infrared, traditional, or barrel sauna•
Posted on February 13 2023
The first question those in the market for a sauna will have to ask themselves is whether an infrared, traditional, or barrel sauna is right for them.
What is the difference?
To begin with, a traditional sauna is typically warmed by one wood or electric heater that heats the air, earning their name as steam or dry heat saunas. On the other hand, infrared saunas use advanced infrared heaters to warm your body directly. As your body absorbs the infrared heat, this increases thermal energy, inducing a deep and relaxing sweat. Barrel saunas can be heated using either method.
Another difference can be found in the intensity of the heat, with infrared saunas providing a much milder temperature environment of 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit and traditional saunas soaring to 150-175 Fahrenheit. And according to the Finnish Sauna Society, the outdoor barrel sauna takes the top spot, with the traditional version claiming temperatures between 176 and 194 Fahrenheit.
While still the most popular choice, the traditional sauna experience is considered by some to be too intensely warm due to the direct dispersion of heat through the air. The light of infrared saunas infuses deeply into the body, provoking a more vigorous sweat, despite the lower (and more comfortable) temperature.
best outdoor sauna for home
Square or Circular?
For some, the decision between a square or rounded home outdoor sauna is primarily a matter of aesthetics. However, in actuality, the shape of a sauna can determine how evenly heat is spread throughout the sauna. In a square home outdoor sauna, heat tends to pool at the top of the sauna, preventing convection. In a barrel sauna, the curvature of the room allows the upper heat to be pushed down the sides and back into the sauna as new heat rises from the heater. As a result, there’s a general preference for circular saunas.
Wood or Electric Heater?
Electric heaters are generally favored for their convenience factor. At the touch of a button or turn of a dial, the sauna can be set in action and at a precise, predetermined temperature. In more modern home outdoor saunas, having an electric heater also means having access to preprogramming. However, the chief disadvantage of having an outdoor electric sauna lies in the price. While there are various electric heaters available, providing a range of price points for any budget, it will still affect your utility bill.