Infrared saunas have become more an d more popular each year the last decade, and rightfully so, but with that has come numerous claims that are misleading or outright false. As well dozens of sauna "companies" have gone out of business in the past several years leaving owners with no warranty, no replacement parts and no recourse.
So how do you choose between all the available saunas, who do you know to trust and what questions do you ask?
We struggled through much of the same thing a year ago and hopefully can help save you a lot of tie and trouble.
IN this industry there really is a big difference between the good, the bad and the ugly. More than most industries, the materials used and how they are constructed make a big difference. Just a decade ago many saunas had toxic glues and most had very poor heaters that emitted high levels of EMFs. Many had EMF levels of 50-150 milligauss (mG). In fact a doctor tested one brand in 2012 that had well over 150 mG. This is dangerous territory. Even 30mG should be strongly avoided. The level considered safe for saunas is anything below 3.0 mG with 1.0 being ideal.
Fortunately in the past decade most companies have gone with carbon panels that now are much lower with EMFs being less of a concern with many brands. However, marketing tricks can often raise that number in even some well known brands. And toxic glues are far less common now than 10 years ago. However some brands even avoid the safer water based glues and use not adhesives at all. That is great to see.
It is actually easy to become a seller of saunas. Mostly this means that many companies just form an LLC, create a brand name and have one of the big Chinese factories build them a lot of generic saunas and place there brand name on them. Most saunas found anywhere are in this category.
These are known as branders or resellers. Some will get the rights to a certain cosmetic item and imply that they manufacture the saunas which they don't. They simply get shipped units and resell them.
There are 4 or 5 groups of saunas. A few companies are top grade and actually manufacturer their own saunas in US and have incredibly clean and powerful saunas. usually these are also high priced. Heavenly Heat and Saunacore are two of those. These are great saunas.
Another company, Clearlight which is featured on my site for good reasons is in a group by itself. It does get its saunas made in China. However, they are somewhat custom made as they are made with the purest Canadian Wood, made with much thicker walls than the standard factory produced saunas, have great standard features and most importantly have custom heaters made of carbon and ceramic- the only ones in the entire industry. They are known to be highly effective at detoxification. Clearlight also has the best warranty in the industry with a lifetime warranty on everything. Easy to understand that.
That is why our family ended up buying a Clearlight Infrared Sauna as mentioned before.
A middle group is that of resellers that have low EMF, good warranties (for the most part) and either carbon or ceramic heaters. Good example here are Health Mate which is a good brand with updated but still old style ceramic rod heaters. There is also a very well known brand that has a Signature series that used just standard carbon heaters but unfortunately markets itself as superior when it is not.
This same reseller has Its other line that supposedly "pulses" far and near Infrared and that line is far overpriced and has higher EMFs than labeled. This falls into a lower group that also includes brands like Vital Sauna, which is an ok reseller with a little bit better pricing than other resellers of low to mid end units. We mentioned this brand earlier with its very small LED near infrared bulb arrays.
The 5th group are really just junk meant to warm a person up and make them sweat but does not give any real health benefits. These are sold under names like Dynamic Saunas and found at large home improvement stores and national chain stores. No person serious about their health should buy any of these thinking it will improve their health. they are not designed for that. They are factory made so fast with very cheap materials. Half of those current brand swill be out of business during the next 5-6 years if past patterns hold true.
This is also why it seems like so many saunas look the same. It is because they do. They are factory made at the same place with a different brand label on them. Even the well known brand mentioned that promotes its sauna as so different has 3 other companies with saunas that look identical in design. Because they are made at the same place.
First decide what you want. If you want a sauna for your true health and to detoxify to a large degree, only buy either Clearlight or a sauna made in the USA or Canada as any of those will be a great thing to use and own. Some of those companies also will customize a sauna for those with the money to request that.
Second decide on your budget but balance it with how serious you are about your health. If you are on a budget as we were, Buy either a Clearlight Essential model, or choose a low priced reseller like Vital Saunas (but know it will be greatly inferior to a Clearlight). Do not overpay for a resold sauna like that brand that has the small LED near infrared bulbs. It is a marketing selling point only.
Next, check to see if they have safety certifications. This is so important and will make your decision a little bit easier.
Also check the warranty. Do not be fooled by fine print that redefines terms in the main warranty. This is another reason we finally went with the lower unit of Clearlight Saunas. That is a great and clear warranty.
And last, do not buy a 700 dollar sauna no matter how much you might want to. All that does is warm the body up to a sweat without helping your real health. Unless that is the only thing you really want, which is why the first decision is important. First decide what you want to get out of it.
Near Infrared is not needed to detoxify. However the Sanctuary models have powerful Full Spectrum heaters if you decide you do want some near infrared as well as far.
I hope this helps. If it helps just one person and keep them from getting a cheap sauna when they need a real one that helps their health, then I will be glad about this website. I wish I had this information when we started our search.