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What to Consider When Choosing Between an Infrared or a Traditional Sauna

Ever wonder what the difference is between an infrared sauna and a traditional one?

With so many saunas on the market, it can be hard to know which one is the right fit for you. Do you need an infrared sauna? Is a traditional sauna better? Which is more efficient? So many questions.

Purchasing a sauna is a big decision, not only for the financial commitment but also in terms of the health benefits.

We will look at the key aspects of a sauna and how those differ between an infrared and a traditional sauna.



One of the most obvious factors of a sauna is the heat, which seems like a good place to start. This also happens to be the element that most differentiates the infrared from the traditional.

Traditional Heat
A traditional sauna uses a stove or heater as the element that heats up rocks or other elements inside the sauna. The generated heat is then transferred to the air, thus heating up the entire space inside the sauna. In turn, as the individual sits in the sauna, they experience the benefits of the heat by merely sitting in the hot air. Naturally, this gives the user a hot feel all over and can generate sweat quickly.

This method of heating the air can take some time and requires a period of preheating before the sauna is ready to use. The temperature in a traditional sauna is typically between 150-200°F (66-93°C).

Infrared Heat
An infrared sauna uses infrared heaters to generate heat more directly. To accomplish this, infrared heaters emit electromagnetic waves that can penetrate deep into the body, providing an intense form of heat treatment. The infrared radiation emitted by these saunas can travel through the skin and fat layers of the body, reaching far deeper than heated air in traditional saunas.

Furthermore, these types of saunas use a much lower temperature than conventional ones making them comfortable for even those who cannot tolerate high temperatures. Additionally, this means an infrared sauna can reach temperature faster than a traditional sauna. The temperature in an infrared sauna is typically lower than that of a traditional sauna, ranging from 120-150°F (49-66°C).

Which is better?
The answer really comes down to personal preference and one’s goal for using the sauna. In general, infrared saunas are thought to provide a more effective level of heat therapy as the waves penetrate the body at a deeper level. Due to operating at a lower temperature, these saunas are considered to be more efficient and, as mentioned, provide more comfortable heat than traditional saunas.

Alternatively, the hot and humid environment created by traditional saunas is often preferred by many people as they find it more relaxing than the dry heat of infrared saunas. Additionally, due to the higher temperature, traditional saunas may be better suited for those looking to sweat out toxins or relax deeply. The humidity in a traditional sauna also helps keep skin from drying out due to the high temperatures and can relieve congestion caused by allergies or colds. Finally, for those who enjoy socializing with others, a traditional shared-space experience may be preferable to the privacy of an individual infrared booth.

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference when deciding between these two forms of heat therapy.



When it comes to saunas, size matters, and after heating source, it is typically the second biggest factor when picking out a sauna.

Traditional saunas are typically larger than infrared ones, allowing for more people to fit inside the space and providing a social atmosphere that is not possible with an individual infrared sauna. They do require the inclusion of a heating unit within the sauna, which is built inside and therefore takes up additional space. Since they function using heated air, the interiors of the saunas are typically a little larger to allow for more of that heated air to exist around the individuals.

In contrast, infrared saunas use electromagnetic waves to provide heat, which requires less physical space. Additionally, because they use lower temperatures, they tend to be smaller in size, making them ideal for those who have limited space or prefer a more private experience.

This, again, all boils down to personal preference along with how much available space there is to house the sauna.


Health Benefits

Both infrared and traditional saunas can have health benefits, including improved circulation, reduced muscle soreness, detoxifying the body, and stress relief. Most of these benefits can be experienced while using either type of sauna. However, some view slight differences between them.

Infrared saunas, with their lower temperature and deeper penetration of electromagnetic waves, are often viewed to be better suited for those seeking relief from chronic conditions or an alternative form of relaxation. Additionally, some have claimed that they may have additional benefits, such as improved skin and cardiovascular health. However, more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.

With traditional saunas’ method of heating the air, it creates a hot and humid environment within the sauna. As mentioned previously, this can help with keeping the skin moisturized, as well as bring relief from congestion caused by allergies or colds. The high heat can also help to further detoxify the body by generating more sweat.



When it comes to cost, many different factors come into play regarding the amount of the sauna. Generally, infrared saunas can be more economical than traditional ones. This is due in part to the fact that traditional saunas then to be a bit larger and require a heater, as infrared saunas are smaller in size and take less energy to heat up. Consequently, infrareds typically have a lower cost to operate due to their lower electricity consumption.

While there is a cost difference between them, most users find that to be a nominal amount and worth the investment to create their desired sauna experience.

In conclusion, while infrared saunas are becoming increasingly popular, traditional saunas have truly lasted through the test of time. Taking into account all the factors considered here, it is important to consider which type of sauna will best suit your individual needs before deciding on one that you will purchase or invest in. Ultimately it comes down to determining which type of sauna best fits your individual needs.