infrared sauna vs traditional sauna

Should I install a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna?

Infrared Sauna Vs Traditional Sauna. 

The outcome of this question has the ability to completely change your life. That’s a bit dramatic, probably a little over the top I know. But the question does cause some interesting debate, don’t you think? 

And it’s most likely why you’re reading this, So hopefully I can help you out and give you a clearer idea of what’s going to be the better option for you.

I’ll give you a clue, the name of my site is a little giveaway, so you can see which way I’m going to learn. Having said that, it’s still an interesting topic and debate that I’m always happy to look into as there are many health benefits associated with both saunas. 

This topic is all about installing a traditional or an infrared sauna in your home, so that’s what we are going to look into, and in the process, hopefully, help you as well.

There can be more to it than just buying a sauna, there’s of course set-up cost and the all-important ongoing costs, which can be overlooked. So installation is a big deal and one you’ll want to know before you go ahead and make your choice.

Traditional Sauna Or An Infrared Sauna?

As you might be aware home saunas are a growing trend, and not because they are some sort of new fad, it’s due to the fact they offer so many health benefits you can be exposed to right in the comfort of your own home, plus when you look at the long term investment they offer, they are becoming easily accessible and very affordable home health and wellness product.  

If you’re looking to invest in a sauna but are unsure on which one, let’s now compare the differences. The infrared sauna vs traditional sauna challenge begins, so which one is for you?

So the next question has to be. What type of sauna do I want?

There’s more than just buying a sauna. We’ll not really, you like you buy you use. All jokes aside, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

  • What’s your budget?
  • How big will the sauna be? You do have options on sizes.
  • Do you have the room for a sauna?
  • Installation costs
  • Ongoing costs.
  • What’s your outcome? Why do you want a sauna in the first place? Not a question that involves investment but knowing your outcome always helps.

For example. If you’re going to invest in an infrared sauna you need to look into the size of the sauna. Is it just for you? 

There are a lot of good 1-2 person infrared saunas on the market that also don’t require a lot of room in the house.

If you’re after a larger sauna there are 2-3 person infrared saunas and 4-5 and larger if needed.

It’s a little left field, but hot yoga is becoming very popular. Maybe you’re on the hunt for a sauna that allows you to exercise in it. 

Hang on? Isn’t a sauna for relaxing. Not always, but let’s leave that for another day.

Are you looking for a commercial sauna option? Maybe for your business?

Ongoing Costs.

What about the ongoing costs? Make sure you think about that as well. We can go into this a little later on but I can tell you an infrared sauna has much lower ongoing costs than a traditional sauna does.

Also, there is more setting up with a traditional sauna. Meaning you will most likely need to hire a tradesman to set things up.

Whereas an infrared sauna only needs a power source and a good solid place for it to function well. 

As you can tell I’m a little biased towards the infrared sauna, for me they are the future of home health and wellness.

The traditional saunas are exactly that, traditional, and certainly have their purpose, but when you get to understand the health benefits an infrared sauna can offer you, you’ll start to see the possibilities they offer. Now let’s take a look at the different types of sauna. 

So Should I Install A Traditional Sauna Or An Infrared Sauna? Or Something Else?

The fact there are many different saunas on the market these days shows the popularity and impact they are having on people’s lives. 

It’s not only the infrared and traditional saunas that are available, you now have portable saunas and the infrared sauna blanket for those who like the portability aspect of owning a sauna and space is an issue.

But it’s hard to go past having your own sauna in the privacy of your home.

The Traditional Sauna.

Let’s start off with the traditional sauna. This is pretty much where saunas started. 

How does the traditional sauna work?

Most of the saunas today are built with wood, and the traditional sauna is no different. It’s a dry sauna that works by heating a stove that’s inside the actual sauna. This is usually an electric or wood heating system.

The heating system works like this. You have rocks that are positioned on the stovetop, once these rocks are nice and hot you pour water onto them which creates the steam you need to create the heat in the sauna.

The more steam you create the more heat and humidity you have. The process is like all saunas. You create the heat which heats up the room which then heats your body making you sweat.

In this way, you control the heat and the amount of humidity you want. This can be a good thing or bad depending on the way you look at it.

The Steam Sauna.

I thought I’d add the steam sauna in as well, why not at least you get to see the differences in all the saunas and what they can offer.

The steam sauna is a little different as it’s not made with the traditional wood most saunas are made with. It’s made with a plastic or tile material that is non-porous.

And of course, its heating is with the use of steam.

The water is heated up by using a generator, then the steam is released into the sauna which then creates the humidity.

The steam sauna runs at a lower temperature than the traditional or dry sauna does, having said that it still has the heat or the feeling of being as hot as the dry sauna, even though it uses humidity.

The Infrared Sauna.

When it comes to the infrared sauna it works in a very different way to the other saunas and this is where it really stands alone. 

The other two types of sauna rely somewhat on the humidity to heat the sauna, which in the traditional sauna case you actually have to do manually. 

In the infrared saunas case, you rely on the heat that’s generated by the infrared lamps that are placed inside the sauna, and this is where the heat is generated from.

Once the light from the lamps hits our body it turns into heat. The infrared light works on the emphasis of using a solid object to generate heat, in this case, it’s our body.

So instead of heating up the room, we are the ones that are generating the heat. The infrared sauna heats the body directly instead of the room getting heated then so do we. Which for the record actually requires more power.

And as you know once our core body temperature heats up, just like it does when we are exercising we start to sweat. Which is the whole reason we all jump into a sauna.

And then all the good stuff starts to happen. 

This is where the big differences in the three different saunas are. I hope I’ve explained it well enough for you. So if it did come down to installing a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna, based on the above info with regards to how they all work, the way they are set up and the way they generate their heat, this info alone would really help. Let’s keep going.

Did you know your body has a natural cooling system built into it? When your body heats up, its natural reaction is to try and cool itself down. Your body does this through sweating. That’s why you sweat. Pretty cool ah.

Let’s run Through The Temperatures And The Humidity Factor.

The dry sauna. 

When it comes to using a dry sauna. The heat is can get pretty high, up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, but most of the time is will hover between the 160 and 190 marks, keeping in mind this can depend on a few factors like whether you are in dry heat or you add steam and humidity by adding water to the hot rocks to create that steam.

Although this temperature range is very safe, most of the time we find it hard to handle the high temps for a long period of time. 

So more often than not you won’t stay in as long as you probably should, to get the full benefits. If you’re familiar with using a dry sauna, the heat can be controlled with the right combination of dry and humidity heat.

The Steam Sauna.

The steam sauna doesn’t usually run as hot or high as the dry sauna, as the heat is a humidity-controlled heat that usually runs lower than a dry heat does. It’s usually kept at temps between the 110 and the 120-degree Fahrenheit range. 

The big difference is, of course, the heat temps and the type of heat, the steam is all based on the humidity levels.

The dry sauna is somewhat a controlled humidity heat, you have to actually put water on the hot rocks to create the steam whereas the steam sauna runs the humidity all the time creating what feels like a sauna that is just as hot. 

Because steam rooms run at a humidity level of 100% it feels much hotter than it really is. Also, the high humidity levels keep your sweat from evaporating as the other two saunas will, and that’s why it feels hotter than it is.

What About Power Usage. Which Sauna Uses More.

Ongoing coast can be easily overlooked in the excitement of buying a sauna. We all do it, with an investment like this you want to make sure you do your homework and take into consideration everything. 

There is a big difference in the two saunas with regards to installation and set-up costs and procedures. 

Comparing the infrared sauna vs traditional sauna with ongoing usage costs, there is a way to work out which one is more cost-effective, but it can vary depending on a few factors. 

The cost of power (kilowatts)

The wattage of the sauna

Now keep in mind your power costs per kilowatts will be different depending on where you live in the world. But this simple formula will help.

Infrared saunas usually run on less wattage than a traditional sauna does and the size of the sauna also plays a role.

For example, A 1-2 person infrared sauna will run on less wattage than a large 4-5 person sauna. So the smaller the sauna the lower the running costs, on most occasions. 

It just comes down to the amount of heat you are using.

Some of the smallest traditional saunas start with double the wattage than a small infrared sauna and can need a larger power connection.

An example of this and feel free to do your research.

Comparing a 2 person infrared sauna to a 2 person steam sauna the wattage difference is more than double.

Infrared 2 person sauna. Wattage 1600 with a 14 amp connection.

Steam 2 person sauna.    Wattage 6000 with a 240-volt connection.

Of course, there are going to be variations of this but this is a good example. 

The fact that the traditional sauna uses more wattage is a giveaway which one uses more. At least you know what to look for when buying your sauna of choice.

Also, take into consideration what is used for generating the heat. The traditional sauna uses a stove, the steam a generator and the infrared use heat lamps.  

Installing Your Sauna In Your Home. What Is The Better Option?

This also can play a role in your decision making, although the last section on power usage is also a biggy, you would go with an infrared sauna all day long. 

If you take into consideration the amount of time and the years you will be enjoying your sauna, basing your info on that and for the time frame, an infrared sauna will save you a lot more in the long run.

Also, the infrared sauna is the easiest out of the saunas to install. You pretty much set it up in your desired area, plug it in and you’re good to go.

The others need a little more installing, you might but not always need to look into getting a professional in to install the plumbing and other electrical components, So of course, there are other costs there as well. Costs the infrared sauna doesn’t have.

Our Summary.

Thanks for reading and I really do hope this article has given you some answers or at least given you a clear picture of what is the better sauna for you. 

At the end of the day, they all offer their benefits. For me, the clear winner is the infrared sauna. The flexibility it offers and of course the health benefits. 

If the health benefits are something you’re very interested in, I’d say they are. If you’re considering buying a sauna you can check out this article.


The overall ongoing running costs also play a major role in the decision making, especially when you factor this over the year you’ll be using it for

One point I didn’t mention that the infrared sauna has over the other saunas is that it’s actually pretty easy to move it if you want or need to. You’re not limited to where you can put it.

Although there are some steam saunas you can relocate if you needed to, the traditional sauna however is a little harder to relocate. 

For example, If you have it set up in a room and you need that room for guests. No problem, you can easily relocate it somewhere in the house.

Well thanks again for reading and I hope I have helped you with your decision.

All the very best.

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