And, a big downside is that not all body parts are treated equally.
Some recent products use an infrared sauna mat for the backside of your body, and offer wraparound for the other parts though. But, in that case, you’re closer to an infrared sauna blanket once again.
Then, there’s the regular portable infrared sauna option:
Regular Portable Infrared Saunas
With a regular portable infrared sauna, you’re sitting on a chair. You then activate the infrared-creating materials. Those materials are not wrapped around your body but it’s a container that’s build around the chair. Your head sticks out from the material during this process, which is good for the quality of your sessions as the head is the weakest link for tolerating higher exposure during sauna sessions.
So here are the benefits and downsides of a regular portable infrared sauna:
- Benefit: multitasking. You can still watch television or Netflix when you’re using this portable sauna.
- Benefit: you’re less exposed to the materials. The materials don’t press against your skin when using this sauna, which is a benefit.
- Draw: comfort. Some people like sitting, while others might prefer lying down during a sauna session or sitting on the couch using a mat. Overall, whether you prefer this portable sauna model depends on whether you like sitting or not during your sessions.
- Draw: portability. This sauna is decently portable around the house, but not transportable when you’re travelling to other countries. Of course, you could theoretically place this sauna in the back of your car, although few people will do that. But, in a small apartment, this portable sauna is very easy to store.
- Downside: generally affordable. This portable sauna model is often more expensive than the options I’ve talked about before. The higher-quality options of this portable infrared sauna cost up to £1,600-2,000 GBP.
Next up, let’s consider one more alternative that turns out to be the best one, in my opinion:
The Clearlight® Dome: The Best Portable Infrared Sauna UK Option
The Clearlight® Dome tries to minimise the downsides of all previous options while maximising the benefits. Like the infrared sauna blanket, you have to lay down during a session to experience the benefit. You also operate the blanket from an outside control panel. But, unlike infrared sauna blankets, the Clearlight® Dome doesn’t press directly against your skin during a session.
So let’s consider the benefits and downsides of the Clearlight® Dome:
- Benefit: extreme heating capacity. The Clearlight® Dome has been used in several medical studies on “whole body hyperthermia”. During whole body hyperthermia, your core body temperature is increased to the maximum extent - that increase has proven benefits for your mood and depression, for instance (1; 2; 3).
- Benefit: lifetime warranty. Once you purchase a Clearlight® Dome for use inside your home, the product has lifetime warranty. You’re therefore assured that you’ll only pay for the product once in your lifetime, without the need for additional purchases.
- Benefit: 360-degree heater technology. Just as the sauna blankets and regular portable saunas earlier, the Clearlight® Dome also exposed your body to 360-degree infrared so that all of your bodily tissues are treated.
- Benefit: free movement. The dome doesn’t directly constrict your movement as the infrared panels are not wrapped around your skin, making laying down in the dome and moving around more comfortable.
- Draw: large investment. The Clearlight® Dome costs a little over £3,000 GBP so it’s pricey for many people. But, for that price, you get amazing life long benefits for that money in return.
- Draw: portability. It’s easy to move the Dome within your house and to another location with your car, for instance. But, if you’re travelling, the Clearlight® Dome isn’t a great optino as it won’t fit into your luggage.
Overall though, we’ve found a great solution for people who don’t have the money to spend on a full sauna. The Dome is portable and most importantly, you’re not giving up on any of the benefits because the increases in body temperature are among the best in the industry.
Also, the Clearlight® Dome is made from ecologically sustainable non-toxic materials. None of these materials touch your skin, so you’re only aiding your detoxification while never detracting from your health.
Conclusion: The Clearlight® Dome Is The Best Portable Infrared Sauna UK For Many
Hopefully, you can see that there are many portable infrared sauna options on the market. Not all options are equally good though. In general, if you want to travel, the infrared sauna blankets are great but don’t give the best experience.
If you’re really short on money though, a cheaper sauna blanket might still make sense. In other cases, especially if you’re willing to save money for a while, the Clearlight® Dome is the obvious winner for a combination of therapeutic value, warranty, quality of the experience, and portability.