The 4 Best Infrared Mats Of 2023 To Support Your Physical & Mental Health
People have reaped the benefits of traditional saunas1 for thousands of years—but new hot and cold therapy practices have grown increasingly popular in the past decade. One such treatment is infrared heat therapy, which research suggests can have physical and neurological benefits2. With the best infrared mats, you'll be able to experience this healing therapy from your own home.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of infrared heat and to find our picks for the best infrared mats on the market today.
- Expert’s pick: HigherDose Infrared PEMF Mat
- Best budget: PHYMAT Life 5-Gems Infrared Mat
- Best portable: BioMat Health Mini BioMat
- Best features: HealthyLine TAJ-Mat Full 7224 Firm
The benefits of infrared mats.
Far infrared light is a type of radiation that uses thermal light to heat your body from the inside out. According to board-certified naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist Lana Butner, N.D, infrared saunas penetrate human tissue, cells, and organs more easily than conventional heat, prompting deeper detoxification at lower temperatures (115 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) than a non-infrared sauna (150 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit).
Infrared mats have similar effects to those of an infrared sauna, without being fully enclosed in a space. "Due to the ability to withstand the lower temperatures of an infrared sauna, individuals can be exposed to this type of heat for longer periods of time, allowing for a more intense sweat and longer durations of detoxification time," Butner says.
Below are a few benefits of infrared mats:
- Infrared mats help you sweat out toxins: While reaching a lower temperature than a traditional sauna, infrared heat can help us sweat out toxins and generate hormesis, a type of temporary stress that can actually have a positive impact on our overall health. With most infrared mats, you can control the heat your body receives without changing the temperature of the air around you.
- Infrared mats can reduce inflammation: As Seema Bonney, M.D., founder and director of the Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Philadelphia, explains, far infrared waves can travel well over 2 inches below the skin to heal injury and reduce inflammation. "A big part of the game plan when seeking longevity is keeping inflammation down," says Bonney. "Since infrared therapy improves circulation in the skin, it helps promote healing by bringing oxygen and nutrients to injured tissues."
- Infrared mats are small and often portable: Another perk of using a mat for infrared therapy is its small footprint. "An infrared mat looks like a yoga mat, and it's easy to use and effective," says Bonney. "It's super convenient—just find some floor space and lie down on it!" Some models are even foldable and portable, so you can take your infrared therapy to go.
- Infrared mats are an upfront investment for long-term use: As you'll see, these mats can be expensive. But if you're someone who frequents the spa for similar treatments, spending the money on an infrared mat up front may end up saving you money in the long run.
While there are clearly many benefits to consider, be mindful of these potential downsides:
- More air, less sweat: Lying on an infrared mat can certainly encourage a sweat, but you'll likely sweat less than if you were in an enclosed space (more on this from Butner below). That said, you will still sweat enough that you'll want to cover your mat with a towel or protective cover to keep it free from bacteria.
- Price for features: These mats can get expensive—and almost every model out there includes crystals and semi-precious stones. If crystals aren't your thing, you might find the added cost unnecessary.
- Not all infrared mats are portable: While some of the infrared mats we've featured below are designed for travel, the more elaborate models can be stiff and quite heavy. If you're not able to easily move or fold the mat, you'll want to be mindful of the space it will take up.
Infrared mats vs. saunas
There are a few ways infrared mats differ from immersive experiences such as stationary saunas or infrared sauna blankets.
"Mats are wonderful for calming the nervous system, but in regard to matching up to the detoxification benefits of sweating in a more immersive experience that you would get from a blanket or an actual sauna, the mat pales in comparison," says Butner. "The immersive experience is best for detoxification, while the mats are incredible for recovery and renewal of energy. I use mine as a grounding mat to really re-center my nervous system by upregulating my parasympathetic nervous system and pumping the brakes on my day-to-day sympathetic overdrive."
How we picked:
We took our experts' feedback into consideration when selecting these products and even shared a personal recommendation from Butner.
We read as many reviews as possible and made note of the ratings, customer service reports, and general brand reputation.
Some infrared mats are flashier than others, but each of these mats produces infrared heat. We've called out additional features, such as portability or added PEMF therapy, to help you narrow your search.
While these mats are an investment in your health and well-being, we chose products at a variety of budgets. If you aren't looking for a ton of bells and whistles, there are a few lower-priced options you'll enjoy.
Our picks of the best infrared mats of 2023:
Expert’s pick: HigherDose Infrared PEMF Mat
- Combines infrared heat and PEMF
- Highly-rated & expert-recommended
- Timer settings are limited
HigherDose is a well-known brand in the infrared sauna space, with luxurious brick-and-mortar sauna locations and a line of quality at-home products. The brand’s Infrared PEMF Mat is Butners’ top pick. “I love it and it is my favorite at-home self-care tool that I use religiously,” she says. “I have the BEST naps, deepest sleeps, and feel completely rejuvenated after lying down and resting on this device.”
As the name implies, this mat combines healing infrared heat and pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy. Recemt research suggests that the electromagnetic pulses from PEMF devices can help repair and improve cellular function. This therapy is frequently used by practitioners to treat pain by reducing inflammation.
The top layer of the HigherDose mat contains the PEMF energy. You can use the attached console to adjust the frequency between four options, depending on your goals (such as relaxation or stimulation). This layer sits atop a non-VOC polyurethane leather material that’s durable and easy to clean. Below, there is a layer of low-EMF far infrared heat, which is also adjustable (up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit) on the console. The infrared layer is followed by a layer of clay, charcoal, and a magnetic strip that work together to evenly distribute heat and improve circulation. Lastly, the bottom layer contains 20 pounds of amethyst and tourmaline, which aim to enhance the benefits of the infrared heat and promote balance.
Our commerce editor, Carleigh Ferrante, is a huge fan of the PEMF mat for post-workout recovery and stress relief. Find out why in her full review (which includes an exclusive discount).
Best budget: PHYMAT Life 5-Gems Infrared Mat
- Two budget-friendly size options
- Includes 5 different stones
- Heat display is only in Celsius
- Takes a while to heat up
This lower-priced mat is great for newbies who are interested in trying out an infrared mat but don’t need too many additional bells and whistles. The nine-layer design includes memory foam for heat preservation and comfort, and an aluminum foil layer for blocking EMF radiation. As the name implies, there are five gems in this mat: amethyst, clear crystal, turquoise, obsidian, and red agate. They’re combined with tourmaline and jade, which help regulate the infrared heat and are visible through the mesh encasement on the top. It’s worth noting that you should use a towel or the provided protective cover to avoid getting any dirt or sweat into the mat.
This mat gets mostly positive feedback on Amazon, though there are not a ton of reviews yet. Most mention the low price compared to other infrared mats, and one person writes, “The mat is really great. I melt away on it. It helps with pain relief and it helps with relaxation. I do wish the control pad felt more solid… but it seems fine. I think it’s a good price considering the cost of other brands.” Some negative feedback complains that the controller display only operates in Celsius and that it takes a while to heat up, especially in the first uses. One reviewer also speculates that the turquoise may not be authentic considering the low price.
Best portable: BioMat Health Mini BioMat
- Great for travel
- No timer feature
- No critical reviews
This smaller, ridged infrared mat is designed to fit on a standard chair, and is a great pick for travel or work. The Mini BioMat comes with a carrying suitcase, a machine-washable cotton cover that helps keep your mat clean, and an attached digital controller, used to adjust the temperature between 95 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit. The mat has 17 layers (although you wouldn’t guess that by looking at it!), including a silicon and teflon EMF protection layer and a layer of amethyst and tourmaline crystals that aim to enhance the reach of far infrared heat.
The mat’s unique design features a mesh panel that allows you to see the crystals inside. This mat is a good pick for FIRS-curious beginners—however, while it’s certainly a quality mat, there aren’t quite as many features as the HigherDose model (no PEMF), and it does come at a higher price.
This FDA-certified medical device is widely used among massage therapists and reiki practitioners. The brand’s website showcases a handful of positive reviews from customers who say their BioMat helped them recover from injuries, improved their circulation, and gave them more energy. Unfortunately, there aren’t any critical reviews to round out the feedback.
Best features: HealthyLine TAJ-Mat Full 7224 Firm
- Infrared heat, PEMF, photon LED lights & heated stones
- Generous warranty, 90-day trial, & free returns
- Not easily portable
This is one of the more tricked-out infrared mats on the market, featuring adjustable PEMF and infrared levels, photon LED lights (which may have some benefits for our skin, including managing conditions like psoriasis), and amethyst, tourmaline, and jade stones. If your main focus is sweating out toxins, you’ll like this pick. The mat comes with a padded cotton cover, a waterproof cover, and a sauna foil blanket to trap heat.
It’s also foldable and your purchase includes a carrying case—but the brand notes that the mat is on the firmer side, so it’s not the best choice if you want something that’s easy to use on a chair or to take with you on the go. One big pro of this mat is that, while it’s expensive, the brand offers a 90 day trial and free returns (you do need to cover shipping, though). It also comes with a 5-year extended warranty.
There aren’t a ton of reviews on the brand’s website, but people generally have great things to say about this mat on Amazon and TrustPilot. One Amazon reviewer writes, “The TAJ mat is a true lifesaver. In addition to pain reduction, lying on the mat puts me into a deep state of relaxation. With so many healing modalities integrated into the mat, I am probably receiving more health benefits than I am even aware of.” Some negative reviews say it takes a while to heat up and a few mention that it’s very rigid and tough to fold.
How to choose.
When deciding which of these infrared mats is best for you, consider the below factors:
Your space and intended use: Infrared mats vary in size and flexibility. People who want to take their mat on the go should choose a device that's lightweight and easily portable. Those who plan to have a dedicated space for their mat will be just fine with less flexible models and may even prefer something more durable
Your goals: If infrared heat is the only therapy you're after, you'll likely be happy with one of the lower-cost options. But if you're hoping to pack in multiple therapies, features like PEMF and LED lights could be well worth the splurge. It's also helpful to consider your relationship to crystals and stones. Some mats include more rare stones than others, which may not hold significance to everyone but will increase the price.
Your budget: While our most budget-friendly pick is on the more affordable side, these mats are still an investment in your health. Consider each mat's return policy and warranty. If you're on the fence about whether infrared heat will benefit you or not, opt for a mat with a trial period or a more generous return window.
Who is an infrared mat for?
According to board-certified naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist, Lana Butner, N.D., "Everyone and anyone could benefit from having an infrared mat in their lives, except when contraindicated (such as during pregnancy or if you have an open wound)."
How often should you use an infrared heating pad?
As long as you don't have any contraindications or warnings, you can safely use an infrared heating pad every day. Just be sure to start slowly (think 20- to 30-minute sessions), hydrate accordingly, and listen to your body if anything feels off. If you're not sure how to use the mat, consult with your doctor on what might be best for you.
How long can you stay on an infrared mat?
If you have any health conditions, are pregnant, or plan on spending extended time on your mat, you should speak with your health care provider. If you've been cleared, HealthyLine (the maker of our "best features" pick) suggests the following guidelines for duration at various heats:
95 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit: overnight use
113 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit: 2 hours or more
131 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit: 30- to 90-minute sessions
149 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit: 30- to 60-minute sessions
If you have the space for it, an infrared mat can be an easy way to bring the therapeutic benefits of infrared heat into your home. Just be sure to follow the same guidance you would if you were using a traditional sauna or steam room: Hydrate properly after each use, clean your mat's protective cover regularly, and get the green light from your doctor if you have any health conditions.