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Infrared Sauna and Traditional Sauna: Which One is Best for Me?

Have you made the decision to get a sauna? Congratulations! You may, however, be struggling with the question: “Infrared saunas and traditional saunas: which one is best for me?” The sauna professionals at Juniper are more than happy to help you answer that question. First of all, whichever type of sauna you choose, you will reap countless benefits. Either type of sauna will improve your circulation, boost your cardiovascular health, help relieve stiffness and joint pain, and cause copious amounts of sweat, thought to detoxify the body. That being said, the experience you will get from using a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna is quite different. Let’s examine those differences.

The Type of Heat

A traditional sauna produces heat from an electrical unit that heats stones that have been piled on top. Water can be poured over the stones producing steam. 

An infrared sauna produces dry heat from infrared light rays which penetrate the skin, raising the body temperature from the inside out. 

The Sauna Experience

The traditional sauna temperature is extremely hot: 160-200° F. As mentioned, water can be poured over the hot rocks, producing steam and humidity, which many people enjoy. Most people can tolerate the heat in a traditional sauna for about 20 minutes. The temperature inside the infrared sauna remains at about 100-150° F, which some people find more comfortable. The length of time one can stay in an infrared sauna is longer, up to 40 minutes. In either type of sauna, copious amounts of perspiration will be produced by the body.

Heat Up Time

A traditional sauna will take 30 to 40 minutes to reach its optimum temperature. An infrared sauna is ready to be used 10 to 15 minutes after being turned on.

Cost to Operate

An infrared sauna is more energy efficient than a traditional sauna due to the shorter heat-up time. Neither type of sauna will add significantly to your monthly electric bill, but the traditional sauna will cost slightly more to run. 

What About Maintenance?

Saunas are extremely low maintenance. In the dry heat of an infrared sauna, the only moisture being produced is your own perspiration. Taking care to sit on absorbent towels takes care of that issue for the most part. On the other hand, the steam and humidity in a traditional sauna can become something that requires more maintenance to ensure things stay hygienic. 


Traditional saunas may be more labor intensive to install due to ventilation, a requested floor drain, and electrical details. They do have the option of being installed outside the home, which many people who want the real Finnish sauna experience delight in. Installing an infrared sauna is more straightforward as they are often pre-built and portable. Many people install their own indoor infrared saunas as a DIY project. 

Health Benefits

As mentioned above, the health benefits of either traditional or infrared saunas are considerable. Relaxation, better sleep, improved skin, stress reduction, reduced pain in joints, and much more are all possible. There have been a few studies, however, that have indicated that there may be some additional benefits provided by infrared saunas. These benefits include improvements in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

Are you still wondering, “Infrared saunas and traditional saunas: which one is best for me?” If so, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What benefits do you hope to get from a sauna?
  • What type of heat experience do you prefer?
  • Are you willing to put in some time to maintain your sauna?

Whichever type of sauna you decide upon, base your decision on personal preference, desired benefits, and the practical details of maintenance and installation. When you are ready to add a sauna to your home or backyard, come by and see us at Juniper in Appleton, WI. We carry Pro6® infrared saunas and Almost Heaven® traditional saunas, both with indoor and outdoor models. We’d love to share our sauna experiences and help you decide which is best for you. 

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