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Most Frequently Asked Tanning Bed Questions

Similar to automobiles, tanning beds come in many different flavors... but they all do the same thing, get you from point A to point B.  Or, in the case of indoor this is a Royal Sun tanning bed, notice the bench and canopytanning equipment, somehow get your body close to a tanning bed bulb by either laying you down on a "bed" or bench made of "acrylic", or standing in a phone booth type box next to the tanning lamps.  A tanning bed may be made of steel, plastic, or a combination of both.

Lay down tanning beds, or sunbeds, as they are sometimes called by our International friends... consist of a bench, which is mounted to legs or a base, and hold the bench acrylics and lamps.  The bench may also house the lamp sockets, relays, ballasts, built-in timer, and body fans.  Many of the tanning beds with 32 lamps or more (level 2 and higher) move the ballasts, relays, and capacitors to a movable "power supply" or ballast tray on wheels.  This is due to the extreme weight of ballast, especially the 160 watt variety and higher.  When multiplied by 24 ballast or more (for a 42 lamp bed), the weight of the bench alone can exceed 350 lbs, so the manufacturers separate the ballast from the bench and canopy and put them on wheels for easier installation.

What are tanning bed acrylics?  Tanning bed "acrylics" aretanning bed acrylics the clear or frosted plastic shields you lay down on when indoor tanning in a sun bed.  Acrylics are also utilized in upright and vertical stand up tanning booths to protect the lamps and customers from each other. 

Tanning acrylics are generally clear but there also is a "frosted" acrylic produced by some tanning bed manufacturers which give the tanning equipment a newer and cleaner look.

Most commercial tanning beds employ shocks, struts, or springs which are used to raise and lower the canopy in a comfortable fashion. These are the same type of shocks which lift the rear door on SUVs and similarthis is a picture of a tanning bed shock automobiles. The springs are the same used for garage door operations and are adjusted by turning a large screw on the front of the bed. The shock style lifts are not adjustable and wear out over time and must be replaced. The price for replacement shocks for tanning beds can range from $60 to $180 each for very expensive and exclusive models.

Tanning bed lamps are the most important component of tanning bed construction.  Because this is the "end" product from which your client will ultimately judge their tan.  Tanning bed lamps are generally 100 watts for level 1 and 2 beds and 160 watts or higher, 180w to 220w, for level 3 and 4 beds.  Most lampthis is a picture of tanning bed bulbss or bulbs are made in the same factory so the name, like Wolff, etc, really means very little.  The most important factor, or common denominator which separates lamps other than wattage is the percentage of UVB.

Every tanning bed bulb which is manufactured in the USA has a % of UVB which will dictate it's tanning characteristics.  A 20 minute max session bulb will have a 5.5% UVB and as the UVB goes up, to 8.5% or higher, the bulb becomes more burning or reddening.  As the UVB goes down, to around 1% or less, the bulb becomes more bronzing.  A high pressure facial bulb, for example, has 0% UVB and 100% UVA, and is a pure bronzing device. 

If a brand new tanner, with creamy white skin enters a 100% UVA tanning device they will see NO results.  This is because the UVA light only interacts melanin present in the dead skin layer to turn it brown...if there is no melanin present, there will be no tanning or bronzing process.   A person with white skin has NO melanin present, as opposed to a South American or Native American who may inherently have melanin present in their skin and tan during the first session.   Do not put a creamy white skin person in a "bronzing" bed, it will not work.

Once you have learned the basics about tanning bed construction, you probably want to know where to buy them and why some tanning beds are $4,000 and other beds are $40,000, when they all do the same thing.  The best analogy is tanning beds are like cars, they all get you from point A to point B, but some do it faster and with style! 

There are tanning bed tropical rays tanning beds manufacturers, like American Quality MFG, who made the Sunal tanning beds twenty years ago and still offer service today on these all-steel models with lifetime guarantees.  They have since updated their design to the Tropical Rayz design pictured here, but the bed is essentially the same powder-coated and welded steel body with graphics.  If you want a tanning bed to last forever and for a great price, you can buy the level one 20 minute Tropical Rayz beds for about $4,000, the level two beds for about $5,000 and the 38-46 lamp level three 10 minute beds and stand up vertical tanners for about $8,000. 

Check out our main website here: .  We also have a premium line of tanning salon equipment, called Royal Sun, you can check out here and we make parts for all makes of tanning beds here, including Sunal, Tropical Rayz, Perfect Tan, South Beach, & Royal Sun model tanning beds.  American Quality beds make great used tanning beds to start a new salon with because of the life-time warranty and parts availability.  Companies to avoid include Pure Tan, Sonnebraune, and Pro Sun because of their lack of support.