The world of saunas can be tricky if you don’t know your sauna types.
To decide between the different types of saunas and which one is best for your home, we need to look at factors like the price and benefits.
In this article, we go over the pros and cons of each sauna to help you decide on which type of sauna is best for you.
From your classic steam sauna to the more advanced infrared sauna, we cover everything you need to know.
Saunas are a favorite amongst those who grew up in Eastern Europe, Nordic Countries, and Northern Asia.
In these countries, steaming and bathing have been a key part of improving health and speeding up the recovery process after a long day.
As time goes on, different types of saunas are being developed but at the end of the day, they all share a common goal. That goal is to warm your body through hyperthermal conditioning.
But before we can dive into the different types of saunas, it’s important to know why we want a sauna.
A dry sauna is small and can safely reach temperatures upwards of 90 degrees. This shouldn’t be confused with steam rooms as those use wet heat and high humidity. This sauna uses low humidity.
This type of sauna is considered traditional as it’s the most popular choice for a home sauna.
If you were to compare a dry sauna to some form of heat, it’s most similar to an oven. A dry sauna heats the air in the room and not your body directly.
The room itself is typically made from wooden slats and could include an electric heater or stove, making it an electrically heated sauna.
The electric heater heats the rocks and is beneficial if you want a cozy, two-to-three-person sauna.
Once you enter the room, the temperature around you is already high. This causes your heart to work harder, which sends blood to the capillaries and burns calories, leading to excess fat being burnt off too.
Sitting in this sauna causes your body to create a fever environment that kills any unwanted bacteria.
This builds up a strong immune system by increasing the number of leukocytes in your blood.
There are a few notable downsides to using a dry heat sauna.
This includes risks of dehydration due to the low humidity and could potentially worsen the effects of anyone suffering from high blood pressure or heart disease.
The average cost of installing a traditional sauna into your home will be between $4,000 to $5,000.
Installing a prefab sauna is cheaper than building one from scratch, so the decision is a situational one.
A wet sauna is often compared to steam rooms as they both use moist heat as their source of warmth.
They also fall under the category of a traditional sauna, but can also be referred to as a steam sauna.
It’s typically the same size as a dry sauna and typically has a cedar exterior as it’s a strong wood that doesn’t warp or shrink over time. Cedar also repels any fungi or bacteria.
So, while they both have many similar characteristics, what sets them apart is the method of how the heat is created.
A wet sauna requires you to pour water over hot stones in a heater to create steam.
The amount of steam that comes from the heater depends on how much water is poured onto the hot rocks.
When you pour water onto these rocks, it creates a cloud of steam that creates moisture in the air and the room becomes heated.
A wet sauna aids in the pores being cleansed by creating a more relaxed and controlled environment.
The temperature can typically reach around 190 degrees Fahrenheit, creating a moist environment.
This lowers your blood pressure and heart rate that soothes the body and reduces the effects of stress. The long-term benefit to relax in this way is in reducing symptoms of arthritis.
One benefit that a wet sauna has over a dry one is the assistance in your sinuses. Since the air is moist, it thins your mucous and clears the sinus passages allowing you to breathe easier.
A deciding factor for you is also the environment itself. If you want a steamier and mistier environment, then choosing a wet sauce would be the best option.
This, however, is a matter of personal preference.
The same disadvantages of using a dry sauna are also present in wet saunas. The main difference is that dehydration isn’t as common due to the moist air.
You pay roughly the same price as a dry heat sauna if you’re considering purchasing a wet sauna.
The wood-burning sauna, or the savusauna, was invented in Finland and generates heat by burning wood in a fireplace to heat rocks. It’s mostly used in off-grid ways of living.
This is considered a traditional Finnish sauna.
You typically use hardwoods like oak to keep the fire going. This wood is burned in a large stove until smoke fills the entirety of the room.
Once you feel that the room is heated and there’s enough smoke, the fire is put out. The smoke is ventilated and the remnants of the heat keep the sauna steamy.
The benefits of this sauna include helping with perspiration paired with the natural earthy aroma you get from burning the wood.
Without the need for any electricity, such a sauna can be built just about anywhere and you won’t need to worry about any electrical concerns.
It’s an energy-efficient method that eliminates paying electricity bills and makes for an affordable detoxing experience.
The atmosphere of such a wood-burning sauna includes the crackling sounds of fire and minimal humidity. This offers a good form of relaxation and the ability to unwind.
There are a few disadvantages to note when purchasing a wood-burning sauna.
This includes finding a dry storage facility for the wood and purchasing the wood itself, the time for the room to become heated is the longest out of all the saunas, the carbon monoxide needs to be properly ventilated, and the flames need to be monitored.
This makes wood-burning saunas high-maintenance compared to the others.
The price of a traditional Finnish sauna can range between $6,000 and $8,000, making them more expensive initially but in the long run, you save a lot of moola because of the electrical savings.
Infrared Saunas are newer to the game and are becoming more popular by the day.
If a traditional sauna can be compared to an oven, an infrared sauna is like a microwave.
This is because a microwave heats your food at a much lower temperature than an oven and is more direct.
Before you start thinking that an inferred sauna is going to cook you alive, many massage therapists use infrared light before their treatments to warm the muscles and relax the body before treatment.
In other words, this is a safe source of heat.
An infrared sauna gives off a lower heat than your other saunas meaning you can sit in the sauna for far longer without suffocating from any hot air.
Infrared saunas heat your body inside and out by making use of infrared lights. This is a radiant heat that warms the body directly. In this case, the heat penetrates the skin to roughly an inch and a half.
This gives you the benefits of detoxing through direct penetration of the skin, meaning there’s no wait for the room to get hot like a traditional steam sauna.
When your skin is heating to such a level from an infrared sauna, it allows our body to pull toxins out from deeper levels.
So using an infrared sauna brings out the toxic load out of the body through the sweat glands and increases circulation in the process.
Since the heat penetrates the body and skin, this allows for a more direct effect on detoxing your bowel, urine, and hair and nail growth.
Another great benefit of infrared saunas is that it increases lymphatic drainage.
Infrared saunas also help to increase the core temperatures of the body. Having a low core temperature can lead to hypothermia.
You can also add additional features such as speakers to your sauna room to spice up the environment and ambiance. This will, however, cost you a few extra bucks.
There are a few disadvantages to take note of.
Too much exposure to high temperatures from the lights can lead to dry skin and could have adverse effects of hypotension.
Electrical expertise is required if there are any issues with the infrared lights and this could cost you a few extra bucks.
The price for infrared saunas is normally between $7,000 to $9,000.
Each type of sauna offers more or less the same results and benefits to your body. What sets them apart is the method of heating and the price of each sauna.
If you want a sauna with a mistier environment, then opting for a wet sauna or any steam sauna will surround you with a moist cloud.
However, if you want an environment with no humidity, then the infrared saunas provide you with the same benefits with no cloudy surroundings.
The choice is yours, but we hope we’ve made that choice easier.
If you’ve been scouring the internet looking for your sauna fix, you might have run into the concept of indoor or outdoor saunas.
In reality, this isn’t a true distinction. All saunas are indoor saunas because you need the confines of walls and a sealed room to keep the heat and possibly moisture to keep you warm and sweaty.
Indoor saunas are, quite simply, saunas that are built inside an existing structure. These are the kinds of saunas we see in gyms, spas, and hotels. If you’re thinking of adding a sauna to your home, this is probably going to be more labor-intensive and expensive as you’re going to need to allocate building space to your hot room.
Outdoor saunas are exactly the same as indoor ones, but they’re installed free-standing of your home. While this may be an attractive option at first glance, you need to consider some important factors before committing to one.
Firstly, you need quite a bit of space for the sauna as well as all the wiring and potentially storing firewood and stones. If you live in a tight-knit suburban community, you’re probably not going to have enough room to set up an outdoor sauna in your backyard.
But if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where you have loads of uninhabited space, we say “Go for it.”
If you leave near a river or a body of water, it’s an even better investment You can immerse yourself in the true sauna experience and follow up your 20-minute sweat session by a swim in a cool pond and live as the ancient Finnish did.
While your first foray into sauna research could certainly be intimidating, once you’ve wrapped your head around the fundamentals of the concept, choosing one type of sauna over the other is easy.
All saunas use the same basic principles to allow you to relax and unwind after a hard day of work and keep you feeling at your best.
In truth, whichever type of sauna you choose is up to you and your personal preferences. RELATED: How to use Sauna?