News & Events
Infrared vs traditional sauna – Price, Running cost, benefits Comparision
TL;DR: Infrared sauna is much cheaper to buy, easier to install and much cheaper to run.
The sauna is one of the oldest health and wellness traditions known to man, having originated in Finland over 2,000 years ago. The original saunas were nothing more than crude pits dug into a hillside or berm where they could actually be used as a residence during the cold winter months.
Whether an infrared sauna is better than a traditional sauna is subjective and depends on individual preferences and needs. Both types of saunas have their own unique benefits and drawbacks.
Infrared saunas are designed to penetrate deeper into the body and provide a more intense and penetrating heat compared to traditional saunas. This deeper penetration is believed to have health benefits such as improved circulation, pain relief, and detoxification. Additionally, some people find the heat from infrared saunas to be more comfortable than the heat from traditional saunas, which can be intense and overwhelming for some people.
Traditional saunas, on the other hand, have a more established history of use and have been used for centuries for relaxation and wellness. They also produce slightly different heat, which is wetter and doesn’t penetrate that deep into the tissue.
Ultimately, the choice between an infrared sauna and a traditional sauna will depend on individual preferences, needs, and budget. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional and do your own research before making a decision.
What is an infrared sauna?
An infrared sauna is a particular kind of sauna that generates heat by using infrared heaters to emit infrared radiation, which is absorbed by the body. Despite being generally cooler than traditional saunas, infrared saunas have more health benefits than the traditional saunas
Infrared Sauna – How does it work?
A method of electromagnetic radiation, infrared heat is produced by infrared heaters in an infrared sauna. Instead of warming the sauna room’s air, the heaters warm the body directly. Since the air is not as heated, it may feel more comfortable and easier to breathe in the sauna. The infrared heat absorbed by your body while in an infrared sauna may assist in speeding up your heartbeat and circulation. Numerous health advantages, such as:
• better circulation,
• and momentary relief from stiffness and soreness in the muscles,
might result from this.
The walls of infrared saunas are often covered with infrared heaters and constructed with wooden panels. The body absorbs infrared heat from the heaters.
You usually sit or recline on a bench inside an infrared sauna and allow the heat to warm your body. When using an infrared sauna, it’s crucial to stay hydrated because the heat might cause you to perspire and lose fluids. To keep cool and hydrated, some people choose to carry a towel and water inside the sauna with them.
Infrared Sauna – Heat source
There are variations among infrared saunas. The primary distinction between several types of infrared saunas is the sort of wave they produce. There are near-, middle-, and far-infrared waves in infrared light. All three of the different wavelength varieties have advantages.
- Far-infrared saunas are the favoured option for many people seeking the most potent therapeutic effects since far-infrared wavelengths enter the body the most profoundly past the skin.
- Middle-infrared saunas; It is believed that mid-infrared wavelengths can promote blood circulation and alleviate inflammation.
- Near-infrared: The near-infrared spectrum’s surface-level actions may have their own advantages, such as the potential to promote skin healing.
Some “full spectrum” infrared saunas emit all three types of wavelengths.
Infrared Sauna – Temperature
Infrared saunas typically operate at temperatures ranging from 120-150°F (49-65°C). However, some saunas can reach higher temperatures, up to 170°F (77°C). The exact temperature depends on the model and the user’s preferences.
In most cases, you won’t need any more than 60°C to enjoy the full benefit from the infrared wave. It is hard to last more than 15 min in such heat
Infrared Sauna – Effect on the body
Infrared saunas are designed to penetrate deeper into the body than traditional saunas. Infrared saunas use far-infrared heat, which is a type of electromagnetic radiation that penetrates deeply into the skin and underlying tissues. This type of heat can reach up to 2 inches (5 cm) below the skin’s surface, unlike traditional saunas that only heat the skin’s surface. This deeper penetration is believed to be one of the reasons why infrared saunas are believed to have different health benefits compared to traditional saunas.
Infrared Sauna – Experience
Most people find the experience of an infrared sauna to be relaxing and rejuvenating. The heat can help to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and relieve muscle soreness and pain. Some people may also enjoy the detoxifying effects of increased sweating, which is thought to help remove toxins from the body.
It’s important to note that the intensity of the heat can be adjusted to suit individual preferences and that most saunas are equipped with features like temperature control, lighting, and ventilation to ensure a comfortable experience. Some people may find the heat to be intense at first, but many get used to it after several sessions.
Personally, I prefer the infrared experience but I would never refuse to hop into a traditional sauna either powered by a fire or an electric heater.
How much does it cost to buy an infrared sauna?
The cost of an infrared sauna in Ireland can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as the size, features, and brand of the sauna. On average, the cost of a basic, 1-2 person infrared sauna can range from €2,000 to €3,500. Larger, more luxurious saunas with additional features can cost upwards of €5,000 or more.
It’s important to note that these prices are only rough estimates and that the actual cost of an infrared sauna will depend on a number of factors, including the retailer and the specific model you choose. It’s always best to do some research and compare prices from different retailers to find the best deal. Please check out
Prices of Infrared saunas in Ireland for more info
How much does it cost to run?
The cost of running an infrared sauna can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the sauna, the cost of electricity in your area, and how often you use the sauna. On average, it can cost anywhere from €0.38 to €0.62 per hour to run an infrared a standard 1-2 seater with 1.5KW.
They are much more efficient in terms of electricity usage compared to a traditional sauna.
For example, a standard 1-2 infrared sauna could be 1.5KW – 1.8KW, whereas a standard traditional sauna of the same size would be 2.5KW -3.5KW heater.
Traditional Finnish sauna
What is a traditional Finnish sauna?
The traditional sauna is heated to high temperatures using wood or electric heaters. In a traditional Finnish sauna, water is often thrown onto hot rocks to create steam, known as löyly, which increases the humidity levels and produces steam. This sauna generates a slightly different kind of heat, which is wetter. Although, the temperature of the traditional sauna is higher, it penetrates the tissues only at the surface.
Traditional Sauna – How does it work?
A traditional sauna works by simply heating the air in a small room or cabin to high temperatures, usually between 160-190°F (70-90°C). The heat source can be wood-burning or electric heaters, and the room is typically made of wood to retain the heat. Users sit or lie on wooden benches inside the sauna, where they sweat and their skin is exposed to heat. The heat and humidity of it can be regulated by pouring water onto the hot stones. Some cultures introduce additional features to enhance the sauna experience. Russian Banya, for example, involves moving the air around and compressing it into the body by waving birch leaves to the Banya assistant.
Traditional Sauna – Heat source
The traditional saunas can have two main heat sources: wood-burning and electric heaters.
Wood-burning: In this type of traditional sauna, wood is burned in a stove or heater to heat the air in the sauna room. This type of sauna is more commonly found in rural areas or in traditional Finnish saunas and is preferred for its natural and authentic feel. Many wood-burning mobile saunas popped up around the coast of Ireland recently. These naturally would be near the popular beaches but away from the grid. They are wood or turf powered.
Electric heaters: These saunas use electric heaters to heat the air in the sauna room. Electric saunas are more convenient and easier to use, and they don’t produce smoke or ash like wood-burning saunas. They are also more suitable for urban areas or homes where wood burning is not allowed. A good electric heater, combined with quality stones can provide a top-class experience for the user.
Regardless of the heat source, both types of traditional saunas aim to create a hot and humid environment that promotes sweating and relaxation
Traditional Sauna – Temperature
The temperatures in a traditional sauna typically range between 160-190°F (70-90°C), which are much higher compared to a standard infrared sauna. The exact temperature will depend on factors such as the type of sauna, the heat source, the size of the room, and the desired outcome of the sauna session. The Russian banya can be as high as 90-110°C and very humid!
In a traditional Finnish sauna, the air temperature is typically around 170-185°F (77-85°C). The high temperatures are intended to promote sweating, which helps to detoxify the body and improve circulation. However, it’s important to note that the temperature inside a sauna can vary depending on the time of day, the number of people using the sauna, and other factors.
Overall the traditional sauna is hotter and wetter than a infrared sauna
Traditional Sauna – Effect on the body
The traditional sauna and infrared sauna have different effects on the body due to the differences in the type of heat they produce.
A traditional sauna works by heating the air in the room, which then warms the body as you sit or lie in the sauna. This type of heat causes you to sweat profusely, which helps to remove toxins and cleanse the skin. The heat also promotes relaxation and improves circulation, which can have numerous health benefits, such as reducing stress and muscle pain. Although, the traditional sauna’s heat does not penetrate the tissue as deep as the infrared sauna hence might have fewer health benefits, especially around cardiovascular and brain function improvements.
Traditional Sauna – Experience
As you relax in the sauna, you will feel the heat penetrating your body, which can help to relieve muscle tension, reduce stress, and improve circulation. You can combine the sauna time with a plunge into a cold water every few minutes.
In a traditional Finnish sauna, you may also experience the sensation of steam, known as löyly, as water is thrown onto hot rocks to create humidity. This can further enhance the sweating experience and provide a sense of purification. The heat and humidity can also help to improve breathing, especially if you have nasal or respiratory issues. I have been in many public saunas in eastern Europe where people bring their own medicines and pour them onto the rocks. The hot air allows us to breathe and enjoy the remedies.
The traditional sauna is also a place for socializing and relaxation and can provide a sense of community and connection with others. You may find yourself chatting with other sauna-goers or simply enjoying the quiet and solitude.
How much does it cost to buy a traditional sauna?
In general, the cost of a traditional sauna will depend on the quality of materials and features. The cost of a traditional sauna in Ireland can vary widely depending on factors such as the size of the sauna. On average, a basic traditional sauna can cost anywhere from €4,000 to €7,000, while a high-end sauna with premium materials and features can cost up to €10,000 or more.
Overall traditional saunas are more expensive to buy than the infrared saunas
How much does it cost to run a traditional sauna?
A traditional sauna is much more expensive to run compared to an infrared sauna. The electric heaters are much bigger + a sauna of this type tends to take longer to heat up. The cost to run a traditional sauna in Ireland, per hour, would be approximately €1.90, based on the calculation of 2.5 KW x €0.76.
It’s important to note that this is just an estimate and the actual cost may vary depending on a number of factors such as local energy costs, the size and features of the sauna, and the length of time that it is used. These estimates should be used as a general guide only. We normally look at a standard 1-2 seater sauna
If you already have a 9kW electric shower installed in your house, it may affect your ability to install a 6kW sauna without upgrading your electrical system.
A 9kW shower is a high-powered electrical appliance that requires a dedicated circuit, typically with 8 AWG wiring and a 40 or 50 Amp breaker.
If your electrical panel has enough capacity to handle the additional load of a sauna, then you may be able to install a sauna without upgrading your electrical system.
However, if your electrical panel is already at or near its maximum capacity, you may need to upgrade your electrical service to accommodate the additional load of a sauna. This could involve installing a new electrical panel with a higher amperage capacity, upgrading your service entrance cable and meter, and possibly upgrading your electrical service from the utility company.
It is important to consult with a licensed electrician to assess your electrical system and determine whether it can accommodate a sauna installation without the need for upgrades. If upgrades are necessary, the electrician can provide guidance on the cost and feasibility of the project.
Installing a 1.5kW infrared sauna is generally easier and less expensive than installing a 6kW traditional sauna due to the simpler electrical and construction requirements.
A quick comparison table below
|The infrared light is absorbed directly by the body.
|Heating of air in the room, which then warms the body.
|Effect on the body
|Can penetrate deeper into the body and help to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve circulation.
|Promotes sweating and helps to remove toxins. Improves circulation and reduces stress.
|Typically lower than traditional saunas, around 100-140°F (38-60°C)
|Typically 170-185°F (77-85°C)
|Size of heater
|1.5 KW ( 1-2 seater)
|4.5 KW + (1-2 seater)
|Time to heat up
|Price to buy in Ireland
|€2,000 – €5,000 or more
|€3,000 – €10,000 or more
|Cost to run per hour
|Approximately €0.76 (1.5 KW heater)
|Approximately €1.95 (4.5 KW heater)
|Standard electrical outlet, typically 110-120V
|Might require wiring to a protective device as a safety measure. Might require 3 phase wiring
|Nothing extra required
|Typically requires a licensed electrician to install and wire the circuit
|Nothing extra required
|More complex due to the higher electrical capacity and heavier wiring
|Nothing extra required
|Generally more expensive due to the heavier wiring and additional labor costs
Please use the Calculator below to further estimate your sauna usage