The Top Four Differences between Infrared and Finnish Saunas

Palm Springs Hot Springs sauna

The Top Four Differences between Infrared and Finnish Saunas

Thinking of making sauna reservations at Palm Springs Hot Springs but torn between infrared and Finnish Saunas? If yes, then fret not because you happen to be in good company. Below we explore the differences between these two types of sauna, so it can be easy to make up your mind on which one suits you best.

The Sauna Space

While the size often varies, Finnish saunas are usually bigger because they also accommodate the heating element.

Infrared saunas, on the other hand, only use infrared lamps as the heating element. Therefore, they have a relatively smaller footprint, and depending on the size, can be spacious enough to practice hot yoga.

The Heat Factor

One of the main differences between Finnish and infrared saunas at our  Palm Springs Hot Springs Spa is the heat factor. For a Finnish sauna to be effective, temperatures should be as high as 185 to 195-degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, an infrared sauna usually requires the temperature to be between 120 and 150 degrees.

The irony in this difference is that although an infrared sauna has a lower element, its heat often penetrates the body tissues more deeply. Hence it has a significantly higher sweat rate than a Finnish sauna.


An infrared sauna is wholly reliant on the electromagnetic radiation released by the infrared lamps/heaters. Thus, it is also regularly referred to as a dry sauna.

In a Finnish sauna, on the other hand, the heating process often involves an electric heater which first heats a compartment of stones, and the heat is radiated throughout the room. Since the temperatures often become intense, Finnish sauna goers are usually required to pour water over the rocks to create humidity levels and make the atmosphere bearable. Thus, a Finnish sauna has humidity, while an infrared one is completely dry.

The Heat- Up Time

If you choose to use a Finnish sauna at our Palm Springs Hot Springs Spa, you may have to wait for about 30 to 40 minutes for the room to achieve the desired temperature. The heat in a Finnish sauna first heats a compartment of stones, and later radiates the room. Once it’s warm enough, the heater often cycles on and off to maintain the optimal temperature. But besides the heating method, the heat-up time also depends on the insulation and ventilation of the sauna room.

For an infrared sauna, users can begin using it as soon as the infrared panels are turned on. This is essentially because these panels don’t heat the air first. They instead warm your body directly before heating the air. So you may not need to wait. However, most users often choose to wait until the room is at 110-degrees F and above, which may take up to 15 minutes.


Sauna bathing aims to offer relaxation, detoxification, pain relief and stress reduction. Even though they have significant differences, both infrared and Finnish saunas often help you reap these benefits. The only difference is in the conditions under which you obtain them. Therefore, the decision of whether to go to an infrared or a Finnish sauna comes down to your preferences. If you still in limbo on what to choose, get in touch with our experts at Palm Springs Hot Springs for guidance.