7 Tips When Buying an Infrared Sauna – What is Most Important?

7 Hints For Choosing a Sauna

A Sauna purchase is a big investment and has incredible potential to boost your health. To give you quick help and tips for your purchase decision, we have attempted to take 5 years of research knowledge and condense it into very brief bits of information and tips.

As a result, some of these may appear simplistic but have a lot of power behind them. If you keep them in mind you will save yourself hours and prevent a wrong decision.

A Basic premise: This is one industry where quality varies tremendously and the differences are not always apparent. Please note that 95% of all saunas sold in America are mass produced on 4 Chinese assembly lines and have very little health benefit at all. These are re-sold using dozens of different names.

Here are 7 tips and ways you can choose what is right for your situation. After reading this page, we encourage you to also re-visit our best infrared sauna reviews page for a side by side brand comparison and some of the individual company review pages.

Buying Decision Tip 1 – The Sauna Company

clearlight-premier-is-2How long have they been in business? In this industry 40% of all sellers will be out of business 5 years from now, leaving you will no warranty recourse and limited available replacement parts. Longevity usually also provides deeper infrared knowledge and application.

Some of our recommended companies have been in business for 20-35 years. Those situations are ideal. They will be here years from now to stand behind their warranty.

What is the quality of the people that endorse a particular company? An endorsement from a doctor that is top in his field is better than 5 people who blog about numerous health related issues.

Is the company an innovator or do they simply re-sell mass produced generic units? Innovators learn and become cutting edge in their offered features.

Has the company changed its name? Usually have the same name for decades is better than a recent name change, although there are exceptions. Sunlighten changed from Sunlight 8 years ago. We could not recommend them for those first few years as disruption and problems accompanied the change. However, they have now moved well past that and are the number one selling brand in the industry.

Vital changed to Vital Health in 2015 to better reflect the purpose and that change was not a negative.

Sauna Decision Tip 2 -Wood Sauna Cabin

HealthMate Sauna Wood

HealthMate Sauna Wood

Thicker walls equates to better insulation, lower operating costs, better warm up times and a sturdier unit. Usually this means easier assembly as well. One cheap brand has one-piece walls that flex and bend and are awkward to assemble.

What is the wood quality? HealthMate’s construction is exceptional and the wood is gorgeous. This is due to their parent company, PLH Products, being a supplier of wood to dozens of sauna companies and they select the very best for their own units. Sunlighten’s construction is excellent as well as are the upper two lines of Clearlight and others.

These brands also prepare the wood by air drying and kiln drying. Cheap names do not prepare the wood which will then begin to crack, split and separate during use due to the numerous heating cycles. The more you will use your unit and the longer you plan to own it, the more important this becomes.

Sauna Purchasing Tip 3 – Heater Emissivity

This is really the amount of true infrared the heaters put out, how much of it is able to penetrate your body’s tissues.

Note: If the heaters are not efficient and emissive, the product is worthless as far as infrared healing is concerned.

A lack of posted information does not necessarily mean low quality. If testing is not posted on their site, carefully read our brand reviews and ask the company representative when you call them.

Important Purchase Tip 4 – The Warranty

Clearlight Premier IS-C Corner SaunaA Warranty will vary from a full lifetime on everything (such as Clearlight’s full lifetime) all the way down to 1 year. The most important areas are the critical expensive parts of heaters, control panels/wiring and wood construction.

However, a lifetime warranty is actually not always desirable.

Instead, it should be considered as part of the company decision. A cheap brand costing $1000 and offering a lifetime warranty will in fact likely offer you very little. It is likely that the brand will be out of business within 5 years and you will be left with no recourse.

On the other hand, if it remains viable, the units are very possibly only worth $500 and are overpriced to pay for the numerous units that will fail.

Purchase Tip 5 – Heater EMF Levels

EMF Reading Levels are very important, however, not always as much as it seems.

A decade ago EMF levels were high in almost every product you could buy. A few companies took the lead reducing dangerous EMF levels and many others have followed their example. A level of 3.0 mG is considered safe.

We applaud companies like Clearlight for taking the lead and reducing all models to an average of 0.05 mG. Sunlighten as well has reduced its Signature line to similar ultra low levels.

Note: However, the difference between readings of 2.0 mG, 1.0 mG and ultra low 0.05 mG is not nearly as important as heater emissivity previously discussed. Once the emf levels are within safe levels, the effectiveness of the heaters is the critical factor.

There are still some brands with levels of 30.0 – 170.0 mG which are extremely dangerous. You can avoid these by avoiding cheaply priced products.

6 – Sauna Design and Layout Should be Considered

Vital Health Saunas 3 person corner overhead

Vital Health Saunas 3 person corner overhead

Some corner units look great but have very little foot room and are awkward for 3 people to use. Floor space and floor heaters are things to carefully consider.

Our opinion strongly favors having heating elements behind the legs, beside the legs, in front of the body and beside the upper torso. Some models, even on great brands omit these. The more you are surrounded with infrared, the more that actually penetrates. This also reduces the amount of time needed to achieve the same personal benefits.

Some of our top rated companies excel in design.

7 – Your Individual Needs in a Sauna

If you want to spend more time at lower temperatures of 110 – 125 degrees, then individual heater controls could be important. Vital Health and Heavenly Heat are currently the only two brands that allow for this. For infrared, the lower the temperature of the heaters, the closer they are to the ideal 9.4 microns that benefits the body the most.

Heavenly Heat Saunas Combination Sauna

Heavenly Heat Saunas Combination Sauna

Is it for a chemically sensitive person? Heavenly Heat has the purest cabins and heaters anywhere. They have cabin air flow which is carbon-filtered when it leaves the unit.

Do you want full spectrum that includes near infrared? Clearlight, Sunlighten, Heavenly Heat and Vital Health all offer this. Clearlight has 1000 watts of powerful near infrared while Vital offers 600 watts. Sunlighten’s small LED bulb arrays offer a total of 10-40 watts of near infrared. However, their mid range infrared is cutting edge and very effective. Please see the individual review.

If you want the faster heat up times of ceramic, Healthmate and Heavenly Heat should be considered.

For customization options, Clearlight and Heavenly Heat are your brands to look at first. Clearlight will work with your contractor to build an entire custom sauna room.

If you will need to move your unit around once assembled, Heavenly Heat is hand made in the USA and offers optional castors/wheels for no extra cost that make moving the unit around the room a breeze.



These are the 7 main areas we have found that should be considered when purchasing a sauna. Please see our reviews page for the best infrared sauna reviews side by side brand comparison. The more you take these factors into account, the more likely you will end up with the best brand for you.