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Ultimate Infrared Buying Guide
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Written by Christopher Kiggins
What to Look for when Purchasing an Infrared Sauna What to Look for when Purchasing an Infrared Sauna
What Kind of Company are You Purchasing from?
Before you purchase your infrared sauna ask yourself the following questions:
• How long has the company been in business?
• What is their online reputation? Do they have Better Business Bureau complaints?
• How aggressive is their sales team? Why are they so aggressive?
• What is their warranty? Why don’t they cover their sauna for the life that you own it? Are their parts inferior?
• Will they pay for service, upkeep, and the shipment of parts to and from your house/business?
• Will they properly set your expectations? Do you trust your salesperson?
• Will they let you try out your sauna for 30 days? Do they get too many returns to stay in business?
When you are purchasing your infrared sauna, don’t pull any punches. This is a major purchase (that you only want to do once), so stand your ground and demand that the company you purchase from is held accountable should they not hold up their end of the deal. You can do this by asking for a full 30 day money back guarantee and EMF level guarantee, all in writing. If you buy a sauna that you don’t feel represents the quality for the price you paid, simply send it back. You will have documentation to show the company as well as your bank!
Also, ask for a deal! Too many people don’t ask… I lose money telling you this, but I guess it’s a good way to know that you can trust this guide!
Now that you know what to ask before buying, let’s discuss what to look for in your future sauna. It all comes down to three things: company, cabin, and heaters.
What Kind of Infrared Heaters are You Getting?
The heater style that you purchase is the single most important part of your infrared sauna buying decision. There are only four styles of infrared sauna heaters: carbon, ceramic, halogen, and combination heaters.
• Carbon heaters only heat up to 140°F which is not hot enough to raise your core body temperature.
• Ceramic heaters get up to 400°F which is way too hot to sit 2-3 inches next to.
• Combination heaters are the most effective at raising your core body temperature at 200°F while still being comfortable enough to sit next to for a 30 minute session.
• Halogen heaters are extremely hot (at a 775°F surface temperature) and only ever act as add-on heaters placed in the front of the sauna, not the meat and potato heaters on all four sides.
See the following comparison chart and infrared absorption images of all three styles below:
TrueWave II™ Carbon/Ceramic TrueWave II™ Carbon/Ceramic
- 97% Emissive
- 190°F Surface Temperature
- Wavelength in microns: 7.9
- Average EMF: .20 mG
- Most effective at raising core temp for 30+ minutes
- Most comfortable
- Long infrared wavelength for maximum absorption
Halogen Heaters Halogen Heaters
- 97% Emissive
- 775°F Surface Temperature
- Wavelength in microns: 4.2
- Average EMF: 3 mG
- Very Effective at raising core temp for 20 minutes
- Less comfortable/Most Intense
- Shortest infrared wavelength for infrared absorption
Ceramic Heaters Ceramic Heaters
- 97% Emissive
- 400°F Surface Temperature
- Wavelength in microns: 6.0
- Average EMF: 10 mG
- Very Effective at raising core temp for 20 minutes
- Less comfortable
- Moderate infrared wavelength for infrared absorption
Carbon Heaters Carbon Heaters
- 95% Emissive
- 140°F Surface Temperature
- Wavelength in microns 9.2
- Average EMF: 30 mG
- Least effective at raising core temp for 30 minutes
- Least effective
- Long infrared wavelength with little to no heat/absorption
As you can see in our infrared absorption test, the VantaWave™ Quartz/Graphite heaters have the most amount of absorbed infrared. This is because they have the most infrared emissivity combined (with the longest infrared wavelength) with the greatest angle of absorption. What this means is that because of the surface temperature, the heaters can be placed 360° around your body. Because of the high heat of the halogen and ceramic heaters, you can only get up to 180° of coverage. This makes a difference in overall infrared absorption and body temperature.
While halogen and ceramic heaters are great for overall infrared output and emissivity, they are lacking in this angle of absorption—for this reason, they’re not ideal to be the primary heaters in an infrared sauna.
Carbon heaters (also known as nano-carbon) are the cheapest infrared heaters to manufacture. This is why you will see them all over the internet for very low prices in the cheapest saunas. They are also riddled with very high Electromagnetic Frequency or EMF.
The Verdict? The Verdict?
because of their 360° angle of absorption, VantaWave™ Quartz/Graphite heaters are the most effective heaters at raising core body temperature over a 30 minute period.
The graphite elements allow the heaters to produce a long wave infrared heat. This long wave far infrared heat penetrates deeper into the body and is more readily absorbed.
The quartz compound gives the heaters a very high and hot infrared output when compared to nano-carbon heaters. Because of this we can concentrate 100 percent of the infrared light right on your body.
What is the Quality of the Sauna Cabin?
One of the most overlooked aspects when searching for an infrared sauna is the quality of the wood and the weight of the sauna cabin. When you purchase a cheap infrared sauna you will immediately notice how cheap the cabinetry and bench quality are. If you’re ever at Costco or Home Depot, and you see a sauna take a seat inside.
The things you’ll notice will be a cheap feel to the bench–it will be thin and when you shift your weight on it, it will move with your body. Additionally, the wood will be very cheap and have a very odd smell to it that almost smells like it’s been treated with chemicals. Cheap woods will range from hemlock, pine and spruce. A lot of the time the wood hasn’t been kiln dried the correct way and as a result, it warps over time.
Because infrared saunas are made of six wooden panels, it can destroy the sauna if only one panel warps. This is because a perfect fit is very important to keep the warm air in the sauna. Also, if you buy a cheaper sauna the bench and backrest will be flat, it is essentially like sitting up against the 90 degree angle of a wall, which is not comfortable. If you are not comfortable it will literally sit in the corner collecting dust. (Comfort gets overlooked by just about everyone searching for a sauna).
If you’re not going to use your sauna, what’s the point of buying it in the first place? What we do is different.
We have a fully ergonomic bench and backrest that contours to your back and body. It feels like sitting in a very comfortable rocking chair that was created to fit the contour of your back. This is the single most important thing that I like about our saunas. The bench is also four inches thick and is reversible–so when you move, the sauna nor the bench move with you.
We only use the highest quality wood–Western Red Canadian Cedar wood (which is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal) and Nordic Spruce (which is hypoallergenic).
We do not treat our woods with anything and are always 100 percent VOC free (volatile organic compounds). We kiln dry our wood down to ten percent water content to prevent any warping or cracking. If there is ever any warping, there is no need to worry. You are fully covered under our full lifetime warranty.
We are the only infrared sauna company to cover every part of your sauna (including the wood) for the life that you own it. As in all things in life, you really do get what you pay for.
Do not overlook comfort in your infrared sauna search!
It is my opinion that when people are searching for an infrared sauna they look at price, quality, warranty, service and company history. However, they don’t imagine the experience of how it will actually be when they are using their sauna; meaning, they don’t pay attention to the comfort of the bench and backrest of the sauna they’re considering and how important it is for their overall enjoyment when using it.
Plain and simple, if you are not comfortable when using your sauna, you won’t want to use it nearly as often. The more comfortable you are the more enjoyment and subsequent use you’ll get out of it.
We are the only company to provide an ergonomic bench and backrest with the best woodworking on the market. Trust me, it makes a difference.
How to Spot a Cheap Infrared Sauna
There is a dead giveaway of a cheap infrared sauna—tall carbon infrared panels that go up above your head almost to the ceiling.
Carbon panels are very cheap to manufacture and they don’t heat the body well. The surface temperature maxes out at 150°F, which will not raise the core body temperature enough to create a sweat.
For this reason, companies are forced to increase their surface area size almost to the ceiling. This is actually counterproductive in an infrared sauna setting because the infrared heat is actually invisible light (which travels in a straight line).
The concept of carbon panels is nice, but it just doesn’t work for an infrared sauna. Companies essentially admit this by their heater size! Think about it, if their infrared heaters were strong enough, wouldn’t they want to point 100 percent of the light towards your body? Because of this, they’re actually admitting that their panels are too weak to do what an infrared sauna is supposed to do: make you sweat! Take a look at our heater size:
Don’t Overlook Comfort in an Infrared Sauna
Cheap saunas will have cheap wood and cheap, flat benches and backrests. This wood will range from aspen, hemlock and pine.
What blows my mind is that cheap sauna companies will make a very thin, flat bench that butts up against a very flimsy, ineffective, thin backrest. This actually feels like you’re sitting up against a wall, which is not comfortable at all. Their bench is literally an inch thick. This makes it feel like when you sit down it shifts with your movements.
When I move in the sauna, I don’t want to feel the bench to move with me. This is what happens in a cheap sauna—they’re extremely flimsy. Here’s an example of a well built, ergonomic bench and backrest:
Take a look at the photo above of our bench and backrest. Do you see how it contours and curves to meet the body? Owning two of these saunas myself, they are extremely comfortable.
What I tell people is that if you’re not comfortable in your sauna you won’t use it. If you’re not going to use your sauna, what’s the point?
The Oxygen Ionizer Red Flag The Oxygen Ionizer Red Flag
If a sauna company is pushing an oxygen ionizer it’s usually a good indicator that you are dealing with a cheap sauna company that uses cheap carbon heaters. Somehow, cheap Chinese manufacturers think this is something the American market likes. Well, it is a good thing in that it can help us weed-out cheap saunas.
What an air ionizer is trying to do is to kill the bacteria in the air to remove the toxins from the sauna.
When you use hot enough infrared heaters it actually acts as a natural air ionizer as it will produce the negative ions required to kill bacteria the same way an oxygen ionizer does. When you are not using the sauna, simply keep the vent in the roof and the door of the sauna open to allow for air to circulate. Keep a steady rotation of towels moving through the sauna and wash them regularly and you won’t have any problems with bacteria.
What Kind of Company are you Purchasing from? What is their Warranty?
It is paramount that you investigate the company you are purchasing your infrared sauna from. How long have they been in business? What is their online reputation? Do they have complaints? Do they have obvious fake reviews? These are important questions.
A lot of companies have real negative reviews that they suppress with fake reviews they write themselves. All you have to do is dig deep enough online and you’ll find them.
How aggressive is their sales team? Why are they so aggressive? If a company’s product is so great they shouldn’t be pushing for the sale like a used car salesman! Make sure you actually like (and trust) your salesperson. This shouldn’t be a pushy sale.
What is their warranty? Why don’t they cover their sauna for the life that you own it? A good rule of thumb is that a sauna company will dictate their warranty length (i.e., 5 years) for how long they think their sauna will last. If their sauna would last 10 years, wouldn’t they cover it for 10 years?
Will they pay for service, upkeep, and the shipment of parts to and from your house/business? Will they let you try out your sauna for 30 days? Do they get too many returns to stay in business? What is their return policy?
SaunaCloud Infrared® is the only infrared sauna company to offer a full lifetime on every part of your sauna for the life that you own it. The warranty is valid to the original purchaser of the sauna and ends if there is a transfer of ownership. If your sauna is used commercially, your warranty is five years on all parts.
SaunaCloud® will pay for all shipping of parts to and from the sauna owner as well as any costs incurred by a handyman or electrician for all repairs. Literally no other company does this.
We have a dedicated phone line for calls/text support operating 24/7/365. We pride ourselves on providing the very best customer service in the industry. We Wrote the Book on Infrared Saunas And we want to give it to you, FREE!
This is how a good company should operate. We also don’t have a negative review in over six years in business! There are good companies out there.
Shop our Full Spectrum Saunas
A+ BBB Rating, Full Lifetime Warranty, Only ★★★★★ Reviews
I am glad infrared saunas have developed the way they have, because I couldn’t imagine my life without the benefits they provide, like deep sleep, lower blood pressure, less joint pain, weight loss, and a boosted immune system. Here at SaunaCloud I sell saunas that are some of the best history has offered. My far infrared saunas use advanced ceramic-carbon combination heaters for an amazing sauna experience. For more information on how SaunaCloud’s infrared saunas work and how they can improve your health, download my book The Definitive Guide to Infrared Saunas. Just give us a call at SaunaCloud 1.800.370.0820.
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