We are often asked ‘what is the difference between ceramic and carbon heaters?’ We produce saunas using both kinds of heaters and while they do have different unique qualities, we feel your choice is a matter of preference. The specifications for these types of heaters are as follows:
Ceramic infrared heaters are hollow rods that measure 650mm long and are 15mm in diameter and inside the rod is the heating element wound around a glass tube. The ceramic tube heats up and emits far infrared rays. These tubes are strategically located around the cabin to ensure that the user is heated from all sides.
Carbon heaters are large flat panels varying in size from 900mm by 100mm up to 1000mm by 600mm. these panels have a coating of minute carbon particles which is how the infrared heat is created. These panels have a much larger surface area than the ceramic heaters so cover more of the cabin.
One of the major benefits of infrared saunas is energy efficiency. Both ceramic heaters and carbon heaters have a lower energy output than traditional saunas as they work by directly penetrating the body to increase core body temperature from within. Traditional saunas heat the room and use steam to raise body temperate.
Carbon fibre heaters use less energy than ceramic heaters as they have lower surface temperatures while being able to heat the body more intensely and penetrate the infrared waves deeper. Ceramic heaters have to heat up to a maximum of 150°F to heat the entire sauna.
Since both carbon and ceramic heaters heat the body directly, the heat is more evenly distributed through the sauna, though ceramic heaters will create warmer spots directly in front of the heating panels which could result in cold spots further away from the panels.
Infrared saunas also operate at lower temperatures so people can usually withstand longer sessions. This means that users can enjoy more intense benefits through deeper sessions than they may be able to enjoy in a traditional sauna.
Carbon infrared sauna heaters penetrate the skin further due to the frequency of the infrared light waves. This has further health benefits, as the light waves are able to stimulate cell generation at a deeper level and helps to detoxify the body more.
One of the major differences between carbon and ceramic heaters is their life expectancy. As newer technology, carbon sauna heaters have a longer life expectancy (we guarantee ours for five years!). Their ability to operate at lower temperatures means that it takes longer for them to reach the end of their optimal usability.
On the other hand, ceramics are simpler and much cheaper to replace. Ceramic tubes must be heated to higher temperatures in sauna use, which means that over time they can become brittle and crack, but they are simpler to replace if this does happen.
Saunas that use carbon heaters are often more expensive but this cost may be outweighed by potential replacement costs in ceramic saunas.
Although ceramics are more brittle than carbon heaters, they still have an average lifetime of around 5,000 hours.
Ceramic is one of the most conductive materials available. Ceramic absorbs and radiates infrared waves at a higher rate than any other material which is why it is so regularly used in sauna production. Ceramic heaters produce infrared waves at a higher rate but carbon heaters produce longer waves which have slightly different benefits compared with shorter waves.
The choice between ceramic and carbon is ultimately a preference. Choosing a sauna is a big investment so carefully considering your options is advised. If you would like to speak to one of our sauna enthusiasts, get in touch today to find out more about your options.