A Far Infrared Sauna Comparison
What's inside this article...
- A Far Infrared Sauna Comparison
Far infrared is an extremely beneficial addition to any health or exercise routine. It penetrates deeper than conventional saunas, making your body sweat more and eliminate the toxins that build up every day. That’s why having your own far infrared sauna in your home isn’t just a healthy luxury, it’s a spa and medical center all in one.
Any far infrared sauna can be therapeutic – the key is how therapeutic. This is determined by how much total far infrared is being emitted from the heater. Most models emit less than 50% of their heat in far infrared form, and some less than 10%. You want a far infrared sauna whose heater emits over 90% of total heat in far infrared form.
On this page we’ll tell you about the different types of far infrared heaters as well as show you a comparison of various models. We also have links to even more information.
Saunas in General
There are six major types of far infrared heaters currently being used. Each emit a specific amount of heat in far infrared form. The types and their FIR emission rates are:
- Steel Incoloy or Steel Rod – 40-50%
- Solid Ceramic Flat Plate Concave Emitter – 96%
- Sand Filled Ceramic Tube – 90%
- Flat Carbon Panel or Flat Carbon Sheet – 5-10%
- Ceramic Coated Metal Rod – 80%
- Aluminum Plate with Ceramic coating – 15%
The heart of the far infrared sauna is the emitters. Any emitter that is carbon sprayed onto Plexiglass or ceramic coated aluminum does not emit enough far infrared to classify it as a true far infrared sauna. And besides, you’re getting a plastic or aluminum heater.
All emit far infrared heat. The main question is what % of heat is far infrared. The higher % output, the more therapeutic. Below we will explain the differences.
Steel Incoloy or Steel Rod
This is commonly made of a carbonized steel. The carbon is what will help steel emit more infrared heat. The downfall with this emitter is the surface temperature is too hot, normally around 600 to 900 degrees F. The high heat shortens the far infrared wavelength to below 5 microns. Also steel incoloy does not emit much if any far infrared – in fact you will get about 40%-50% total far infrared heat emission.
Ceramic flat plate (concave)
This type of unit is a low wattage solid ceramic emitter that emits 96% of its heat in far infrared form and 80% to 85% in the 8-12 micron range. This is an ideal emitter for far infrared saunas. Remember as long as the wattage is below 200 watts on this heater, you get a highly therapeutic emitter. Again, this emitter is made of solid far infrared emission material.
Sand filled ceramic
Developed in Japan, these use sand in the core to dissipate and even blow out the far infrared heat. A good heater, but very fragile and not widely used in the USA. They emit approximately 90% of the heat in far infrared form but due to the high wattage only about 30% of its wavelength is 8-12 microns. This emitter would be ideal if the wattage was lower.
Flat Carbon Sheet or Carbon Panel
These are large surface area emitters used in some portable and dome saunas like the Maxxus series by Dynamic. This heater has a high EMF output. Wires must be zig-zagged to cover the entire heater. These are used by a majority of Chinese made saunas. Very little far infrared emission results from this type of emitter/heater.
This is a pencil thin metal rod that is coated with approximately 1/2 inch of ceramic. You get approximately 80% far infrared emission from this heater. A good emitter but too hot and too low of a wavelength.
Aluminum Plate w/Ceramic Coat
This emitter has a larger surface area than most, but because of this it cannot be made of solid ceramic or it will crack under its own weight, therefore a solid aluminum core is necessary. Since the majority of the emitter is aluminum, the far infrared emission is very low, about 15%.
Sauna Emitters used in some Portable or Dome Saunas
There are two types of flat panel heaters used in these types of saunas:
- Carbon Sheet or Carbon Panel – Same as the type used in wooden far infrared saunas described above.
- Mica Sheet – Uses solid mica rock as the heater and includes a carbon cloth cover to help disperse heat and protect the emitter. Because the majority of this heater is made of far infrared emission material, it has a very high emission output.
Why the quantity of far infrared emission is so important.
Most far infrared saunas do not emit very high far infrared emission totals. The reason is that most sauna companies use very little emission material in their saunas. They do not tell you this either because they do not know or don’t wish to tell you. Metal Rod, Ceramic Coated Metal Rod and Steel Incoloy will have total emissions around 50% if you’re lucky. Carbon Sheet Flat Panel heaters will emit less than 10%.
This is why.
For far infrared to be made you need an earthy, organic rock/soil/ceramic type of material. While most far infrared heaters have this, they just do not have enough.
In order to get the most out of a far infrared sauna, you need to decrease the wattage used and increase the amount of far infrared emitted. This will save energy, will not waste nearly as much heat, and will provide more benefits for your body.