Our step-up pick is the Durherm Infrared FAR and it comes with an air ionizer and is quite large and roomy. It has a timer of up to 30 minutes, comes with a comfortable chair and has a heating foot pad. Unlike conventional saunas, it has an easy to setup design that takes only 5 minutes.
The budget pick is the DSS-404 Lightweight Personal and at a time length of 60 minutes maximum, you can set it up on its timer. It has a steam generator that is up to 800 watts of power. It can be moved anywhere as it is lightweight and portable.
A Little Background
A sauna is an important part of Finnish culture, but it is also commonly found in other countries where its therapeutic effects are being cherished and given importance. The heat from this kind of room helps people to keep warm during the winter as well as get many benefits such as to relieve muscle and joint pains, get away from stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality and many others.
This is why most gyms and sports centers have this kind of amenity in their facility for the people to relax after a workout. The heat helps them to relax and to soothe their muscles. In fact, it can help with their recovery time, which is crucial for them when they want to achieve a full recovery and then move on to their next game, sport, practice, activity and the like.
Saunas can be for 1 person or for many. Unlike those that are made of wood, a personal sauna can be one that is made of other material, such as an insulation material. They are usually portable and you can bring them anywhere. This one person unit can have a chair inside and you will have to get inside with your head popping up like a t-shirt, so it is nothing like the cubicle room.
The portability comes from the design of this unit. Portability means that you are able to carry the unit form one place to another. Portability is not present in units that are made of wood, so there came a solution to make personal units so that one person may be able to travel to wherever they are and carry it into a packable solution so you can get its benefits from anywhere while relaxing or doing other things.
They usually have hand holes for you to be able to do other things while you sit on it. The hand holes allow you to read your favorite magazines, browse social media, watch your favorite Netflix shows, read the local newspaper or do other things with two hands. You basically wear the whole thing like a shirt in the case that your head and your arms are free to do whatever you want.
They are mostly associated with weight loss. Most people market the personal sauna for weight loss, but don’t take it seriously. Weight loss is something that takes blood, sweat and tears to achieve – you have to combine it with the right diet, exercise, physical activities, a good mindset and other things before you can truly achieve it. Personal heating rooms are just an addition in burning calories – you have to combine them with your workouts for them to work well.
How we Picked
For the best personal sauna, here are some criteria to look at:
Type of heater: whichever you choose, you need to look at its pros and cons before you go on ahead and purchase one. Each heater is meant for different purposes and occasions. However the most common type of heater that you can find for this kind of heating unit is an infrared type. The electric and wood burning types are usually for the outdoor and the large scale kind of heating units.
Ease of carrying or portability: you have to make sure that the personal kind of heating unit is truly personal, such that you will be able to carry it anywhere without feeling tired. It is supposed to be like a travel tent or bag that you can be able to manage so that you can use the kind of heating unit anywhere and anytime.
Choice of color: some of these heating units do have color choices for you to explore. The usual norm is black or white but there are others like blue. Color choice is important in case you might be looking for it in your baggage or in case another traveler or someone in the house has a similar product that both of you use often. It also helps you to personalize your heating experience.
Timer options: you need to consider if the heating unit has a timer. Most of them can have up to 60 minutes in their timer option, which is okay because the heat from this kind of heating unit is usually lower compared to that of a larger wood unit that uses larger infrared heaters or electric heaters. The timer option for the heating unit is important so that it will not dehydrate you with too much heat.
Included accessories: common accessories that are usually included in this kind of heating unit are the chair and the footpad. The chair allows you to sit on the heating unit while you are waiting for your timer to go off, and the footpad of the heating unit allows you to add some heating into your foot, especially that you will be going barefooted while inside the heating unit
Head cover: there are some special heating units that do have a head cover, which can be helpful in case you also want to heat up your face (but not your hair). It pays to have a heating unit that can mimic the likeness of heating of a regular 2 person or 4 person unit that may take $1,000 in pricing.
Safety certifications: consider a heating unit that is certified by governing bodies like ETL and UL so that all of the heating components will be safe to use. It pays to have a heating unit that is safe to operate so that it will not harm you in the long run.
As our top pick, the Radiant BSA6310 Rejuvenator comes with 5 presets for the temperature and has low EMF so it is safe to use for its 3 carbon heaters. The collar for the neck is comfortable and the zippers stay on for a very long time. It is UL and ETL approved for its components.
Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
While not a deal breaker, the Radiant BSA6310 Rejuvenator may need some more pre-heating depending on where you live, as it is not as powerful as a wood unit.
The Durherm Infrared FAR is our step-up pick, which is infrared powered and comes with a chair for you to sit on comfortably. Bearing a large and roomy size, it has an ionizer and has a setup and heating time of around 5 minutes. It also has a heating foot pad and a 30-minute timer.
The DSS-404 Lightweight Personal is our budget pick, which has a 60-minute timer and has a steam generator as well. It comes all of the setup accessories and is very lightweight to carry around. It produces steam of up to 113 degrees F or 45 degrees C.
Best Personal Sauna that is Lightweight
The BATHWA Homdox is very lightweight to carry around and is ideal for weight loss as well. It is made with eco friendly products that do not deteriorate around heat and comes with double zippers. It has a capacity of 1.5 liters for the steam pot.
Best Personal Sauna with a Heating Footpad
The Ridgeyard Portable comes with a heating footpad, which can aid in your therapy. It is also very portable and comes with a negative ion generator as well. It can be set up within minute and can help with your blood circulation as well.
Best Personal Sauna with a Large Size
The Oanon Supply Xlarge is an ideal choice if you want something that has a large size. This unit is powered at 850 watts and comes with an easy to set up configuration. It can help remove toxins in your body and can also be used with other essential oils for a better experience when it comes down to detoxifying your body.
Best Personal Sauna with a Steam Function
The Belovedkai Portable is a great choice if you want something that is powered by steam, which is at 1.5 liters of capacity. It can help you with fatigue and muscles that ache often. It is meant for indoor use and is also great for detoxifying processes. It can be moved from one room to another.
Best Personal Sauna with an Ionizer
If you want an ionizer, the Heat Waves SA6310-bw is a good choice because it can help your skin become healthier. It has up to 150 degrees of temperature and comes with a remote control for ease of usage. It uses a carbon fiber infrared heater inside of the unit for an even heating experience.
Best Personal Sauna for Detoxification
For the process of detoxification, the 2L Portable Personal is a good choice. It runs on 110 volt systems and has a foot massage pad for added relaxation. It also comes with a foldable chair and 2 zippers for ease of control. It uses steam to help you feel more relaxed.
Best Personal Sauna for Weight Loss
The afferty Portable Steam is a good choice for weight loss and can be plugged into any 110-volt system. It is simple to put together and consumes 850 watts of power. It is also easy to store due to its portability and it can help you to relieve stress overall.
Unfortunately, other heating units did not make it to the list because their lacked in material durability and certifications. It is important and crucial for a heating unit to be safe as much as possible so that your personal experience will not end up in a disaster.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does a portable or personal sauna compare to the wood unit?
A: Traditional and infrared wood units tend to be expensive, and this is why more and more people resolve to using the portable type instead. Here are the pros and cons of both of these units:
a. It is usually very cheap, ranging from $100 to $500 at most, making it very affordable for most people.
b. It is usually very portable so you can take it to the beach or move it from room to room with very minimal effort.
c. Setting up this kind of unit is very easy compared to the wood units because they can be folded and unfolded much like tents.
a. It looks pretty awkward – more like a toaster or wearing an oversized shirt.
b. It is not as durable as the wood type.
c. Because your head is outside, unless you have a head cover, it won’t heat up your face at all.
d. It is so small so it feels claustrophobic for most people who try it.
Traditional Wood Sauna
a. The finish and the look is very good, attractive and really something compared to the toaster look of the personal type of unit.
b. It has good durability because of its construction being made out of wood materials.
c. You have much more room to roam around, rest, relax and do other things.
d. You benefit more because you include your head in the heating, unlike in popup sauna kits out there.
a. They tend to be less portable, unless you have a modular unit. They can also be hard to set up.
b. You need to spend at least $1,000 for a unit, which is pretty hefty compared to the personal unit.
c. It is usually not ideal for those who do not have a lot of room in their vicinity or area.
Q: Are there benefits to getting into this kind of heating unit?
A: Yes, the heating unit is a personal experience and also a social one. They say that to experience greatness and relaxation, one must be able to go through this kind of heating unit or room. Here are some benefits that you may find from it:
1. It helps you to sweat a lot more, which helps regulate your body temperature.
2. It may help in hormonal imbalance.
3. You can also be rid of harmful toxins from your body when you sweat.
4. You may tend to lose some fat and calories.
5. It helps a lot in blood circulation.
6. You can reduce the risks of heart problems later on in life.
7. Those with blood pressure problems can feel a little better.
8. It may help those with mild depression.
9. Those with insomnia or other sleep disorders can be helped.
10. Those with pain in their joints and muscles can feel relaxed.
11. If you have some bad skin conditions then the heat may be able to fix that.
12. It releases endorphins, which can make you feel good later on.
Q: How are Finnish saunas, steam rooms and infrared rooms different?
A: These three rooms are mainly used for heating up your body temperature, but they all have differences, such as the following:
Usually from wood burning or from an electrical heater
It uses a steam generator in order to create steam and heat in the environment
It uses an infrared heater, either in carbon or ceramic heater form
Depends on the size, usually much more when it comes down to electric types, and less for wood burning types
About the average price but depending on the size of the room
Usually cheaper because it is an in demand technology that is mostly for residential use
Usually constructed as a barrel type while some are just the regular square or rectangle rooms that can either be indoors or outdoors, mostly outdoors. It is usually made out of cedar wood in construction.
Usually made with a tiled flooring and is usually similar to that of a shower or is connected to a shower room.
Infrared rooms are usually smaller than their Finnish counterparts. They tend to be constructed with either cedar or hemlock or other cheap wood like pine or spruce.
Q: What dangers should I watch for in this kind of unit and what should I do about it?
A: If you want to get into this kind of heating unit, you need to consider the dangers and risks and how to get over them:
1. Dehydration – this can be fended off by drinking lots of fluids from the start and right after you go through one session. Drinking water helps you to rehydrate yourself, and it also pays to eat something that has a lot of water, such as fruits like watermelon and the like. Dehydration is a problem that can lead to dizziness and even sudden death at the worst case scenario, so be careful.
2. Illnesses – consider refraining from use if you have a history of heart and lung diseases because they can become worse if you force yourself in hot temperatures. Consider consult your doctor first before you get into this kind of activity so as not to pass out while you are in the room. Know if there can be complications with your specific illnesses or medication and take caution first before going into it.
3. Eating – consider eating only after the session and not before. If you eat a heavy meal before then you might feel dizzy afterwards. You can try to eat some foods but not too heavy – such as a light snack. Likewise, you should also take light snacks afterwards so that your body won’t feel stressed out. Consider light snacks like sausages or popcorn or anything that is salty to replace water lost in your body.
4. Alcohol – remember that alcohol might make you feel dizzy because of the heat, so it helps to not drink or consume alcohol before you go inside. You can consume it afterwards but not before to avoid the risks of overheating and passing out, which can be troublesome and dangerous.
5. Sports and exercise – doing sports and exercise should be done before you go into the heating room. This is why most gymnasiums and sports centers have them in their facility. The benefit is that it helps you recover faster and you won’t strain your muscles and joints or pass out from dehydration. Your body already heats up during exercise so there can be a chance of passing out if you’re already low on water levels.
Q: What can I do to prevent boredom while in this heating unit?
A: To prevent yourself from getting bored while you are sitting or relaxing in this kind of unit here are a few tips:
Breathing exercises or meditation
This can help a lot when it comes down to focusing, relaxing and the like. If you take time to focus on your breathing or meditate, you can be able to get the full benefits of relaxation from this kind of unit.
You can also do some easy to do yoga poses so that you can reap the benefits of relaxing overall. Yoga is much like meditation but on a more movement involved way. If it is your personal space then you can do some yoga poses. It alleviates some pains on your muscles as well.
You can read books or magazines while you are sitting in this kind of heating unit. Do keep in mind that it is more suitable to read while you are in the portable or personal unit rather than in a box or wood unit so that your reading materials will not deteriorate.
If you’re a story writer, now is the time to create your stuff! If you’re a song writer, you can use this opportunity to take time to write your stuff as well. In addition to that, you can also write other things such as in your personal journal.
Invite a friend or family member
Nothing beats chatting with another person while you are waiting for the sand timer to finish (or for the regular timer for the portable ones). Consider bringing a friend or family member to chat with while you are waiting and heating up.
There’s nothing else like listening to your favorite tunes, or maybe even singing along with them, to pass the time by. Whether you’re a seasoned singer, casual musician or just a good old music lover, consider music as an anti-boredom activity while in this kind of unit.
If you’re a student or you need to memorize something, this is the perfect environment to do so. If you really need to pass that exam or recitation then you can memorize your stuff while in a quiet environment.
Some people take time to either massage themselves or one another while in this kind of heating unit. It is not just relaxing but also invigorating in the long run.
Especially for the ladies, facial masks are the best way to go when it comes down to these heating rooms. They combine the effects of heating up your pores to be opened and pouring down nutrients to make your skin supple and healthy.
Q: How are different types of heating units found in Finland different from each other?
A: In Finland, there can be many types, but they can also be available to the rest of the world. Let’s have a look at some of them:
1. The wooden type – this one is also called the most traditional type of all, because it uses wood to burn and heat up the room. This is the cheapest of all but is also the most time consuming of all. Nonetheless, if you want to go traditional then this is the way to go. It is at the heart of Finnish tradition and this is why it lives on in the country and in the rest of the world.
2. The electric type – you will also often see these as they are more convenient compared to those that use firewood. They use electric heaters, which can vary in kilowatts, from 3 kW up to 8 kW depending on the size of the area. Large scale units are made for those situated in resorts and the like, and may be able to fit up to 6 people or more. They tend to be faster in heating compared to other units.
3.The smoke type – these are rare to find nowadays because it takes a lot to build them and to heat them up. They are also heated with burning wood but the steam stays inside instead of getting vented outside of the room. They can be found in some facilities in Finland but rarely outside of the country.
Q: What is the regular temperature range for different kinds of heating units?
A: The heating unit you may have could have different temperature ranges. Here is a guide to help you determine what’s the best temperature for you to operate it:
Wood, gas or electricity
70 to 90 degrees
160 to 194 degrees
1 hour maximum
30 to 50 degrees
90 to 120 degrees
Carbon or ceramic heater
26 to 52 degrees
80 to 125 degrees
10 to 15 minutes
Important note: 145 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 degrees Celsius is the maximum temperature that is allowed by the UL and CSA standards in America and in Canada.
Q: Is an infrared unit safer than a traditional unit?
A: There is no significant difference when it comes down to safety between the two units. The only danger that is common to all kinds of heating units is that it can lead to dehydration if you stay in the unit for too long. Thus, you need to consider taking frequent breaks when you are using this kind of heating unit.
Q: If I’m shopping for the most ideal unit, what should I avoid doing?
A: There are things you should avoid doing when looking for the best unit out there, such as:
1. Forgetting about the quality versus the price. The quality can refer to the construction of the item. If it is made of wood, it should be made of quality wood such as cedar or hemlock for it to be durable. If it is the portable type, it should be durable enough even for personal use. It should be made of materials that don’t compromise your experience no matter how much you use it in a long period of time.
2. Not putting accessories on the unit. Accessories can help you out when it comes down to the ultimate heating experience. For instance, larger units can benefit from stones, ladles and buckets for achieving that Finnish style feel. For personal ones, you can opt for a heating pad for you to heat up your feet other than your body. It can also be wise to get a head cover for personal types. There are many accessories for every unit type.
3. Being unaware of glues and chemicals used for construction. This is especially the case with personal or portable ones, because they aren’t made of wood but made of manmade materials. Ensure that these materials do not mix into the air when it heats up and does not compromise your health when heated. Consider a quality material that is totally heatproof when you use it so that it will be okay to use for a long time.
Q: What should I eat or drink after one session?
A: That roughly depends on what is available, but here are some suggestions that we’d like you to try after each session:
1. A nice cup of tea – this is a great choice if you want to have some relaxation. Most people consider chamomile or even green tea for this kind of event. The goal of tea is to help you get hydrated and also make you feel stress-free overall.
2. Some fruits – you should pick fruits that make you feel full and are watery, such as watermelon, melons, apples, pineapples and the like. Fruits that are rich in vitamins and minerals are great things to munch on so that you can feel refreshed after heating up.
3. A vegetable salad – this can be your main course right after you get into the hot room and into the shower and it can help make your skin less likely to sag. It is great for maintaining a healthy skin as well as for getting hydrated and feeling fresh and healthy inside and out.
4. Popcorn or other salty foods – you might be craving for something salty and that is because you are most likely out of water due to sweating a lot. Just make sure that you do not eat too much and just the right amount of saltiness.
5. Good old sausages – consider sausages as a tradition that has been passed down from the Finns. Sausages have been a staple when it comes down to these heating activities and rooms. There are many kinds of sausages out there for you to choose from, anyway.
6. Yogurt for healthy digestion – yogurt or any kind of similar drink or food can help with better digestion, especially if you have stomach upsets. Yogurt can also help hydrate you, just as other foods would. Consider yogurt for a healthy choice.
7. Any healthy juices – if you make your own juice from certain fruits and vegetables then that is a good drink to have after your session. It helps you rehydrate yourself and is also good for your body overall due to its vitamins and nutrients from natural fruits or vegetables.
Q: What is the recommended amount of time to use this kind of heating method?
A: For most people, the best range of length of time to use this kind of method of heating up is somewhere from 15 to 20 minutes. You can also increase that number up to 30 minutes but you need to be thoroughly prepared and you may also consult your physician as to how much you can be allowed for so as not to pass out or get dehydrated inside the unit.
Q: Is it possible to burn more calories and fat with it?
A: There are many claims that this kind of heating mechanism can burn fat and calories. However, that depends upon many factors, such as the following:
1) How much and how often do you exercise daily?
2) What’s your body weight?
3) What’s on your current diet plan or menu?
4) How old are you?
5) Are you male or female?
6) How long do you often stay with this kind of heating room?
7) Do you combine this heating room with exercise and proper diet?
Q: What is a cold plunge in terms of using this kind of heating room?
A: The cold plunge, otherwise known as the ice dip, is a kind of activity by which a person jumps into a cold pool or lake after this kind of heating room to cool down. It is regarded as a dangerous activity by some but the Finns take pride in doing it. After all, they are the ones who made it popular.
Plunging into the cold lake or water right after heating yourself in this kind of heating room is a true test of power, endurance and weather / temperature tolerance. For most people, it is not just a thrilling experience but also beneficial for your health.
Q: What are the benefits of the cold plunge?
A: Here are the good things that are brought about by the so-called cold plunge or ice dip:
1. It does wonders for your skin. Dipping yourself in cold water works just as it does with hot temperatures. It helps your skin to become more elasticized so that you can look younger. It also helps to open up the pores of your skin for breathing easily. Maintaining a healthy skin is important, and having a cold plunge can help your skin have a balanced temperature altogether.
2. It helps boost your immune system. Your immune system is what really protects you from illnesses and diseases such as colds, cough, allergies, fever, flu and the like. A healthy immune system starts off with better health and exercise, and plunging into the deep and cold water can help with your endurance and immune system so you will be tougher against these illnesses that we mentioned.
3. It can help those with arthritis. Those with joint pains can feel better with this kind of activity. Just as those who immerse themselves in hot rooms feel more relieved with their back aches and the like, getting into the cold and freezing water can help you feel much more relaxed because it alleviates your pain and fixes your system so that you won’t feel too strained with the heat.
4. It is a relaxing feeling due to endorphins. If you have been depressed or anxious lately, the best way to get rid of the negativity is to get into this kind of heating room and then plunge after – it feels just as good as exercising because endorphins are released to make you feel good inside and out. Endorphins are those things that get released when you work on a physical activity that is very intense.
5. It can alleviate stress and depression. If you have been plagued with a lot of problems lately and want to loosen up, the best way is to add a cold plunge to your heating session. In this way, you can help relieve yourself from stress, anxiety, depression and other negative feelings altogether – twice as you would with just heating up.
6. It helps in muscle recovery. Those who might have had problems when it comes down to muscle pains can depend upon the expertise of a cold plunge. If you want an aid in both joint and muscle recovery then both a heating room and a cold plunge will be able to help you out.
7. It may help lose weight. Just as you would on a regular hot room, you can also lose some weight because you are exerting some manner of effort when you take the plunge. The contrasting temperatures can be exciting and may be enough to burn some calories or so.
8. It regulates your blood flow. Having a proper blood flow is important, especially in your later years, so that you can be at a less risk for problems within your circulatory system. It is important for your blood flow to be less stagnant and more active with these kinds of unique activities, even if you are on a vacation and needed to relax.
Q: What are the precautions to know about when you are doing the cold plunge?
A: While it can be an exciting thing to do the cold plunge, here are some things you need to consider first to stay safe:
1. Make sure you stay no more than 20 seconds to avoid hypothermia.
2. Consider showering first to avoid contaminating the water.
3. Don’t do it if you have high blood pressure or similar conditions.
Q: Can seniors also go for this kind of heating activity?
A: Yes, there are more than many ways for seniors to also experience the therapeutic benefits of this kind of heating room. However, they should consult their physician first before they go into it and make sure that they are physically fit, mentally prepared and emotionally ready. These extreme temperatures might not be suitable for all seniors and this is why you should know first if you are fit for it.
If you or your grandpa wants to take part in this kind of heating activity, a good starting point would be a lower temperature so that it will not be surprising and shocking for those who are in their later years. You should consult the operator as to which rooms would have a bearable temperature for seniors.
Q: What’s the right etiquette for using this kind of room?
A: These rooms, when in public, usually allow towels but some only allow pure nudity and sitting on a towel. The custom can vary from different cultures, so you have to know what to follow first before you go into this kind of heating room or unit.
Q: How do I take care of my skin after this kind of heating activity?
A: Because our skin tends to dry up when exposed to hot temperatures, here’s what you can do:
a. Moisturize your skin with gentler products.
b. Consider natural brushes for cleaning and exfoliating.
c. Always wash up before and after each session.
Q: What are the best essential oils to use with this kind of heating activity?
A: These kinds of oils are helpful for your heating room so that you can feel more pleasant, invigorated or even relaxed with them. There are many kinds of oils out there and you have to make sure that they are of quality grade. Here are some choices for you:
a. Pine – this one is ideal for adding some relief to your respiratory problems.
b. Birch – this one is ideal for pains, aches and for detoxifying your body all in all.
c. Citrus – you can use this oil for relieving some aches and can be used for energizing.
d. Peppermint – this one is meant for inflammations, pains in the joints and for indigestion.
e. Lavender – for added relaxation, calming and a soothing feeling, this is for you.
Q: What are whisks and what are they used for?
A: The whisk is a kind of tool that is used to enhance your blood circulation while you are in this kind of heating room. They are essentially made of twigs, usually from birch trees, and are used in this room for an added thrill and therapeutic benefit.
Other than birch, you can also find ones that may be made out of eucalyptus or oak. Whisking can be great for adding relief to your joints and muscles and they can also leave some natural extracts that are good for your skin:
a. Birch – it is full of vitamin A, vitamin C and other skin friendly ingredients.
b. Oak – it is good for adding elasticity to your skin and is good for blood pressure.
c. Eucalyptus – it is great for headaches, fevers as well as sore throat.
d. Linden – they can be great for wounds and for relaxation.
Wrapping It Up
Overall, the Radiant BSA6310 Rejuvenator is our pick for the best personal sauna due to being safely certified by ETL and UL and it is also low on EMF so it is safe to use with its carbon fiber heaters.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.