- The Benefits of Infrared Sauna Blankets
- Sun Home Saunas Infrared Blanket Review
- Sauna Blankets vs. Traditional Infrared Saunas
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Summary and Final Thoughts
Infrared sauna blankets are a relatively inexpensive yet effective way to make sauna bathing a regular part of your wellness routine, especially if you don’t have the space or budget for a walk-in sauna.
Over the past few months, I’ve been testing a high-quality infrared sauna blanket from Sun Home Saunas. In this review, I’ll share how my wife and our seven-year-old son used the sauna blanket to support their immune system while they battled an upper respiratory infection, as well as how I’ve used it to improve my muscle recovery after intense workouts.
I’ll also explain the key difference between infrared sauna blankets and traditional infrared sauna cabins.
Sun Home Infrared Sauna Blanket
Before we jump into this review, let me give you a brief overview of the benefits of infrared sauna blankets.
The Benefits of Infrared Sauna Blankets
All the infrared sauna blankets I’ve come across use conductive heat (as opposed to radiant heat) to penetrate muscle tissue and promote the following health benefits:
- Relieves stress and tension.
- Improves recovery and circulation.
- Temporarily relieves pain.
- Mimics a cardiovascular workout.
- Burns calories and supports weight loss.
- Increases resistance to illness.
- Encourages detoxification.
- Lowers blood pressure
To learn more about the details of each of these, read my in-depth article on infrared sauna health benefits.
Note that infrared sauna blankets don’t provide all the same benefits as infrared sauna cabins, such as improved collagen production and skin health. These benefits result from the delivery of near-infrared rays, and sauna blankets generally do not contain near-infrared heating elements.
Sun Home Saunas Infrared Blanket Review
- Portable and easy to use and clean.
- Heat settings ranging from 95 – 167 F (35 – 75 C).
- Low EMF emissions.
- Price and value.
- Lower emissivity than traditional infrared saunas.
- Requires regular cleaning.
- Flimsy control panel.
My Experience With the Sun Home Infrared Sauna Blanket
Since we own both a full-spectrum infrared sauna and a steam sauna cabin, we’ve been using our Sun Home infrared sauna blanket in situations where walking downstairs and stepping into a sauna cabin would be impractical.
One example is when our seven-year-old son Lucas had a viral infection and didn’t want to leave the couch. We offered him the sauna blanket to support his immune system and help him feel more comfortable (he loves heated blankets).
After he recovered from his respiratory infection, my wife started feeling sick and immediately began using infrared heat to support her immune system. Like Lucas, she also preferred resting on the couch while being wrapped up in the infrared sauna blanket, as opposed to having to heat up one of our sauna cabins (which takes 45-60 minutes) and go downstairs.
My point is that it’s incredibly convenient to have access to a sauna blanket when you don’t feel like getting a full sauna cabin experience. There is also a time factor to consider, since heating up the blanket takes only about 15 minutes. However, we usually get into the blanket as soon as it’s plugged in because of how quickly it heats up.
Speaking of heating up: the surface inside the blanket can get pretty hot (depending on what temperature you set the blanket to), especially when it comes in direct contact with your naked skin. It’s not hot enough to cause serious burns, but if you’re sensitive to heat, I recommend wearing sweatpants and a shirt. That also helps with cleaning up after the session since your clothing will wick up most of the sweat.
In case you’re wondering, the outside of the blanket can get relatively warm too, but not as hot as the inside. So there’s no risk of damaging your couch or a carpet.
One of the big selling points of infrared sauna blankets is how these products can speed up muscle recovery. I’ve used our sauna blanket a few times to increase blood flow in my leg muscles and lower back after intense workouts, while watching TV on the couch. But frankly, I prefer using my walk-in infrared sauna because I can easily combine it with cold plunging considering that my tub is right next to our two saunas.
Setup and Storage
Setting up an infrared sauna blanket takes less than a minute and consists of plugging in the power cable to a wall outlet, then setting the desired temperature and timer via the control panel.
The y-shaped power cable of the Sun Home Saunas infrared blanket is about 11 feet long in total. However, there are two cables coming out of the remote control; one is about five feet long and connects to the blanket, while the one with the power plug is six feet long.
Practically speaking, that means if you want to keep the remote control close by (so you can change the temperature or timer settings during the session), you can’t be more than six feet away from a power outlet without using an extension cord that has a three-prong receptacle.
When not in use, you can easily fold up the sauna blanket and store it in a closet or under your bed. We keep our sauna blanket in the guest room.
How to Use the Sauna Blanket
After plugging the blanket into a wall outlet, you can turn it on and set the desired temperature and time via the easy-to-use remote control panel. However, there is one thing you need to pay attention to when setting the timer: make sure you press the timer button after setting the minutes, or it won’t start counting down and it won’t heat up.
I forgot to press the button after I selected the desired time and wondered why it didn’t heat up. Honestly, I wish Sun Home Saunas would remove the need to press the button again to make the entire process more intuitive.
Once you’ve dialed in the temperature and time, you can either wait a few minutes for the blanket to heat up or jump in right away. I usually crawl in right away because the blanket gets hot within 10 to 15 minutes. Getting into the blanket is similar to getting into a sleeping bag and it helps to loosen the velcro straps a bit to open up the blanket.
One of the first questions I had before my first blanket session was whether or not I should keep my clothes on or strip down to my underwear. You can do either, but I recommend wearing a workout t-shirt and sweatpants you can throw in the hamper after a session; doing so will dramatically reduce the time you need to spend wiping down the inside of the sauna blanket and letting it dry out before storing it (see below).
Plus, far-infrared radiation penetrates clothing, so you won’t have to worry about reducing the sauna blanket’s effectiveness.
Infrared Heat and Temperature Settings
Like most other infrared sauna blankets on the market, the Sun Home Saunas infrared blanket uses a far-infrared heating element as opposed to near-infrared and mid-infrared elements. That far-infrared element emits infrared light in the 6-12 micrometer (microns) spectrum and can heat the inside of the blanket to 167 F (75 C). That’s hot enough to increase your core temperature and make you sweat profusely.
Note: Infrared saunas heat your body from the inside. That’s why they deliver most of the same benefits as steam saunas, which require higher temperatures to be effective.
The advantage of far-infrared radiation is that it can penetrate up to 1.5 inches (4 centimeters) into muscle tissue, causing increased blood flow and circulation that helps reduce pain and speed up post-workout recovery.
Additionally, far-infrared radiation heats you up from the inside, causing an increase in core temperature, heart rate and profuse sweating. The increase in core temperature upregulates your immune system through the release of heat-shock proteins (as I explain in more detail in my infrared sauna benefits article), whereas the higher heart rate simulates a mild cardiovascular workout that burns calories.
Unlike most walk-in saunas, the Sun Home Saunas infrared blanket features only a single heating zone that reaches from the top to the bottom of the blanket, and which wraps around your entire body. Having only a single heating zone isn’t really a disadvantage with sauna blankets because you get equal exposure to the infrared radiation from all sides.
The Sun Home Saunas blanket is made of a low-VOC waterproof polyurethane, which the company claims is a non-toxic fabric. As of this writing, I haven’t found any scientific evidence linking this low-VOC variation of polyurethane to negative health implications, but I’ll certainly keep my eyes open for any studies that might come out on the subject.
In terms of material quality, I’ve only had my Sun Home sauna blanket for a couple of months and don’t how it’s going to hold up over the years, but the blanket seems well made using high-quality fabrics and industrial-grade velcro straps that lock in the heat and are unlikely to wear out anytime soon.
The velcro straps on the side and bottom of the blanket make it easy to clean the inside and to allow the waterproof fabric to dry out completely before the next use.
The only part of the blanket that appears to be a bit flimsy is the control panel. It’s made from super-light plastic that could easily break if accidentally dropped on a hard surface.
I asked Sun Home Saunas what happens if the control unit breaks (after the warranty has expired) to see if the unit can simply be replaced and, if so, how much that would cost. The company told me that the replacement cost for a controller after the warranty has expired is $20.
Of course, if you’re a skilled electrician who is familiar with circuit boards and knows how to use a soldering iron, you could probably do the necessary repairs at home.
Blanket Size and Color
As of this writing, the Sun Home Sauna infrared blanket appears to only be available in black, even though the product page has photos of different color blankets (including the purple one that I own). So it’s possible that the other colors are only temporarily out of stock.
The size of the unfolded blanket is 71 x 63 inches, with an interior circumference of 65 inches. For reference, I’m six feet tall and have fairly broad shoulders, and I have no problem fitting my entire body into the blanket comfortably.
Keeping the Sauna Blanket Clean
To keep the interior of the sauna blanket clean and to prevent mold or bacteria from growing, I recommend wiping it down after every use with a non-toxic cleaner. We use HypoAir’s Total Clean for everything in our household, including our sauna and sauna blanket.
Just make sure you don’t get any cleaning solution or other liquids on the control panel, as it might fry the electronics.
The Sun Home Saunas blanket is reasonably priced at $499. That includes free shipping and a one-year warranty.
If you use my affiliate code MKUMMER, you’ll get $100 off, reducing your total to $449. Sun Home Saunas doesn’t sell its blankets on Amazon.
EMFs can have a host of health impacts. So to test Sun Home Saunas’ claims of having low EMF emissions, I compared the weighted readings inside the blanket before and after turning it on using a Trifield EMF meter model TF2. You can see the results in the table below.
|Turned Off||Turned On||Difference|
|Magnetic (Peak)||0.4 mG||0.4 mG||0.0 mG|
|Electric (Peak)||220 V/m||278 V/m||58 V/m|
|RF (Peak)||0.900 mW/m2||0.213 mW/m2||-0.687 mW/m2|
What’s important to understand is that you can only take accurate and meaningful EMF readings in a controlled lab environment. For example, our living room is flooded with EMFs from a variety of sources, including wireless access points, computers and other electronic devices.
However, my point in taking these measurements was to show that the blanket doesn’t expose you to significantly more EMFs than you’re already exposed to in a typical residential environment.
I’d also like to point out that I took the electric reading right next to the power cord that goes into the remote control. If you’re concerned about electric radiation, I recommend just moving the remote control and power cord away from your body.
Sauna Blankets vs. Traditional Infrared Saunas
One of the most common questions people have about infrared sauna blankets is whether they offer all the same benefits of an infrared sauna.
In other words, can you save money and avoid the hassle of installing a sauna cabin by opting for a much cheaper and smaller sauna blanket?
One thing you should understand is that there is a crucial difference between sauna blankets and premium infrared sauna cabins in the way they generate and transfer heat.
For example, sauna blankets emit far less infrared radiation than traditional infrared saunas. Instead, sauna blankets use heat-coated wires to create extremely hot surfaces that make you sweat. That type of heat transfer is called conduction.
On the other hand, the infrared heaters in my Sunlighten mPulse infrared sauna (or even those in the Sunlighten Solo and the Thera360 PLUS, two one-person saunas I have tested and reviewed) emit radiant heat.
The amount of energy (and heat) emitted via infrared rays is called emissivity, and most sauna blankets, including the one reviewed for this article, are between 84% and 88% emissive. In comparison, the Sunlighten sauna cabin we have in our backyard features heaters with 95% to 99% emissivity.
The higher the emissivity, the more benefits you can achieve — even at lower temperatures.
That doesn’t render sauna blankets ineffective, it just means you have to work with higher temperatures to reap the full benefits, similarly to traditional steam saunas.
In case you’re wondering, most of the cheaper infrared sauna cabins (including the ones sold at Costco) use heaters with emissivity levels comparable to sauna blankets.
Frequently Asked Questions
The temperature range of the Sun Home Sauna infrared blanket is 95 to 167 F (35 to 75 C). You can set the desired temperature using the control panel. When set to the maximum temperature of 167 degrees Fahrenheit, it gets hotter than you might feel comfortable with (depending on your sensitivity to heat). I recommend starting at a lower temperature and slowly cranking up the heat over the course of a few sessions.
If used at high temperatures, infrared sauna blankets can induce heat stress, which causes the release of heat shock proteins and a temporary rise in cortisol levels.
That’s a normal part of the body’s stress response and it supports your immune system. The temporary rise in cortisol levels is nothing to be concerned about, and they’ll likely drop back to baseline levels as you cool off and relax.
In fact, studies have shown that regular sauna bathing can help your body to better regulate its cortisol levels.
I recommend a quick wipe down after every use with a non-toxic cleaner such as HypoAir’s Total Clean.
No, the Sun Home Saunas infrared blanket only comes in a single size.
Yes, the far-infrared radiation emitted by the sauna blanket increases your body’s core temperature and heart rate, thus mimicking a mild cardio workout. However, keep in mind that burning extra calories is only one factor in losing weight (and not the most important one).
Nutrition plays a much more important role, so if your goal is to shed pounds, I recommend reading my article on the best diets for weight loss. If you’re already following a relatively healthy diet and still struggling to reach your goal, check out these common reasons why you’re not losing weight.
Yes, you certainly can. In fact, I recommend wearing a workout shirt and sweatpants because it makes cleaning the blanket after each use easier.
You can achieve most benefits with a 30-minute session. However, considering that it takes up to 15 minutes for the blanket to heat up, your total sauna session will likely require 45 minutes of your time (assuming you’ll get in right away and don’t wait for the blanket to heat up). If weight loss is your primary goal, I recommend staying in the sauna for up to one hour.
No, because far-infrared radiation is much less effective for increasing collagen production in your skin than near-infrared. So if you’re trying to improve the appearance of your skin or reduce fine lines and wrinkles, I recommend looking for a red light therapy device instead, such as the one from Mito Red Light I use at home.
While I don’t have any hands-on experience with the MiHIGH blanket, based on what I’ve read the two blankets appear comparable in terms of features, design and benefits.
Heat therapy using infrared radiation is an excellent tool for supporting your body’s natural detoxification pathways. That’s because infrared heat at high temperatures makes you sweat profusely, and that sweating helps your body rid itself of toxins.
No. Sun Home Saunas doesn’t include Tourmaline in its sauna blankets. Tourmaline is a gemstone that some people claim can help your body detox. I have not seen any solid scientific evidence backing up those claims, so I don’t think you’re missing out on anything.
Summary and Final Thoughts
Sun Home Saunas’ infrared sauna blanket is one of the best on the market. It’s an excellent option to make sauna bathing a regular part of your wellness routine if you don’t have the space or the budget for a traditional sauna.
That’s because far-infrared sauna blankets are relatively inexpensive, super portable, and don’t take up any permanent floor space. So you can use them on your couch or in your bed, and stow them away when they’re not in use.
However, they’re no replacement for a full-size walk-in sauna.
I prefer using our infrared sauna cabin over our blanket because the former doesn’t have to be cleaned after each use, and I feel better not having any fabric stuck to my skin when I’m sweating profusely.
The main exception to that is when I’m sick or injured. In those cases, nothing beats chilling on the couch or in my bed with the sauna blanket wrapped around me.
Now I’d like to hear from you! Do you own an infrared sauna blanket? If so, let me know in the comments how you like it. If you’re considering purchasing one, let me know if you have any questions.
I’m a healthy living and technology enthusiast.
On this blog, I share in-depth product reviews, actionable information and solutions to complex problems in plain and easy-to-understand language.