What’s available in portable saunas depends on your definition of portable.
Types of portable far infrared saunas on the market
If by portable you mean a sauna you can carry easily by hand, then there are only a couple of types on the market to learn about. They weigh under 10 pounds and are all made of fabric supported by a simple frame.
If you mean portable as in “transportable” (not built into your home), then most of the available
far infrared (fir) saunas
- which are mostly constructed of wood - will fit the bill. Most of the wood fir saunas come in a few pieces that snap together easily (see
This means that if you ever move, you can take your sauna with you.
These freestanding saunas weigh from a low of 200 lbs. up. My 2 person poplar sauna weighs over 300 pounds, but I put it together myself at home.
Here’s what you’ll find below:
• The two types of truly portable infrared saunas
• Will a personal portable sauna meet your needs?
The two types of truly portable infrared saunas
The fabric-enclosed portable sauna cabinets
A sauna “cabinet” is a sauna which is designed to enclose your body, but not your head – the enclosure ends at your neck, leaving your head outside.
These saunas consist of a zippered, fabric-lined enclosure which are equipped with
You sit on a chair within the cabinet (with your head poking out of the cabinet on top), and slits in the compartment allow you to stick your hands out of the cabinet so that you can read, or wield your TV remote, or...whatever!
The main advantages of this type of personal sauna are: that you can take it with you and set it up virtually anywhere; and that you can fold it up and store it when its not in use.
Another advantage is that since head isn’t enclosed in the sauna compartment, you can breathe the room air.
These saunas are also inexpensive to heat, and less expensive to purchase that even 1 person infrared sauna room.
A disadvantage of a fabric-lined portable sauna cabinet are that the fabric out-gasses for some time after you begin using it. Out-gassing means that chemical fumes from coatings (like fire retardants) on the fabric, or from the fabric lining itself, escape into the air and can be smelled and inhaled.
The sellers of these units warn that, as a result, these saunas are not a good choice for the chemically sensitive.
Another disadvantage is that towelling yourself off in a cabinet must be down 'blindly' since you can't see what you're doing. This is somewhat awkward.
Will a portable sauna cabinet keep your hair dry?
Actually, no. Not if you can sweat from your head, like most people.(Some people don't sweat in a sauna initially, and we discuss this on our
how to take a sauna
page, towards the bottom).
Your body responds to a rise in body temperature by sending more blood to the surface of the skin, where sweat is produced and heat escapes to the surrounding air. When your body is heated, this takes place throughout your body, including the skin of your scalp, even if your head is not enclosed in the sauna.
Are portable saunas ok for Infrared sauna detoxification programs?
We wouldn’t recommend it for two reasons. First, a serious sauna detox program (come back to see our upcoming sauna detoxifcation pages) involves a lot of wiping down with towels. With your head outside the cabinet, and your body inside it, the toweling process is going to be awkward.
Second, the out-gassing that takes place from the fabric works against detoxification, and, presumably, the fabric can absorb (then re-emit) chemicals that you emit from your own body during detox.
The Sauna Domes
A sauna dome is a tube-shaped enclosure lined with fabric or a heavier material which you lie in. Like the sauna cabinets, they do not enclose your head.
The sauna domes that are lined with fabric are portable saunas, weighing in at only 30 lbs. Those made of more durable materials, such as one that comes in mahogany lined with naugahyde, weigh more in the 60-80 pound range and are bulky.
Advantages to the sauna tubes are similar to those for the fabric portable fir saunas described above. The fabric lined fir sauna domes are also the least expensive personal saunas on the market.
The disadvantages: out-gassing of the fabric (see above in the section on sauna cabinets)and the difficulty of wiping off your sweat from a lying position!
Also consider whether you believe you will be able to climb in and out of the tube easily, and whether you will be comfortable confined to a lying position. Last but not least, will you be able to wipe down the inside of the tube easily to keep it clean?
Cost of portable saunas
The fabric cabinet-style portable infrared sauna can be bought for around $500. plus shipping.
A fabric-lined sauna dome can be had for around $300. plus shipping. The heavier-duty sauna domes are a lot more expensive. One, made of mahogany wood with an outer layer of naugahyde, is priced over $1700.
Remember that wood-framed, which can be moved, start at only several hundred dollars for a new 1 person sauna.
Move on from portable saunas to benefits of the infrared sauna.