Best infrared sauna blankets for a daily dose of euphoria


Crawling into an outsize sleeping bag that cocoons you in heat and has you emerging energised, leaner and happier sounds like a classic too-good-to-be-true proposition – yet this is exactly what infrared sauna blankets promise to deliver.

Beloved by athletes for reducing muscle pain and recovery time, and celebrities like (of course) Kourtney Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow for soothing the mind and helping burn calories, further benefits are said to include boosted immunity, better sleep, reduced inflammation and glowing skin.

But how? Well, it’s quite simply heat and the increased blood circulation and heart rate it causes. This brings oxygen and nutrients to cells for faster regeneration and increases the excretion of toxins in the body and lactic acid in the muscles.

It’s a little bit like a workout without lifting a finger (there is a claim of losing 600 calories in a session, although that seems somewhat far-fetched), and a lot like going into a classic Swedish sauna, but without the steam, the smell of eucalyptus and the sweaty people in little towels. In fact, some claim these blankets are better than that. Apparently, infrared heat penetrates the body seven times more efficiently than ambient steam heat in a regular sauna, upping the detoxification potential seven-fold.

The deep heat also promotes the release of mood-boosting, stress-relieving chemicals dopamine and oxytocin and, apparently, increased collagen generation, effectively making this a sort of boil-in-the-bag ‘anti-ageing’ treatment. You’re supposed to sweat, but perhaps not all that profusely as there is no steam.

Infrared sauna cubicles have long been available to individuals but are obviously not particularly accessible to the cash and space-strapped, so these blankets offer a cost-effective alternative. That doesn’t mean to say they’re cheap, so you could get your dose of infrared in some spas and clinics as well. London’s Glow Bar offers sessions at £45 a pop.

So how does it all feel, and do the different blankets on the market offer different experiences to suit everyone’s needs?

MiHIGH Infrared Sauna Blanket

Despite appearing like it has the same manufacturer as the Smomar and HigherDOSE infrared sauna blankets below (the design is pretty identical), this one looks the slickest and most modern. It’s also the first one that folds back up quite easily into its own bag, which comes as standard with the blanket.

The digital push-button console looks the same as the Smomar’s too, but offers no less than nine settings (with a single heat zone), which range from 35 to 75°C, and counts down the time and beeps when done.

The manual is less of a standard-issue manufacturer’s booklet and properly explains what to expect, without focusing on any ‘dangers’. There are no warnings about extreme heat, yet this is the first blanket that actually has me getting hot and sweaty, despite the highest setting delivering 75° heat instead of 80° - so feels like it’s serving its true purpose.

For the first time also I’m glad my skin is covered with clothes so the nylon doesn’t burn against it. I actually have to quit after about 30 minutes as I begin to find the heat uncomfortable – it reminds me that I never last very long in real saunas, either. The maximum session time, should I manage to work up to it, is 60 minutes.

Buy now £399.00, MiHIGH

HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket

I’m new to infrared sauna blankets so I’m grateful this comes with a booklet, not so much to explain how to work the device (it seems pretty simple: you attach the cable and plug it in), but to tell me what to expect exactly to get the full benefits.

Unfortunately, the manual is mostly preoccupied with offering an avalanche of slightly hysterical caveats: ‘Gets extremely hot!’ ‘Don’t place on a wrinkly surface!’ ‘Avoid non-heat proof surfaces like foam matresses!’ ‘Start at a low setting and build up slowly!’. It makes me a little wary of using the blanket for fear of setting the house (and myself) on fire, but in the event it just gets pleasantly warm at my start setting of 5.

The control paddle has a dial for turning up the heat from 1 to 8, but there’s no indication of what temperatures these settings correspond to. You can’t adjust the time, despite the manual warning that you MUST NOT stay in the blanket (which is in fact a heavy-duty leather-and-nylon bag with velcro fastenings) longer than 50 minutes. The device switches off automatically at that point, but without a beep or a warning: you’ll know because the heat starts dissipating.

I soon ignore the warnings and turn my blanket up to the maximum of 8. It does get quite warm but not to the point of sweating; at most, my leggings-swathed legs feel ever so slightly moist. Without any info on what ought to be happening, it’s leaving me wondering whether I’m doing something wrong, although I reckon that lying in a bag and switching it on is quite a hard thing to cock up.

I can say that my body, which is always freezing, feels thoroughly warmed through after my session, and I’m nice and relaxed. I find the blanket’s purported benefits printed on its box, alongside a caveat that these claims are not FDA (i.e. medically) approved, which is maybe a little bit deflating.

Buy now £539.00, HigherDOSE

Smomar Far Infrared Sauna Blanket

This blanket looks pretty similar to the Higher Dose one, down to the manual having identical contents. The control paddle, however, has buttons for turning up the temperature (from 30 to 80 degrees celcius) and increasing the treatment time (from 5 to 60 minutes in 5-minute steps). It counts down for you and beeps when it’s done, and tracks the heat as it inches upward, which is handy as it takes at least ten minutes for infrared sauna blankets to get to their target heat level.

Again, it warns that the top setting is only for ‘advanced’ users that ‘can’t achieve sweating at lower levels’, but a full session at 80° once again leaves me quite warm (and glad I’m wearing skin-covering clothes as suggested, as the nylon interior gets pretty hot), but not at all sweaty. Maybe my husband is right and I really am a lizard.

As with all these blankets, which have the surface size of a small single bed and are pretty hefty and bulky, it’s worth considering your living space. The controller attaches to the bottom of the blanket (or to one side, in one case), which is then plugged into the mains via a power cable. None of these leads are particularly long, so you’ll need your bed or sofa, or at least any comfortable area to lie down, to be near a conveniently situated socket.

The Smomar blanket comes with its own carrier/storage bag; pretty useful as you’d be hard-pressed to find anything big enough to fit these babies.

Buy now £399.00, Smomar

Firzone FZ-230 3 zone sauna blanket

This is the most fiddly infrared sauna blanket of the lot, but it’s more targeted: it has three different heating zones. This means three cables protrude from the space-age silver bag that need to be individually matched and screwed into three outlets on quite a heavy console with plenty of buttons. You end up looking like an astronaut on a spacewalk.

Like the HigherDOSE infrared sauna blanket, it has wide shoulder straps so you can fold the blanket entirely around yourself like gift wrapping. Each wire controls a different part of the blanket and needs to be individually programmed for the level of heat and time; it’s a bit of a faff at first but becomes straightforward once you know what you’re doing. The manual (which helpfully explains the uses and benefits of infrared radiation) doesn’t mention where these heat zones actually are, but the website points out there’s a lower, middle and upper body zone. This design allows for the heat to be distributed evenly and for it not to concentrate where the cable attaches.

The Firzone’s main USP is that it’s low voltage so, says the manufacturer “the user isn’t wrapped in 220V electricity.” Whether this accounts for the fact that the heat only goes up to 60°C I don’t know (the husband says no), but it’s something to keep in mind when you’re cold-bodied like me as things get very pleasant (think wraparound electric blanket) but not hot. Unlike the other blankets, there is no instruction to wear skin-covering clothes and socks. The lack of ‘hot heat’ may also be off-set by the fact that your max session time is 95 minutes as opposed to the 50 or 60 minutes specified elsewhere, so you can have a proper nap in the cosy warmth.

The console counts you down and stops/beeps when the session is done. Getting the whole thing stashed away is a bit of struggle; the blanket doesn’t fold back up particularly easily and refuses to get back into its box, so make sure you have plenty of storage space in your house.

Buy now £389.00, Firzone

Heat Healer Infrared Sauna Blanket

The manual comes via a QR code inside the box and is far more engaging and in-depth than the others, which is not a bad thing if this technology is alien to you. There are tips I wish I’d read before trialling all these blankets, such as ‘try not to fidget and cover the gaps around your shoulders (this is a shoulder strap-free bag) so no heat escapes’, and ‘it takes 15 minutes to pre-heat the blanket’.

This is another three-zone infrared sauna blanket with another heavy console, but one that looks less ‘1960’s Dr Who’ and more ‘2020’s wellness tech’, and you can simply plug your leads in at random. Both the increasing heat and decreasing time are tracked and shown for each area, and there’s less of a fiddly activation sequence to go through – but what remains is a tangle of wires. Another thing that’s a bit of a fiddle is a large exposed panel of tourmaline stones (functioning as heat elements) inside the bag, which need to be covered up with a towel before you get in there to prevent them getting too hot against the skin.

Things get very toasty at maximum temperature, set at 80°C, but once again, I don’t get sweaty, even near the end of the 60-minute session. The blanket comes with a storage bag which it folds back into relatively easily, and a waterproof head cushion.

Buy now £448.00, Heat Healer


It’s the most compact with the sleekest design and the MiHiGH Infrared Sauna Blanket is also the one that gets the most significantly hot (at least in my experience) for a therapeutic sweating session, while offering soothingly warm options as well.