side-by-side advantages of infrared sauna sessions over traditional saunas

What are the Advantages of Infrared Sauna Use over Traditional Saunas?

As infrared (IR) saunas grow in popularity among doctors, athletes, and health & wellness lovers as a cheaper alternative to traditional saunas, have you ever wondered – what are the advantages of infrared sauna practices over traditional sauna use? Is there really any difference between them?

On the surface, traditional steam saunas and IR saunas look similar on paper– they emit heat to sweat you out and help release waste products from your body. However, they’re much more far apart than you think.

At SunStream Saunas, we would like to clear up some surrounding IR saunas and showcase their advantages over their traditional counterparts so you can clearly see their pros and cons before buying one.

Key differences – Advantages of Infrared Sauna Practice

While the main difference is the way the saunas are heated IR saunas deviate from that they’re cheaper to buy and run, heat up faster, and can operate at a lower temperature.

Traditional saunas warm up the air through convection heat, which is between 70˚C to 90˚C.  You can achieve convection heat by pouring cold water over wood, gas, or electrically heated stones to create steam in the sauna cabin. 

IR saunas use infrared heating technology to heat the body directly, with most models operating around 45˚C to 65˚C. This heat is directly applied to your body and penetrates your skin deeper than warm air.

Here are the four advantages that an IR sauna has over its traditional cousins:


Unlike traditional saunas which rely on steam to heat your body, an IR sauna heats the body directly. Due to this, you can absorb the radiant heat around you better than warm air while still keeping the cabin’s temperature to a much more comfortable degree.

You can also achieve a deeper penetration with far-infrared (FIR) waves. These FIR waves make it the best IR wavelength for heating your body because it can penetrate the deepest parts of your skin thanks to its high absorption rate.

how advantages of infrared sauna use involve heating differences

Warmup time

One of the key differences between IR saunas and traditional saunas is how they generate heat and how quickly they heat up.

Due to convection heat, traditional saunas take around 30-40 minutes to warm up– which might be a long time to wait for a 10-20 minute session for some people.

IR saunas on the other hand take only 15 minutes to bring up to full temperature since they use infrared rays to create heat. 


Traditional saunas are expensive to build due to the extensive construction, electrical, drainage, and plumbing work needed.

Unsurprisingly, an IR sauna is a lot cheaper to purchase, build, run and maintain than your traditional sauna. Most models are easy to assemble, only requiring a screwdriver and 30-90 minutes of your time.

When it comes to running costs, IR saunas are incredibly energy efficient, only costing you around $0.35/hour for smaller models like our Evolve Mini because they heat up the air quicker.

On the other hand, traditional saunas need to use much more electricity to heat up the room and come with a longer warm up time than IR saunas.

If you’re looking to buy one, it would cost around $3500-$7500 for an IR sauna while traditional saunas will run you around $20,000 or more to build one.

Health Benefits

Both types of saunas contain proven health benefits, but IR saunas have an edge that makes them superior to traditional saunas– infrared wavelengths. 

While these wavelengths penetrate your skin and increase your body temperature better, they also activate a process called vasodilation to offload the excess heat circulating in your body.

Vasodilation means widening or ‘dilating’ the walls of your blood vessels to manage your body temperature, while also increasing your blood flow and lowering your blood pressure.

Here are some known IR sauna benefits thanks to this phenomenon:

  • Muscle recovery – IR saunas aid in muscle recovery by reducing muscle stiffness and accelerating muscle repair.
  • Detoxification – IR saunas help remove these toxins from your body by sweating them out closer to your skin
  • Weight Loss – IR saunas speed up metabolism and decrease water weight faster than traditional saunas. When combined with regular exercise, a 30-minute session can burn around 400-600 calories for every 450 grams of sweat lost.

The Takeaway – Advantages of Infrared Sauna Use

Both traditional and IR saunas are safe, effective, and loved by many due to the numerous health benefits they entail.

However, when comparing the two, IR saunas win thanks to their inexpensive upfront cost, cheap running costs, shorter warmup time, and an overall more comfortable experience.

If you’re browsing and looking to buy one, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to get a recommendation on a model that’s tailor-made for your needs and preferences.