10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying A Far Infrared Sauna
COPYRIGHT © 2020 BY J. M. HENSON AND BULLDOG PUBLICATIONS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
INFRARED SAUNA BUYING GUIDE: INTRODUCTION
Picture of a large infrared sauna
An infrared sauna made by Rocky Mountain Saunas
This guide is designed to provide a potential infrared sauna buyer with a comprehensive understanding of far infrared sauna safety, far infrared sauna technology, far infrared sauna therapy, far infrared sauna design, component comparison and far infrared technological evaluation. If you are reading this guide, you are probably considering purchasing an Infrared Sauna and want to make certain your investment is the best choice possible.
Shopping for a Far Infrared Sauna is no easy task. At first glance, many infrared sauna brands look very similar to each other. During the past year, more than 40 new vendors have entered the infrared sauna marketplace and most claim to sell the best sauna. After a few days of checking out websites and different sauna retailers, you may be more confused about far infrared saunas than when you started searching!
We created this guide to provide straightforward accurate information regarding the features, components, safety and materials of far infrared home saunas. Your investment in a far infrared sauna is a decision you want to make correctly the first time, so understanding what to look for and what to avoid is essential.
A quality far infrared sauna will last you a lifetime.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAR-INFRARED AND TRADITIONAL SAUNAS
The primary difference between Far Infrared Saunas and conventional Steam and Hot Rock saunas is the technology used to heat the body.
Picture of rocks on a heater in a sauna
“Hot Rocks” in a traditional sauna
Steam and hot rock saunas utilize the principle of Convection Heat. Convection heaters simply heat the air inside the sauna cabin and then the hot air heats the skin. Your kitchen oven is an example of a convection heater. Temperatures inside traditional saunas may reach 160 – 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
High air temperatures above 160 degrees F present a number of sauna user issues:
High air temperatures in sauna cabins are often overwhelming to the sauna user and produce an unpleasant experience. Many people report feeling light headed, claustrophobic or experience difficulty breathing. In this muggy environment, the sauna user is neither comfortable nor fully relaxed.
Hot air convection heat overheats the surface of the skin and does not actually soak into the human body very deeply. Limited heat penetration into the body severely limits the detoxification ability of steam and hot rock saunas; only a small percentage of your sweat actually contains expelled acids, toxins, carcinogens and heavy metals.
Caution: High air temperatures in sauna cabins can be harmful to the viscous membrane tissue of your eyes, irritate nasal and throat passages, and cause rashes and itching in other skin sensitive body areas.
The hot air heating technology in conventional saunas is rapidly becoming obsolete due to the lack of direct health benefits, oppressive user environment and undesirable side effects..
FAR INFRARED SAUNAS
Light SpectrumFar Infrared Saunas utilize the principle of Radiant Heat. Radiant Heat transfer radiant energy from an emitting heat source to a specific object; in Far Infrared Saunas, the object that directly heated is the human body.
Far Infrared Light Waves tuned to the human body are emitted by large high-tech Carbon Heater Panels mounted in the wall and floor of the infrared sauna. Our bodies readily absorb infrared energy since the tuned infrared light waves and the human body vibrate at the same frequency. This process is called Resonant Absorption : the absorption of electromagnetic energy at a frequency such that the photon energy is equal to a quantum excitation energy of the absorbing system. The process of Resonant Absorption excites the human body at the cellular/molecular level, producing numerous physical and chemical changes within the body that are directly responsible for improved health and wellness.
Carbon heater panels emit a special bandwidth of tuned infrared light energy that penetrates human body tissues, muscles and organs up 3 inches below the skin. Inside the body, the light energy is converted into heat energy. In physics, this reaction is called Direct Light Conversion. An infrared sauna literally heats the human body from the inside out. The soothing warmth you feel in an infrared sauna is from your body heating up when the infrared light energy turns into heat. Infrared sauna cabin air temperatures are 30-70 degrees F lower than traditional saunas, which creates a relaxed and comfortable environment.
Over the past decade, the advent of far infrared radiant heat has revolutionized the sauna industry in the United States. The long list of dynamic health benefits credited to far infrared therapy has been scientifically researched and medically documented for more than 30 years. Quality infrared carbon panel heat emitters have taken the safety, efficiency and comfort of Far Infrared Saunas to a new level of home sauna performance and user satisfaction.
Far Infrared Saunas have replaced traditional saunas (steam saunas and hot rock) as the sauna of choice for Americans for several notable reasons: Safety, Efficiency, Comfort, Durability, Economy of Use, and Ease of Maintenance.
FAR INFRARED BENEFITS & SAFETY
First and foremost, infrared heat is Safe, Essential and Healthy for ALL living beings.
In fact, hospitals across the USA have been using far infrared heat to keep newborn and premature babies warm for decades.
One of the cornerstones of far infrared sauna therapy is detoxification of the body. The congested fatty/water tissues, which store the majority of collected toxins, acids, pathogens and carcinogens in your body, are broken down into smaller particles by the vibrational effect of tuned Far Infrared Energy at the cellular level. These smaller particles of toxins, fats, PCB’s, and heavy metals are expelled through the pores of your skin through vigorous sweating. The sweat produced using a Far Infrared Sauna can contain up to 20% toxic cellular waste and environmental pollutants!
Regular Far Infrared Sauna Therapy has become a recognized, results driven tool for optimum health maintenance, metabolic balance, increased immune function and disease prevention.
Far Infrared Saunas have provided serious, results based therapy for more than 100 different health conditions (including Cancer Therapy) over the past three decades. The air temperature inside an infrared sauna is 30-70 degrees F cooler than conventional saunas…. remember, your body is being heated directly instead of being baked by hot air. Because infrared saunas heat more body mass and increase the core body temperature without burning the skin, you will sweat twice as much as you do with a traditional hot air sauna. Breathing is easy and natural.
Far Infrared Saunas offer an inviting, comfortable atmosphere with warm, gentle heat waves rolling over your entire body. Compared to using a conventional sauna, you will find the experience much more pleasant, much safer to use, and enjoy numerous proven health benefits! (view a page about infrared sauna health benefits)
A few health conditions may actually prevent the therapeutic use of a far infrared sauna. View a list of contraindications and conditions that may preclude you from using an infrared sauna. If you have any concerns about a specific condition, please refer to a qualified medical advisor.
For additional information about how far infrared sauna therapy works for specific heath conditions please click on the link: How Infrared Energy Works to Heal.
10 MISTAKES TO AVOID
WHEN BUYING AN INFRARED SAUNA
Now that you have a better understanding of the advantages of Far Infrared Saunas and are considering investing in one, how do you know what to look for when shopping for an Infrared Sauna? This guide details both What to Avoid and What To Look For helping you to become knowledgeable and feel confident in making the best possible choice .
MISTAKE #1: CERAMIC OR ROD HEATERS
There are several different types of Far Infrared Sauna Heaters. Inefficient, poor quality heaters will require that you spend more time in your sauna in order to achieve results. They also directly affect your personal comfort and safety during your home sauna sessions.
WHAT TO AVOID
Types of Inferior FIR (Far Infrared Radiant) heaters in use today by different manufacturers and their qualitative assessment.
Picture of a sauna with steel rod heater
An infrared sauna equipped with inefficient and dangerous rod heaters
Steel/Incoloy Rod Heaters: The Infrared light spectrum produced by these incoloy heat emitters is too broad for maximum effectiveness. Incoloy Heat emitters use a reflector tray mounted behind the emitter to compensate for the fact that a significant amount of infrared energy being produced is directed away from your body. Much of the infrared heat doesn’t travel far enough to penetrate your body. Hot spots and poor coverage throughout the sauna cabin. Inefficient and ineffective. Used by only a small number of manufacturers in today’s market.
Ceramic Rods, Ceramic Tubes filled with Sand, Ceramic Concave Blocks: Any Far Infrared heat emitter can only be as effective as the Total Surface Area of the heat emitter itself. Ceramic heat emitters have a very small infrared emission surface! Ceramic heat emitters also have several important shortcomings:
SAFETY: In order to produce the proper bandwidth of far infrared energy, ceramic heat emitters must operate at a surface temperature of 400++ degrees Fahrenheit . This hot surface temperature is not comfortable and is not safe! Most sauna manufacturers using ceramic heaters cover the front of the heaters with a wire mesh or protective face plates, if you inadvertently touch or lean up against the ceramic heat emitter face plate, you’ll wish you hadn’t, as the face plates and wire mesh are minimally efficient and hand, arm, and body burns are still a safety issue.
Ceramic emitters get so hot that they have been known to scorch the back rests of saunas. It is virtually impossible to lean back on the backrest directly in front of a ceramic heater due to this extreme surface temperature. Uncomfortable and not necessarily safe.
Metal Face Plates block infrared transmission, further impeding efficiency Nearly all ceramic type heaters use rear reflector trays which distort and weaker proper light wave frequency.
To my knowledge, there are no infrared sauna manufacturers using ceramic heaters who provide electrical overload safety ‘shutoff’ sensors on their individual heat emitters. A cost cutting measure which is a definite safety oversight.
EMF: An electromagnetic field (also EMF or EMR field) is a physical energy field produced by and surrounding electrically charged objects. Commonly known as ‘Flux’.
In past few years there has been a growing public concern that long term exposure to high and low-level of electromagnetic radiation (i.e. cell phones, computer monitor screens, household appliances, electrical power lines), can be directly linked to a variety of cancers, heart disease and other health ailments.
What EMF level is safe for humans?
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website: mercola.com, “many experts and public officials, as well as the few governments that have made an effort to offer public protection, have adopted the 3 mG (milli-Gauss) cutoff point. The EPA has proposed a safety standard of 1 mG. Sweden has set a maximum safety limit of 1 mG.”
Ceramic heat emitters in far infrared saunas typically have high EMF ratings. Several of the better quality sauna brand names offer low EMF carbon panel heat emitters and a select one or two brands (including Rocky Mountain Saunas) currently offer Zero Rated EMF ratings for their carbon panel infrared emitters.
However, having low or zero rated EMF carbon panels is not necessarily adequate to guarantee your total safety and EMF protection while you are enjoying your sauna sessions. Infrared saunas have a substantial amount of 120V wiring throughout the wall panels and the roof cap of their saunas. Many of the sauna manufacturers that offer low or zero EMF panels have neglected to properly shield all the wiring in their saunas. Look for a manufacturer, like Rocky Mountain Saunas, who provides special EMF shielded 120v wiring in your new sauna, as well.
Ceramic Heater Diagram
Many ceramic heat emitters contain cement and asbestos. This is an actual manufacturer’s blow up diagram!
DURABILITY: Since the ceramic used in most infrared heat emitters is generally of poor quality, lumpy deposits of impurities are often produced on the tube itself. These deposits cause the ceramic emitter to decay rapidly and become inefficient over time. Most ceramic emitters have a short life expectancy. (2-6 years, on average)
COMFORT: Due to the high surface temperatures of the ceramic heat emitters, it is virtually impossible to be positioned directly in front of the ceramic rods or ceramic concave blocks and be relaxed and comfortable. With the small surface area of ceramic emitters and the wide spacing between the emitters, Hot spots and cold spots throughout the sauna cabin are the inevitable result .
Portable wooden “ergonomic” backrests are a common accessory for saunas using ceramic emitters. Most portable backrests slip out of position when leaning on them and only work in the upright position, which limits the variety of leaning positions.
In my view, curved Portable Backrests are NOT “Ergonomic”. For instance, if I am a 5’11” and my wife is 5’2″, how does one size fit us BOTH when we lean on them?
It seems like portable backrests are a “band-aid” appliance to compensate for 1) the high surface temperatures of ceramic heat emitters and 2) the wide-spaced horizontal back wall slats found in most infrared saunas with both carbon panel and ceramic heaters.
EFFICIENCY: The small surface area of ceramic rod, tube and plate heaters limits the amount of infrared energy emitted directly toward your body. These 17” tube heaters are generally mounted vertically between the inner and outer wall of the sauna. Since the tubular ceramic heat emitter produces infrared energy across its entire surface, almost half of the infrared energy from a ceramic emitter is directed toward the outside wall, away from your body. Lots of wasted infrared energy.
In an attempt to correct the tubular ceramic emitter design flaw, nearly all ceramic heat emitters employ the use of Reflector Trays mounted behind the tubes. This only creates another problem!
Reflected infrared light waves from the tray surface collide with the newly emitted rays from the ceramic tube effectively blocking infrared emission to the sauna user’s body. Reflector trays are cheaply manufactured and have many surface area scratches and blemishes. Scratches and cheap surface coatings further distort the desired infrared wavelength emission.
The short length (17”, on average) of the ceramic rod/tube emitters prevents the emitter from directing infrared energy to the upper shoulders, neck and head/face areas of the sauna user, resulting in an uneven distribution of infrared energy to the entire body.
I feel that it is very important to cover the entire body with infrared heat, from head to toe, as evenly as possible, during a full sauna session.
There are no tubular ceramic floor/foot heaters. due to the safety issue. A major design problem, since it is important to heat the feet to expel toxins and lactic acid buildup, soothe nerve endings located in the bottom of the feet and relieve joint related pain. Ceramic plate foot heaters are safer, but typically have a low infrared output.
Prevalent for more than 20 years, Ceramic Heat Emitters represent the Old Infrared Technology. However, nearly all far infrared sauna manufacturers still offer them for one primary reason. Ceramic heat emitters are much cheaper to manufacture than large high-tech carbon heater panels.
In my opinion,far infrared ceramic heat emitters, of any description, are NOT Safe, Comfortable, Durable or Efficient.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Carbon Heater Panels in a Rocky Mountain Sauna model
Organic Nano-Carbon™ Heater Panels Carbon Wave 360 System: Large, flexible, 100% organic nano-carbon panels provide the most advanced infrared heating system available in today’s marketplace. Nano-Carbon heater panels are 95 – 98% efficient in producing the desired 8-12 micron bandwidth of infrared light energy. This frequency of light energy wave is precisely tuned to perfectly match the maximum infrared absorption level of the human body. (9.4 microns)
High quality Nano-Carbon™ heater panels solve all the problems caused by ceramic emitters.
Surface temperatures of carbon heater panels are much lower (approximately 150-170 degrees F) and the infrared heat is distributed evenly over a very large total surface area. Carbon panel heat is warm, gentle and soothing. Most people comment that they are starting to feel relaxed, right away. You can lean right up against properly spaced vertical backrests in Safety and Comfort.
Carbon Floor & Leg Heater Panels standard in all Rocky Mountain Sauna models
Look for a quality far infrared sauna to surround you with large wall-mounted heating panels, including rear, side and front panels, with expansive lower leg and floor panels. Large infrared heater surface areas produce maximum far infrared emissions which directly results in a greater infrared energy absorption by the body.
With the massive far infrared emission flowing from these large carbon panels, mounted in every wall and floor, you receive an even, effective infrared exposure over your entire body, regardless of how you are positioned in the sauna.
Full body coverage means more benefits and better results in less time.
Quality infrared carbon panels last a long time too. The organic Nano-Carbon™ heater panels used by Rocky Mountain Saunas are the safest available on the market (Zero Rated EMF) and have a life expectancy of 30,000 operating hours. 30,000 hours is more than 75 years of use, if you use your sauna every day for one hour!
For more details on nano-carbon heater panel construction, operation and efficiency,CLICK HERE
MISTAKE #2: POOR WIRING SAFETY
WHAT TO AVOID
Most cheap saunas have cheap wiring configurations; thin gauge wires which are poorly insulated and improperly shielded for EMF. Light gauge wiring with thin insulation does not hold up well over time.
Excessive heat from the conductive wire dries and cracks the insulation and exposed wires are definitely a safety issue.
Further, some inexpensive saunas often have an unenclosed central processing unit, power converters, junction blocks and circuit board relays. Excess heat from unenclosed electrical components can dry out the wood in the roof cap and is contrary to standard electrical safety codes.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Picture of properly shielded wiring in an infrared sauna
Shielded wiring in Rocky Mountain Saunas infrared sauna
Proper EMF Wire Shielding protects the sauna user from stray flux radiation and prevents wiring from coming into direct contact with wood (fire hazard). Look for all major electronic components to be enclosed in a safe metal housing.
Every heating panel should also be equipped with both an electrical fault sensor and thermostat to cut off power in the event of a malfunctioning or overheating panel.
Your Safety is a prime consideration at Rocky Mountain Saunas. All electrical wiring is the proper gauge with heavy duty insulation. All high-voltage electrical wiring is encased in reflective metal flex conduit covered by insulation and is certified EMF shielded. Junction terminals and all primary electrical components are encased in a sturdy steel housing. Two individual thermostats/Safety Sensors, connected to each heating panel, are designed to shut off the individual panel in the event of electrical overload or high voltage fluctuations. Our stringent safety precautions are documented and verified by Four Internationally Accredited, Independent Testing Laboratories. ( read more: under Warranties. www.RockyMountainSaunas.com )
MISTAKE #3: SAFETY CERTIFICATIONS
WHAT TO AVOID
Do not buy an Infrared Sauna that lacks proper safety certifications! Such saunas may be dangerous to use and/or utilize toxic chemicals in their production.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Safety Certifications:Safety certifications from multiple international regulatory agencies are solid assurance that your sauna has been thoroughly tested to meet all safety and performance requirements for the United States, Europe and Canada.
LOOK FOR THESE SYMBOLS
ISO Loggo Electrical Testing Laboratories Intertek Listed Conformité Européenne CE Logo Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive Logo
MISTAKE #4: POOR QUALITY OF ASSEMBLY
WHAT TO AVOID
Here’s where cheap sauna manufacturers expose their vulnerability on quality control.
Saunas that use exterior buckles and clips compensate for poor workmanship, misaligned hardware and sloppy tolerance limits. Walls that are poorly cut do not face up properly can still be forcefully clamped together since the tang or loop on the buckles is 1 ½” in length.
Walls that are too wide or too narrow, that have been forced together will warp and bow over time. Buckles and clips are unsightly on the exterior or interior and make a sauna look cheap.
Magnets aren’t strong enough to hold the sauna walls securely in place if you should bang up against the wall. Magnets also don’t provide a tight, consistent fit from top to bottom between adjacent walls. Cold air leaks often result. Misalignment of hardware further weakens the structural integrity.
While slightly better than buckles or magnets, slide clasp brackets mounted on the sides and edges of walls are often misaligned, causing one wall to be higher than another. Now the roof won’t fit properly. Improperly cut walls sometimes prevent the slide clasp brackets from being connected at all. A common problem with ‘assembly line’ home sauna products.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Bolt/Anchor Assembly System: A good bolt/anchor system requires tight tolerance wall construction and precise, pre-drilled hole alignment. With countersunk steel anchors to fasten the furniture bolt ends, side panels are easily and securely attached to the front and back panels. Bolt and anchor assembly avoids stripping out the wood and facilitates easy reassembly, in case you have to move your sauna.
The Bolt/ Anchor System creates a tight, secure fit and a solid, durable assembly. No air leaks. This furniture assembly method permits the natural expansion and contraction of sauna walls during hot and cold temperature swings. Without undue pressure on the walls, there is little risk of warping, splitting, or cupping.
Note: All Rocky Mountain Saunas have been assembled at the manufacturing facility and subjected to an extensive operational and quality control inspection. After passing inspection, saunas are then disassembled and each wall panel, base platform, and roof cap is individually wrapped and packaged in heavy duty cardboard shipping cartons. Custom designed cardboard corner blocks and thick Styrofoam sheets placed between wall panel layers offer maximum protection during shipping
MISTAKE #5: THIN WALL CONSTRUCTION
Wall Construction is a major component in determining quality and value in a far infrared sauna. This is where many manufacturers ‘cut corners’ again.
WHAT TO AVOID
Thin walls, (both the inside and outside walls) of the infrared sauna cabin are one of the most common shortcomings of inexpensive saunas. They just won’t hold up to the hot and cold temperature swings (70 – 140 degrees F) over time. The majority of sauna manufacturers have inner and outer walls that are only 3-5mm thick. Thin walls are more likely to warp, bow and split with sauna use over time.
Infrared Saunas with thin walls don’t hold the heat in the sauna cabin well. They are more expensive to operate and more prone to damage.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Thick Walls: Rocky Mountain Saunas offers residential infrared saunas with wall panels that are 7-9 mm thick. These walls are the thickest in the far infrared sauna industry, meaning your sauna will hold up beautifully for many years of use.
All lumber used in their hand-fabricated tongue and groove walls is Bay Clear, Center Cut, Grade 1, Vertical Grain. Vertical grain tongue and groove wood is more expensive and literally 4X stronger than Horizontal Grain or Reforested Wood used in price-driven saunas.
All the wood used to manufacture Rocky Mountain Saunas is guaranteed against defects in workmanship and materials for as long as you own your sauna!
MISTAKE #6: TYPE OF WOOD
The wood used to construct a far-infrared sauna cabin needs to be kiln dried to about a 10% moisture content to prevent warping and cracking. This process takes 4-6 weeks and some manufacturers tend to ship out saunas that have not been afforded the necessary time to be properly cured
Many inexpensive infrared saunas use inferior grades of lumber in their product. Inferior quality woods not only looks poor, but they are also more prone to warp, buckle, ‘cup’, splinter, crack, split and chip.
All sauna woods should be completely non-toxic and non out-gassing. Panels with an excess of knots and cut horizontal to the grain of the wood are sure signs of poor grade wood. Knots can produce cracks and splits or sometimes fall out of the wall panel.
Low price saunas generally use thinner and marginally cured woods that are more likely to bow and warp with the continued exposure to the hot/cold temperatures of a sauna.
WHAT TO AVOID
Infrared Saunas made of the following types of wood are not a good choice:
Aspen: Soft, light and low in strength and stiffness. Non-toxic. Poor decay and shock resistance. Dents and scratches very easily. Too soft to prevent warping with constant heat exposure.
Basswood: Also know as linden. Inexpensive, soft, light, low in tensile strength . Popular among hobbyists for model building and wood carving. Too soft for long term exposure to wide temperature fluctuation. Primarily used for fruit crates, picture frames and wooden matches. not suitable for quality furniture. One of the softest woods in commercial use.
Fir, White: Light, soft, moderately stiff. Low strength and shock resistance. Poor decay resistance. Some saunas that use fir produce a distinct odor.
Western Pine: Moderately stiff, low strength and shock resistance. Soft, light and good stability in service. Not normally recommended for saunas. Subject to out-gassing, which can irritate eyes and nasal membranes. Knots are common.
Sitka (Spruce): Moderately low in strength, but very high strength to weight ratio. Light and soft with low decay resistance. Non out-gassing, but prone to excessive knots. Rough exterior. Some splitting, cracks and splinters are common.
Poplar:Most species are typically soft and porous with average ratings for strength, stiffness, decay resistance and durability. Moderate heat retention. Not as stable as some woods under hot/cold conditions. Very easily bruised and dented. Contains high levels of tanic acid. Tends to have a fuzzy finish. Cheap and widely available.
California Redwood: Generally straight grained with a medium rough texture. Splinters are common. A light and soft wood with moderate stiffness, very good decay resistance and good stability in service. Heat retention is average. High cost limits widespread use. Durability is good.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Picture of an infrared sauna made of red cedar
Red Cedar construction on Rocky Mountain Saunas “Durango” infrared sauna
Canadian/ Western Red Cedar: Renowned for its natural beauty and the outstanding physical properties that make it one of the world’s most unique species. Low shrinkage factor and superior to all other coniferous woods in its resistance to warping, twisting and checking. With its low density and high proportion of air spaces, Canadian Cedar is the best thermal insulator among the woods commonly used for sauna construction. Excellent durability. Non out-gassing when properly kiln dried and treated to remove volatile oils. Best heat retention and durability for outdoor locations.
Pacific Coast Hemlock: Very stable with little tendency to cup, check or twist. Good cellular properties for expansion and contraction. Hemlock yields clean, straight edges and accurate contours. The combination of stability and smoothness has made Hemlock a favorite wood for the construction of saunas. An excellent choice if you have allergies, as it has very low resin and virtually no odor.
MISTAKE #7: HORIZONTAL BACKRESTS
WHAT TO AVOID
Picture of a sauna with uncomfortable horizontal slat backrest
Horizontal slat backrests. UNCOMFORTABLE.
Many sauna manufacturers use widely spaced, horizontal slat backrests. It is literally impossible to lean back on a wide-spaced horizontal backrest and be comfortable. The slats dig into your ribs and spine. Ouch!
Cheap saunas builders lower their production costs by offering an inadequate number of backrest slats and pretend as if it’s a feature to maximize exposure to the carbon heating panels. However, wide spaced horizontal slats allow arms, elbows and hands to come in direct contact with carbon panels or ceramic face plates. Poor design and definitely not safe.
Many manufacturers of saunas with wide spaced horizontal slats include a portable backrest, but these are simply a half measure to compensate for heat emitter ‘hot spots’ and uncomfortable horizontal slats. Many home sauna dealers sell a “One Size Fits All”? portable backrest… looks good, works bad. Cumbersome, unstable and ill fitting. You really don’t need a “little wooden friend” in the sauna with you!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Picture of a sauna with comfortable vertical dowel backrest
Properly spaced vertical dowel backrests are standard equipment in all residentialRocky Mountain Sauna models.
Properly spaced, vertical dowel backrests have been “people tested” to be the most comfortable backrest for an Infrared Sauna while allowing optimum exposure to the far-infrared light energy.
Vertical backrest dowels support your back comfortably and protect your hands, arms and torso from coming into direct contact with the carbon heating panels. Important Safety Feature! No worries, vertical backrests will not prevent you from receiving all the far infrared energy that your body will absorb.
Vertical dowels allow you to be close to the heat emitting carbon panels without “hot spots” and you can lean right up against the backrest, without having to wiggle around all the time looking for a comfortable position.
Vertical backrests on sauna walls are the logical choice in terms of comfort, safety and efficiency.
MISTAKE #8: INFERIOR DESIGN AND ENGINEERING
WHAT TO AVOID
Certain features in design can directly affect the efficiency and performance of an infrared sauna.
Large Glass Walls on the front and sides of a far infrared sauna looks good, but are not efficient. Too much glass means not enough room for an adequate number of far infrared heaters.
Inadequate Number of Heating Elements and Panels: This is a feature that you need to compare visually. Look for lots of pictures of the sauna interior. Poorly designed saunas have fewer heating elements and smaller heating elements, reducing the manufacturer’s cost at the expense of the sauna user’s benefit.
Many inexpensive saunas use lightweight piano door hinges to support a heavy glass door insert. Hinges that are too small or too lightweight can lead to a door that sags and doesn’t close properly. Piano door hinges are a prime indicator that you are looking at a cheaply built sauna.
Many price driven saunas have weak floors that are not properly supported by floor joists. Weak floors will sag and buckle with extended use. When shopping around, ask the sales representative if their floors are reinforced and their weight limit. Rocky Mountain Saunas’ floors have a 300 pound weight capacity in all residential and commercial models.
Picture of an infrared sauna with abundant carbon panels
Note the location of the the carbon far infrared panels in this four person infrared sauna from Rocky Mountain Saunas
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Large infrared heating panels that surround the sauna user on all interior walls will produce maximum body coverage and maximum far infrared absorption. Quality far infrared saunas have large carbon heater panel coverage on all walls, including front heaters on either side of the glass door, lower leg heater in the front of the bench seat and floor heater for the feet.
Heavy duty, adjustable stainless steel door hinges that support the glass and framework properly.
MISTAKE #9: BUYING FROM THIRD PARTY INTERNET RESELLERS
Picture of a shady businessman
“Hey you, yeah you! Youse wanna buy a sauna?”
Third Party Resellers include any Dealer that is acting as a ‘middle man’ in the marketing and sale of a given product.
For infrared saunas, these third party resellers include all the major hardware stores, household name big box discount retailers and the low information, limited product disclosure ‘get rich quick’ vendors with hastily built websites. Most third party dealers have hopped on the far infrared sauna bandwagon in recent years, hoping to cash in on the ever increasing popularity of infrared saunas.
These third party retailers generally function only in a “drop ship” capacity and usually do not carry infrared saunas in stock. From the time you order your sauna until you take delivery can take a few weeks, up to a few months.
Nearly all Third Party Resellers deal primarily in price driven, low end saunas with limited product information and only a few pictures of the inside and outside of the sauna.
With third party vendors it is difficult to discern just what you are getting for your money. (i.e. number of heaters, size and types of heaters, interior view, assembly method, construction quality details, close up view of radio/ location, Chromotherapy lights, reading light, oxygen ionizer)
Customer Service is almost non-existent with third party resellers. First, they don’t carry parts in stock. Secondly, most have no real Customer Service infrastructure to handle customer service and warranty claims.
Typically, it is difficult to reach a knowledgeable customer service representative by phone with third party vendors. Since the infrared saunas are not serviced by the seller themselves, all you get with your new sauna is an 800 phone number for customer service and warranty issues. You have no idea who their customer service personnel is or where they are located. Most Third party reseller products do not have knowledgeable Technical Support personnel and customer service/ tech support is outsourced.
It has been my experience that Third party resellers lack an adequate inventory of ‘in stock’ replacement parts. Long waits for back ordered parts are no fun. Look out for cheap generic brand stereos and low end speakers, 2nd and 3rd tier quality chromotherapy lights, reading lights.
Nearly all Third Party Resellers offer infrared saunas that carry only Limited Term Product Guarantees. Lack of proper safety features and inadequate number of independent laboratory safety certifications is quite common in low quality, price driven far infrared saunas.
Discount retail stores that are actually third party resellers may switch the actual Infrared Sauna Brands or Manufacturers two or three times in a calendar year. Many times discount retail stores, hardware stores and Internet Pool & Spa “wholesalers” are simply clearance outlets for overstock and last year’s models. Many unsuspecting customers purchase a generic sauna with the idea that all saunas are created equal.
When you are sauna shopping, I recommend that you explore exactly how customer service and warranty claims are handled for these ‘knockoff’ brands and see if you can even find a phone number for a customer service representative in the United States.
MISTAKE #10: POOR WARRANTY & CUSTOMER SERVICE
Lifetime warranty badge
Rocky Mountain Saunas includes a FULL SERVICE LIFETIME WARRANTY on ALL residential sauna models.
There are lots of pretty pictures of far infrared saunas on the Internet today. How can I tell if they are a good product or a bad product? Many far infrared sauna vendors offer so called ‘Lifetime Warranties’ these days, so it is of prime importance to know more about the Company’s History, Customer Service Policies, Return of Defective Parts, Replacement Parts policy, Shipping Costs of defective and replacement parts.
Ask the far infrared sauna company representative exactly how their Company would handle a typical Warranty claim to ensure that they have a responsive, efficient system in place to resolve your concerns in a timely manner. Make sure that the Terms of the Condition of Sale/Warranty are readily available for your perusal.
**** READ THE FINE PRINT CAREFULLY AND THE DEALER/MANUFACTURER WARRANTY FROM TOP TO BOTTOM ****
There are numerous far infrared sauna dealers that claim to have a “Lifetime Warranty”.
Upon closer inspection, nearly all of these so called ‘Lifetime Warranties” are “Limited Warranties”!~ and, as such, are not Lifetime Warranties at all!!
You will discover that many dealers will carry warranties of only a few years on the Far Infrared Heat Emitters. Most dealers do not carry an lifetime warranty on All of the electrical components: i.e., control panels, CPU, wiring harnesses, terminal blocks and relay junctions, circuit boards, lighting components and light bulbs, power cords, thermostats, oxygen ionizers, etc. Most manufacturers have limited term warranties on their workmanship and materials.
Rocky Mountain Saunas offers unsurpassed Customer Service and a Full Service Lifetime Warranty against defects in workmanship and material, including All Electrical and Interior Components and interior/exterior LED light bulbs!
(Our upgraded Kenwood Stereo carries a one year replacement warranty from Kenwood, but Rocky Mountain Saunas will replace it Free of Charge after the Manufacturer’s Warranty expires for as long as you own your RMS Sauna!)
Your Rocky Mountain Saunas Full Service Lifetime Warranty is in effect as long as you own your sauna.
Replacement parts are modular and easy to install with live phone service assistance available. Standard Company Policy is for all replacement parts to be shipped, Postage Paid, within 24-48 hours of determination of defective components. We do not require return of defective components.
Qualified Rocky Mountain Saunas employees and family members, located in Colorado, handle all Customer Service and Technical Support issues. Live Customer Service Support is available by phone, 9-5 MST, Monday – Friday.
Worst Case Scenario: If it is determined that an ‘in home’ service call is required to resolve a particular warranty or service issue, there is never charge for labor, service or replacement components for as long as you own your Rocky Mountain Sauna!