October 31, 2023
Infrared vs Traditional Sauna: Which is Best for You?

Saunas have long been celebrated as a haven of relaxation and health benefits. Over time, as technology has advanced, a new player has entered the scene: the infrared sauna. While both offer the allure of warmth and rejuvenation, they operate quite differently. Let’s explore these differences and help you find the perfect fit for your wellness journey.

What is a Traditional Sauna?

Traditional saunas have deep roots in history, particularly in cultures like Finland. They heat the body indirectly by warming the surrounding air. Key benefits include:

  • Intense Sweating: Excellent for detoxification and skin purification.
  • Respiratory Relief: The moist heat can be beneficial for those with respiratory conditions.
  • Muscle Relaxation: The encompassing warmth eases muscle tension.

What is an Infrared Sauna?

Infrared saunas harness the power of infrared light waves to heat the body directly. Unlike traditional saunas that heat the air around you, infrared saunas warm you from the inside out. This direct approach can offer:

  • Deep, Penetrating Warmth: Ideal for muscle relaxation and joint pain relief.
  • Detoxification: Promotes sweating, aiding in toxin release.
  • Enhanced Circulation: Can help with recovery and overall cardiovascular health.

Which is Better: Infrared or Traditional Sauna?

The choice between infrared and traditional saunas is not about one being universally superior, but rather which is more aligned with your personal needs and preferences.

Efficiency and Heating:

Infrared saunas heat up faster, directly warming your body using infrared light waves, making them more energy-efficient. Traditional saunas, however, warm the surrounding air, taking longer to reach desired temperatures.

Depth of Heat:

Infrared saunas penetrate deeper into muscles and tissues, ideal for muscle relaxation and recovery. Traditional saunas provide intense external heat, leading to profuse sweating and a perceived deep cleanse.

Health Benefits:

Both sauna types promote detoxification and relaxation. Traditional saunas induce more intense sweating due to higher temperatures, while infrared saunas provide detox benefits at milder temperatures, which some find more comfortable. Curious about more sauna benefits and disadvantages

Cost and Maintenance:

Infrared saunas might have a higher upfront cost but often have lower ongoing expenses due to their energy efficiency. Traditional saunas may have higher energy bills over time and might require more upkeep, especially if steam-based.


Traditional saunas offer a classic, intense heat experience with a woodsy aroma. Infrared saunas give a gentler, direct warmth, potentially more inviting for those new to saunas or with specific health considerations.

your choice between infrared and traditional saunas should align with your desired experience, health goals, and budget. Both have unique offerings, so consider what's most important for your wellness journey.

Advantages and Disadvantages

When weighing the pros and cons of infrared and traditional saunas, several factors come into play, from health benefits to costs and user experience.

Infrared Saunas Advantages

  • Quick Warm-Up: Infrared saunas heat up faster due to their direct heating method, meaning less waiting time before you can relax and start your session.
  • Deep Heat Penetration: The infrared light waves penetrate the muscles and tissues, providing a unique warmth that many find beneficial for muscle relaxation and pain relief.
  • Energy Efficiency: Generally, infrared saunas consume less power, translating to potentially lower energy bills over time.
  • Gentler Environment: Operating at lower temperatures makes it a more comfortable choice for those who might find traditional saunas too intense.


Different Experience: Purists who are accustomed to the traditional sauna experience might find the infrared warmth and absence of heated wood ambiance lacking.

Higher Initial Cost: While they may save money over time due to energy efficiency, infrared saunas often have a steeper upfront price tag.

Traditional Saunas Advantages

  • Time-Tested: Traditional saunas offer a tried-and-true experience with deep roots in many cultures, especially Nordic ones.
  • Intense Detox: The high heat leads to profuse sweating, which many believe provides a deep cleanse and detoxification.
  • Ambiance: The scent of heated wood combined with the enveloping heat creates a unique, soothing environment that's hard to replicate.


Higher Operating Temperature: The intense heat might be too much for some, making it hard for them to stay in as long.

Energy Consumption: Traditional saunas often require more energy to heat the room, potentially leading to higher electricity bills.

Maintenance: Especially if steam-based, traditional saunas may need more upkeep to prevent mold and maintain the wood.

Which Sauna is Right for You?

Choosing the perfect sauna is like selecting the right pair of shoes; it should fit comfortably, align with your lifestyle, and cater to your needs. With infrared and traditional saunas each offering distinct experiences, your ideal choice might hinge on various factors. 

  • Seeking Quick Warm-Up: If you're someone who doesn't like to wait long before getting into the relaxing warmth, infrared saunas, with their rapid heating capability, might be more your speed.
  • Deep Muscle Relaxation: For those with persistent muscle aches or after intense workouts, the penetrating warmth of infrared saunas might provide the relief you're seeking.
  • Traditional Experience: If you're drawn to age-old traditions, love the aroma of heated wood, and seek an intense heat experience, a traditional sauna might be your haven.
  • Cost and Efficiency Concerns: For the environmentally conscious or those watching their energy bills, the energy efficiency of infrared saunas could be a determining factor.
  • Health Considerations: While both saunas can offer health benefits, if you have respiratory concerns or skin conditions, one might suit you better than the other. It's always good to consult with a healthcare professional in this case.
  • Space Constraints: Infrared saunas, often being more compact, might be ideal for those with limited space.
  • Maintenance Mindset: If you're looking for something with potentially less maintenance, especially in terms of cleaning and preventing mold, infrared might be the way to go.

Ultimately, the right sauna for you is the one that meets your personal preferences, health goals, and logistical constraints. Whether it's the direct warmth of infrared or the enveloping heat of a traditional sauna, the key is to find what resonates with your wellness journey.

Are infrared saunas safe

Infrared saunas are generally deemed safe. They use far-infrared light, not harmful UV. However, it's essential to stay hydrated, limit sessions to 20-30 minutes, and consult a doctor if pregnant or on certain medications. Always ensure the sauna meets safety standards.

Looking for more option Which type of sauna is best? Check out your options

Is it OK to use an infrared sauna everyday?

Using an infrared sauna daily is generally considered safe for many people. However, individual tolerance can vary. It's essential to listen to your body, stay hydrated, and start with shorter sessions, gradually increasing as tolerated.

When considering Infrared vs Traditional Sauna, it's all about what suits you best. Both have their merits in promoting relaxation and wellness. It's essential to tailor your choice to your preferences and what feels right for you. After all, the best wellness journey is one that fits your unique needs and comforts.

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