Sauna temperatures used in different types of saunas

There’s been a lot of debate about what temperature is best for a sauna. There is no definite answer – it depends on what type of sauna you’re using and your personal preferences.

Here’s a guide to the most popular types of saunas and the temperatures they’re typically used at:

Finnish sauna

Sitting in a sauna

The Finnish sauna is characterized by at least a thousand years of history and by its use of dry heat.

The air in the sauna is hot and dry, with short-term humidity added by throwing water on the stones. The sauna is heated until the temperature reaches 70-100 °C (158-212 °F), and there is usually tiered seating so that users can enjoy different temperatures.

However, pro sauna users like it even hotter, up to 120 °C (248 °F), but be cation – at these temperatures, the sauna can become unbearable for most people.

After each session, you can douse yourself with cool water or cool off in the fresh air. The Finnish sauna is designed for prolonged relaxation.

Traditional Russian sauna

Typical Russian banya | © Smarticvs / WikiCommons

Banyas, or traditional Russian saunas, have a long history of hundreds of years. These saunas are characterized by their use of steam rather than dry heat.

The Russian sauna is heated with a large brick oven to a maximum of 50 °C (122 °F), and then water is thrown on the hot stones to produce thick steam.

Compared to the Finnish sauna, the Russian sauna is traditionally cooler but much more humid. 

However, the sauna procedure is similar. The body is heated several times and cooled down either by cold outside air, water or snow.

Turkish or Arabic sauna or hot air sauna

Ali Gholi Agha hammam, Isfahan, Iran

Turkish sauna or Arabic sauna or hot-air sauna or Hammam (Turkish: hamam; Arabic: حمّام ḥammām).

Turkish sauna is an ancient type of sauna, mainly used in Islamic countries, in which an increase in air temperature (up to 40-50 °C) is achieved by heating water baths that release heat and moisture into the air.

Hammams are very popular in the Arab world and they are used not only for relaxation but also as a social meeting place. In recent years, hammams have become increasingly popular in Europe and North America as well.

Steam sauna


The modern steam sauna is similar to the Russian sauna in that it is also extremely humid and not very hot, but is heated differently.

A steam sauna uses a generator to heat water and produce steam, which is then let into the room. The temperature in a steam sauna typically ranges from 40-45 °C (104-113 °F), with humidity at nearly 100%.

Infrared sauna


An infrared sauna is a sauna heated by infrared sources. The temperature in an infrared sauna is usually up to 40 °C (104 °F). 

You usually sit in this sauna for up to 20 minutes to allow the infrared radiation to pass through your body. This type of sauna is well suited to those who cannot tolerate either heat or hot steam.

Smoke sauna

Smoke sauna
Jantsi farm, Estonia

A traditional smoke sauna is a sauna without a chimney. There is a large stove in the sauna room, which is heated for 4-5 hours.

During the heating process, the smoke enters the sauna room and heats the sauna in addition to the stove. When the sauna is heated, the last of the smoke is let out, the room is ventilated, and the sauna guests can come in.

The temperature in a smoke sauna is usually 70-80 °C (158-176 °F) but can be even higher. The steam is very humid, soft, and with a pleasant smoky aroma.

Smoke saunas are rare nowadays, but you can still find them in some parts of Finland and Estonia, offering a truly authentic sauna experience.’

Final words

Whether you prefer the dry heat of the Finnish sauna, the steam of the Russian sauna, or the infrared radiation of the modern sauna, there is a sauna out there that will suit your needs.

And if you’re thinking of building your own sauna, be sure to check out our outdoor saunas or contact us to discuss your options!


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