Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Should you buy a portable sauna? Here are the pros and cons — and our top picks

Is an infrared portable sauna worth the hype? Let's talk about it

The inside of a sauna

The wellness space is full of influencers telling you why you need to hightail it to your nearest MedSpa for one treatment or another. However, there are also many ways to bring the buzzy treatments to your space.

Specifically, hot-and-cold treatments are having a moment. Saunas plus cold plunges (a fun way to say a sauna followed by an ice bath) promise to aid in weight loss and recovery. The data is murky to nonexistent, specifically on the weight loss part. Infrared portable saunas — which you can set up in your own backyard — promise to lower blood pressure, promote relaxation, and reduce signs of skin aging. Again, the data is limited.

Still, people are going to do what they’re going to do. Infrared portable saunas aren’t the only type that can make their way to your home. Should you get any type of portable sauna? Here’s what to know and the ones we recommend.

What is a portable sauna?

In the simplest terms, a portable sauna is exactly what you think it is: A sauna that you can take with you on your travels or at least use in your home. It’s not one-sauna-fits-all, though. The market has expanded recently, allowing people to customize their spa-away-from-spa experience. Some of the most popular types of portable saunas include:

  • Infrared portable sauna: Infrared requires less heat to warm your body because it transmits a low level of electromagnetic radiation via infrared light to directly heat your body. This process differs from a traditional sauna, which warms the air. They purportedly require less heat and allow someone to get sweaty more quickly.
  • Portable steam sauna: These saunas are more like the traditional spa experience, but in your home, Airbnb, or yard — really, the possibilities are endless. Though research on the benefits of saunas can be murky, some data shows that moist heat can aid in muscle recovery.
  • Infrared sauna blanket: Perfect for a glamping trip, infrared sauna blankets resemble sleeping bags but are constructed with infrared technology. They’re the simplest to travel with and store.

Green towels on a stool

The pros and cons of portable saunas

A portable sauna isn’t going to come cheap, so you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons to avoid buyer’s remorse.

Pros of portable saunas

A portable sauna brings the purported benefits of saunas to your home. These perks reportedly include:

  • Detoxification
  • Relaxation
  • Mindfulness
  • Immunity
  • Lower risk of heart events
  • Muscle relief
  • Better sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Improvement in blood circulation

A portable sauna may be an expense initially, but it’s a one-time fee versus consistently paying to visit a sauna.

Cons of portable saunas

The price can be a con, too. Expensive ones have four- to five-figure price tags. Others, particularly blankets, are under $200. People who aren’t sauna regulars or don’t have the desire to can probably skip the portable sauna trend. (The inflation struggle bus is real, after all.)

Not every portable sauna is created equally. Some may break or need repairs. You’ll want to read reviews closely, particularly if you’re purchasing one online. You’ll also need to do the maintenance and cleaning yourself.

Finally, part of the sauna experience is getting out of the house. A change of scenery now and then can be nice. You may also meet people or use it as a way to chill — not literally — with friends. You miss out on that perk when you use a portable sauna in your bathroom.

You should always speak with your healthcare provider first, particularly if you have underlying conditions, and keep in mind that many of the benefits of saunas are anecdotal or have limited data.

Infrared sauna

Are portable saunas as good as spa saunas?

It depends. Portable saunas can offer the same benefits, but it depends on the quality of the product. Some are more durable and powerful than others. Read reviews critically and check return policies to lower the risk of regret.

What’s more, you’ll want to think about what “better” means to you. Do you value not having to commute to the spa more than not having to clean and maintain a sauna? That’s something only you can answer.

Inside an infrared sauna

What’s an infrared portable sauna?

An infrared portable sauna uses infrared light and electromagnetic radiation to heat your body directly. Proponents say it heats more efficiently, allowing a person to reap the benefits like better circulation more quickly than a traditional sauna.

Our top picks for portable saunas are below.

Luminati Infrared Sauna

Luminati Infrared Sauna

More than 400 reviewers have given this portable infrared sauna 4.9 stars out of 5, saying it boosted their energy, immunity, and mood. It uses ThermaLight technology to help the user sweat more efficiently and effectively. Bonus: The no-fuss cover is machine washable.

SereneLife portable sauna

SereneLife Full-Size Portable Steam Sauna

This budget-friendly portable steam sauna comes in at under $270 — perhaps less or comparable to a visit to your local spa for treatments. You can sit or stand inside, and a folding chair comes with the sauna. It looks a bit more like a portable locker than a luxe spa, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

LifePro sauna blanket

LifePro Sauna Blanket for Detoxification

An Amazon bestseller, the LifePro Sauna Blanket is known for being comfortable and a cinch to assemble and use. It’s also simple to wrap up and take on vacations and work trips. Two sauna wraps lock the heat in, helping you to improve wellness in an efficient 30-minute session.

Editors' Recommendations

BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on and In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
Are infrared saunas worthy of the hype? What you need to know
What's the deal with infrared saunas? We found out for you
infrared sauna

The wellness space is constantly evolving. There’s no shortage of trends and buzzwords. “Detoxify” is a big one, and proponents of traditional saunas have long purported that a sweat session in one could help you release toxins.

In the latter half of the 2010s, a new trend emerged in the spa space: Infrared saunas. Makers swore that the special infrared lamps that utilize electromagnetic radiation to heat your body directly lead to a better — more detoxifying, even — experience.

Read more
7 fantastic reasons why deadlifting should be part of your routine
Whether you want to boost your metabolism or strengthen your core, you need to add deadlifting to your routine
man doiung deadlifts for strong glutes.

You’ve probably tried many different forms of exercise and training on your fitness journey, including powerlifting and weight training. One type of exercise you might not have tried is deadlifting. This can be a simple and easy way to maintain your ability to do heavy lifts from the floor. Believe it or not, you see this action in your daily life, ranging from everything from lifting a toddler to picking up a bin from the ground. These exercises help strengthen your functionality for everyday activities.

This type of workout usually involves the glutes and hips, but it can be far more than a butt-building mechanism, as deadlifting benefits your flexibility and stability. When starting this workout, we have to consider, "What does deadlifting work out?" This type of strength training works on the quads, hamstrings, and spinal muscles, among others. Total-body benefits are also garnered, such as bone health maintenance and protection against muscle loss. 
What muscles does deadlifting target?

Read more
The best stylish workout gear to help you stick to your 2023 fitness resolutions
This is the best men's fitness attire to work out in
running workouts fitness jump rope

If you’re reading this by now then that unfortunately means that 85% of individuals who set forth to crush a fitness, health, or wellness goal to start off the year have sadly already admitted defeat. And that's not just fitness, that is all New Year’s Resolutions, of which, an overwhelming number of those are health-related. However, come January 21st, nearly five out of every six that committed have determined to not keep trying to improve themselves.

Hopefully, if you're reading this, maybe, just maybe you are part of the fifteen percent that are still hanging around, determined not to become just another stat casualty. However, maybe you are the larger percent that might have lapsed on crushing your newfound fitness goals, and maybe, just maybe this is what you needed to read to help get back on track.

Read more