Traditional vs. Infrared Saunas

Unfortunately, there is much misinformation regarding the benefits and effects of frequent sauna use, especially concerning infrared saunas. We aim to provide a clear and well-evidenced account of both infrared and traditional saunas and their differences. 

 What is the difference between a traditional sauna and an infrared sauna? 

A traditional sauna is a wooden room or structure that uses heated stones and water to create a hot and humid atmosphere that provides several health benefits. This room is often large enough to accommodate many people but ultimately can be built to be any size. 
Take a look at these significant differences while we dive deeper into traditional saunas vs. infrared saunas.
1. Heat Source:
Traditional saunas use a stove or heater to warm the air, typically using rocks or other materials that heat up and radiate heat into the room.
Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to emit infrared light that is absorbed directly by the body, warming it without significantly heating the surrounding air.

2. Temperature:
Traditional saunas typically operate at higher temperatures, ranging from 150°F to 195°F (65°C to 90°C), with humidity levels varying depending on whether water is poured over the hot rocks.
Infrared saunas operate at lower temperatures, usually between 120°F to 150°F (50°C to 65°C), but can still induce sweating and provide similar benefits as traditional saunas.

3.Perceived Heat:
In traditional saunas, the heat is felt immediately upon entering the sauna and is often described as a "dry heat."
Infrared saunas produce a more gentle heat that penetrates the body more deeply, often described as a "warmth" that is less intense than traditional saunas.

4. Detoxification:
Both types of saunas can help with detoxification by inducing sweating, which can help eliminate toxins from the body through the skin.
Some proponents of infrared saunas claim that they are more effective at detoxification because the heat penetrates deeper into the body, allowing for more efficient removal of toxins.

5. Energy Efficiency:
Infrared saunas are generally more energy-efficient than traditional saunas because they require lower temperatures to achieve similar therapeutic effects.

6.Installation and Maintenance:
Traditional saunas often require more complex installation, involving construction of a sauna room, ventilation systems, and regular maintenance of the heater and rocks.
Infrared saunas can be easier to install since they often come pre-assembled or in kit form, and they require less maintenance because they don't use water or rocks.

Types of Saunas

Whether you go to a spa, the gym, or are one proud owner of a home sauna; there are different types of dry heat saunas. All of these different home saunas have a unique feature that helps them stand out above the rest!


Home Saunas are becoming a trend these days very much. Their design and technological advancement continue to improve, so installing one in your home today with simple DIY home sauna kits or portable saunas is much simpler. 


Pre Cut Saunas:
  1. Pre-cut saunas are sauna kits with pre-cut wooden panels.
  2. They offer easy DIY assembly with detailed instructions.
  3. Customization options include size, layout, and heating type.
  4. Made from durable woods like cedar or hemlock.
  5. Heating options include electric, infrared, or wood-burning.
  6. Can be more affordable than custom-built saunas.
  7. Basic carpentry skills recommended for assembly.
  8. Professional installation is also an option.
  9. Provide a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy sauna therapy at home.

Modular Saunas (Portable Sauna): 
  1. Modular saunas are prefabricated sauna units.
  2. They come in pre-built modules that can be assembled on-site.
  3. Offer quick and easy installation, often without the need for specialized skills.
  4. Modular saunas are available in various sizes and configurations.
  5. Materials may include cedar, hemlock, or other durable woods.
  6. Heating options range from traditional electric heaters to infrared.
  7. Can be more expensive than DIY sauna kits due to prefabrication.
  8. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor installation.
  9. Provide a convenient solution for adding a sauna to existing spaces or properties.
  10. Offer flexibility for relocation or expansion if needed.


  1. Outdoor saunas are designed specifically for installation outside.
  2. They are typically constructed from durable materials to withstand outdoor elements.
  3. Offer a variety of designs, including standalone units or extensions to existing buildings.
  4. Heating options can include traditional wood-burning stoves, electric heaters, or infrared.
  5. Outdoor saunas may require additional insulation and weatherproofing compared to indoor saunas.
  6. Provide a unique and relaxing experience by connecting with nature.
  7. Can be built as DIY projects or purchased as pre-built units.
  8. Customization options include size, layout, and materials.
  9. Suitable for residential homes, cabins, or commercial establishments such as spas and resorts.
  10. Require careful consideration of placement, ventilation, and drainage for optimal performance and longevity.
  11. Some examples of outdoor saunas include the traditional barrel sauna model. The barrel sauna concept does not only enhance your backyard but your health. These easy to assemble, practical and beautiful sauna rooms provide a unique look and outdoor living experience.

How Saunas Produce Heat   

There are three main types of Sauna Heaters:

  • Electric Sauna Heater
  • Gas Sauna Heater.
  • Wood-Burning Sauna Stove

The infrared sauna uses infrared light panels to heat your skin using light, not heating the air around you.

Infrared Sauna's Heat vs Traditional Sauna Heat

Infrared heat is light on a spectrum that our eyes can't see. Yet, not being able to see it doesn't mean we can't experience it. When the infrared light reaches our body, we perceive it as heat. For example, if you get out into direct sunlight then step into the shade, you'll notice that you feel hotter in the direct sunshine. That's caused by the infrared light emitted by the sun.


Infrared saunas had an intriguing beginning. The first ones were made with the heaters used in hospitals to keep newborns warm. Some early models also used different kinds of infrared lamps, such as food lamps. Later development has led to specialized heater types used only in infrared saunas. These new heaters have very low EMF (electromagnetic field) levels and better heat dispersal. 


Infrared saunas share important similarities with traditional saunas, especially when it comes to health benefits. But the way they distribute heat is entirely different. Let's explain how. 

Infrared heaters give "direct heat" to your body while the traditional ones heat the air in the sauna. What this means in practice is that infrared saunas are faster to heat up. In an infrared sauna, you'll start feeling the heat immediately when you turn the sauna on. For an optimal experience, we recommend waiting 15-20 minutes for your sauna to heat up.


In traditional saunas, the heater needs a lot of time to reach an ideal temperature, especially if it has a large number of stones. We're talking 30-60 minutes or a little more depending on the weather outside. With an infrared sauna, you get faster heat with less energy use and a cheaper electric bill.


Another difference lies in the way you feel the heat throughout your body. In an infrared sauna, you'll feel the heat where the infrared light hits your body (the "direct heat"). In the traditional sauna, you feel the heat more evenly throughout your body - since it comes from the air that gets heated up.


People have been using saunas for thousands of years. This was long before we had electricity or knew that something named a photon ever existed. Largely it's agreed that heat exposure has proven to be one of the most powerful tools in maintaining personal health and improving strength training and endurance. But as for which is better, for the most part, there isn't any reputable data to support claims that one type of sauna is better than the other. There is data that says hotter is typically better.

Of course, both types of sauna have various benefits including:

 1. Toxin removal through sweating  

You won't sweat as much when using an infrared sauna, however many manufacturers report sweat induced from an infrared sauna contains more toxins.

2. Improved skin by flushing out impurities and dead skin cells

This can reduce break outs and certain skin conditions.

3. Strengthens the immune system  

Heating the body can help you avoid the common cold and other ailments.

4. Assisting in weight loss  

Heating the body can help you avoid the common cold and other ailments.

5. Improved cardiovascular health  

Increasing the heart rate and blood circulation without affecting blood pressure is a great, low-risk way to improve cardiovascular health.


The type of sauna you use will often come down to your personal preference. In, you can find your very own personal sauna, whether you prefer an outdoor sauna or indoor sauna. is the most complete sauna shop available online. 

Visit all our products here. 

Read more about Saunas, Home Saunas, Sauna Kits, Sauna Heaters, where to buy saunas online an more!

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