How much can you save by owning a home tanning bed?

In order to calculate the cost and compare it fairly, you have to take all the real costs into consideration.  This includes electricity, the price of the tanning bed, gasoline to drive to the salon, etc.  Keep in mind that not everyone pays the same for tanning sessions, gasoline, electricity, etc. so while we can do the math, your mileage may vary.  Literally.  We don't attempt to calculate wear and tear driving either, just gas used. If your expenses are much higher or lower, you can use this as a guide and calculate them for yourself fairly easily.

Tanning at the salon

Assumptions: You tan 4 times per week, live 10 miles from the salon and get 20 miles to the gallon at $2 per gallon for gas, 1 month = 4.3 weeks.  This is pretty common, and although you may be closer to the salon, or get worse mileage, its pretty close to your average cost: 

$34.40 per month for fuel + cost of tanning.

If you pay $30 a month for unlimited tanning, that is $64.40 per month total expense.
If you pay $4 per session, that is $103.20 per month. (typical)
If you pay $6 per session, that is $137.60 per month.
Average time it takes driving, waiting and tanning: 45 minutes each time, minimum.

Owning your own tanning bed

Assumptions: You buy a 24 lamp tanning bed for $2000, change your lamps every 800 hours, have an average session time of 20 minutes and have typical electrical rates.   Same 4 sessions per week.

800 hours using Brilliance 5.0% =  2400+ session, at  $0.10 cents of lamp cost per session.
Average cost of electricity for 20 minutes = $0.12
5 years of ownership divided by cost of bed = $33.33 per month

Average cost per month to own a home tanning bed:  
$1.71 in lamp life + $2.06 in electricity + $33.33 per month cost of bed = 
$37.10 per month for 5 years
$3.76 per month after 5 years
$20.45 per month total, averaged over 10 years.

Most quality tanning beds will last longer than 10 years, so in the end, your actual cost per month will likely be lower.  This figure is used to keep the math real.

Final analysis

Tanning at the salon: Over 10 years, you will spend between $7728 and $16512 (or more) and consume 1548 hours of time at the salon.  Average cost is just over $12,000.

Tanning at home: Over 10 years, you will spend less than $2600 to buy, power, and keep fresh lamps in a home tanning bed, and consume 688 hours of time.   Average savings: almost $10,000 over 10 years, or $1000 per year. 

If you tan daily, instead of 4 times per week, you will have saved enough money to buy a decent automobile in 10 years, just by owning your own tanning bed instead of driving to the salon.  When you own a home tanning bed, you own a tangible item, not just the results.  You also get to buy tanning lotions wholesale, which will save you a couple hundred dollars more per year, easily.

Money saved:  Over $9,000 or almost $1000 per year
Time saved:  860 hours, or over 84 hours per year.


If you are a regular tanner, it is 60% to 80% less expensive to own your own tanning bed than it is to go to the salon.  Obviously it saves you time (about half), is more effective because you tan regularly, and offers the benefit of sanitation.  It is also more enviromentally sound, since you will save over 200 gallons of gas, EACH YEAR, which reduces pollution and green house gases.

Many people look at the price of a new tanning bed and think they can't afford it.   The REAL question is: Are you so rich that you afford to NOT buy a home tanning bed?

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