Sauna Temperature Sensors (Where To Put Them & Other FAQs)

When you are installing a sauna, you might wonder about temperature sensors – if they are necessary, where you place them, and what the standard temperature should be.

A temperature sensor is essential for keeping your sauna at the ideal heat level so that you are able to reap the expected benefits of your sauna. The sensor should be placed within one to two feet of the heater in order to accurately measure the temperature. The ideal temperature range is 110-130℉ for infrared saunas and 150-175℉ for dry saunas.

Keep reading for all of our best tips on sauna temperature, including where to place your sensor for best temperature control and what temperature you should set your thermostat at for best results.

Do all saunas have a temperature sensor?

If you are new to sauna bathing or installing your own sauna, you might be curious how the temperature in a sauna is controlled. 

All saunas have temperature sensors, which bring the sauna to the correct temperature and maintain the right level of heat. Sensors also act as part of automatic shut-off systems that prevent the sauna from overheating. Without a functional temperature sensor, your sauna will not operate correctly.

There are two main types of temperature sensors used in saunas: capillary tube sensors and electronic sensors. Electronic sensors are becoming increasingly popular as they are considered more precise.

Most prefabricated or DIY sauna kits will include a temperature sensor to be installed during assembly.

Where should the temperature sensor be in a sauna?

Since you know you need a temperature sensor, you will also need to know where to place it when you do your building or installation.

Always check with your sauna kit manufacturer to determine the ideal placement for the temperature sensor with your purchase. The standard across most manufacturers is to place the sensor 18 inches above and 18 inches to the side of the heater. 

There is some variability in recommendations, but all sauna manufacturers recommend placing the temperature sensor within one to two feet of the heater. If you prefer your sauna hotter, you may want to place the sensor a bit further away to delay automatic shut-off and keep the heater running longer. 

Is a sauna temperature sensor the same as the thermostat?

Most of us are accustomed to controlling the heating and air in our homes through a central thermostat that typically also houses the temperature sensor, so it may come as a surprise that these are different elements in a sauna.

The temperature sensor and the thermostat are not one and the same. The temperature sensor simply measures the temperature at a specific point in the sauna, while the thermostat controls and displays the temperature. The temperature sensor is just that – a sensor – while the thermostat controls what your sauna system does with that information. 

Much like when you use an oven, the thermostat is used by you to set and adjust the temperature. A heat sensor feels the temperature, and when the desired level of heat is reached, the thermostat turns off the heating element. The placement of the sensor in a sauna is important so you get a good reading, while the thermostat display and controls can be placed elsewhere.

What is the standard temperature for a sauna?

So you know you need a temperature sensor, and you know that saunas are supposed to be hot! Whether you have a traditional or infrared sauna or a steam room, you need to know the right temperature for your best results.

The ideal temperature range for your sauna is:

  • Traditional dry sauna – 150-175℉
  • Infrared sauna – 110-130℉
  • Steam room – 110-120℉

Keep reading for more information about the ideal temperature settings for your sauna or steam room.

Traditional dry sauna

Traditional dry saunas, which use ambient dry heat/heat in the air to raise your body temperature, typically have a higher heat setting.

The average temperatures in traditional dry saunas range from 150-190℉, but the ideal range is 150-175℉ as more people can tolerate these temperatures without getting overheated or dehydrated.

Infrared sauna

Since infrared saunas heat your skin directly using infrared light, the air temperature is generally lower.

While infrared sauna temperatures range from 100-150℉, the ideal temperature range is from 110-130℉.

You should aim for a lower temperature if your goal is to detox, and a higher temperature if you want to sweat more.

Steam rooms

A steam room is a bit different from a traditional sauna because it uses moist warm air and steam to heat the room.

Steam rooms are generally cooler than saunas. Typically, steam rooms run from 110-120℉, with humidity levels approaching 100%.

Steam rooms may feel hotter than saunas because of the high humidity, but the temperature range is actually lower.