Skip to content

Infrared Sauna vs Traditional Sauna - Cost, Benefits, and More

Infrared Sauna vs Traditional Sauna - Cost, Benefits, and More

Recently, Infrared saunas have made a serious name for themselves. Just like traditional saunas, infrared saunas have been found to have many health benefits. But, when put head to head with their predecessor, how do infrared saunas stack up against traditional saunas?

To find out, let's look at the fundamental differences between infrared saunas and traditional saunas.

Infrared Sauna vs Traditional Sauna


The key difference between infrared saunas and traditional saunas lies in the different ways they produce heat.

Traditional saunas use a single heater to heat the air and the user. This is facilitated by a single electric heater that is filled with rocks, working similarly to wood-burning stoves. In this type of sauna, you're seated in a wood-lined room that is heated by one of these sauna heaters. To raise the temperature, water is poured over the heated rocks, which creates hot steam. The steam raises the humidity within the unit and subsequently heats the entire sauna's interior.

On the other hand, infrared saunas generate an electromagnetic field (EMF) that is emitted from multiple heating panels. Unlike traditional saunas, the air within the sauna isn’t heated but instead, the EMF waves penetrate the body and internally increase a user’s temperature.


Traditional saunas circulate hot air at temperatures of between 140 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 to 80 degrees celsius. This produces steam and humidity of up to between 20-40 percent, which then induces profuse sweating.

In contrast, infrared saunas operate at a slightly cooler temperature, reaching up to 125 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit or 52 to 68 degrees celsius.

Time to Optimal Temperature

A traditional sauna can take up to around 30 to 40 minutes to reach optimal operating temperature. During the warm-up phase and during use, the user will need to incrementally pour water over the heated rocks to keep the humidity within the sauna at desired levels.

As the sauna heater warms a user's body directly, an infrared sauna will only take between 10 to 15 minutes to heat up.

Running Costs

Depending on the size of the unit and the amount of power it draws, both traditional and infrared saunas will vary in how much power they ultimately use. However, as a general rule of thumb, infrared saunas are more energy-efficient than traditional saunas and over time will save you money on running costs.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Saunas are generally low maintenance. Although, they will require the odd clean from time to time. In particular, traditional saunas produce humidity and moisture. This means the wooden interior will become damp and can sometimes attract molds and mildews.

Infrared saunas don't have these same issues as the only moisture that is produced when in operation is from the perspiration of anybody who is using it. This makes infrared saunas low-maintenance and easier to care for than traditional saunas.

Although if you are into all things tradition and want the sauna experience the same as it has been for centuries, a traditional sauna is definitely your best option.

Purchase Price

Generally, traditional saunas are more expensive to buy than infrared saunas. For instance, depending on the size of the unit, an entry-level infrared sauna will set you back around $2,000-2,500, a mid-range unit will cost between $5,000-10,000, and a premium model upwards of $10,000.

Whereas traditional saunas will set you back somewhere between $4,000-7,500, a mid-range unit will cost between $10,000-15,000, and a premium model upwards of $15,000.

Health Benefits

When it comes to health benefits, there really isn't a huge disparity between traditional and infrared saunas. They both have an array of health benefits, including:

  • Improved athletic recovery
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Relaxation of sore muscles
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Relief from a range of debilitating conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular diseases

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons

Traditional Saunas


  • The truly authentic experience
  • Outdoor use
  • Depending on your preference, humidity may be an advantage


  • Less affordable running costs
  • Longer to reach optimal heat
  • The initial cost of the unit is less affordable

Infrared Saunas


  • Faster to reach optimal heat
  • More affordable running costs
  • Less maintenance and cleaning


  • Outdoor use may not be an option
  • Depending on your preference, no humidity may be a disadvantage
  • Some people may not like EMF exposure

Final Thoughts

Both traditional and infrared saunas are the perfect way to relax, relieve stress, and recover from a hard workout. Your final decision will probably come down to a few personal preferences. Whichever you decide on, either way isn't a bad option. And the many health benefits you'll receive are well worth the investment.

If you are interested in learning more about either traditional or infrared saunas, then why not check out our full range of saunas and accessories, available to you via free and fast shipping, here.

Shop Sauna Collection