So, I have reviewed the major sauna heaters and I have my results and there are is so much BS that I found out when I bought each heater of the same killowatt size and I should call out certain companies but I am going to keep my reviews as clean as I can.
I am doing this because most of the specs are accurate only enough to make sure people get just enough heat (but not too much or people will return them or say it gets too hot. Just relying on sizing charts will not get most people the type of heat people want. Also, the specs on most companies are not thorough enough and are based on non real world tests.
I have been to all the trade shows and 2 companies (2 different companies) called security saying I was causing trouble at their booth. The manager came over asking to leave and he motioned to some model looking probably some paid modeling staffing service and she called security on me. I knew what was happening since it happens all the time when I try to ask questions that they don't want to answer. I am not sure if it is because I am filming them and have my camera all up in their face or since I am autistic and I give off a bad vibe.
I know these companies know the answers to my questions but they look at me like who the heck is this person and why do we need to answer to him. It is not respectful not to listen to my questions when it's the ones they don't want to answer. If I try to call them on the phone I just get voicemails. Only 2 companies actually answered all my questions and are the ones that are the 2 companies that rarely have customers complaints.
I think that customer service reps are told to tell customers to email
So.... I know most of these sauna heater companies try to make them as cheap as possible and use bells and whistles to hide the real facts about their product.
I have caught a few of the manufactuers not being accurate about their amperages. Some say they pull 38 amps but in acutallity
they pulled 29 amps.
I have also contacted many people that need to get replacements and oxidation and rusting is the biggest problem. The sauna heaters that were silver soldered never had rust problems although they did have problems like any other with normal wear and tear but half of the problems are from rust. I urge people who are goin to pour water on their heaters to make sure it is surgical steel, not stainless steel.
The higher end sauna heaters use Austenitic 304 and 316 grade steel. The really expensive ones even have surgical steel rock trays and everything is surgical steel including the frame and shell and inner baffles of the heater.
As far as all the heaters from these companies, half of them still use copper and stainless steel that lasts the user just long enough to make it through the warranty period. The better heating elements use incoloy that are silver soldered. Only one company uses silver but for people that aren't going to splash water and get the steam effect it is usually not necessary to go ultra high end.
Another thing is the Gauge of the heater shell. Some have very thick metal while others are thin. Some just never get hot enough due to the airflow design. If it held in more heat it would get hotter but not release as much hea in the air. The better ones have a better airflow system and still allow it to get to the higher temperatures that cheaper ones often have a problem with.
There has to be a balance of holding in the heat and allow it to get really hot and venting it out so that it doesn't overheat and burn out. A huge problem is burnout. About 30% of my sales are from burn out replacements.
The average sauna heater gets about 50 degrees hotter than higher end heater brands. A top of the line heater can produce the same temperature in the room while keeping the heater itself about 40 to 50 degrees cooler. These types have the least amount of issues down the road. The top surgical steel heater I recommend will stay up to 50 degrees cooler and still give off the high heat. These are super expensive but for those that like the Russian and Turkish baths will not like the lower end types that they are not used to.
Another thing that separates the cheap sauna heaters are extra deflectors.
Having steel reflectors around the hot stones brings the heat into multi directions in the sauna. If it doesn't have that, the heat just goes up in the air over the heater. A good heater will let people next to the heater have the same experience as those sitting further away with deflectors. Also, having a closed loop circulator at the top of the ceiling will make the floor near the same temperature of the ceiling. Make sure you let me know your ceiling height. If just getting the right killowatt size based on the room cubic feet you might not have a good sauna experience. If the foot is an extra foot high that what is appropriate, 20 to 25% of the steam will be 12 inches above your head.
Also, big trend that many heaters have now that didn't in the past are convection pathways at the bottom of the heater so cold air is drawn up into the heaters from the floor to the stones. Many types are closed too much so that heat doesn't escape to keep it hotter. This is another trick to keep costs down on manufacturing that is a just a cop out. The few extra bucks the companies make doing that saves them but the naive sauna heater customer just things they are getting a good sauna heater.
A note on high limit switches: A higher end sauna heater should maintain close to the same temperature the entire time within 6 degrees. Even some of the higher end models have huge temperature variances and it can take up to 30% longer to burn the same calories as if the temperature didn't fluctuate high and low as much.
Also, some heaters, even some of the big name brands say you can put water on their heater but in the fine print they don't honor the warranties due to rust and corrosion of the heaters. Many companies sell their heater cheaper up front and the money is made up when customers have to buy several replacements over the lifetime of their sauna.
A note on energy efficiency and cost per session. I busted a few companies saying how much it costs to run their heater per 30 minute session. What they don't tell you is that they don't tell you the ceiling height of the room it was tested on so I measured them all at the same ceiling height and the most expensive brand used 22% more electricity than the brand that used the least electricity to keep the room at that same temperature.
Also, with some brands, this is another way they get you to pay more. They tell you that you need a higher wattage heater to make up for not having deflectors and a cheaply made design. One company I busted told someone they needed 4 sizes larger than I recommended. Of course, it was one of the Chinese import brands that many people buy. (those that say MADE IN THE USA, BUT PARTS ALL COME FROM CHINA. It just gets assembled in the USA...another thing most people aren't aware of.
Note: beware of companies saying their heater can get the sauna to xyz temperature that sounds too high... too good to be true. The way they get away with it is measuring the temperature at the top of the ceiling in a controlled sauna that creates a top heater higher than normal due to the fake dynamics of the sauna... it's like measuring rpms of a blender without any food in it. The brand with the lower rpm with longer wing tips actually blends better. Anyone ever heard of a Vitamix?
Sauna rock differences: The biggest red flag is when I see companies giving free sauna stones with their heater. There is a big difference in quality. Some are larger and hold more heat but take longer to heat. Most people get the smaller ones that are quicker to heat up. It is more cost efficient to get the larger ones as they retain more heat and can cost less per session in electricity.
Certification warning for naive customers: I do not trust any heater unless it has all 3 certifications (UL, CE, and CSA)....not just ETL. Most Chinese imports do not have CSA which is the toughest safety logo to get approved to be put on any appliance.
Another big problem that happens later down the road but not at first. I know this because since the beginning of this selling heaters, The temperature on the controller might say one temperature but when I measured it with my laser thermometer it was off 3 degrees. Really high end controllers are super prices less than a degree off.
Bells and whistles: There are many bells and whistles they try to get your mind off the quality of their heater but one feature is one that is a must have. There have been a few problems if it doesn't have a self diagnostic program. So, with this it will let you know if something is wrong unlike others that don't have this and you have to replace the entire heater. Some even have an alarm that goes off. This is neat so if you are in the sauna and something is wrong you know you are safe, especially for people that leave their saunas on all day or gyms and spas. Some brands will keep the heater running even when their is a failure in the temperature sensor or when over heated.
Latent heat fans: I urge people to get a fan that blows the cool are up so that the heat comes down. NOTE: NEVER PUT THE FAN ON THE CEILING AS IT WILL GET TOO HOT BUT THE FLOOR IS FINE. Those who have never experienced full body sauna therapy usually experience half body heat during their session. This is not a good way to create heat shock proteins if your feet and legs are cold. Also 80% of the lymphatic vessels are in the legs and keeping them cold is not good for doing lipolysis of the fat for those trying to lose weight in a sauna. Also, if trying to get your sauna to have a hormesis effect having deflectors so that the heat spreads out and having this fan will help. Half body therapy just won't be enough to get this therapy.
Again, if there is anything that I urge people to take out of this if it is just one thing is to make sure the heater is safe so you don't have to worry. IF THE HEATER DOES NOT HAVE THE CSA MARK ON IT, IT HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED FOR COMPLIANCE IN THE USA AND CANADA. I DON'T CARE IF IT HAS UL OR CE OR ETL. THAT MEANS NOTHING TO ME. Most of these heater sold that people buy only have the CE mark only to make it legal for them to sell in North America.
Sizing a sauna heater:
Most people go by using 50 cubic feet to add each killowatt to the heater.
So, if the room is 400 cubic feet, then they say you need an 8KW heater.
But, many people who are doing it for therapy who are going to stay in for a sustained period of time to keep their core temperature 3 degrees over normal temperature or are going to alternate between cold showers and back and forth to the sauna may not want to go by this 50 cubic feet measurement. Those that are used to going to the Turkish saunas I sell to never go by this. It would take all day to get what they needed done. By going with the normal standard this will not heat the full body evenly with a fan system and even with heat deflectors. I have questions I ask people and usually the size I choose is not the size the chart says most of the time.
Important question to ask yourself:
Are you planning on pouring water on the rocks most of the time or having a dry experience? Many people don't realize this until later when their heater and rock type were not designed well for water. These types will not evaporate most of the water and it will drip down and just make a puddle on the floor. If you want to pour water on the rocks and create steam, then some brands are better designed for this than others.
Note: sauna heaters with more rocks create a softer heat as there is more fluence. If it has fewer heaters the rocks usually need to get hotter to produce the same heat. A lot of heat comes off fewer rocks than less heat coming off more rocks. I have experienced the same temperature room with fewer stones and with heaters with twice as many rocks. Twice the fluence makes a much more pleasant experience.
My review of the heater elements:
For those that want a long lasting heater, my best advice is to get a heating element that is silver soldered. Silver is the most expensive sealant so the heating element tubing doesn't leak moisture inside it and the mounting bushings don't corrode and have to be replaced a few years later.
Note: for those that are going to be using lots of water such as those with automatic reservoirs that dump the water for you and the heater is constantly wet, I strongly urge surgical steel and silver only. I don't mind cheaper soldering and just stainless steel if not using water.
Note that many of the cheaper heaters use shorter high wattage heaters. The heating elements that are super long and have a lower wattage per surface area are the types that rarely need replacing.
Also, if trying to create steam, the more pounds of sauna stones the more steam it can create due to larger surface area. (We get many returns of the models that cold 70 to 100 pounds of rocks due to people wanting more intense steam). I list these on Ebay all the time when I get them returned. Nothing is wrong with them other than that people want a more intense sauna steam therapy.
I go all around the country reviewing people's saunas (infrared and traditional). I know all the problems people have and this is not something you read about especially the bigger problems since companies are usually quick to fix it so they won't get a bad rating or review. I can't take it anymore when every company says they have a better heater than their competitors. I can get any of them so it is up to the customer only after getting educated to pick based on real information, not scare tactics.
So, I have experienced all the pros and cons of each heater and the review sites on Google are totally different than what I've experienced.
Thanks for reading what I wrote.
Call for any questions - 1-888-439-8986
Heavenly Heat - HIGH TECH - Therasauna - SAUNACORE - HealthMate - Finnleo Saunas - Better Life - Vital Saunas - BIOMATS
...because I was never told the correct way to sweat
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Finlandia Heaters - Amerec Heaters - Harvia Heaters
Polar Heaters - Saunacore Heaters - Scandia Heaters - Tylo Heaters
I will not be undersold by any of the competitors out there, especially the ones that complain about me that I am undercutting them when they try to do the same to me. Please read my review first.
Finlandia Sauna Heaters and Prices
Finlandia FLB-30, 3kw maximum 130 cubic feet - $579
Finlandia FLB-30-S, 3kw maximum 130 cubic feet - $619
Finlandia FIN-30, 3kw, maximum 130 cubic feet - $499
Finlandia FIN-30-S, 3kw, maximum 130 cubic feet - $580
Finlandia FLB-45, 4.5kw, maximum 210 cubic feet - $599
Finlandia Topclass KV-45-S, 4.5kw, 240v, maximum 210 cubic feet - $845
Finlandia FIN-45, 4.5kw, maximum 210 cubic feet - $539
Finlandia FIN-45-S, 4.5kw, maximum 210 cubic feet - $589
Finlandia FIN-60, 6kw, maximum 300 cubic feet - $579
Finlandia FLB-80, 8kw, maximum 425 cubic feet - $674
Finlandia Cilindro 9, maximum 494 cubic feet - $865
Finlandia Club 10kw, maximum 600 cubic feet - $1229
Finlandia Virta 11, maximum 636 cubic feet - $1671
Finlandia Club 12.5kw, maximum 750 cubic feet - $1269
Harvia Sauna Heaters and Prices
Harvia Ever Ready Forte AF-45, 4.4kw, maximum 283 cubic feet -$3189
Harvia Cilindro 7B, maximum 354 cubic feet - $1109
Finlandia/Harvia Cilindro 7, maximum 354 cubic feet - $859
Harvia Virta 7, maximum 354 cubic feet - $1249
Harvia Virta Combi 7, maximum 354 cubic feet - $2259
Harvia Virta 9, maximum 494 cubic feet - $1299
Harvia Virta Combi 9, maximum 494 cubic feet - $2998
Harvia Ever Ready Forte AF-100, 9.8kw, maximum 530 cubic feet - $3449
Harvia Virta Combi 11, maximum 636 cubic feet - $3036
Harvia Club 12.5kw, maximum 750 cubic feet - $1269
Harvia Club 15kw, maximum 1,000 cubic feet - $1389
Saunacore Sauna Heaters and Prices
Saunacore Kw 2 SE , 2kw Special Edition, maximum 100 cubic feet - $539
Saunacore Kw 2 ULT , 2kw Ultimate, maximum 100 cubic feet - $679
Saunacore Kw 3 SE , 3kw Special Edition, maximum 150 cubic feet - $559
Saunacore Kw 4 SE , 4kw Special Edition, maximum 200 cubic feet - $577
Saunacore Kw 4 ULT, maximum 250 cubic feet - $689
Saunacore Kw 5 SE , 5kw Special Edition, maximum 250 cubic feet - $597
aunacore 6kw Steam Vaporizer, maximum 300 cubic feet - $889
Saunacore Kw 7.5 ULT , Ultimate, maximum 375 cubic feet -$959
Saunacore 9kw Steam Vaporizer, maximum 450 cubic feet -$1098
Saunacore 9kw Standard Commercial, maximum 450 cubic feet - $1489
Saunacore 9kw Ultimate Commercial, maximum 450 cubic feet - $1794
Saunacore Kw 10.5 SE , 10.5kw Special Edition, maximum 525 cubic feet - $989
Saunacore 10.5kw Standard Commercial, maximum 525 cubic feet - $1297
Saunacore 10.5kw Ultimate Commercial, maximum 525 cubic feet - $1929
Saunacore 12kw Ultimate Commercial, maximum 600 cubic feet - $1997
Saunacore 15kw Standard Commercial, maximum 750 cubic feet - $1793
Saunacore 15kw Ultimate Commercial, maximum 750 cubic feet - $2162
Saunacore 18kw Ultimate Commercial, maximum 900 cubic feet - $2479
Saunacore 21kw Ultimate Commercial, maximum 1,050 cubic feet -$2797
Scandia Sauna Heaters and Prices
Scandia / Vico Ultra Model 30240 or 30208, up to 140 cubic feet - $689
Scandia/Vico Ultra Model 45240 or 45208, 4.5 KW, up to 210 cubic feet -787
Scandia/Vico Ultra Model 60240 or 60208, 6 KW, up to 295 cubic feet - $948
Scandia/Vico Ultra Model 75240 or 75208, 7.5 KW, up to 448 cubic feet - $1045
Scandia/Vico Ultra Model 90240 or 90208, 9 KW, up to 616 cubic feet - $1139
Scandia /Vico Ultra Model 12240 or 12208, 12 KW, up to 980 cubic feet - $1619
Scandia /Vico Ultra Model 15240 or 15208, 15 KW, up to 1428 cubic feet - $1798
Scandia/Vico Ultra Model 18240 or 18208, 18 KW, up to 1,680 cu. ft. - $2073
Site Update: For Amerec, Tylo and Polar sauna heaters, since I am not comfortable processing orders for these 3 companies, please contact me for prices and I will give you my lowest price and refer you to our distributor. I will only process payments for orders that I have the least returns with and customer issues. If someone buys any of the brands I have prices listed above, those are the models that I can easily resell if someone buys the wrong size or wants to exchange.
Also, these are the lowest prices I am allowed to advertise (MAP Minimum Advertised Pricing). So, I urge you to call me on my toll free number and I will adjust the price of any sauna heater from my site. Ask for Sharon or Jake - 1-888-439-8986
...because I was never told the correct way to sweat
Ask for Jake
Ask for Sharon