Infrared Sauna Buying Guide

A Few Things to Consider Before Purchasing an Infrared Sauna

Thank you for doing your due diligence to learn as much as you can about infrared saunas.

We understand that purchasing an infrared sauna can be quite confusing:

  • What really makes a good infrared sauna?
  • What are the differences between infrared heaters?
  • What are the benefits of the different infrared heaters?
  • What type of wood is best?
  • Why is a lifetime warranty important?
  • How is the sauna manufactured?
  • Why is heater placement important – should there be heaters on the front walls and side walls?
  • What about floor heaters?
  • Which heaters produce dangerous levels of EMF (Electromagnetic Fields)?
  • Is a low ELF sauna important?

These are just some of the questions we have received over the last 20 years. We’ve put together this infrared sauna buying guide to help answer these questions.


For many years only high quality far infrared saunas dominated the infrared sauna market. Craftsmanship, for the most part, was very high. Woods used were Western Red Canadian Cedar and quality white woods such as Basswood, Spruce and Aspen. The majority of infrared heaters used were ceramic and metal, with ceramic being the preferred type because of higher infrared efficiency and infrared output. There were rigid quality control of woods and glues used. Electrical safety and consistent customer care had been the hallmarks of our industry at that time. There were less than a handful of manufacturers in the entire US. This was the state of the industry that we grew our company in. Quality was everything.

Over the last 10 years, however, as the internet expanded, low quality overseas manufacturing spawned numerous upstart sauna companies importing containers of infrared saunas with little to no understanding of the therapeutic benefits of infrared therapy. They were selling a wooden box with heaters. Quality and after sales service were no longer a priority – it became all about low cost and low quality. Over 100 sauna companies can be found on the internet and at big box stores. The new norm in the sauna industry is profit-driven companies instead of product-driven companies.

We ordered different models from a few of the larger manufacturers and were immediately appalled at the quality of materials and construction and lack of safety down to even the basic wiring. The controls and heaters were cheap and substandard. The aesthetics were all wrong. Some had noxious odors from toxic glues being used in the manufacturing process. Others had horrible smells from the wood itself. Some of the woods had not been finish sanded – they were rough to the touch as you passed your hand over it. We also found staples, mismatched veneers, dangling and bare wires – not a quality product!

What was even worse was that most of these saunas had a combination of hazards ranging from high EMF levels being emitted from the heaters to toxic fumes. It was also evident that the manufacturer didn’t understand the basics of how infrared therapy works with the human body as there were multiple design flaws. For example, many of these companies did not know where to place the heaters for optimal effectiveness and healing, a critical mistake. Heaters positioned above the head do no good as it is the infrared wavelengths coming off the heaters directly that do the healing in an infrared sauna. Positioning heaters above the head just waste infrared energy that could be better used in the front of the sauna, or by the calves and sides of the body. This is a big functional mistake. The idea behind infrared therapy is to heat your body with the proper wavelengths so it is important to heat your front, back and sides. Without proper heater placement, you will only receive partial benefit.

At Clearlight, we take a different approach, with heaters kept low to keep the infrared heat aimed at your body and we totally surround you with infrared heat. There is no wasted infrared heat up over your head. You will get more benefit faster with the maximum amount of infrared heat being absorbed by your body.

When designing Clearlight saunas the sauna design, new technology, idea or manufacturing process must pass a few critical tests: Does it make rational sense to help to heal the human body? Will it help our customers increase their overall wellness and enjoyment of their sauna? Is it safe and does it cause no harm? If the answer is no on any of these, then we simply do not do it.

We believe purchasing a Jacuzzi® Clearlight infrared sauna is one of the best investments you can make for your health and longevity. We pay close attention to every detail from start to finish to ensure that your sauna is of the highest quality materials and construction. We back these words with our Limited Lifetime Warranty.


The challenge for the consumer today is that unless you can see it in person, you can’t tell the difference between a quality infrared sauna and a cheap knock-off as the pictures on the internet can look basically the same. The questions below are some of the more common questions we receive and will help you make an informed decision so you can purchase a high quality, therapeutic infrared sauna.

Why do so many saunas look the same from website to website?

Answer Because they are. Many companies are importing containers of the same saunas or saunas with only slight variations. Look at the keypad to tell which are from the same factory; it’s somewhat amusing. We’re flattered that they’ve decided to knock-off the look that we pioneered many years ago.

How does a Jacuzzi® Clearlight sauna differ?

Answer Quality of design and construction coupled with superior and innovative heating technology. We start with the highest quality woods. All saunas are built by hand to our strict 48 point Quality Control. No sauna leaves the factory without being fully tested and approved by two levels of quality control.

With the ETL and CE certification, we are bound to provide a high quality product. We use no toxic glues. Our saunas are hand-sanded, the handles and trim are handcrafted, the tongue and groove wood is color matched to look beautiful and all Clearlight Infrared Sauna models are designed to give you a lifetime of health and relaxation benefits.

Almost every other infrared sauna company uses industrial heaters that have been adapted to be used in an infrared sauna. Not willing to settle for industrial infrared heaters, we manufacture our own hybrid carbon-ceramic infrared sauna heaters in our factory. We manufacture our True Wave combination carbon-ceramic far infrared heaters and full spectrum (near, mid and far) infrared heaters.

Being innovators in the infrared sauna industry, we have always set the trends that have guided the industry:
– Our True Wave™ far infrared heaters are the only infrared heaters on the market that combine both the high output of ceramic with the long wavelength of carbon to produce a sauna session that is unmatched. Our True Wave™ Full Spectrum infrared heaters deliver more near infrared, mid infrared and far infrared than any other infrared sauna on the market. These heaters are designed specifically to heat the human body.

– We are the industry pioneer of low EMF carbon based infrared heaters and offer the only low EMF Full Spectrum infrared sauna on the market.

– We are the first company to offer a low ELF infrared sauna. All Clearlight Premier™ Far Infrared and Clearlight Sanctuary™ Full Spectrum sauna models include our ELF canceling technology.

How are our Clearlight Sauna® models different from other infrared saunas?

Answer Our Clearlight Sauna® models are the only infrared saunas designed by a doctor. Dr. Raleigh Duncan has dedicated the last 20+ years to researching and developing technology to help heal the human body and he has been researching infrared therapy and its benefits for even longer.

Our years of manufacturing infrared saunas go into every Clearlight Sauna® model While our sauna cabins are exceptional quality, with hand sanded panels, high quality close grain wood and attention to detail, the therapeutic benefits are our main focus.

Our R&D department is always researching and testing new components for your sauna so when you buy a Jacuzzi® Clearlight infrared sauna, you’re buying the highest quality, most therapeutic infrared sauna available.

With our lifetime warranty for home use, we stand behind our saunas. This warranty covers the entire sauna; the wood cabin, heaters, controls and even the audio system. We will be here next year and five years from now should you need replacement parts or have any questions about the proper use of your sauna.

We believe that by committing to a lifetime warranty for our customers, it ensures that we build a high quality infrared sauna that will last. This informs every manufacturing decision we make as we know we will have to support your sauna for many years to come.

What type of infrared heater is best?


Far Infrared Heaters

When comparing far infrared sauna heaters you need to look at the size of the heater, the material that is producing the infrared heat, the quality of the heat and the surface temperature of the heater.

The two most common materials used in far infrared heaters are ceramic and carbon. Ceramic is a very efficient, effective material when heated to produce infrared heat. Ceramic has a very high emissivity rating, meaning it produces a lot of infrared heat. The drawback to ceramic heaters is that they tend to produce a shorter infrared wavelength. Shorter infrared wavelengths are not as readily absorbed by the human body so they are less therapeutic.

Generally speaking, carbon infrared heaters produce a longer infrared wavelength. Carbon is very light so the heaters can be bigger and can run at a lower surface temperature. These low surface temperatures produce long wave infrared heat. Long wave far infrared heat is readily absorbed by the human body and will produce more desirable therapeutic results. The drawback of carbon heaters is that, while they produce high quality infrared heat, they do not produce a lot of infrared – they are weak. In technical terms, they have a lower emissivity rating as compared to ceramic heaters.

Most companies that use carbon heaters extend their heaters well up into the head region and almost to the ceiling in the sauna in an effort to try and get more heat into the sauna. They do this because of the low output of their heaters. This is wasted infrared heat as it is only heating the air over your head and not your body directly. We also believe heating the head directly is not recommended in infrared therapy.

Our True Wave™ far infrared heaters are the only infrared heaters that combine both carbon and ceramic into one heater for a truly exceptional infrared sauna experience. They are built by us and designed to heat the human body. True Wave™ Infrared Heaters produce the long wave infrared heat of a carbon heaters with the very high infrared output of a ceramic heater combined into one heater. It really is the best of both worlds and they are fantastic infrared heaters.

Within seconds of sitting in any Clearlight sauna, you can feel the difference in the quality of the infrared heat. You will not find this heating technology anywhere else. It is exclusive to Jacuzzi® Clearlight infrared saunas.

Full Spectrum Infrared Heaters

A full spectrum infrared heater emits all three infrared wavelengths: near (IR-A), mid (IR-B) and far infrared (IR-C). Some infrared saunas offer a combination of heaters to produce full spectrum infrared heat. The sauna may have one heater that produces far infrared, one that produces mid infrared and one that produces near infrared.

You will also see some infrared saunas that use low wattage (10-40 watt) LED’s to produce near infrared. Our belief is that LED near infrared light therapy is very effective for topical infrared treatments however, it is not suited for the sauna environment. You want to put the LED’s directly on your skin. The DPL Nuve by LED Technologies is a great example of an effective FDA approved near infrared handheld device. With LED near infrared embedded in the wall of the sauna, you would have to climb up on the bench to receive effective therapy as the LED’s should be right up against the area you are treating.

Clearlight Sanctuary Saunas utilize a halogen full spectrum heater. We have the halogen bulbs built to our specific wavelengths and standards. Our True Wave™ full spectrum infrared heaters emit about 1/3 near infrared, 1./3 mid infrared and 1/3 far infrared and each heater is a full 500 watts of full spectrum infrared heat.

By offering all three wavelengths the infrared heat will penetrate deeper past the epidermis and dermis into the subcutaneous layer offering maximum effectiveness.

Why are low EMF and low ELF levels important?


Low EMF Infrared Saunas

Our True Wave™ far infrared heaters are the original carbon based infrared heaters with virtually no EMF (electromagnetic fields). We pioneered this technology for use in infrared saunas. More and more research is being conducted into the harmful effects of EMF. This is why our R&D department spent over two years developing both patented and patent pending methods to eliminate virtually all of the EMF from our heaters. Many of our competitors still have EMF levels 20 to 50 times higher than our True Wave™ infrared heaters. With an average EMF level of less than 1 milligauss (mg) when tested directly on the heater, it is well below the CDC’s recommendation of a maximum of 3mg.

Dr. David Carpenter, Dean at the School of Public Health, State University of New York, believes it is likely that up to 30% of all childhood cancers come from exposure to EMF’s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns “There is reason for concern” and advises “prudent avoidance”.

Martin Halper, the EPA’s Director of Analysis and Support says “I have never seen a set of epidemiological studies that remotely approached the weight of evidence that we’re seeing with EMFs. Clearly, there is something here.”

Some health effects linked with EMF are:

  • Memory Loss
  • Depression
  • Loss of Energy
  • Irritability
  • Inability To Concentrate
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Headaches

Dr. Raleigh Duncan, the founder and designer of Clearlight Infrared saunas, has always ensured that the therapeutic results of your sauna are our number one priority. Seeing the research and information available on the harmful effects of EMF, we felt that if there was a chance that high levels of EMF can cause health issues, we needed to find a way to bring the levels down as low as possible. We were the first company to accomplish this with our True Wave II, far infrared heaters and True Spectrum, Full Spectrum heaters.

To find out more about EMF and its effects, please CLICK HERE.

Low ELF Infrared Saunas

ELF (extremely low frequency) is also referred to as the electric fields or dirty electricity. There are some people that are very sensitive to ELF and have various reactions including sleep disruption and agitation and there is some link to cancer as discussed in this Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bulletin:

All Jacuzzi® Clearlight infrared saunas include our ELF canceling technology. While EMF is canceled in the heater itself, we have to go to great lengths to cancel the ELF from our saunas.
1. We run the electrical wires through metal conduit.
2. We twist the wires to cancel the ELF and EMF.
3. We protect all electronics with foil shielding.
4. We carbonize and ground the fishnet mesh that covers our heaters to ground and cancel the ELF.

This is all very time consuming and expensive, but we believe it’s worth it.

What type of wood is best?

Answer Western Red Canadian Cedar is considered by many to be the best wood to use for saunas. Other woods commonly used are Basswood Spruce and Redwood.

Western Red Canadian Cedar (WRCC) wood is often used for the following reasons:

1) WRCC wood is a soft wood that resists cracking and splitting caused by the heating up and cooling down in the sauna. No sauna wood lasts longer than Cedar wood.

2) WRCC wood contains aromatic oils that are known for their healing and cleansing properties to aid detoxification during your sauna session.

3) WRCC wood is naturally antifungal and antibacterial owing to the unique properties of cedar oil. This is especially important in the sauna where bodies, moisture and heat combine to make the environment perfect for molds and bacteria.

4) WRCC wood is one of the most beautiful woods available ranging from a very light honey to a deep walnut shade.

5) Cedar wood smells good and gives you a true sauna experience. WRCC is considered non-aromatic cedar and has a very subtle smell and is satisfying to the senses.

6) Cedar wood can be easily sanded inside the sauna to remove any stains caused by perspiration and to bring back the fresh cedar smell.

Sauna users who are very sensitive to odors (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities) may want to consider a sauna made of white woods like Basswood. These woods have less of a smell than WRCC and may be more comfortable for people with MCS.

We use Eco Certified grade “A” clear Western Red Canadian Cedar or Basswood. All of our Clearlight saunas are available in both Cedar and Basswood. Our commitment to our customers is to provide the highest quality products. Our Eco Certified woods meet three sustainability standards as part of our green initiative

What does the warranty cover and how long is the warranty?

Answer When buying an infrared sauna it is important to understand why a Limited Lifetime Warranty on the entire sauna is important. Our Limited Lifetime Warranty covers all of the parts of your sauna for manufacture defects for as long as you own it.

Almost every other infrared sauna is only covered under a 7-year warranty or less. If something goes wrong with your sauna in your 8th year the manufacturer is not obligated to provide parts or warranty for your sauna.

All Clearlight Infrared saunas installed for home use are covered by our Limited Lifetime Warranty. Your sauna is warranted to be free from manufacturer defects for as long as you own it.

Be sure to ask when researching infrared saunas if the company offers a True Limited Lifetime Warranty.

If you are using your sauna in a commercial environment, we offer a complete 5 year warranty.

Price vs. Quality

We’ve looked at most of the infrared saunas on the market from the low-end to the high-end. There’s the old saying that applies –You get what you pay for. Jacuzzi® Clearlight saunas are the highest quality infrared saunas on the market today. Purchasing a sauna is an investment in your health – and with Clearlight, since you’re receiving a True Lifetime Warranty on every infrared sauna, it’s a long-term investment in your personal health and wellness.