The sauna blanket is a relatively new way to experience the joys of the sauna at home. Maybe it’s even got you looking at your heated blanket and wondering if you can get the same results. It gets pretty hot, after all. What really the difference between a sauna blanket and a heated blanket?
The difference between a sauna blanket and a heated blanket is its primary purpose. An infrared sauna blanket can aid in muscle recovery, detoxification, and even weight loss. A heated blanket is best for regulating temperature and helping save on energy costs. A sauna blanket is enclosed on three sides and should only be used for a short period.
Read on to learn the key differences between a sauna blanket and a heated blanket, and when to use which for the results you want.
Should you use a sauna blanket or a heated blanket?
Both the sauna blanket and the heated blanket have beneficial qualities, depending on the outcome you are trying to achieve.
A sauna blanket is most often chosen to improve wellness and the heated blanket offers warmth for your personal space. Sauna blankets envelop the body and are generally used for 45 minutes or less. A heated blanket is meant for laying over top of the body until your desired level of warmth is achieved.
Both have their uses, but there’s very little overlap between them.
Sauna blankets vs heated blankets – the comparison
Do you plug a sauna blanket into the wall? Does a heated blanket help relieve muscle tension? These are the questions you may be asking yourself, and the answers are coming up.
An important similarity is that both types of blankets plug into a standard wall outlet and use small amounts of electricity to create heat.
Key points of difference to note include:
- The type of heat
The type of heat
The types of heat used by the two blankets are drastically different and have very different goals.
A sauna blanket uses infrared heat to heat you from the inside out. Conversely, a heated blanket uses convection – heating the air around it to make the outer layers of your skin feel warm.
The goal of an infrared sauna blanket is to increase your metabolism and make you sweat, allowing your body to detoxify. A heated blanket is simply meant to warm you up – to the point of comfort, not to sweat.
Given the very different ways that these blankets work, it shouldn’t be any surprise that they come with very different price tags.
Sauna blankets can range from around $150, all the way up to over $3,000, with the average being around $600. Electric blankets run from $15 to upwards of $300, depending on options, size, and fabrics.
Sauna blankets are more expensive because of the materials and technology required to construct them.
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Since the sauna blanket is designed to make you sweat, the materials are generally easy to clean and waterproof. They may also contain layers lined with crystals, coal, or even clay.
A heated blanket’s aim is to make you feel warm and cozy. This generally translates to a soft outer fabric like fleece or microfiber.
To attain the maximum benefit from your sauna blanket, it may create temperatures up to 160°F. Keep in mind that this is the temperature you experience, not the temperature around the blanket, as the far infrared rays are heating you from the inside.
Heated blankets will generally have settings that warm the air to a range starting at about 65°F and topping out around 130°F.
Key characteristics of a sauna blanket
If you’ve never seen a sauna blanket, you might be wondering what the heck they are and how they work.
A sauna blanket uses infrared rays to penetrate the skin and heat your body from the inside out. It looks a lot like a sleeping bag, uses about 400 watts of electricity, and can be an affordable, space-saving alternative to a traditional home sauna.
Need more details on what a sauna blanket is? Head over to this article next.
Potential benefits of a sauna blanket
So you’ve heard everyone raving about sauna blankets and want to know more – you’ve come to the right place!
Some of the potential benefits you can expect from using a sauna blanket include:
- Improved circulation
- Elevated mood
- Faster muscle recovery
- Refreshed skin
- Heightened relaxation
- Pain relief
What is the purpose of a sauna blanket?
You may have visited a sauna at the spa or gym and loved how you felt aftward, but thought having that same feeling at home was out of reach. The sauna blanket may change that thought.
The purpose of an infrared sauna blanket is to give you the benefits of a spa sauna in a portable form. The number one function of a sauna blanket is to use radiant heat from infrared rays to increase wellness through sweating.
Not only is a sauna blanket a lot more affordable than adding a sauna to your home, but you can also take it with you to the office, on vacation, or even on that weekend yoga retreat you’ve been eyeing!
Are sauna blankets as effective as saunas?
Okay, so now you understand the basics of a sauna blanket, but can they really provide the same benefits as a cabin (room) sauna?
Most agree that the beauty and wellness benefits achieved from using a sauna blanket are virtually the same as when using a cabin sauna, as the far infrared technology being used is the same. A sauna blanket will still provide the same boost to circulation, stimulate the release of serotonin, create calorie burn, and decrease blood pressure, in the same ways an infrared cabin sauna can.
In fact, many sauna blanket users find the fact that you can have your head outside of the heat a benefit over the cabin sauna. Not only does this allow you to multitask (think listening to an audiobook or your favorite meditation), but it may make the heat more tolerable.
Does a sauna blanket help with arthritis?
While there are many causes and types of arthritis, they all include symptoms of painful joints and inflammation. Studies on infrared therapies have shown promise in increasing the anti-inflammatory factors in the body.
The reduction of inflammation and stiffness, as well as pain improvement in a study of arthritis sufferers exposed to infrared rays, indicates sauna blankets do help with arthritis.
Pair this with the fact that no negative effects have been discovered from using infrared therapy for arthritis, and it’s definitely worth discussing with your healthcare provider.
Potential risks of sauna blankets
As with any tool used to affect health and wellness, caution should be exercised in certain situations. While sauna blankets are generally considered safe, always talk with your healthcare provider if you are on medications or have any chronic health conditions.
Other things to consider are:
- Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Starting slow to acclimate your body to the heat
- Don’t use while pregnant
- Follow user instructions closely
Key characteristics of a heated blanket
Most people have either seen or used a heated blanket, also called an electric blanket, before. They’ve been around since the ‘30s and are generally considered safe,
Heated blankets use a heating coil technology to heat the air around them, creating a cozy way to regulate your body temperature.
The heated blanket is simply plugged into a wall outlet, a temperature setting is chosen, and you’re in charge of the climate in your personal space.
Is a heating blanket good for you?
If you find yourself feeling chilled when others aren’t, a heated blanket may be just what you’re looking for.
You may want to invest in a heated blanket because they are:
- Energy efficient
- Able to warm you up without affecting those around you
- Easy to store
Is it OK to sleep with a heating blanket?
Using a heated blanket can create the perfect temperature for sleeping, but there are things to consider.
Heated blankets can cause overheating, pose a fire risk, or burn your skin if used while sleeping.
It’s recommended to use a heated blanket to warm your bed before going to sleep. You may also choose a blanket that has a shut-off timer, to prevent adverse effects you may not be aware of while asleep.
Do heating blankets use a lot of electricity?
To create some context, a TV uses about 235 watts per hour of use, and a clothes dryer uses almost 2800 watts per hour.
The average heating blanket will use about 100-150 watts, which is quite low.
A heated blanket can be an energy and money-saving tool, allowing you to keep your thermostat at a lower overall temperature.
Are heated blankets safe to use?
Medical professionals agree that heated blankets are generally safe, under most circumstances.
The most important safety precautions to observe when using a heated blanket include:
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations
- Do not use secondhand blankets
- Don’t use with waterbeds or sofa beds (the mechanism may trap or damage the blanket)
- Check for any damage to the power cord, heating coils, or torn fabric
- Don’t plug in a wet blanket
- Don’t use a heated mattress pad and heated blanket together
Who should not use a heating blanket?
There are two main categories of people who shouldn’t use heating blankets.
Anyone with a condition that may cause an inability to be able to sense how hot the blanket is getting should avoid the use of a heated blanket.
Conditions that affect temperature regulation and nerve desensitization include the elderly, those with diabetes or dementia, and those with circulation issues. Those that fit into these categories may not recognize when the blanket has become too hot and suffer from burns.
Additionally, discontinuing the use of a heating blanket while pregnant is advised.
Some studies have shown that using electrical devices, such as a heated blanket, may lead to miscarriage.
Overall, both sauna blankets and heated blankets are considered generally safe to use for most healthy adults. The key is knowing what result you are looking to achieve and using each properly, as intended.