Type of Infrared Heaters

When shopping for an infrared sauna, heaters should be the first thing to look at. Mainly there are two types of heaters, ceramic and carbon fiber.

Ceramic Heaters

Generally speaking, ceramic heaters are a metallic coil inside a ceramic tube (most likely covered with another material such as Incoloy). The ceramic tube emits infrared waves when heated by the metallic coil. Because of the small heating surface area, the ceramic heaters tend to get very hot (above 380° F) in order to heat the entier sauna room. This can create hot spots near the heaters and cold spots away from the heater.

Carbon Fiber Heaters

Carbon fiber heaters were developed as a solution for ceramic heaters issues. Carbon fiber heaters are thin and have a large surface area which heats at a lower temperature. Carbon fiber heaters are created by impregnating carbon ink (carbon in nanometer form) into a fiber glass sheet, which is sealed between two fiber glass sheets to eliminate any gases. The heaters do not use any glues or plastics.

Carbon Heater's Wooden Frame

Infrared is basically a light, but it can pass through light objects (e.g. clothing or skin) to a certine level. However, it cannot pass through wood. When infrared hits the wooden frame, the wood gets hot and only radiate heat (not infrared), which negates the benefits of infrared. This is why heaters with condence frames are not desired in infrared saunas. It might looks like it provides extra support, but a quality carbon heater is flexiable and does not break when someone leans on it. The wooden frame should only provide structure support and should cover the least surface space.

Carbon Fiber vs. Ceramic Heaters Comparison

Far Infrared Technology
Carbon Fiber Ceramic
Heating Surface Area up to 960 square inches up to 620 square inches 12 to 56 square inch
Lifetime Expectancy 100,000 hours 20,000 hours 5,000 hours
Cold Spots No No Yes
Commercially Tested Yes No No
Emissivity Rate 96% 94% 85% - 94%
(rate will drop as
heater get hotter)
Wavelength Range 6-14 micorns 4-22 micorns 3-18 microns


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