DIY Custom Infrared Sauna Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Building a Custom DIY Infrared Sauna

We’ll help every step of the way

Written by Christopher Kiggins

Should You Build Your Own Custom Infrared Sauna? Should You Build Your Own Custom Infrared Sauna?

Now that you know how infrared saunas work and what type of heaters are best, you should now decide if building one of your own is a good idea. There are some people who are better off buying a portable/pre-fabricated sauna. Let’s find out which one you are.

Should You Build Your Own Custom Infrared Sauna? Should You Build Your Own Custom Infrared Sauna?

If you have the means and desire to build your own custom infrared sauna, there is no better way to get exactly what you want than by designing your own. In fact, I would design my own sauna over purchasing a portable unit one hundred percent of the time. Not even close. However, there are some things to know before you dive in on your own.

Before I built my own sauna, I did all the research, looked into the types of wood, heaters and accessories and concluded I would combine my findings with some professional assistance. This turned out to be a great success as I got exactly what I needed and the price was essentially the same as purchasing one of the biggest portable units on the market.

Where do you want your new custom sauna to go? Where do you want your new custom sauna to go?

Before you decide to go ahead and build your own sauna you will want to decide where you want it to go. Technically you can use just about any space to design and fit your infrared sauna into. However, my suggestion for your sauna would be an extra bathroom, an unused laundry room or walk in closet. 

I had a couple of options; I wanted to use the smaller of two spaces I had available and I decided upon an extra closet as opposed to entirely taking over one of my extra bathrooms. The closet was a nice size – 5’ x 7’ x 10’. It was windowless but still had enough room for a deep bench and floor space.

You can also…

Convert an existing hot rock sauna into infrared Convert an existing hot rock sauna into infrared

A lot of people have old hot rock saunas from the 1970’s that need a serious upgrade and infrared can easily be placed into a sauna that used to be a traditional/hot rock sauna. The caveat is that traditional saunas tend to be a bit bigger than infrared, so be aware that you will need a 240 volt line and may have to do a bit of wood-working. 

Old hot rock saunas usually have nice, clear tongue and groove cedar wood that can be sanded out if there are old sweat stains. Not having to replace the wood on the walls will save a lot of money on upfront cost. 

What is the height of your ceiling? What is the height of your ceiling?

While infrared works by raising your core temperature, there is still some need to have the air temperature in the 110 – 125°F range. If your ceilings are above 8 feet, the hot air will rise and not allow for the room to properly heat.

For this reason, we always recommend framing the room off and installing a drop/false ceiling so it is no higher than 8 feet. Ideally, you would do 7 or 7.5 feet. I chose 7.5’ and just added a few extra watts.

New Construction New Construction

About half of the custom infrared saunas we do here are a part of a newly constructed house, day spa, gym or apartment complex. The thing most architects do wrong is make the space for the sauna too large. You heard me right. You want to keep the dimensions of the room a bit smaller for infrared. 6′ x 8′ or 8′ x 8′ would be about the limit. 

Also, make sure that when you are designing your sauna that you take into account that tongue and groove wood takes up 1″ on all sides of the wall which will make the interior dimensions smaller.

Over the last eight years I’ve sold thousands of custom infrared saunas in every variation–either a traditional/hot rock sauna retrofit, walk-in closet sauna conversion, hot yoga studio saunas, outdoor infrared saunas and new construction. Each has their challenges; however, the first thing you must do is understand how your room will perform as an infrared sauna. Does it have four walls? Does it have a door? How high is the ceiling? Is the floor and ceiling flat?

The most important thing to know is that infrared saunas work better in smaller spaces with lower ceiling heights (of 7′ to 8′ maximum). Bigger rooms are definitely doable (and we have done 28′ x 28′ x 9′ infrared rooms), they aren’t as ideal as you need to be closer to the infrared heaters to really get the full benefit.

Sauna Configuration and Dimensions Sauna Configuration and Dimensions

Decide On Your Door Location Decide On Your Door Location

Doors vary in size—sauna doors tend to be on the narrower side (24″ width). Normal size doors are 36″ wide and 80″ high. This is ok for an infrared sauna, however, most custom saunas don’t have any windows—the only option for looking out is through an all-glass door. The bigger the door, the more glass it will have and the more expensive it will be. 

Should you decide to go with a glass door, get a shower-screen type door which is 10mm thick, tempered glass.

Decide On Your Bench Location(s) Decide On Your Bench Location(s)

The bench locations are as important as anything in your sauna as it’s where you’ll be spending all of your time. So you better be comfortable.

One helpful tip is that if you’re going to have a flat bench and flat backrest, you’ll have to put an eternal, moveable backrest on top of the bench. Doing this will take inches off of the depth of the bench, so if your bench and backrest are flat, make the depth 3-4″ deeper to account for the lost space from the external backrest.

Here is an example sauna showing the bench and door locations:

Choose Your Infrared Heaters Choose Your Infrared Heaters

All infrared saunas use either ceramic, carbon or halogen heaters to produce infrared light to create a deep sweat. The effects of each of the heaters are vastly different, and you’ll eventually have to make a choice which is best for you. Let’s get into the differences between each heater.

Ceramic Heaters Ceramic Heaters

1

Ceramic heaters have a surface temperature of 400°F, which is too hot to sit 2″ away from

2

Because of this, ceramic heaters have to be concentrated in a few areas of the sauna, not 360°around you

In order to find the right object to use for an infrared heater, you must look at the molecular components that allow for the greatest amount of heat retention, or infrared absorption.

What the original inventors of infrared saunas realized is that a ceramic compound (ceramic is a naturally occurring mineral that comes from clay) lends itself to different states and shapes. Ceramic clay can be molded when wet, it can be dried to take forms of objects (pottery, bricks for buildings) or used to cook. When you heat it, its electrons start to move which generate heat.

In the infrared sauna environment, ceramic is a good conductor of infrared heat because its blackbody rating is closer to 1.0 (ceramic heaters have .99 emissivity). This is higher than any other mineral or rock. What that means is that ceramic absorbs infrared better than any other object.

Emissivity is defined as an object’s effectiveness in emitting energy as thermal radiation. In layman’s terms, this means is that emissivity measures how well an object holds infrared energy (or how much it can absorb) so it can then release it as infrared/thermal radiation.

There is a downside using ceramic as an infrared emitter. The problem with ceramic is that it gets too hot. The absorption property of ceramic allows for its surface temperature to rise to 350 – 400 degrees°F.

Let’s put this into the Wien’s Law formula:

5268 / ( 350 °F + 460) = 6.44 microns

This is a good wavelength to raise your core body temperature through absorption into your soft tissue, but it’s not the best way to administer infrared heat in the sauna environment.

The problem with this wavelength is that it’s too hot (at 350-400°F) to sit 2 inches away from, as you do in an infrared sauna. Additionally, the 6.4 micron wavelength is too short for our bodies to optimally absorb it into our body’s water molecules. Our bodies are made up of 60% water. In fact, water is so good at absorbing far infrared (4-1000 microns) that the earth’s oceans are heated because the water molecules absorb the Sun’s far infrared energy. Our bodies are optimized to absorb far infrared energy.

Therefore, it would be much better if we could find something that got hot enough to heat the body, but also had a longer wavelength of infrared light for proper absorption into our water molecules (with the right balance of comfort to heat).

Carbon Heaters Carbon Heaters

1

Carbon heaters have a surface temperature of 140°F, which isn’t hot enough to raise your core temp in 30 minutes

2

Because of this, they are the least effective infrared heaters and should be avoided

Twelve years ago there was a significant innovation in the infrared sauna industry: carbon fiber panels. The reason for this was that carbon fiber is more malleable than hardened ceramic and its surface area can be spread out and expanded. It’s also cheaper to manufacture a sauna using carbon; hence, the cheapest infrared saunas are made out of carbon!

Here’s the rationale behind pure carbon heaters: by expanding the total surface area of the infrared heat this would lower the surface temperature and allow for a longer infrared wavelength that can be placed 360° around your body. As we have already established, infrared heat is just invisible light. Therefore, it is optimal to place as many heaters around you so your body is essentially enveloped in infrared light for maximum absorption. 

Now, this happens to be my personal viewpoint—it is better to have a maximum surface area of infrared light surrounding you and why I think carbon heaters led the best companies to think of combination carbon heaters—which have a surface temperature of 190°F. Unfortunately, pure carbon saunas just don’t have enough surface temperature to do too much of anything in an infrared sauna environment.

So what’s the maximum surface temperature of carbon panels in infrared saunas? About 140 – 150°F. Let’s plug that temperature into Wien’s Law:

5268 / ( 150 °F + 460 ) = 8.55 microns

Carbon fiber panels do have a much longer infrared wavelength than other heaters. Seems better, right? Not necessarily. Carbon fiber doesn’t allow itself to absorb as much infrared as ceramic. Its blackbody emissivity rating is closer to .94 or .95.

Hypothetically, let’s say you were standing in the sun wearing a black shirt, which absorbs 99 percent of the infrared light coming from the sun; whereas a light blue shirt absorbs 86 percent of the infrared light. The black shirt gets much hotter because it absorbs more infrared light. Pretty straightforward.

This is the difference between carbon and ceramic. Carbon simply does not get hot enough in an infrared sauna environment to raise core body temperature on its own as it doesn’t absorb as much infrared energy/light.

I want to make a very important point: the difference between an infrared sauna and a traditional sauna is that an infrared sauna relies on the changing of the internal properties of objects to exude heat in the form of thermal radiation. This light is absorbed by your body and your core body temperature rises. As a result, you produce a deep sweat—your body’s natural mechanism to cool itself.

Traditional saunas heat the air (and the water in the air), which then heats your skin. If you want hot air, get a traditional sauna. If you want to heat your body, get an infrared sauna.

In the same way that traditional saunas do not heat your core body temperature enough to allow for the health benefits they are capable of providing, carbon infrared panels also do not get hot enough to heat your body’s core temperature. Hence, both are lacking in the sauna environment.

As a result of the low surface temperature of carbon heaters, low-cost sauna companies have to increase the carbon panel surface area to heat the air above your head to simulate getting a good sweat. Did you ever wonder why cheaper carbon saunas always look the same (with their heaters raised up almost to the ceiling)?

Yes, having enough heater surface space in the sauna can raise the air temperature in the sauna. However, by doing this, it is no longer infra-red light heating your body; but rather hot air convection, the same as traditional saunas. The effect of raising the air temperature to overcompensate for low surface temperatures and underpowered heaters is not the goal of infrared saunas (and is disingenuous if you ask me).

Because infrared energy is actually invisible light, it can be described in the same manner as a flashlight that reflects light in a certain direction: Light from a flashlight travels in a straight line, which is true of invisible light as well. You can think of infra-red panels as giant flashlights reflecting infrared light in a straight line.

The goal is to reflect this light into your body in order for it to be absorbed creating a rise in core body temperature, which is infrared sauna therapy in a nutshell. When carbon panels are positioned above your head, they are effectively reflecting this light into thin air and the infrared energy is wasted. Unfortunately, the person inside the sauna is often fooled as they feel heat because the air temperature will rise.

The debate between ceramic vs. carbon heaters can be summarized in a single sentence:

Ceramic heaters run too hot and carbon heaters don’t run hot enough.

I made it my personal mission to find out if there was something in the middle that was hot enough to raise your core temperature while being comfortable enough to sit next to for 30 minutes. It took me years to discover, but I found that very heater.

VantaWave™ Quartz Graphite 190°F Heaters VantaWave™ Quartz Graphite 190°F Heaters

Eight years ago, when I first started to find out about infrared saunas I quickly realized that just about every infrared sauna company had missed the boat on providing a heater that operated at a comfortable temperature while simultaneously raising your core body temperature.

As we’ve gone over, the industry standard infrared heaters simply don’t cut it (they’re either too hot or not hot enough). One day I was in one of the cheaper carbon saunas and something hit me.

What would happen if you combined two materials with very high emissivity to get the best of both heaters?

The result was the most effective infrared heater ever created. By mixing quartz and graphite together, you get a more emissive heater than carbon at a much cooler temperature than ceramic. You also get a longer, deeper penetrating infrared wavelength. Because the chemical properties are now mixed, you get a blackbody absorption rating between that of carbon and ceramic combined—.95 (quartz) – .99 (graphite) = .97.

This blackbody absorption rating allows the combination quartz/graphite compound heater to hold a hotter temperature of 200 degrees °F, which is the ideal temperature for an infrared heater. Let’s input 200 °F into our formula:

5268 / ( 200 °F + 460) = 7.90 microns

This means that the infrared wavelength is pretty much right in the middle of carbon (9.4 microns) and ceramic (6.0 microns). The Peak Energy Wavelength of the quartz/graphite heater is 7.90 microns, but remember, this is just an average which can be expressed by a bell curve.

As you can see, the peak emission wavelength is right at 7.90 microns, however, you still have infrared waves traveling at 6.0 microns and wavelengths traveling at 9.4 microns. Why is this important?

Our bodies are made up of over 60 percent water. Different molecules in your body are going to accept and absorb different infrared wavelengths. The shorter the infrared wavelength the deeper that it can penetrate into your body. The longer the wave-length the shallower the absorption, but at a greater amount.

The water molecules in your body absorb a greater amount of infrared than any other molecule in your body. Water actually absorbs the highest amount of infrared energy on the planet, and without water’s ability to absorb infrared, we’d be in a continuous ice age.

The greater the amount of infrared energy that your body receives, the greater the amount that will be absorbed by your body’s water molecules. The different molecular types in your body are water, protein, connective tissue, fats and carbohydrates—98.7% of these are water molecules.

Because a ceramic heater has an emissivity of .99 (versus .95 emissivity of carbon) more of it will be absorbed by your body’s water molecules and your core body temperature will rise faster. The more infrared light, the more energy is absorbed by your body. All things being equal, you will get a much better sweat in a ceramic sauna rather than in a carbon sauna.

However, because we were able to create our (patent pending) combination quartz/graphite compound heaters we have effectively found the sweet spot of infrared heaters. You literally get the best sweat possible whilst being able to sustain that sweat for over 30 minutes. In an infrared sauna, the more sweat, the better.

From my own experience and hearing hundreds of stories throughout the years, carbon simply doesn’t put out enough infrared energy to be absorbed by your body. Your experience and resultant health benefits will be greatly reduced when using only carbon heaters.

Additionally, you get an even distribution of infrared light around your body at 360°. This allows for you to absorb so much more infrared at every angle you are sitting in your sauna.

Halogen Heaters Halogen Heaters

The last type of infrared heaters that have become popular due to “full spectrum” infrared saunas are halogen heaters. Unfortunately, somebody thought it would be good to falsely claim that these heaters produce near infrared (which they don’t) and claim them to be “full spectrum heaters.”

Halogen heaters happen to be great heaters that produce a very high surface temperature (775°F). They are used across the globe at restaurants for outdoor patios to keep their customers warm. I’m pretty sure you have felt the heat these give off. I have used them many, many time in a sauna environment and have sold them to 6/7 continents—people love them. That being said, they aren’t full spectrum heaters! And I can prove it using our nifty formula!

Let’s plug in 775°F to see where it lands—near, mid or far.

5268 / ( 775°F + 460) = 4.26 microns

This is still in the far infrared bandwidth!

In order to get to the cooler end of the near infrared spectrum, you would have to heat an object to 2150°F! This is where near and mid infrared overlap. This is the actual burning temperature inside of a bonfire! You simply could never put something this hot inside of a 4′ x 6′ x 7′ room. It would be a severe fire hazard and you would fry your clients!

How someone in this industry thought this would be good to call “full spectrum” is beyond me… What’s worse is that literally every company has followed suit, which has caused people searching for infrared saunas online to be very uninformed. Most people calling me demand their future sauna to be “full spectrum” without even knowing the benefits of each wavelength. 

They just hear the buzzword “full spectrum” and there’s no negotiating. I wish they knew that what they end up purchasing definitely is not a “full spectrum”, “broad spectrum” or “true spectrum” sauna. Frankly it’s all bullshit and the industry is pulling a fast one on the uninformed public (hence this book!) Sorry for the rant, but it needs to be said…

That being said, halogen heaters happen to be great emitters of far infrared energy. They are made of quartz, which does a great job of keeping its charge from infrared energy and then putting it out as heat. I really do think the sweat you get in an infrared sauna is better having them in the sauna.

VantaWave™ Quartz Graphite VantaWave™ Quartz Graphite

Patented

  • 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

Generic

  • 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

Generic

  • 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

Generic

  • 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

Why Choose Full Spectrum Why Choose Full Spectrum

The Importance of Surface Temperature The Importance of Surface Temperature

The surface temperature of the heater is going to determine the infrared wavelength that is absorbed into your body. The longer the wave, the more that can be absorbed. As discussed in previous chapters, How Infrared Saunas Work, Wien’s Law shows the thermal energy output in microns. As a result of inputting a surface temperature, you get a wavelength that shows how deep a heater can penetrate into your body with far infrared waves.

So what’s the best micron wavelength for your body to absorb in an infrared sauna? What will provide the maximum health benefits?

The short answer is 7.90 microns.

Now I’ll show you how we got there.

The most important factor for receiving health benefits in an infrared sauna is raising your core body temperature. As a result, your body will excrete toxins, you will lose weight and recycle old cells, so you must have a sauna that gets hot. The best surface temperature to heat your body and penetrate deep into your tissue is 200 °F.

5268 / (200 °F + 460) = 7.90 microns

As we see in the infrared light chart, the far infrared spectrum of light goes from 4 to 1000 microns.

Remember that the Wien’s Law formula is actually an inverse of surface temperature to wavelength. The hotter the surface of an object, the shorter the wavelength. The inverse is true as well. As we get a higher micron level, the surface temperature drops and the wavelength becomes longer.

Near-infrared is represented in the infrared spectrum from .7 microns to 2.0 microns. Using Wien’s Law, this results in a surface temperature of 2150 °F – 7000 °F. The interior air temperature will obviously never get that hot in any infrared sauna, but in order to mathematically get the proper near-infrared wavelength, the near infra-red heater must (theoretically) get that hot.

The problem, besides the unreasonable heat requirement, is that the lower micron level does not help you attain the major health goals of infrared saunas—rest, weight loss and detoxification.

Near Infrared Near Infrared

Near-infrared heaters operate at a much higher temperature than far infrared heaters. The hottest a far infrared heater will get to is 825 degrees °F. At a 4.0 micron wavelength, the surface temperature of the infrared heater is 825 degrees °F, which is highly uncomfortable to be sitting a few inches away from.

As I explained earlier, by trying to produce a deep sweat using the near-infrared band of radiant light, you have to heat the surface temperature of the object producing heat to at least 2,150°F. Shall I repeat that?

Now, there is an entire sub-section of infrared saunas out there called “near infrared saunas.” You might have heard of them. They claim to use near infrared heaters alone to heat your body. However, having done our research and scientifically proven that no infrared sauna heater has the surface temperature hot enough to be in the near infrared bandwidth, these claims are false! “Near infrared sauna” are using far infrared heaters! You can tell as they use halogen heaters! Simply return to the previous chapter explaining halogen heaters. However, these heaters are still extremely hot at 775°F.

Because these “near-infrared sauna” heaters are so hot, there is usually only one side of the body being heated at a time. Take a look at the following pictures:

Rotisserie
Near Infrared

The “near infrared” lamps only exist from one location in the sauna—there aren’t multiple panels. If there were panels on both sides, you would heat yourself to unsafe levels. Because there is only one direction the near infrared light is coming from, you have to continuously turn your body like a rotisserie chicken to produce a full body sweat. This is far from the even, enveloping, 360° heat of a far infrared sauna.

The Bonfire Explanation The Bonfire Explanation

The thermal radiation created by a bonfire travels away in all directions. Heat that is transferred via convection mostly travels upwards as the heated air billows up. If you are to the side of the fire, the heat you receive is transferred via thermal radiation (i.e. infrared light). If you are standing directly above the fire, you receive heat from both thermal radiation and convection (not a good place, mind you). For this reason, directly above the fire is the hottest place to be.

Note that thermal radiation can include many different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation and not just infrared. So what’s the internal temperature of a bonfire? 2100-2200°F!

These are actual near infrared temperatures!

So, here’s a great way to explain how near infrared doesn’t actually exist in an infrared sauna:

As we’ve already shown, “near infrared heaters” don’t exist. They simply don’t have the surface temperature in the proper range 2150°F+ to be considered near infrared, let alone mid infrared! 

But, let’s say for kicks that you did actually sit next to an object with the same internal temperature as a bonfire… Have you ever sat next to a roaring bonfire outside on a cool night? It feels amazing right? But why does it feel good? Because you’re sitting far enough away from it to be the right temperature for you to feel comfort in the warmth. You don’t sit directly next to the fire!

If you sat directly next to the fire your clothes would literally start burning from the heat of the air alone! So what do you do? Move away to a safe and comfortable distance. 

My point being, that by the time the infrared waves hit your body from a bonfire operating at 2200°F, that thermal radiation (and respective infrared waves) have cooled significantly to be inside the far infrared bandwidth of light.

So, while you might be seeing a near infrared fire, you are feeling far infrared heat! 

Far Infrared – The Game Changer Far Infrared – The Game Changer

Far infrared saunas actually became popular much earlier than near infrared saunas. When it was discovered you could skip a step by heating your body directly, instead of the air and water between (like traditional saunas), it was by using the far infrared wavelength.

The objective of an infrared sauna is to produce a deep and sustained sweat by whole body hyperthermia, and no more than that. In order to hit this exact measurement, you must heat the body by using an optimal wavelength of light (the Peak Emission Wavelength) that results from the thermal radiation of an object (the surface temperature).

Far infrared is fantastic for many of the same things that near infrared is great for—a boost in metabolic rate, reduce and burn fat cells, improved circulation, increasing cellular energy, faster skin rejuvenation, and faster cellular perfusion.

I am in no way saying that near infrared doesn’t have therapeutic value (as we’ll see in a later chapter); however, in the infrared sauna environment, it is less than ideal. If you are certain you need near infrared, I would recommend a handheld near-infrared LED light panel that you place directly on top of your skin outside of the sauna.

I highly encourage you to conduct as much research on near vs. far infrared as you’d like but remember to look for the science behind the claims. The purpose of using an infrared sauna is the cumulative health benefits, all of which can be safely and comfortably attained through far infrared while you are sweating, losing weight, and detoxifying your body.

Moreover, if you are sitting in an infrared sauna and it is producing heat, you’re sitting next to a far infrared heater, no matter what they tell you!

What Is a Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna?
A Guide to Near, Mid and Far Infrared
What Is a Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna?
A Guide to Near, Mid and Far Infrared

Far infrared saunas in their current form have been around for 30 years. Near infrared saunas have been around for about half the time as people started realizing the benefits of not just far infrared, but mid and near as well.

Without getting into a discussion of which is better in an infrared sauna environment (near vs. far, which we’ve already covered in detail here) let’s discuss the merits of having both near, mid and far infrared in a sauna. The sun’s spectrum of electromagnetic radiation has an entire portion that is made up of near, mid and far infrared–which we humans feel as heat.

This infrared spectrum lies just beyond the visible light spectrum as you can see here:

are-you-microwaving-yourself-in-an-infrared-sauna

Each portion of the electromagnetic spectrum of light serves its own purpose (gamma rays are used to kill cancer cells, visible light allows for us to see, and infrared allows us to feel heat). We can then harness this penetrating heat in an infrared sauna to put out invisible light that our body absorbs as heat which then raises our core body temperature and produces the amazing health benefits we’re already aware of.

There are three levels of infrared, near, mid and far, that each resonate with the subcutaneous fat layer of the human body producing different healing responses. Let’s take a look at the three kinds of infrared light and their benefits in an infrared sauna:

Near Infrared:
Healthy cell immunity, wound healing, skin purification and pain relief.
Near Infrared:
Healthy cell immunity, wound healing, skin purification and pain relief.

Near infrared wavelengths have a lower micron level and a resulting shorter wavelength which mostly penetrates the epidermis layer of the skin. This makes it a very safe choice for the improvement of cell health, the renewal of skin, tissue growth and wound healing.

A lot of sauna companies use near infrared technology that is similar to the infrared used in handheld cosmetic and LED healing devices. While these LED devices are great when they can be targeted on a specific area of skin–they are very hard to use in an infrared sauna environment, as you need to place the LED lights within inches of your skin.

Let’s take a look at an LED panel that’s used by a competitor.

In order for this device to be effective you have to hold it directly over your skin for an extended period of time (minimum 15 minutes to get the blood flowing to the desired area)–not behind a mesh heater pointed at one spot on your back. What happens if you have knee pain? You would have to stand and hold your knee right in front of the LED panel. What’s more is that this LED panel is hidden behind a mesh cover which will block nearly all of the rays of light (remember, all light travels in a straight line, including infrared). What good is this light if it is being blocked by mesh? It makes zero sense!

Original
Modified

The object of an infrared sauna is to heat your body and raise your core temperature–a small 10 watt LED panel is not going to heat your body at all. Now, I am a firm believer of the effects of near infrared in LED light form-it’s just hard to do correctly in an infrared sauna (and at the moment, no sauna company is doing it right). 

What I would personally do is purchase a hand-held near infrared LED device and hold it over the area of skin that I wanted to re-juvenate.

You still get all of the amazing health benefits of near infrared (cell health, the renewal of skin, tissue growth and wound healing) while heating your body–which is what an infrared sauna is supposed to do! Furthermore, if you look at companies who only offer near infrared, you’ll see they only use near infrared lamps–not LED panels. Why? Because they understand that saunas must be hot! But as we already went over, they aren’t using actual near infrared!

While near infrared does have great healing benefits, we don’t advise using only a near infrared sauna on its own. Near infrared gets too hot to be used solely in an infrared sauna (2,150 °F). Near infrared sauna companies know this and force their sauna users to sit on a small stool and rotate their body at different time intervals essentially rotisserie’ing’ themselves. They have to do this because if they surrounded your body on all four sides it would be far too hot to get any benefit at all from. Not practical or comfortable!

Mid Infrared:
Pain relief, improved circulation and weight loss.
Mid Infrared:
Pain relief, improved circulation and weight loss.

Mid infrared wavelengths penetrate deeper into the body than near infrared and are therefore good for increasing circulation and blood flow. When used on a consistent basis, mid infrared sauna therapy has been shown to significantly increase blood flow and reduce muscle and joint pain.

Healing can occur faster because mid infrared penetrates deeper into soft tissue where inflammation occurs. To produce MIR, sauna heaters must be able to maintain a surface temperature of 825°F. This is extremely rare in the sauna environment as most heaters don’t get this hot.

Though major infrared sauna companies may claim to provide mid infrared, the material used in their heaters never actually reaches this temperature. Don’t be fooled by fancy marketing and branding. Let the sauna do the talking.

Far Infrared: Weight loss, Detoxification, Circulation,
Lower Blood Pressure, and Relaxation
Far Infrared: Weight loss, Detoxification, Circulation,
Lower Blood Pressure, and Relaxation

Because far infrared sauna therapy heats the body directly rather than simply warming the air, it raises the core body temperature and produces a deep, detoxifying sweat at the cellular level, where most toxins reside. Far infrared also aids in blood pressure reduction & weight loss, as you get a great passive aerobic exercise.

The longest infrared wavelength, far infrared, penetrates deepest into the body, reaching adipose tissue (fat cells) where toxins are stored. The range of temperatures that you want for a far infrared heating panel will be from 400°F to 90°F. Between these temperatures is where the far infrared band is produced.

However, we have found that sitting two inches away from a heater that is 400°F will be far too hot to be comfortable and will not allow you to stay in your sauna for 30 minutes (the object of an infrared sauna is to sit in there longer and prolong your sweat. The longer you sweat the more health benefits you’ll get).

Every one of our carbon (“solocarbon,” “nanocarbon,” etc., they’re all the same heater) competitors heaters only ever reach 140°F on the surface of their heaters which will simply not be hot enough to produce a sweat.

For this reason we aim for 200°F on the surface of our heaters which gives you the longest wavelength at the most beneficial temperature. You will also be able to sit in your sauna for 30 minutes each day while getting the deepest sweat possible.

Why Would You Want a Full Spectrum Sauna? Why Would You Want a Full Spectrum Sauna?

For many years Infrared Saunas have been either Far Infrared or Near Infrared. How you used one depended upon your health needs and requirements. Currently an optimal sauna experience combining all three spectrums in one is available, which allows for extended diversity and an incredibly effective sauna experience.

This combination of all three spectrums of infrared ensures total health concerns could be addressed and targeted in only one session.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body. The subcutaneous layer of fat stores many toxins and can be found just below the skin’s surface. A Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna can penetrate into the tissues up to a depth of two inches. The temperature of a full spectrum infrared sauna is typically between 100 – 150 degrees °F.

However, despite operating at a lower temperature, your body will typically perspire far more in a full spectrum infrared sauna due to complete heat penetration.

Full Spectrum Infrared Energy Penetrates
Your Body at Not Just One Level, but Three
Full Spectrum Infrared Energy Penetrates
Your Body at Not Just One Level, but Three

Normally our bodies pump ten to fourteen pints of blood per minute. Full spectrum infrared sauna rays increase the blood flow up to twenty six pints per minute. When blood flow is increased you have additional oxygenation assisting the body to repair cells and tissues.

The full spectrum infrared sauna also stimulates the sebaceous glands to release harmful toxins such as petrochemicals, mercury and other heavy metals. While there is much debate how these toxins are released-through your skin or through natural means (defecation, urine, and breath), they are excreted either way.

Toxins that cannot be expelled immediately after entry are stored in our bodies. The full spectrum sauna not only boosts the metabolism but is also extremely effective at aiding the upturn of immune function. While inside a full spectrum infrared sauna you can fully relax, listen to calming music, meditate, enjoy color light therapy, or perhaps a yoga routine to introduce heat into your practice.

After taking a full spectrum sauna session your body’s core will be comfortable all day as the detoxing benefits continue long after your session ends. You’ll be relieved of your pain too.

What Kind of Wood is Best? What Kind of Wood is Best?

When I first became involved in the infrared sauna industry, I assumed the wood that makes up the panels of the cabin and the bench was purely aesthetic. When I read sauna the specs and saw the section on wood, I assumed that people picked different types of wood based mostly on their home decorating scheme. Pick the color you like best, right?

I mean, these saunas are serious pieces of furniture, large boxes of elegant wood that go in the corner of a workout room, or on a deck overlooking a wooded backyard. But, the more I learned about them, the more I discovered that the type of wood used in a sauna is important because every material in a sauna has the potential to affect a user’s health.

Why Wood Matters Within Infrared Saunas Why Wood Matters Within Infrared Saunas

The type of wood used makes a difference in how well the sauna will age, how well it will stand up to repeated use, and whether your sauna will be comfortable enough that you’ll want to continue using it over time.

Let’s examine, in depth, the biggest factors to consider when choosing a type of wood for your sauna:

Wood Toxicity Wood Toxicity

Wood toxicity is one of the biggest concerns users have when I talk with them about choosing wood for an infrared sauna. The majority of potential sauna users come to me because they are interested in detoxifying their bodies. With that in mind, they definitely don’t want wood that will introduce new toxins into their environment while they’re using the sauna.

Toxicity of building material is a concern for any health facility, and infrared saunas are no exception. There is a very simple solution to this problem. Choose a high quality wood like a Western Red Cedar that is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, which does not allow for fungus or other allergens to grow.

High-quality sauna manufacturers will also specially dry the wood they use in order to burn away oils, resins, and other allergens that may emerge when a sauna is repeatedly heated and cooled during use (usually down to 8-12 percent water content).

Wood Weight Wood Weight

This is a concern for some folks, especially those who are having their sauna delivered over long distances to their homes. Of course, a purchase as significant as a sauna should be made well, durable, and built to last, but harder wood isn’t necessarily better.

Softer wood won’t crack as easily, and it insulates better. Also, wood that is too hard is heavy, and will present logistical problems when it comes time to have it installed in your home.

At the same time, the wood panels in infrared saunas can also warp over time if the wood is not dense enough. The solution to this is to find a wood for your sauna with a density per cubic foot that is on the low side, but not too low. These numbers are typically measured in pounds.

In my opinion anything over 30 lb/ft 3 will prove to be unnecessarily heavy, but anything lower than 18 lb/ft 3 may not hold up to the rigors of use. The neighborhood you want is between 20 and 25 lb/ft 3.

Resistance to Decay Resistance to Decay

Warping due to flimsy wood is a serious concern, general decay is another. Wood used in saunas is susceptible to the same problem as any other wood over time: steady decay. While there isn’t a metric or numerical system to measure which woods stand up best to decay, there are a few woods that are well known for holding up well over time.

The best solution for your sauna is to pick a wood that’s naturally decay resistant, and then have any wood you choose treated with a wood preservative to enhance that resistance.

Appearance Appearance

This one is pretty much self evident. In my opinion, infrared saunas can look beautiful when you weave them into the decorating scheme in your home or your backyard. This may not be as technical a consideration as other factors, but it’s still worth considering. Just take into account the area in which you plan to install your sauna, and ensure that the wood you choose is an aesthetic fit. You want to like your sauna. Looks matter.

Crushing Strength Crushing Strength

Crushing strength, which is sometimes known as compression strength, is a measurement of how much weight wood can handle before becoming crushed or broken. Whereas density speaks more to weight, this property speaks more to durability.

Your sauna is a haven, a place you can relax and enjoy the many health benefits provided by the process, and that means not having to worry about accidentally cracking the slats of wood in your sauna.

Of course, construction and design make a difference too when it comes to durability (that’s why you don’t want a cheap infrared sauna), but the strength of the actual wood is just as important. I’d recommend against less sturdy woods such as hemlock, aspen, and pine.

Common Woods Used for Infrared Saunas Common Woods Used for Infrared Saunas

While there are too many different types of wood to discuss in depth here, here are some of the kinds of wood that are most commonly used to make saunas:

Western Red Canadian Cedar Western Red Canadian Cedar

Western red cedar has the ideal density for this kind of application, in my opinion, coming in at a spry 23 pounds per cubic foot. It’s also a great thermal insulator due to this relatively low density and to its high proportion of air space. It has high durability, and cedar is also naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, which prevents the growth of fungus or other allergens.

Even though infrared saunas are dry (unlike traditional steam saunas), which reduces the likelihood of fungal and bacterial growth, antiseptic qualities are still desirable traits since a sauna is a place where you go to sweat profusely (releasing moisture and bacteria). Cedar is also highly resistant to warping, denting, and cracking, even given the broad fluctuation of temperatures in saunas.

For these reasons, and because of its hardiness in wet conditions (and its natural ability to repel insects), cedar has been the defacto choice of those who build traditional steam saunas for hundreds of years. These last two qualities also make red cedar perfectly suited for infrared saunas that are going to be kept outdoors.

Hemlock Hemlock

If you’ve ever done any model building or serious wood carving, you may know this wood, which is as inexpensive as it is low in strength. Simply put, Hemlock is just too soft to handle the temperature bursts that saunas subject it to. It makes great material for a picture frame, though.

Basswood Basswood

One of the major benefits of basswood is that it is free of harmful toxins and allergens that could bother users; when treated properly it is considered hypoallergenic. Basswood also boasts an excellent strength to weight ratio, and a density that is about 25 pounds per cubic foot.

Poplar Poplar

There are many species of poplar, and, unfortunately, most of them are soft and porous, which means they get average marks in tests for strength, resistance to decay, and durability. Poplar isn’t all that well suited for varied hot and cold conditions, either, because of its porous nature and middling strength. While it dents easily, it does score great marks for durability, coming in at 22-31 pounds per cubic foot on average.

Pine Pine

Honestly, when it comes to wood choices for an infrared sauna, pine of any kind is the worst possible choice, in my opinion. This wood is low in strength, overly lightweight, and has poor decay resistance. Pine is also more likely to splinter than many of the other choices on our list, and it’s high in resin content, which is liable to irritate your eyes and sinuses during use. Stay away.

How to Build Your Custom Infrared Sauna How to Build Your Custom Infrared Sauna

Now that you’ve decided on your space (and have laid out the door and bench locations as well as chosen your heaters) it’s time to construct your sauna. The following chapters will guide you along your way. 

Sauna Room Preparation Sauna Room Preparation

Before installing your custom infrared sauna components, review the space where the sauna will be installed. Below is a basic checklist of things to consider. This is not a complete list. Please refer to your general contractor as there may be additional considerations for the site. *(FS = Field Supplied or supplied by your contractor)

Is the space already framed? Is the space already framed?

The room will need to be framed before installing the sauna, make sure that the dimensions on the spec sheet (top-down view) will fit in the space before placing the order. All framing and bench wood will need to be field supplied (FS) unless otherwise specified.

Is the sauna going to be near a room with running water? Is the sauna going to be near a room with running water?

Is your sauna going to be constructed next to a bathroom or a room with running water? This require installation of a vapor barrier (FS). A vapor barrier will protect your sauna from a water leak in a nearby room.

Are the walls insulated? Are the walls insulated?

If not, all interior walls will require R-12 insulation (FS).

Is the sauna going to be built outside or have exterior walls? Is the sauna going to be built outside or have exterior walls?

This may require a higher R-Value of insulation (FS) and a leak-proof roof.

Does the sauna have windows? Does the sauna have windows?

This requires that insulated tempered glass be installed. Sauna Cloud Infrared Saunas® does not supply windows. We recommend a minimum thickness of 10 mm tempered glass.

Wood Framing Wood Framing

Sauna Cloud Infrared Saunas® gives the option to supply timber; if this is the case, it refers to the following wood components only: Interior Wood T&G (Walls, Floors, and Ceilings) Bench Wood S4S (Bench Seat) and trim wood. The benches are not prefabricated and will need to be constructed by the contractor.

Framing wood and furring strips are not included in the kit. These will need to be supplied by your contractor. Sauna Cloud Infrared Saunas® does not supply wall framing or bench sub-framing material unless otherwise requested.

Laying Tongue and Groove Wood Laying Tongue and Groove Wood

Framing Walls, Ceiling, and Floor Frame (FS) the room to 16” on center stud, if possible, and make sure that the walls are level before installing the tongue and groove wood. For the floor construction, it is a good idea to install furring strips (FS) so that the floor is level. You will need to run the tongue and groove wood perpendicular to the furring strips. Refer to the specification sheet for the finished interior room dimensions.

The sauna interior tongue and groove wood should be mounted horizontally, tongue side up. This will prevent moisture from collecting in the groove. The areas where the junction boxes are mounted will require a 6″ x 6″ window cut out. This will allow for access should it ever need to be removed for servicing. (You can also leave then entire area open where the heaters are located, with no tongue and groove wood behind the heaters). 

Where the lighting, temperature sensor, chromotherapy and keypad controller harness are mounted, you will need to cut holes to allow proper mounting.

Bench Sub-framing Construction Bench Sub-framing Construction

When building the subframe for the bench, secure the framing to the wall studs for maximum stability and support. Refer to the spec sheet for the finished bench dimensions. Sauna Cloud Infrared Saunas® does not supply any wood for bench construction unless otherwise requested–please speak with your contractor. 

Flip Bench Construction Flip Bench Construction

The power supply box will require access should the system ever need to be serviced by an electrician. Creating a flip bench is the recommended way to allow for access. It is also recommended for commercial installation to add a lock (FS) to prevent tampering, injury or damage. 

You can also have a bench seat that is removable this is not advised for commercial or rental properties. The flip bench subframing construction requires a removable support beam ( RED ) that will sit in the cradle system comprised of the 2 x 4” supports ( YELLOW ) to hold the bench. The flip seat should be constructed by adhering S4S to a sheet of plywood (FS) see below. 

The fixed bench(es) should be comprised of S4S attached to the framework and have no gaps or spacing between boards to prevent sweat or spillage from dripping onto the electronics housed beneath. Then attaching blind hinges (FS) ( BLUE ) so that the seat flips open. All other bench seating should also be adhered to plywood ( Burgundy ). All bench sub framing material will need to be supplied by your contractor.

under-flip-bench-1

The flip bench seat and the fixed bench(es) should be installed after the electronic components. Here is a completed flip bench from one of our previous saunas:

How to Wire Your Custom Infrared Sauna How to Wire Your Custom Infrared Sauna

Now that you’ve framed your room and installed your wood it’s time to wire your sauna. The following chapters will guide you along your way. 

Electrical Codes Must Be Followed Electrical Codes Must Be Followed

Electrical codes are enforced to make sure electrical installations are safe and work properly, and inspectors don’t kid around. Make sure you are following you county electrical codes and make sure your sauna gets inspected. Additionally, a licensed electrician is required to hard-wire your power supply⁠.

How the Electrical System Works How the Electrical System Works

Electricity (current) is the flow of electrons through a conductor (usually copper or aluminum wire). The current travels in a loop, called a circuit, through a “hot” wire (usually black or red) to a fixture and returns through a “neutral” wire (usually white), completing the circuit. When the circuit in broken, the current ceases.

The system is grounded to the earth to prevent a user from being shocked from damaged or defective wiring.

Voltage and amps:

Voltage is electrical pressure exerted by the power source. Most household fixtures use 120 or 240 volts. Wires, appliances, and fixtures have different resistances to the voltage–the thicker the wire, the less resistance. Amperes and watts refer to the amount of electrical current used by devices in the system (such as a lightbulb). 

Electricity to your sauna:

Electricity flows from the utility provider through high-voltage wires to transformers that reduce the amount of power to 120 volts per wire. The wires enter your home through a service head, which attaches to a meter that records your power use. The wires then enter the service panel, which divides the power into circuits and distributes power to outlets throughout your home.

Service to most homes is three-wire–two “hot” wires carrying power inside and one “neutral” wire completing the circuit. Two hot wires means that a home can run 120-volt and 240 volt circuits. Older homes with only one hot and neutral are limited to 120-volt service.

Rough Wiring and Ventilation Rough Wiring and Ventilation

When the framing for the room and bench are complete, identify where the power supply box will be housed. The power supply will need to be enclosed inside the bench housing.This will protect the power supply from incidental contact and spillage (see Flip BenchConstruction). 

The location of the keypad, especially if it is going to be surfaced or flush mounted (see cut sheet for more information), should be established at this point as well. Make sure to follow ADA requirements for placement if the ADA conditions apply to your sauna. The vent should be installed so that air flows into either a plenum, hallway or another interior room. 

Venting to the outside wall cause cool air to rush into the sauna diminishing the overall sauna temperature. A 4” x 6” shutter style vent is included with the kit, however, they can be field supplied as well so long as the minimum dimensions are met.

Wiring the Power Supply Wiring the Power Supply

As per the wiring diagram below (region dependent), when bringing service into the power supply box, start with Gnd/L1/N1 or (Gnd/L1/L2/N1). This will bring power to the control board. Do not skip this as the system will not operate at all. Below is the wiring diagram:

Mounting the Temperature Sensor Mounting the Temperature Sensor

Mount the temperature sensor below the finished ceiling opposite the wall where the door is located. The temperature probe must be inserted ¾” into the sauna cabin from the finished wall. Use a low voltage conduit so that the harness can be easily replaced should it ever need to be serviced. Screw the provided faceplate into place to secure the temperature sensor to the wall.

Mounting the Control Panels Mounting the Control Panels

The control cable should be routed to where the keypad controller will be installed. Use a low voltage conduit so that the harness can be easily replaced should it ever need to be serviced.

Wiring the Heaters Wiring the Heaters

Each heater will require a 2 x 4”or 4 x 4” junction box w/ cover, proper leads (NM(Romex) or MC) and wire connectors (Marrette®). It’s best to mount the junction boxes as close to the start of the leads on the back of the heater. Make sure to give enough slack so that the wire isn’t taut. Depending on how many heaters will be installed in the cabin you may need additional junction boxes to collect the leads and have a single feed running to the power circuit(s). The spec sheet will indicate which heater wattage and placement.

Wiring the heaters to the power supply:

Using the leads (NM/MC), run the leads back into the power supply starting withGND/L1/N or (Gnd/L1/L2) (Ground is not necessary for the heaters). Each circuit is 7200-watts, under NEC each circuit cannot exceed 6600watts, distribute the load accordingly.

Continue through the necessary number of circuits indicated on the spec sheet. Also, the installation of a larger junction may be necessary before terminating into the power supply if the system requires multiple heaters as they may not fit in the terminal bus.

Mounting the Heaters Mounting the Heaters

Depending on which heater elements are indicated on the spec sheet, it may require the use of different length screws. See the corresponding spec sheet(s) for more information regarding your sauna’s components. 

infrared-heater-frame-2

Mounting Infrared Heaters in the Floor Mounting Infrared Heaters in the Floor

Infrared floor heaters provide a very nice, even heat under your feet so the heating of your body is in unison in your sauna. Please see the following diagrams to mount infrared heaters under the cedar floor.

Attaching the Insulation Attaching the Insulation

Ceramic fiber insulation allows for the infrared heaters to work their best by pointing all of their heat forward, instead of the heat escaping through the back. Attaching the insulation by simply putting it on top of the heater which both fit inside of the wooden heater frame.

Accessories Accessories

• Color Light Therapy/ Chromotherapy Light 

The Chromotherapy Cable should be mounted so that the fixtures will aim directly abovethe user’s head when seated. Each light fixture will need to be centered along thebench(es) for even distribution.

• Red LED Light Therapy Fixture

The interior light fixture should be mounted in front of the bench(es) and/or by the door to allow for safe entry/exit of the sauna. Use a conduit so that the harness can be easily replaced should it ever need to be serviced.

• Stereo Speakers

The controller comes with built-in Bluetooth connectivity, MP3 player and FM Radio. Thespeaker terminals are noted on the control board as L- L+ and R- R+. speakers andspeaker cables are not included in the standard kit.

Why Purchase from SaunaCloud™ Why Purchase from SaunaCloud™

What to Look for when Purchasing a Custom Infrared Sauna What to Look for when Purchasing a Custom Infrared Sauna

What Kind of Company are You Purchasing from?

Before you purchase your custom infrared sauna ask yourself the following questions:

How long has the company been in business? 

• What is their online reputation? Do they have complaints? 

• Do they have proof of custom saunas they’ve built in the past with happy customers?

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? 

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! 

Now that you know what to ask before buying, let’s discuss what to look for in your future custom sauna. It all comes down to three things: company, cabin, and heaters. 

What Are the Surface Temperatures of their Heaters?

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. Do not buy pure carbon heaters with this surface temperature! They won’t heat your body nor your sauna nearly enough.

• 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:

VantaWave™ Quartz/Graphite VantaWave™ Quartz/Graphite

Patented

  • 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

Generic

  • 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

Generic

  • 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

Generic

  • 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 absorptionfor 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.

While using an infrared sauna is great to lose weight, there are things that you can do to expedite it. Drinking water before, during and after your sauna session will help speed up your metabolism.

If you are used to regularly drinking soda, coffee or even alcohol, your body will now crave water. As with many things, one healthy habit starts another—it’s no different with infrared sauna use.

Is the sauna tailored to your room or is it a one size fits all kit?
1

Do not buy a one size fits all, cheap, carbon heater kit–your sauna will not be hot enough!

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These companies offer no service, no warranty and will likely be out of business soon.

Whatever you do, do not purchase a kit similar to this that is being sold for a blanket size, perfectly rectangular room. Your system must be designed for your room–no two saunas are alike. This is a custom infrared sauna after all. What generic/cheap companies are trying to do is to sell cheaply made Chinese products for a standard size room (for example, 5′ x 5′ offering 8 heaters). 

The problem is that your sauna is unique (it’s custom) and can not be covered by a blanket size sauna kit. There are too many factors to consider–the height of the room, door and bench locations and shape of the room. Don’t buy these generic kits.

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.

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I am a tooltip for a hotspot
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I am a tooltip for a hotspot

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).

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I am a tooltip for a hotspot
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I am a tooltip for a hotspot

It makes no sense to shine this light into the air above your head as a huge percentage of the infrared energy is wasted going into thin air. Heating the air is not the object of infrared therapy, heating your body is.

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:

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I am a tooltip for a hotspot
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I am a tooltip for a hotspot
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:

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I am a tooltip for a hotspot
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I am a tooltip for a hotspot

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?

Why Purchase from SaunaCloud®

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.

Customer Testimonials Customer Testimonials Customer Testimonials

The Highest Rated Sauna Company Online
5/5
In 7 Years, We’ve Never Received a Negative Review
Sauna Cloud, LLC BBB Business Review
I am 2 years into my relationship with Sauna Cloud. The key is “relationship”! If I have questions, or needs regarding my Sauna Cloud Sauna, Christopher is here for me. It has been that way from the beginning, answering my questions, and teaching me, not just selling me along the way. My Sauna Cloud experience could not be better. I bought it to help me age gracefully and maintain the balance of good health. It is my friend, my safe place, my health haven. It functions and easily and well. There are no issues. My sweats are long and thorough! best wishes, john
John T.
We absolutely adore this sauna. We use it three times a week to detox and enjoy. Not only is it beautiful but is easy to use. It is like a piece of furniture in our small bathroom. We opted for a sauna instead of a bath tub and do not regret our choice. Chris was great to work with and over the year we worked with him waiting for our house to be built he was always so helpful. This is an awesome sauna!
Peonia M.
Couldn’t be happier with my Clearlight Infrared sauna purchase from Sauna Cloud. Quality construction and just a beautiful unit. Excellent customer service as well. Highly recommend Chris and Sauna Cloud.
Mike Stuart
Sauna Cloud Infrared Saunas
5.0
Based on 18 reviews
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Kathleen Miritello
Kathleen Miritello
14:28 08 Oct 20
I purchased a full-spectrum infrared sauna from Chris at Sauna Cloud in 2017, and it has been one of the best investments I've ever made. Regular use of the sauna has helped accelerate my recovery from heavy metal poisoning as well as significant toxic black mold inhalation. Chris was great to deal with and helped locate a sauna that met my needs at a time... when their inventory was low. The feel and quality are on a par with any high-end piece of furniture. It was easy for two people to assemble. The biggest surprise was the incredible quality of the built-in stereo speakers. I plug my iPhone into the audio jack on the front control panel, and I feel as though I am at a concert when I am taking a sauna. My sauna fit perfectly into a storage closet in my garage (with the closet doors removed) - see photos. For me, it is a worthwhile investment to ensure a lifetime of better health.read more
Steve Brightman
Steve Brightman
18:20 07 Oct 20
Chris was great to work with: originally ordered a Sanctuary before the shutdown. Job went into jeopardy, Chris refunded my deposit and cancelled my order no problem. Ordered again 5 weeks ago, showed up on time, Chris was always a phone call away for questions etc. Great service- awesome product.
Devlin Jackson
Devlin Jackson
23:31 06 Oct 20
Chris was very patient and did a great job explaining how Infrared saunas work. I purchased the CS1 which arrived on time and his team installed with no issue. Unit looks great in my small office and workout room. At 6'2" I fit very comfortably in the unit. I'm definitely feeling the benefits if using my sauna daily. My aches and pains from old athletic... injuries have been minimized once i started using my sauna.read more
johnny thed
johnny thed
20:22 06 Oct 20
I am 2 years into my relationship with Sauna Cloud. The key is “relationship”! If I have questions, or needs regarding my Sauna Cloud Sauna, Christopher is here for me. It has been that way from the beginning, answering my questions, and teaching me, not just selling me along the way. My Sauna Cloud experience could not be better. I bought it to help me age... gracefully and maintain the balance of good health. It is my friend, my safe place, my health haven. It functions and easily and well. There are no issues. My sweats are long and thorough! best wishes, johnread more
Motzart Paonia
Motzart Paonia
17:53 06 Oct 20
We absolutely adore this sauna. We use it three times a week to detox and enjoy. Not only is it beautiful but is easy to use. It is like a piece of furniture in our small bathroom. We opted for a sauna instead of a bath tub and do not regret our choice. Chris was great to work with and over the year we worked with him waiting for our house to be built he... was always so helpful. This is an awesome sauna!read more
CJ Huddleston
CJ Huddleston
00:52 30 Jun 20
Don’t waste your time reaching out to other companies. Call/text/or email Chris. He will explain everything in details, won’t try to sell you, but will place you with the best sauna for your needs While working in your budget. You will not receive this customer service with any other vendor; I know as I reached out to six before I found him.
Paul Michael Noble
Paul Michael Noble
04:50 22 May 20
Chris was the most helpful person I spoke with regarding building my custom infrared sauna. I had no idea where to begin and he made the process easy by walking me through everything. He's an electrician to boot so he spoke the language my contractor could understand. I couldn't be happier with my sauna!!
Bob Arseneau
Bob Arseneau
06:30 03 Dec 19
Chris and Allan were very helpful designing and retrofitting our old hot rock sauna to custom infrared. They seemed very experienced and worked with me and my electrician every step of the way to make sure everything got installed properly. I've been in touch a few times since then to tell them how happy I am with my sauna and the improvement I feel in my... health. Thanks again -Bobread more
Oscar Fuster
Oscar Fuster
19:58 26 Sep 19
We bought a three person teak infrared sauna last year from Chris and it is one of the best things we've done for our health. We use it daily after our workout and it definitely helps reduce inflammation and soreness. We received it on a timely basis and it was easy to put together. My wife and I installed it in about 2 hours. It is a very high quality... product and I highly recommend it and Sauna Cloud was a pleasure to deal with.read more
Scott Burns
Scott Burns
08:17 11 Sep 19
I bought a two people infrared cedar sauna from Debbie last winter in December and use it regularly now. It’s a great way to relax for me after a hard work day and I’m feeling noticeably better and less tired since. I'm sleeping really good. You can buy a similar sauna from different companies but I would recommend this one because of the quality and their... service is exceptional. Thank you for guiding me guys! Scottread more
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Thank you for reading—We mean it

I am glad infrared saunas have developed the way they have, because I couldn’t imagine my life without the benefits they provide, like sound sleep, lower blood pressure, less joint pain, weight loss, and clearer skin. 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 Ultimate Guide to Infrared Saunas. Just give us a call at SaunaCloud 1.800.370.0820.

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Christopher Kiggins | Sauna Enthusiast

Christopher Kiggins | Sauna Enthusiast

I have been writing, learning, educating and generally pointing people in the right direction infrared sauna wise since 2012. Let me know how I can help: chris@saunacloud.com

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We promise to get you the best possible sauna, deal and service you can find!

Sauna Cloud, LLC BBB Business Review