The Ultimate Guide to The Best Red Light Therapy Device for Your Needs
Red light therapy (or RLT) is a non-invasive, natural treatment gaining recognition for its anti-aging, skin healing, hair growth, weight loss, pain relief, and recovery benefits.
For years RLT was a well-kept wellness secret among civilian biohackers and cutting-edge dermatologists. However, it goes far beyond beauty and biohacking. Plus, the rapid growth of LED technology means red light isn’t just discussed in the pages of medical journals anymore.
At RFS, we’re big fans of RLT. You can check out our detailed article on the pros and cons of red light therapy. We also did a deep dive into red light therapy for weight loss. It’s one of the emerging interventions to support fitness, vitality, and a variety of onditions.
The availability of at-home red light devices has rocketed in recent years. Red light panels, torches, helmets, wraps, and face masks offer access to red light therapy without leaving your home (sign me up). That said, poor regulation makes it easy for dodgy companies to sell overpriced products on Amazon with zero therapeutic benefits.
In this article, we’ll give you the scoop on the best red light therapy devices on the market. We’ll help you buy a quality RLT device without falling for confusing sales language.
Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation, involves using low-energy wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to enhance overall well-being.
While red light exists naturally on the light spectrum, it is most visible during sunrise and sunset, when most people are indoors. On the other hand, artificial blue light from screens and indoor lighting is abundant.
RLT makes it easy to get exposure to these concentrated wavelengths in controlled doses.
When targeted at specific areas, red light safely penetrates the skin without causing damage. It interacts with your body at a cellular level, triggering a low level of good stress that promotes cellular adaptation, improves circulation, and reduces inflammatory processes.
As your cells absorb the red light, the mitochondria (responsible for energy production) generate more adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP are energy molecules that power all your body’s necessary functions.
Think of it like this: your cells need energy to rejuvenate, repair, and function optimally. RLT helps the process along.
Plus, red light supports the production of collagen. Together with another protein called elastin, collagen keeps your skin, joints, and tendons strong and flexible. Supporting collagen levels with RLT may reduce premature signs of aging, soothe skin conditions, and promote a glowing complexion.
While red light devices aren’t cheap, many believe they offer a huge return on investment for health and longevity.
Finding the best at-home RLT device can feel overwhelming. While design quality, ease of use, warranty, and safety are important, we think these three aspects are key when deciding on an RLT device:
Wavelengths of red light are the most important factor when selecting a device.
Visible red light, between 630–660 nanometers (nm), penetrates the skin, making it ideal for skin health, wound healing, and hair growth. Near-infrared light (NIR), falling within the non-visible spectrum at 810–850 nm, penetrates deeper into the body. NIR is ideal for muscle recovery, pain, and mobility.
Quality devices typically offer both red and NIR light waves of different frequencies.
Irradiance, or power density, measures the intensity of light reaching the treatment area during a certain time. It represents the concentration of photons hitting the skin and is measured in milliwatts per cm2 (mW/cm2).
Depending on what you’re treating, irradiance numbers between 30- 200mW/cm2 may be most beneficial.
In general, higher power density usually means shorter treatment times. However, red light wraps and masks may have lower power densities as they are used directly on the skin.
Larger panels offer more power and better coverage but can be expensive. Ultimately, you should choose a device that covers the target area and suits your lifestyle.
A face mask or smaller handheld device is suitable for fine lines and wrinkles. If muscle recovery and better athletic performance are your focus, a larger red LED panel is a better option. Panels allow you to treat a large area more efficiently, saving time. However, if you travel frequently, a portable device is more practical. You get the picture…
Now, onto our list of red light therapy devices!
The number of red light companies popping up makes it difficult to determine which devices are legit. To help you out, we thoroughly researched and compiled a list of the 12 best red light therapy devices.
This list is not exhaustive, as the number of devices available makes that impossible. Rather, it’s a glimpse into what we believe are the leading red light therapy devices in 2023.
Note: We have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you buy from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying banner ads. Those suck.
MitoRed is a big hitter in the red light therapy biz, offering a wide range of high-power LED devices to suit different needs and budgets.
Our #1 pick is their MitoPRO 1500 full-body panel because it’s that good. However, the entire MitoPRO series is outstanding and comes in six sizes.
The MitoPRO series delivers a therapeutic spectrum of red and NIR light found in nature. It includes four bio-active red and NIR wavelengths: 50% 630nm / 660nm and 50% 830nm / 850nm. You can use the red and NIR spectrums separately or simultaneously, allowing greater flexibility to treat skin health, muscle recovery, chronic pain, hair loss, and energy levels.
The MitoPRO 1500 panel comes with 300 LEDs and weighs 25 lb. The dimensions are 42 x 10 inches, and the irradiance is >170 mw/cm2 at 6 inches. It’s the highest power density of any of their devices.
The panels feature an advanced digital control panel that allows you to select your treatment time and wavelengths. Moreover, all MitoRed panels are flicker-free and have a low EMF (electromagnetic field) rating. But don’t take our word for it – the panels are 3rd party tested and FDA Class II registered.
MitoRed devices are designed to last a lifetime. However, if something goes wrong, every device has a 3-year warranty. On top of that, MitoRed offers free shipping within the USA and a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you decide that red light therapy isn’t for you, there is no risk to your wallet.
You can’t go wrong with the MitoRed MitoPRO 1500 Full-Body Panel.
If you’re looking for a full-body red light panel, the Joovv Solo 3.0 comes in as a close second. Joovv have been around for years and have a great reputation.
Joovv Solo 3.0 has an irradiance of >100 mW/cm2 and offers two light wavelengths: 660 nm and 850 nm. You can select to use the red and NIR wavelengths separately or together.
One drawback is the cost. It is more expensive than the MitoRed panel, despite having only 150 LED lights and two wavelengths. However, what sets the Joovv Solo 3.0 apart is the Joovv mobile app and Bluetooth capability. You can customize the brightness, set a timer, turn the device on and off using your smartphone. There is even an option to schedule the device to automatically switch on at a specific time. I love the idea of setting my device to wake me in the morning!
Weighing 14 lbs., the panel comes with hand grips and a sturdy metal floor base, making it easy to move around. As a bonus, it integrates with additional panels to expand your setup.
Joovv Solo 3.0 is third-party tested and made according to current Good Manufacturing Practices. Additionally, it is an FDA Class II registered device. However, it only comes with a 2-year warranty, shorter than MitoRed.
All in all, the Joovv Solo 3.0 is an elite RLT panel that comes with a price tag of $1,599. But the build quality and customization options give it an edge over others.
PlatinumLED specializes in red light therapy and offers a variety of devices in different sizes and power densities. One of the standout products is the BioMax 450, a half-size LED panel measuring 19 x 12 inches.
What sets it apart from the competition is its five different wavelengths: 630 nm, 660 nm, 810 nm, 830 nm, and 850 nm. That said, 80% of the light comes from 660 and 850 nm wavelengths (the most well-studied).
BioMax LED panels are among the most potent on the market, with an irradiance of 130 mw/cm2 at 6 inches. Even if you move the panel farther away to treat a larger area, you still get a powerful dose. It’s the perfect compromise if you don’t want to invest in a full-length panel.
Not only is it powerful, but it’s one of the safest RLT products available. It has an EMF rating of 0.0 µT at 4 inches and zero flicker.
Additionally, the panel includes a built-in digital panel for selecting wavelengths and setting a timer. Plus, for an added fee, you get a touchscreen remote to control your device from a distance.
PlatinumLED offers a 3-year warranty, a 60-day money-back guarantee, and free shipping within the US.
The Infraredi Flex Mini is a third-party tested, FDA Class II red light device designed with five different bio-active light waves.
The Flex Mini delivers 25% 630nm, 25% 660nm, 16% 810nm, 16% 830nm, and 16% 850nm. It also boasts an irradiance of over 200mW/cm2, with zero flicker and 0.0 EMFs at 5 cm.
What makes the Infraredi Flex Series unique is the option to use the pulsed light mode. Research suggests that pulsed light may offer additional benefits for healing and recovery compared to continuous red light therapy.
This easy-to-use device targets smaller areas like the face, chest, and joints. It includes a remote control, hanging cables, a pulley system, a door hook, protective glasses, and a power cable – everything you need to start your RLT journey.
Costing $549, it’s well-priced for the size and quality. Plus, it includes a 3-year warranty and a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Vital Red Light offers FDA-cleared and third-party tested devices with medical-grade LEDs to suit different budgets.
The Vital PRO is a versatile and user-friendly device that delivers four clinically tested wavelengths: 630, 660, 810, and 850 nm.
With 72 anti-flicker LEDs and an irradiance of 110 mw/cm2, it’s a powerful device. Plus, it emits zero EMFs at 16-24 inches. It also comes with a tabletop stand and a convenient 10-minute auto-shutoff timer.
Vital devices are built to last for 50,000 hours of treatment time. However, the Vital PRO includes a 2-year warranty and a 30-day risk-free trial for added confidence.
Hooga Health makes high-quality red light therapy devices more affordable for different budgets. The HGPRO300 is a targeted tabletop device with an irradiance of 109mW/cm2 at 6 inches.
It measures 12.7 x 8.6 inches, providing a maximum coverage of 33 x 29 inches when used at a treatment distance of 18 inches. This makes it perfect for treating a large area without investing in a full-body panel. Plus, it can be easily set up on your desk, next to your bed, or on the bathroom counter.
It features 60 dual-chip, flicker-free LEDs emitting red and near-infrared light at 660 and 850 nanometers. Plus, the HGPRO300 comes with individual power switches, allowing you to customize your treatment by selecting either red light, NIR light, or both.
The device comes with a built-in stand and is competitively priced at $269, significantly lower than devices of a similar size and strength. Furthermore, it easily connects to other HGPRO panels if you expand your setup.
It’s a budget option and does not include an in-built timer or remote. Nevertheless, it offers great functionality.
Hooga Health manufactures its panels in FDA-approved facilities and provides a 3-year warranty and a 60-day return policy.
LUMEBOX® is an FDA class II portable device designed by an MD and thoroughly tested for strength and safety. It delivers clinically tested 660 nm red and 850 nm NIR light, which can be used together or individually. The lightweight design and comfortable strap help you target specific body parts like sore joints, tight muscles, wrinkles, and skin blemishes.
The company takes transparency seriously and has had the irradiance numbers tested by two separate labs. They’re happy with the result of 140 mW/cm2 for NIR and 125 mW/cm2 for red light.
The EMF rating is low – measuring just 0.2uT at 0 cm. Plus, it’s battery-operated, so you don’t have to worry about flicker. If you want to see the test results with your own eyes, check out the testing page.
Overall, the LUMEBOX® offers a convenient alternative to red light panels and tabletop devices. A full charge gives you roughly 10-12 10-minute sessions.
Hooga Health’s affordable medical-grade devices have us hooked. Their Charge device is an excellent portable option for just $159. It’s small but mighty, measuring 5.9 x 3.9 inches and covering a maximum treatment area of 35 x 31 inches.
With 12 flicker-free LEDS offering red and NIR light modes, it delivers clinically proven wavelengths of 660 and 850 nm.
The irradiance is also impressive, reaching 70mW/cm2 at 3 inches and 40mW/cm2 at 6 inches – good numbers for such a compact device.
You won’t have to worry about running out of power as it comes with a rechargeable 10,000mAh lithium-ion battery. A full charge gives you approximately 10 sessions of 10 minutes each. The only downside is that it takes 8 hours to fully charge. We recommend charging it overnight.
The Charge comes with a travel case and eye-protective goggles, so you’re set to take it on the go.
BlockBlueLight is a cutting-edge wellness company with natural solutions to support sleep and overall well-being. This includes an impressive range of reasonably priced red light therapy devices and accessories.
The BlockBlueLight Target Torch delivers a combination of clinical-grade red and near-infrared wavelengths, including 630:660:850 nm in a ratio of 1:1:2.
This red light therapy tool targets small areas such as painful joints, skin pigmentation, or slow healing wounds.
The torch is low-EMF, flicker-free, and has a power density of over 141 mw/cm2 at 6 inches from the skin. Despite its size, it’s more powerful than many larger devices available. Plus, its sleek stainless steel design is super lightweight, durable, and easy to use.
BlockBlueLight offers free shipping in the US for orders over $99 and a 30-day money-back guarantee. It also comes with a 1-year warranty. The only downside is that their website doesn’t mention independent testing.
In the past, you’d have had to visit an esthetician or make a dermatology appointment to access medical-grade laser therapy for skin rejuvenation. But no longer.
Boncharge makes a lightweight, flexible red light therapy mask that contours to your face. It delivers the most effective wavelengths of red and infrared light – 630 nm and 850 nm – for optimal skin health. Plus, it has an irradiance of 100 mw/cm2.
While large LED panels and handheld devices are great for overall skincare, you may need a more targeted approach to reduce blemishes, crow’s feet, puffiness, dark circles, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation.
The LED mask is designed for comfort and efficiency. It’s cordless and rechargeable, allowing you to move freely during treatment. It’s made from high-quality silicone, and the soft cushioned eye holes and Velcro straps make it easy to add to your skincare routine.
Boncharge products are lab tested for quality and come with a 1-year warranty.
MitoRed’s Red Light Therapy Belt is lightweight and flexible, perfect for wrapping around painful joints and muscles. It’s also ideal for targeting problem weight-loss areas, such as the belly and thighs.
It weighs only 1.5 lbs. and measures 48 x 7 inches, with a treatment area of 21 x 5 inches.
The belt contains 405 tightly packed LEDs, split evenly between 660 and 850 nm wavelengths. Plus, you can choose between 5 intensity levels.
The power density is 10mW/cm2. While it may sound low, the LEDs touch the skin, so a higher intensity might cause skin irritation. Plus, with a wrap, no light is lost to reflection like with other devices.
It has a 15,000 mAh battery that can run for 2-6 hours, depending on the intensity. You can experience RLT with minimal fuss and move freely without sitting beside the nearest outlet.
Hooga Health also offers a red light therapy laser helmet for targeting hair loss. This snug-fitting helmet delivers up to 40mW/cm2 of red light power directly to the scalp.
What sets this helmet apart is its use of both LEDs and high-power lasers. The 30 LEDs emit red wavelengths between 640-660 nm, while the 26 lasers emit 650-660 nm. This spectrum is clinically studied to support hair growth.
Hooga recommends using the helmet for 25 minutes per day. Best of all, it’s hands-free, allowing you to multitask while getting your treatment.
We ranked these red light therapy devices, but you might prefer one over another. We want you to know how we ranked so you can decide for yourself.
The wellness industry is poorly regulated. With this in mind, we prioritized independently tested devices that have received safety clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
We selected devices with higher power densities so you can get the most out of the therapy. However, there’s controversy regarding the honesty of companies about illumination numbers. Again, we select independently tested companies and avoid those that don’t disclose power density.
We included devices with clinically proven red and near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths in the 620-660 nm and 810-850 nm range. Most offer both the red and NIR spectrum, allowing you to experience different health benefits.
The exception is the RLT helmet from Hooga Health, which focuses only on red light waves for hair growth.
We’ve included a variety of red light devices to suit different needs. This includes full-body and half-size panels, smaller devices for targeted areas, torches, and portable devices.
Flickering lights can stress the nervous system, leading to eyestrain and headaches. It doesn’t make sense to use a red light device to improve your health while exposing yourself to flicker.
We looked for red light devices that emit minimal flicker or use flicker-free technology.
All electronic devices emit some electromagnetic radiation (EMF), but the amount can vary. It’s largely determined by how well the device is made. We found devices that guarantee low EMF levels.
When using red light therapy at home, convenience and ease of use are important. For this reason, we favored devices with intuitive controls, built-in timers, adjustable intensity settings, wavelength selectors, and app integration.
Joovv, MitoRed, and PlatinumLED are clear winners in this department.
If you’re investing in a red light therapy device, you don’t want to be left in the lurch if something goes wrong. While LEDs should last a lifetime, a lot can go wrong with electronics.
We included devices with a reasonable warranty period and returns policy.
While quality and efficiency should be top of mind when buying an RLT device, we know cost plays a significant role in the decision.
Overall, it’s worth the investment if you can afford a larger panel with a higher power output. However, we’ve also included more affordable panels and devices that are just as effective. The bells and whistles don’t matter if you’re still getting a good dose of clinically proven-red light waves.
It’s also worth mentioning that most companies listed also offer payment plans because they know forking out for a device isn’t easy.
Let’s face it, relying solely on reviews isn’t the best way to determine whether a product is worth your time. It’s common knowledge that companies pay for false reviews to boost their overall rating on Google. However, we still look at online feedback to confirm there are no major red flags.
Over two thousand peer-reviewed research studies support red light therapy to boost collagen production, support skin healing, enhance fat loss, relieve pain, stimulate hair growth, and support muscle recovery.
This 2014 randomized controlled trial found that two sessions of red light therapy per week increased collagen density, improved overall skin texture, and enhanced skin tone. If you’re dealing with slow-healing skin wounds or discoloration from scars, evidence shows that near-infrared (800-830 nm) and red (630-680 nm) light may promote healing.
RLT can also enhance performance by reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and speeding up recovery (1). This study also found NIR light therapy in the 830 nm range helped college athletes recover faster from injuries.
These are just a few of the impressive science-backed benefits of RLT. For more on the health benefits of red light therapy, check out our deep-dive article about red light therapy.
That said, even though the science is impressive, red light therapy is still not a “mainstream” treatment. Conventional medicine takes time to catch up. Nevertheless, neuroscientists like Andrew Huberman are impressed with RLT (you can check out his podcast on the subject here).
Red light therapy is a safe, non-invasive, and painless treatment that is generally safe for most people. It doesn’t emit any UVA or UVB rays, so you won’t get a sunburn.
If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, at-home red light therapy devices are generally safe. That said, some people may experience temporary skin redness or sensitivity. This side effect is usually resolved by moving the device away from the skin.
Note: If you have an active infection, are being treated for a chronic health condition, or are on prescription medication, talk to your doctor before trying RLT.
There is no evidence to suggest RLT is harmful to the eyes. However, LED light therapy is bright, so if you have sensitive eyes or ocular migraines, it’s a good idea to wear protective goggles while using the device.
The most effective wavelengths for red light therapy fall between 630–660 nm. This range is clinically tested to support skin health, hair growth, and wound healing. Most devices also incorporate NIR wavelengths between 810–850 nm to penetrate deeper into the body and aid tissue healing and muscle recovery.
Always check the device to ensure it delivers red light waves in these ranges.
Light energy on the visible red spectrum doesn’t generate heat. However, non-visible near-infrared light generates warmth instead of light. It’s mild, more of a therapeutic warmth.
Another factor to consider is the intensity of the light. Devices with higher illumination may generate more heat.
Most companies suggest sitting 6 inches from a light therapy device. Additionally, quality devices come with cooling fans to minimize heat buildup.
Overall, there is no risk of excessive heat from red light therapy devices.
The length of each session depends on power density, distance from the light source, and your specific needs.
In general, sessions can be between 5 to 20 minutes, delivering an ideal dose of red light therapy between 3J/cm2 and 50J/cm2. After this, the positive effects may result in diminishing returns, so more is not always better.
If you’re targeting superficial skin issues, 5-10 minute sessions are usually sufficient. However, to target muscles, joints, and ligaments, you’ll need longer sessions of 10-20 minutes to penetrate deep into the tissues. In addition, the further you sit from the red light device, the weaker the light intensity.
Overall, follow the guidelines provided by your device and consult your healthcare provider to determine the optimal treatment length for your needs.
Again, the frequency of red light therapy sessions depends on your health goals.
Overall, the research supports using RLT anywhere from 2 to 14 times per week. Some prefer using their device once or twice daily, while others find 2-3 sessions per week work best for them.
If you’re new to red light therapy, experts suggest starting with 2-4 sessions per week to give your cells time to adjust. Then, you can gradually increase the session time and frequency.
As an aside, if you’re familiar with the concept of habit stacking from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits, you might want to combine your red light therapy session with another healthy habit. I enjoy meditating, practicing breathwork, or journaling while getting my red light fix.
No research suggests using RLT at a specific time of day makes it more effective. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and how often you use your device.
Many users find red light therapy in the morning helps them feel alert and energized throughout the day. Others use it in the evening to unwind and promote quality sleep. That said, everyone is different. Regardless of the time of day, consistency is key.
While RLT is safe when used at the recommended dosage, spending too much time in front of a red light may cancel out the benefits. This phenomenon is known as a “biphasic dose response.”
Your cells can only absorb a certain amount of intense light, and surpassing the threshold can stress your cells beyond healthy adaptation. Ideally, don’t exceed 20 minutes per RLT session.
The benefits of red light therapy may occur relatively quickly with consistent use. Some people feel benefits after just a few sessions, while others need regular sessions for weeks or months. The results vary based on the size of the device, the light wave frequencies, and the duration of each session.
However, RLT isn’t a magic bullet. Even if you don’t see immediate changes, you can be sure positive changes are happening at a cellular level.
No, red light is not powerful enough to penetrate clothing or bandages. Always apply the red light to bare skin for the best results. Just remember to close your curtains if you’re using a full-body red light panel ;)
There is no evidence suggesting that RLT is harmful during pregnancy.
However, due to the lack of rigorous testing on pregnant and nursing women, there is no guarantee that it is 100% safe.
If you’re pregnant, consult your healthcare provider before using red light therapy.
Red light therapy is popular for improving quality of life, performance, recovery, and overall health in athletes, executives, biohackers, and the average person. While it’s not a cure-all, the research is pretty darn convincing.
If you want to level up your health and wellness, why not consider adding a red light therapy device to your routine? Our list of the best red light therapy devices for home use is an excellent starting point.
Finally, while RLT is low-risk, we’re not doctors. So, I’m ending with a caveat about talking to your healthcare provider before using a red light device or any medical device.