Before choosing to buy an infrared sauna based on size, style, and price, make sure to consider the heating element used. It can be difficult to tell the real differences between ceramic and carbon infrared saunas, and even more difficult to judge which is better.
Infrared saunas are an innovative new way to get all the healthy and long-lasting benefits of a sauna. Instead of sitting in stifling hot air in an enclosed room like in a traditional Finnish or steam sauna, infrared saunas use infrared radiation to safely and efficiently to help participants work up a healthy sweat. Infrared is very similar to sunlight, of course without the harmful ultraviolet rays.
There are many types of infrared saunas available for people who wish to enjoy them for their own use. Some public areas, such as spas and health clubs, are now adding infrared saunas to their traditional steam saunas. Infrared saunas can also be purchased over the Internet and pieced together at home. Home infrared saunas come in varying sizes, shapes, and styles. They are constructed with different types of wood. Even smaller portable models that easy fold up and wheel out of the way are now on the market. Whatever model suits you, one of the most important considerations for your home infrared sauna is the type of heating element used.
Many infrared saunas are outfitted with several thin, flat carbon fiber panels at varying locations in the sauna to distribute a uniform infrared heat. They are sometimes enclosed in fiberglass for protection and covering. Carbon panels are slightly flexible and therefore less likely to break in transit to your home sauna. Because of their flat, wide shape, they are capable of having a very large surface area which is important for a quality infrared sauna heating element.
Ceramic sheets, like carbon fiber sheets, have a large surface area and are built into the inner walls of a sauna on all sides. Ceramic is rather delicate so care must be used in shipping and handling the material prior to installation in your sauna. They are generally more expensive than carbon fiber heaters, but proponents say that they deliver true far infrared radiation whereas carbon panels only heat up and deliver simple radiant heat. This can induce perspiration, but doesn’t give you the same soft tissue benefits as ceramic heaters.
It is important to know that some Internet websites will compare carbon sheets to ceramic rods, which is like comparing apples to oranges. Rods are going to be more inefficient than plates or sheets, no matter what they are made out of. Rods have a smaller surface area and will require a higher surface temperature to run, so they will be worse than both carbon and ceramic plates. Keep that in mind when looking at information about carbon versus ceramic heating elements.
By now you’re probably confused because the pros and cons of both carbon fiber and ceramic sound awfully similar. Though ceramic does have a slightly higher emissivity (ability to radiate infrared), it is not significantly higher than those of carbon sheets. In general, ceramics are regarded as superior. But in truth, the material of construction doesn’t matter as much as the surface temperature and the surface area of a particular model of heater.
Of course, considerations like your budget and your personal sense of style will influence your decision in which home sauna to buy. But don’t neglect considering the type of heating element used. It is a very important choice and can’t be underestimated.