Sunrise Specialty » Ideal Sauna Temperature: How Hot Is Your Sauna?

Ideal Sauna Temperature: How Hot Is Your Sauna?

No one can give you a precise answer to the general question of how hot the sauna can be. It will depend on the type of sauna you pick out and its characteristics. For example, I like sweating in the warm, traditional sauna while sitting on the hardwood bench. From time to time, I pour water with a few drops of my favorite essential oil over rocks and enjoy the natural environment.

On the other hand, you can choose contemporary portable or infrared saunas offering lower temperatures. If you prefer high humidity in combination with the low temperatures, the steam sauna is an ideal solution for you. Let’s discuss your options in more detail.

Type of sauna

Heat source Temperature Pre-heat time
Finnish sauna Gas/electric/wood 160 to 194 F (71 – 90 C)

30 to 45 minutes

Infrared sauna

Infrared heating elements 100 to 150 F (38 – 65.5 C) 10 to 15 minutes
Portable sauna Infrared heating panels 100 to 150 F (38 – 65.5 C)

10 to 25 minutes

Steam sauna

Steam Generator 90 to 120 F (32 – 49 C)

30 minutes

Traditional Sauna Temperature

Traditional Sauna Temperature

Traditional sauna (Finnish sauna, smoke sauna) use wood, gas, or electric to run off. Nowadays, most spas and gyms use electric to heat their traditional saunas, which makes them highly powerful.

Initially, this type of saunas used a wood-burning stove heating up the rocks. Modern saunas use an electric heater to reach the necessary temperatures in the room. The principle of functioning of both models is to produce steam after pouring water over the stones. It is highly beneficial for your lungs, sinuses, and skin.

Contemporary heating elements can switch on and off automatically and maintain the temperature in the sauna as much as you need. Also, you can pick out an electric dry sauna with a safety switch. It will turn off heaters at 60 minutes, but you will enjoy the heat for some time afterward.

The temperature range may vary depending on the country. The American standard implies temperatures from 160 to 194 F (71 – 90 C), but in many European countries, allowed temperatures are in a range of 160 to 220 F (71 – 104.5 C).

However, The Finnish Sauna Society recommends that the temperatures in the sauna should be from 176 to 194 F (80 – 90 C), with the ultimate maximum of 212 F (100 C).

The traditional sauna requires a certain period to heat up from a cold start. Usual pre-heat time for the traditional sauna is from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the particular model you have purchased.

Ideally, you should enter the sauna for 10 to 30 minutes, one to three times in one session, with a break between to cool down.

Infrared Sauna Temperature

Infrared Sauna Temperature

The infrared sauna runs entirely on electricity. It produces radiant heat using infrared heating panels. They generate approximately 7 to 14 microns long infrared waves, which deeply penetrates the pores of your skin and encourages sweating.

Unlike the traditional sauna, there is no heating the space around you. Therefore, the required temperatures are lower, usually from 100 to 150 F (38 – 65.5 C). However, most experts recommend the level of the temperatures for this type of saunas from 140 to 150 F (60 – 65.5 C) to achieve the best result.

Basically, you will get the same experience as in a traditional sauna, but at the much lower temperatures. It is possible because the infrared waves warm you from the inside out. On the other hand, in the traditional sauna, you need the hot air to heat you from the outside in.

Even though the infrared sauna is a relatively new product, they are very popular as an ideal solution for home conditions. Plus, they are relatively cheap.

Like every other type of saunas, the infrared one requires a certain period to become warm from a cold start. Usual pre-heat time for the infrared sauna is from 10 to 15, sometimes 30 minutes, depending on the particular model you have bought.

Since the temperatures in the infrared sauna are more tolerable, the average session may last even 30 to 45 minutes after the initial adjustment period.

Portable Sauna Temperature

The portable sauna is the state-of-the-art type you can find on the market these days. It uses infrared heating panels and warms the surface of your skin through radiant heat.

Since most models are basically portable infrared saunas, the necessary temperatures inside are from 100 to 150 F (38 – 65.5 C).

Like the classic infrared sauna, the portable version requires 10 to 15 minutes to heat up from a cold start. However, some models have a pre-heat time of 25 minutes.

If you plan to purchase your own sauna, you should think about this version, especially if you like traveling. You can take it with you anywhere and enjoy the benefits the sauna offers wherever you go.

Also, this sauna is cheap, and you can buy one as a trial model for the bigger one you want to install once.


Steam Sauna Temperature

Steam Sauna Temperature

The steam sauna (steam showers, steam bath, steam room) has an entirely different way of working compared with the traditional or infrared sauna. They use a steam generator, which boils water and warms you by steam instead of the dry heat.

Since this type of sauna is entirely airtight, the level of the humidity may reach even 100%, but the temperatures are lower than in the traditional sauna.

The average temperatures in the steam sauna are 90 to 120 F (32 – 49), but you may feel that they are warmer because of the humidity. In most spas using this type of sauna, you can expect the temperatures ranging from 110 to 114 F (43 – 45.5 C) and more sweating than in other saunas.

The average pre-heat time of this particular type of sauna is about 30 minutes.


Each sauna has beneficial effects on the human body, and you won’t go wrong whatever type or model of it you choose. It’s up to you to determine the best level of heat and moisture for your body and mind and begin enjoying it.