Infrared Sauna Types: Exploring Your Options for Heat Therapy

Infrared saunas are a modern twist on the traditional steam-based saunas, using infrared heaters to emit radiant heat absorbed directly by your body.

Unlike conventional saunas which heat the air around you, infrared saunas provide a more comfortable experience, allowing you to bask in warmth similar to the sun’s rays without the harmful ultraviolet effects. This direct method of heating enables you to enjoy the benefits of sauna bathing at lower temperatures, making it accessible to those who can’t tolerate the heat of a standard sauna.

Understanding the different types of infrared saunas is key to choosing one that fits your lifestyle and wellness goals. There are far-infrared saunas, known for their deep tissue penetration, which may aid in recovery from strength and endurance training.

There’s also evidence suggesting that infrared sauna use may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure and waist circumference, particularly intriguing for people managing type 2 diabetes. As for those interested in similar fitness benefits as a light workout, exploring the physiological responses to infrared sauna vs exercise in healthy women may provide insightful comparisons.

Types of Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas come in different varieties, each employing specific wavelengths of infrared light to deliver therapeutic heat. Depending on the desired intensity and health benefits, you can select from far-infrared, full-spectrum, or near and mid-infrared saunas, each fitted with distinct heater types like carbon or ceramic heaters.

Far-Infrared Saunas

Far-infrared saunas utilize the longest wavelengths within the infrared spectrum, targeting deeper layers of your body. Typically equipped with carbon heaters, these saunas efficiently provide gentle, deep-penetrating heat. Far-infrared is known for supporting muscle recovery and promoting relaxation.

Full-Spectrum Infrared Saunas

Full-spectrum saunas are the most versatile, offering a combination of far, mid, and near-infrared wavelengths. They provide a comprehensive range of benefits, from surface-level heat to deep tissue warmth, accommodating different therapeutic needs. These saunas generally integrate carbon heaters and sometimes ceramic heaters for a balanced infrared output.

Near and Mid-Infrared Saunas

Near-infrared saunas focus on the shortest wavelengths, which primarily heat up the body’s surface, contributing to skin renewal and wound healing. Mid-infrared levels penetrate slightly deeper, offering targeted pain relief and improved circulation. When combined, near and mid-infrared saunas can cater to specific health goals or treatment plans.

Key Features and Considerations

When choosing an infrared sauna, it’s critical to focus on size and comfort, material and durability, and safety, including EMF levels. These elements will affect how you use the sauna and the benefits you’ll experience.

Size and Comfort

Your infrared sauna should fit both the intended space in your home and comfortably accommodate the number of users. Look for:

  • Dimensions: Measure your available space for accurate fitting.
  • Interiors: Assess seating for ergonomics and ease of use.

Material and Durability

High-quality materials are a cornerstone of sauna longevity. Consider:

  • Wood Type: Cedar and hemlock are popular for their resistance to moisture and thermal properties.
  • Construction: Seek out a durable design that ensures stability over time.

Safety and EMF Levels

Safety is paramount. Focus on:

Comparison with Other Sauna Types

When exploring sauna options, you need to consider the differences in heat source, humidity levels, and the physical space each type requires. Understanding these can help you choose the sauna experience that best fits your needs.

Traditional Saunas

Traditional saunas, often referred to as Finnish saunas, use a heater to warm up stones, which then radiate dry heat throughout the space. Running at temperatures between 150°F and 195°F, they offer a dry environment with a humidity level that increases slightly when water is thrown on the hot stones, creating a burst of steam.

  • Heat Type: Dry heat from heated stones
  • Humidity Level: Low to moderate humidity, adjustable with water on stones
  • Location: Typically built as permanent structures in homes or health clubs

Steam Rooms

Steam rooms generate a high humidity environment, typically 100% humidity, with heat coming directly from steam. The temperature in a steam room is generally lower than a traditional sauna, usually ranging from 110°F to 120°F, but the high humidity makes the heat feel more intense.

  • Heat Type: Moist heat from steam
  • Humidity Level: High, 100%
  • Environment: Enclosed tile rooms designed to contain steam and moisture

Portable and Home Saunas

Portable saunas, including sauna blankets, provide a flexible option for those with space constraints or budget considerations. Home saunas can be stand-alone structures or built into a room. These might utilize infrared technology or electric heaters to create heat, often providing a milder sauna experience.

  • Type Variations: Infrared saunas, sauna blankets, modular units
  • Heat Settings: Typically milder heat compared to traditional saunas
  • Convenience: Easy to set up, store, and customize for personal use

By comparing these sauna types, you can determine which suits your preferences for heat, humidity, and convenience. Whether you seek the high heat of a traditional sauna, the intense humidity of a steam room, or the flexibility of a portable sauna, your choice will shape your sauna experience.

Purchasing and Maintenance

When looking into infrared saunas, consider the long-term value and ensure you cater to ongoing maintenance. Accurate budgeting, understanding the installation process, and being aware of warranty terms are crucial for a worthwhile investment.

Budgeting and Costs

Budgeting is a critical first step. The costs of infrared saunas can range widely depending on their size, materials, and the technology they use. Here’s a simple breakdown to help guide your budget:

  • Entry-level models: Typically range between $1,000 – $2,500
  • Mid-range models: Can cost between $2,500 – $5,000
  • High-end models: May start at $5,000 and upward

Remember, initial purchase cost is one part of the overall investment. Energy efficiency and durability can contribute to lower maintenance costs in the long run, enhancing the sauna’s overall value.

Installation and Upkeep

After purchasing, you will need to consider installation and upkeep:


  • May require professional assistance, especially for hardwired models.
  • Some companies offer custom design materials ( for a more personalized sauna experience that you can install with local help.


  • Regular cleaning is essential for longevity.
  • Replace elements like infrared panels as needed to maintain performance.

Warranty and Customer Support

A comprehensive warranty can safeguard your investment. Many vendors will offer varying warranty lengths for different parts of the sauna, such as:

  • Wood components: Usually carry longer warranties, some up to lifetime.
  • Heating elements and electronics: Often covered for a shorter period, such as 1-5 years.

Customer support is also invaluable. Engage with retailers and manufacturers with positive reviews and responsive service teams. This will be beneficial for any future FAQs or claims.

Remember, detailed research into warranties and customer support can prevent unforeseen costs and complications, ensuring a more secure purchase.

Technological Enhancements

The evolution of infrared saunas has introduced various high-tech features focused on enhancing user experience and therapeutic benefits. From advanced heating technologies that incorporate a full spectrum of infrared light to the integration of smart controls and connectivity, the modern sauna is a hub of wellness technology.

Advanced Heating Technologies

Your sauna sessions are now more effective with full-spectrum sauna systems capable of delivering near, mid, and far infrared wavelengths. This comprehensive range ensures you can customize sessions to your health goals, such as improving circulation with near-infrared light, or detoxification with far-infrared.

  • Full-Spectrum Advantage:
    • Near-Infrared: Skin repair, wound healing.
    • Mid-Infrared: Pain relief, improved circulation.
    • Far-Infrared: Detoxification, relaxation.

Therapeutic Add-ons

Add a sensory experience to your sauna with chromotherapy, which uses colored lights to stimulate healing and promote wellness. Choose a Clearlight Sanctuary 2 sauna, which comes equipped with chromotherapy lighting, to elevate your mood and balance energy.

  • Chromotherapy Options:
    • Red Light: Revitalizes and energizes.
    • Blue Light: Calms and soothes.
    • Green Light: Balances and stabilizes.

Smart Controls and Connectivity

Experience convenience with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to stream music or meditative audio directly in your sauna. Some models, like the Sunlighten sauna, provide remote control access, making it easy to adjust settings without interrupting your relaxation.

  • Connectivity Features:
    • Bluetooth: Wireless sound systems.
    • Remote Control: Effortless adjustments.

Handle your infrared sauna with ease and integrate wellness into your daily routine through these innovative enhancements.