What to Know Before Purchasing a Floatation System
First, the terminology.
Floatation tanks (spelled flotation in many parts of the world), isolation tanks, float pods and sensory deprivation tanks all refer to the same thing: a large vessel containing a shallow pool of water which is super-saturated with Epsom salts, making you float. Float tanks are specifically designed to help people relax, de-stress and explore their inner selves. A floatation therapy system can be open or enclosed, though traditionally the term “float tank” refers to a cocoon-like device with a lid, hatch or door. These days, the term is generic and also refers to systems which are large rooms or walk-in cabins, systems which have no walls at all (such as step-in pools or baths) and other innovative designs.
Is a float tank a good purchase?
We think so. The rewards of tank ownership are numerous, and floating helps many people maintain good health and well-being. Floating doesn’t “get old” after a few tries – in fact, for many people it just keeps getting better and better over time. Certainly there is a lot of documented evidence showing the positive accumulative effects of floatation.
If you can’t afford your own tank and don’t have easy access to a public float center in your area (see our locator), you may consider running a small business out of your home to help pay for the tank over time. Some float center owners started out this way and then realized they wanted to do it full-time.
If you are considering purchasing an isolation tank or floatation system for a business, we encourage you to do so. Floatation tanks are a great service to add to an existing business or for people to start out as a new business. The average float center has two systems and the largest center in the world (located in London, England) has nine float pods.
Finally, a market for used tanks exists and may offer you a way to purchase a tank in good shape at a discount. You can also think of it as insurance in case you ever need to sell your tank down the road.
The standard and optional equipment.
Floatation tanks (and rooms and pools) come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and are priced according to the quality of materials used and the sophistication of their components and design. Most systems are created for use by one person at a time, although the use of two person cabins and pools is higher than it was in the past.
All of the prices listed in our floatation tank manufacturers information table are for the producer’s base model which come with standard features. Optional features such as advanced filtration systems, audio and video, and comfort add-ons are available for most models but are not currently listed on our table due to the large number of unique options. Buying extras and add-ons will typically increase the price by about 25% but is usually well worth the expense. Manufacturers will be able to provide you with details about additional equipment available.
Shipping, import, delivery and installation.
Most float tank companies will ship internationally or at least within large geographical areas, but shipping is an additional cost (often in the thousands of dollars) which you must include in your budget. Make sure to inquire with manufacturers if they have shipped to your region before and whether they have had any issues with borders and customs. Depending on your location, delivery time for a float spa system can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
If you are thinking about opening a commercial float center or adding a float spa system to your existing business, make sure you inquire with the local health authorities and try to secure approval before you purchase a tank. Since isolation tanks are still relatively unknown, regulations can vary dramatically from country to country and even city to city.
Finally, do you know if you can install the system yourself or can hire a local contractor to do it? Does the manufacturer require that they install the system and is there an extra charge for this? Will the system even fit in the room you’ve selected for it? And if it does, will the installer be able to access the room carrying very large pieces of equipment? These are all important questions to ask up front. Most of the low-end systems can be installed by the buyer (some come as kits), but as you move up the price chain the devices often become more sophisticated and require the manufacturer’s technicians to install them. This is especially true of floatation rooms, float pools and any customized systems.
We hope this clears things up a bit and gets you closer to owning a tank of your own or for your business.