Infrared Saunas vs Traditional Saunas

Although the traditional and infrared saunas share a common purpose of promoting overall health,  many infrared manufacturers and distributors use negative marketing against the traditional sauna and make claims about the traditional sauna that are not true or factual.  This is done to make the infrared sauna look much more appealing and practical. Homecraft says nothing negative about the infrared product line because we do not engage in that type of marketing. We deal with facts only. Let’s look at a few of the false claims you will find on many infrared sauna sites.


Claim : Traditional saunas require 45-90 minutes for heat up.

Fact:  When determining heat up time many factors come into play. Electric sauna heaters usually range from 4kw to 9kw in residential use. Having a properly sized sauna heater for the size of the room is essential when determining heat up time.  Also the construction of the room will also have a huge determination. Traditional sauna rooms must be properly insulated, and the inside ceiling height should be between 78’ and 84”. Because of the unique design of the Homecraft electric sauna heater, maximum room temperature of 90 degrees Celsius or 194 degrees Fahrenheit at ceiling height directly above the heater is usually reached within 20-25 minutes.

Claim : Traditional saunas operate between 180 F and 220 F

Fact: The UL and CSA standard in the US and Canada allows a maximum room temperature of 194 F or 90 C at ceiling height directly above the sauna heater. Thus, the hottest point in the sauna—which is at the ceiling directly above the sauna heater—is typically between 185 and 190º F when set to the maximum temperature setting. Claims that a traditional sauna exceeds 200º F and operate up to 220 F is simply not true and not applicable for electric saunas sold in the US and Canada

Claim : Traditional saunas produce harsh heat, while infrared produce soft heat.

Fact : Inside the traditional sauna room you have a lower, and an upper bench. If you find the temperature too warm on the upper bench, simply move to the lower bench where the temperature is very moderate. Children are very comfortable and safe on the lower bench. The traditional sauna offers a much larger relaxed atmosphere, and can include the whole family. While perspiring in either sauna, you will experience deep relaxation, sore muscles are loosened, and aching joints will likely feel relief. Most traditional sauna users enjoy pouring water over the rocks to create steam to raise sauna humidity levels. The benefits of pouring water over the rocks include: making the room more comfortable, moistening the nasal passages, and allowing the use of aromatherapy by mixing essential oils with the water. The traditional sauna is the only bath in the world where the user controls both temperature and humidity, with humidity controlled by how much water is put on the rocks.


Claim : Traditional saunas are expensive to operate

Fact : An average traditional sauna is 6’ x 5’. This room uses a 5 kW heater, 240 volt, 1 phase power; it draws 20.8 amps and requires a dedicated 30 amp circuit breaker. The average cost per kWH of electricity in the U.S. is approximately $0.11, so a 5 kW heater will cost approximately $.50 to run for one hour, if the heater runs continuously for one hour. Typically a sauna heater will run for 75% of a one hour session.  Thus, a 5 kW heater will cost about $.41 an hour. Most people use their sauna once or twice per week, so the average person will not even spend one dollar a week in operating costs.

Claim : Traditional saunas require special electrical work. Infrareds plug into any outlet.

Traditional saunas do require a dedicated circuit breaker and should be installed by a qualified electrician. While smaller infrared saunas can plug into any outlet, many mid size to larger saunas require a dedicated 15 or 20 amp plug - which must also be installed by an electrician.

Claim : Traditional saunas require a lot of maintenance.

Fact : There is absolutely no difference in the amount of maintenance required. Although the traditional sauna is larger in size, simply wipe down the bench and walls after use, and that’s all there is to it. Homecraft recommends the use of their specially formulated sauna sealant to protect the wood, and to keep it clean, and easy to wipe up after use.


In summary, because of the inaccurate marketing against the traditional sauna by many infrared sauna dealers and distributors, one should not just swallow all the information as fact about the health benefits of their infrared saunas. Did you ever notice how they all have the best emitters and the best materials. Do your homework and get past the hype, and as with any purchase make an informed decision, and buy from a reputable company that can service your product, and have repelacement parts available when and if required.

Finally, if you enjoy steam in the sauna, higher temperatures and a more social environment, then traditional sauna may be the best sauna for you. If you prefer lower temperatures but with body-penetrating heat, far-infrared sauna may be your best sauna choice. Always remember this, the sauna you use, is the best sauna for you! Enjoy the benefits of heat bathing today!