Stand up tanning bed vs. lay down – Comparison, pros and cons

Are you looking for an exotic brown skin? Indoor tanning can help you achieve this. You may, however, be caught in a dilemma of choosing between a stand-up bed vs. lay down bed for the session.

Knowing how these two types differ can help you choose the right option for you. Finding these answers can, however, be challenging due to the different perceptions people have of tanning booths.

Since everyone has different tanning needs, the choice may vary. Choosing the right type of tanning bed can help you enjoy your experience and prevent you from different issues.

We can help you out by discussing how tanning beds differ as well as how they are similar. At the end of our discussion, you should be able to choose the right form according to your needs. Find out more!

Which is better? Both stand up tanning bed and lay down tanning bed lets you achieve good tan. The type of tanning bed that works best for you highly depends on your skin type, time commitment, preference and comfortability. For example, stand up tanning bed usually requires less time than lay down.

What are the Similarities Between Stand Up Tanning Bed and Lay Down Tanning Bed

Before we discuss the critical differences between stand up tanning bed vs. lay down, we have to look at the fundamental similarities that they share. We can divide these into the following categories:


Whether you choose a lay down or standing tanning booth, your main aim should be to achieve a sun-kissed skin. Both of them are used for indoor tanning. They are also considered recreational beds.


The mechanism that is used in tanning beds is not different. Though they don’t produce the same radiation intensity, these tanning beds make use of bulbs that emit UVB and UVA rays.

The rays penetrate your skin to help in the production of melanin. This is the component that allows the skin to darken. The rays, therefore, helps your skin tan.

Number of sessions

Experts recommend that you attend more than a single tanning session for you to achieve excellent results. Both stand-up and lay down tanning booths need more than one session to develop a base tan.

Regardless of the tanning equipment you choose, you should attend two sessions at least 24 hours apart. This can help the tan take effect accordingly.

What are the Differences Between Stand up Tanning Bed vs. Lay Down?

Understanding how these two differ can help you choose the right option to help you fulfill your tanning needs. Most of the salons offer both options. We can explain the differences using these categories.


If you are new to tanning, you should know some of the crucial aspects such as getting even coverage. You don’t want patchy spots or even creases on your skin, do you?

The type of tanning bed you choose can either help you achieve even distribution or not. In a lay down tanning booth, developing pressure points is inevitable due to the position that you maintain.

This means that some areas such as the buttock and shoulders may not be tanned as evenly as the rest of the body parts. The lack of complete exposure on some parts leads to uneven tan distribution.

A stand-up tanning bed is different since you remain upright with your arms lifted. Since there are no pressure points, in this case, you can get even tan coverage. That is why most people prefer this option.


We mentioned tanning beds use bulbs in different intensities. Horizontal tanning beds have 120 Watts bulbs. Vertical tanning beds, on the other hand, have more power since they use 160 watts bulbs.

The use of stronger bulbs means that you can get quicker results from a stand-up tanning bed compared to the lay down bed. They also include a unique reflector.

Time requirements

Since vertical tanning beds produce intense waves than lay down beds, they require short tanning durations. In a stand-up tanning bed, a session can take at least ten minutes.

Choosing this option makes sense when you have a busy schedule and less free time. You can quickly attend a session during your lunch break since the session takes less time.

Achieving a bronze glow from a lay down tanning bed can take up t0 20 minutes. This means that if you have limited time, you should not choose this option.

The ten minutes difference may not make sense for a person who only attends tanning sessions once in a long time. It can, however, make sense for a frequent tanner who takes three sessions a week.

Facial tanning

Exposure to UV rays can make your skin more resistant. Since the face is more exposed to the natural light compared to other body parts, making the body and face the same color needs strong lamps.

For this reason, horizontal tanning beds are equipped with facial tanning units, which you can adjust accordingly. This makes it easy to achieve the same skin tone on your face and body.

A stand-up tanning booth does not come with a facial unit as it emits rays uniformly. If you are not interested in tanning your face, remember to cover the face using a fabric.

Skin Problems and Hygine

The sharing of a tanning booth makes some people raise concerns regarding hygiene standards. If your skin is prone to allergies, try sticking to a stand-up tanning booth.

Here, your skin does not touch the acrylic, so you don’t have to worry about hygiene issues. It also reduces the spread of skin problems among clients.

The chances of developing skin problems from the lay down tanning bed are high since your skin is in contact with the acrylic. Some people report developing a tanning itch after sessions.

If you still prefer this type, ensure you take your tanning sessions from a good salon that sanitizes such equipment.


The comfort level of tanning beds differs due to the position you should maintain. The lay down tanning bed is more relaxing and allows you to take a nap in the confined space.

For some people, this is the only time that they get to rest their eyes and take a break from life pressures. The warm lights also create a pleasant atmosphere making the experience therapeutic.

You should not, however, remain in one position for long. Try to move around as you change lying positions so that you can minimize pressure points.

If you are comfortable with standing, you can choose the vertical tanning booth. The problem with this form is that it can feel more like working rather than relaxing.

You may not like it if you are not used to standing in one place for a while.


Do you have sensitive skin that gets irritated fast? You should be careful in the type of tanning bed you choose. We can compare stand up tanning bed vs. lay down by looking at their effects on the skin.

A vertical tanning bed makes use of high-intensity bulbs. The rays can easily cause severe sunburns on the surface. Though you can still get sunburns from the lay down tanning bed, the effect is minimal.

Also, you can quickly get out of a lay down tanning bed in case you notice any adverse reaction.

How Should You Choose the Best Tanning Bed?

Now that you know how stand up tanning bed vs lay down compare, it is clear that choosing a tanning bed goes beyond personal preference.

You have to consider the intensity of tan you want as well how much time you have for the tanning sessions. Since you have to pay for tanning sessions, you should aim at getting value for your money.

Horizontal tanning beds are ideal for people who enjoy spending time alone, relaxing in safe spaces.

It is also suits people looking for a facial tan.

If you have back problems and dislike confined spaces, a vertical booth would be the best option for indoor tanning.

Though a stand-up tanning bed still encloses your body, it has more space so that you don’t feel confined. You can also move more in a stand-up tanning bed to get better coverage.

This form also works well for people looking for a darker tan over a short duration.  As you choose a tanning bed based on your needs, you should have in mind factors such as your skin sensitivity.


Tanning beds come with a lot of benefits. They can activate vitamin D in the body and boost your metabolism. If you have mood disorders, indoor tanning can also help alleviate the symptoms.

Everyone who visits a tanning salon has a unique goal. Some people only tan when attending specific occasions while others try to maintain shiny skin for consecutive months.

Your individual goals should guide you into picking the right tanning bed. Ensure you visit a tanning salon that can help you fulfill your need. The right salon also advises you on the right skincare products to use.

After comparing stand up tanning bed versus lay down, we found out that they are similar in their technology, frequency of use, and purpose. Either way make sure that you forget and get the best tanning goggles before entering tanning bed. 

They, however, differ in their features, intensity, time requirements, and comfort level. This comparison between stand up tanning bed vs. lay down should help you make a sound decision.

Here are some useful tips when using stand up tanning beds


Further reading and references

Stand up tanning bed tips

How to lay in a tanning bed 

How to take care of your skin after tanning bed – Wikihow

A guide to indoor tanning beds – Bellatory