Infrared vs. Traditional Sauna: Which One Would Be Perfect for Your Residence

There is a regular contest between infrared and traditional saunas. Which one is better for you? Both have benefits, but it ultimately depends on what you are looking for in a sauna.

Have you ever heard about the infrared sauna blanket? It is a good alternative for those who don't have a lot of space at home or don't want to install a sauna. Heliotherapy Institute has reviews about the pros and cons of this device and tips on how to use it with effort for your health.

We collected proven information about the difference between infrared and traditional saunas so that you can choose the most suitable one for your residence.

What to Look for When Choosing a Sauna?

When it comes to choosing a sauna for your home, there are a few key factors you'll want to keep in mind:

  • The size of the unit. Make sure to choose a sauna that will comfortably fit your available space.
  • The type of heat source. It can be a wood-burning stove, electric heater, or lamps emitting infrared waves.
  • What features you'd like your sauna to have. Some units have built-in benches or shelves, while others are more basic.

It would help if you also decided whether you want a pre-assembled sauna or one you can assemble yourself.

What is an Infrared Sauna?

An infrared sauna uses heaters to emit infrared radiation, which heats the body directly. There are two main types of infrared saunas: near-infrared and far-infrared. Near-infrared saunas use shorter wavelengths of light and penetrate the skin more deeply than far-infrared, which use longer wavelengths of light.

What is a Traditional Sauna?

A sauna is a small room or house designed to experience dry or wet heat sessions or steam baths. The heat and moisture make the sauna a relaxing environment. The heat in a sauna is created by a wood-burning stove, an electric stove. Traditional saunas use hot rocks or steam and warm the air around.

Steam vs. Infrared Saunas

Whether you decide between an infrared sauna or a traditional one, it comes down to personal preference. Consider what you want to use the sauna for and how often you plan on exploiting it. Then, make your decision based on that. Either way, you'll be getting all the benefits of a good sweat session.

When it comes to infrared vs. traditional saunas, there are some key differences that you should know.

Heating Method

The main difference between infrared and traditional saunas is the method of heating. Traditional saunas heat the air around you to create sweat, while infrared use panels that emit infrared light waves. These waves penetrate your skin and raise your core body temperature, causing you to sweat more profusely than a traditional one.


The temperature of an infrared sauna is lower than that of a traditional sauna. An infrared sauna heats your body directly rather than heating the air around you. It makes it feel more comfortable and easier to breathe in. The average infrared sauna temperature is between 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average traditional sauna temperature is 150-190 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, the first might be proper for you if you're looking for a more relaxed experience. A traditional sauna might be better suited if you're looking for a more intense sweating session.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of saunas are numerous. They can help improve circulation, relieve pain, reduce stress, improve skin tone and appearance, and detoxify the body.

An infrared sauna provides a more profound detox effect. Traditional saunas may be a better choice if you have respiratory issues since the air is not as heated. Both types offer pain relief and relaxation. However, infrared saunas are said to be more effective at penetrating the muscles and joints to provide deep tissue relief.

No matter which type of sauna you choose, spending time in one can be a relaxing and therapeutic experience. Consult with the doctor if you have some health conditions.

Heat-Up Time

One of the main differences between infrared and traditional saunas is the time it takes to heat up. Infrared saunas typically have a shorter heat-up time because the heat produced by infrared waves penetrates human tissue directly.

On the other hand, traditional saunas must first heat the air around you before your body can start reaping the benefits. It means that it could take upwards of 30 minutes for a traditional sauna to reach its optimal temperature, while an infrared sauna only needs around 15 minutes.

An infrared sauna will be a better choice if you're looking for a quick way to relax and detoxify the body. But if you don't mind waiting a little longer for the benefits of a sauna, then a traditional sauna would be just as good.

Running Costs

The average infrared sauna will set you back around $2000. It is a significant investment, but it's important to remember that an infrared sauna will last many years with proper care. In contrast, a traditional sauna costs between $500 and $1000.

While the initial investment for an infrared sauna is higher, the running costs are lower. According to estimates, an infrared sauna uses far less electricity than a traditional one – about 60% less. An infrared sauna will save you money on your energy bills over time. If you use your sauna regularly, this saving can be significant.


When it comes to infrared saunas, there is very little maintenance required. You will need to keep the interior clean and free of dirt and debris, but other than that, there is not much else you need to do. Traditional saunas require a bit more work. The wood must be regularly treated and maintained to prevent it from rotting or warping. The rocks in the sauna will also need to be replaced periodically. Overall, infrared saunas are much easier to maintain than traditional ones.


While you can install both saunas in-home, there are a few things to consider before installation. Infrared saunas typically come as a prefabricated unit that only needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet, making them much easier to install than traditional saunas. However, because they use lower temperatures, they may not provide the same feeling of luxury as a steam sauna.

You must build traditional saunas from scratch, which generally requires the help of a professional contractor. It can add significant time and cost to the installation process. But because they need more work upfront, traditional saunas usually have a higher resale value than infrared saunas.

The Best Location for a Sauna in the Residence

The best location where a sauna will not disturb the family's activities. It should also be easily accessible so you can enjoy it whenever you want. The sauna should be placed on a level surface, away from windows or doors. The ideal spot for your sauna is in the corner of the room so that you can maximize your relaxation space.

There are a few locations for installation at home:

  • The basement. The reason is that the heat from the sauna can rise, and it might be too hot if placed on the upper floors.
  • An upstairs room is the next best option if your home does not have a basement. It is for two reasons: one, the heat rises, and two, in case of fire, it is easier to evacuate from the second floor.
  • The bathroom is typically the smallest room in the house and can be easily converted into a sauna.
  • A central spot on the main floor where family and friends can gather to enjoy its benefits is also good.
  • You can enjoy the sauna outdoors, but you must consider weather conditions.

Sometimes it cannot be easy to decide where to locate the sauna. We recommend using a design app such as iScape for better visualization. You can use virtual reality or project it on the photo of your interior.  

You will also need to ensure adequate ventilation in the room where you plan to put your sauna. It is essential because you want to avoid condensation buildup on the walls and ceiling of the sauna.

Now you know all the differences between infrared and traditional saunas. The infrared sauna is better for those who want a relaxing session quickly, and the steam sauna is for people who love to stretch out the pleasure. Both have distinct benefits that make them great for different purposes, so you can decide which one would be perfect for your residence.