Infrared Sauna vs. Traditional Sauna: The Ultimate Showdown

Are you interested in understanding the distinctions between infrared saunas and traditional saunas? This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive exploration of the unique features and benefits of each type, enabling you to make an informed decision. Throughout this article, we will delve into various aspects, including heating mechanisms, energy consumption, installation requirements, and potential drawbacks.

Whether you seek detoxification, relaxation, weight loss, or skin rejuvenation, we have you covered. Join us on this captivating journey to discover the perfect sauna experience tailored to your needs.

Infrared saunas use radiant heat directly on the body, while traditional saunas heat the air around you, providing a different experience.
Infrared sauna vs. traditional sauna

Differences between Infrared Sauna and Traditional Sauna

Heating Mechanism

Infrared sauna: Uses Infrared Heaters
Traditional sauna: Uses Heated Rocks or Steam

Temperature and Humidity Levels

Infrared sauna: Lower Temperature, Lower Humidity
Traditional sauna: Higher Temperature, Higher Humidity

Energy Consumption

Infrared sauna: Lower Energy Consumption
Traditional sauna: Higher Energy Consumption

Installation and Space Requirements

Infrared sauna: Portable and Requires Less Space
Traditional sauna: Permanent and Requires More Space

Comparison Table: Infrared Sauna vs. Traditional Sauna

Aspect Infrared Sauna Traditional Sauna
Heating Mechanism Uses Infrared Heaters Uses Heated Rocks or Steam
Temperature and Humidity Levels Lower Temperature, Lower Humidity Higher Temperature, Higher Humidity
Energy Consumption Lower Energy Consumption Higher Energy Consumption
Installation and Space Requirements Portable and Requires Less Space Permanent and Requires More Space

The main differences between infrared saunas and traditional saunas can be categorized into four aspects: heating mechanism, temperature and humidity levels, energy consumption, and installation and space requirements.

In terms of heating mechanism, infrared saunas use infrared heaters, while traditional saunas rely on heated rocks or steam. This difference in heating mechanism affects the overall sauna experience.

When it comes to temperature and humidity levels, infrared saunas generally have lower temperature and humidity compared to traditional saunas. The lower levels in infrared saunas provide a milder and more comfortable environment for users.

Energy consumption is another differentiating factor. Infrared saunas consume less energy compared to traditional saunas, making them more energy-efficient and cost-effective in the long run.

In terms of installation and space requirements, infrared saunas are portable and require less space. They can be easily moved and installed in various locations. On the other hand, traditional saunas are permanent fixtures that require more space and dedicated installation.

Consider these differences when choosing between an infrared sauna and a traditional sauna. Each type offers unique benefits and considerations that cater to different preferences and needs.

 Expert Tip: Choose an infrared sauna for lower energy consumption, portability, and a milder sauna experience. Traditional saunas offer higher temperature and humidity levels, but require more space and energy. 

Benefits of Infrared Sauna


  • Sweating and elimination of toxins: Infrared saunas promote sweating, helping the body eliminate toxins and impurities through the skin.
  • Increased blood circulation: The heat from the infrared sauna increases blood flow, allowing for better circulation and removal of toxins from the body.
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Relaxation and Stress Relief

  • Soothing heat and muscle relaxation: The gentle heat of the infrared sauna helps relax muscles and relieve tension, promoting a sense of relaxation and well-being.
  • Reduction in stress hormones: Regular use of infrared saunas has been shown to reduce stress hormone levels, helping alleviate stress and promote a calm state of mind.

Weight Loss and Calorie Burning

  • Increased heart rate and metabolism: Using an infrared sauna can increase heart rate and metabolism, aiding in weight loss and calorie burning.
  • Potential for burning calories: The heat generated by the infrared sauna can cause the body to work harder, potentially leading to calorie burning.

Skin Health and Rejuvenation

  • Improved blood flow to the skin: The increased blood circulation from using an infrared sauna can improve the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin, promoting a healthy complexion.
  • Potential reduction in skin conditions: Some studies suggest that infrared saunas may help reduce the symptoms of certain skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Benefits of Infrared Sauna
Relaxation and Stress Relief
Weight Loss and Calorie Burning
Skin Health and Rejuvenation

Benefits of Traditional Sauna

Deep Relaxation and Stress Relief

  • Heat Penetration and Muscle Relaxation: Traditional saunas provide intense heat that penetrates deep into the muscles. This promotes relaxation and relieves tension. The high temperatures help loosen tight muscles and soothe aches and pains.
  • Mental Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Spending time in a traditional sauna can calm the mind. The heat and quiet environment create a peaceful atmosphere, allowing you to unwind and reduce stress levels.

Social and Cultural Aspects

  • Traditional Sauna as a Communal Experience: In many cultures, saunas are seen as a social activity where friends and family gather to relax and connect. The shared experience fosters a sense of community and strengthens relationships.
  • Cultural Significance and Rituals: Traditional saunas have deep cultural roots in various societies. They are often associated with rituals and traditions passed down through generations, adding a sense of heritage and cultural identity.

Potential Respiratory Benefits

  • Steam Inhalation and Potential Relief for Respiratory Conditions: The steam generated in traditional saunas can help open up the airways and provide temporary relief for respiratory conditions such as congestion, sinusitis, and allergies. Inhaling the moist air can soothe irritated nasal passages and promote easier breathing.
  • Moisture for Dry Nasal Passages: Dry nasal passages can cause discomfort and increase the risk of infections. The humidity in traditional saunas adds moisture to the air, helping alleviate dryness and maintain better nasal health.

By incorporating a traditional sauna into your wellness routine, you can experience deep relaxation, enjoy social connections, and potentially improve respiratory health. The unique combination of heat, cultural significance, and potential respiratory benefits makes traditional saunas a popular choice for those seeking holistic well-being.

Infrared sauna vs. traditional sauna

Drawbacks of Infrared Sauna

Limited Heat Penetration

Infrared saunas have a drawback in terms of heat penetration compared to traditional saunas. The heat generated by infrared saunas primarily affects the superficial layers of the skin. This is different from traditional saunas.

  • 1. Superficial Heating of the Skin: Infrared saunas mainly heat the outermost layer of the skin. This provides a warming sensation on the surface. However, it may not penetrate as deeply as traditional saunas, which can reach the muscles and joints.
  • 2. Potential for Less Effective Detoxification: The limited heat penetration of infrared saunas may also affect the detoxification process. Traditional saunas, with their higher temperatures, can induce more sweating. This is believed to aid in the elimination of toxins from the body.
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Lower Temperature and Humidity

Compared to traditional saunas, infrared saunas generally operate at lower temperatures and have lower humidity levels. While this may be preferable for some individuals, it does come with certain drawbacks.

  • 1. Less Intense Heat Experience: The lower temperature in infrared saunas may result in a less intense heat experience compared to traditional saunas. Some people enjoy the intense heat of traditional saunas, as it can promote a sense of relaxation and well-being.
  • 2. Potential for Less Relaxation: The lower humidity levels in infrared saunas may also contribute to a potentially less relaxing experience. Traditional saunas, with their higher humidity, can create a more soothing and calming environment.

Limited Research on Long-Term Effects

One of the drawbacks of infrared saunas is the limited research available on their long-term effects. While they have gained popularity in recent years, there is still a lack of extensive studies examining the potential long-term benefits and risks associated with regular use of infrared saunas.

It is important to note that the information provided here is based on current knowledge and understanding. As research continues to evolve, more comprehensive studies may shed light on the long-term effects of infrared saunas.

Despite these drawbacks, many individuals still find infrared saunas to be a beneficial addition to their wellness routines. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any new therapy or treatment into your routine.

Extra Tips: Consider the limitations of infrared saunas, such as limited heat penetration, lower temperature and humidity, and the lack of extensive research on long-term effects, before deciding if it is the right choice for your wellness routine.

Drawbacks of Traditional Sauna

1. Higher temperature and humidity

Traditional saunas have high temperature and humidity levels, which can be uncomfortable for some people. The intense heat and moisture can make it difficult to relax and enjoy the sauna.

  • Discomfort for some individuals: The extreme heat in traditional saunas can cause discomfort, especially for those who are sensitive to high temperatures or have certain medical conditions.
  • Potential for dehydration: The combination of high temperature and humidity in traditional saunas can lead to excessive sweating and potential dehydration if proper hydration is not maintained.

2. Higher energy consumption

Compared to infrared saunas, traditional saunas require more energy to operate, resulting in increased electricity or fuel usage. This can impact the environment and your utility costs.

  • Increased electricity or fuel usage: Traditional saunas typically rely on electric heaters or wood-burning stoves, which consume more energy compared to the energy-efficient heating elements used in infrared saunas.
  • Higher utility costs: The higher energy consumption of traditional saunas can lead to higher utility bills, especially if you use the sauna frequently or for extended periods.
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3. Space and installation requirements

Installing a traditional sauna may pose challenges due to its space and ventilation requirements. This can be problematic for individuals living in smaller homes or apartments.

  • Need for dedicated space and ventilation: Traditional saunas require a dedicated space with proper ventilation to ensure the release of excess heat and moisture. This may involve additional construction or modifications to your existing space.
  • Potential limitations in smaller homes or apartments: The space and installation requirements of traditional saunas may not be feasible in smaller living spaces, limiting the accessibility of this sauna option for some individuals.

Considering these drawbacks, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of traditional saunas before making a decision. Understanding the limitations can help you make an informed choice that suits your preferences and lifestyle.


In conclusion, both infrared saunas and traditional saunas offer unique advantages. Infrared saunas provide benefits such as detoxification, relaxation, weight loss, and skin health. On the other hand, traditional saunas offer deep relaxation, social and cultural experiences, and potential respiratory benefits.

When deciding between the two, it is crucial to consider personal preferences and needs. Whether it’s the convenience and space requirements of an infrared sauna or the cultural significance of a traditional sauna, individuals can make an informed decision based on their desired sauna experience.

Faq about Infrared Sauna vs. Traditional Sauna

FAQ 1: Can pregnant women use infrared saunas?

Pregnant women should avoid using infrared saunas due to the potential harm it can cause to the developing fetus.

FAQ 2: How long should a sauna session last?

Sauna sessions typically last between 10 to 20 minutes. It is important to listen to your body and not exceed your comfort level.

FAQ 3: Are there any age restrictions for using traditional saunas?

Children under the age of 12 should not use traditional saunas without adult supervision. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for children under the age of 5.

FAQ 4: Can saunas help with muscle recovery?

Yes, saunas can aid in muscle recovery by increasing blood flow, reducing muscle soreness, and promoting healing.

FAQ 5: Are there any potential risks or side effects of using saunas?

While saunas are generally safe, there are potential risks and side effects such as dehydration, dizziness, and overheating. It is important to stay hydrated and listen to your body’s signals during sauna sessions. If you have any underlying health conditions, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using saunas.



I am a mechanical engineer and love doing research on different home and outdoor heating options. When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy blogging about my findings and helping others to find the best heating options for their needs.