The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Infrared Sauna for Your Home
Infrared saunas aren’t quite as hot as the tub of molten metal Arnold’s character was lowered into at the end of Terminator 2, but they do reach pretty high temperatures … and trigger several beneficial changes in the human body.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's email newsletter on June 15th was titled See You In The Sauna. In it, he listed many of the well-known benefits of sauna use, noting that several studies indicate that sauna use has been associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and reduced mortality rates.
- People who spent roughly 15 minutes in a sauna four to seven times a week reduced their rates of fatal coronary heart disease by nearly 50 per cent.
- Just 30 minutes of sauna time improved arterial function and lowered blood pressure.
- A third study evaluated two groups of people for eight weeks. Both groups were regular exercisers. One group added sauna use to their fitness regimes. The second did not. At the end of the study, the sauna users had lower blood pressure and enjoyed more cardiovascular health than the others.
Our Best-Selling Full-Spectrum Infrared Saunas
|#1 Most Affordable
|#2 Most Durable in Damp Environments
|#3 Best for Holistic Wellness
|Dynamic Saunas Santiago 2 Person Infrared Sauna
|Maxxus 3 Person Infrared Sauna
|Golden Designs Reserve 4 Person Infrared Sauna
What makes it more affordable:
What makes it durable:
Features that provide holistic wellness:
Which Health Issues Are Helped With Sauna Use?
Sauna use is nothing new: the use of various types of heat therapy has been practiced since the beginning of recorded history. Health benefits are likely the biggest reason to consider getting an at-home infrared sauna.
Here are a few things regular sauna use can help with:
- Reduce stress - Participants who used the sauna 5-15 times per month reported higher mental health well-being scores on the SF-12 tool than those who did sauna bathing less frequently.
- Lower blood pressure - Before sauna exposure, individuals had a systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 137 (16) mmHg. This reduced to 130 (14) mmHg after the sauna session and remained so for 30 minutes after.
- Help with weight loss - This study on sauna-induced body mass loss found that underweight individuals lost minimal body mass while overweight and obese individuals lost the greatest body mass.
- Provide better sleep - In a study involving 423 participants, 353 respondents experienced much better sleep quality after sauna use. That's more than 80% of the group. Additionally, 187 participants (44.2%) reported their sleep quality was slightly better.
- Improve immunity - After 7 days of sauna exposure, natural killer T cells (NKT) increased from 5 to 5.9, an increase of about 1.8%. NKT cells fight against a variety of infections and inflammatory conditions.
- Relieve pain - Before the sauna therapy, the individuals rated their pain scale to be between 2-8 with the median being 5. After therapy, the pain intensity reduced to 0-8 with a median of 3.
- Aid muscle recovery - Participants rated their perceived recovery on a scale of 1-5. Individuals who underwent infrared sauna therapy rated their recovery between 0.1 and 0.7 with most people averaging at 0.7. Those who only sat in room temperature (passive recovery) reported scores of -0.5, meaning they felt worse after this recovery period.
No wonder saunas are so hot right now … literally and figuratively!
Why Should I Get a Home Infrared Sauna?
You'll get the same benefits from an infrared sauna regardless of whether you're using a home infrared sauna or going to a gym or spa.
Why get your own? Cost is one reason.
Booking regular sessions can get pricey. To give you an idea of how much it costs, the table below shows the minimum spend per session for 10 wellness organizations in the United States.
|Individual Cost Per Session in Dollars
|Glow Sauna Studios at Mockingbird, Dallas
|Infrared cabin emitting far, mid, and near-infrared waves
|$25 - $45
|Perspire Sauna Studio
|Infrared sauna emitting far, mid, and near-infrared waves
|Functional Medicine of Idaho
|Full spectrum infrared therapy
|Chill Space NYC
|Full spectrum infrared therapy
|Boise Acupuncture Co-op (BAC)
|Far infrared therapy
|Whole Being Massage
|Far infrared therapy
|Ambiance Skin Care & Day Spa
|Infrared sauna therapy
|Royal Thai Spa
|Full spectrum infrared therapy
|Full spectrum infrared therapy
|The Salt Room and Wellness Spa
|Full spectrum infrared therapy
Going by the minimum spends of the businesses above, the average spend per single session is $48. If you go to the spa once a week for a year (52 weeks) then you spend a total of $2,496.
Chances are you'll like it so much, you'll do it year in year out. In just two years, you'll have spent $4,992. In three, $7,488. You get the gist.
Thing is, if you spend just two years going to the spa once a week, it costs you more than it would if you would just get some of our infrared saunas for your home instead.
While saunas range in price, according to things like size, number of heating panels, and materials, buying a sauna is going to save money in the long run.
Not only do regular sauna users end up saving money by installing an at home infrared sauna, they also save themselves the time, gas, and hassle of driving to a gym or spa.
Bundle up the money you'd spend going to a spa, just once a week, get an infrared sauna, enjoy the convenience and only have to pay minimal electricity costs.
The total running costs of operating your home sauna is determined by multiplying the wattage by the number of hours you use it for, by the electricity charge rate per kWh.
Below is a table showcasing our infrared sauna best sellers, their prices, wattage, and total electricity cost you'd pay a year (52 weeks) if you used it for 1 hour every week. We'll use a flat electricity charge rate of 10.81 cents per kWh.
|Cost of the Sauna
|Yearly Electricity Charge for 52 Hours
|Dynamic Saunas Santiago Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna
|Maxxus 3 Person Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna
|Golden Designs Reserve Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna
Taking the example of the Santiago Sauna above, you'll only spend $10.12 a year. In two, you'll spend only $20.24. In three, $30.36. That's saves you so much money yearly than if you were to go to your local spa.
Many people find that once they start seeing and feeling the benefits of sauna use, purchasing their own IR sauna just makes more sense.
Can I Use an Infrared Sauna as a Wellness Spa?
Yes. We can't overstate how beneficial a sauna can be for your physical and emotional well-being.
Let’s face it: we live in stressful times.
According to research by Zippia, 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress. What's more, for 25% of the population, their job is the leading cause of stress.
Stress negatively affects emotional wellbeing including causing:
- Sleep deprivation - 66% of workers reported experiencing lack of sleep due to stress
- Neck pain - 62% of workers suffer from neck pain
- Burnout - A study including 240 participants found that 93 individuals experienced moderate emotional exhaustion while 92 experienced depersonalization
- Depression - Out of 307 nurses in a study, 169 reported experiencing mild depression while 61 experienced mild depression.
- Difficulty sleeping - 34% of participants experienced trouble sleeping
How Infrared Saunas Impact Sleep Positively
The heat action in infrared saunas help sauna users sleep better.
Some of the reasons that people are sleep-deprived or have difficulty sleeping include being stressed out and experiencing body aches.
However, by heating the body using infrared rays, oxidative stress and muscle stiffness are reduced. The presence of ambient lighting and calming music during the session has a soothing effect that helps the user relax.
When you have no body pain and aren't stressing about life you:
- Fall asleep easily
- Are more likely to have uninterrupted sleep
Akinori, an MD practicing Psychosomatic Medicine in the Respiratory and Stress Care Center at Kagoshima University Hospital, Shinichi, practicing Cardiovascular, Respiratory, and Metabolic Medicine, and others investigated the effects of repeated thermal therapy for patients with chronic pain.
One of the aspects investigated during the study was the sleep score evaluated by investigating whether participants:
- Had trouble falling asleep
- Found it challenging to stay asleep
- Woke up frequently during their sleeping hours
- Woke up early
- Felt weary once they were awake
Participants answered yes, sometimes, or no, which were scored as 2, 1, and 0 respectively. The sleep score ranged from 0-10.
Let's simplify our understanding of this. If you had a high score, it meant you experienced poorer sleep quality than those who had low sleep scores.
The group that was exposed to infrared sauna therapy reported lower mean sleep scores of 3.5 (they slept a lot better) than the group that was not treated to infrared therapy. The second group reported mean scores of 4.0.
What's more, sleep quality improved by far in the group that received infrared sauna therapy than in those who only exercised.
Impact of Infrared Saunas on Body Pain
Infrared saunas reduce body pain through the heat they emit. Before exposure to infrared sauna therapy, 37 participants with low back pain had a median verbal rating pain scale of 5. After 15 minutes in a far infrared sauna, it reduced to 3.
They're particularly beneficial because they heat the body directly and penetrate the deep tissues, unlike traditional saunas which heat the air around the sauna.
Heat therapy from infrared saunas alleviate pain by:
- Reducing oxidative stress
- Minimizing muscle spasms and tenderness
- Reducing the viscosity of the fluid in joints which reduces stiffness and improves movement
Infrared Therapy Improves Exhaustion and Burnout
83% of workers experience exhaustion and burnout due to varying reasons including an increase in the workload and lack of support from managers. Infrared heat therapy can improve relaxation (reducing exhaustion and burnout.)
But how can this be achieved, exactly?
Well, the heat emitted from infrared saunas reduces oxidative stress which causes burnout, when present.
Research by Keiko of Seifuso Hospital, Ryoko Chiba Foundation for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, and Chuwa of the Waon Therapy Research Institute found infrared therapy alleviates chronic fatigue syndrome.
In the study, 9 participants diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome were exposed to 30 sessions in an infrared ray dry sauna, twice a day, for 3 weeks.
They included people that experienced:
- Ongoing, unexplained fatigue that negatively affects the person's physical and mental health
- Extreme tiredness—after physical activity—that takes a minimum of 24 hours to recover from
- Lack of enough or quality sleep
- Confusion, trouble remembering things, or poor focus
- Nausea, bowel issues, or a lack of appetite
After the 30 sessions, 7 out of 9 participants showed improved results on more than 4 measurement scales including an improved physical functionality, reduced body pain, general health, vitality and physical functioning.
Just taking as little as 20 minutes in a sauna can make a huge difference.
The Correlation Between Infrared Saunas and Depression
Periodic infrared sauna use alleviates depression symptoms including feelings of misery, hopelessness, loneliness, or the thought that it would be better if one didn't exist.
When a body heats up in an infrared sauna, the blood temperature inhibits sympathetic nerves and promotes the action of the parasympathetic nerves.
Sympathetic nerves kick in when you face a stressful situation and trigger the fight or flight response. On the other hand, parasympathetic nerves mainly conserve energy to be used in body functions later on.
Therefore, parasympathetic nerves help:
- Reduce heart rate
- You take slower and deeper breaths
- Reduce stress, bringing about a state of calm
All these things together, improves one's moods and minimizes depressive episodes.
Can I Use an Infrared Sauna for Post-Workout Recovery?
If you work out regularly, you've probably experienced fatigue, muscle soreness or pain, and reduced muscular performance after exercising. I'll tell you right now: Infrared saunas can improve post-workout recovery.
Infrared heat keeps the muscles from getting too cold, which can cause tightness and reduce the range of motion. But that's not all, the heat causes dilation of blood vessels which improves blood flow.
Because of this, there's less build-up of materials that can cause inflammation and less accumulation of waste in the muscles. Waste accumulation weakens the muscles and causes fatigue.
The heat from the infrared saunas also reduces the sensitivity of nerves which reduces pain levels.
Additionally, exposure to infrared heat helps recover muscular strength and performance, as the study by Essi, Johanna, Eero, and Heikki of the Neuromuscular Research Center in Finland found.
What Benefits Do Infrared Saunas Offer Over Steam Saunas?
While traditional saunas are still a tried-and-true option, loads of people are discovering that a far infrared sauna is the superior option for their needs, and here are some reasons why:
Get a Deeper Heat
Infrared saunas use infrared light to penetrate and heat the body directly, unlike steam saunas which heat the air in the sauna. The infrared light penetrates further below the skin than ambient heat from the air.
As a result of the deep penetration, infrared rays can increase an individual's core temperature by 1.0 to 1..2 degrees Celsius within 15 minutes. On the other hand, traditional saunas can only increase core temperature by 0.2 to 1.0 degrees Celsius.
Additionally, infrared heat therapy can maintain the core heat increase for a longer time to improve health benefits like detoxification, while people can quickly dissipate heat in traditional saunas. For users in traditional saunas to reap similar health benefits, the heat has to be as high as 212°F.
Such high heat is not only intolerable, it may cause accidental burns.
Lower Peak Heat Point
Have you ever been out on a really hot day? Then you must know how uncomfortable it gets. And let's not even get into the fact that exposure to high temperatures can cause dehydration and increase the risk of heat-related illnesses.
In short, very high temperatures can make sauna sessions extremely uncomfortable, cause burns, and hyperthermia.
If you're using a traditional sauna, temperatures need to be very high to heat the air around you, before heating your body. On the other hand, infrared saunas operate at lower temperatures because they heat the body directly.
You will experience more comfort in an infrared sauna as they usually heat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit while a traditional sauna typically reaches between 176 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The peak heat point is much higher.
Better Energy Efficiency
Another reason why an infrared sauna makes a great addition to your home is that it is more energy efficient in terms of the energy it uses and the time it takes to heat up.
To put things into perspective, an infrared sauna heats up in about 20 minutes compared to a traditional sauna, which takes about 40 minutes.
The table below compares the cost of energy use for a single 1-hour session for traditional and infrared saunas using Idaho Power, between September and May. It also includes the total cost if used for 52 hours for the same flat rate price.
|Type of Sauna
|Price(Dollars Per kWh)
|Electric Cost per 1-hour Session ($)
|Electric Cost if Used for 52 hours ($)
|SunRay Saunas Westlake 3-Person Traditional Sauna
|SunRay Saunas Rockledge 2-Person Traditional Sauna
|SunRay Saunas Eagle 2 Person Traditional Sauna
|Golden Designs Reserve 4 Person Far Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna
|Maxxus 3 Person Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna
|Dynamic Saunas Santiago 2 Person Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna
Let's compare electricity usage between saunas of similar capacity, as that's a consideration to make.
The SunRay Saunas Westlake Traditional Sauna and Maxxus 3 Person Full Spectrum Sauna both fit 3 people comfortably. However, the former incurs an annual electric charge of $22.97 while the later costs $11.23. It will cost you twice as much to use the traditional sauna.
Overall, the infrared saunas incur lower electricity expenses compared to the traditional saunas.
Additionally, the infrared heaters emit light that's directly absorbed by the body. Heating the body directly uses less electricity than heating an entire room, like in traditional saunas.
If you're just getting started in sauna bathing, you should seriously consider getting an infrared sauna to enjoy these fantastic benefits.
Why Choose an Infrared Sauna?
Far infrared saunas also have a few other advantages over traditional saunas. Let’s look at a few reasons they’re becoming so popular.
Many people find an infrared sauna more comfortable than regular ones, because the temperature is usually lower. The temperature in an infrared sauna is usually about 140°F or 60°C while traditional saunas heat up to 176°F to 212°F.
But don't take my word for it. Actual research studies have been done and they show as much.
In a study investigating infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 76.5% of participants reported having a positive experience during the sauna sessions at 131°F. Here's the breakdown:
- 52.9% of participants reported feeling comfortable
- 11.8% felt very comfortable
- 11.8% were neutral
Additionally, 35.3% of participants ailing from ankylosing spondylitis (AS) reported feeling very comfortable during their infrared sauna session.
Another study exposed participants to sauna sessions between 176°F and 194°F (typical temperatures in traditional saunas.) Participants rated each sauna exposure as hot and very uncomfortable.
If the heat and humidity of a steam sauna is too much for you, an infrared sauna may be a better fit.
Believe it or not, you may find that putting your infrared sauna together is easier than assembling a desk or crib.
Most of our customers are able to assemble their infrared saunas in a few short hours. Below is a video illustrating an easy installation of the Dynamic Saunas.
Versatile & Useful
No matter how much space you have to work with, or what kind of room you have, you’ll be able to find an infrared sauna that suits your needs.
Want to put one in a corner? We have those. Want to turn your extra bathroom into a sauna? We can find one that fits.
Effective Energy Consumption
They preheat faster and are more energy efficient than traditional saunas. Below is a table comparing the energy consumption between 3 infrared saunas and 3 traditional saunas of similar capacity.
|Type of Sauna
|Number of People it Holds
|Total Energy Consumption if Used for 100 Hours (Wattage X No. of Hours)
|Dynamic Saunas Santiago 2 Person Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna
|SunRay Saunas Baldwin 2 Person Traditional Indoor Sauna
|Maxxus 3 Person Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna
|SunRay Saunas Westlake 3-Person Traditional Sauna
|Golden Designs Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna
|SunRay Saunas Tiburon 4-Person Traditional Indoor Sauna
As the table above illustrates, infrared saunas consume half the amount of electricity that traditional saunas of the same capacity use. Here's an quick example:
Both Golden Designs Far Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna and SunRay Saunas Tiburon Traditional Sauna can fit 4 people comfortably. However, the former (infrared) consumes only 2.4kWh while the latter (traditional) consumes 6kWh.
So if used for a hundred hours, the Infrared sauna would consume 240kWh while the traditional sauna would consume 600kWh. That's a mega difference in cost.
The question isn't why would you install an infrared sauna at home but why wouldn’t you?
What Is the Best Infrared Sauna?
There are quite a few things to consider when choosing the best infrared sauna for your home.
Let’s start with the basics.
Most infrared saunas have some standard features:
- Bluetooth stereo and speakers allow you to enjoy your favorite music or podcast on an integrated sound system
- Ergonomic backrests allow for a comfortable position, ensuring that your sauna experience is as relaxing as possible
- Tempered glass doors are not just aesthetically pleasing: they contain the heat inside the sauna and allow for light to enter. They’re also safer, as people can see in and out of the sauna
- Low EMF Far Infrared Heating Panels
- Adjustable roof vents allow the user to control the temperature inside the sauna
There are also many features that vary a bit, depending on what sauna you get.
Let’s discuss size.
Compact 1 - 2 Person Saunas
If you live by yourself or with only one other person, you likely aren't going to need a large sauna.
Two person saunas are also perfect options for those with smaller homes.
Don't assume that a 2-person infrared sauna will feel cramped: there's ample room for one or two. In fact, many couples find that enjoying light therapy is a wonderful way to spend time together.
These are also a great option for someone who uses a sauna for private time.
And while many smaller saunas are only the size of a phone booth or small bathroom, they offer that beautiful, relaxing feel of larger ones in an energy efficient unit. You'll still get to enjoy the breathtaking look and feel of natural wood, whether it's reforested Canadian hemlock wood, red cedar, or a different type.
You don't have to sacrifice functionality for size. A two person sauna can be a stunningly attractive addition to your home.
- People with smaller homes or yards
- People who want saunas for private time, rather than social time
Mid Size 4 - 8 Person Infrared Saunas
Do you have a larger family? Do you regularly get together with friends or siblings? Love fitness and hosting parties?
A four to eight person infrared sauna may be your best bet.
Many people consider that the best home infrared saunas are those that can fit four or more people, because of the added versatility.
And, if you're looking for the best outdoor infrared sauna, it may also just make more sense to go for a larger one.
This is also a great choice for athletic families. If your children are on sports teams, they may benefit from both the mental and physical perks of regular sauna use.
Saunas are a great place for anyone to spend quality time with their closest friends.
This is also a good choice for athletes and those who want to rent their homes out via Airbnb or similar services.
Some people work out inside their saunas. If you’re a fan of hot yoga, for instance, you may find that installing your own outdoor sauna actually saves you time, money, and gas, as you won’t be travelling to a studio.
Larger infrared saunas work the same way as the smaller units do: they just have more heating panels. You can also customize the heating experience using the available control panels.
- People who like to socialize in saunas
- Fitness/Yoga Integration
- Airbnb hosts
Want a Portable Infrared Sauna? Try an Infrared Sauna Blanket
There are also infrared sauna options for those who don't have a lot of room.
An infrared sauna blanket is a great option for renters, and those in small spaces.
Portable saunas do exist.
However, we think that the best and most convenient form of portable infrared sauna is the sauna blanket.
Infrared sauna blankets are legit infrared saunas. Just like the full-size infrared saunas, they use far infrared rays to create heat, and provide the same benefits as any other infrared sauna.
A sauna blanket isn't much larger than the typical sleeping bag. Your portable sauna will also typically come with a remote control and a carry bag. Many infrared sauna blankets also come with a heating foot pad and foldable chair.
You'll also find that an infrared sauna blanket is much easier on the wallet than a full-sized infrared sauna.
Of course, the best thing about a sauna blanket is the fact that you can bring your own personal portable sauna along when you're going on vacation or even just visiting friends or family.
There often isn't much cost difference between the best portable infrared sauna and the smallest home sauna. They both use far infrared heating technology.
However, a tent-style portable sauna doesn't even come close to the look of a Canadian hemlock wood against a tempered glass door.
Sauna blankets are also easier to use and set up than many portable saunas. This is a great option for college athletes, people who travel frequently, renters, and those who don't plan to stay in their current homes very long.
The sauna blanket is also pretty popular with people who just can't function without saunas.
Many sauna enthusiasts choose to install a far infrared sauna, and then get a sauna blanket for travel.
- People with small spaces
- Condo dwellers
- Those who move or travel a lot
- People who want a more affordable option
Are Outdoor Saunas the Best Infrared Saunas? They May Be!
Looking to elevate your backyard or patio? Do you want to go all-in, and get a luxury infrared sauna?
Many people feel that the best at home infrared saunas are those made for outdoor use.
There are some benefits to choosing an outdoor sauna.
Sitting inside a gorgeous wood sauna while looking at pretty scenery or the yard you’ve worked so hard for can immediately soothe you. Add your favorite music, and you’re immediately going to find yourself melting into a calming, relaxing frame of mind.
Cold Bath Integration
If you want to integrate your sauna use with swimming and/or ice baths, incorporating a sauna into your pool area is a great option.
Even the best luxury infrared sauna often costs less than many typical upgrades, such as remodeling a bathroom.
According to Architectural Digest, a bathroom remodel can cost about $10,978 on average to remodel a bathroom. The cheapest you can spend on a remodel is $2500 but depending on the size and bathroom features it can go up to $80,000.
Instead of incurring huge costs with a remodel, consider purchasing an outdoor sauna like the Grandby Outdoor 3-Person Infrared Sauna (Click to see how much you can save.) A life-long investment choice that you won't regret.
Choosing an outdoor space also allows you to have more versatility in where and how you place your sauna. You can set it off your pool, or tuck it into a more secluded corner.
You don’t need a huge yard, either. You can fit an outdoor sauna into many small urban yards.
Maryland is one of the states that has the smallest yard sizes. According to Today's Homeowner, the average yard size in Maryland is 7599 square feet.
Yet even this small size yard can hold an outdoor infrared sauna like the Burlington 2 Person Sauna, which has a footprint of 2565 square inches. That's approximately 17.8 square feet.
Just imagine what you can do with all the extra space in your backyard. We bet that the Today's Homeowner team has some great ideas.
- Nature enthusiasts
- Those who don’t want to give up interior space
- People interested in incorporating pools or ice baths into their sauna time
What Materials Are the Best Infrared Saunas Made Of?
Wood is hands down the best material for infrared saunas. It’s been the material of choice for saunas for hundreds of years, long before the far infrared sauna was invented, and with good reason.
It doesn't get hot to the touch, which helps make infrared saunas comfortable.
It's durable, which means it's able to withstand the high temperatures in a sauna without cracking, swelling, or breaking.
Many of the woods used in infrared sauna construction also have antifungal properties.
Certain woods also provide aromatherapy benefits.
And, unlike tile, porcelain, or glass, wood won't crack or break, even if you crank that heater up to the maximum temperature, which may be as much as 220F.
Wood also offers that beautiful, natural aesthetic. Certain woods get darker over time, which offers a pleasing aesthetic. Wood also has natural patterns which add to the beauty and soothing feel. It also matches any style of décor.
That said, some woods are better than others.
For instance, pine can be knotty. This is fine for some parts of a sauna, but you don't want a bench made of knotty wood, as this can cause skin issues.
What Kind of Wood Is Best for an Infrared Sauna?
Saunas can be made from a variety of different woods, including pine, basswood, and eucalyptus.
But when it comes to the best, there are three clear contenders: Cedar, Hemlock, and Canadian Aspen.
Also known as Pacific Cedar, or Giant Cedar, Western Red Cedar is one of the best possible options for infrared saunas. Its beautiful red color, like in the Maxxus 3 Person Infrared Sauna, offers an immediately relaxing feel. It's resistant to fungus, and won't swell or crack.
Cedar also offers great insulation. It's used in many of the best infrared saunas, and is popular for outdoor saunas. The surface of your infrared sauna will stay cool, even while the heating panels raise your body's core temperature.
Another reason that Red Cedar is considered top of the line? It won’t rot, which means it will last a very, very long time.
Here's a picture showing what a finished Western red cedar wood panel looks like:
Image source: columbiaforestproducts.com
Hemlock offers a minimalistic, natural Scandinavian look synonymous with hygge's essence. (That means cozy).
It’s a very hardy wood, and is stable and water-resistant, which makes it a great choice for saunas. Canadian Hemlock is one of the most popular woods for sauna construction.
They're beautiful to look at, durable and, overall, excellent choices.
Have a look at the Hemlock color swatch below:
Image source: forestry.com
Canadian Aspen has a creamy gray to light brown color and a silky gloss that make the most beautiful sauna exteriors I've ever seen.
This hardwood offers many wood-working advantages that make it a prime wood to use in saunas. It's one of the best woods to paint, and it readily accepts stain finishing.
Saunas made using Canadian Aspen usually age to a light gray color with moderate shine. And if it's made using thermally treated Aspen like the Finnmark Designs Infrared Sauna, you never have to worry about rot, chipping, or warping.
Would you take a look at the beautiful finishing on Aspen wood panel below? Sheesh.
Image source: anyonewood.com
Should I Get a Far Infrared or Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna?
Another thing to decide is whether to go with far infrared or full spectrum.
Both types use infrared heat.
Full spectrum incorporates near, mid, and far infrared light.
Far infrared saunas, as the name suggests, only use far infrared light. In fact, many people refer to far infrared saunas simply as infrared saunas, because saunas need to incorporate far infrared light for that heating effect.
Near infrared is the nearest to visible light, while far infrared is closer to microwaves.
While shorter, near infrared wavelengths are microscopic, far infrared wavelengths are about the size of a pinhead.
Only far infrared light produces enough heat to trigger reactions inside the body.
Full-spectrum infrared saunas use far, mid, and near-infrared light wavelengths. These different wavelengths reach various depths in your skin.
What Are the Benefits of Choosing a Full-Spectrum Over a Far Infrared Sauna?
A full spectrum sauna may be more helpful in addressing certain health issues, such as chronic pain, arthritis, inflammation, and joint pain.
Far infrared saunas are still helpful here. However, a full spectrum sauna may provide additional relief in these areas.
- Those battling chronic pain or certain medical issues
- Athletes looking to improve muscle recovery
- Anyone coping with joint pain, stiffness, or soreness.
Which Heating Elements Are Best for Infrared Sauna Use?
There are a few other things you may want to consider. Ideally, you want to customize your infrared sauna experience so that it works for you.
Different types of saunas also utilize different heating elements and heating panels. The main 3 are carbon heaters or carbon heating panels, infrared emitters, and ceramic heaters.
You may also want to incorporate infrared stones to improve the effectiveness of heat distribution as they are able to hold heat well.
Here's a table containing the 3 main types of infrared heat emitters, that compares their effectiveness for deep treatment, cost, and energy efficiency.
|Type of Heater
|Effectiveness of the Deep Treatment
|Cost (High, Mid, or Low)
|Carbon infrared heat emitters/ Carbon crystal heating panels
|Highly energy-efficient as they heat up more at lower temperatures than ceramic heaters
|Infrared heat emitters
|Less effective than carbon emitters
|Less expensive than carbon emitters
|More efficient than ceramic heaters, less efficient than carbon infrared heaters
|Ceramic infrared heaters
|Less effective than both carbon and infrared heat emitters
|Less expensive than both carbon and infrared emitters
|Less efficient than carbon heaters but more efficient than traditional convection heaters
Some infrared saunas use a combination of heaters like carbon and ceramic heaters, which improves the overall sauna experience.
For instance, carbon heaters emit far infrared rays which penetrate deep into the skin, improving circulation, and pain relief.
On the other hand, ceramic heaters emit mid infrared and near infrared rays which are beneficial for the skin.
Combining these two heating elements gives you the best of both worlds.
Other saunas may also include infrared stones which improve heat distribution.
Does Joe Rogan Use an Infrared Sauna?
Arnold isn’t the only celebrity sauna fan.
Joe Rogan is also a fan. The popular podcaster is very interested in health and fitness and often invites experts in various aspects of wellness care onto his show.
Rogan’s discovery of sauna use has been well-documented. After an early session, he posted a video on Facebook describing the experience, and noting that he immediately saw an improvement in his tendonitis.
Now a regular sauna user, Rogan has discussed the benefits of sauna with a few of his regular guests.
The podcaster also incorporates regular sauna use into his physical fitness regimen, and has noted that sauna use increased his endurance.
He has had several discussions about sauna use with repeat guest Rhonda Patrick, a biomedical scientist.
Patrick, who is the host of the Found My Fitness podcast, is also a devout sauna user. She has dived deeply into the research about saunas and their benefits, both as a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience and on her own podcast.
A keen sauna user herself, Rhonda is well-versed when it comes to research about sauna use. Some of the studies she has discussed are pretty impressive, including one that linked sauna use to a whopping 40 per cent reduction in all causes of mortality.
One study by Harvard found that sauna use:
- Aids removal of metabolic waste by-products, such as carbon dioxide
- Promotes a rise in heart rate
- Improves cardiac output
- Aids release of toxins, such as nitric oxide
- Increases vasodilation
- Promotes overall cardiometabolic health
We also know that sauna use helps treat certain issues, such as high blood pressure. Rhonda is also monitoring new research and stays up to date with ongoing studies about the benefits of sauna use.
The two also discussed the findings that, although sauna use and physical activity are both beneficial, a combination of the two provides the most benefits.
Back to Joe Rogan.
Currently, Rogan has saunas both at his house and at his podcast studio. He uses both infrared saunas and traditional saunas, alternating between them depending on what benefits he is looking for on that particular day.
“The Sauna is a GAME CHANGER.” Joe Rogan says. "It really makes a big difference in my cardiovascular activity." Source
How Do I Use My Infrared Sauna?
The best infrared sauna in the world is really just the best infrared sauna for you.
No matter which one you choose, or what kind of heating elements it incorporates, you still need to use it properly.
Here are a few tips for that:
#1 Start Slow
If you aren't used to IR saunas, start with shorter sessions. About 15 or 20 minutes is a good start. You also want to work your way up heat wise.
This is one benefit of infrared saunas, as they aren't as hot as traditional saunas.
#2 Stay Hydrated
This is key to maximizing the health benefits of infrared sauna use. Drink lots and lots of water before, during, and after using your infrared sauna.
#3 Don't Drink and Sauna
Having a cold margarita while relaxing in that infrared heat may sound nice, but is actually dangerous. The heat inside the sauna can exacerbate the effects of the alcohol. This is bad for the heart, and can also lead to slips, falls, or even unconsciousness.
Two studies investigating the cause of death in saunas clearly show the role of alcohol.
The first study by Anders PhD, MD investigated the causes of sauna deaths in Sweden. 71% of 69 cases of death in the sauna tested positive for high blood alcohol concentration.
Similar results were observed in the second study as more than 50% of the deceased had alcohol in their blood.
Stay safe. Don't drink before or during your sauna session.
What Are Some Warning Signs to Look Out for When Using Infrared Saunas?
Here are some red flags to watch for, that could indicate your body isn’t coping with the high temperatures well:
If you notice any of these things, end your session immediately and drink some water. Call your doctor just to be safe, as these things could be indicative of a yet-undiagnosed medical issue.
You should also consult your doctor before using the sauna if you have low blood pressure, are pregnant or nursing, or have chronic pain or illnesses, particularly heart disease or diabetes.
Should You Wipe Sweat in Sauna?
Yes, you should wipe your sweat periodically during your sauna session, especially if you're sharing the sauna with others. Otherwise, it can get pretty messy.
Use a body towel as needed during the session.
This will actually prompt your body to sweat even more, as it will want to replace that cooling moisture on your skin.
Putting a clean towel down on the bench is important for sanitary reasons, but it can also help prevent skin irritation.
You should also shower after your infrared sauna session, both to cleanse your skin and help your pores close up again.
Is It Okay to Use An Infrared Sauna Every Day?
Yes. It is safe to use an infrared sauna every day. You may even see some of the health and wellness benefits more quickly with daily use.
A study investigating the link between sauna bathing and cardiovascular disease found that participants who used the sauna twice as often—about 4 to 7 times a week—got twice the health benefits, and were 50% less likely to die from cardiovascular illnesses.
Furthermore, they were 40% less likely to die of any causes of premature death. It didn't matter what their age, activity levels, or lifestyle. The findings remained true in all cases.
Purchasing a sauna is definitely a logical move for anyone who wants to use saunas daily.
However, that doesn't mean you have to use infrared saunas every day.
How Long Should I Stay in a Sauna?
Sauna sessions don't have to take long: even spending 15 minutes in one a few times a week can prove beneficial.
Most sauna users aim for about 3 or 4 weekly sessions, with the average time spent in a sauna ranging from about 20 to 45 minutes. Many people need time to work up to longer IR sauna sessions.
We recommend starting slow and deciding what the perfect infrared sauna session looks like to you.
Should You Moisturize After Infrared Sauna?
Moisturizing your skin after sauna use isn't just something you can do, it's something you should do. One reason sauna use has been growing in popularity is that it is great for your skin.
Getting rid of those toxins can make a huge difference to your skin radiance. Your skin will need some TLC before and after your sauna session, though.
Moisturizing after infrared sauna sessions is important for skin rehydration. You lose a lot of water sweating in an infrared sauna.
You should moisturize with your favorite lotion or serum after your sauna.
Can I Eat Right After Using My Far Infrared Sauna?
Yes, you can eat right after an infrared sauna session. Actually, your body may need that nourishment to replenish itself after your sauna session.
However, don’t give in to the urge to dig into a bag of chips or French fries.
That won't exactly undo all of the benefits of your sauna session, but it isn't going to help.
What Should I Eat After a Far Infrared Sauna Session?
If you want salt, try putting some on a veggie, such as a cucumber, or a boiled egg.
Additionally, eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats can support body recovery after the session.
Pay attention to how your body feels after and avoid heavy meals if you feel a bit of nausea coming on.
Most importantly, you'll want to drink cold water to rehydrate you body as needed.
Shopping for the Best Infrared Saunas: Final Tips
Do you have questions about choosing an infrared sauna? Are you stuck trying to pick between a few potential best-infrared saunas?
Reading infrared sauna reviews is a good start.
You can also give us a call here at Sun Valley Saunas.
We're happy to go over features and specifications, discuss the health benefits infrared saunas provide, or go over some of the nerdy aspects of far infrared technology, like the oxygen ionizer or ceramic heaters versus carbon heaters.
Author's Note: Updated on 29th November, 2023. Includes links to products and journal articles that support the assertions, the benefits of infrared saunas including promoting the reduction of body weight, detoxification and efficient use of electricity.
Wes McMahon, is the founder of Sun Valley Saunas and a seasoned ski town sauna enthusiast. In early 2021, Wes transitioned from being an attorney and sauna aficionado in Sun Valley, Idaho, to founding Sun Valley Saunas. His deep appreciation for the Finnish sauna tradition has helped him understand and select high-quality, hand-built saunas for customers throughout North America. Combined with his understanding of the therapeutic and communal benefits of sauna culture, he advocates for the wellness practices that saunas can bring to your overall health. Got questions? Get in touch by calling 1-855-963-5665 or
Important: The information provided in our articles about saunas and related topics is intended for general informational and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your healthcare practitioner before using saunas, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are pregnant. Individual health needs vary, and what benefits one person may not be suitable for another.