Having the right sauna heater is the key to an enjoyable experience, and there are a variety of types to choose from. They include the infrared sauna heater and the electric sauna heater, as well as the more traditional wood and gas varieties. It is important to know that infrared heaters work on different principles than the other tree types; infrared models heat the skin directly, while electric, gas and wood heaters warm the surrounding air.
In looking at the infrared sauna heater, concave ceramic elements are the superior choice – offering more consistent, even heating than the rod-shaped elements (which are similar to those found in an oven). Do not let the name of confuse you – although they work similarly to the sun, (at drastically lower temperatures, of course), they do not use ultraviolet light, and so do not cause the damage and harmful effects that overexposure to sunlight can.
The infrared sauna heater does not heat the air in the sauna, as electric, gas and wood heaters do; instead, they directly heat the body, causing deeper muscle penetration, less energy use and, many users say, greater comfort than traditional electric sauna heaters, which work in conjunction with steam. The lack of steam with an infrared sauna heating unit also dramatically reduces the chance for germs in your environment, and promotes a cleaner-feeling experience. The infrared sauna heater is also safe for all ages; even children can enjoy their use.
Electric sauna heaters are the standard type, and are what most people are familiar with. Many manufacturers offer different grades – look for the higher grades in your price range; it is worth the extra money. They lengthen the life of your sauna, and do not have issues with quick burnout. Many of these electric sauna heaters come with special rocks which store the heat for longer periods of time – thus increasing the amount of time you can enjoy bathing.
Another nice option that is offered in some electric heaters is remote relay boxes for the control panel: this gives you more flexibility in where you want to control your heat, timing, and other factors from. Some control boxes also come gas heaters with Fahrenheit and Celsius conversion, if you look at the upgraded models. Although some electric models are more energy-efficient than others, infrared sauna heaters use far less energy than the electric type; if energy conservation is one of your top criteria, it is certainly better to choose an infra red sauna heater.
As for wood and gas heaters, there are some good options out there; prices are frequently lower on these two types, but they don’t generally have the same results as the infrared or electric heater types. One of the strong points of a wood burning heater is the ambience created by a wood fire, and firewood is easily available in many areas – not all, however, and in some cases wood burning is banned altogether. Gas heaters have the same positive quality as a gas oven: more control over the amount of heat, and this can make them more affordable than electric heaters.
It really comes down to personal preference. Those looking for a more traditional experience may opt for a wood-burning, gas or electric heater for their sauna. However, those who want to reap the health benefits without the hot, steamy environment just may find that an infrared sauna heater is the one for them.