Love the idea of a sauna at home but can’t quite afford one? No problem – there actually is a much cheaper alternative to a full-sized home sauna.
Meet sauna blankets. Even though sauna blankets aren’t exactly saunas, they boast many of their health benefits. As such, they can be a very decent sauna replacement.
To give you an idea of what you could expect, we’ll showcase our top 5 of the best sauna blankets out there. Aside from in-depth overviews, we’ll discuss in detail how one of the products below can benefit you and how to choose the best product on the market.
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Our Research Revealed: The 5 Best Sauna Blankets in 2020
Up first on our list is this 3-zone FIR sauna blanket by Gizmo Supply.
This is a highly functional product that might help you get a more targeted heat treatment with the far infrared sauna. Better targeting is possible thanks to the 3 separate heating zones – upper body, waist area, and lower body. In each of these sections, you can adjust the temperature from 77 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit.
What you might also like about this product is that it has a timer function that can be set to up to 60 minutes. This feature will allow you not to worry about tracking the session times manually.
The 3-zone is sized large as well. Measuring 78 inches long by 38 inches wide, this sauna should work well for people between 6 feet 1 inch and 7 feet 1 inch tall. Of course, using it if you are shorter can work as well.
One deal-breaker for many people using it may be the price of this thing – this 3-zone far infrared sauna certainly isn’t pocket-friendly. But given its functionality, it may be well worth it, especially when considering its far infrared rays.
This sauna blanket by Semme is a much more affordable unit than the Gizmo 3-zone, but it nonetheless has a few interesting features to offer.
The first thing to catch the eye in this product is the included remote control, an item that didn’t come even with the pricey Gizmo FIR blanket. With this remote control, you won’t have to get out of the blanket every time to adjust the temperature.
Aside from that, this product has an overheating safety shutoff. The safety threshold in this blanket is 185 degrees Fahrenheit – upon reaching this temperature, the blanket shuts off and gives an alarm sound for one minute.
The Gizmo probably also has a safety shutoff, but none are mentioned in the product description.
Heating-wise, this sauna blanket is decent. It has 2 heating zones, and you may adjust the temperature separately for each in the 95-167-degree Fahrenheit range. One thing you may notice with this product is that it doesn’t go as cool as the Gizmo blanket (77 degrees Fahrenheit), but given that the purpose of this thing is to make you sweat, this shouldn’t be a problem.
One thing to keep in mind with this product is that it seems not to be an infrared sauna. We’ll cover what technology is behind infrared rays and go over how it is used a little bit later to help you decide whether you need it. Many people think it helps with weight loss, so if that’s important, than you’ll want to pick our #1 choice above.
Yet another sauna blanket by Gizmo Supply! This one is a little bit less functional than the product reviewed at the very beginning – most importantly, it only has 2 zones. It certainly won’t be as flexible in temperature adjustment, but the 2-zone capacity should be quite enough for many people.
Also, given how much cheaper this particular Gizmo Supply product is than the other Gizmo unit, we feel that most people will prefer to go for this one.
Like its bigger brother, the 2-zone FIR has a 60-minute timer and adjustable temperature. The temperature here can be adjusted from 77 to roughly around 185 degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty good.
With that said, this particular product model seems to be suffering from quality control issues, including missing items and low durability. These don’t seem to be very consistent, so it’s not too likely that you will also have to encounter them.
The VANELL far-infrared sauna blanket is a fairly interesting option for not so much money. At first sight, this sauna blanket may seem identical to the Semme blanket reviewed earlier, but it’s actually pretty different.
Aside from the obvious difference – the color – what catches the eye first is that this sauna blanket has openings for the arms. The openings are pretty long, so they should be comfortable for users of different heights.
The great thing about these arm openings is that they allow you to reach for the control panel or maybe grab your phone with relative ease. With that said, you don’t really need to do the former since you are getting a remote control with this thing.
Via the remote control, you can control the temperature in 2 zones, as well as change the setting of the 60-minute timer. The temperatures here go from 86 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit, which should be good enough for a good sweat.
The VANELL sauna blanket also has an auto-shutoff feature that turns this thing off once it reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit. And like the Semme sauna blanket, this blanket will ring an alarm for a minute after shutoff.
Oh, we also didn’t mention perhaps the biggest difference between the Semme and this sauna blanket employs far-infrared heaters, which implies some health benefits.
Finally, we have this far-infrared sauna blanket by Simlug. This thing looks pretty much identical to the Semme sauna blanket reviewed earlier, but it is advertised to have infrared heating, which the Semme unit does not seem to have.
So if you are interested in the health benefits of far-infrared therapy, perhaps this sauna blanket is worth a try.
As for other features, the two products are pretty much identical. Simlug doesn’t specify the temperature range in this sauna blanket, but it should roughly be in the same range as in other blankets on our list. Apart from that, the Simlug sauna blanket has auto-shutoff at 85 degrees, a remote control, 2 heating zones, and a timer setting.
2 heating zones.
Comes with a remote control.
What’s A Sauna Blanket?
So what is a sauna blanket, and why should you care about it?
Well, a sauna blanket basically is a portable sauna. Essentially, a sauna blanket is a heated bag – you get inside, turn on the heater, and get an experience that is reminiscent of regular saunas.
But why would you choose a sauna blanket over a sauna? Here are a few reasons for this:
Affordability. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a sauna blanket, whereas a full sauna would cost you over $2,000, depending on the model. Not that the blankets are pocket-friendly, but they definitely are much more affordable than regular saunas.
Little to no setup. Traditional saunas require setup, which can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly. These blankets are pretty much ready to go out of the box.
Fast warmup. These warm up very fast. Part of the reason for this is their size – it doesn’t take much heat to warm a sauna blanket up. Aside from that, the blankets typically have infrared heaters that heat you up very quickly.
Compactness & portability. These can be rolled up and are very easy to store. Besides, you can spend time using them anywhere, as well as take them with you on vacation.
Of course, there also are a couple of downsides:
Sweat everywhere. You sweat a lot in a traditional sauna as well. However, sauna is taken with minimal clothing, and the sweaty experience isn’t that unpleasant. In a sauna blanket, your sweaty body is in contact with the blanket, which can make for a pretty messy experience. Regular sauna isn’t that invasive.
Lack of comfort. There is little room for movement in a sauna blanket. This may not be a big issue with short, 15-minute sessions, but if you are going longer, the limited movement may be pretty annoying.
Claustrophobia. Some people may also dislike how restraining saunas are. The experience can be pretty claustrophobic, so if you have this phobia, then a traditional sauna would probably be a better option.
Are Sauna Blankets Worth It?
So are they worth it? It depends on what your expectations are.
Sauna blankets seem to have metabolic benefits, which might imply weight loss. Aside from that, sauna sessions can be beneficial for cardiovascular health, as well as some other medical conditions besides just weight loss. Go through the study we referenced earlier for more details on sauna benefits.
Some people have sauna sessions for detoxification. To be fair, some researchers are pretty skeptical of the detoxification capability of saunas because sweat apparently contains a small amount of toxins. So if you have serious health issues, you should probably go see a doctor instead of relying on a sauna.
On the other hand, the benefits of saunas aren’t too well-researched, so there still is a lot to be revealed in this area.
So let’s put it this way – if you’ve had sauna sessions and felt better after them, then it will probably worth it for you to buy a new one.
But please don’t view them as magical pills for your issues. If you have a bad diet and exercise very little, then a sauna blanket probably won’t help you lose weight. If your liver or kidneys don’t do a good job of detoxifying your body, then it again probably won’t help you.
View saunas more as a supplement rather than a solution.
And besides, consult your doctor before having any sessions. People with heat sensitivity, skin disorders, implants, and some others should probably stay away from saunas. People with some medical conditions may receive more harm than good.
Things To Look For In The Best Sauna Blanket
So if you’ve decided to buy one, let’s talk about one more thing – the key features to look for when shopping for the best options.
Infrared sauna blankets usually have infrared heaters. The unique thing about these heaters is that they do not heat the air around you. Instead, they heat your body directly. This allows you to get hot and sweaty much quicker.
When it comes to the benefits of infrared saunas, they do seem to have the same health benefits as non-infrared saunas. But there may be some things more specific to infrared saunas. For example, Healthline references a few studies that found that:
People with chronic fatigue syndrome benefited from infrared saunas. With that said, infrared sauna sessions were part of an overall treatment.
Infrared saunas helped muscle soreness and promoted recovery after strength training.
Infrared saunas may help with increased blood pressure.
Pay attention to the heat settings of the desired sauna blanket as well.
There is no right temperature for sauna, even though temperatures at around 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit are generally favored by people. When looking for temperatures, make sure to pick a sauna blanket that will be able to satisfy your needs and preferences.
Sauna blankets typically have 2 heating zones – lower and upper body. Fancier options may have 3 heating zones – upper body, waist area, and legs. A product with multiple heating zones allows you to adjust the temperatures for each of the zones separately.
More fine-grained control over the temperature isn’t mandatory. In a regular sauna, you can’t control the temperature of separate body parts, so even a single-zone heater will probably be good for most people.
But if you want more targeted heat at a specific body area, then look for a sauna blanket that allows you to set the temperature of that area separately.
These also usually have a built-in timer, though some very cheap products may not have this feature. Be sure to check reviews to find out what people like and don’t like.
A timer would shut the sauna off once the amount of time selected by you has passed. This is a pretty handy feature that allows you to control the duration of your sauna sessions without setting a timer on your phone or tracking time manually.
Since you are dealing with heat, you would also want it to have some safety features to protect you from overheating. Some materials can actually melt from excessive heat and harm you, so a high-temperature auto-shutoff would certainly be a welcome feature to have.
They are typically made from polyurethane and PVC. You may see some other material as well, but no matter what the desired sauna blanket is made of, it should have the following two features.
Water resistance. Ideally, the material will be waterproof. A waterproof material won’t allow your sweat to soak through the entire blanket, which will keep the wiring safe. Aside from that, waterproof materials are much easier to clean.
Heat resistance. The material should be heat-resistant and not melt from contact with heat.
Finally, you might want to pay attention to the product size. If you aren’t a tall person, then size won’t be that important for you – most products will work for average-height users. But if you are tall, then check how long and wide it is.
The length should at least be at your shoulder height – your head will stay outside, so you don’t need to count it. As for width, go for at least shoulder width.
Ideally, your choice will have a few inches of headroom both in length and width. This will allow you to feel more comfortable and move around inside. Something that is exactly your size may not be very comfortable no matter how great the reviews are.
Of course, sauna blankets won’t deliver the full sauna experience. They are a little restricted, and the sauna party potential with them is pretty limited as well.
With that said, a sauna blanket is a fairly pocket-friendly sauna option, so if affordability is the key factor for you, then it might work great for you and your family.