Portable Steam Saunas: Top 5 Picks + Science-Backed Benefits
Enduring hot, sweaty temperatures in a small tent isn’t a new fad. Various cultures have carried out similar traditions since ancient times, including Native Americans and people of Finland. Portable steam saunas are a spiritual successor to these cleansing and healing rituals, and modern research has begun to reveal their health benefits.
It can be tough to pick the best portable steam room for your home. We’ve analyzed hundreds of reviews, specs, features, promotional materials, and more to help you find the best portable steam sauna for your needs.
This is the only high-rated full-body portable steam sauna available on Amazon, and it’s a great one. The large tent is 63 inches tall, which means that although many people can’t stand up straight inside, it’s perfect for sitting down and stretching out. No need for a hole to poke your head out of.
Setup for this portable steam sauna only takes about 15 minutes. An inner frame holds up the durable, multilayered outer material. A large, single-zipper door is used to enter and exit the tent. And the door features a section of clear material so you can keep an eye on something outside, such as a clock. If you’d prefer a little privacy, a velcro cover can be placed over the window instead.
This portable steam room also comes with one of the highest-capacity portable sauna steamers in this guide. The machine can hold a gallon of water, or roughly 2.8 liters, which means you can stay in the sauna longer than some of the others. And using the included remote, you won’t even have to get out to adjust the settings of the portable sauna steam.
The temperature inside this portable steam sauna can reach up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. That may not seem very hot for a sauna, but taking the humidity into account, it feels much hotter. It’s a perfect pick for home spas.
This is by far one of the best portable steam saunas you can get. It’s a fully-body sauna that’s perfect for a home spa experience.
This personal steam sauna tent is an inexpensive way to bring the spa to your own home. It’s lightweight, yet built with multiple layers. The cotton cover helps with heat insulation, while the waterproof layer helps to prevent steam penetration.
Like any other portable steam sauna, an opening in the top allows you to keep your head cool. There’s also a small zipper-sealed opening at the front of the top that lets you stick your hands out without letting out steam. This way you can use your phone while enjoying the benefits of the portable steam room.
Two smaller holes in the side of the tent let you rest your legs inside for a foot spa experience. Just set up a seat outside to relax after a long day. When not in use, two convenient drawstrings can be used to close the openings and keep the steam in.
The package comes with a two-liter portable sauna steamer with adjustable timing. You can set the steamer timer up to 60 minutes to either preserve water or crank up the portable sauna steam. And at 149 degrees Fahrenheit, this portable steam sauna gets hotter than most others.
As a bonus, the steamer comes with a convenient herbal box. You can put herbs or aromatic oils into the container to spice up the steam, giving a more authentic sauna experience.
This is a fantastic portable steam sauna. One of the most versatile on this list, and one of the most inexpensive.
This is one of the most popular portable steam saunas on Amazon. It’s a great sauna, but a little more expensive than most others, so it didn’t quite earn the spot as our top pick.
This portable steam sauna consists of a sturdy PVC frame and a lightweight insulating cover. Like any other personal steam sauna, an adjustable opening at the top allows you to keep your head out in the open. Two zippers on the front also allow you to read a book or use a device with minimal portable sauna steam loss.
The material itself is insulating, minimizing steam and heat loss. The lining also helps to prevent excess water from escaping out of the bottom of the portable steam room due to excess portable sauna steam.
This kit comes with a two-liter steamer connected to the tent via a hose. The portable sauna steamer is timer-based, and can be set for up to 60 minutes to thoroughly heat up the tent. The temperature can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is plenty for most people.
This is one of the most popular portable steam saunas on Amazon, and a great pick for most people.
This stylish personal steam sauna sports a minimalist, unaccented shade of grey to blend in with modern decor trends. It’s a great portable sauna for even the trendiest homes.
This portable steam sauna can be set up in only a minute. It’s designed to unfold quickly, allowing you to step into your own personal sauna within a few minutes’ time. And with a few folds, it easily fits back into its carrying case.
Like any other portable steam room, this one has a hole at the top to stick your head out. A single zipper in front of the hole can be used to stick your hands out so you can use a device or read a book.
One advantage this pick has over some of the others is that it comes with a small folding chair. While most people already have a chair they can stick in their new portable steam sauna, it’s nice to have a new one come with it.
The portable sauna steamer itself has a two-liter capacity. And unlike most other portable steam rooms, it also features 9 adjustable temperature levels. The timer can be set in 10-minute increments up to 60 minutes total. And it comes with a remote to adjust both temperature and time.
This portable steam sauna can be heated rapidly, in only 7 to 10 minutes. It’s capable of reaching temperatures of up to 149 degrees Fahrenheit, making it one of the toastier picks on this list.
This stylish portable steam sauna is loaded with features that make it a very attractive option.
This portable steam sauna comes with more features and bonus goodies than any other.
First, the tent itself. The material is multilayered, featuring a cotton core for insulation and polyester layers on the outside for waterproofing. It’s supported by a PVC frame that’s quick and easy to set up and take down.
An adjustable hole at the top allows you to stick your head out and get some air. Two zippers in front of the top hole let you stick your hands out to use a device or read a book. And there’s a pocket conveniently located below one of the zippers to store your phone or remote.
Speaking of, this portable steam room comes with a remote! It can be used to adjust the timer and temperature while still inside the tent. You can also use the buttons directly on the two-liter steamer to adjust the time and temperature.
The inside of the portable sauna can be heated in about 15 minutes. It can reach a maximum temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is quite respectable.
It also comes with a bonus foot massager! You can use it while sitting in the included folding chair. The wooden rollers feature little knobs and ridges to help alleviate foot pain while enjoying your personal spa.
This portable steam sauna comes with lots of features and bonus goodies. Can’t go wrong with this pick.
High maximum heat (140 degrees F)
Bonus foot massager
Takes 15 minutes to warm up
Not great for people much taller than 6 feet
Health Benefits of Portable Steam Saunas
Since ancient times, various cultures have praised sauna use (and similar practices) as a means to improve health. Only more recently has research been used to verify such claims.
Here are some of the most prominent research-backed health benefits of sauna usage.
Studies have shown that sauna use may be linked to longevity. Here’s a summary of the research.
These cardiovascular changes and the resultant “workout” for the heart may be part of the reason sauna usage can help lower the risk of heart disease. Using a portable steam room can be an effective way to simulate the same kind of heat exposure at home.
However, this meta-analysis was conducted in 2009. Since then, there has been plenty more research on the relationship between sauna use and heart health.
Only a year later, another study examined the effects of Waon therapy on chronic heart failure peripheral arterial disease.7Waon therapy for cardiovascular disease: innovative therapy for the 21st century. Waon therapy involves being exposed to 140-degree Fahrenheit temperatures for a period of time. The study found that this heat exposure was effective in treating both chronic heart failure and peripheral arterial disease.
Another study in 2017 further demonstrated that sauna use can reduce blood pressure.8Sauna Bathing and Incident Hypertension: A Prospective Cohort Study They found that among 1,621 subjects aged 42 to 60, those who used saunas more frequently demonstrated far fewer cases of high blood pressure. Those who used a sauna 4 to 7 times per week were 46% less likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure compared to those who used a sauna only once per week.
Further research has shown that sauna use may reduce total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol.9The effect of sauna bathing on lipid profile in young, physically active, male subjects In a 3-week trial, 16 subjects underwent 10 sauna bathing sessions every day or two. They sat in a 195-degree Fahrenheit sauna (standard heat in Finnish saunas) for two 15-minute sessions separated by a 2-minute break. At the end of the trial, they demonstrated reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Reduced Risk of Diabetes
Heat exposure, like what one can experience in a portable steam sauna, can help with reducing the risk of developing diabetes.
For example, research has shown that heat exposure can help improve obesity-induced insulin resistance.10Whole body hyperthermia improves obesity-induced insulin resistance in diabetic mice Insulin resistance is when cells in the body don’t properly utilize blood glucose, leading to high levels of blood sugar. High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, closely correlates with prediabetes. People with prediabetes are at risk of developing diabetes.
For example, one study examined 2,084 men with chronic or acute inflammation.13Sauna bathing and systemic inflammation The study found that the more frequently the men used a sauna (up to 7 times per week), the lower their level of inflammation. This was true even when accounting for a whole slew of other factors, including age, weight, smoking habits, physical activity, and more.
Sauna usage may also be able to improve athletic endurance and efficiency. Here’s a summary of the research.
Research has shown that sauna use may improve the body’s ability to endure heat. It may seem obvious, but it’s necessary to have the data to back it up.
In addition to withstanding heat more effectively, research suggests that sauna-like heat exposure can actually improve athletic performance.
One study examined the effects of relatively modest heat exposure in highly-trained athletes.15Effectiveness of short-term heat acclimation for highly trained athletes They underwent 5 days of 90-minute sessions in 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Comparing the performance of a rowing-based heat stress test before and after the trial, the athletes improved their time by a little more than 1%. They also demonstrated slightly lower internal body temperatures.
Muscle Glycogen Efficiency
These effects are likely related to the body’s more efficient use of muscle glycogen following heat exposure.
Another study measured the effects of heat exposure therapy in subjects with major depressive disorder.24Whole-Body Hyperthermia for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder Subjects were randomized into two groups, with one undergoing heat exposure therapy for 6 weeks and the other serving as the control. At the end of the trial, the heat-exposed group showed significantly decreased depression score measurements.
Focus, Attention, and Memory
Research has also shown that sauna use may help with focus and attention. Notably, studies have shown that sauna use can significantly increase levels of norepinephrine.
Norepinephrine is a hormone and neurotransmitter best known for its role in the fight or flight response. It also plays a vital role in focus, attention, and memory.
One study examined the relationship between sauna use and norepinephrine.25Haemodynamic and hormonal responses to heat exposure in a Finnish sauna bath. They tested various temperatures and levels of humidity, and noted significant increases in norepinephrine. The strongest increase was noted at 176-degrees Fahrenheit in a humid sauna, which was associated with a 310% increase in norepinephrine.
Portable steam saunas are a great way to take advantage of all the research-backed health benefits of saunas in the comfort of your own home. They’re also much more inexpensive compared to full-size home saunas.
Equipped with the information from this buyers guide, you should be able to pick the best portable steam sauna for your needs. If you aren’t sure you want a steam sauna, a portable infrared sauna might be for you.