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sauna vs. steam room

Sauna vs. Steam Room: Which is Better for You?

While the sauna and the steam room offer similar health benefits, they differ in the heat source, temperature, and humidity, which can affect your overall experience. Learn more about the key differences between sauna vs steam room here and find out which is better for you.


Key difference between Saunas and Steam rooms

Both saunas and steam rooms use heat therapy to improve circulation, clear congestion, and aid overall health. They're often used in the gym, the spa, and other wellness centers because of their health benefits. But how do they differ from one another?


Heat source and type of heat generated

The main difference is the source of heat they use and generate. For example, Saunas produce dry heat from a traditional source (hot rocks or stove) or infrared. On the other hand, steam rooms generate moist heat, wherein a water generator pumps steam into closed chambers. 


Temperature and humidity

Another difference between the two is the temperature and humidity. Saunas are generally hotter than steam rooms. They are typically heated to temperatures between 160°F (71°C) and 200°F (93°C). In addition, the humidity level in a sauna is typically between 5-10%. In contrast, steam rooms have much higher humidity levels at 95%-100%, with temperatures topping around 110°F (43°C).


What temperature should I use?

It is important to note that the temperature in a sauna or steam room will impact the way you experience either. The ideal temperature setting for relaxation in the traditional sauna should be 150-175°F and 120-130°F for their infrared counterpart. So, an infrared sauna would be better if you're uncomfortable with a high-humidity environment.

In comparison, steam rooms are heated to maintain a humidity of 95% to 100%, so the ideal temperature is between 110°F and 115°F. 

Adjusting the temperature and humidity can create a more comfortable environment depending on desired heat.

 Woman checking the temperature in the sauna

Health benefits of Steam rooms and Saunas

  • Open and cleanse pores by removing dirt buildup.
  • Improve cardiovascular function.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Loosen phlegm.
  • Relieve muscle soreness and aid in muscle recovery after a workout.
  • Relax stiff joints.
  • Reduce stress levels.
  • Ease symptoms of depression.
  • Reduce the risk of dementia.
  • Support the immune system.
  • Improve sleep quality.


Sauna vs. Steam room: Pros and Cons

Both saunas and steam rooms are beneficial for the mind and body but inhaling the steam directly in the steam room are ideal for people with lung problems or cough. The humidity level in the steam room is excellent for the respiratory system, especially for people with congestion.

The moist heat in the steam room is also preferred by those with dry, irritated skin as it helps them stay moisturized, especially during the colder season.

The (infrared) sauna, however, can directly heat your body, allowing deeper heat penetration and increasing the mitochondrial function of the cell. Sauna is also more tolerable for people who can’t stand high humidity.

They should be cleaned and maintained frequently though the steam room's moisture can promote mold growth, fungus, and bacteria faster, so it is recommended to be cleaned more often.


sauna vs steam room infographic

Health Considerations for the Elderly and Children.

The elderly, younger children and people with medical conditions should only use saunas or steam rooms with caution due to the high temperature and humidity levels they experience. Special care should be taken to avoid potential health risks associated with extreme temperatures or prolonged exposure to them. Caregivers of children should take extra precautions, including ensuring that their child drinks plenty of water before, during, and after using a sauna or steam room. People with eczema, psoriasis or other inflammatory diseases should avoid using the sauna and steam room. Pregnant women and individuals with heart disease and dizziness problems should also not use a sauna or steam room. Always consult your doctor before using. 


How much time should I spend in the sauna and steam room?

As with many things, moderation is essential regarding saunas and steam rooms. Generally speaking, a person should only use a sauna or steam room for 15–20-minute periods at most. Furthermore, taking breaks between sessions is essential, as extended time can cause headaches, nausea, and fatigue.


Sauna vs. Steam room: Which is better for weight loss?

Sitting in the sauna or steam room doesn’t help burn fat. However, you lose a portion of water weight while sweating. Though both can be achieved in the sauna and the steam room, you can sweat more in high-humidity environments like the steam room. Remember that the water weight or fluid you lose can be replaced quickly.

 woman relaxing in the steam room

Sauna vs. Steam room: Which should you use first?

Most people use the sauna first and then the steam room, but there is no hard rule about which you should use first. You can use the sauna and steam room on the same day, provided you take enough breaks to cool down after 15-20 minutes and rehydrate before, during, and after each session. 


What are some at-home options?

Spending extra for a sauna or steam room in the gym or spa could grow and be costly. However, plenty of affordable at-home options provide all the same benefits. You can find home saunas and steam showers in the same price range in the market. Home saunas are available with the choice of indoor or outdoor and infrared or traditional. On the other hand, steam showers can offer the same relaxing experience in your bathroom. Both can increase the resale value of your home, though, with home saunas, you'll need extra space to install them. Check out for massive savings on home saunas, steam saunas, and steam showers.

 Sunray Burlington 2-Person Outdoor Infrared Sauna HL200D

Sunray Burlington 2-Person Outdoor Infrared Sauna HL200D


Sunray Cordova 2-Person Indoor Infrared Sauna HL200K1 

Sunray Cordova 2-Person Indoor Infrared Sauna HL200K1


Mesa WS-600P Steam Shower Tub Combo Blue Glass 

Mesa WS-600P Steam Shower Tub Combo Blue Glass


Mesa 807A Steam Shower Tub Combo

Mesa 807A Steam Shower Tub Combo


Sauna vs. Steam room: Which one is better for you?

Health Fruition shows a quick comparison of the differences between a sauna and a steam room in this video to help you decide which one suits your needs.

Both sauna and steam rooms offer excellent physical and mental health benefits, and you can find units at the same price scope, so it's about preference. Do you prefer dry heat or moist heat? Are you comfortable in higher temperatures or lower humidity? A home sauna could be a place to socialize with friends and family, while the steam shower at home could be the perfect place for an intimate time with your loved one. We recommend trying the sauna and steam room first and seeing where you’re most comfortable enough to relax while reaping the health benefits. Once you've made up your mind, browse high-quality and reasonably priced home saunas and steam showers with jet collections on

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