Tanning Beds vs. Booths: Understanding The Differences

5 min readMar 19, 2024

Who does not want a brown and beautiful, sun-kissed glow on them, right? It adds a soft, healthy shine to your skin and makes you pop up. But what even is a tan, and how does it work?

Well, tanning is how your skin achieves a sunburnt, beachy brown glow. The UV radiation from the sun directly or through artificial sources like tanning beds or booths stimulates the melanocytes in your skin, a type of cells responsible for melanin production. Melanin controls the pigmentation of your skin and your body.

With the increased UV radiation contact with your body, melanin production naturally increases to serve as a protective mechanism to prevent further damage from the ultraviolet rays.

While tanning is mainly considered for beauty and aesthetic purposes, it is believed to have perceived health and psychological benefits, like an increase in the release of endorphins, increased production of vitamin D, and more such surprising benefits.

But where else would you get your beautiful tan if not out in the sun or chilling on the beach?

Would you choose a tanning bed or a tanning booth?

Here are all the differences and contrasts between the two of them that will help you choose according to your preferences:

A basic understanding of tanning beds and tanning booths

While tanning beds and booths are popular and convenient choices people make when getting a tan done, they differ in design, use, and functionality.

A tanning bed is usually a horizontally laid structure with a canopy covering it that is responsible for emitting ultraviolet (UV) radiation through lamps in the canopy.

On the other hand, tanning booths are vertical structures, or vertical tanning beds, and differ slightly in functionality by having different requirements for time duration as well as the intensity of the UV rays on the body.

Here are some significant differences between the two of them:

1) Design and functionality

Tanning beds, sunbeds, or tanning capsules are usually horizontally laid like a bed. They have a canopy that contains various lamps for the emission of UV radiation.

The tanning beds are typically equipped with acrylic or glass surfaces to lie down comfortably and for a longer period. The lamps may offer variations like low-pressure bulbs or high-pressure bulbs depending on one’s preferences for the emission of UV radiation. For the best facilities, refer to tanning beds in Marlton, NJ.

On the other hand, the tanning booths are meant for one to stand and are vertical in design. They are stand-up units for tanning sessions, which are mainly provided for a more uniform exposure.

They typically consist of walls containing lamps, along with the floor and the ceiling containing lamps as well. This is done to obtain uniform exposure from all sides and a shorter duration.

2) Types of UV duration

Tanning beds contain lamps in the canopy that surrounds or covers the bed where one is lying. These lamps mainly consist of two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB.

While UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and produce a long-lasting tan, UVB rays penetrate relatively up to the initial surfaces and delay the skin tan. Some tanning beds combine UVA and UVB rays to provide uniform radiation exposure.

On the other hand, tanning booths provide a higher intensity when it comes to the emission of UV rays. They, too, may use a combination of UVA and UVB rays but have a more dimensional and higher intensity emission of UV rays from all sides. This also results in a relatively shorter time duration of sessions for you.

3) Exposure differences

The tanning beds allow you to lie down horizontally in a comfortable position. The UV rays from the lamps are exposed to the regions of the body facing the lamps upright, which means that the UV rays are exposed downwards on the body of the user.

However, some tanning beds allow you to customize and manage the amount of tan by your own choice and preference.

On the other hand, tanning booths have UV radiation lamps on the walls, the floor, and the ceiling. This results in a uniform exposure to UV rays and an even distribution of the tan on the body. It is a stand-up vertical booth and hence does not require lying down or having any particular side of the body exposed to UV rays. You can contact tanning booths in Marlton, NJ, for the best results and services.

4) Time duration

The tanning beds usually have a longer duration, which may last up to 20 minutes or longer. This also depends on the type of lamps used, the intensity of UV radiation, the user’s skin type, and their tanning goals. This also helps one get a longer tanning duration without exposure to intense UV rays on the body.

Tanning booths, comparatively, provide shorter session durations due to the placement of lamps and the intensity of UV radiation. Sessions in tanning booths may last 5 to 15 minutes, depending on an individual’s skin type and tanning goals.

5) Accessibility and convenience

Tanning beds provide a more relaxing experience as they allow you to recline and lie down horizontally. While this is an advantage, it is important to consider that tanning beds may require you to change your body position alternatively to ensure an even distribution of tan and prevent uneven tanning.

Individuals who feel more comfortable standing upright during the tanning session may prefer tanning booths. The surrounding lamps on the walls, floor, and ceiling also create a more open environment and allow you to complete a session in a shorter time duration.


Tanning beds and booths are good options for achieving a tan artificially and at your convenience. However, there are some major differences between these methods, including their design, functionality, types of UV rays, different levels of exposure, time duration, accessibility, and convenience, along with the potential risks.

Tanning beds are usually horizontal platforms that allow users to lie down during the tanning session, while booths offer a vertical design for standing tanning sessions. Both methods expose users to UV radiation, which can be harmful if not used cautiously.

Hence, it is essential to understand the differences between tanning beds and booths to make informed decisions about your tanning practices according to your needs, preferences, skin type, and tanning goals while prioritizing safety when seeking a sun-kissed glow.




Hollywood tans is a premier tanning salon in South Jersey. We have a multitude of options that include traditional tanning as well as stand-up tanning booths.