Craving a warm sanctuary for muscle relaxation, detoxification, and a touch of serenity? You’ll get that and more with an in-home sauna. But which type of sauna is right for you—traditional or infrared?

Choosing the right type of sauna depends on your unique needs and preferences. We’ll break down the key differences between traditional and infrared saunas and help you choose the one that will best elevate your wellness routine.

The Classic Choice: Traditional Saunas

A traditional sauna is a small room or enclosed space designed to provide dry heat sessions. It is typically made of wood and uses heated stones and water to create a hot, dry environment for relaxation and wellness.

How does it work?

A stove, either wood-burning or electric, heats a stack of sauna stones to high temperatures. Water is poured onto the hot stones, creating steam and increasing the humidity level slightly. Traditional saunas operate at high temperatures, ranging from 150°F to 195°F (65°C to 90°C).

What are the benefits of a traditional sauna?

Traditional saunas offer benefits such as:

  • Muscle relaxation: The intense heat loosens tight muscles, offering relief from soreness and tension.
  • Brain health: A 25-year study conducted with more than 2.300 participants at the University of Finland revealed regular sauna use (4 – 7 times per week) at 176 degrees F for 19 minutes lowered the risk for both Alzheimer’s & Dementia by upwards of 65%) Full article linked here.
  • Improved circulation: Increased heart rate from the heat can boost blood flow, potentially aiding in cardiovascular health.
  • Social experience: Traditional saunas often accommodate multiple people, fostering a communal atmosphere ideal for relaxation with friends or family.

What are some things to consider with traditional saunas?

If you’re thinking about a traditional sauna, be sure to consider:

  • High heat: The intense temperature might be uncomfortable for beginners or those sensitive to heat.
  • Longer wait time: Heating the entire room takes time, requiring patience before enjoying the full experience.
  • Humidity levels: While typically dry, some traditional saunas offer added humidity for a different experience.

Modern Innovation: Infrared Saunas

These high-tech wonders utilize invisible infrared light waves to directly heat your body, bypassing the air altogether. Imagine basking in gentle, radiant warmth, typically set between 100°F and 140°F. Unlike traditional saunas, the air remains cooler, making them a potentially more comfortable option for those sensitive to intense heat.

What are the benefits of an infrared sauna?

Infrared saunas offer such benefits as:

  • Lower temperatures: Enjoy the benefits of heat therapy without the discomfort of scorching air.
  • Targeted penetration: Infrared waves penetrate deeper into the body, potentially promoting increased cellular activity and detoxification.
  • Faster heating: Infrared saunas heat up quickly, allowing you to indulge in warmth almost instantly.
  • Potential pain relief: Studies suggest infrared heat therapy might alleviate chronic pain conditions.

What are some things to consider with infrared saunas?

Before you purchase an infrared sauna, be sure to consider:

  • Individual experience: The deeper heat penetration might not be everyone’s preference.
  • Limited space: Infrared saunas often accommodate fewer people, making them less ideal for social gatherings.

Back to Back: Traditional Saunas vs Infrared Saunas

Both traditional and infrared saunas offer heat-induced relaxation, but several key differences set them apart. Here are those differences by type:

CategoryTraditional SaunaInfrared Sauna
Heating MethodHeats the air in the room using hot stones and water, resulting in dry heat with temperatures between 150°F – 195°F.Uses invisible infrared light waves to directly heat your body, typically at lower temperatures (100°F – 140°F) with cooler surrounding air.
Heat Penetration Heat reaches the skin primarily through convection (hot air) and some radiation from the stones. Penetration is shallower.Infrared waves penetrate deeper into tissues, potentially reaching muscles and joints more effectively.
Comfort Level  The high temperature can be intense, especially for beginners or those sensitive to heat.Lower air temperature might feel more comfortable, especially at first. However, the deeper heat penetration can feel intense for some.
Speed of Heating  Takes time to preheat the room and stones, requiring patience before use.Heats up quickly, allowing you to enjoy warmth almost instantly.
Social Experience  Often larger and accommodate multiple people, ideal for shared relaxation.Typically smaller and designed for individual or couple use.
Cost  Generally more expensive than infrared saunasOften come with a lower price tag
Health Benefits
Both offer potential benefits like muscle relaxation, improved circulation, stress reduction, and pain relief.
Used more as a preventative health measure.Used more often as a remedy to helping manage an ongoing chronic condition.

Making Your Choice

Both traditional and infrared saunas offer unique pathways to relaxation and improved well-being. Choosing the right sauna ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences, so before you choose, consider factors such as past sauna experience, heat tolerance and desired health needs.

At Mainely Tubs, we believe in guiding you towards the perfect fit. Visit us today and let our sauna experts help you unlock your personalized path to heat-inspired bliss!

About Mainely Tubs in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts


Mainely Tubs is a 100% Employee Owned premier Hot Spring Spas dealer. We sell and service new hot tubsused hot tubsportable spasswim spassaunashot tub accessorieshot tub water care, and more. Our Brands Include: Hot Spring SpasCaldera SpasFreeflow SpasEndless Pools Swim SpasFinnleo SaunasCovanaLeisure Time, Fresh WaterSilk Balance, and other brands you can trust.

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