Differences Between Infrared Saunas and Steam Rooms

Infrared sauna or steam room? Infrared saunas use infrared radiant heat, which provides a long list of health benefits and typically heats to a temperature of 100-140°F (15-20 minute heat-up time) with an average running cost of $5 per week. Steam rooms heat the air by turning water into steam, which typically reaches temperatures between 110-130°F (45-minute heat-up time), and costs around $21 per week.

Both infrared saunas and steam rooms provide a unique experience and offer different health benefits. A closer comparison of the 2 should help you determine which is best for you.

Infrared Sauna Benefits

Infrared saunas use far-infrared radiant (FIR) heat from infrared heaters to provide all the benefits of natural sunlight without any negative ultraviolet radiation. Far-infrared light penetrates deep beneath the skin, making them great for treating muscle, joint, and tissue injuries. Infrared saunas also stimulate blood flow, aiding in recovery from illness and helping to improve aches, skin health, sleep, and general well-being.

Perhaps the most immediate relief an infrared sauna can offer is simple stress relief. Just a few minutes in the warmth promotes relaxation, soothing nerves & knotted muscles, helping you to feel rejuvenated and restored in both body and mind. Learn more about the health benefits of infrared sauna use.

Steam Room Benefits

In contrast, steam rooms use water that is heated by stones or a stove to heat and humidify the room through the release of steam. Steam rooms will heat the surface of the skin, which then warms the underlying muscles and tissues. Steam can help clear up your airways to improve breathing during colds and flu, hydrate the skin, and help improve sleep.

Comparing Infrared Saunas & Steam Rooms

However, spending too much time in a steam room can cause heat-related exhaustion and dehydration. Additionally, the inside of an infrared sauna is cooler than a traditional, steam-based sauna, so you can spend more time enjoying all of the health benefits that come with the experience.

Infrared SaunasSteam Rooms
Heating methodInfrared radiant heat produced by ceramic, carbon, graphene, and/or alloy heatersWater is turned to steam, which heats the room and surface of the body
Health benefitsImprove blood flow, aids in muscle & joint recovery, improves skin health, & more (see infrared sauna health benefits)Relaxation, opening of airways
Heat-up time15-20 minutesUp to 45 minutes
Running costsAbout $5 per week (for 1 hour per day)About $21 per week (for 1 hour per day)
InstallationEasy – simple DIY, no strict insulation requirements, many sizes available to fit any space, plug into standard household outletsDifficult – plumbing & electrical requirements, must be airtight, needs sloped ceiling & area to accommodate a drain

So which is best? Infrared sauna or steam room?

Both infrared saunas and steam rooms provide unique experiences and benefits. However, infrared saunas are easier to install, faster to heat up, less expensive to use, and provide a longer list of health benefits.

Check out the GHS selection of infrared saunas below. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions – we’re here to help!