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Your friends at Garage Gym Reviews are fans of active recovery methods along with using some of the best muscle recovery tools for an advanced approach. And when it comes to advanced recovery methods, one of the top benefits of infrared saunas is the infrared light’s ability to penetrate muscles deeper1 than traditional saunas.

We’ve tested many full-sized saunas but wanted to test the Sunlighten Solo System Portable Infrared Sauna to see if it’s worth the hype. While it’s portable and fairly easy to use at home, it’s a costly investment and will not suit every body type. In this Sunlighten Solo Sauna review, we’re going to share our insights on our sauna bathing experience, what we liked, and what we’d like to see improved.

Recovery and Mobility Pros at Your Service

Our team of experts at Garage Gym Reviews are fitness industry professionals who hold some of the industry’s top credentials and certifications. We’re well versed on strength, conditioning, and the top active recovery methods to recuperate from strenuous exercise. 

For this Sunlighten Solo Sauna review, expert tester and ISSA-CPT Lindsay Scheele used the portable infrared sauna for several sessions before giving her full review. She’s a cold plunge and sauna enthusiast and our lead reviewer at Garage Gym Reviews Everything YouTube channel. 

During her testing process, she was tasked with scoring the overall value, heat performance, and ergonomics (among other things) on a scale of 1 to 5 using our in-depth equipment testing methodology

Sunlighten Solo Sauna

Sunlighten Solo Portable Infrared Sauna

GGR Score: 3.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Infrared sauna
  • Zone-based heating
  • Sliding double-dome system
  • Lightweight design, easy to store

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Designed for small spaces and movability
  • 5 zone-based digital heaters
  • 4 color-changing modes
  • Infrared heater
  • Increases core body temperature

Cons

  • Pricing isn't easily to find on website
  • Size may not be a suitable for all users

Bottom Line

The Sunlighten Solo Portable Infrared Sauna is designed for movability and compact storage. It has multiple zone-based digital heaters and built-in chromotherapy features.

A Quick Look at the Sunlighten Solo Sauna

The Sunlighten Solo System sauna is not a full-sized sauna nor is it a sauna blanket. Essentially, it’s a retractable half-dome made from bamboo carbon and sized for one person with a heated pad underneath. The Solo System is two separate pieces (dome and pad) and each part gets plugged in and has its own heat control. 

The brand also manufactures full-sized saunas (like the Sunlighten mPulse Smart Sauna and the Amplify Full Spectrum Sauna) but for the purposes of this Sunlighten review, we’re going to focus on the one-person full-spectrum infrared light portable sauna. 

RELATED: Best Home Saunas

Before You Buy

  • The upper and lower portions of the Solo System can be set to different temperatures. 
  • Our tester Lindsay found it took about 30 minutes to reach the maximum heat settings. 
  • The sauna features ultra low EMF (electromagnetic field) infrared wavelength currents. 

Is the Sunlighten Solo Sauna Worth It?

Based on our experience with the Sunlighten Solo Sauna, we’re not convinced this is the best investment if you’re looking to add the best biohacking products to your recovery routine. At the time of writing this review, the brand was running a sale for $700 off MSRP which brought the price down to $2,499. 

When you explore home sauna costs, you’ll notice these types of recovery tools aren’t cheap, but we’ve tested a few full-sized infrared saunas for the same price, like the one we featured in our Dynamic Infrared Sauna review. While it may not be portable, you’ll at least have the option to enjoy the company of another person. We’ve also tested a few sauna blankets which cost a fraction of the price of the Solo System and offer more portability and potentially more space for larger folks. 

Also, we don’t recommend buying a portable (or full-size) sauna for health claims like the ability to treat or cure diseases or detoxification of any sort. Wellness brands are clever with buzzwords, but the reality is most research around infrared saunas doesn’t support detox, but shows evidence on reduced blood pressure2, reduced symptoms of chronic fatigue3, and the potential to improve heart health 4

Sunlighten Solo Sauna in use

Great for:

  • Portable sauna bathing
  • Self-care and deep relaxation
  • Muscle recovery from exercise
  • Increasing blood flow 

Not recommended for:

  • Easy-to-clean surfaces
  • Larger folks
  • Anyone on a tight budget
  • People with cardiovascular disease 

Sunlighten Solo Sauna Specs

Price$3,199
FootprintSolo dome: 69” L x 28” W x 18” H
Solo pad: 69” L x 23.6” W x 4” H
Number of people1
WeightSolo dome 49 lbs; Solo pad 13 lbs
Max temp150 degrees Fahrenheit 
Heat typeFull-spectrum infrared (near infrared and far infrared) 
MaterialsSoloCarbon coating (bamboo carbon exterior); celliant and cotton pad
ExtrasChromotherapy lighting 
Power requirements 120 volt
Warranty 7-year warranty on heaters; 3-year on controllers; 1-year on fabric and memory foam

Using the Sunlighten Solo Sauna

The Sunlighten Solo Sauna dome design offers a way to heat the body and core temperature without touching the skin. In the Sunlighten sauna, infrared technology heats objects with peak infrared heat waves, which is called emissivity. The brand uses this infrared technology—also referred to as its SoloCarbon heater—in the dome only, not the separate sauna pad. However, both are heated and have serapte controls. 

Woman about to get inside Sunlighten Solo Sauna

Our tester, Lindsay Scheele, used the Solo Sauna for several 20-minute sauna therapy sessions and thought her experience was just OK. Lindsay enjoyed the comfortable, 4-inch padding and the adjustable LED light strip for a nice-to-have chromotherapy vibe (aka light therapy). 

The major downside to her testing experience was the dome shape and size. “The telescoping dome design is a cool concept, but in reality it’s not executed to accommodate folks of all shapes and sizes,” says Lindsay who admitted to feeling a bit claustrophobic sweating inside the solo dome. 

RELATED: Sun Home Sauna Review

Footprint and Portability

The Solo System is under 6 feet long and less than 3 feet wide. While it’s not the largest sauna we’ve tested, it’s not nearly as portable as some of the sauna blankets we’ve used. 

The website suggests it can easily be stowed upright, but Lindsay thinks it’s going to be a bit cumbersome to store it upright or stow it away after every use. The two remote control panels, sauna dome, and sauna pad are all connected with power cords and could easily end up in a tangled bird’s nest. She rates the footprint and portability of this Sunlighten infrared sauna at 3 out 5 stars. 

RELATED: Serene Life Portable Sauna Review

Sunlighten Solo Sauna woman folding pad

Temperature and Controls  

Lindsay found that the Sunlighten Solo infrared sauna system took about 30 minutes to reach the highest temperature setting. While it’s not surprising it took some time to reach what Lindsay thinks is about 150 degrees Fahrenheit (based on the claimed max temp), she was annoyed when she realized the temperature controls don’t correlate to Fahrenheit or Celsius degrees. Also, she didn’t officially know when the sauna was up to temperature, since once she set her desired heat settings, the displays didn’t adjust to show rising temps. 

Sunlighten Solo Sauna remote control for dome

The sauna dome and the sauna pad each have their own control panel that are hard-wired to each. The dome has a coconut-shaped control box with the ability to control the upper and lower section of the telescoping dome. You’ll be able to select from level 0 to 99, which Lindsay mentions isn’t a direct measure of temperature. The sauna pad has a traditional-looking remote control and can be set from level 1 to 12, which doesn’t corroborate with temperature either. 

Lindsay rates the controls at 3.5 out of 5, noting that it is straightforward to use, but rather annoying to set the sauna to arbitrary numbers. “With two sets of random number settings, I don’t really know how hot it is or how to progress my heat tolerance to reap the full health benefits.” 

Sunlighten Solo Sauna remote control for pad

RELATED: How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna?

When it comes to heat retention and performance, Lindsay scores the dome-like far infrared sauna at 3.5 out of 5 stars. Lindsay appreciated the fact the Sunlighten’s exterior wasn’t hot to the touch nor did it make the surrounding floor area hot. 

Lindsay notes you’ll have to use the fabric curtain around your chest area to prevent heat loss out of the top of the dome. The other area for potential heat loss is where the sauna dome telescopes, which she says is fairly easy to create a gap if you’re not careful. 

Although Lindsay’s core body temperature rose and she broke a sweat, her biggest callout on the Sunlighten Solo is the temperature settings and gauges. “The heat retention is pretty good, but there needs to be a clearer measure of how hot it is,” she says. 

Durability and Construction 

Lindsay found both the bamboo carbon exterior and non-flammable memory foam and cotton sauna pad were high-quality and durable. However, she’s concerned about longevity due to the soft materials and not especially efficient stow-away solution. She rates the Solo System a middle-of-the-road 3 out of 5 stars in this category. 

During her sauna sessions, Lindsay used the CELLIANT sauna pad cover (which is sold separately) to protect the pad from her sweat. CELLIANT is a type of fabric that uses your body heat to emit full-spectrum infrared energy. 

Other than washing the optional sauna pad cover, to keep the sauna clean and long-lasting Sunlighten recommends keeping the sauna on for 10 to 15 minutes after a regular sauna session to help kill germs. The site notes the SoloCarbon far infrared heaters are antibacterial and have anti-mold and anti-germ properties. 

Sunlighten Solo Sauna optional sheet

Aesthetics and Ergonomics

We’re not going to lie about the ergonomics of this one-person sauna: It’s not going to work for everyone. Lindsay was able to fit inside the dome with arms and legs snug as a bug—but she’s about 5 feet and 4 inches tall. 

We had another expert tester at GGR HQ hop into the Solo dome who was 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. The telescoping dome was able to cover most of his body but it was too cramped for him to keep his arms inside the dome, so he telescoped the dome a bit further down his torso and tested the sauna with his arms outside of the dome. 

sunlighten solo sauna

“Neither tall or big people were considered for this sauna,” says Lindsay. “If you can fit, you’ll be fine, but it’s rather limiting on who will be able to fit inside.” 

And lastly, we’re a bit disappointed in the aesthetics of the Solo System. The high-end price tag leaves a bit to be desired. “The design is rather cool-looking, but the rats nest of cables sort of ruins the sleek look,” says Lindsay, who scored this category a 2 out of 5 stars. 

RELATED: HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Review

Sunlighten Solo Sauna vs HigherDOSE Sauna Blanket

HigherDOSE Sauna Blanket

HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Portable sauna blanket
  • Sleeping bag-style design
  • Powered with far infrared rays
  • Additional blanket inserts available

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Promotes circulation
  • May aid muscle recovery
  • Portable design

Cons

  • Takes 10 minutes to preheat
  • Costs extra for blanket inserts
  • Designed for one person at a time

Bottom Line

The HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket offers a portable and affordable alternative to installing a sauna in your home. The sauna blanket uses far infrared technology to provide heat stimulation to your entire body while you’re inside the sauna blanket.

The Sunlighten Solo Sauna functions more like a sauna blanket than one of the best infrared saunas, which is why we’re comparing it to the HigherDOSE Sauna Blanket. We think the main difference (other than price) is the Solo Sauna dome offers a more traditional infrared-style heat. 

Typically infrared heat works to heat an object by emitting infrared light waves through the air, but in a sauna blanket there’s not much space between the object (you) and the infrared heat source (the blanket). Keep in mind the HigherDOSE blanket emits infrared heat, but your skin will be touching the blanket so the experience may feel different. 

Based on our testing experience, the sleeping bag-style sauna didn’t take away from relaxation and sauna benefits. Plus, there are few things we liked more about the HigherDOSE blanket than the Solo Sauna dome including the fact the blanket offers more space and a maximum interior circumference of 65 inches. 

The HigherDOSE blanket is easier to stow away and easier to clean with a cloth and cleaning solution. However, it’s worth mentioning that the HigherDOSE blanket also featured arbitrary numbers that do not correlate to temperature. Lindsay found it annoying during her testing process with this portable sauna, too. To read more details about this sleeping bag-style sauna, read our HigherDOSE Sauna Blanket review

HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna BlanketSunlighten Solo Sauna System
Price$699$3,199
Dimensions 71” L x 71” W (unfolded) 69” L x 28” W x 18” H (dome)
Power requirements 100-120 volts120 volts
Number of users11
Warranty 1 year7-year heaters, 3-year on controllers; 1-year on fabrics

Customer Experience 

If you run into a problem, you can start with the extensive Sunlighten FAQ webpage. You can also fill out a general inquiry form, email, call, or use the live chat function. We like that Sunlighten lists business hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT Monday through Saturday) so you know what to expect on response times. 

If you need to return your Solo Sauna System, you’ll have a 30-day window to request a return and you’ll have to send it back in the original packaging. You’ll be on the hook for return shipping fees and be subject to a 3% administrative fee. 

Woman in the Sunlighten Solo Sauna dome

You may like knowing the Solo Sauna System comes with a fairly lengthy warranty policy. The website states limited lifetime warranty on heaters but in parenthesis it clearly states 7 years. That said, you can expect a 7-year warranty on the heaters, 3-year warranty on controllers, and 1-year warranty on fabrics. Keep in mind this is for at-home use. If you intended to use this sauna as part of your business, the commercial warranty is a bit different (and shorter). 

RELATED: Sauna Etiquette 101

Ordering and Assembling the Sunlighten Solo Sauna

Ordering from Sunlighten is pretty easy and Lindsay scored her experience 5 out of 5 stars. Our team got a little turned upside down on the website for a hot minute because the navigation takes you through an instant quote process, but doesn’t automatically take you to the product page where you can click “check out.”

That said, we made sure to provide you links that won’t get you turned around like we did. But, once we navigated to the correct place, ordering was straightforward. You’ll be able to make a one-time payment with your credit card or take advantage of payment plans from Klarna or ShopPay. 

Shipping costs are estimated based on your location and we noticed at time of writing this review that Sunlighten was running an exclusive offer on shipping. Once it arrives, it’s a breeze to get it set up and ready for your first solo sauna experience. Our tester Lindsay notes it only takes about 5 minutes to set up, since there are only three main parts to the Solo System. 

“Everything comes in one box and is easy to unpack,” says Lindsay. “All three parts of this sauna are connected with power cords, so I suggest setting it up where you think you want it so it’s less to drag around.” 

RELATED: SweatTent Outdoor Sauna Review

Customer Reviews

At the time of writing this review, there are very few customer reviews on the Solo System featured on the website. Of the few featured customer reviews we read, there is one 4-star review and five 5-star reviews. Most reviews note the ease of use and deep relaxation. 

Final Verdict of Our Sunlighten Solo Sauna Review

The Sunlighten Solo Sauna System wasn’t our favorite recovery tool to test. However, it’s not terrible. It’s just not suited for a wide range of people. We think it’s a decent option if you: 

  • Want a semi-portable sauna option
  • Are under 6 feet tall 
  • Prefer to sauna bathe alone
  • Are not concerned with the cost of recovery and mobility tools

Full Rating

Sunlighten Solo Sauna

The Sunlighten Solo Portable Infrared Sauna is designed for movability and compact storage. It has multiple zone-based digital heaters and built-in chromotherapy features.

Product Brand: Sunlighten

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 3199.00

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.8

Sunlighten Solo Sauna Rating

Delivery and setup – 5
Construction and durability  – 3
Footprint and portability  – 3
Heat and performance  – 4
Price and value  – 3
Controls extras – 3.5
Customer experience  – 5
Customer reviews  – 4.5
Buy Now

Sunlighten Solo Sauna: FAQs

What are the benefits of Sunlighten solo?

While there is more research supporting the benefits of traditional saunas, general sauna bathing can increase your heart rate and dilate your blood vessels, much like what happens during cardio exercise. There is evidence to support that infrared sauna sessions may lower blood pressure,2 improve heart health4, and support weight loss5

What temperature is the Sunlighten solo sauna?

The Sunlighten Solo Sauna dome portion can reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit, but the controls to set temperature on the sauna do not display the temperature and instead read arbitrary number settings. 

Do Sunlighten saunas have EMFs?

Nearly all electric-powered devices emit some level of EMF (electric and magnetic fields). Sunlighten reports its saunas produce low EMF levels. 

References

  1. Mero A, Tornberg J, Mäntykoski M, Puurtinen R. Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance training sessions in men. Springerplus. 2015;4:321. Published 2015 Jul 7. doi:10.1186/s40064-015-1093-5
  2. Umehara M, Yamaguchi A, Itakura S, et al. Repeated waon therapy improves pulmonary hypertension during exercise in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. J Cardiol. 2008;51(2):106-113. doi:10.1016/j.jjcc.2008.01.004
  3. Soejima Y, Munemoto T, Masuda A, Uwatoko Y, Miyata M, Tei C. Effects of Waon therapy on chronic fatigue syndrome: a pilot study. Intern Med. 2015;54(3):333-8. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.54.3042. PMID: 25748743.
  4. Kihara T, Miyata M, Fukudome T, et al. Waon therapy improves the prognosis of patients with chronic heart failure. J Cardiol. 2009;53(2):214-218. doi:10.1016/j.jjcc.2008.11.005
  5. Podstawski R, Boraczyński T, Boraczyński M, Choszcz D, Mańkowski S, Markowski P. Sauna-induced body mass loss in young sedentary women and men. ScientificWorldJournal. 2014;2014:307421. doi:10.1155/2014/307421 

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