Many people are firm believers in the power of saunas to help you detox, recover from a heavy workout, and lose weight.
While the benefits of saunas may not be quite as extensive as many would like to list, they do offer benefits for post-workout recovery, relaxation and better sleep, improved cardiovascular health, and a clearer mind. They can also be used for quick, temporary weight loss if you need to get your weight down for a fight or other competitive weigh in. But bear in mind that this kind of weight loss is only the temporary loss of water weight.
If you are a member of the gym or fitness centre that has a sauna, you are in luck, and it can be relaxing to sit in the heat for 30 minutes after your workout and before hitting the showers. However, not everyone has that luxury, and some people also prefer to sweat it out in the comfort of their own home.
For this, you need a portable sauna.
Read on as we recommend the five best portable saunas that you can set up and use at home. We will also look at when and how to use a sauna for the greatest benefit, and both the benefits and risks associated with sauna use.
What Are Portable Saunas?
Saunas are typically rooms that have been heated too between 70- and 100-degrees Celsius (158- and 212-degrees Fahrenheit). Traditional Scandinavian saunas use dry heat, but today higher moisture saunas also exist.
While it is not uncommon to have a personal sauna at home if your life in icy Finland, most people won’t have one at home. This why portable saunas, that can be folded up when not in use, have been invented. These are generally small tents that you can heat using either a steamer or using infrared heat, plugged into mains power.
You will generally be able to heat your tent to a maximum of 75 degrees Celsius, which can heat your body temperature to around 40 degrees Celsius.
5 Best Portable Saunas
VEVOR Sauna Infrared Sauna Box
This portable sauna from VEVOR is the most common home sauna that you will find and is of great quality. It comes with a foldable tent with infrared heating pads that allow you to heat it. Sit inside on the foldable chair provided to start heating your body too. There is a hole at the top for your head, and also arm holes so you can read or use your mobile phone while in the sauna.
The tent is a decent size, 1 metre by 80 centimetres by 70 centimetres, and uses a 220V heater to produce the desired temperatures. It only takes about 5 minutes to heat up, and you can use the sauna for up to 60 minutes at a time.
- Infrared Sauna
- 40-75 degrees Celsius
- Remote control to adjust temperature
- Use for up to 60 minutes
- Easy storage
CO-Z Foldable Steam Sauna
One of the biggest complaints that people have about home saunas is that you need to sit with your head outside the sauna. Many people also prefer traditional steam to infrared. This personal sauna answers both of those issues.
Simply set up the foldable tent and attach the heat producing steamer that you can later control with a remote control. It takes only a few minutes to heat to u to 60 degrees Celsius and can be used safely for around half an hour. Longer sessions are possible but should be done at a lower temperature.
The tent is reassuringly large, measuring 2 metres by 1 metre by 1 metre and has a window to see out. It folds down for easy storage.
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REVIIV Far Infrared Sauna Blanket Portable Sauna
If you prefer to lie down while you are sweating it out, you will like this sauna blanket from REVIIV, which uses infrared heat to help you work up a sweat.
The blanket is made from five layers, starting with a non-toxic PU leather layer, far-infrared carbon fibre heating layer, waterproof Oxford fabric layer, and two comforting cotton layers. The blanket itself is 180cm square.
The blanket can be heated to between 30-80 degrees and takes about five minutes to reach the desired temperatures. It is advisable to use the blanket for no more than 60 minutes at a time.
- Sauna blanket
- Far-infrared heating
- 30-80 degrees Celsius
- 180cm square
- 5 minutes to heat up
AY Portable Steam Sauna Spa
This is another full body steam sauna that uses steam to let you relax in the heat from head to toe.
It comes with a full-size tent 130 centimetres by 73 centimetres, by 73 centimetres, which can be folded down for storage. There is a window at eye level to allow you to see out. It comes with a steam box that you can attach and there is a remote control to adjust the temperature while you are inside.
There are 15 temperature settings with temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Celsius. The sauna takes about 10 minutes to heat up and can be used for up to 95 minutes at a time.
- Steam sauna
- 40-75 degrees Celsius
- Remote control to adjust temperature
- Use for up to 95 minutes
- Foldable storage
GJXJY Personal Sauna
If you are looking for a small and affordable option for your home, then you might appreciate this steam sauna. The tent measures 125 cm by 73 cm by 73 cm and folds down for easy storage.
Adjust the temperature with the remote control up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit while cycling between nine different temperatures. Like most steam producers that come with a sauna, it is explosion-proof and leak-proof for safety.
- Steam sauna
- Up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit
- Tent with arm/leg holes
- Remote control and intelligent timer
- Folding storage
Portable Sauna Buying Guide
What are the principal things to consider when choosing the right personal sauna for you?
Steam or Infrared
The first question that you need to ask yourself is whether you want a traditional steam sauna or an infrared sauna.
Infrared saunas manage to heat your body at a lower temperature, which tends to make the safer to use and you can use them for a longer period of time. But many people prefer the more tangible heating provided by steam.
Steam heaters use an electric heater that will heat several litres of water to produce steam. While infrared will also plug directly into your mains power. Some people do worry about the safety of steam heaters, but they are generally designed to be leak and explosion proof, so they are generally safe unless you have small children or curious animals around.
The next thing that many consider is the tent that you will be spending half and hour or so in. Steam saunas will generally come with a complete closed tent. Considering you will have to sit inside, you will want something relatively large, and with some kind of window that you can open to see out. Bear in mind that you won’t want to bring any books or electronic devices in with you.
Infrared saunas generally come with a tent with a hole for your head and arms. This means that you can read or use your phone. These are still effective as the heat produced by your body will also reach your face.
You also have the option or infrared blankets, which are like the tents, except that you use them lying down.
Most saunas will give you a maximum time limit that they can be used for safely. While you will find saunas that can he used for an hour and a half, it is generally advisable to keep saunas sessions to around 30 minutes, and to an absolute maximum of an hour.
All portable saunas should come with some essential accessories, principle among them a remote control so that you can change the temperature as needed. They should also come with a waterproof stool so that you can sit inside comfortably.
When & How to Use a Sauna
While hitting the sauna at almost any time can be a great way to relax, if you are looking for pain relief and fitness recovery, jumping in just after your workout is your best option.
If you aren’t an experienced using the sauna, you should start with just five minutes. Observe how you feel directly after using the sauna and for the rest of the day. If you feel rejuvenated rather than drained, you can gradually increase the time you spend in the sauna. For most people, 20 minutes is all you need for a post workout sauna session.
Watch out for warning signs such as light-headedness, dizziness, and headaches. These can all suggest that you are either dehydrated or overheated from the sauna.
After your sauna session, try to drink between 2—4 glasses of water to replenish the fluids that you have lost.
The only time you wouldn’t do this is if you are using the sauna for fast weight loss for a weigh in. In this case, you will rehydrate later. But you should only be doing this if you are an experienced sauna user and under the direction of a trainer.
It is not recommended to use the sauna in the few hours before a workout. It can relax your muscles and lower your energy levels, making it harder to deliver during your workout. It can also lead to an increased likelihood or dehydration and overheating when working out.
Benefits of Sauna Use
Depending on who you ask, saunas seem to be the health miracle that can transform your life. So why isn’t everyone using them? Well, the benefits of sauna use are often overstated. But there are some definitive benefits that make sauna use worth considering.
Studies suggest that regular sauna use can improve cardiovascular health and lower the risk of heart disease. Regular sauna use, at least four times a week, can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac events by up to 63 percent.
When you are sitting in the sauna, your heart rate goes up and your blood vessels dilate, which in turn increases blood flow to the skin. Increased blood flow can reduce tension in the joints and relieve sore muscles.
Your sympathetic nervous system becomes more active when called onto to maintain your body temperature. This can dull your perception of pain, make you more alert, and generally make you feel quite happy. Your muscles also relax, including those in your face and neck.
Using a sauna can help boost recovery post exercise as increased blood circulation activates the body’s natural healing process. It can also help release tension and eliminate lactic acid.
Temporary Weight Loss
You can lose a lot of water weight using a sauna. They can be an effective way to temporarily lose weight ahead of a weigh in for a fight or other competition. However, any weight loss will only be temporary.
Reduce Skin Problems
A dry sauna dries out the skin, despite the increased sweating. This has been found to improve skin conditions such as psoriasis and other dermatitis related conditions.
A session in the sauna can also result in a better night’s sleep. Body temperatures naturally increase before bed as part of the relaxing process. Sauna sessions earlier in the day can make this process easier for the body.
Lowers the Risk of Alzheimer’s
Some studies suggest that regular sauna use can lower the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. More than four sauna sessions per week can been shown to reduce the likelihood of Alzheimer’s by more than 60 percent.
If you are interested in saunas, you may also be interested in earthing mats. Read our guide here.
Risks of Saunas
You lose a lot of liquid from the body, even during just a short session in the sauna, so there can be a risk of dehydration.
If you use a sauna too often, your kidney and liver can also become dehydrated, undermining their ability to do their job. This can result in more toxins in your body, rather than less.
Regular sauna use can have a negative impact on fertility in men. Studies found that just two 15-minute sauna sessions a week could significantly reduce fertility. However, the effects can be reversed when regular sauna use is stopped.
Saunas are best avoided when you a pregnant, if you suffer from asthma, epilepsy, heart disease, or high or low blood pressure. They can also have a negative effect if you are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Can children use saunas?
It is not advised for children to us saunas since their body temperature and metabolic rate rises much faster than those of adults. Generally speaking, children shouldn’t use saunas without the recommendation of their paediatrician.
Can the elderly use saunas?
Older people can benefit greatly from saunas, but they are also at a higher risk of suffering from the negative side effects. Older people should consult their doctor before using a sauna and are better off with a sauna with a wide temperature range so that they can start at lower temperatures and increase gradually.
How do I clean my sauna?
Clean your sauna using natural products such as isopropyl alcohol. There will be instructions in your manufacturer’s manual for how exactly to clean your particular sauna.
If you are interested in incorporating sauna heat therapy into your workout and self-care regime, you might want to consider a portable sauna. While saunas can seem like a complex piece of kit, portable saunas are actually highly user friendly.
Choose your favourite portable sauna from our list of recommended portable saunas.
- How to use a sauna after a workout – Infrared Sauna
- Top 12 Health & Wellness Benefits of Saunas – Finnleo
- Do infrared saunas have any health benefits – Mayo Clinic
Last update on 2023-11-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API