How Hot Is a Sauna? The Complete Guide To The Best Sauna Temperature

Saunas have been a beloved part of many cultures for centuries, offering a sanctuary of relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether you’re a seasoned sauna enthusiast or a first-timer, understanding the intricacies of sauna temperatures is crucial for an optimal experience. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ideal heat levels for different types of saunas, the factors that influence them, and how to find your personal sweet spot.

Traditional Finnish Sauna Temperatures Explained

Traditional Finnish saunas are the epitome of the sauna experience. These saunas typically feature a wood-burning or electric heater topped with sauna rocks, which retain and radiate heat. The typical temperature range for a traditional Finnish sauna falls between 140°F (60°C) and 200°F (93°C).

However, the ideal temperature within this range is highly subjective and depends on several factors:

  1. Personal Preference: Some individuals prefer the intense heat of a 190°F sauna, while others find their bliss at a more moderate 160°F. It’s essential to listen to your body and adjust the temperature accordingly.
  2. Heat Tolerance: Our ability to tolerate heat varies from person to person. Those new to saunas may find it more comfortable to start at lower temperatures and gradually work their way up as their tolerance increases.
  3. Mood: The sauna experience can be tailored to your current mood and desired outcome. If you’re seeking a more invigorating and detoxifying session, you may prefer a higher temperature, whereas a relaxing, meditative experience may call for a milder heat.

To strike the perfect balance between temperature and humidity, Finnish sauna enthusiasts often follow the “Rule of 200.” This guideline suggests that the sum of the sauna’s temperature (in °F) and relative humidity (in %) should equal approximately 200 for optimal comfort. For example, a sauna set at 180°F would ideally have a humidity level around 20%.

The sauna is a great lesson about life. You enter it as an insecure, cowardly, weak, unhappy person, and you leave it reborn, calm, secure, strong, and happy.” – Harri Nykänen, Finnish skier and Olympic gold medalist.

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Infrared Sauna Temperature Guidelines

Infrared Sauna Temperature Guidelines

Infrared saunas are a unique breed, using advanced technology to provide a different kind of heat therapy. Instead of heating the air, these saunas employ infrared heaters to directly warm your body.

One of the most notable differences is the lower temperature range of infrared saunas, typically between 100°F (38°C) and 125°F (52°C). This lower temperature allows for longer, more comfortable sessions, often lasting up to 35-40 minutes.

The gentle, penetrating infrared heat offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Improved circulation
  • Pain relief
  • Detoxification
  • Deep relaxation

Many infrared sauna enthusiasts enjoy the ability to experience these benefits without the intense heat and humidity of traditional saunas.

Case Study: A recent study by the University of Missouri-Kansas City found that regular infrared sauna use can significantly reduce symptoms of chronic pain and improve overall quality of life.

Steam Sauna Temperature Zone

Steam Sauna Temperature Zone

Steam saunas, also known as Turkish baths or hammams, offer a unique and therapeutic sauna experience. These saunas maintain high humidity levels, typically around 100%, creating a misty, steamy environment.

The temperature range for steam saunas falls between 90°F (32°C) and 120°F (49°C). While this may seem relatively cool compared to other sauna types, the high humidity allows the steam to penetrate deeply into your skin, providing a range of benefits.

The moist heat of a steam sauna can:

  • Open pores and promote detoxification
  • Relieve muscle tension and joint pain
  • Improve respiratory function
  • Boost circulation and metabolic rate

Imagine stepping into a warm, enveloping cloud of steam, letting the moisture soothe your body and mind. It’s a truly unique and revitalizing experience.

Optimal Temperatures for Specific Health Benefits

While personal preference plays a significant role in finding your ideal sauna temperature, certain temperature ranges are particularly well-suited for specific health benefits. Here’s a quick guide:

Health BenefitOptimal Temperature Range
Detoxification140°F – 160°F (60°C – 71°C)
Relaxation160°F – 180°F (71°C – 82°C)
Improved Circulation180°F – 190°F (82°C – 88°C)
Pain Relief180°F – 190°F (82°C – 88°C)

Remember, these are general guidelines, and it’s essential to listen to your body’s signals and adjust the temperature as needed.

Maximum Safe Sauna Temperatures

While saunas can provide a range of health benefits, it’s crucial to understand the maximum safe temperatures to avoid potential risks. Traditional Finnish saunas can reach temperatures up to 195°F (91°C), but it’s generally recommended to stay within the 140°F to 190°F range for safety and comfort.

It’s important to note that smaller saunas, such as barrel saunas, can heat up more quickly and may feel hotter due to their smaller internal volume. Always exercise caution when entering a sauna and gradually increase the temperature to avoid discomfort or overheating.

“The sauna is a small paradise, a piece of heaven on earth.” – Finnish proverb

Recommended Session Durations

Just as important as the temperature is the duration of your sauna session. Here are some general guidelines for different sauna types:

  • Traditional Finnish Sauna: 10-20 minutes
  • Infrared Sauna: 20-30 minutes
  • Steam Sauna: 10-15 minutes

However, it’s essential to listen to your body and end the session if you start feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or uncomfortable. Remember, you can always work your way up to longer sessions as you become more accustomed to the heat.

Staying hydrated throughout your sauna session is also crucial. Consider sipping on cool water or an electrolyte-replenishing beverage to replace the fluids lost through sweating.


What is the best temperature for a sauna?

There is no single “best” temperature for a sauna, as it depends on the type of sauna and your personal preference. Traditional Finnish saunas typically range from 140°F to 200°F, infrared saunas from 100°F to 125°F, and steam saunas from 90°F to 120°F. Finding your ideal temperature within these ranges is key to a comfortable and enjoyable sauna experience.

Is 100 degrees too hot for a sauna?

No, 100°F is a common and comfortable temperature for infrared saunas, which operate at lower air temperatures than traditional saunas. In fact, this temperature allows for longer, more relaxing sessions while still providing the benefits of infrared heat therapy.

Is 200 degrees too hot for a sauna?

While 200°F is at the higher end of the temperature range for traditional Finnish saunas, it is not necessarily too hot. However, it may be uncomfortable for some individuals, especially those new to saunas or with lower heat tolerance. It’s essential to listen to your body’s cues and adjust the temperature accordingly.

Is 70 degrees too hot for a sauna?

No, 70°F would be considered quite cool for any type of sauna experience. The purpose of a sauna is to expose the body to higher temperatures and induce sweating, which typically requires temperatures above 100°F. A temperature of 70°F would likely not provide the desired health benefits associated with sauna use.


Finding the perfect sauna temperature is a journey of self-discovery, balancing personal preference, heat tolerance, and desired outcomes. Whether you prefer the intense heat of a traditional Finnish sauna, the gentle warmth of an infrared sauna, or the steamy embrace of a hammam, understanding the temperature ranges and factors that influence them is key to unlocking the full potential of your sauna experience.

Remember, the sauna is a sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation. Take the time to explore different temperatures, listen to your body, and find the sweet spot that leaves you feeling refreshed, invigorated, and at peace. Happy sweating!

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