The Benefits of Red Light Therapy & The Best Devices for Home Use

Do you experience aches and pains? Do you have an old injury still causing you ongoing trouble?

Red light therapy is an easy way to help promote healing in muscles and connective tissue, whether an injury has taken place or just everyday wear and tear. All you need to do is relax while the light shines on your body wherever you direct it, and different devices cover different surface area sizes.

In this post, we’ll look at what exactly red light therapy is, how it works and how you can benefit from it.

Then, we’ll share our take on 10 red light therapy devices that are on the market today.

In this article, we’re going to review the following best red light therapy devices:

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy, often called phototherapy in medical fields, uses red light produced by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for healing and sometimes cosmetic purposes.

This spectrum of light is known to help plants miraculously photosynthesize without the sun. In fact, red light was used by astronauts in the 90s to grow plants in outer space.

Are you curious about what happens when you shine red LED light on your body?

Researchers have tested the effects and reported on numerous benefits. As a result, red light therapy devices have been developed for people to gain the benefits of red light therapy at home.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Just like red light helps plant cells photosynthesize energy for growth, it also helps the cells in your body increase their energy production.

This boosts cellular metabolism, helping to flush out toxic waste and make the processes in your cells more efficient. This goes a long way in helping with wound healing, skin tissue repair, anti-ageing, improving cognitive function and much more.

Improves Cell Function

Whenever you’re “touched” by the red light, your cells benefit from a better supply of energy. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the molecule that carries this energy from the mitochondria (the energy generator within the cell) to other parts of cells where it’s needed.

By causing an increase in ATP synthesis, red light therapy improves mitochondrial function—and, in turn, supplies more energy to the cell and boosts overall cellular function.

In this way, red light supports and accelerates the body’s natural healing mechanisms. When they have a more abundant energy supply, your cells can rejuvenate themselves, repairing the damage that leads to aches and pains, as well as other problems [1].

Increases Collagen Synthesis

Red light stimulates increased production of collagen in the skin and in tissues beneath its surface that require collagen, such as joint cartilage.

Collagen is a structural protein responsible for elasticity and firmness in skin and connective tissue. By increasing collagen production, red light can help these tissues repair after everyday wear and tear, or from more heavy-duty damage, in which tissue regeneration is needed.


The Benefits of Red Light Therapy

What does this mean for your body and mind?

Here’s a list of the proven effects of red light therapy:

Promotes Relaxation

Red light causes muscle tissue to relax, helping you release tension in your body [1]. Given the mind-body connection, red light therapy could potentially help you ease mental stress simply by releasing physical tension you hold unwittingly in muscle tissue.

Increases Circulation

Red light therapy boosts blood flow wherever it shines on your body [1]. Better blood circulation helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your brain, muscles and organs, so using it in specific places can offer specific benefits.

Lowers Inflammation

In a dermatology study, researchers found that red light reduced inflammation in the skin in cases of acne [1]. Various medical studies have found that red light effectively lowers inflammation in the brain, as well as in wounds, the lungs and the spinal cord [2].

Helps Improve Cognition

By improving energy production for the cells in your brain, red light therapy helps to improve cognitive function. This could potentially be helpful for people with Alzheimer’s or for healthy individuals who sometimes experience brain fog or forgetfulness [3].

Fights Ageing

Red light helps your skin retain its elasticity by boosting the production of collagen, which keeps skin structured and firm.

Helps Heal Wounds

By boosting collagen production, red light helps your skin regenerate faster. This translates to faster healing for scratches, scrapes, cuts and other wounds.

Gives You a Non-Surgical Facelift

The electric currents, or microcurrents, in red light tone and lift muscles. Giving yourself a red light facial regularly can help tighten loose face muscles that are contributing to ageing.

Speeds Up Muscle Recovery

Red light therapy boosts muscle mass gains after strength training by lowering inflammation and oxidative stress [4].

Helps with Healing from Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy triggers cell death not just in cancer cells, but in healthy ones, too. Red light therapy can help protect your healthy cells against the damage caused by chemotherapy treatment by increasing cellular energy and stimulating faster healing.


Types of Red Light Therapy Devices

Just like the lamps we use for indoor lighting come in different types and sizes geared toward different uses, so do red light therapy devices.

Here are the major different kinds:

Torch Red Light Therapy Devices


This makes it portable and easy to direct on an isolated area of pain, but impossible to use on larger areas of the body—and therefore less time-efficient if you have multiple areas to target, like your shoulders and neck.

Red Light Therapy Bulbs

Exactly as they sound, red light therapy bulbs are lightbulbs that emit red LED light. They can make it easy to target larger areas, as well as to target your scalp and other upper body areas since the light shines down on you.

Panels

Red light panels are entire panels that come in various sizes, filled with red LED lights.

They’re ideal for mounting on your wall, placing against the headboard of your bed or using it behind you on a chair or couch. It lets you be hands-free and makes good use of space.

All you need to do is switch on the panel, and you don’t need to worry about charging a portable device.

Pads

Pads are soft, flexible and wearable, and they’re filled with red LED lights. Some let you wrap them around a joint or limb and then open it up to use on larger areas like your back.


How to Find a Quality and High-Value Red Light Therapy Device

If it’s your first time buying a red light therapy device, you’ll want to know what separates a mediocre device from a top-tier device.

Here are the features that make a difference when it comes to these devices:

Energy Efficiency

Red lights require power, so if you can get an energy-efficient device, you’ll save more on your electric bill.

Ease of Use

Is the device easy to hold? Is it comfortable to use, and easy to charge or plug in?

A good red light therapy device won’t inconvenience you when you need to get pain relief.

Surface Area Treated

The size of the surface area on your body your red light therapy device can treat is something to consider. What body parts do you need it for?

If it’s for a wide generalized area like your lower back, you’ll need a device that emits light throughout the entire area, so you don’t have to treat parts at a time.

Durability

The longevity of your device depends on the durability it was built to provide. When higher quality materials are used, you can have a more durable device, whereas some devices are more flimsy.

Red Light Strength (Wattage)

The wattage the device provides determines the strength of the therapeutic effects it delivers.

With a higher wattage, like 60 watts, you only need to expose yourself to the light for 1 to 2 minutes to reap the benefits of red light therapy. Devices with lower wattage, such as 12 watts, requires you to use the device for a lot longer time.


Top 10 Red Light Therapy Devices Worth Trying

There can be a lot to unpack when it comes to the features of different red light therapy devices, so we’ve rounded up 10 of the best ones and weighed their pros and cons.

Hopefully, this gives you a better sense for the brands that make red light devices, and the features and quality levels that are available in different models.

1. Beuer Infrared Light Heat Lamp

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Beurer Infrared Light Heat Lamp Red Light Therapy, Blood Circulation, Back Pain, Muscle Pain, Joint...
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Pros:

  • Large size for use on larger areas
  • Includes infrared heat for added benefits of heat therapy
  • Easy to hold or put down on a table

Cons:

  • It can burn you or be a fire hazard
  • You can’t tilt the lamp down when it’s sitting on a table; it can only tilt upward
  • Not ideal for cosmetic use on your face because of the heat

The Beurer infrared light heat lamp uses not just red light therapy, but also heat, to boost circulation, reduce stiffness and promote healing in your body.

The warmth helps open up your blood vessels so that more oxygen and nutrients can enter and fuel the natural healing and repair process. The Beurer lamp size is 11.8 by 15.7 inches, so you can use it on larger body parts, like your back or your abdomen.

Beurer IL50 Infrared Lamp for Colds and Muscle Strains – CurrentBody.com

The Beurer has easy-to-grip handles on either side of the light you can use to accurately target specific body parts. Or, you can place it on its stand where it sits on any flat surface like a computer monitor.

Adjust the tilt between 0 and 50 degrees, to control where the light hits when you stand or sit in front of the device. You have to be careful with the Beurer lamp because the front glass surface gets extremely hot and can burn you or an object it touches.

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2. TENDLITE® Red LED light Therapy Device

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Pros:

  • Comes with a travel pouch for easy transport
  • Includes 2 rechargeable batteries you can interchange between to avoid waiting on charging
  • Lightweight and easy to hold for quickly targeting an area of pain
  • Perfect for healing scarred skin tissue

Cons:

  • Only covers a small isolated area at a time, so you can’t use it to target larger areas like your entire shoulder or a larger muscle like your quad or calf
  • Expensive, especially considering it covers a small area at a time

The TENDLITE is a torch-type red light device you can use to shine red LED light on highly targeted, specific areas of pain. It’s easy and lightweight to grip in your hand, and it’s extremely portable.

Holding it in one hand, you can reach virtually any part of your body with the red light. It’s ideal if you’re looking to use red light on a specific trouble spot, like a forearm affected by tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome, or for a shoulder with a rotator cuff injury.

However, if you have multiple points in the same area to target, it will take you a long time to shine the light on each small area, and you’re probably better off with a device that shines red light on a larger surface area.

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3. dpl® Flex Pad-Light Therapy Pain Relief Pad

dpl Flex Pad-Light Therapy Pain Relief Pad-FDA Cleared and Clinically Tested FAR Infrared and Red...
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Pros:

  • Hands-free operation by wrapping it around you
  • Provides deep tissue penetration of red light by sitting against your skin as you use it.
  • Target a larger area at a time, such as a large muscle group, your lumbar back or around your neck

Cons:

  • The cord is too short for convenient use

The Flex Pad from dpl contains 60 red LED lights spaced out on a pad you can strap around you to target muscles and joints throughout your body.

Unlike the TENDLITE, you don’t need to spend time holding your red light over an area when you use the dlp Flex Pad. You simply wrap it around your knee, forearm or other joint or body part to get the benefits of red light therapy.

It comes with a USB cable and wall plug adaptor so you can use it either at your computer desk while you’re working, or anywhere next to a wall outlet.

One of the main complaints of this red light therapy device is that the cord is too short, and there’s no way to use it cordlessly.

While many customers did find significant pain relief in their knees, feet and other areas where they had chronic pain, several others reported in their reviews of the product that it wasn’t effective against pain.

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4. SGROW 24W Red Led Light Red

SGROW 24W Red Led Light Red 660nm and Near Infrared 850nm Led Light Therapy Bulbs for Skin and Pain...
  • FDA CLEARED - This LED Red Light Therapy device is...
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Pros:

  • Great value considering how much surface area on your body it covers for the price
  • Convenient hands-free operation

Cons:

  • Not necessarily made with high-quality construction guaranteed last you through the years

Like the Flex Pad from dpl, the SGROW 24W gives you the benefit of hands-free operation, as a red light therapy bulb. It covers a wide area of your body at a time, such as your entire upper back or your lower back.

You can also use it on your face, neck and chest at the same time, so it’s able to give you the benefits of red light therapy in more areas within less time. The bulb is made for optimal energy efficiency as well as safety.

You can apply the light right up against your skin for it to penetrate inside your body, or use it at a distance of about 6 inches to hit the surface of your skin. The majority of customers who reviewed the product reported that it brought them pain relief.

The only major complaints from customers pertain to malfunctions with their units, which can probably be expected at this low price range.

That said, if you’re not ready to invest a whole lot of money on trying red light therapy and you want to reap the benefits of larger, more generalized areas of your body without the cost of mounting a red light panel on your wall.

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5. Quantum Rejuvenation™ Red Light Therapy Device

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Quantum Rejuvenation Introductory Sale - Red Light Therapy Device - FDA Registered Advanced Pain...
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Pros:

  • Cordless, portable and lightweight
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • 1-year warranty
  • Medical-grade strength, which saves you time getting pain relief with red light therapy

Cons:

  • Device quality is questionable because the unit or parts of it are known to break on their own
  • Only covers a small area of your body at a time

Like the TENDLITE, the red light therapy device from Quantum Rejuvenation is a handheld device shaped like a flashlight. It’s made with stainless steel, making it durable and lightweight.

It’s cord-free and powered by a lithium-ion battery, which is included. Since many TENDLITE customers complained about the cord, this might be a better choice for people who want a handheld flashlight-like device.

According to customer feedback, the device is both easy to use and effective in relieving pain. Most customers seem to use it to get relief from joint pain, according to the reviews.

What makes this device different besides being cordless is also that it performs at a higher treatment strength by outputting more red light waves. For this reason, you only need to use the device for 1 to 3 minutes on each spot to start feeling relief.

Buyer complaints about this device have mainly concerned broken parts and the device spontaneously breaking. At least, it comes with a 1-year warranty, so if your purchase breaks, you can have it replaced within that time.

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6. SGROW 45W Red Led Light Therapy Panel

SGROW 45W Red Led Light Therapy Deep Red 660nm and Near Infrared 850nm Led Light Therapy Panel-FDA...
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Pros:

  • 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can return it risk-free if it doesn’t help with your pain
  • Covers a wide area at a time
  • Highly rated for pain relief effectiveness

Cons:

  • Not firm and sturdy enough

The SGROW 45W is a red light panel measuring 19 by 19 inches. While this is a smaller panel, it still covers a lot of area, width-wise.

If you want to use red light therapy for your face, neck, shoulders or upper back, you could mount it to your wall at the correct height and stand in front of it.

With the 45W LED lights, you need to expose a part of your body for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, so it may not be ideal to put this panel on the wall if you don’t want to stand that long.

The major shortfall with this unit, again, comes down to quality. According to customer reviews, it’s thin and breakable, which means it’s better for wall use rather than sitting on a couch with it behind you because it might crack.

If you want to mount it on a wall but don’t want to stand for 10 or more minutes on your feet, you can put it close to the floor and sit in front of it on a cushion to help with back pain.

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7. DGYAO Red Light Infrared Pad

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Red Light Near Infrared Therapy Led Benefits Back Pain Reliever Home Use Wearable Wrap Deep...
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Pros:

  • Pad format makes it great for back pain
  • Wraps around your leg, arm or back
  • Easy to use
  • Includes both infrared light and red light

Cons:

  • Must be plugged in for use

This infrared pad is versatile for use on different body parts, as you can lay on it or wrap it around your waist to target your back.

It’s a flexible pad containing red LED lights, designed for hands-free use up against your skin. This way, the therapeutic light waves penetrate well past your skin and into your tissues.

If you want to try red light therapy for back pain relief, this is probably one of your best options. You can lay on it, or lay on your stomach and lay it on top of your back.

Plus, you can use it against your back when you’re sitting upright in a chair. However, it does need to be plugged in to operate, so you need to sit near an outlet.

Besides its versatility, what makes this unit special is that it combines infrared light with red light, compounding the therapeutic benefits you get. Infrared light has a heating effect that increases blood flow.

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8. Proaller Handheld Red Light Therapy Device

Pros:

  • Proaller provides great customer service
  • Energy efficient
  • Lightweight and easy to hold and use to reach any area

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work for everyone
  • Not very powerful

The Proaller handheld red light therapy device emits a mere 15 watts of red light from one laser, making it one of the less powerful devices on the market.

While the intensity level is lower, customers who reviewed the product said it worked to reduce their pain when used consistently.

You need to hold it over a spot longer to get results, and since it’s a handheld device, it’s a little inconvenient.

Unfortunately, several customers have reported in their reviews of the unit that it did not work for pain relief. It seems to help in some cases within a day or two and not at all in others, even with weeks of use.

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9. The LightDoctor Near Infrared Red and LED Light Therapy Case

The LightDoctor 6, Near Infrared Red and LED Light Therapy Relief for Neck Pain, Back Pain and...
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Pros:

  • Powerful, medical-grade red light delivers benefits within 1 to 3 minutes of use
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Money-back guarantee and 1-year warranty
  • Lightweight and easy to pack

Cons:

  • Needs to be plugged in
  • Expensive

The powerfully bright LightDoctor 6 is a red light therapy device like a pad, but it has a hard back to it, so it doesn’t wrap around you. However, it is made for use up against your skin, so you can relieve pain in your joints.

In fact, you can do so very quickly, with the potential for pain relief after just a minute of use. Use it in one area for just 1 to 3 minutes at a time to get the benefits there, and then quickly move on to another area.

However, the device itself does cover a generous amount of surface area, so you can target large areas on your back.

According to customers who compared this device to other ones said the LightDoctor 6 is brighter and more effective in relieving pain. Many customers have used this device to help them rehabilitate from serious injuries and had great results.

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10. Trophy Skin RejuvaliteMD Anti-Ageing Red LED Light Therapy Beauty Device

Trophy Skin RejuvaliteMD Red Light Therapy Device for Anti Aging Effects, Skin Toning and Wrinkle...
  • FDA CLEARED AND CLINICALLY APPROVED: RejuvaliteMD...
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Pros:

  • Effectively improves the look of your skin, according to most customer feedback
  • Easy to store as an aesthetically-pleasing table lamp
  • Comes with protective eye goggles
  • Only need 5 minutes of use at a time

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Only covers a small area of skin, such as your face, but not larger areas like your back or stomach
  • Not designed for pain relief

The Trophy Skin from RejuvaliteMD is for people looking for cosmetic value from a red light therapy device, as it’s designed for reversing sun damage, age spots and other signs of ageing in skin.

It’s a lamp that shines a panel of red LED lights downward onto your face when you lay your head beneath it. Doing so for 5 minutes at least 5 times per week is all you need to get results, according to the company.

The Trophy Skin provides both infrared and red light therapy and comes with protective goggles to protect your eyes.

The only downside to this unit is that the panel doesn’t cover a very large area, or just enough to cover your face. If you wanted to use it for skin throughout your body, you’d need a larger device, like a wall panel.

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The Best Red Light Therapy Device for Pain Relief

The LightDoctor 6, Near Infrared Red and LED Light Therapy Relief for Neck Pain, Back Pain and...
  • POWERFUL LED THERAPY: The LightDoctor is so...
  • FAST RESULTS: The LightDoctor produces 6,000...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND SAFE: The LightDoctor is...

The best red light therapy device on our list for getting pain relief is the LightDoctor 6 because of its strength.

It’s 100% safe and FDA-cleared, but it delivers highly intense, therapeutic-grade treatments in short periods. That means you can get faster relief and save time. Since you only need to hold it on an area for 1 minute, it’s easy to treat problem spots regularly and see results.

Besides being so bright and strong, it’s also decent in size, as it can cover the small of your back, your whole knee joint and potentially your whole foot, depending on its size.

The device comes with a protective carrying case, and while it’s pricey, it’s durable and should be all you need. Plus, there’s a 1-year warranty.

Another plus to this device is that it can be used for your facial skin too when you wear protective goggles and hold it about 6 inches from your face.


Red Light Therapy Tips and Best Practices

Red light therapy is safe, but devices that emit infrared heat can potentially cause burning and blistering. Be careful to use a red light device only as directed, and avoid falling asleep with it.

There’s a risk of eye damage when using red light therapy on your face, so you should use goggles that protect against laser and LED when doing so [5].

Whether you’re brand new to red light therapy or you’ve tried it in a salon or elsewhere, anyone can get started with using it at home by buying a red light therapy device.

There are so many different products out there designed to provide the benefits of red light and infrared light, but hopefully this guide has helped you get more familiar with what types of devices are available.

Like most home therapy devices, red light devices provide the most benefit when they’re used consistently and regularly over the long-term. However, if you get a powerful device, you should be able to use it for near-immediate pain relief.

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