Author: A. Nutt
Companies that make saunas often advertise the drastic differences between infrared and traditional saunas, they'll explain why one particular difference makes the type of sauna that they manufacture so much better than the other variety and why. You'll also see why this particular difference makes the advertising company's type of sauna much cheaper to buy, much cheaper to install or much cheaper to operate.
In reality, there are some distinct differences between the two different types of sauna, but the differences aren't nearly as drastic as many companies make them out to be.
Difference of Cost
Initial costs, including the installation and labor, can be a bit lower for the infrared saunas (especially smaller models). Some infrared saunas can be installed quickly and make use of a standard fifteen amp household receptacle, eliminating the need for extra electrical work. Small infrared units will be lighter and easier to maneuver than even an average size traditional sauna, making installation as a whole easier and therefore less expensive. This isn't always the case though; larger infrared units may require a dedicated receptacle that an electrician will have to be called in to install offsetting the difference in the installation costs a bit between the two units
The costs of operation are often brought up as one of the drastic differences that favor one variety over another in terms of expense. It is true that operation costs are different between traditional and infrared saunas, but not nearly as different as some companies would lead you to believe. Infrared saunas use less energy to operate and in turn cost less money, but even if you use your personal sauna two to three times a week, the difference in cost over a month of operation for each is barely noticeable - the difference in operational costs of new units over the course of a year may only be a few dollars.
Differences in Maintenance
Traditional, or 'wet' saunas, because they produce much more heat and humidity than that of the infrared saunas are often looked to as requiring more cleaning and maintenance than the infrared style. In reality, if both units are installed properly, by professionals, than the difference in maintenance is also barely noticeable. Both styles of sauna will require virtually the same care in terms of cleaning and maintenance.
Time to Reach Temperature
Speed of warm up is another often argued property that is often exaggerated in favor of one style over the other. The time to get to the required temperature for an infrared sauna is often advertised as being up to five or six times faster than that of a traditional sauna. The difference in the time it takes for a traditional sauna to heat up may in fact be a bit longer but usually only because it is heating up to a much hotter temperature. The length of time it takes the two varieties to heat up to the same temperature is virtually the same.
The biggest difference between traditional and infrared saunas really lies in how each one feels. The type or style of heat that each one provides is very different, some people are in love with how the traditional or wet sauna feels and truly believe that that feeling can't be matched for the relaxation that it provides, while others can feel stifled by the heavy humidity that a traditional sauna provides. Both types of sauna can offer incredible health and relaxation benefits for the user, but the only difference that really matters is what one person may prefer over another because the rest of the differences, under normal conditions, are negligible.
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