Jamey Powell

Contributing writer

By Jamey Powell

Contributing writer

Jamey Powell is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, NY. Previously the senior market editor at Healthline.com, she has years of experience scouring endless product reviews and testing out the latest and greatest products in the sleep, fitness, and nutrition markets.

best portable sauna

January 27, 2023

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The best portable saunas of 2023:

What are the health benefits of using a sauna?

Purposely forcing heat on our bodies may seem counterintuitive, but research shows that short bursts of stress can actually benefit our overall health in the long run5. These hormetic stressors (think intermittent fasting, cold plunging, or spending time in a sauna) have been shown to enhance overall health, slow aging, and make you more resilient to future stress (both physical and mental).

We spoke with board-certified naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist Lana Butner, N.D., to identify the health benefits of saunas specifically. Read on for her expert insights.

  • Detoxification: “The No. 1 reason people use saunas is for detoxification, as you produce an immense amount of sweat in a short amount of time. But while detoxing sounds great, the actual process of detoxification and elimination of toxins through sweat must be respected and adhered to,” says Butner. In other words, it’s critical to re-nourish and rehydrate your body after an intense sweat sesh.
  • Nervous system management: According to Butner, the heat from a sauna helps to bring you out of sympathetic overdrive (which triggers our fight-or-flight responses) and upregulate your parasympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for rest, digestion, sex, and sleep).
  • Grounding: “Infrared saunas also help to ‘ground’ you by facilitating an overall calming experience on the body,” Butner explains. “They can help force the body to slow down, the mind to calm down, and the body to focus on internal processes of toxin elimination—it basically quiets the outside world.”
  • Boosted immunity: “Saunas can help boost the immune system as well by increasing mitochondrial functioning on a cellular level,” says Butner. “This can be seen in the elimination processes of emunctory organs (organs of elimination) like the kidneys (by producing more waste products via urine), liver (helping to increase detox processes), lungs (by loosening phlegm and mucus from airways that could be perpetuating a sickness), intestines (by increasing bowel movement frequency), and of course the skin (by removal of waste products and toxins from the adipocytes and out through your pores as sweat).”

Seema Bonney, M.D., founder and director of the Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Philadelphia adds that a study from 20156 found regular sauna use to be associated with lower death rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke, likely because of the blood-pressure-lowering effects of the sauna. “Spending time in a warm sauna not only feels like a treat but leaves you energized,” she confirms.

Types of portable saunas.

Saunas have come a long way in recent years, and today you can find a slew of portable models in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Here, the most common types of portable saunas you’ll find on the market:

  • Steam saunas: A 2013 study suggests that moist heat may be especially beneficial for reducing muscle pain7. This type of sauna heats the user by surrounding them in hot, steamy air. Temperatures tend to range from 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and near 100% humidity, so you can expect to feel moisture on your skin right away. Steam saunas are meant to be used either standing or sitting.
  • Infrared saunas: Research from 2017 shows that infrared heat has a wide range of therapeutic benefits for our bodies on a cellular level. “Portable infrared saunas have built-in infrared lamps that warm the body directly, creating dry heat without heating the air,” Bonney says. Temperatures can reach up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, but you’ll likely feel the benefits of infrared heat at lower temperatures than with steam heat. Some infrared saunas are intended to be used while seated, but a few models also allow you to lie down.
  • Infrared sauna blankets: These are designed to lie inside, with infrared heat units that send radiation from below you. Often portable and easy to stow away, the best infrared sauna blankets are a great pick for people who travel.

Are portable saunas effective?

While few things compare to the luxury of visiting a spa, at-home versions may prove just as beneficial as professionally operated saunas. “Portable infrared saunas can give you all the health benefits of a regular infrared sauna,” says Bonney. “They are an effective and economical way to get those longevity benefits from improved circulation and detoxification.”

The key, of course, is to pick a product that is well designed and safe. And remember, saunas (especially steam saunas) require regular cleaning—ideally with natural cleaning products that you’ll feel good about having close contact with.

How we picked:

Every sauna on our list is designed to either collapse or be quickly stowed away when not in use. We’ve called out a few that aren’t ideal for air travel, but they’re all great for people who don’t have room to add a built-in sauna to their space.

We read hundreds of reviews when researching these products to ensure they’ll be a hit with all sauna lovers. Each pick gets great feedback for simple setup, portability, and/or easy storage.

Sauna type will often come down to preference, so we made sure to include both steam and infrared saunas, as well as saunas you can use while laying down, sitting, or standing inside.

Self-care costs can add up quickly. Whether your budget is $300 or $3,000, there’s a portable sauna on our list for you.

Our picks of the best portable saunas of 2023:

Best sauna blanket: HigherDose Infrared Sauna Blanket


  • Low EMF
  • Contains a layer of amethyst and tourmaline crystals


  • Some users say it doesn’t get hot enough

Heat source: Infrared

Max temperature: 158 degrees Fahrenheit

Warranty: 1-year

Return policy: 30 days

This best-selling infrared sauna blanket is beloved by many (including our co-founder, Colleen Wachob!). The sleeping bag design makes this one super easy to use: simply lay the blanket out, set your desired temperature using the attached remote, and slide in. From there, a combination of charcoal, magnets, clay, and amethyst and tourmaline stones will get to work heating your body from the inside out.

While the waterproof polyurethane material of this low-EMF blanket will help make cleaning a breeze. The brand recommends using a towel or its sauna blanket insert to keep your body safe and comfortable.

This blanket has over 2,000 reviews with praise for being simple to use and convenient to travel with. People say it heats up quickly, but a few wish the temperature got a bit higher. One happy reviewer writes, “I use my sauna blanket after every workout and it feels phenomenal. My muscle recovery has become so much better, it’s one of my favorite purchases.” Some negative feedback mentions the blanket being too heavy at the foot area to get comfortable.

Best quality: Sauna Space Luminati Infrared Sauna


  • High quality
  • Certified organic materials
  • Stool and mat included


  • Infrared panel isn’t adjustable

Heat source: Infrared

Max temperature: 120 degrees Fahrenheit

Warranty: 10-year

Return policy: 100 days

A serious splurge compared to some of the other picks on our list, this infrared sauna is high-quality and built to last—and, in our opinion, well worth the investment. It’s made from USA-manufactured steel, organic bamboo, sustainably-harvested wood, and GOTS-certified organic canvas. The organic cotton canvas cover and curtain are machine washable, which makes it easy to clean and extend the life of your sauna. Plus, the sauna comes with an ergonomic wooden stool that can be stored flat when not in use and a bamboo mat to keep your floors safe.

While set-up and take-down are easy enough to bring on the go, you may wind up keeping this sauna out if you have the space. It’s one of the more aesthetically-pleasing designs on our list and comes in a variety of different canvas colors—just note the price varies by color.

With 4.9 out of 5 stars and 390 reviews on the brand’s website, most customers adore this portable sauna. People have great things to say about its quality design, non-toxic materials, and easy setup. One reviewer writes, “I love that it’s now a lot more portable—I can fit the whole thing (minus the infrared panel) in my suitcase!”

A few taller folks say they wish this was more accommodating to their height, and some reviewers call out that the infrared bulbs are not adjustable. Still, with a 100-day trial and free returns, the pros outweigh the cons, at least enough to test it for yourself.


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Best budget-friendly: Durasage Lightweight Personal Steam Sauna


  • Has holes for your arms and head
  • Comes with chair and carrying case
  • Lightweight


  • Mixed reviews about durability
  • No temperature control

Heat source: Steam

Max temperature: 115 degrees Fahrenheit

Warranty: 1-year

Return policy: 30 days

This compact model is a great pick for sauna newbies and folks who don’t want to spend a ton. PVC poles and a polyester cover create a small, cave-like nook that you zip yourself into from the neck down. It also has zippered arm holes, a pocket for your phone or a book, and comes with a carrying case and chair.

You will need to put the frame together (reviews are mixed on how easy this is), which should be considered if you’re planning on popping this sauna up and down frequently. While you can set a timer on the steam unit, there’s no way to control the temperature. So, if you’re concerned that the 110 to 115 degree average of this device won’t be to your liking, you might want to choose something more customizable.

With over 2,700 ratings on Amazon and 4.4 out of 5 stars, a lot of reviewers love this little steam sauna for the ease of setup and effective steam heat. In one particularly helpful review, a customer shares their initial thoughts and an 8-month follow up: the key takeaway is that it’s a solid unit for the price, but regular use will cause wear over time. Several people also mention that the chair is not the most comfortable, so you may want to consider purchasing a different option or using a chair you already have.

Best portable steam sauna: SereneLife Full-Size Portable Steam Sauna


  • Full-size design is great for people up to 6-feet tall
  • Can stand or sit inside
  • Folding chair included


  • Not the most aesthetically pleasing
  • Some reviewers say it isn’t durable enough

Heat source: Steam

Max temperature: 122 degrees Fahrenheit

Warranty: 1-year

Return policy: 30 days

Tall people rejoice: the full-size design of the SereneLife Portable Steam Sauna makes it a standout pick for sauna-lovers of all sizes. Whether you choose to stand (if you’re under 6-feet tall) or sit in the included folding chair, this pop-up sauna allows you to fully immerse yourself into a pod of steam.

The design itself isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’s simple and effective. Simply fill the chamber with water (ideally distilled water, which many reviewers say helps keep the chamber and sauna clean) and control the timer and steam output on the steamer unit. The sauna also comes with a wireless remote to use while you’re inside, but some reviewers mention issues with connectivity.

This is a popular pick on Amazon, with a 4.2 out of 5-star rating overall, and over 4,000 total ratings. Reviewers say you can set this sauna up in 15 to 20 minutes and, once it’s turned on, you should allow an additional 10 to 20 minutes for it to really steam up. The consensus is somewhat unclear when it comes to the durability of this unit (which is likely a reflection of the lower price), with several comments that the chair is extremely small. Most reviews say it does the job for the cost, and that customer service is quick to help with any issues during the one-year warranty period.


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Most comfortable: Sunlighten Solo System Portable Sauna


  • Sleek, reclined design
  • Includes LED therapy
  • Easy to store away


  • Not small enough for air travel
  • Purchase requires a call with a sales rep

Heat source: Infrared

Max temperature: 150 degrees Fahrenheit

Warranty: Heaters: 7-year; controllers: 3-year; heater fabric and memory foam mat: 1-year

Return policy: 30 days

If standing upright or sitting in a tent is not your idea of relaxation, you’ll love the Sunlighten Solo System Portable Sauna. This dome-shaped design offers space for you to fully lay down while you soak up the infrared heat. The Solo System includes a cushy, memory foam mat and two domes to slide over yourself and adjust to your ideal fit. When you’re finished, the lightweight mat and domes stack together to save space. The whole set can be easily stored in a closet or packed into the car—just note: this pick is a bit heavy, which might limit how often you’ll want to travel with it.

In addition to the five infrared heaters in the domes and four in the pad, this sauna includes an LED therapy feature. There are 16 colors to rotate between, with four color-changing modes and four brightness settings. You can use the attached console to set a timer and set the temperature on each of the two domes (up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit).

Reviews on the Sunlighten website are mostly from partners in the wellness space, so to get a true idea of how this sauna is received, we went to the third-party review site, Trustpilot, where this brand has 4.4 out of 5 stars overall and more than 1,300 reviews. One person who purchased the Solo System writes, “We just purchased our first Sunlighten solo sauna to use while traveling. I love it. It was very easy to set up and easy to store when not in use.”

It’s worth mentioning that buying this sauna requires a conversation with a sales rep (versus others that can be at your door in a few clicks). While this may seem daunting, Sunlighten’s customer service and warranty get rave reviews. If you’re a true infrared sauna lover, you may benefit from going with this brand, which clearly goes the extra mile to keep customers.

How to choose the best portable sauna.

Infrared or steam: This truly comes down to preference. Some people prefer the feeling of walking into a hot, steamy space over a hot, dry surrounding. Infrared saunas may heat up faster than steam saunas, but the heat from steam can sometimes be more immersive. One consideration from Butner: “Steam saunas are incredible, but they also mandate that you shower afterward and that simple fact may make them less convenient.” Trying out both versions at a spa before committing to one for your home is a safe way to decide which works best for you.

Your preferred position: Some portable saunas are designed for sitting, while others are meant to lie down or stand in. Think about which will make you more comfortable and what you have space for, especially if you’re planning to travel with your sauna. It’s also worth considering whether you’d like to have your head and arms exposed for reading or spending time on your phone, as not all models accommodate this.

Your budget: While the upfront price of a portable sauna is an obvious consideration, it’s worth considering the added costs too. Steam saunas require water, and most experts and reviewers recommend using distilled water. Some saunas come with a chair, and a few come with travel cases, mats, or other add-ons.

Return policy and warranty: Saunas are intended to help relieve stress, not cause it! Take note of the return policy and warranty when making a purchase. Brands with generous warranties and quality customer service will have a big impact on the longevity of your sauna and how you feel about your investment over time.

Who shouldn’t use a sauna?

While regular sauna use is typically deemed safe for healthy adults, Butner says there are a few contraindications to be aware of. You should avoid using a sauna (portable or otherwise) if you:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have cardiac issues, especially recent heart attacks or myocardial infarctions
  • Are elderly, have intense dizzy spells, or issues with balance
  • Are knowingly dehydrated

When in doubt, speak with your doctor before buying or using a portable sauna.


How long do portable saunas last?

The longevity of a portable sauna depends on the product. While a lower-priced pick from Amazon is a great solution for sauna newbies or those on a budget, they probably won’t be as durable as a higher-end pick. Brands that are more expensive upfront typically have extended warranties that ensure you’ll be taken care of if you run into any operational difficulties down the road.

How much do portable saunas cost?

You can certainly find a portable sauna that will do the job for less than $200, but some luxury picks will cost upward of $4,000. Weighing the features and materials that are important to you will help determine how much you’re willing to spend. Of course, you’re bound to save a good chunk of money by using your sauna regularly at home versus splurging on a spa membership.

What type of portable sauna is healthiest?

Both steam and infrared saunas have health benefits for our cardiovascular and nervous systems, circulation, and immune system. Each type (but steam saunas especially) requires regular cleaning after use to ensure mold or bacteria doesn’t grow. Our “best quality” pick has the added bonus of high-quality, nontoxic materials.

The takeaway.

If you enjoy the experience of a sauna or steam room, a portable option can make your home feel like a personal spa. Consider your preferred heat source and the features that are most important to you, and weigh the pros and cons of choosing a pricier unit that may last longer over a short-term budget-friendly pick. Feel like adding a more permanent addition to your space? Check out our roundup of the best at-home infrared saunas.