Infrared Sauna vs Traditional Dry Sauna

Infrared Sauna vs Traditional Dry Sauna

The primary difference between an infrared sauna and its dry counterpart is how they produce heat. A traditional dry sauna typically uses an electric heater full of rocks to heat the cabin’s air and raise the user’s temperature.

An infrared sauna generates an EMF—an electromagnetic field emitted from heating panels that does not heat the cabin’s air like the dry sauna; instead, the waves go deep into the user’s body to increase temperature internally.

Infrared saunas are increasingly becoming a favored choice over traditional dry saunas because of their heating method and health benefits. That doesn’t diminish the dry sauna’s advantages. How does the infrared sauna stand up against the dry unit when all is said and done. Let’s learn.

Comparing The Infrared Sauna With The Dry Sauna

Infrared saunas are comparable to traditional dry saunas in terms of health benefits, but heat distribution is a key difference. The infrared system provides direct heat to the user, while the dry sauna heats the cabin’s air. This means the individual feels the effects of the temperature much sooner with the infrared sauna.

While it’s recommended to wait roughly 20 minutes for this sauna to heat up, the dry system notes that it takes a substantial amount of time to reach an ideal setting, particularly if there are many stones—roughly an hour+ based on the weather conditions. The infrared system allows faster heating with greater energy efficiency, equating to lower utility costs.

When feeling the heat throughout your body, the infrared system will be more localized to where the lamps are directed, whereas the dry sauna will be evenly distributed since the air is fully heated. Here are some fundamental facts to be aware of with each system:.

The temperature

The dry sauna functions at temperatures higher than the infrared system, ranging from “150 degrees F to 195 degrees F,” with varying humidity levels depending on whether the hot rocks are soaked in water.

The infrared sauna functions at temperatures between “120 degrees F and 150 degrees F,” albeit because the heat is direct and penetrates deeply. It induces significant sweating, allowing similar health benefits to the dry sauna.

Here is a table that gives a detailed overview of the difference in temperature between an infrared sauna and a dry sauna: 


Infrared Sauna

Dry Sauna

Temperature Range

120°F–150°F (49°C–65°C)

150°F–195°F (65°C–90°C)

Heat Type

Radiant heat directly warms the body

Convection heat warms the air


Low humidity (dry heat)

Variable can add water to rocks

Comfort Level

Generally more comfortable for longer sessions due to lower temperature

May feel hotter due to higher temperatures


Traditional dry saunas generally require a more intricate installation process involving building a sauna room and incorporating a ventilation system for which routine maintenance will be needed for the rocks and heater. 

The infrared system installation is usually preassembled, making the process simpler and less involved in maintenance.

Here is a table with a more detailed comparison on the maintenance of these two types of saunas:


Infrared Sauna

Dry Sauna

Installation Ease

Easier, often plug-and-play setup

Requires professional installation

Space Requirements

Compact and can fit smaller spaces

Requires more space and proper ventilation


Minimal, less prone to mold and mildew

Regular cleaning, potential for mold and mildew

Ventilation Needs

Minimal ventilation required

Requires good ventilation to manage humidity


Durable, less affected by moisture

Wood can degrade over time due to humidity

The pricing

A dry sauna is noted to have a higher price point than its infrared counterpart. The size of the infrared unit will play a part in the expense but a beginner system will run roughly $2000, a mid-size can range from approximately $5000, and a premium option can go as high as $10,000.

For a dry sauna, the beginning price point will range roughly $4000 to $7500, mid-size starting at approximately $10,000, and the premium option going as high as $15,000.

Here's a table with a detailed comparison in the pricing of infrared vs. dry saunas:


Infrared Sauna

Dry Sauna

Initial Purchase Cost

$1,000 - $5,000

$3,000 - $6,000

Installation Cost

$300 - $1,500 (diy, often possible)

$3,000–$5,000 (professional installation required)

Total Initial Cost

$1,300 - $6,500

$6,000 - $11,000

Electricity cost comparison

Infrared saunas are significantly more economical with electricity costs compared to dry saunas. Infrared saunas consume between 1.6 and 3 kWh per hour, translating to an electricity cost of approximately $0.20 to $0.40 per hour, assuming an average electricity rate of $0.12 per kWh.

In contrast, dry saunas require more energy, consuming about 6 to 8 kWh per hour and costing around $0.72 to $0.96 per hour. For daily use, infrared saunas cost roughly $10 to $15 per month, whereas dry saunas can cost between $30 and $50 per month. 

The lower energy consumption of infrared saunas is primarily due to their direct heating method, which warms the body without the need to heat the surrounding air, making them a more energy-efficient and cost-effective option for regular users.

Here is a table that explains the electricity cost:


Infrared Sauna

Dry Sauna

Power Consumption

1.6 to 3 kWh per hour

6 to 8 kWh per hour

Electricity Cost per Hour

$0.20–$0.40 (based on $0.12 per kWh)

$0.72–$0.96 (based on $0.12 per kWh)

Monthly Cost

Approximately $10–$15 (daily use)

Approximately $30–50 (daily use)

Check Out Our Best-selling Infrared Saunas Collection

Benefits And Disadvantages Of Dry Saunas vs Infrared Saunas

Each person will have their own preference when choosing between the infrared and dry sauna. Some prefer the authenticity that a dry sauna offers, while others are into the innovation of the infrared system. Let’s review the perceived pros and cons of each.

The Infrared Sauna



Low-maintenances, less cleaning

Some people are concerned regarding EMF exposure

Budget-friendly operation

Some find the lack of humidity a disadvantage

Reaches temperature fast

It may not be possible to use the system outside

The Dry Sauna



Humidity can be an advantage, depending on the user's preference

The investment is initially substantial

Use in the outdoors

Reaching the ideal temperature takes a significant amount of time

Many find this an authentic sauna experience

The operating costs are cost-intensive

Purported Health Benefits Of Dry Saunas and Infrared Saunas

The purported health benefits of dry saunas and infrared saunas are comparable, with the suggestion that the infrared system offers somewhat improved benefits due to the intensity of the direct heat on the body. Still, the traditional dry sauna boasts of being effective with its all-over heat distribution. Here are some health benefits you might anticipate:.

Boosted metabolism

While the body reaches a higher temperature, the heart rate elevates and metabolism is boosted. This stimulates the release of harmful toxins and burns calories. When participating in a healthy wellness regimen, the detoxification and lost calories could potentially lead to burning fat and weight loss.

Pain reduction

The sauna’s heat causes the peripheral blood vessels to expand, potentially relieving the body of aches and pains caused by inflammatory conditions like bursitis or arthritis. Heat therapy has long been recognized as helping with pain management. Indulging in a sauna treatment allows the whole body to be treated for a range of aches and pains while reducing inflammation and eliminating toxins.

A workout with physical exertion

When engaging in a fitness routine, the body undergoes varied changes, all of which are important for overall wellness. A sauna encourages these processes, such as expanded blood vessels, enhanced lymph drainage, elevated heart rate, and increased lung capacity. Exercise discourages heart disease, as does a sauna session.

While you won’t gain muscle strength, the sauna serves as a compliment to a healthy fitness regimen and nutrient-rich diet program.

Final Thought

Here at, we offer the traditional dry sauna and infrared systems, each with unique features and construction materials. Our associates offer live demonstrations highlighting the systems’ individual characteristics. 

Reach out to our reps at to find details on how these units compare and get up-to-date pricing guidelines. You’ll learn what our customers are saying and get personalized advice for more informed decision-making on your purchase.