Infrared VS Traditional Sauna: Which Is The Best Home Sauna?

Infrared VS Traditional Sauna: Which Is The Best Home Sauna?

More people are paying attention to the health benefits of sauna usage. But they face one more hurdle aside from cost and size. This hassle is choosing between a traditional sauna and the recent infrared sauna. Although both perform similar functions, they differ in certain aspects.

In this guide, you will see a comparative analysis of infrared and traditional saunas. And you will also learn about the benefits and disadvantages of these sauna types. The details in this guide will address the question of which is the best home sauna. Keep up as we provide you with a full exposition!



A sauna is an enclosure with increased temperature. It comes from wood, and the heat is usually between 60oC and 90oC. The sauna can also include some other elements that add warmth and humidity. 

Saunas come in various sizes. Their size determines the number of persons they can accommodate. It can be a 2-3 person sauna or more. Another classification of sauna is the mode of heating, and they are;

  •       Traditional sauna 
  •       Infrared sauna 


The traditional sauna is from wood. It is the earliest type of sauna that started about 10,000 years ago. It began as a fire pit covered with animal skin called a "sweating lodge." This innovation transitioned into the modern sauna. 

The fire pit heats the logs and other elements to raise the surrounding temperature. The users then throw a bucket of water at the rocks and other parts to create humidity. This idea hasn’t lost its purpose of cleansing, healing, relaxation, and social bonding. 

The modern traditional sauna still retains some of these elements. It uses crafted woods without paints and rocks. The heat source raises the surrounding temperature. And you can create humidity by adding water. 


Infrared and traditional saunas focus on similar results but use different mechanisms. The infrared sauna focuses on creating soothing heat rather than humidity. So, it does not use steam. It only uses rays that direct heat to the body without raising the room's temperature. 

There are two sauna infrared rays options, and they are;

  •       Far Infrared: It uses heat rays that infiltrate the skin and deep tissues. 
  •       Near-Infrared: Near-Infrared sauna penetrates the skin more than the far-infrared rays. Thus, it increases effectiveness by reaching deep into the skin.


Even though both sauna types serve the same purpose, they use different approaches. The details below are the comparative evaluation of both sauna types;


The type and extent of heat are one the determinants of the best sauna. Both sauna types use the same temperature limit. They produce enough heat to trigger intense sweating. 

The most significant distinction is the method of heat dispersal. An infrared sauna directs heat rays to the body. It does this without raising the temperature of the entire room. The room stays cooler while still producing intense heat on the body. Also, it does not use humidity like the traditional sauna. 

Traditional saunas heat the entire room. The heat radiates from a source and fills the whole room. The logs and rocks in the conventional sauna take up heat and discharge it when needed. You can also create humidity with the addition of water. 


As you would expect, a traditional sauna has higher humidity than an infrared sauna. The infrared sauna does not use steam; hence, it creates less humidity. So, you can include moisture and humidity as one of the advantages of traditional saunas. 

Humidity allows your skin to rehydrate by opening up the pores. It enables better heat penetration and enhances sound sleep. 

Infrared enthusiasts also argue that infrared saunas trigger intense sweating. So, infrared saunas benefit weight loss and aid detoxification. 

Safe Use 

Both traditional and infrared saunas are safe for use. Even though infrared saunas are new, they don't pose any significant risk. But more exploration is still ongoing in both sauna types. Even so, you have to set your mind on the safety precautions, dos, and don'ts of a sauna regardless of your sauna type. 

Energy Requirements 

The sauna’s energy need is an essential factor to look into when picking the best home sauna. It will determine a huge part of the operational cost. On average, the traditional sauna requires more power than the other sauna type. 

Traditional sauna needs more power to heat the logs and other elements in the sauna. If you want to create steam, it will also need extra energy to heat water to a high temperature. Besides, a traditional sauna would have to heat the entire room. So, it can take up to 6 kW to run a session in the conventional sauna. 

An infrared sauna uses less power because it only needs energy for its heating elements. It optimizes this energy by directing rays to the body instead of heating the entire space. It only uses about one-third of a traditional sauna power consumption. 

Price and Construction

A sauna’s price and construction is another crucial selection factor. Cost is one thing people look out for when getting a sauna. Both infrared and traditional saunas will cost you one or two thousand dollars. But one costs more than the other. 

Traditional sauna costs are more than an infrared sauna. Building a conventional sauna is not about arranging some logs of wood. It requires artistic buildup that requires sound engineering by a team of experts.

So, only specialized furniture companies manufacture them. These manufacturers have the proper knowledge to build and craft a sauna. But they face the hassle of mass production, which makes this type of sauna scarce. Also, this type of sauna uses specific materials that are not readily available. 

Infrared saunas cost less, even though they use modern technology. But it doesn't need specialized knowledge of art and craft like the traditional sauna. Also, they don't need native or scarce buildup material like the conventional sauna. 


It is also vital to note that both sauna types have shared benefits and disadvantages. We will consider traditional and infrared saunas’ benefits and drawbacks. 

Some of the shared benefits of these sauna types include;

  •       Both traditional and infrared saunas aid in weight loss.
  •       They protect the body against cardiovascular and rheumatoid diseases. 
  •       They promote relaxation and prevent chronic fatigue. 
  •       Saunas aid muscle recovery and ease body stress after rigorous activities.
  •       They improve skin moisture barrier properties.
  •       Saunas mitigate pain syndromes, anxiety, and depression.
  •       The intense sweating induction of these saunas improves immune functioning and body detoxification. 


Although both saunas are beneficial, each type has a certain edge over the other. Traditional saunas are helpful in some regards where infrared saunas cannot fit. Some of the benefits of conventional sauna over infrared sauna include;

  •       It protects against respiratory diseases, pneumonia, and Alzheimer's disease.
  •       It creates humidity that opens up pores for effective heat penetration. 
  •       A traditional sauna uses arts and crafts. And this creates social bonding and a beautiful outlook. 


  •       It is expensive and scarce.
  •       It uses more power and energy.


Some of the edges of infrared sauna over traditional sauna include;

  •       It is easy to construct and less expensive.
  •       It uses less power and energy. 
  •       An infrared sauna directs heat rays to the skin rather than heating the entire room. 
  •       It allows easier temperature control.


  •       It does not use steam or create humidity.
  •         It can cause mild heat discomfort due to its operation mechanism.
  •           Its rays can cause light-headedness.


You can be confident that you won't go wrong with any choice you make with an infrared or traditional sauna. But before making your selection, check each sauna's benefits and disadvantages. The decision of the better one of the two types is dependent on certain factors. These factors include your needs, budgets, and intended purpose. 

In Summary

The debate about infrared sauna vs. traditional sauna seems endless. Each sauna type has its weaknesses and strengths. The verdict for the better option of these two is dependent on personal factors. It is best to check these factors and each sauna type features to determine the best option for you. 

Either way, a sauna is an excellent health investment. Are you set to make this valuable investment in saunas? Make a proper evaluation of both types to select the right product. And you can be sure to get a perfect sauna experience. 


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