Key Takeaways -

• A sauna is a steam bath used for relaxation and therapeutic purposes.

• Dry saunas are heated by electric elements, while wet saunas use hot air and steam to create humidity.

• Dry Saunas typically reach temperatures of 80-100°C, whereas wet saunas range from 40-60°C.

• Dry saunas are better for detoxification and metabolism boost, while wet saunas are better for relaxation and improved cardiovascular functioning.

Are you looking to relax and unwind after a long day? If so, saunas are an excellent option! But before you jump into one, it's important to understand the difference between dry and wet saunas.

The main difference between a dry and wet sauna is the humidity level. Dry saunas are extremely hot, with temperatures ranging from 80-100°C, but they have much lower humidity levels than wet saunas.

Wet saunas (steam rooms) have higher humidity levels. Usually, around 40% and generally requires much less heat - typically between 40-60°C.

In this article, we'll explain the key differences between these two types of saunas so that you can decide which one is right for your needs. So let's dive in and learn more about the pros and cons of each type of sauna.

Dry Sauna Vs Wet Sauna - What's The Difference?

What Is A Dry Sauna?

A dry sauna is a type of sauna that creates an environment with low HUMIDITY levels and high temperatures. It typically has temperatures ranging from 80-100°C, making it one of the hottest saunas.

The air in a dry sauna is very dry, which allows for DEEPER penetration into the body's tissues. This type of heat helps to increase circulation and

production while also providing relaxation and relief from muscle tension.

Types of Dry Saunas

Dry saunas come in two MAIN types: traditional Finnish wood-heated models or electric models that are heated by infrared technology [1].

Both offer UNIQUE benefits depending on your needs - so it’s important to understand the differences before making a decision about which one is right for you.

Traditional saunas are heated by a wood-burning stove or charcoal, which gives them a RUSTIC feel. The ambient temperature is high, and the dry air helps to draw out toxins.

An Infrared sauna, on the other hand, uses infrared light waves that penetrate deeper into your skin’s tissues - resulting in FASTER heating and deeper relaxation.

Pro Tip: Infrared saunas require less time in the sauna to achieve the same benefits as traditional sauna Finnish models.

Characteristics of a Dry Sauna Session

Most dry sauna sessions last between 15-30 minutes [2]. During your session, you should drink plenty of water to stay HYDRATED and replenish lost electrolytes during your long hot sauna session. It’s also important to wear a towel or other cover-up for comfort.

The heat in dry saunas can be INTENSE - but the increased circulation helps to improve your overall well-being.

What Is A Wet Sauna?

A wet sauna (steam room) is an enclosed space that is heated and filled with steam, usually between 40-60°C [3]. The high humidity levels in a wet sauna make it feel much COOLER than a dry sauna, even though the temperatures are usually lower.

The steam helps to OPEN up your skin’s pores, which can detoxify and relax your muscles - while also helping to ease respiratory issues such as asthma or sinus congestion.

Types of Wet Saunas

Steam saunas are the most COMMON type of wet sauna, and they use a generator to create steam from boiling water. They are also easy to maintain and require less energy than other saunas.

Infrared saunas are becoming increasingly POPULAR in wet sauna settings. These saunas use infrared light waves to heat up the body, providing deeper relaxation and faster heating than steam saunas.

Characteristics of a Wet Sauna Session

Wet sauna sessions usually last BETWEEN 10-20 minutes. During your session, you should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and replenish lost electrolytes. It’s also important to wear a towel or other cover-up for comfort.

The moist heat in wet saunas helps to open up your skin’s pores, which can help to FLUSH out toxins - while also providing relief from muscle tension and respiratory issues.

Pro Tip: Before entering the sauna, adjust the temperature and humidity levels to ensure you’re comfortable.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Dry Sauna?

There are many health benefits to using a dry sauna, including the following:

  • Improved circulation
  • Increased sweat production
  • Relaxation and relief from muscle tension
  • Relief from respiratory issues such as asthma or sinus congestion
  • Detoxification of the body by flushing out toxins and impurities
  • Stress relief and improved mental health

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Wet Sauna?

The wet sauna health benefits are similar to those of a dry one, including improved circulation, detoxification and stress relief. However, the high humidity levels in wet saunas provide additional benefits such as:

  • Easing respiratory issues such as asthma or sinus congestion
  • Reducing inflammation in the body
  • Relieving sore muscles and tension
  • Improving skin health by increasing collagen production
  • Easing joint pain and stiffness

Factors To Consider When Choosing Between A Wet or Dry Sauna

When deciding between a dry or wet sauna, there are several factors for sauna users to consider. These include:

Preference - How would you like your session to be? Are you seeking out a tranquil and calming experience, or are you aiming for something invigorating and intense?

Cost - Compared to wet saunas, dry heat saunas are generally more affordable.

Location - If space is of the essence, steam saunas are probably your go-to option since they consume minimal energy and require less maintenance.

Health - Before using a sauna, reflect on any current health issues that could influence your time in the heat.

Ultimately, the decision between a dry or wet sauna will come down to personal preference. Both saunas offer many health benefits and can help you achieve improved physical and mental wellness.


So what is the difference between a dry sauna and a wet sauna? Which should you choose? Well, saunas can be a great way to relax and improve one’s overall wellness.

Whether dry or wet, sauna sessions are known to increase circulation and sweat production and provide relief from muscle tension.

Additionally, the high humidity levels in wet saunas can help with respiratory issues. When choosing between a dry or wet sauna, it is important to consider preference, cost, location and health conditions - as this will help determine which type best suits one’s needs.

Ultimately, either option can provide many benefits and help improve physical and mental wellness.

Sources -

  1. Heath E. 7 Types of Home Saunas. Family Handyman. Published August 27, 2020. Accessed February 4, 2023.
  2. Hussain J, Cohen M. Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018;2018:1-30. doi:10.1155/2018/1857413
  3. Watson K. Steam Room Benefits for Your Health. Healthline. Published December 13, 2022. Accessed February 4, 2023.