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Has Finnleo joined the dark side by launching their own line of infrared closets?

Finnleo Corp., the largest US sauna dealer by a mile, announced today the introduction of a new line of far-infrared “saunas”.

Wall Street would approve this line extension.  Finnleo dealers number in the thousand, from an HVAC distributor in Devils Lake, ND to a gem stone shop in New Mexico.  Infrared “saunas” are as hot in North America as Starbucks drive-thru, 5 Hour Energy, and Curves 30 Minute Fitness.

Finnleo has an infrared drop down box on their website, and a widget to plug a demand hole in its dealer network.

Finnleo is out to move product, and the American consumer associates sauna with an infrared light bulb closet.

Has Finnleo joined the dark side?  You, the authentic sauna enthusiast can decide.

Oh, the Finnleo infrared “saunas” are reported to have low Electro-Magnetic Radiation and Electrical Field Radiation.

 

31 thoughts on “Has Finnleo joined the dark side by launching their own line of infrared closets?”

  1. what a shame, and a sham. Infrared is right there with tanning beds and low tar cigarettes and diet coke. They are all bad for you, just made to look pretty and seem like their not.

  2. NIce post Glenn. You could eliminate that captcha thing below by signing up for askimet (google it…or go to plugins and install). It costs $5 to turn it on, but we’ve used it on YHH and we get lots of comments.

  3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The phrase “Infrared Sauna” does not compute. “Sauna” is a word/experience with a very old and SPECIFIC tradition. You wouldn’t say infrared banya, infrared sweat lodge, or infrared hammam, would you? No. Why not? Because those are specific rituals that have nothing to do with infrared technology. THE SAME IS TRUE OF SAUNA.

    Bottom line: they’re not saunas and never will be.

  4. Clint,
    I’m am right there with you. for me, the sauna ritual begins with cutting down trees and stacking the firewood months in advance. House woodstove gets 2 foot logs sauna stove gets 14″. It continues from there and ends with all the little elements such as sweeping the floor and making sure there are guest towels and so on; right up to breaking a hole in the ice of the stream as the sauna approaches 180. Oh, and if the power goes out, I go sauna.

  5. We definitely agree, even if we did come to this conversation a little bit late. This is exactly why our product line doesn’t include a single infrared enclosure. Our bottom line has taken a hit, sure, but at least we don’t have to compromise our beliefs and values for the “all might dollar”.

  6. I am chuckling at “Almost Heaven Group’s” comment. When you look at their website, sure enough they offer infrared “saunas”! I wonder why their tone all of a sudden changed after demeaning Finnleo? Have they decided to compromise their beliefs and values for the “all mighty dollar”??
    https://almostheaven.com/our-saunas/radiant-infrared-therapy-room/
    I think the health benefits of the infrared rooms are inarguable and are not dangerous assuming you buy from a reputable company such as Finnleo who spends money on R&D and makes a superior product. However, the traditional sauna will still be king and the preferred choice for most people.

  7. Right- The IR thing is a shame, and calling it ‘Sauna’ is an insult to the tradition, but Finnleo ( I’ve been a Helo dealer / a sister company, since 1993)
    has made this change to accommodate the global ( not just national) interest in this format.
    When these folks began producing ( the best IR rooms w/ warrantees to match) many years ago, they were properly called ‘infra red therapy rooms’, not saunas.
    Over time this naming was changed in order not to be left out of the running-market wise and business wise.
    So:
    Those of us ( including the other commenters above) who know the difference can take solace in that fact-
    And if you decide you want the best IR room on the market, I’m happy to hook you up with a Helo room; the product is first rate, and the product is backed up with real people and real warranties.
    *If you want the best freestanding traditional Finnish style Sauna available in the U.S., designed and built to Finnish spec.’s and guaranteed, feel free to look me up-Solhem Sauna LLC…
    I also have been providing consulting services to builders, architects, and homeowners for nearly thirty years.
    Hah! You betcha…
    ‘ sweat is good’

  8. Nils, you’re drinking the Kool-Aid. tsk, tsk.

    I will go down swinging that it’s a shame infrared is being marketed as sauna. And another thing, just like with tanning beds, i’m not so sure the (negative) long term impact of bodies and IR light bulbs have yet come to the surface.

  9. Real sauna is sooooo much richer than IR experience (set in nature, cold plunge, real heat, multiple rounds, löyly, etc). To infer that IR is ‘sauna’ or to view them as comparable is like saying a McDonald’s cheeseburger is a substitute for a good dry-aged steak. IR is a marketing scam sold to the tragically misinformed.

  10. I hope Glenn and Chris can take a minute to re-read my comment regarding the IR therapy room issue…My statement neither condones nor opposes this technology…
    And for the record, I have worked for many years studying ,defending, and promoting the essence, science, and art of Sauna culture- because as your commenters point out, ‘sweat is good’ !

  11. I think the disagreement comes with the following statements:

    “Over time this naming was changed in order not to be left out of the running-market wise and business wise.”

    – the “we had to” thinking…

    “if you decide you want the best IR room on the market, I’m happy to hook you up with a Helo room; the product is first rate, and the product is backed up with real people and real warranties.”

    it’s compromises like these that have muddied the water. And I am with Glenn on the safety concerns. I admire the vendors that refuse to sell a sub-sauna product even though they are leaving money on the table and consumers are demanding the sub-standard product.

  12. Having lived in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe as well as multiple visits to Scandinavia I completely agree that “Sauna” is an experience and culture. The rituals make the essence of sauna.
    That being said products have a specific purpose.
    I built a spa at my house.
    It includes an 8x8x10 full steam chamber with aroma and chromotherapy.
    A 2000lb carved granite boulder plunge pool., a salt room and yes “a far infrared “sauna””.
    I love traditional saunas and firmly believe that they are the real essence of “sauna”. That being said I was looking for exactly what the far infrared chamber provides.
    I wanted the infrared heating and not the traditional heating.
    It’s not a “real” sauna but it provides exactly what I’m looking for in this setting.

  13. For the record: A proper Sauna built to Finnish spec.’s will always have at least two – sometimes three platform or bench levels on which to sit or recline-
    So a ‘barrel sauna’ in my interpretation would be a nice idea, a novelty, and an inexpensive way to break a sweat-but never a Sauna…
    Just sayin.

  14. I would not include number of bench levels in the basic definition of “sauna”, maybe in the qualities of a good sauna but not a basic qualification. I have used barrel saunas that are better than saunas with multiple bench levels. The basics of definition according to Finnish sauna authorities are: gets hot enough, has stones to create loyly and can use water in the sauna. A lot of other things are what make a GOOD sauna (proper loyly zone, fresh air, cold plunge, etc.). I can see any functional reason why a barrel sauna shouldn’t be considered a type of sauna–compromised though it is.

  15. The best measure of the success of any Sauna design is the way it makes us feel-and that’s that-right?
    The owners and users have the last word…

    But I stand by my comment re: bench levels, and am happy to discuss Finnish sauna spec.’s with anyone interested, but of course Christopher and anyone else is entitled to their opinion-

    It seems to me that part of Glenn’s intention with his blog is to ‘preserve and protect’ proper Sauna culture-and spec.’s are spec.’s.
    Think Globally, Sweat locally!

  16. Hey Glen,
    I’m going to build a 6×8 sauna in my backyard. What is your opinion of a L shaped bench layout?

  17. Nicolas: My opinion of L shaped bench layout is to start with stadium seating (no L bench) and experience this for awhile. Many leave things as they are with no L bench (which you can easily add after), enjoying the more standing around space. Further, L bench looks great on paper but it’s good to consider that the corner can be a lost corner with people sitting and knocking knees. Consider these two options: https://www.saunatimes.com/building-a-sauna/sauna-blueprints/8×12-sauna-plans-reviewed-on-the-sauna-bench/

  18. Because there was respectful disagreement? Plus I suspect we are mostly on the same page. It’s ok for people to arrive at different conclusions and discuss them.

  19. Blew $8500 on a Finnleo traditional sauna. They claim it reaches 194 degrees. And it does. In the near upper right-hand corner. Unfortunately, that’s not where I sit. At the bench the temp. reaches a blistering 150 degrees. What a scam!!! I may as well sit in a canoe on Lake Michigan in January to get that kind of heat : (((

  20. Mark, in regards to your comment “Blew $8500 on a Finnleo traditional sauna” and “What a scam”. I think I would characterize this as more of a misunderstanding between you and your local dealer/salesperson. The 194 degree mark is the max temp at sensor or ceiling height. This is not a Finnleo trait. Any sauna that is UL listed needs to follow this code. So, any sauna regardless of brand will behave the same way. I know to some this is disappointing, but these are the rules we live by. We have a dedicated staff of sales and technical professionals to help. Contact us or your local dealer. And, always wear your PFD. Especially on Lake Michigan!
    Nils Shenholm is correct— all sweat is good!

    Matt – Finnleo

  21. Thanks for the info Matt. So in other words, it would be impossible for us in the US to enjoy the benefits of a European style sauna at home; unless of course we build it ourselves? The big research paper by Jari Laukkenen (sp?) showed the cardiac benefits at 170 degrees. If I sit up on my top bench the best I can do is get about 160 degrees above my chest only. I have also spoken to someone at your company who suggested to arrange the rocks differently in order to create more airflow through the heater. The people who installed my unit piled the rocks to cover the entire heating element. Perhaps less rocks in a single layer?

    Mark

  22. Mark – not sure if your sauna has a remote temp sensor but if so the trick is to move it lower and not right above the heater. It’s probably measuring the temp at the top of the sauna, if you can lower it around two feet it will be measuring the temp about chest height on the upper bench.

    I went through this same issue with Harvia after I installed one of their heaters in my sauna. They were zero help and didn’t even return my emails. Turns out the instructions for where to place the sensor were ridiculous and I had the same issue as you. I ended up lowering it and offsetting it four feet sideways from the heater. The room now goes about 25 deg higher than before.

    I think these guys are scared to death of getting dinged by US consumer safety types so they are overly conservative to ensure no part can ever surpass 194 deg. Old US-sold Tylo’s were notorious for shutting down at low temps. It’s a ridiculous rule. Anyone ever heard of a max temp shutdown on a wood-burning sauna?

  23. Hi Jeff. Thank you so much for the response!! So if I understand you correctly, by moving the sensor lower and away from the heater, it will detect a lower temperature and thus tell the heater to crank it up?

  24. Yep, that’s it exactly. If the existing sensor has a long enough cord you can just move it. I ended up ordering a replacement sensor since I had cut the cord to length on the first one. I disconnected the old sensor and hooked up the new one in it’s place. Not only does the room go much hotter, but the heater doesn’t cycle on and off as much. Being right over the heater isn’t a good representation of the overall room temp.

  25. i built a custom sauna with a tylo electric heater and same deal, would not get above 160 or so. temp sensor for the tylo is a bulb-style on the rear of the heater, near the top. i cut the wire wrap holding it in place and dropped it down a foot or so. it got to 210 in there! raised it up a few inches, holds around 190, just where i like it.

  26. To Jeff and Miller. I tried placing a damp rag over the sensor. Worked like a charm!!!! 180 at bench level : ))))

  27. That’s great Mark. I remember how frustrating it was when dealing with this same issue, glad you are now able to truly enjoy the sauna.

    You still may want to consider moving the sensor as the damp rag trick might not give you consistent results. Also during long sessions the rag will probably dry out and the temp will drop over time. Many of these heaters use a modular telephone cord for the sensor connection. It might be worth getting a short telephone extension cord (~6 feet) to make it easy to temporarily move the sensor. Once you’ve found the ideal location you can then figure out a way to permanently move it and hide the cord.

    Good luck.

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