You have probably not heard of the SunStream Evolve Infrared Sauna. I know I hadn't and I've been researching and using IR saunas for some time now!
So I was pleasantly surprised when I started looking into this sauna company.
After speaking to the companies owner it was clear why I hadn't come across this brand - the owner is extremely passionate and very switched on when it comes to infrared technology.
How did this explain why I hadn't heard of SunStream Saunas before? Simple - in business, it's often the companies with the strong marketing arm yet average product that dominant the market.
The best products - designed by extremely knowledgeable and passionate individuals - are often left in the dust with very little awareness.
After using the SunStream Evolve Sauna for a few months now, and doing my own research and independent testing, it is evident that this infrared sauna is potentially the best, and healthiest, IR sauna on the market.
It's just a shame more people haven't heard of it.
If you are in the market for an Infrared Sauna, take the time to read through this comprehensive review of mine and try and at the same time look beyond the marketing hype that other companies publish around their saunas.
Learn more about the SunStream Sauna and get the latest pricing, simply head to www.SunStreamSaunas.com (for USA and Canadian readers) whilst Australian and my fellow Kiwi readers should head to www.InfraredSaunasAu.com.au.
If you do decide to purchase a Sauna be sure to mention my name - ALEX FERGUS to get a special deal.
Otherwise read on for my for my epic SunStream sauna review!
If you'd rather watch a video, then click below:
I'll be honest, my initial research into Infrared Saunas options must not have been very good. Why? Well I never even heard about SunStream Saunas until very recently.
I spent weeks looking at Clearlight, Sunlighten, Dynamic, Health Mate, NeoSaunas & Sauna Space Saunas, but I never came across Sun Stream.
In fact, I only found out about their infrared saunas when I was doing some research for my red light therapy article.
Given how much time I'd spent looking at and testing IR saunas, I nearly dismissed this company as just another run of the mill sauna company.
But after a few minutes of exploring on their website I soon realised this company was different. The technical details they shared, the in-depth videos, the thermal imaging displays and the EMF testing were all beyond that of their rivals.
I decided to reach out to the company with my own questions and do some of my own research into yet another infrared sauna!
Fast forward a few months and I am very impressed with the sauna that SunStream have developed.
The SunStream Evolve Saunas are available in 3 sizes - a 1 man, a 2 man and a 3 man sauna.
SunStream have warehouses in USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
I personally own a SunStream Evolve 20, but this review will look at the technology used in all of the Evolve Saunas.
For the full product range and latest price catalog simply head to www.SunStreamSaunas.com or www.InfraredSaunasAu.com.au if you are based in New Zealand or Australia.
Read on for my comprehensive review of the SunStream Evolve Infrared Sauna
The Evolve 20 that I have is made solely from basswood. There is no particle board or plywood used in the sauna. So this is a massive win for health conscious IR sauna buyers for two reasons:
First - basswood is regarded as a hypoallergenic wood (1). The excellent website 'The Wood Database' compares wood from across the world and looks at their allergy and toxicity issues.
It has this to say about basswood:
Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Basswood.
Other common sauna woods such as cedar and hemlock both have allergy and or toxicity issues.
For most people, this won't be an issue. But if you are looking to fine the best and healthiest infrared sauna, then the SunStream Evolve is one of the few IR saunas that use this allergy free wood.
Secondly - the fact that the Evolve sauna is made from 100% basswood means there is no plywood or particle board present.
Surprisingly, this is a very uncommon trait for infrared saunas. Even the extremely popular ClearLight IR sauna range contains plywood in the roof and floor. Sure you cannot see this 'processed' wood, but it is there.
Now why is this an issue?
Processed timber such as plywood is treated with toxic chemicals. I explain this issue in detail in my Infrared Sauna Buyers Guide: What To Look For When Buying A Sauna but I'll sum it up below:
Therefore a sauna user sitting inside a hot wooden box that contains that contains plywood could be exposing themselves to toxic compounds such as formaldehyde.
A sneak peek of the top of my Evolve - note it's all basswood paneling. No corner/cost cutting with SunStream saunas!
The SunStream Evolve Sauna contains only 1 type of wood - and that is basswood. There are no plywoods or treated timbers used in this sauna.
Another question you should ask when buying an infrared sauna is 'what type of glues are used'?
Unfortunatley, most sauna companies use extremely toxic synthetic glues in their sauna construction. Why? Because it's cheap and because it works well.
But SunStream have taken the time, and spent the extra money, to source a wood glue that is not full of toxic nasties.
In fact the glue they use in their saunas has been approved by the FDA for contact with food. Meaning it is a food safe glue.
Which is rather impressive and definitely gives me peace of mind when I'm sitting inside my sauna breathing in hot air.
Click below for an EMF testing video (if you'd rather read then continue reading below the vid):
Most people buy an infrared sauna for the health benefits it brings with regular use. Unfortunatley a lot of IR saunas on the market can do more harm than good due to their high levels of non-native electromagnetic fields.
These fields are emitted from the saunas heater panels and internal wiring and given that you are sitting right next to these heaters and wiring, it is not uncommon for a sauna user to be exposing themselves to dangerous levels of EMF.
Fortunatley both consumers and manufacturers are waking up to these dangers and just as consumers look for IR saunas built with healthy materials, they are now looking for IR Saunas with low, or even zero, EMF levels.
Unfortunatley though there is a lot of confusion and lies around EMF levels in saunas. So finding a 'healthy, low EMF' IR sauna does require a lot of digging.
Sunstream have designed their Evolve IR saunas to be virtually free of dangerous nnEMF.
They have done this by developing EMF cancelling carbon heaters and also using shielded wiring throughout their sauna. Below I will explore these technologies in more detail and also share my own personal EMF test results with my Cornet Electrosmog meter.
First things first, here is the EMF video put out by SunStream themselves:
I have to admit the numbers are impressive.
What did my numbers reveal? (Quick plug - be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel as I will be publishing a video of doing the EMF testing in this sauna).
They were also very good.
I tested magnetic fields, electric fields and microwave fields.
Each test was done in 3 places and the average was calculated.
For the magnetic fields my readings were 0.05uT, 0.04uT and 0.03uT.
Meaning an average of 0.04uT.
For reference - the background level was 0.035uT
So what does this mean? It means that SunStreams claims are valid - there is next to no magnetic EMF fields from their panels. Amazing!
I should also mention that my Cornet Meter is calibrated with the super strict building biology health standards. This uses a traffic light system and the meter displays a light - green, yellow or red - based on the level of EMF it picks up. At 0.04uT these magnetic fields from the SunStream sauna are in the safe zone.
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.
What about Electric Fields in the Evolve IR sauna?
Again SunStream proudly state that their heater panels are completely safe and have no dangerous electric fields.
Based on my testing I found the same result. There were no detectable electric fields at 1 inch from the heater panels. Which is great!
No Metal Mesh Covers Needed
Reducing electric fields from a carbon heater panel can be achieved by one of two ways. Either physically blocking the fields or by designing the panel in a way that the fields cancel each other out.
Most companies use the first approach - physically blocking the shields. This means that the heater panel will have a cloth or metal mesh covering. Sure this covering will block out the dangerous electric fields, but it also blocks a lot of the valuable far infrared rays that should be hitting the body.
Sunstream have taken the second approach - they have designed their heaters in a way that the heater panel emits no electric fields, thus not needing shielding mesh and in turn allowing greater body exposure to the infrared ways - which is what we all want.
Microwave EMF fields in saunas are only a problem if the sauna uses wifi and or bluetooth. Nowadays most, if not all IR saunas have such functions as it allows you to connect your device to the saunas speakers, or even control the sauna through your phone.
The Sunstream Sauna doesn't have any wifi connectivity option, but it does have bluetooth.
This allows you to play music of video sounds through the internal Kenwood speakers. And by default this bluetooth transmitter is on.
But the great thing about bluetooth is that the EMF fields are extremely low, especially when nothing is connected to the bluetooth device.
I used my EMF meter to check the microwave levels inside the sauna with nothing connected to the bluetooth speaker (but the sauna was powered on). The results showed next to no microwave levels (and a green safe score).
In fact they were so low I had to double check that the sauna was on! (It was).
Of course if you do connect to the internal speakers then there will be a higher microwave rate - both from the device transmitting the signal and the speakers receiving the signal.
But the fact that there was no microwave EMF without using the speakers was a great plus (and a surprising one I might add).
But it gets better:
For those of you who want absolutely no EMF exposure when using your sauna, and don't even like the idea of a bluetooth transmitter being close to you, then I have good news.
With the SunStream Evolve sauna range you can completely disable the bluetooth transmitter by physically removing the bluetooth module from the audio chipboard!
Overall I have to admit that the SunStream Evolve sauna has the lowest EMF levels of any sauna I have tested. It pretty much is a zero EMF sauna, and I don't know if there are any other saunas that can accurately make this claim.
As I covered in my Infrared Sauna Buyers Guide full spectrum IR saunas that emit Near Infrared rays are not only not worth the extra expense, but they could be potentially harmful as well.
SunStream are well aware of this fact and understand that IR saunas work best, are safest and are cheaper to run and produce (and thus cheaper to sell) when they focus on far infrared rays.
Glorious FIR light all around me! Notice how the front facing panel is also a carbon panel - unlike other companies that use full spectrum, high heat, bulky halogen panels.
For that reason their carbon heaters primarily emit Far IR light (with some in the Mid IR range).
This from their website:
Our Ultra Low EMF & ELF Nano-Carbon heaters emit Far Infrared (FIR) with approximately 70% of the heaters output lying between 5 – 15 microns (5000nm – 15000nm) and approximately 90% of the output lying between 1 – 20 microns (1000nm – 20,000nm). Thus, our heaters also encompass the Mid Infrared range of 1.4 – 3.0 microns.
When it comes to quantifying actually FIR output from a IR sauna heater it is rather difficult.
You need a measurement tool like a high end thermal imaging camera to determine how much power is being emitted from the sauna panels. Such cameras are extremely expensive (ten's of thousands of dollars) so unfortunatley I couldn't use one in my review.
But SunStream do have one of these cameras and have done some of their own testing (and comparisons) with their sauna panels. I know a review that simply uses the manufacturers data is far from ideal, but their videos and content on this topic are quite interesting so I have included them here for reference.
SunStream also claim that their panels provide the best infrared body coverage. They show this through their 'Radiant Heat Testing'. I'm not familiar with this testing procedure so can't comment. But you can see more about this test (and the results) on THIS page.
If you have read about the amazing benefits of NIR light (you can see them all HERE) you may have wanted a full spectrum sauna that includes NIR light. Again though - have a read of my Buyers Guide for why you shouldn't be using NIR in a hot sauna environment.
But don't worry, you can still get all these therapeutic benefits from NIR without the dangers.
SunStream have developed their own NIR LED panel which they called their 'Evolve Light Therapy Panel'.
The neat thing is that this panel hangs on the outside of the Evolve Sauna and allows you to treat the body with a high dose of pure 850nm NIR light (they also do a 660nm Red light panel as well).
If you have been following my blog you will know that I am a huge fan of NIR and Red light therapy, and use multiple BioMax Panels with both 660nm and 850nm light most days.
So it is cool that you can still get a IR sauna that offers the best of both worlds - low EMF, high powered FIR light (for the deep sweating). And a dedicated, low heat, pure NIR panel.
The way I see it is that you can hang an Evolve Light panel on the outside of the sauna, and do your NIR or RED light session in the 10 minutes it takes to for the sauna to heat up.
Of course, you could also purchase a dedicated red light therapy body panel from another company and do the same thing, but it is neat that SunStream offer their own panel with fittings that allow easy connection into your sauna.
For more on Red Light Therapy be sure to read my article 'Everything You Need To Know About Red Light Therapy'.
Sunstream claim that their nano-carbon heater panels perform better than almost all other sauna brands because they concentrate the power into a smaller, hotter, higher watt density panels. Instead of wasting it above the head with larger cooler lower watt density panels, like found in the Sunlighten Signature range, Radiant Health or ihealth saunas.
I'm no engineer and I can't make a qualified comment on this or not, but I can say one thing - I sweat a ton when I'm in my Evolve sauna! So something is working well.
Again I'm going to go against the rules and paste in a quote directly from the SunStream website for more information on this topic:
High Intensity Infrared with Heaters Positioned Low
Sun Stream Infrared Saunas is the ONLY Infrared sauna company to provide thermal image evidence of our heaters’ superior infrared heat output. All infrared sauna brands are using the same amount of power provided by a regular 10 – 15 Amp outlet. Sun Stream is one of the few companies capable of concentrating the saunas’ electrical power into smaller surface area, hotter carbon panels (High Watt Density panels).
Our heaters are positioned lower on the walls aiming more radiant heat onto your body vs. competitors’ larger surface area, cooler carbon panels which produce a less intense radiant heat and wastes infrared heat above your head.
Concentration of the electrical power into smaller hotter panels results in a superior sauna experience, targeting your body with more infrared heat, raising your core temperature and inducing a faster heavier sweat.
Check out the Thermal Imaging Video filmed with the FLIR E75 camera and see the difference:
Another thing that impresses me about the SunStream sauna is their heater placement.
Low EMF, high output, mesh free, Nano-carbon heater panels in the optimal positions to get the best sweat effect.
Not only are all their heater panels positioned at the right height (so all the energy is targeted at your torso and limbs, not the head like found inside some IR sauna companies), but they also feature a massive front heater.
This means you get a full '360 degrees' IR treatment, as you have heater panels behind you, on your sides and in front.
No that isn't a reflection! This is what I see when inside my Evolve sauna - note the panels on either side and the massive panel in front of me. Through the glass you can see my Clearlight sauna sitting then feeling jealous it's not being used!
Most of the IR saunas I have looked at don't have any front heater panel - this means that the entire front plane of your body is not being exposed to IR light.
Some IR saunas do have a small front panel, but this is often a halogen panel which is not as good (or as safe - as it get's extremely hot and emits NIR light) as a carbon heater panel.
Remember, the more radiant heat that targets the body the more you absorb and the faster you sweat.
Not only that, the SunStream Sauna has a heater panel behind your legs (shining IR light onto the back of your calves) and also on the floor (shining light on to the bottom of your feet).
You really do get full body coverage when sitting inside a SunStream IR sauna.
One other thing I should mention is that the wooden protection slats can easily be removed from the heater panels. These panels are very easy to remove and have magnetic clips holding them in place (though you can screw them in if you want to)
Sure you could do this to increase the surface area of FIR being emitted, but the main reason for this is so you can easily wipe down the heater panel surface to give it a clean (which is especially useful for the floor heater that collects a lot of sweat!)
The SunStream Evolve range offers saunas in various sizes. The smallest is a 1 man Evolve 10, the biggest is the 3 man Evolve 30.
I personally have the 2 man Evolve 20. I also own a 3 man sauna from Clearlight, so I was a little apprehensive with getting the smaller sized SunStream, especially as I liked putting my legs and feet up on the bench in the 3 man sauna.
But I have been pleasantly surprised with how adequate the 2man Evolve actually is.
Firstly, the sauna heats up much faster than a larger 3 man.
And I seem to sweat faster in the Evolve Sauna (whether this is a result of being closer to the heater panels, or it's because the heater panels are superior to the clearlight I'm not 100% sure).
Even better the 2 man takes up less space, uses less electricity and best of all - was much cheaper than a 3 man sauna.
But what about stretching out with my legs up?
Surprisingly I can still do this in my 2 man Evolve. It's not because the bench seat is longer than I expected, it's because the SunStream saunas come with a moveable foot bench.
If there are too of you in the sauna you would not need this bench, but when you're in the sauna on your own you can use the foot bench to stretch out - with your legs going across the sauna as per the photo below:
Despite being much smaller than a 3 man sauna, the additional foot bench still allows me to stretch out with my feet up after a hard days work!
The SunStream Evolve includes a few 'additional features'. I've listed these below along with my comments:
Looking up at the ceiling we have the Chromotherapy LED panel and an air vent
Usually I don't use these lights in a sauna, but I have found myself using the amber light in the sunstream as it's a warmer light than the internal lights (which are quite bright by the way!). Note, this is an optional extra in some models.
A range of colors to choose from - I usually use amber if I'm reading, or red if it's late at night.
The panels are operating at 50% in this shot (shown at bottom of the LCD screen)
With every Evolve SunStream sauna you receive a bunch of very useful accessories. This was a welcome surprise and something that I wish all sauna companies did (instead of charging you extra for such items!)
Here is what you get included with your Evolve sauna:
Red Cedar Backrests
I got two of these with my Evolve 20. And I love them! I set them up so I can sit in one corner and have my feet stretched out on the foot bench.
I never had a back rest in my ClearLight sauna and I often toyed with the idea of buying one (though they were quite expensive). The backrest means you don't come into contact with the hot wooden slats or the (very hot) heater panel.
Notice the 2 back rests and the foot bench
Often I'd move positions and either have to sit of the wall away from the slats or put a towel over them so I could lean back (which blocks all the FIR light).
So having not one, but two backrests included in the price was a massive plus. They're also meant to be sweat stain resistant. I haven't noticed any stains after 2 months of sauna use.
Moveable Foot Bench
I've explained the benefits of this bench earlier in the article. In a nutshell I think it's an excellent addition to a sauna, especially for those who get a 2 man sauna.
The cup holder is seriously awesome! So simple but so powerful! Usually my bottle would sit on the bench or floor - and it would leave a water mark from condensation, or I'd knock it over when I'd move, or it would take up precious space. Plus as the bottle would be inline with a heater panel it would get really hot really fast!
But the cup holder now allows me to store my bottle up on the wall out of the way. It's the little things that make something great!
I had to smile the first time I saw this - it looks like a little holder for a shot glass! But it's designed for aromatherapy - you simply place a few drops of your favourite essential oil into the glass for it to be released into the air during your session.
Towel, Lymphatic Brush & Sauna Hat
Finally you also get a giant white sauna towel, a lymphatic brush for use in the sauna and a sauna hat to protect your hair from the heat.
All are labeled with the SunStream branding and are all nice bonuses that would otherwise cost to purchase.
First things first, SunStream offer free shipping to customers major areas across Australia and New Zealand. For those in the USA, the UK, or Canada, shipping rates vary depending on location. But if you mention the name 'Fergus' you will get a discounted rate.
They also have warehouses in each of these countries, so shipping times are quick.
And all SunStream saunas come with an incredible 10 year warranty! Which I must say is a great selling point.
What about pricing?
As SunStream offer 3 different sizes (a 1 man, 2 man and 3 man sauna) and each size has 1 or two options (the biggest difference being the power output and the amount of glass used in the sauna) the price list get's rather lengthy (especially when you add in Australian, New Zealand and Canadian prices!)
Throw into the mix that they often run seasonal specials (though if you mention Alex Fergus referred you you will always get the best deal!) and it means any price I list could soon be out of date.
So to see the full product range and get the latest pricing for your region simply head to THIS page - www.sunstreamsaunas.com enter your email address and you will be sent the latest pricing catalogue in PDF format.
And for those who are based in Australia or New Zealand, you can head to www.InfraredSaunasAu.com.au to learn more and request a pricing catalogue to be emailed out to you.
And remember - mention that Alex Fergus referred you and you will get a extra sweet deal!
I've had over 20 sessions in my Evolve sauna at the time of writing this review, and prior to that I've had years of regular IR sauna use.
So what are my thoughts on the SunStream sauna?
As for the negatives, I really can't think of many.
There is one little thing that annoys me, and thats the fact that you can't access the control unit from outside the sauna. You have to open the door and reach inside to turn the sauna own and adjust the settings.
Notice how the control unit is inside the sauna on the back corner... first world problems I know!
Nothing major, but the saunas that have a control panel on both the outside and the inside do make life a little easier (plus my wife could see how much more time I had in the sauna or tell me to get out if she thought I was over doing it!!)
I'm going to say yes - the SunStream Evolve Sauna is the healthiest Infrared Sauna on the market.
With it's hypoallergenic basswood, no plywood, food safe glues, zero EMF panels, shielded heavy duty wiring, and save FIR wavelengths there is nothing in this sauna that creates a health coach like myself to be worried.
Meaning you can enjoy a sauna session without concern and sit back and reap all the amazing benefits that a quality IR sauna brings to the body.
Now is it the best infrared sauna on the market?
I'm going to put it out there and say yes.
At least to my knowledge anyway.
Let's run through the key reasons why I think this:
It's a pretty compelling list is it not?
Especially when you look at all the features that the SunStream Sauna has compared to my Infrared Sauna Buyers Guide.
And be sure to check out my Youtube channel as I will be publishing a video review of the SunStream Evolve Sauna and will be doing a head to head comparing the SunStream Evolve with the ClearLight Premier IS.
Alternatively, if you want to learn more about the SunStream Sauna and get the latest pricing, simply head to www.SunStreamSaunas.com (for USA and Canadian readers) whilst Australian and my fellow Kiwi readers should head to www.InfraredSaunasAu.com.au.
If you do decide to purchase a Sauna be sure to mention my name - ALEX FERGUS to get a special deal (this applies to all sauna companies!)
I've recently published a review of the Sun Stream Mini. You can read that review HERE.
This blog post was written by Alex Fergus. Alex is a ISSN Sports Nutrition Specialist, Fitness Professional and certified Superhuman Coach who continues to expand his knowledge base and help people across the world with their health and wellness. Alex is recognized as the National Record Holder in Powerlifting and Indoor Rowing and has earned the title of the Australian National Natural Bodybuilding Champion. Having worked as a health coach and personal trainer for over a decade, Alex now researches all things health and wellness and shares his findings on this blog. Learn more about Alex's Credentials HERE.
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