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 Introduction to Ceramic Rod and Carbon Panel Far Infrared Heat Emitters

Is there much difference between Ceramic Rod and Carbon Panel Far Infrared Heaters?



There are significant differences in the Safety, Efficiency, Comfort, and Durability.

In this chapter, we will examine the Pros and Cons of the most common types of Far Infrared Heat Emitters.


There are several different types of Far Infrared Sauna Heaters. Inefficient, poor quality heaters will require that you spend more time in your sauna in order to achieve results. They also directly affect your personal comfort and safety during your home sauna sessions.


Types of Inferior FIR (Far Infrared Radiant) heaters in use today by different manufacturers and their qualitative


1. Steel/Incoloy Rod Heaters: The Infrared light spectrum produced by these Incoloy heat emitters is too broad

for maximum effectiveness. Incoloy Heat emitters use a reflector tray mounted behind the emitter to

compensate for the fact that a significant amount of infrared energy being produced is directed away from

your body.

Much of the infrared heat doesn’t travel far enough to penetrate your body. Hot spots and poor coverage

throughout the sauna cabin. Inefficient and ineffective. Used by only a small number of manufacturers in

today’s market.

2. Ceramic Rods, Ceramic Tubes filled with Sand, Ceramic Concave Blocks: Any Far Infrared heat emitter can

only be as effective as the Total Surface Area of the heat emitter itself. Ceramic heat emitters have a very

small infrared emission surface! Ceramic heat emitters also have several important shortcomings:

  • SAFETY: In order to produce the proper bandwidth of far infrared energy, ceramic heat emitters must operate at a surface temperature of 400++ degrees Fahrenheit. This hot surface temperature is not comfortable and is not safe! Most sauna manufacturers using ceramic heaters cover the front of the heaters with a wire mesh or protective faceplates, if you inadvertently touch or lean up against the ceramic heat emitter faceplate, you’ll wish you hadn’t, as the faceplates and wire mesh are minimally efficient and hand, arm, and body burns are still a safety issue.

    Ceramic emitters get so hot that they have been known to scorch the backrests of saunas. It is virtually impossible to lean back on the backrest directly in front of a ceramic heater due to this extreme surface temperature. Uncomfortable and not necessarily safe.

    Metal Face Plates block infrared transmission, further impeding efficiency Nearly all-ceramic type heaters use rear reflector trays which distort and weaker proper light wave frequency.

    To my knowledge, there are no infrared sauna manufacturers using ceramic heaters who provide electrical overload safety ‘shutoff’ sensors on their individual heat emitters. A cost-cutting measure which is a definite safety oversight. 

    EMF: An electromagnetic field (also EMF or EMR field) is a physical energy field produced by and surrounding electrically charged objects. Commonly known as 'Flux'.

    In the past few years, there has been a growing public concern that long term exposure to high and low-level of electromagnetic radiation (i.e. cell phones, computer monitor screens, household appliances, electrical power lines), can be directly linked to a variety of cancers, heart disease, and other health ailments.


  • What EMF level is safe for humans?

    According to Dr. Joseph Mercola's website:, "many experts and public officials, as well as the few governments that have made an effort to offer public protection, have adopted the 3 mG (milli-Gauss) cutoff point. The EPA has proposed a safety standard of 1 mG. Sweden has set a maximum safety limit of 1 mG."

    Ceramic heat emitters in far infrared saunas typically have high EMF ratings. Several of the better quality sauna brand names offer low EMF carbon panel heat emitters and a select one or two brands (including Rocky Mountain Saunas) currently offer Zero Rated EMF ratings for their carbon panel infrared emitters.

    However, having low or zero-rated EMF carbon panels is not necessarily adequate to guarantee your total safety and EMF protection while you are enjoying your sauna sessions. Infrared saunas have a substantial amount of 120V wiring throughout the wall panels and the roof cap of their saunas. Many of the sauna manufacturers that offer low or zero EMF panels have neglected to properly shield all the wiring in their saunas. Look for a manufacturer, like Rocky Mountain Saunas, who provides special EMF shielded 120v wiring in your new sauna, as well.

    Many ceramic heat emitters contain cement and asbestos. This is an actual manufacturer’s
    blow-up diagram!


  • DURABILITY: Since the ceramic used in most infrared heat emitters are generally of poor
    quality, lumpy deposits of impurities are often produced on the tube itself. These deposits
    cause the ceramic emitter to decay rapidly and become inefficient over time. Most ceramic
    emitters have a short life expectancy. (2-6 years, on average)


  • COMFORT: Due to the high surface temperatures of the ceramic heat emitters, it is virtually
    impossible to be positioned directly in front of the ceramic rods or ceramic concave blocks
    and be relaxed and comfortable. With the small surface area of ceramic emitters and the
    wide spacing between the emitters, Hot spots and cold spots throughout the sauna cabin
    are the inevitable results.

    Portable wooden "ergonomic" backrests are a common accessory for saunas using ceramic
    emitters. Most portable backrests slip out of position when leaning on them and only work in the upright position, which limits the variety of leaning positions.

    In my view, curved Portable Backrests are NOT “Ergonomic”. For instance, if I am a 5'11" and my wife is 5'2", how does one size fit us BOTH when we lean on them?

    It seems like portable backrests are a "band-aid" appliance to compensate for 1) the high surface temperatures of ceramic heat emitters and 2) the wide-spaced horizontal back wall slats found in most infrared saunas with both carbon panel and ceramic heaters.

  • EFFICIENCY: The small surface area of the ceramic rod, tube, and plate heaters limit the amount of infrared energy emitted directly toward your body. These 17” tube heaters are generally mounted vertically between the inner and outer wall of the sauna. Since the tubular ceramic heat emitter produces infrared energy across its entire surface, almost half of the infrared energy from a ceramic emitter is directed toward the outside wall, away from your body. Lots of wasted infrared energy.

    In an attempt to correct the tubular ceramic emitter design flaw, nearly all ceramic heat emitters employ the use of Reflector Trays mounted behind the tubes. This only creates another problem!

    Reflected infrared light waves from the tray surface collide with the newly emitted rays from the ceramic tube effectively blocking infrared emission to the sauna user's body. Reflector trays are cheaply manufactured and have many surface area scratches and blemishes. Scratches and cheap surface coatings further distort the desired infrared wavelength emission.

    The short length (17”, on average) of the ceramic rod/tube emitters prevents the emitter from directing infrared energy to the upper shoulders, neck and head/face areas of the sauna user, resulting in an uneven distribution of infrared energy to the entire body.

    I feel that it is very important to cover the entire body with infrared heat, from head to toe, as evenly as possible, during a full sauna session.

    There are no tubular ceramic floor/foot heaters. due to the safety issue. A major design problem, since it is important to heat the feet to expel toxins and lactic acid buildup, soothe nerve endings located in the bottom of the feet and relieve joint related pain. Ceramic plate foot heaters are safer, but typically have a low infrared output.

    Prevalent for more than 20 years, Ceramic Heat Emitters represent the Old Infrared Technology. However, nearly all far infrared sauna manufacturers still offer them for one primary reason. Ceramic heat emitters are much cheaper to manufacture than large high-tech carbon heater panels.



Dangerous Ceramic Rod Heaters


Organic Nano-Carbon™ Heater Panels Carbon Wave 360 System: Large, flexible, 100% organic nano-carbon panels provide the most advanced infrared heating system available in today’s marketplace. Nano-Carbon heater panels are 95 – 98% efficient in producing the desired 7-15 micron bandwidth of infrared light energy. This frequency of light energy wave is precisely tuned to perfectly match the maximum infrared absorption level of the human body at rest (9.4 microns).

High-quality Nano-Carbon™ heater panels solve all the problems caused by ceramic emitters.

Surface temperatures of carbon heater panels are much lower (approximately 150-170 degrees F) and the infrared heat is distributed evenly over a very large total surface area. 

Carbon panel heat is warm, gentle, and soothing. Most people comment that they are starting to feel relaxed, right away. You can lean right up against properly spaced vertical backrests in Safety and Comfort.


Carbon Floor & Leg Heater Panels standard in all Rocky Mountain Sauna models

Look for a quality far infrared sauna to surround you with large wall-mounted heating panels, including rear, side, and front panels, with expansive lower leg and floor panels. Large infrared heater surface areas produce maximum far-infrared emissions which directly results in greater infrared energy absorption by the body.


With the massive far-infrared emission flowing from these large carbon panels, mounted in every wall and floor, you receive an even, effective infrared exposure over your entire body, regardless of how you are positioned in the sauna.

Full body coverage means more benefits and better results in less time.

Quality infrared carbon panels last a lifetime! The organic Nano-Carbon™ heater panels used by Rocky Mountain Saunas are the safest available on the market (Zero Rated EMF) and have a life expectancy of 30,000 operating hours. 30,000 hours is more than 75 years of use if you use your sauna every day for one hour!

For more details on nano-carbon heater panel construction, operation and efficiency, CLICK HERE

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