Best Flexible LED Red Light Therapy Pads, Wraps, Belts! Reviewed with Tips!
What is the best flexible red light therapy LED pad on the market? We take a look at some of the most affordable and commonly available LED pads on the market and test them for you!
Why Flexible LED Pads?
As implied by the name, Flexible Red Light Therapy pads are thin, lightweight, and flexible. Often referred to as LED therapy pads, belts, wraps, or even blankets. The primary objective is that they can be simply strapped or even wrapped onto the body. This makes them comfortable and convenient - especially for wrapping harder to reach places like shoulders and around limbs.
The other advantage is that pads can be used directly on the skin, which having skin contact with the LEDs allows for more efficient delivery of the light into the body. Compared to many panels that you need to be at least 6 inches away, that allows for a lot of reflection losses.
Negatives of Flexible Pads:
Flexible pads are usually limited by the amount of overall power and intensity they can deliver. Because they are thin and often lack heat sinks or fans, then they usually are much less powerful than their "panel" counterparts - otherwise they could overheat (which we test).
We use our Seek RevealPro to take thermal infrared images of the pads to make sure they are safe for heating they produce.
Since pads are used close to the skin, we need to check the EMFs are as low as possible. Which we find many of the flexible pads with 2-prong wall adapters will emit high unwanted nnEMFs. Not to worry, we will give some "hacks" for reducing nnEMFs with almost ANY flexible pad!
Pads We Reviewed:
*Update* Newcomers 10/5/2021
5. Sunglor Technology
6. Shenzhen Idea Light
The Kinreen pad we also ordered directly from our contact on Alibaba, link here. But you can also find many resellers for this exact flexible pad on Amazon. For example this one and this one and this one.
The Walgreens brand LED pad we bought off the shelf at a local Walgreens! It was on the bottom shelf of the section for heating pads and pain relief. You can check their website here if it is in stock at your local store.
The Sunglor Technology LED pad came from a new ambitious company with a huge red light therapy lineup! You can visit the LED Pad we review here.
The Shenzhen Idea Light LED pad also came from an established and reputable LED Panel company, now making innovative flexible LED pads you can find here.
Walgreens Flexible LED
|SZ Idea Light
$69 + shipping
$179 + shipping
|$48 + shipping
|$64 + shipping
by 5 inches
by 5.75 inches
by 3.125 inches
by 3.75 inches
|10.5 inches by 5 inches
|22 inches by 5 inches
# of LEDs
660nm (RED) + 850nm (NIR)
660nm (RED) + 880nm (NIR)
660nm (RED) + 880nm (NIR)
660nm (RED) + 850nm (NIR)
|660nm (RED) + 850nm (NIR)
|660nm (RED) + 850nm (NIR)
28.0 mW/cm^2 (combined)
14.2 mW/cm^2 Red
9.1 mW/cm^2 NIR
15.1 mW/cm^2 Red
25.8 mW/cm^2 NIR
11.8 mW/cm^2 Red
10.8 mW/cm^2 NIR
13.8 mW/cm^2 Red
22 mW/cm^2 NIR
29 mW/cm^2 Red
13 mW/cm^2 NIR
Electric Field EMF **(with included power supply)
Included Power Supply
5V USB adapter
*Prices may change or depend on where you purchase from.
**Read our latest blog about EMFs to see why we want to avoid them!
From top to bottom: Walgreens, DPL Flex, Kinreen, DGYAO
Kinreen Flexible LED Pad Review:
Kinreen has been a very ambitious company on Alibaba, we suspect they are a supplier to many brands. They hit a home run earlier this year with their 3-wavelength torch, and they show good promise again with their flexible pad.
The Kinreen pad is using triple-chip SMDs (surface mounted diode) – sometimes called a 5050 LED chip (5050 refers to the dimensions of the chip). Now, don’t be particularly impressed by the triple-chip SMD technology. This is the exact same 5050 chip technology that are ubiquitous with RGB lights and we even use in our GembaRed Rave strip lights.
However, they did something clever here. They made 2 of the chips as 850nm LEDs, and 1 chip is the 660nm LED. So each 5050 chip is emitting both wavelengths, compared to the other pads you will see some LEDs are only Red, and some LEDs are invisible Near-Infrared.
The Kinreen pad has impressive intensity of 28mW/cm^2 per spot, and is a particularly nice size at 12.5 inches by 5 inches wide. The downside is that high power causes it to produce the highest heat. So if you use it for a long time, you might feel uncomfortably hot from the device heating up on your skin.
The Kinreen Pad (bottom) is definitely the hottest according to our thermal imager. Image taken after letting all of the pads run for 20 minutes.
It is also super low EMF with the 12v power adapter that they provide, and they provide a USB adapter so you can run it off of a USB battery bank or charger. They even have a nice little pouch so you can set the battery inside. It is impressive they offer so much versatility of different power options.
The Kinreen pad is also the only pad that can independently turn off the Red or NIR LEDs, if you prefer a single-wavelength treatment. But know that you are reducing the intensity and dosing accordingly. Perhaps it is a good feature to also be able to reduce the intensity and the heating, since it seems to be quite high.
Overall the Kinreen pad is an amazing price and value with neat features, even if you pay the extra markup to buy it from an Amazon re-brander.
DGYAO LED Pad Review:
DGYAO has been a prominent name in red light therapy for a long time. They seem to specialize in flexible devices and torches.
This LED pad is luxuriously large, at almost 2 feet long of treatment area and ½ foot wide! Which means they also have a tremendous amount of LEDs.
The DGYAO pad also uses 5050 type SMD leds, but single wavelength per SMD. They run their intensity lower than the rest at only about 9 to 14 mW/cm^2, but this should be perfectly sufficient intensity for such a large device that is used right on the skin.
Due to their lower intensity, it runs the coolest out of all the other pads. So it could be more comfortable to use for longer timeframes.
It comes with a simple 20-minute on/off timer, which is good for safety and not allow overdosing (imagine falling asleep with one of these pads on).
Unfortunately, the included 12V power adapter transmits very high EMFs to the pad. We discussed this with DGYAO, and they said we could use any 12 Volt adapter as long as it provides enough amps. So, we re-tested the pad with my Jameco Reliapro 12V adapter, and with this 12V battery – and they both had practically no-EMF with those power options!
We are able to drop the EMFs to practically nothing with a 12V battery or low-EMF adapter! Important hack!
Last feature – I liked the tiny little plastic windows over the 5050 SMDs. Which this is the only flexible pad to add this feature. This seems nice since if the pad is right up against my body and I start to sweat, the little windows will protect the LEDs from getting shorted-out from the moisture. *Update* Those little windows can get quite hot and transfer that heat to your body! On a hot day it was scorchingly hot.
The DGYao offers this great extra-large flexible pad with simple features. If you can pay a bit extra to source your own low-EMF adapter or battery pack, then this would be a great pick!
DPL Flex Pad Review:
The DPL Flex comes from a highly reputable brand that has many years in the red light therapy market.
The DPL Flex feels high-quality and has a sleek built-in battery (on the left).
The DPL Flex is much smaller size than the DGYao or Kinreen, but makes up for that with a sleek built-in battery pack and impressive power output. Which being battery powered makes it Low EMF right out of the box.
There is one "hot spot" in the upper lefthand corner of the DLP Flex, that is where the battery-pack is attached to the pad.
What is odd about the DGYAO and DPL flexible pads is that they use 880nm LEDs (which we verified with our spectrometer). We don’t see much clinical interest in 880nm LEDs according to our wavelengths blog.
This an interesting point of history, that these legacy red light therapy brands often were registered or cleared by the FDA for “therapeutic heating” purposes, since as we mentioned in a previous article that non-thermal LED light therapy was not yet widely accepted until just recently.
So, that might be important to consider the wavelengths that the DPL and the DGYao are using 880nm LEDs not necessarily for photobiomodulation, but as a therapeutic heating agent. Which could be a good thing, since one study shows that PBM and heating act on different mechanisms.
Overall, don’t let the size fool you, the DPL Flex a very convenient, portable, targeted, and easy to use flexible pad.
Walgreens Flex Pad Review:
Imagine walking to your local drugstore to pick up an LED Light Therapy device! This really shows how far into the mainstream that red light therapy has traversed.
I picked this up in the Pain Relief section where Walgreens and several other brands are selling heating pads. At the very bottom shelf were their LED devices. So not only is Walgreens selling Red Light Therapy, it is their own brand of LED devices!
The Walgreens LED Pads were hard to find, at the bottom shelf of this Pain Relief Section (at my local store, may be stocked differently at different stores).
The Walgreens Pad is noticeably smaller, uses the traditional “button-type” LEDs, and is powered from a small 5V adapter. Unfortunately the included adapter transmits high Electric Field EMF to the pad (and the cord is pretty short).
Overall the Walgreens Pad does not particularly impress in terms of our testing, but we are impressed by the convenience and affordability that you can pick it up at a local store!
*NEW* Alibaba Pads from Sunglor and Idea Light:
Sunglor is a new manufacturer and trade company with an impressive selection of options! I requested to review thier small LED pad because I thought it would be good for travel and targeted usage.
Sunglor 5V pad (top) is is about the same size as the Walgreens pad (bottom), but is impressively packed with 170 high-power LEDs!
This small Sunglor pad is impressive being about the same size as the DPL flex and Wallgreens pads, but it is PACKED with 170 LEDs! Making the Sunglor one of the most energy-dense pads in this entire lineup. Surprisingly the pad didn't feel very hot while wrapped on me at the highest setting, and they have a thoughtful controller with a timer and dimming settings. You just need your own 5V battery or adapter, which is not included.
The new Shenzhen Idea Light wrap is a very thick and sturdy construction! Unlike the other pads in this lineup, this wrap uses a large clear plastic window to protect the LEDs. This is common for many wraps you might find on the market, especially the ones that seem to be marketed for weight loss.
We asked what kind of plastic it is made of, and they said it is EVA. Which is a good answer, we need to watch out for cheap PVC or polycarbonate with these types of wraps.
The Shenzhen Idea Light LED pad also comes with a nifty controller to change the timer settings, dimming, and pulsing! Yes, this pad includes a 10Hz pulsing function! Which some people will be quite excited for. Overall the Idea Light pad is a thick and sturdy wrap with great intensty, but we recommended to them to reduce the EMF from thier adapter in the future, or you can buy an alternative low-EMF adapter.
People are starting to realize the advantage of using Flexible LED pads instead of standing in front of bulky LED panels. Flexible pads offer convenience, comfort, ease-of-use, and skin contact for efficiency.
We like to focus especially on Low-EMF pads since they will be in contact with the skin and you can’t use distance to mitigate exposure. Read this blog about some of the possible hazards with EMF exposure. The Kinreen Pad and DPL Flex stands out with low-EMF operation right out of the box.
Obviously DGYAO offers the biggest pad and most LEDs with a simple and practical setup. We love that it is lower intensity and runs cooler than the rest of the pads, but we recommend “upgrading” it by getting a low EMF adapter or battery for it.
Then maybe deciding if you prefer 880nm like in the DGYAO and DPL Flex, or you want the more popular 850nm wavelength in the Kinreen or Walgreens pad.
Overall we are impressed by the quality and price of all of these pads! But maybe some small “hacks” like getting a low EMF adapter or battery can go a long way to make them safer.