Sauna vs steam room. Both are an excellent choice for homeowners who want to add some wellness-focussed rooms to their homes.
While the sauna and steam room have a lot in common, they have several key differences and benefits. Knowing what these differences are is vital if you want to incorporate the best option in your home.
So, what is the difference between a sauna and a steam room? Which one is best and which one do you need in your home?
Our ultimate guide will help you decide.
Sauna Versus Steam Room Comparison
Dry heat therapy.
Wet heat therapy.
Quick and easy.
Requires careful planning.
Porous and non-porous materials.
Non-porous materials only.
REQUIRES A PROFESSIONAL
Only for electrical connections.
For electrical and plumbing connections.
Increases home value by around 29%.
Increases home value around 29%.
Requires more maintenance, i.e steam generator, electricals, and plumbing needs to be checked frequently.
A sauna or steam room is a luxury. When deciding on which one to add to your house, you need to consider the heat source and the size of the room that you would like to add.
While it may seem complicated, we’ve broken it down into the following categories. It would be best to look at each factor when deciding whether you’ll be installing a sauna or a steam room in your house. RECOMMENDED: Sauna Benefits
Typically installing a sauna is quicker and easier. Most saunas are available in a pre-cut kit. This kit makes it effortless to install a sauna in your bedroom, basement, or any other open space in your house.
Installing a sauna can be an easy DIY project. But, you may still require a professional electrician to help with the lighting and heater controls.
Today modern, infrared saunas require even less effort to install.
An infrared sauna only requires an electrical connection to work. Infrared saunas are “plug-and-play”, making them a popular choice among busy homeowners that aren’t keen on colossal renovation projects.
In sharp contrast, a steam room requires much more effort to install. You’ll need to cater to a drain, several watertight seals, and other essential renovations to ensure it’ll function as desired.
If you want to install a steam room, you’ll also need to have non-porous walls and ceilings. Warm condensation from the steam can cause mold and mildew to grow in your steam room. So, non-porous materials are essential to prevent this.
You also need to install a steam generator or boiler, and they most often require a certified professional to install. The steam generator should also be easy to access for any future maintenance.
Wood is an excellent material to use in your sauna. Not only is wood affordable, but it’s available in different colors and textures, making it easy to build that traditional-looking sauna of your dreams.
Wood also won’t retain extreme heat. For instance, a wooden bench won’t keep the heat, making it comfortable to sit on at any time.
Wood is also porous, so it’ll pull any moisture from the air, keeping the humidity low in your sauna.
Unfortunately, since wood is a porous material, you can’t use it in a steam room.
Only non-porous materials, such as tiles, marble, plastics, or glass, will prevent mildew growth in your steam room. These materials give steam rooms a more modern look and feel.
Prefabricated two-seater saunas cost anything between $3,000 and $6,000. If you’re keen on taking on a DIY project, you can install the sauna kit yourself, saving a bit of extra money.
Keep in mind that electrical connections will have to be made by a professional. Typically installation costs will be between $350 and $700.
On the flip side, if you’d like to build a steam room, you need to have a budget of $43 per square foot to cover the material costs.
This price means a two-seater steam room can cost you between $1,000 and $5,000. Installation costs can be an additional $1,300.
Luckily, both saunas, and steam rooms add tremendous value to your property. Installing any of these rooms on your property can increase its value by 29%.
Sauna or Steam Room?
Both the sauna and the steam room provide some excellent benefits.
Whether in terms of costs, ease of installation, or health benefits, they are both excellent wellness-focussed rooms for your home.
Let’s have a quick look at the pros and cons of both.
Saunas use dry heat to rejuvenate and relax tired muscles and skin.
Traditionally you’ll use a wood, gas, or electric stove with heated rocks in a sauna to warm up the air inside the room. The heated stones help heat the room to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s this extreme heat that lets you build up a sweat and assist with improving several medical conditions.
More modern versions of the sauna use infrared lights to penetrate the skin and muscles.
These infrared lights will raise your core body temperature, letting you create a healthy sweat. Usually, an infrared sauna will have 135 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit room temperature.
A Finnish Sauna lets you sprinkle some water on the hot rocks to produce steam. Still, the humidity never goes above 10% despite this added steam.
Wellness experts recommend that you don’t spend more than 20 minutes in a traditional sauna or 45 minutes in an infrared sauna. You also need to drink plenty of water when using a sauna. RELATED: Best Outdoor Saunas
- Available in prefabricated kits for effortless installation.
- Uses dry heat to improve blood flow, cardiovascular health, and lower blood pressure.
- Low humidity makes it easily accessible to people with respiratory issues.
- Dry saunas require no water connections.
- Comes in small, convenient room sizes.
- Generates more heat than a steam room, meaning higher utility bills.
- Low humidity level.
In sharp contrast to a sauna, a steam room is very humid. In fact, a steam room is a room filled with steam, hence the name.
The humidity in a steam room is around 100%, while the temperature is much lower than in a sauna. For instance, you can expect temperatures between 110°F and 120°F in a steam room.
Suppose you don’t know the difference between humidity and temperature. In that case, you may like reading our guide to the difference between a humidity sensor and a temperature monitor.
Many people report that steam rooms feel warmer than saunas, even though they aren’t. The warm, moist steam trapped in the room creates this false impression.
A steam room works with an attached steam generator that boils water to generate the necessary steam in the room.
You only need to spend around 15 minutes in a steam room to reap all of the many health benefits. Like with a sauna, you need to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated when in a steam room.
- Steam rooms are great for workout recovery.
- Moist heat helps alleviate pain associated with sore muscles and stiff joints.
- Steam therapy burns calories and will improve circulation.
- Reduces stress.
- Helps prevent delayed onset muscle soreness.
- Steam rooms require boiling water.
- Steam rooms require professional installation.
What Are The Health Benefits Of A Sauna And A Steam Room?
Today, you can find a sauna or steam room in any size gym, recovery studio, spa, or even at home.
Athletes, wellness enthusiasts, and anyone that loves being pampered use these rooms to rejuvenate and relax with heat therapy.
Both rooms provide pretty effective heat therapies that can remove toxins from your body, improve heart rate and alleviate other health conditions.
Saunas and steam rooms all have the same health benefits, regardless of whether the heat in the room is dry or wet.
Research shows that just 20 minutes in either can improve your cardiovascular system. A steam room or sauna is also great for lowering stroke risk and boosting your immune system as it raises your core body temperature.
Reuters reports that sauna and steam room users may have fewer chronic diseases. In fact, frequenting a sauna or steam room can lower your risk of respiratory diseases by 41%. It can also reduce the chance of developing pneumonia by 37%!
However, experts recommend that a sauna is a better option if you have any respiratory issues. Some people report that the humidity in a steam room or steam bath can make breathing difficult.
Despite having the same health benefits, there are significant differences when building a sauna or steam room in your house.
Choosing between a sauna and a steam room boils down to personal preference.
The key difference is that a sauna uses dry heat, while a steam room uses steam. At the end of the day, they both provide the same benefits.
When deciding between a sauna or a steam room, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want a room with steam or without steam?
- Do I want to do regular maintenance on equipment such as a steam generator?
- What are my ambition and budget like for this room?
If you’re still not sure which option will be best for your home, let us know, and we’ll happily guide you through the different options and benefits of both.
Sauna And Steam Room FAQs
Is A Sauna Better Than A Steam Room?
It boils down to personal preference. Saunas are often easier to install and require less space than steam rooms. Yet, they both provide the same essential health benefits.
Which is healthier: a steam room or sauna?
Saunas and steam rooms have all the same health benefits. Whether it’s dry or moist heat, the heat therapy from both will provide excellent cardio benefits. Both rooms will also lessen pain and stiffness.
Which is better for my skin, a sauna or a steam room?
A sauna is great for anyone with dry skin. In contrast, a steam room can cause further skin problems if you have oily skin.
Should I use both a sauna and steam room?
There’s no rule or objective scientific evidence that using both a sauna and a steam room is a must. However, many health enthusiasts will use both when visiting a gym.
Typically they’ll have a 10-minute session in a dry sauna before taking 15 minutes in the high-moisture steam room.