Welcome to my 2021 red light therapy handheld review blog post.
First things first though...
Let me give you a little background:
You probably know about my 2019 red light therapy review blog post and YouTube video.
The blog post you're currently reading is a followup to that series, specifically the red light therapy handheld line offered by many companies today.
Between 2017-2019, when I was already present in the red light therapy space, few companies offered handheld option. Back then, only the Joovv Go 1.0 was offered on the market.
Today, that's different, and most of the companies are offering a handheld option.
Hence, my review of the best red light therapy handheld products on the market. If you're not aware of what red light therapy is then I recommend reading:
Those blogs should give you all the background information you need - although they require a lot of reading!
So, are you ready for my 2021 handheld review?
First off, if you're interested in watching the YouTube video, check my video review of the handheld red light therapy devices below:
If you like to read the review of these 7 handheld devices, continue reading:
Let's explore what I mean with "handheld" first...
I define red light therapy "handheld" devices as devices that you can hold in your hand while treating smaller areas of your body. These handheld devices are an excellent choice to take with you on travel.
But, these handheld devices have other use cases as well:
If you've got sore biceps muscles from training very hard, for instance, or a shoulder injury, or some tension in your neck, then handheld devices are a great choice for treatment.
Alternatively, you can use a smaller portable unit at the couch in the evening, for instance.
But, handheld devices are not for everyone!
If you want to treat your entire body, or large parts of it, I wouldn't recommend a handheld device and I'd suggest using a body panel or maximum/mega-size panel instead.
That link I've just quoted shows you the best full red light therapy devices I recommend, which can treat large areas of your body such as your back, legs, chest and stomach, in the minimum amount of time!
Having gotten that topic out of the way, let's dig into my testing methodology for the handheld devices in the next section.
(If you want to skip this very wordy review and know which device is the winner straight away, click HERE.)
In total, I've compared 7 handheld red light therapy devices.
Let me explain why I've tested 7 of them in total.
As you might know, more and more companies are entering the red light therapy space. A rough estimate of mine is that about 50-100 serious companies are competing against each other right now. Many of these companies are also offering handheld options.
For my review, I've reached out to the most prestigious companies out there, which either 1) had been around for a while or; 2) had gotten very positive reviews. These companies then sent me a unit for testing/reviewing.
Once I got these units, I compared them across price, shipping, power output, EMF levels, battery life, a category of "everything else".
Also, if you're interested in buying any of these panels, discount code ALEX saves you money with most of these companies. To make my incentives and potential financial gains from this review fully transparent, I've included the following disclaimer below:
*** Affiliate Disclosure ***
I am affiliated with 6 of these 7 red light panel companies. That means if you purchase any of these products by clicking any of the links in the blog below OR use discount code ALEX then I receive a small commission. There is no cost to you and you save money instead! This method entails a win-win (you get a discount and I get a small commission)for the both of us. This commission, in turn, helps me fund reviews like this one. Also, I wanted to be affiliated with all possible companies to remove any review bias. We know red light therapy works, my goal is simply to help you make an informed decision when buying a red light panel.
Here are the 7 handheld devices I reviewed:
(The full review is readable in the next sections)
Again, discount code ALEX saves you money on almost all of these devices! If you want to skip the review and know which device is the winner straight away, click HERE.
Next up, let's move on to considering which option is best for you:
Naturally, testing 7 different handheld panels takes time. I've played around with all of these 7 handheld panels and I've also thought a long time about the best way to review each and every one of them.
Please be aware that no review criteria makes everybody equally happy. Some companies and consumers might want me to put a lot more emphasis on price, while others think that power output alone is much more important. And if you're EMF-sensitive, you're automatically going to give a higher weight to the EMF outcome compared to other categories.
As stated before, I compared these devices across price, shipping, power output, EMF levels, battery life, a category of "everything else". All of these domains mean that there will be 5 review rounds.
After each review round, I'll give a sub-total for the score for each panel. At the end, I'll give you the final outcome!
In this round, I've also unboxed all of the devices. You can see a more extensive version of the unboxing in my review video HERE.
In this written blog, I'll mainly focus on the price, shipping, and discounts. Again, the unboxing of all 7 products can be viewed in the video HERE.
Here's what the outcome of this first round was:
* Prices are with discount code ALEX, where applicable.
** Prices include shipping price to mainland USA. International shipping prices may be higher!
If you're interested in more details about my thoughts during this round, here is what I found regarding all of these panels. These observations concern the unboxing/first impressions I had with each device:
My overall findings of this round?
As you can see, the Joovv Go 2.0 is by far the most expensive panel, costing almost 60% more than the second option at $485. The GembaRed Spazer only costs $180, which, doesn't have a battery and can only be used from a power outlet.
Most units are around the mid-$200 range, and, quite affordable for most people in the developed world!
The GembaRed is the clear winner of this round because it's the cheapest even when shipping and discount code ALEX are included.
Next up, let's look at power output - one of the main reasons people buy red light therapy panels:
Let me first give some background:
I measure the power output with the Hopoo Color 0HSP-350F - 380-1050nm Spectrometer. That spectrometer measures the outcomes of the power measurements in milli-Watt/cm2 (mW/cm2).
That spectrometer measures variables such as peak power, wavelength, flicker rate, and others. I'll come back to most of these later in this blog post.
Also, the measurement of the power output isn't a perfect science. You can get dramatically different readings when measuring directly in front of an LED compared to measuring at a 6-inch distance, for example.
You can get hotspots, for instance. Nevertheless, the reading is far better than what a solar meter would produce. I explain more details about my testing methodology in this video HERE.
For the power readings in this blog post, I've used a 6-inch measurement on a metal ruler I own. I attached the spectrometer to the ruler, and move the ruler across the panel when it emits both 660 and 850 nanometers.
With that method, I'm going to record the highest reading I get while moving across the panel - at the height of the LEDs. Here you can see me implementing that method:
Again, I'm moving horizontally across the panel for all 7 devices.
The power output can subsequently be read off the screen, including information about the wavelengths:
*Apologies the screen is not 100% clear on camera but I can read a power output in mW/cm2 on the top left of my screen!
So what's the peak power output? Here's the outcome of this round:
The best part is that all of the devices are producing the amount of light they're claiming to produce! The same is true for the wavelength profile - so no company claimed their panels emitted 850 while in reality, the spectrometer showed an 830-nanometer peak.
So that's great!
If you're interested in more details, here are the comments I had about some of these panels:
That's it for this round.
Obviously, due to the power output, the Joovv Go 2.0 is the winner of this round!
Let's move on to a topic that's entering the mainstream more and more - EMF:
For the EMF measurements, I've used the Cornet EMF meter. If you're interested in getting one, click HERE. I recommend the Cornet reader as an excellent option that doesn't cost too much, and is applicable for radio waves & micro waves, magnetic fields, and electric fields.
I've tested all the devices at a 6-inch distance, which is the recommended distance.
Here's the outcome:
No changes in EMF readings for any device at a 6-inch distance! So, this round is short and easy, nothing to distinguish between all these devices. Hence, I didn't have any device score any points in this round!
Only the Light Path LED and GembaRed has tiny changes in electric field levels, but nothing to worry about. These readings were so low that it's negligible. And, the GembaRed reading probably originates because the device needs to be plugged in to the power grid.
The reason these readings are so low, by the way, is because most of these devices run on a battery (DC current), and none of them have an inbuilt fan.
Moving on to the next round:
This round is really simple: I'm testing how long a battery lasts for all of the 7 devices. Of course, this process is impossible for the GembaRed Spazer, so I'm only including the 6 battery-powered devices.
All 6 battery-powered had been charging all night for this experiment.
For this round, I've set a camera up with a timelapse and I've got a laptop clock ticking by. Next, I've turned all the units on and I observe how long they run. For the units that have built-in timers, I've made sure to stay in the room during this test and turn any unit back on that switches off.
Here you can see me in action, turning a unit back on that had switched off:
After 2 hours, I quit the test, when 3 devices were still on and 3 ran out of power. I was very busy and was happy with this outcome. The 3 devices that were still on after 2 hours were the Mito Red Mobile Flex, The Light Path LED Mini, and the Infraredi Micro. Therefore, these 3 devices score highest in the battery category.
The Joovv Go 2.0, BluBlox Hive Mini and Rouge Nano had switched off before the 2-hour marker.
Remember that 2 hours is more than plenty for any of these devices, which is how I justify my choice to cut off measuring the batteries after that timestamp.
You might be interested in the end results though. So here's the final outcome of this test:
Next up, some comments, where applicable:
Coming up, the last round of "everything else":
Even though it's very difficult to properly allocate points here, I've divided all the panels into two categories:
The top-scoring "everything else" panels, and the low-scoring "everything else" panels. First off, here's the outcome:
As you can see, there are 3 panels that score 1 point, the Infraredi Micro, the Joovv Go 2.0, and the Mito Red Mito Mobile Flex. These 3 panels make up the "higher-tier" outcome of this round.
The other 4 products, which are the Light Path LED Mini, the GembaRed Spazer, The Rouge Nano, and BluBlox Hive Mini, make up the "lower tier".
Let me comment on the lower-tier (so high-scoring) of the "everything else" panels:
Then, next up, there are the 3 red light therapy handheld devices scoring only 1 point, as the "higher-tier" of the "everything else" category. In other words, these devices are winners of this round:
That's it, the "everything else" round!
Hope you're excited to see the final outcome of this review!
Here I go:
Finally, it's time to determine the winner! But before I give you the final outcome let's consider my scoring system:
Here's how I've weighted all the outcomes from all the rounds:
Of course, EMF is not included in this list because all devices scored well when I used them from the recommended distance.
Battery only makes up 10% of the equation because all of the devices with a battery lasted at least an hour, which is great! Usually, you don't use the device longer than 10-20 minutes, which entails that you can get at least 3-6 sessions with each of the battery-powered devices.
For most people, charging your device every 3-6 sessions is not too much of a hassle, and many options thus have a longer battery life than that...
So, here's the final outcome:
Maybe you also want to know what the 4-7th place outcomes are - in that case:
Here's some last comments on some of the devices that I haven't made earlier yet:
Overall though, I do want to reiterate that there's no bad panel out that I've reviewed. All of the panels achieved the power output they claimed to have by the manufacturers.
So, eventually, what panel is best for you depends on your unique circumstances. If you don't care about price and want the most powerful unit, get the Joovv Go 2.0. If you want a great deal with good power output, get the Infraredi or Mito Red unit.
Heck, if you prefer plugging in the device into a wall and don't want the complication of a battery, get the GembaRed Spazer!
So here's some of the minor rewards:
After I've chosen the #1 overall, let's consider a few more options depending on your preferences. Here's my ranking for the "minor" awards:
The Joovv Go 2.0 has a power output of 37.1 mW/cm2 which is 10% higher than the number 2 in power output and almost 5 times as high as the bottom handheld panel!
Here I will recommend the GembaRed Spazer if you're willing to buy a device that's not battery powered.
Well, 3 panels had the highest score on the battery test, so which one would I choose? Of course, here I'll choose the Mito Red Mito Mobile Flex because it has the highest overall score, all things considered!
This one is easy too, the Joovv Go 2.0 has some pretty neat options that other panels don't have, such as the ability to connect it to your phone and use the device as ambient lighting.
The GembaRed Spazer has one more wavelength that the other panels don't have: 630 nanometers red light, so if you want more red light options, this can be your best choice!
This one is easy. There's only one company stemming from Australia: Infraredi. So if you're an Australian customer and don't want to pay for shipping, consider the Infraredi Micro. As the panel also came in at second place, this is an excellent option for Aussies!
There is some research suggesting blue light can help your skin improve in texture and overall health. Again, the Light Path LED offers a device that includes blue light and yet still emits tons of red light. Only use blue light during the daytime.
Hopefully, my review has made your choice easier and has informed you better about what options exist out there in the handheld red light therapy space.
Also, to get access to the best deal, make sure to read the next section:
In order for me to fund these reviews I'm affiliated with every single company out there that wants to work with me. Through that method, I remove as much bias as possible from the process.
Discount code ALEX will give you a nice lower price with almost all of these companies. That lower price is a win/win for both of us because you get a discount and I get a small commission to fuel these review rounds.
Below, in the list of items mentioned you can view all the panels with their discount code - if available - as well as my my testing equipment (EMF meter, spectrometer, etc):
First, my 2021 full body panel red light therapy update:
Secondly, my first impressions video of the Joovv Go 2.0:
Thirdly, my 2019 full body panel review:
Fourthly, my 2021 handheld panel review once more - for if you prefer video over the written word:
This blog post was written by Alex Fergus. Alex is a ISSN Sports Nutrition Specialist, Fitness Professional and certified Superhuman Coach who continues to expand his knowledge base and help people across the world with their health and wellness. Alex is recognized as the National Record Holder in Powerlifting and Indoor Rowing and has earned the title of the Australian National Natural Bodybuilding Champion. Having worked as a health coach and personal trainer for over a decade, Alex now researches all things health and wellness and shares his findings on this blog. Learn more about Alex's Credentials HERE.
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