In this blog post, I've decided to review the smallest far infrared sauna on the market today. Why? Simple: many people don't have the budget or space for a big sauna - the Evolve Mini might therefore be the perfect option to open up premium-quality infrared saunas to a broader audience.
Before venturing into the actual review, here's a summary of my findings:
Got you curious?
Stay tuned for more details:
Up until today, I'm still searching for the perfect sauna. Of course, not every sauna is perfect for every person.
For instance, you might be renting a very tiny apartment, without any spare space, or you might be traveling a lot. In such a case, you might take a look at the HigherDOSE blanket, which you can fold take with you in your coffer or fold under your bed.
Personally, I don't like the idea of the HigherDOSE, but I understand that for some people, it's a potential solution.
But what if you do have some space in your house? In that case, the Sun Stream Evolve Mini might be the perfect option for you!
The Sun Stream Evolve Mini is incredibly small, measuring 32.5 inches (width), by 35 inches (depth), and 67 inches (height). The interior is 3 inches smaller on all dimensions.
Due to the size, the sauna can fit almost everywhere. To understand that principle: if your house has space for a closet, then it also has space for an Evolve Mini.
Interested? Let's review this sauna!
P.s.: you can get a Sun Stream Evolve Mini at Sun Stream saunas - if you mention Alex Fergus, you'll get a discount!
In this section, I'll briefly talk about my first impressions of the Sun Stream Evolve Mini far infrared sauna.
If you prefer watching a video about my first impressions of the Sun Stream Evolve mini, consider watching this:
A couple of months ago the Evolve Mini arrived at my doorstep. My first thoughts? Here's what stands out for me after unpackaging this product. First of all, the whole sauna was very easy for me to set up, taking me about 15 minutes:
Setting up all the panels and elements and small pieces is really intuitive and if you're reasonably tech-savvy, this is a piece of cake.
If you're not too strong, you might want to solicit some help setting up all the elements, because the sideboards and top pieces weigh the heaviest. If you're older, for instance, or in poor health, you might want to get some help.
My first impression, after using the sauna for the very first time, is that it's really small, which has both huge benefits and some potential downsides. You can view a picture of me entering the sauna below:
(I'm a muscular 220 pounds, so I'm bigger than average)
Also, standing next to the sauna, you'll get the same impression:
Next, here's an inside look inside the Mini sauna:
As you can see, clearly there's more than enough space for just one person.
It's impossible to lay down during sauna use. Also, two persons fitting in the same space is also an impossibility (at least, if you want to use the sauna properly and get 360-degree exposure!)
So what's my experience after the first 30 minutes - the very first session in the Evolve Mini? It's really cozy in this sauna - and I didn't even feel claustrophobic in there!
I broke a good sweat as well. I can even read in this sauna, such as my newspaper, and it seems that the sauna warms up quicker than the Clearlight or Sun Stream Evolve 20 saunas I'm used to.
So that's my first impression.
The small size, which is perfect for apartments, is the main point of interest right now. The sauna also functions properly. Interested in my long-term findings, after using this sauna for some a couple of weeks? In that case, rRead the next section:
So, what do I think after using this Sun Stream Evolve Mini for a few months?
Let's find out...
Again, if you're more interested in viewing my long-term experience on video, then consider the YouTube vid below:
So let me tell you about my impressions! I've divided the different aspects of this sauna into different categories, such as heater types and quality, potential toxin exposure from glues, freebies, warranty, etc:
You might see tons of advertisement for "full-spectrum" infrared saunas online. That term, however, is mostly a marketing gimmick.
Many infrared saunas that include near and middle infrared, only do so with one panel that emits those wavelengths.
Hence, you're probably only exposed to the full infrared spectrum from one side, and not from a 360-degree angle.
Sun Stream only uses far-infrared panels, which are placed all around you. Here's an example of a panel:
I explain my recommendation, as to why I opt for far infrared panels only, in my infrared sauna buyer's guide.
Sun Stream saunas specifically use heater panels which they call "nano-carbon" heaters. Sun Stream state the following about these heater panels:
Nano-carbon heater panels are a more advanced form of panel used. They are designed in a way that the nnEMF output is very low (lower than standard carbon heaters), the panels also emit a wider field of heat - providing greater body coverage of infrared light, and in the case of the nano-carbon heaters used in the SunStream saunas, the panels are free of any toxic VOC's (the manufacturing process of carbon panels does involve various chemicals that can offgas).
For more on Nano-Carbon heaters read 'My Article On SunStream Low EMF Nano-Carbon heaters'
Also, as you can see in the picture above, there's a huge heater panel placed in front of my body as well. Believe it or not, but most infrared saunas on the market don't offer such heating currently, even within most premium brands.
So, what makes the Sun Stream saunas different - and specifically the Mini as well, is that you get true 360-degree heating all around your body. 360-degree heating is unique!
In this case, there's even a heater panel on the floor, and one behind your calves, further increasing exposure - the picture above attests to that!
The only small issue with the heater panels of the Evolve Mini is that on your left, if you're sitting down in the sauna, there's the glass door that doesn't contain a panel. So one small part of your body, usually the side of your left leg, doesn't get full exposure.
Moreover, despite the initial impression, the sauna is quite big if you're sitting inside!
Below, you can see a picture of me with my 220-pound body sitting in the Evolve Mini - as you can see there's some spare space around my shoulders left:
Hence, unless you weigh over 350 pounds, or are extremely tall, the Evolve Mini is absolutely perfect for most body sizes. The only issue is getting in the sauna, which may include a bit of a squeeze.
The principle is the same as if you're getting seated in a car - bigger persons might need a bit of a squeeze to get in there.
Also, just as with a car, you cannot stand up in the Evolve Mini, which might be a downside for some people.
The Evolve Mini is thus specifically made to sit in, not for yoga or laying down.
Moving on to the next topic:
You don't want a sauna that's made out of cheap woods, such as plywood, because it will lead to the release of VOCs during usage.
There's barely if any smell coming from the wood in this sauna. Hence, you can be assured that you don't get exposed to any toxins during your sessions.
Even the top of the sauna doesn't contain plywood - which is different from some other "premium" companies:
The outside and inside of the Evolve Mini is made out of 100% hemlock, which is naturally hypoallergenic. So even though the Evolve Mini isn't expensive, you are getting quality timber.
Any glues used in the Sun Stream sauna, including the Mini, are 100% hypoallergenic and fit for human consumption.
Hence, Sun Stream's craftmanship with these infrared saunas goes so far as to minimize any toxin exposure during your sessions.
The problem, with many low-quality saunas, is that they contain toxic glues.
These glues are aromatized into the air, especially when your sauna is heating up, and travel directly into your lungs. You might know that your lungs are one of the most effecient methods to absorb any compound (e.g., smoking for nicotine).
Therefore, any toxic materials found in your infrared sauna will burden your detoxification pathways exponentially...
No such problem in the Mini - excellent!
If you're interested in learning more about my EMF measurements, consider the following video about EMF levels in the Evolve 20 - Evolve Mini levels are similar:
As you can see, magnetic fields are extremely low and levels of radio waves or electric fields are (almost) non-existent. If you sit normally against the panel, you shouldn't be exposed to any EMF at all!
Hence, both the Evolve Mini and Evolve 20 are perfect options for people with Electro-Hypersensitivity.
How does Sun Stream achieve these extremely low/non-existing EMF levels? At the heart of this accomplishment, lays a very smart engineering feat. I'm quoting from my earlier blog post about the Evolve 20:
A quick mention about wiring:
Sunstream state that their specially engineered nano-carbon heater panels are designed to be virtually EMF free - and this is no doubt why their EMF levels are so good.
But another thing to note is the extremely high standard of wiring that they use in their Evolve sauna.
Some of the most popular IR sauna companies on the market state that they use shielded metal conduits in their wiring, but this is far from being the case once you have a look at in the ceiling cavity (where the wires are contained).
This is what hides under the seat - a heavy duty, properly shielded power box and cables - emitting next to no EMF
SunStream, on the other hand, have used heavy duty 14 gauge shielded heater leads in their sauna. Not only that, but they use proper moulded plugs for a secure and shielded connection. I believe that these things also play a huge contributing role in why the SunStream Evolve sauna has such low EMF readings.
Sounds perfect, right? Next up, another important design feature:
What's very nice about this sauna is that all the wooden boards that are placed in front of the panels, which you sit against with your body, are easily detachable. Because of this ability to detach the boards, which can then be cleaned of sweat and odors:
The wooden panel covers are attached with magnets, so everyone can remove or re-attach them easily.
The same heater panel covers also assure that the surface area of the heater panels is maximized. I.e., by using as little wood as possible, due to a very sturdy construction, more infrared light actually reaches your body and penetrates through your skin.
If you're interested in learning more about the biological effects of infrared light, consider my blog Everything You Need To Know About Infrared Saunas.
Suffice it to say, that the design of the wooden panel covers maximizes infrared light exposure while also making the sauna very easy to clean. Perfect!
The sauna contains an internal infrared intensity control unit, that also allows you to activate or de-active the sauna. You can view this unit here:
The panels are operating at 50% in this shot (shown at bottom of the LCD screen)
One potential benefit of this control unit is that you can set up the sauna to a lower than 100% infrared output. If your immune system is challenged or you're not in perfect health, such an option can be great because your sessions will be less challenging.
Older people might also want to use intensity settings below 100%.
In other instances, such as with the aim of detoxification, lower settings can also be beneficial because you might be moving compounds in your body at a slower pace. Detoxification, especially if intense, can create "herxheimer" reactions, and lower intensities can counter that process.
Also, if you set the intensity of the sauna to 100%, you might only last 15 minutes. Some people might just want to enjoy some relaxation time in the sauna, and might therefore opt for 50 or 75% intensity.
One small downside of this control panel unit is that it's placed inside the sauna, is that you have to go inside the sauna every time you want to start a session.
I know it's a very small point, but, nevertheless, other saunas have a control unit outside the sauna, which prevents you from having to step inside the sauna to start heating up your unit. Again, it's only a small "annoyance", but I have to mention it to be complete.
With an outside control unit, you can more easily let the sauna heat up before you have a session. Outside control units also allow your spouse or friends to see how much time of your session is still left.
Then, next, there's another potential issue for some people - depending on your wishes:
Although this sauna does contain speakers, they're not the high-quality versions that you will find in more premium models, such as the Evolve 20.
If you're really into music and a fan of high audio quality, I can imagine you'd want to upgrade to a more expensive model, such as the 2-person sauna. The bigger models contain a Kenwood Stereo speaker, while the Mini sauna has more of a budget version of speakers.
The speakers do work on Bluetooth, but you've got the possibility to disable that Bluetooth to reduce your EMF exposure.
Next up, some pleasant surprises from Sun Stream:
All Sun Stream orders also come with a few very interesting freebies, such as the Sun Stream towel and the Sun Stream sauna hat. The sauna hat protects your head and hair from excessive heat - infrared exposure, especially to the head, should be minimized for the best health effects.
The Sun Stream towel is perfect for removing sweating during or after your sessions, or to sit on.
You also get a sauna brush and an aromatherapy wooden unit with a shot glass for essential oils during sauna use:
So if you want to use aromatherapy with essential oils, that shot glass helps you there.
Also, a cedar wood back panel is provided with every sauna, which helps your posture when you're sitting in the sauna for a long time! Here's a picture of the cedar back support:
With many companies, you have to pay an additional $100 for the back support, but not with Sun Stream - a nice freebie for sure!
Lastly, you get a wooden cup holder that allows you to hold up to 2 glasses in the sauna. Those glasses can contain water for re-hydration or electrolyte replenishment purposes, for instance.
Now, you may think: "all of these nice options, that is surely going to cost me a lot?" Not at all:
From a price standpoint, the Evolve Mini is impossible to beat. If you use code ALEXFERGUS or just mention my name, Alex Fergus, you'll be entitled to get a discount.
As of this moment in 2020, the price of a Sun Stream Evolve sauna will be $2,200 excluding taxes and shipping. From 2021, prices will increase though, due to excessive demand.
Nevertheless, even if the price were to increase to $2,300 or $2,400, the Sun Stream Evolve Mini is by far the most affordable premium-quality far infrared sauna on the market today. As far as I know, nothing comes even close.
And the small letters of the contract? Let's find out:
Sun Stream saunas offer a 10-year warranty on all their products. If you crunch the numbers, and you'd only use this Sun Stream sauna for 10 years, you'd be paying a mere $220 per year (excluding electricity costs).
What's even better is that these saunas are built to last, so it's reasonably expected that you can use the Mini sauna for a much longer period of time. The saunas are built really sturdy and, you've even got the option, if a heater panel might break after 20 years of time, to replace that specific panel.
So, even though $2,200+ is a big investment for some people, the warranty allows you to sleep perfectly at night, knowing that you will be able to enjoy your sessions 5 or 10 years from now.
Also, Sun Stream has been a profitable company for decades and demand for their saunas is only growing. You can thus expect the warranty to be honored if necessary, unlike with newer sauna companies that have just hit the market.
Then, last but not least:
Right now, Sun Stream is available in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Unfortunately, that excludes customers from the EU.
The good news?
It's highly likely that, due to extreme demand for Sun Stream saunas, that the EU will be added as a geographical location they ship to in the future.
That's it! My Sun Stream Evolve Mini impressions after using it intensely for a longer period of time. Still not sure whether to get the Sun Stream Mini or a bigger model? Let's find out:
I know what you're thinking:
Some time ago, you published a review of the Sun Stream Evolve 20, and strongly recommended that far infrared sauna as your best option. And now, you're saying that the Evolve Mini is also a great option!
So what's the best choice? Simply put, it depends!
So let's consider in which circumstances the Evolve 20 or the Evolve Mini is the best option for you.
If you prefer to watch YouTube videos, consider the video below as an alternative to reading this blog:
So, the answer to the question about "what is the best sauna" depends on your circumstances. So let's consider the benefits of choosing a Sun Stream Evolve Mini:
How about the Evolve 20? When should you pick the Evolve 20?
You can view me sitting inside the Evolve 20 sauna below:
Do notice that the door is open in that picture, but, still, you can see that the Evolve 20 is much spacier. So if you prefer more space, the Evolve 20 is definitely your best pick!
Also, I don't necessarily recommend getting the biggest sauna you can get. Smaller saunas, such as the mini, cost less to run. Also, you might not even use a 3-person sauna a lot. So I recommend thinking a bit before spending your hard-earned money on the bigger models, actually.
With regard to heating, I've tested the difference in temperature over time between the Evolve Mini and 20. Here's the outcome I got:
As you can see, there is a noticeable difference in heating times, which, of course, can be explained through the Watts per m3 I've talked about before.
Lastly, below you can see a price comparison between different models - which includes the 1-person Evolve 10 model that is slightly bigger than the Evolve Mini but also costs more:
Again, these are US prices excluding potential taxes and shipping costs. What you pay might vary slightly depending on geographical region. The Evolve 10 is also made from basswood, if you prefer that timber over hemlock.
Hope I've informed you very well about the benefits and downsides of all models.
And that's it, my full Mini Evolve review. Let's therefore conclude:
Sometimes, conclusions are pretty simple. There are 3 main reasons why you would get an Evolve Mini:
Of course, any combination of these 3 reasons also suffices.
What can be said, furthermore, is that I'm really impressed by the Evolve Mini. I personally don't like options like the HigherDOSE blanket, and much rather sit inside a sauna sweating, compared to being inside a blanket.
Therefore, if your space and budget allow, I would always recommend opting for the Evolve Mini.
Once again, if you're interested in a SunStream Evolve Mini OR Evolve 20 Sauna you can tell that Alex Fergus sent you to save some money on the regular price. I will say that the Mini has quickly become my favorite though, because of the quick heating times!
As an entrepreneur, I don't always have the time to wait 20 minutes, and much rather opt for cutting the heating time in half for quicker results.
Also, as a bonus, if you want to know more about the Sun Stream saunas, and their technology, check out my 1+ hour-long video with Kevin, the founder & CEO of Sunstream:
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