Infrared Saunas Overview
Infrared saunas are a newer technology, and they’re rapidly growing in popularity. Infrared saunas directly heat the body using radiant heat, unlike traditional saunas, which heat the air using electricity, gas or wood stoves.
Infrared saunas offer the same benefits of health and relaxation, but they have lower air temperatures than traditional saunas, ranging from about 100 to 130 degrees. The heat is very dry, with virtually no humidity. The environment feels cooler and milder.
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How Much Does an Infrared Sauna Cost?
Portable infrared saunas start at about $300, but these are probably not what you have in mind when you picture a sauna. These fold-up models look more like tents than traditional saunas. They’re designed for one-person use, and your head sticks out of an opening in the top.
Modular infrared saunas, which are far more common, begin at about $1,000 and range up to about $6,000. On the low end of that price range, you’ll find one-person infrared saunas with very basic features. On the high end, you’ll find saunas that seat four with built-in benches.
Infrared Saunas Pros
- Faster heating time – Infrared saunas heat up much faster. They’re ready to use in about 15 or 20 minutes.
- Cheaper to operate – Infrared saunas are less expensive to operate than traditional electric or gas saunas. They can be operated for about one-quarter of the price of traditional saunas.
- Longer sessions – Because the air temperature is lower, you can stay in an infrared sauna longer – up to 30 or 40 minutes.
Infrared Saunas Cons
- No humidity – Some people prefer the humidity of a traditional sauna. With an infrared sauna, you don’t have the option to control humidity.
- No outdoor use – Infrared saunas are not ideal for outdoor environments or for use in very cold weather.
Traditional Saunas Overview
Traditional saunas provide relatively dry heat, with some humidity, in a wooden room. The room can be heated by electricity, gas or a wood stove. However, the vast majority of traditional saunas are electric.
Traditional saunas feature hot rocks that create steam when water is splashed over them. Users can control the humidity in the room by using more or less water. Traditional saunas get much hotter than infrared saunas, with temperatures ranging from about 160 to 200 degrees.
How Much Does a Traditional Sauna Cost?
Traditional saunas tend to be slightly more expensive because they’re usually made with expensive cedar wood. Cedar is commonly used because of its natural moisture resistance. Most modular saunas cost anywhere from $1,200 to upwards of $6,000, but custom-built varieties can cost $10,000 or more.
Traditional Saunas Pros
- Humidity control – With a traditional sauna, you can adjust the humidity by using more or less water. Find the level of humidity that is comfortable for you.
- Flexible use – Traditional saunas can be used indoors or outdoors. And they stand up well to cold weather.
Traditional Saunas Cons
- Longer to heat – It take about 30 to 45 minutes for a traditional sauna to heat up. Infrared saunas need half the time.
- Shorter sessions – Due to the high heat, recommended use is only 10 to 15 minutes.
- More expensive to operate – Traditional saunas cost significantly more to operate. The operating costs can be up to four times higher.