5 Sauna Types and How to Pick Which One to Buy

Have you always wanted a sauna, but felt choosing one was a daunting task?

There are so many sauna types and it can get so confusing!

Many people find it hard to understand the lingo and how to choose one that fits their lifestyle, so they never end up buying one.

In this definitive guide, were going to go over the 5 main types of saunas, and teach you how to choose which one is right for you.

Molli Lou’s Pick
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The plunge Sauna heating element

The Plunge Sauna

The Plunge from Shark Tank is taking its innovation to new heights, by revolutionizing the sauna world with its latest product. This amazing sauna boasts ergonomic design with its foldable seats, and can be easily plugged in both indoors and outdoors. It’s a game-changer and a crowd-pleaser! Don’t miss out on this revolutionary product.

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My name is Molli Lou, and I’m a Finnish American and love a good sauna. I favor a more traditional approach over the modern infrared myself, but were all different so I’m going to help you find out what is best for you, no matter what your personal preference is.

I partner with the coolest companies to help you reach your full potential! If you buy something through one of my partner links, I get paid for the referral at no extra cost to you! Learn more on my disclosure page.

Why Do Sauna Types Matter?

Sauna types can make a big difference in your overall experience. Whether you prefer the traditional wood-fired sauna or the modern infrared sauna, each type has its own unique benefits.

Whatever sauna you choose, make sure to brainstorm what your overall goals are for using a sauna, and find the type that best suits your needs and preferences. Sitting in a sauna is not only relaxing, but it can also provide numerous health benefits ranging from improved blood circulation to reduced stress levels. So, take some time for yourself and experience the benefits of a sauna today!

The 5 Main Sauna Types

Saunas have been a part of many cultures for centuries and continue to be a popular way to relax and unwind. There are various types of saunas available, each with its unique benefits.

Choosing the right type of sauna for you depends on your personal preference and needs. No matter which types you choose, spending time in a sauna can help reduce stress, improve circulation, and soothe sore muscles.

#1 Finnish Smoke Sauna

The smoke sauna (called a savusauna in Finnish) is a traditional Finnish sauna that has gained popularity not only in Finland, but in neighboring countries such as Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

What sets this sauna apart is the lack of a chimney, which results in the entire room being filled with smoke when wood is burned.

Once the room is sufficiently heated, the fire is either put out or allowed to die, and all the smoke is ventilated out. This leaves behind heat in the sauna heater, providing warmth for an extended period – perfect for a long and relaxing sauna session.

The smoke in traditional Finnish saunas also serves as a natural preservative and disinfectant, improving the hygiene of the sauna and keeping it fresh for longer.

In addition to these benefits, the smoke also gives the sauna a distinct smell and ambiance, adding to the overall experience. The heating time is long, about 6-8 hours, making this type of sauna more ritualistic than practical for daily use.

If you’re looking for a truly unique and authentic traditional sauna experience, the smoke sauna is definitely worth a try. Although I have only been lucky enough to try one of these a few times, I promise it’s a sauna experience you won’t soon forget.

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#2 Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas have become a popular form of relaxation and wellness in recent years. They use infrared heat to increase the temperature of the body, which can lead to many benefits such as improved circulation, detoxification, and pain relief.

Unlike traditional saunas, infrared saunas use a gentle heat that penetrates the body’s tissues more deeply than heated air, allowing for a more intense detoxification experience.

The benefits of infrared saunas are not limited to physical health, studies have shown that they can also help with stress and anxiety. So, if you’re looking for a way to relax and improve your overall health, an infrared sauna might be just what you need!

#3 Wood Burning Sauna

If you are looking for a unique and traditional sauna experience, look no further than wood burning saunas. These types of saunas use wood as the starting point for heating the space and creating a cozy atmosphere inside.

Unlike electric or infrared saunas, wood burning saunas require a bit more preparation and upkeep, but the benefits are well worth it.

The main difference between a wood burning sauna and a smoke sauna is that there is a chimney in the wood burning sauna to let the smoke out rather than linger in the room.

The smell of the wood and the crackling sound of the fire create a comforting ambiance, and the heat is evenly distributed throughout the space, making for a truly relaxing and rejuvenating experience.

Consider trying out a wood burning sauna to add some old-world charm to your next sauna session.

#4 Electric Sauna

Electric saunas have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their convenience and ease of use. Unlike traditional wood-burning saunas which require a stack of firewood and some know-how to get heated up, electric saunas are simply plugged in and ready to use within minutes.

These sauna types use an electric sauna heater filled with rocks to heat the sauna to the desired temperature. Unlike other sauna types, electric saunas allow you to control the temperature and humidity levels, providing a comfortable and relaxing experience every time.

#5 Steam Sauna/ Steam Rooms

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Luxury Turkish Bath

Steam saunas are a type of sauna where steam is released into the room, creating a warm and humid environment. Steam rooms are now commonly found in gyms, but originally were most commonly found in Turkish baths.

They tend to be easier to clean because they are made up of tiles that absorb less moisture than wood. That’s a good thing because, with this much humidity, they need to be cleaned more often to prevent things like mold from growing.

The benefits of a steam sauna are many, ranging from detoxification to improved blood circulation and even clearer skin. Steam rooms are also popular because they help your body to destress and feel revitalized.

Steam treatments are also used in more localized forms in a lot of homes, like humidifiers and facial steamers. (I LOVE my facial steamer, especially during winter!)

Wet Sauna Types vs Dry Sauna Types

Contrary to popular belief, wet saunas are not saunas at all, and are actually steam rooms. These spaces are airtight and provide a higher humidity level than dry saunas.

On the other hand, dry saunas use heated rocks to create a drier heat that is more tolerable for some. There is typically steam created in a dry sauna by ladling water onto heated rock elements.

Both sauna types provide tremendous health benefits, but which one you choose will depend on your personal preferences. So if you’re looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating spa experience, give both wet and dry saunas a try and see which one works best for you!

What Are the Best Sauna Types?

As you’ve read above, there are many different sauna types and styles. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to decide what’s the most important to you. Convience? Size? Location? Authenticity? It’s different for each of us, so this is a very personalized question that only you can answer.

Ultimately no matter what sauna types you like and which one you choose be sure that whatever system you go with is properly installed, and meets all safety codes required by your local municipality assuring optimal quality performance with maximum effectiveness so that you can enjoy all their benefits without having any unforeseen problems arise during use!

Is Buying a Sauna Worth It?

Absolutely! There are many benefits to buying a sauna.

Overall however, some studies have suggested that regular use of a high-quality commercial-grade home spa can help improve physical health outcomes ranging from reducing stress levels & improving sleep quality while also providing therapeutic effects including muscular relaxation & improved circulation…making it clear why they deem them worthy investments without question!

Which Sauna Types are in Gyms?


Depending on your gym’s individual setup, there are likely several different types of saunas available. 

One of the most common sauna types is the electric dry sauna, which typically operates at temperatures between 150-195°F (65-90°C). The heat in these saunas works to open up and dilate capillaries, allowing greater access to oxygen and nutrients to be absorbed by the body’s cells. Dry sauna users often experience a feeling of relaxation after sessions due to increased endorphin production caused by the intense heat.

Another kind of popular sauna in gyms is an infrared one, which features milder temperatures ranging from 100-140°F (37-60°C). This type creates direct contact with infrared radiation that penetrates deeper into tissue than traditional heat. As a result, infrared saunas can have more therapeutic benefits than dry ones such as improved circulation—which aids skin health—and increased joint mobility due to decreased inflammation. 

The other kind that you may find in addition to one of the options above, or place of, is steam or wet saunas. These wet rooms tend to increase blood flow faster due to higher moisture levels in the air.

Overall though all kinds of gym sauna types can provide immense relief from stress while helping improve overall physical well-being by purging toxins through sweat! So now you know what kind of soothing and nerve-calming therapy awaits you next time you step into your gym’s locker room!

Final Thoughts on Sauna Types

After exploring the different types of saunas available, it’s safe to say that each option brings a unique experience to the table.

Traditional Finnish saunas offer a classic, authentic atmosphere while infrared saunas provide a more modern take on the classic activity.

Steam rooms are optimal for individuals seeking a spa-like treatment while portable saunas are perfect for those with limited space.

Ultimately, the type of sauna you choose ultimately depends on your personal preferences and needs. Whether you opt for the traditional or something more contemporary, what’s important is that you take time for yourself to relax, unwind, and enjoy the benefits that come with sauna use.

Sauna Type FAQ

The best type of sauna all depends on what your individual needs are. Different types of saunas offer different benefits, so it’s important to consider how you plan to use the sauna in order to choose the right one.

The short answer to the question of which one is better – steam or infrared sauna – is that it depends on what you are trying to achieve. Both types of saunas offer a range of benefits, so there isn’t one single choice that is definitively “better.” 

Although each type of sauna has its pros and cons, infrared saunas have been shown to be better at pain relief due to the deep penetration of the rays.

The main difference between a dry sauna and a wet sauna is the amount of humidity in the room. In a dry sauna, typically less than 10% humidity levels are maintained, while in a wet sauna, it can be as high as 40-50%. The higher level of moisture in the air makes it easier to relax and feel rejuvenated after spending some time in the sauna but comes with its own set of drawbacks that need to be considered when making your choice. 

It used to be that wood-burning saunas were more common, but now electric saunas are now more commonplace.

Generally speaking, an infrared sauna that reaches temperatures between 100 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal because it ensures a comfortable heat source without going overboard on the intensity. Additionally, these tempered temperatures also help reduce stress hormones like cortisol which can further help reduce inflammation in the body. 

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