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The Difference Between Traditional Saunas and "Infrared" Saunas

The Difference Between Traditional Saunas and

The Difference Between Traditional Saunas and Infrared Saunas

By Aaron Mote

The core difference between a Traditional Sauna and an "Infrared Sauna" is the heating source & common temperature ranges.

In a traditional sauna, a single wood-burning stove or electrical stove heats the air by convection. The hot air produced by the wood-stove or electric-heater warms the sauna user.

If desired, the sauna user can also pour water over the rocks on the stove to create steam. 

In a Traditional Sauna, temperatures normally range between 70 to 100 degrees Celsius.

In Infrared Saunas, the sauna heats your body directly, using panels that emit infrared light waves, without warming the air around you. 

This means the air temperature is less significant than the quality of the radiant heat that’s absorbed by the surface of the skin. 

In Infrared Saunas, Temperatures normally range from 40 to 60 degrees Celsius.

Comparing a Traditional vs. Infrared Sauna

One big drawback to Infrared Saunas that many people don’t realize is that the user must be unclothed to achieve the benefits that infrared saunas offer. 

This can make enjoying your sauna with friends, family, or relatives quite awkward. 

The heating source isn’t the only way that these sauna types differ. Here are a few other important distinctions that you should note.

Steam or Lóyly

If you love to pour water on the rocks and enjoy lóyly or steam, then traditional saunas are the way to go. 

Traditional saunas, equipped with both wood-burning stoves or electric-heaters, both allow users to enjoy the lóyly, which is core to the authentic Finnish expression of sauna.

You can also add essential oils, such as eucalyptus or peppermint, to the water to create therapeutic aromas. 

Infrared saunas do not have this function.


Insulation & Durability

Authentic Finnish-style saunas are constructed with high quality insulation, proper ventilation, and vapor barriers. 

The result is a sauna that heats up quickly and allows users to enjoy a convective heat, constantly flowing with fresh oxygen. 

Infrared saunas are typically prefab kits that users assemble themselves — most of these kits have zero insulation and are simply designed to be lightweight (easy to deliver).

Most infrared saunas have no vapor barrier, and a 1-2 year warranty. They are NOT designed to last!

Size & Layout

Infrared saunas are typically quite small, accommodating 1-4 bathers. 

This is because the heat panels have a difficult time maintaining a warm environment and direct light-to-skin contact is required to gain the intended benefit. 

Infrared sauna layouts typically include single level benches, forcing the user to sit making the space less versatile. 

For these reasons, infrared saunas are typically most beneficial for someone who prefers to sauna alone and NAKED!

In comparison, Traditional Saunas can be designed in numerous sizes, shapes, and varying designs. 

Traditional sauna users enjoy a softer, convective heat and are not required to be naked to fully enjoy the health benefits. 

Final Thoughts

We believe that the Authentic Finnish expression of sauna is BY FAR the best option.

Infrared saunas, while popular, fall short in delivering the same health benefits offered by traditional sauna. 

While infrared saunas may be a good option for some individuals, we believe if you have ability to have a traditional sauna, you will never regret it!

Read our Article "All Saunas are Infrared Saunas" to learn more: