Dry Sauna vs Wet Sauna: Which One is Better for You?

Dry Sauna vs Wet Sauna: Which One is Better for You?

Saunas are an amazing way to chill out, feel more relaxed, and even get some health perks, but picking the right type of sauna can be a bit confusing since there are so many out there. The two types you'll hear about most are dry saunas and wet saunas, which some people call steam rooms.

With different temperatures and humidity levels, they create distinct atmospheres that cater to various preferences. Now, the big question is, how do you know which one is the best fit for you?

Don't worry, we're here to help you figure it out.

What Are Dry Saunas and How Do They Work?

Dry saunas, often called Finnish saunas, are pretty cool because they use dry heat to make you sweat. Imagine a room where the air is super hot, between 158°F and 212°F (that's 70°C to 100°C), but it doesn't feel sticky because there's not much humidity. Here's how they work and what you do:

  • The heat comes from a stove that might use wood, gas, or electricity to get really hot.
  • Because the air is so dry, you start sweating a lot, which is great for cleaning out your skin and making your muscles feel more relaxed.

When you decide to use a dry sauna, here's a simple guide on what to do:

  1. Start with a shower: It's important to clean off any lotions or oils so you can sweat properly.
  2. Chill in the sauna for 10-20 minutes: Sit on a bench and enjoy the heat. If it's your first time, maybe don't make it too hot right away. Give your body a chance to get used to it.
  3. Wipe off sweat with a towel: This helps to cool you down a bit and get your blood circulating nicely.
  4. Finish with another shower: It cools you down and helps to stop you from getting dehydrated. Plus, it's refreshing.
  5. Take a little break: Before you jump back into your day, rest for a few minutes to let your body adjust back to normal.

Going to a dry sauna can do some awesome things for you, like making your blood flow better, relaxing tight muscles, and cleaning your skin by getting rid of toxins.

Incorporating a dry sauna into your wellness routine can lead to numerous health benefits, including:

  • Improved cardiovascular health: Regular use may enhance heart function and circulation.
  • Stress reduction: The heat may help to relax the body and mind, reducing overall stress levels.
  • Pain relief: Heat therapy may alleviate muscle soreness and joint pain.
  • Skin purification: The sweating process may clear pores and rejuvenate the skin.

What Are Wet Saunas and How Do They Work?

Wet saunas, also known as steam rooms, bring a whole different vibe compared to dry saunas. Think of walking into a cloud of warm steam that wraps around you. That's what it feels like. They run at a lower temperature than dry saunas, usually between 110°F and 120°F (around 43°C to 49°C), but the game changer here is the humidity, which cranks up to about 100%. Here's the lowdown on how they tick:

  • The magic starts when water gets poured over hot rocks or through a steam generator. This kicks off the steam party.
  • That steam fills up the room, making it feel like a tropical rainforest. Because of the high humidity, your pores say "hello" and open up, making you sweat and helping to boot out toxins from your body.

Wet saunas are perfect for people looking to loosen up stuffy noses or moisturize their skin because that moist heat is like a balm for congestion and dry skin issues, including eczema. Just chilling in there for a while can make your skin feel super soft and can ease breathing for some.

Wet saunas offer a unique set of benefits, emphasizing hydration and respiratory health:

  • Enhanced hydration: The moist heat may help to moisten the skin and respiratory passages.
  • Improvement in respiratory conditions: This may be useful for alleviating symptoms of conditions like asthma and sinusitis.
  • Skin health: Moist heat may help with skin conditions such as eczema by hydrating the skin.
  • Relaxation: The steam environment may help to relax muscles and reduce stress.

However, they're not one-size-fits-all. If you have trouble with a lot of humidity like if it's hard for you to breathe in very humid places, or if you have certain health conditions, especially ones that affect your heart or breathing, a wet sauna might not be your best bet. Like with dry saunas, checking in with your doctor beforehand is a smart move.

What is The Difference Between Dry Saunas and Wet Saunas?

What is The Difference Between Dry Saunas and Wet Saunas?

Understanding the differences between dry saunas and wet saunas is crucial for picking the best option for your health and wellness goals. The key distinction lies in the heating method and humidity levels. A dry sauna keeps the air hot and dry, using either electric stoves or wood fires, with low humidity levels, while a wet sauna, or steam room, introduces steam to maintain high humidity, up to 100%.

The impact of these environments on your health varies. If you have issues with your lungs or breathing, like asthma or allergies, a wet sauna's moist air can make it easier for you to breathe. It's like when you breathe in the steam from a hot soup when you're feeling stuffy. On the other hand, a dry sauna's high heat can loosen up your muscles, which is great after a hard workout or if your skin feels too dry.

Here's a quick comparison to highlight their differences and benefits:


Dry Sauna

Wet Sauna







Heating Method

Hot stones or electric stoves

External steam generator


Wood (pine, cedar, spruce)

Ceramic, glass, or plastic


Graded seating with higher temperature

Graded seating with higher humidity

Choosing between a dry sauna and a wet sauna depends on what you're looking to get out of your sauna experience and any specific health concerns you might have.

Which One is Better For You?

Which One is Better For You?

Deciding between a dry sauna and a wet sauna boils down to what you're looking for in terms of health and wellness. If you love the idea of chilling out and reducing stress, dry saunas might be your pick. They're all about that soothing, dry heat that helps you relax, eases muscle tension, and boosts your mood.

Plus, if you're into fitness or trying to lose some weight, dry saunas could be a game-changer for you. Researchers have found that chilling in a dry sauna can crank up your metabolism, potentially helping you burn extra calories.

And for those looking out for their heart, UCLA Health says that hanging out in a dry sauna can do wonders, like lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow, slashing the risk of heart issues.

On the flip side, if your skin feels as dry as a desert, a wet sauna might just be your oasis. The warmth from a wet sauna gets your blood pumping, and according to the Cleveland Clinic, this boost in circulation means more oxygen gets to your skin, making it look fresh and glowy.

Not a fan of detox drinks? Well, wet sauna sessions might be right up your alley. The steamy air makes you sweat out toxins, leaving you feeling refreshed. And for those of us battling with clogged noses or annoying allergies, stepping into a wet sauna could feel like a breath of fresh air.

Medical News Today shares that the moist heat can help clear up your nasal passages and make it easier to breathe, which is super helpful for folks dealing with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Remember, your choice should match your wellness goals and personal health needs. Keep yourself hydrated, listen closely to your body, and don't hesitate to cut your sauna session short if things get uncomfortable.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Sauna

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Sauna

When you're deciding on the perfect sauna to add to your wellness routine, there are a few key points to keep in mind to ensure you pick the one that fits your needs the best. Here’s what you should consider:

  1. Decide on the Type of Heat:
  • Dry saunas use hot rocks or electric heaters to create dry heat.
  • Wet saunas, or steam rooms, generate humidity through steam.
  1. Consider the Size:
  • If space is limited, a compact sauna might be the best fit.
  • For more room and comfort, especially if you plan on enjoying your sauna with others, consider a larger model.
  1. Look for Energy Efficiency:
  • Choose saunas that are well-insulated and feature energy-efficient heaters to save on energy bills.
  1. Choose Quality Materials:
  • Opt for saunas made from high-quality, moisture-resistant materials like cedar or hemlock.
  1. Consider Additional Features:
  • Think about extras like built-in speakers, lighting, extra seating, or storage options. Decide what’s important to you.

Following these steps will help you choose the right sauna, ensuring you get to enjoy all the rewarding health benefits it offers, from improved circulation and skin health to stress relief and better respiratory function.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Is It Safe To Be in a Sauna?

The safe time to stay in a sauna depends on the person and the heat level. But a good rule is to stay inside for 15 to 20 minutes. If you start to feel dizzy or uncomfortable, it's time to leave.

How To Use Wet and Dry Saunas?

To use a wet or dry sauna, start slow, especially if you're new to sauna bathing. For both types, make sure to drink plenty of water before going in to stay hydrated.

Is A Dry Sauna The Same As An Infrared Sauna?

Infrared saunas are indeed a kind of dry sauna, but they have a unique way of heating you up. They don't warm up the air; instead, they use infrared light to directly heat your body. This makes for a different kind of warmth that many people find more comfortable.

What Should I Do Before a Dry Sauna?

Before stepping into a dry sauna, it's a good idea to drink plenty of water to make sure you're hydrated. Also, take a quick shower to clean off any sweat or dirt so you can have the best experience.

Do I Have To Shower Before a Dry Sauna?

Yes, it's a good idea to take a quick shower before entering a dry sauna. This helps you clean off and gets your body ready for a relaxing heat session. Plus, it's respectful to others who will use the sauna after you.

Do You Wear Clothes in a Dry Sauna?

In a dry sauna, it's common for people to wear minimal clothing, like a swimsuit or a towel, for comfort and hygiene. It depends on the culture and the rules of the sauna you're using, so always check beforehand.

Dry Saunas vs Wet Saunas: The Takeaway

Whether you're a wellness enthusiast looking to add a new routine to your self-care regimen or you're just curious about the benefits of sauna bathing, it's clear that both dry and wet saunas have unique advantages. What's most important is choosing the right type of sauna that aligns with your health goals and personal preferences.

CalmSpas boasts an impressive selection of saunas, including traditional steam saunas, infrared saunas, and even unique barrel saunas.

Don't stop here; continue your sauna wellness journey by visiting our blog for more insights, tips, and advice on making the most out of your sauna experience. And if you have any questions or need guidance, don't hesitate to contact us.

Remember, the path to wellness begins with a step, and your perfect sauna experience is just a click away at CalmSpas. Explore, discover, and transform your self-care routine today!