Tanning beds have surged in popularity over recent decades as people seek beautifully bronzed skin without spending endless hours baking in the sun. But how much does a tanning bed cost to buy and operate? In this guide, I’ll break down the key factors that determine tanning bed costs, compare commercial versus residential pricing, and outline the operating expenses so you can decide if an at-home unit makes sense for your budget.
The Two Main Types of Tanning Beds
The cost of a tanning bed can vary widely based on whether it’s built for commercial salon use or residential home use.
Heavy-Duty Commercial Tanning Beds
Commercial tanning beds used in professional salons and spas are constructed with heavy-duty designs to withstand repeated daily use. Key features of commercial units include:
- More lamps – Commercial beds have 24-48 bulbs to enable faster tanning times.
- Advanced features – Commercial beds often include perks like facial tanners, high-pressure lamps, and built-in music/aroma.
- High electrical needs – Commercial beds require 220V electrical connections to power multiple lamps.
- Higher price – Heavy construction and more features mean commercial beds range from $2,500 for basic models up to $6,500+ for high-end beds.
Basic Residential Tanning Beds
Residential tanning beds purchased for in-home use don’t need to withstand continual heavy use like commercial beds. As a result, home models have simpler designs and lower pricing:
- Fewer lamps – Residential beds have just 14-24 lamps resulting in longer tanning times.
- Basic features – To keep costs down, home beds include only basic tanning features.
- Standard electrical – Residential beds plug into 110V household electrical outlets.
- Lower price – Expect to pay $1,500 to $3,700 for a quality residential tanning bed.
What Factors Determine the Cost of a Tanning Bed?
Multiple factors influence the cost of tanning beds, including:
- Intended use – Commercial salon use versus residential home use is the biggest cost factor.
- Type of bed – Basic tanning beds are cheaper than advanced stand-up or high-pressure beds.
- Number of lamps – More lamps allow faster tanning but also increase the price.
- Lamp type – Gentler UVB bulbs are cheaper than intense UVA bulbs that tan quicker.
- Special features – Add-ons like facial tanners or aromatherapy drive up costs.
- Brand – Well-known brands charge more for their name recognition.
- Warranty – Longer warranties add to the purchase price.
Breaking Down the Purchase Price
To understand the full cost of tanning beds, let’s break down the average purchase prices:
- Commercial tanning beds range from $2,500 to $6,500 on average. High-end salon models with 48 bulbs and deluxe features can cost up to $15,000.
- Residential tanning beds average between $1,500 and $3,700. Basic home models start around $1,500, while high-end units with facial tanners reach up to $4,500.
Breaking the price down further:
- The initial purchase price is the biggest cost component.
- Electrical installation costs $200-$500 for materials and labor.
- Bulb replacement every 6-12 months averages $200-$300 per year.
- Electricity usage costs $50-$100 annually.
- Delivery fees add $100-$300 to the total.
- Maintenance and repairs vary based on use.
Comparing Operating Costs of Tanning Salons vs At-Home Beds
Beyond the upfront purchase price, it’s important to look at the ongoing operating costs:
- Tanning salon sessions cost $10-$26 per visit on average.
- Tanning at home in a personal bed averages just $2-$4 per session in electricity costs.
- However, you must budget for bulb replacement every 6-12 months.
- Salons can recoup tanning bed costs faster thanks to a high volume of customers.
- Home tanning beds only save money long term with frequent use to spread out the initial purchase investment.
Additional Tanning Bed Cost Considerations
Here are a few other factors to keep in mind when budgeting for a tanning bed:
- You need about 8-12 square feet of space for a commercial-sized tanning bed.
- There are health risks to consider, as UV exposure can increase skin cancer chances.
- Regulations in some states require licenses or permits to operate tanning beds commercially.
- Resale value – Beds depreciate over time but can be resold to recoup some costs.
The Bottom Line on Tanning Bed Costs
So in summary, how much does a tanning bed cost? Plan on an investment of $1,500 to $4,500 for a residential bed or $2,500 to $6,500 for a heavy-duty commercial bed. Operating costs add a few hundred dollars annually for electricity and bulb replacement. While an at-home tanning bed can provide convenience and privacy, only frequent use will offset the high initial purchase price over time. Carefully weigh the pros and cons before investing in an indoor UV tanning system.
Sophia Rodriguez is the creative force behind IGXO Cosmetics, a popular beauty blog and brand. As a long-time makeup artist and beauty industry insider, Sophia realized there was a lack of authentic, relatable content for the everyday woman. This inspired her to launch IGXO Cosmetics in 2018 as a platform to share her passion for beauty.