Different Types of Saunas

types of sauna


Saunas have been used for centuries as a way to relax, detoxify, and improve overall health. While most people are familiar with the traditional Finnish sauna, there are actually many different types of saunas available today. In this article, we will explore seven different types of saunas and explain how they work.

The traditional Finnish sauna is the most well-known type of sauna. It uses dry heat generated by hot rocks to create a relaxing and detoxifying environment. The temperature in a Finnish sauna can range from 170 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, with low humidity levels. This type of sauna is often made of wood and is heated by a wood-burning stove or electric heater.

Another type of sauna is the infrared sauna. Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to emit radiant heat that is absorbed directly by the body. This type of sauna operates at a lower temperature than traditional saunas, typically between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Infrared saunas are often portable and can be used in a variety of settings, including at home.

Smoke Sauna

Smoke saunas, also known as "savusaunas," are a traditional Finnish type of sauna. Unlike other types of saunas, smoke saunas do not have a chimney or any other ventilation system. Instead, the smoke produced by the burning wood is allowed to fill the sauna room, creating a unique and intense heat experience.

The heat in a smoke sauna is generated by a wood-burning stove called a "kiuas." The stove is heated for several hours before the sauna session, and the smoke is allowed to fill the room. Once the smoke has cleared, the sauna is ready for use.

Smoke saunas are typically heated to a temperature of around 80-90°C (176-194°F). The heat is intense and dry, and the lack of ventilation means that the air in the sauna can be quite smoky and dark.

Because of the intense heat and lack of ventilation, smoke saunas are not recommended for everyone. People with respiratory problems or heart conditions should avoid them. However, for those who can handle the heat, smoke saunas can be an invigorating and unique sauna experience.

Wood-Burning Sauna

A wood-burning sauna is a traditional type of sauna that uses wood as the primary source of heat. This type of sauna is popular in many parts of the world, including Scandinavia, Russia, and North America.

The heat in a wood-burning sauna comes from a wood-burning stove or heater. The stove is typically located in a separate room or compartment, and the heat is transferred to the sauna room through a vent or chimney.

One of the advantages of a wood-burning sauna is the authentic and natural experience it provides. The smell of burning wood and the crackling of the fire can create a relaxing and calming atmosphere. Additionally, the use of wood as a heating source can be cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

However, a wood-burning sauna also requires more maintenance and attention compared to other types of saunas. The stove or heater needs to be regularly cleaned and maintained, and the wood supply needs to be replenished. There is also a risk of fire if the stove is not used properly.

Overall, a wood-burning sauna can be a great option for those who value tradition and authenticity. However, it may not be the best choice for those who prefer a low-maintenance sauna experience.

Steam Room and Hammam

Steam rooms and hammams are two types of saunas that utilize steam to create a humid environment. While they may seem similar, there are some key differences between the two.

Steam Room

A steam room is a sauna that uses high humidity and elevated temperatures to create a relaxing and therapeutic environment. It typically operates at a temperature of around 110-120°F and a humidity level of 100%. The high humidity in a steam room can help to open up the pores, improve circulation, and promote relaxation.

Steam rooms are often found in gyms, spas, and wellness centers. They can be made from a variety of materials, including tile, glass, and acrylic. Some steam rooms also come equipped with aromatherapy systems, which add essential oils to the steam to enhance the experience.


A hammam, also known as a Turkish bath, is a traditional type of sauna that originated in the Middle East. It is similar to a steam room in that it uses steam to create a humid environment, but it also involves a series of cleansing rituals.

In a hammam, guests typically begin by relaxing in a warm room before moving to a hot room, where they receive a full-body scrub with a special soap. They then move to a cooler room to rest and relax.

Hammams are often made from marble, and they typically feature intricate tile work and beautiful mosaics. They are a popular attraction in many Middle Eastern countries, and they are also becoming more popular in other parts of the world.

Overall, both steam rooms and hammams offer a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Whether you prefer the simplicity of a steam room or the traditional rituals of a hammam, both types of saunas can help to promote relaxation, improve circulation, and enhance overall well-being.

Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas use infrared light waves to create radiant heat that penetrates the body. These saunas are becoming increasingly popular due to their many health benefits. Infrared saunas are available in different sizes and shapes, including portable saunas that can be used at home.

Infrared saunas use infrared light waves to create radiant heat that penetrates the body. This heat is absorbed by the body, which causes the body to sweat and release toxins. The radiant heat also helps to increase blood flow, which can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Infrared saunas are available in different types of wood, including cedar, hemlock, and basswood. Cedar is the most popular wood for infrared saunas because it has natural antibacterial properties. Hemlock and basswood are also good choices because they are resistant to warping and cracking.

Portable infrared saunas are also available for those who want to use a sauna at home. These saunas are easy to set up and can be used in any room in the house. They are also easy to store when not in use. 

Overall, infrared saunas are a great way to improve your health and well-being. They are safe, effective, and easy to use. The effectiveness and comfort of an infrared sauna session hinge significantly on the chosen infrared sauna temperatureWhether you choose a traditional sauna or a portable sauna, you can enjoy the many benefits of infrared light waves and radiant heat. 

Electric Saunas

Electric saunas are a popular option for those who want a low-maintenance sauna experience. They are easy to install, use, and maintain, and they don't require any special ventilation or chimney systems.

Electric saunas use an electric stove to heat the sauna room. The stove is connected to an electrical outlet and heats up the rocks in the sauna. The rocks then radiate heat throughout the room, creating a warm and relaxing environment.

One of the main benefits of electric saunas is that they are very energy-efficient. They use less energy than traditional wood-burning saunas, and they don't require any fuel or wood to operate. This makes them a more environmentally friendly option, as well as a more cost-effective one.

Another benefit of electric saunas is that they are very easy to control. The temperature can be adjusted with a simple thermostat or control panel, and the heat is consistent and even throughout the room. This makes it easy to achieve the desired level of warmth and maintain it throughout the sauna session.

Overall, electric saunas are a great option for those who want a convenient and easy-to-use sauna experience. They are energy-efficient, easy to control, and require very little maintenance.

Portable Home Sauna

A portable home sauna is a small and lightweight sauna that can be easily moved from one place to another. It is designed for people who do not have space or resources for a traditional sauna, but still want to enjoy the benefits of sauna therapy.

Portable saunas come in different shapes and sizes, but most of them are made of lightweight materials such as canvas or nylon. They are also equipped with a small heating element that can be powered by electricity or a battery.

One of the advantages of a portable sauna is that it can be set up in any room of the house. It does not require any special installation or plumbing, and can be assembled in a matter of minutes. Portable saunas are also easy to store, as they can be folded and put away when not in use.

Another benefit of a portable sauna is that it can be used by multiple people. Unlike traditional saunas, which can only accommodate a few people at a time, portable saunas can be shared by family members or friends.

Portable saunas are also affordable, with prices ranging from $100 to $500. They are a great option for people who want to experience the benefits of sauna therapy without spending a lot of money.

Overall, a portable home sauna is a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy the benefits of sauna therapy. It is easy to set up, can be used by multiple people, and is affordable.

Steam Shower Sauna

The steam shower sauna combines the features of a steam room and a traditional sauna to offer a dual sauna experience. It operates by utilizing a steam generator to produce steam, which is directed into a converted shower enclosure. This creates a humid environment conducive to sweating and relaxation.

Benefits of using a steam shower sauna include detoxification, muscle relaxation, improved skin health, and better respiratory health. However, users should stay hydrated, start with lower temperatures, and limit usage to 20-30 minutes to prevent overheating. In summary, the steam shower sauna provides a versatile and beneficial sauna experience.

Wrapping Up

    Each type of sauna offers different benefits, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and individual needs. Some people may prefer the high temperatures of a traditional Finnish sauna, while others may prefer the lower temperatures and higher humidity of a steam room. Understanding the variations in sauna heat levels is crucial for maximizing the enjoyment of a sauna session, as different types of saunas offer distinct temperature ranges.

    Regardless of the type of sauna chosen, it is essential to follow safety guidelines to avoid any health risks. It is also important to drink plenty of water before and after using a sauna to stay hydrated. And don't forget to acclimatize to sauna heat to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your sauna experience.

    Overall, saunas are an excellent way to relax, reduce stress, and promote overall health and well-being. With so many different types available, there is a sauna for everyone.

    Explore more