Red light therapy devices for home use have made huge bounds in recent years. Previously, only scientists or doctors had access to red light therapy, but now everyone can use it safely and effectively —and you don’t have to leave your house to reap the benefits. Plus, you can purchase a device at a far lower price than you’d pay for red light therapy at a spa, gym, or dermatologist’s office.
For this article, we’ve reviewed red light therapy devices in a few key categories: handheld devices, full-body panels, and masks/wands. Below, we’ll go over the top devices in each category, show you what to look for in a red light therapy device, explain the science behind red light therapy, and show you how to use the devices at home.
Best Handheld Red Light Therapy Devices to Use at Home
PlatinumLED BIO300 and BIOMAX 300
PlatinumLED therapy lights are the most powerful, advanced lights you can use at home or in a medical setting. This might sound biased or like an overblown claim, but we encourage you to check the facts. We’ll give you a head start:
Compared to other lights on the market, we offer:
- More power output (185 mW/cm(2) compared to an average of 60-100 mW/m2). This leads to better results, in less time.
- Five therapeutic wavelengths provide a wider array of health benefits compared to the industry-standard two wavelengths (Note that BIOMAX lights offer five wavelengths, and BIO lights two).
- An industry-leading 3-year warranty.
- USA-based customer service via phone and email rather than email-only support.
We’ll dive into the tech details and why they’re important later on, but in short, our lights are the most powerful and advanced therapy lights you can buy today, period.
If you’re looking for a handheld device, go for the 300 series in either the BIO or BIOMAX configuration. The BIO series will give you great results in a more economical package, while the BIOMAX series offers more advanced technology and functionality at a slightly higher price. Both can be used at home, have the same warranty and customer support, and can be financed for as low as $34/month.
Joovv Go 2.0
If you want the smallest red light therapy panel available, the Joovv Go 2.0 is a handy red light therapy device that delivers two total wavelengths of red and near-infrared light. At just under 2 lbs. and smaller than an iPad mini, this is a lightweight panel.
The treatment area is pretty tiny, so you have to keep it close to your body to receive its full benefits. At $545, it’s pricier than the more powerful Platinum Therapy Lights BIOMAX 300—you’re paying for portability. But, as the name implies, this is a great option for on-the-go red light therapy.
Looking for something powerful and small? The MitoPRO 300, by Mito Red Light, is a nice middle ground. It’s fairly light and iPad-sized, yet it’s packed with four therapeutic wavelengths: red light (630nm and 660nm) and NIR light (830nm and 850nm).
The maximum treatment area of the MitoPRO 300 is slightly smaller than that of the BIO 300, simply because the device itself is smaller. But this is a great option for targeting specific areas of the body with a little more power than, say, the Joovv Go 2.0.
reVive dpl® IIa—Professional Anti-Aging Light Therapy
This device opens like a book to treat a specific area of the body, such as the face and neck, décolleté, chest, hands, and probably a small section of your back if you can maneuver the device correctly. The company is not specific about which wavelength(s) the dpl® IIa uses, though it does have positive reviews.
It’s also unclear from the manufacturer’s website how powerful the device is; but given the images on Revive’s website of the device resting on a woman’s face and chest, it’s safe to say it's a very light-weight, relatively low-power device. The price of $359 seems a little expensive for a low-irradiance device, but it is portable, lightweight, and fairly flexible. For an extra $40, you can get the reVive model with additional acne-fighting blue lights.
Best Full-Body Light Therapy Panels to Use at Home
PlatinumLED Therapy Lights BIOMAX 900
The phrase, “go big or go home” seems appropriate when talking about PlatinumLED Therapy Lights BIOMAX 900. This is the biggest and most powerful device we have to offer, and it packs quite a punch. Like all lights in the BIOMAX series, this red light therapy device features our exclusive red and near-infrared light spectral configuration—five different wavelengths of red and NIR light: 630nm, 660nm, 810nm, 830nm, and 850nm. When combined, these deliver a therapeutic value that is simply not available with other devices on the market.
The irradiance levels of this particular model are also fantastic. At the industry-standard measurement distance of 6”, the BIOMAX 900 produces 185mW/cm(2) of irradiance. And even if you’re standing two feet away from the panel, you’ll still receive about 100 mW/cm2 . All lights in the BIOMAX series are modular, meaning you can build your own array to suit your therapeutic needs. Considering its power and coverage, $1,149 seems a fair price to pay for this full-body panel.
The Joovv Solo delivers two therapeutic wavelengths: 660nm and 850nm. While it has roughly the same dimensions as the BIOMAX 900, the Joovv Solo possesses a third of the number of LED bulbs, which partially explains why it’s a lighter device. Optical irradiance is listed at >100 mW/cm2, but Joovv doesn’t specify how far you have to be from the device to reap these benefits—it could be less than an inch away.
That said, Joovv has a solid history in the red light therapy space, so you’re likely to receive a quality device, even if it isn’t as robust as PlatinumLED Therapy Lights’ full-body panels.
With its MitoMAX device, Mito Red Light splits the difference between PlatinumLED and Joovv, landing somewhere between them in terms of weight, irradiance, and overall power. This model features the two most common wavelengths: 660nm and 850nm, and they can be used separately or in tandem. MitoMAX lists the irradiance at >110 mW/cm2 at 6 inches, which is helpful—but means you have to be pretty close to gain the full benefit of the light.
RedRush 720 ULTRA Body Light
RedRush is a relative newcomer to the red light device market. This full-body treatment panel features the two popular wavelengths of 660nm and 850nm, which can be used in tandem or interchangeably.
For its size, the 720 ULTRA is fairly dense: It has 240 LED lights, split between the two wavelengths, which is more than other Joovv or similar devices, though fewer than a PlatinumLED device. The website says its peak irradiance is >250 mW/cm2, which is pretty high—but again, it doesn’t specify how close you have to be. At 6 inches it goes down to just 100.5 mW/cm2. That means you’ll have to be nearly nose to nose with it to get >250 mW/cm2.
Red Light Rising: The Full Stack 2.0
Formed in 2017 by health and wellness enthusiasts in the U.K., Red Light Rising is a relatively new company in the red light therapy products space. Its Full Stack 2.0 is a full-body panel that includes 660nm and 850nm wavelengths, 200 LED bulbs (though at 600w, significantly less than the BIOMAX’s 900w), and basic wall hanging accessories. Red Light Rising says this device offers a maximum irradiance of >250 mW/cm2—but this is another instance when you’d have to be unrealistically close to the device to achieve those levels.
The Full Stack is taller and thinner than some of the other full-body treatment panels we’ve looked at, which means the treatment area is slightly different (more up-and-down coverage than side-to-side). And at about 14 lbs., it's also pretty light. The device is priced at $933.10, which is not a bad deal at first glance—but does not include shipping and handling from the U.K., nor import taxes, customs duties, and/or fees imposed by the destination country.
Why Masks and Face Wands Don’t Work as Well as Panels
In general, masks and face wands are not powerful enough to provide significant results compared to practically any other type of device. The technology that’s used in these products is driven by what can comfortably be balanced on a user’s face or held in their hand for an extended period.
But that convenience and comfort requires light circuits and lower power outputs, which leads to slow results. Plus, these devices can only be used for a single purpose—facials or tiny spot treatments—and they’re often more expensive than one of the full-sized panels listed above.
That’s why in general, we don’t recommend masks or wands for anyone. Still, if convenience is your utmost concern and only priority, here are the few devices that may be worth a look.
Masks and Face Wands That Might Be Worth a Look (If Convenience Is Your Top Priority)
Dr. Dennis Gross DRx FaceWare Pro
Constantly appearing among the top five recommended LED masks and wands on the market, the DRx FaceWare Pro is the best-known and most popular device in the Dr. Dennis Gross line.
Unfortunately, the website does not provide information on which wavelengths are used in the device. And, as with all masks and wands, the irradiance and overall power are much less than what you’d experience with one of the more robust handheld devices mentioned. At a hefty $435, price, along with the limited range (face only), should be considered.
MZ Skin Light-Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Device
The MZ Skin Light mask has practically every color light imaginable, which the manufacturer describes as follows: red light (630nm) to stimulate collagen, reduce inflammation, and improve scarring; blue light (430nm) to clarify skin and treat acne; green light (520 nm) to calm skin and reduce pigmentation and other sun-related blemishes; yellow light (570-590nm) to reduce redness, boost circulation, and boost lymphatic flow; and white light (450-460nm) to promote wound healing and skin repair.
But many of these wavelengths haven’t been proven in legitimate medical studies and are backed by very limited research. Combined with a price tag of $500 and a low power output, this device becomes a bit of a hard sell.
LightStim: LightStim for Wrinkles
The smallest on our list, this device has a total of 72 LEDs that emit four different kinds of light: amber, light red, dark red, and infrared (although the wavelengths are not specified). The nice thing about this little wand is that you can direct it anywhere you prefer, unlike the red and infrared light masks, which are for the face only.
The downside is that the treatment area is quite small. It will certainly take quite a few three-minute sessions to treat your whole face, neck, décolleté, and any other areas you want to hit—if you even see results in the first place. And at $249, it’s only slightly less expensive than a standard therapy-grade panel like the BIO300.
Why You Should Trust Our Reviews
Here are PlatinumLED Therapy Lights, we’ve been researching and applying the power of light therapy for more than a decade. We first got into this space by engineering ultra-high power LED panels for horticultural uses before transferring that research and development to therapy lights.
Over time, we’ve not only been pioneers in the development of red light technologies, but we’ve also closely followed emerging scientific research about red light and the human body. To date, thousands of studies and scientific reviews have shown the connection between red light and cellular activity; specifically, how red wavelengths absorb into cells and stimulate tiny energy-producing organelles known as mitochondria. This kick-starts mitochondria to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary cellular fuel.
Scientists have discovered that this surge in ATP is why red light therapy produces so many desirable physiological effects. Broadly speaking, red light is used for:
- Skin and beauty treatments. Red light stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, the proteins inside skin cells that are responsible for clear and taut skin. With consistent use, red light therapy can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, combat the effects of sun damage, and enhance skin tone.
- Muscle recovery. Many athletes, professional and otherwise, use red light therapy as a post-workout recovery strategy. Studies show that red light can help facilitate the muscle recovery process after training sessions faster than if muscles were left to repair on their own.
- Wound healing. Increased collagen production also helps speed up the healing of wounds by building up healthier skin cells around the area of the wound. Red light therapy has been shown to aid, and in some cases, speed up this process.
The Three Science-Backed Specifications to Look for in Any Red Light Therapy Device for Home Use
Many factors should be considered when choosing a red light therapy device for the home. Here are some of the most important ones.
Dr. Michael Hamblin—red light therapy expert and Harvard Associate Professor—once said, “total energy is the most important thing,” when asked what makes a red light therapy treatment effective.
This means when you're comparing LED devices, you should look for the highest possible total energy output, or irradiance. In the red light therapy industry, power is typically measured using a measurement of milliwatts per square centimeter (mW/cm2).
We’ve mentioned irradiance in many of the reviews here, and the reason it’s important is that it indicates how strong the device is, how far you have to stand from it to receive the full benefits, and how quickly you’ll receive those benefits. Essentially, the results you see come down to how much energy is absorbed by your cells’ mitochondria. A higher-output panel will energize your cells more quickly and thoroughly, which lets you get great results with less time spent in front of a panel.
As you may have figured out by now, the most popular red and near-infrared light wavelengths tend to be 660nm and 850nm, respectively. It’s perfectly fine to work within these two, either separately or in combination.
However, adding red light wavelengths or NIR light wavelengths is never a bad thing. Research tells us there are five ideal wavelengths of red and near-infrared light that cover a range of treatment areas. Those are the aforementioned two, along with 630nm, 810nm, and 830nm (read more about these wavelengths). Only PlatinumLED offers all five red light and NIR light wavelengths, and they are found in the red light therapy devices of the BIOMAX series.
The size of your red light therapy device will dictate the surface area you’re able to treat in one session, so it’s important to figure that out first. Are you primarily interested in treating wrinkles and fine lines around the face, neck, and décolleté? Were you hoping to use the device in your post-workout recovery? Or, perhaps you anticipate your red light therapy needs changing over time. If so, it might be worth getting a slightly larger panel for flexibility—say, stepping up from the BIO300 to the BIO600 or BIO900, in case you want more and better coverage down the road.
Dirty Little Secrets of the Industry
As with any groundbreaking technology, misinformation abounds in the red light therapy industry. Some manufacturers make claims that either aren’t accurate or are totally irrelevant. Here are a few pitfalls to watch out for in your red light therapy device research:
- Pulsed light—it doesn’t matter. Somehow, the idea of pulsating light as a positive feature entered the red light therapy conversation, but the truth is, red light devices aren’t supposed to pulse. Lasers that use red light sometimes pulse to offset the heat that they generate. If you’d like to explore this topic further, you might like to read an article about it on our blog.
- Irradiance matters—not wattage. As discussed, irradiance is an important measurement to consider when comparing red light devices. It tells you the intensity of the power being emitted, which influences how far you need to stand from the device to reap its full benefits. Wattage, however, is the power the device consumes, which is only relevant in terms of your energy bill. Some companies talk up the wattage of their bulbs, but it’s a nonessential detail; look for the irradiance number of the red light therapy device instead.
Using Red Light Therapy At Home: Commonly Asked Questions
Below we’ll address a few of the most commonly asked questions about red light therapy and how to use it at home.
What Is Red Light Therapy?
The term red light therapy refers to the application of a narrow spectrum of visible light, including red light (630nm to 660nm) and near-infrared light (NIR) (800nm to 850nm) to your skin and body using an LED device. This treatment occurs in what’s called the “therapeutic window"—in other words, it uses light that's beneficial to your body, unlike harmful UV rays or benign yellow light. It can be administered in a dermatologist’s office, but also in the comfort of your own home.
How Does Red Light Therapy Work In the Body?
In general, the human body is highly responsive to light. Different wavelengths, which correspond to different colors, penetrate the skin to varying depths where the light stimulates natural biological processes. Sunlight has long been hailed as a therapy for chronic skin conditions, seasonal depression, and other health problems.
But since prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UVA/UVB) rays is harmful, natural sunlight is unfortunately not the best solution. Red light therapy is also called photobiomodulation, or low-level laser therapy. It uses light-emitting diode (LED) devices to expose the skin to specific wavelengths of light that are known to have innumerable therapeutic benefits.
How Do Red Light Therapy Devices Work?
Red light therapy works on the human body in a way that’s similar to how photosynthesis works in plants. An LED panel radiates red and near-infrared light particles (photons) into your skin, where they're absorbed by mitochondria, which are the energy centers of cells. There, the photons are converted to energy.
This boost of additional energy allows cells to regenerate successfully, and to build new proteins including collagen and elastin. Energized, optimally functioning cells directly affect the body’s health and proper functioning, since all bodily systems are interrelated and interdependent. In short, increasing cellular energy improves the functionality of the body’s systems, which leads to an improvement in overall health.
Can I Use Red Light Therapy Devices at Home?
Can you do red light therapy at home? Yes, you can! Because treatment for chronic conditions often takes place over a period of weeks or months, many people choose to purchase devices for home use. For example, treating eczema with red light typically involves three to five visits per week to a dermatologist over a period of several months until symptoms abate.
Following that, an ongoing maintenance program typically involves one to two treatments per week indefinitely. This same protocol, administered at home, is far more convenient, comfortable, and cost-effective. And when used as directed, red light is safe and has no known side effects. Infrared light therapy at home can work well as long as these criteria are met:
- You commit to a regular and consistent treatment program (preferably after consulting a medical professional). Since red light therapy works at a cellular level, many conditions will require several weeks or months of treatment; and some may require maintenance sessions to prevent the condition from flaring up again.
- You use a high-quality, high-output red light therapy device that irradiates the skin using an optimal combination of red- and near-infrared light. Many devices built for home use are weak and ineffective. An investment in a high-quality device from a reputable manufacturer will give you many years of beneficial red light therapy in your home.
Instructions for Using Red Light Therapy at Home
Once you've purchased a panel, simply choose a convenient place to hang or place your panels, so that you will be comfortable during the treatment. Then, position your body so the area you'd like to treat is facing the panel, and turn the panel on.
The area of your body you are treating must be fully exposed to the light and not covered by any fabric or clothing. If you feel more comfortable, you may cover areas not being treated.
We recommend eye protection if you’re treating facial wrinkles or other skin conditions on the face. If you are treating other areas of the body, protective goggles are not necessary. Be sure you don’t look directly at the lights, though, near infrared bulbs may appear dim or unlit because near infrared light is at the outer reaches of the visible spectrum—but even if your eyes can’t see it, to your body the light is extremely bright.
What Will I Feel During Treatment?
Expect to feel soothing, gentle warmth during and after your treatment. Some people experience a temporary tightness of the skin, which should disappear shortly after you’ve been treated. If you experience any discomfort or feel you’re getting too much exposure, you can decrease the therapy time or increase your distance from the light.
How Often Should You Use Red Light Therapy?
Targeted treatments can be repeated three to five times per week until you experience a noticeable improvement in the condition you’re treating. Then you can reduce it to 2 days per week for maintenance, though daily treatments will not be harmful to your body.
How Long Should I Use Red Light Therapy?
Currently, there are no set rules about how long to use red light therapy, since treatment times vary based on specific conditions being treated and individual sensitivity. Here are some general guidelines, and remember to start slowly with shorter therapy times and gradually work up to the maximum recommended time.
For targeted treatment, such as on the face, start with a 10-minute session and gradually work up to 20 minutes, keeping the area being treated 6 to 12 inches from the device. The skin on the face is particularly sensitive, so be sure not to overdo the duration or try to accelerate results by moving closer than the recommended distance. You won’t get burned by red light or NIR light as you could from exposure to UVA/UVB light, but just remember that more is not necessarily better. Treat a maximum of two or three areas per day.
Read more about specific targeted treatments by visiting these linked websites:
Full Body Treatment
For treating the large muscle groups, chronic skin conditions that cover large areas, or for overall health improvement, start with a 10-minute session and gradually work up to a 20-minute session, keeping the body 6 to 12 inches from the device.
Read more about full-body treatments here:
When Will I See Results?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some conditions respond very quickly and noticeably to the treatment, such as muscle recovery. Conditions like chronic skin disorders typically require several months of consistent treatment before you experience full relief. Remember that red light works on a cellular level. The body requires time to generate new cells and new capillaries, as well as to generate positive effects in the skin, muscles, and other tissue.
Again, keep in mind that LED light therapy is not a cure. You can experience significant relief from chronic skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, but maintenance sessions will be required indefinitely to prevent these conditions from flaring up. Dermatologists recommend one to two sessions per week on an ongoing basis to maintain the desired results.
We recommend you download the PlatinumLED Therapy Companion app, which will guide you through setting up your device for maximum effect.
What’s the Best Time to Do Red Light Therapy?
Consistency is the most important aspect of red light therapy, and when you do it is less important than doing it faithfully. Here are some suggested times that work well for specific conditions:
- Athletes wanting to accelerate muscle recovery, grow muscle mass, and enhance performance can use red light therapy just before exercise to prime the muscles for activity, and again afterward to promote recovery.
- If you are treating a chronic skin condition, use red light therapy before your nightly wet-wrap or dry-wrap routine. You can also use red light therapy early in the morning after cleansing the skin and before applying therapeutic creams.
- For chronic pain, experiment with morning sessions to prime achy joints for the day’s activities, or in the evening to fall asleep pain-free.
- For insomnia, try a relaxing session just before bed.
- For wound healing, treat the area before reapplying bandages and dressings.
Are There Any Dangers to Red Light Therapy?
Unlike UVA and UVB light, red light and NIR cannot burn the skin. When used as directed, there are no known side effects to red light therapy, although individuals with sensitive skin may experience temporary redness and tightness.
One commonly asked question is whether these devices generate harmful electromagnetic emissions. All electrical devices generate some type of electromagnetic frequency (EMF); this is a normal byproduct of electrical consumption. However, PlatinumLED devices use shielded components to eliminate EMF emissions. In fact, they have zero detectable EMF emissions as measured at the minimum usage distance (4 to 6 inches). See this testing for yourself here: EMF Blog + Verification Video.
Learn More about the Most Powerful Red Light Therapy Devices You Can Use at Home
Start your research by checking out the gold standard in at-home red light therapy devices: PlatinumLED Therapy Lights. These are the strongest lights on the market, and Platinum LED is the only manufacturer that uses all five therapeutic wavelengths, in the BIOMAX line. And while these lights do require an investment, they are not the most expensive devices on the market.
After seeing what’s possible in the realm of red light therapy, work backward and decide what benefits you’re willing to sacrifice, whether that’s coverage area, irradiance, or a variety of wavelengths. Remember, however, that red light therapy is a multifaceted treatment that can evolve with you as your needs diversify. Going for the best device on the market just might be worth it in the long run.
Learn more about the most powerful therapy lights on the planet in the PlatinumLED store, and if you have any questions, please contact our customer service team. Start enjoying the far-reaching wellness benefits of red light today.