steam shower vs sauna

Hot vs Steamy: Simple Guide to Steam Shower vs Sauna

Are you looking for a way to improve your overall health and well-being? Getting sweaty is the answer! 

Sweating it out has a lot of benefits from improving cardiovascular health, boosting the immune system, and helping to detoxify the body. 

Saunas and steam showers get confused with each other since they both make you sweat and have great health benefits as a result. However, they both work differently. 

In a word, the difference is moisture. 

Saunas cause you to sweat using dry heat and steam showers and steam rooms use moist heat to cause the same reaction. 

Steam shower vs sauna: Which one is better? There’s no quick answer to that. You’ll have to read the article to find out the sauna vs steam shower differences so you can make an informed decision about what you should have in your house!

Steam Shower vs Sauna Health BenefitsSaunaSteam Shower
Relaxes and soothes musclesYesYes
Opens up pores and helps to cleanse the skinYesYes
Hydrates the skin, making it look and feel more supple and smoothNoYes
Promotes better blood circulationYes Yes
Helps with respiratory issuesNoYes
Can be used for aromatherapyNoYes

What is a Steam Shower?

A steam shower is a type of shower that uses moist heat from steam to create a relaxing and rejuvenating shower experience. The steam is generated by a steam generator, which heats water to create steam that is then piped into the shower enclosure. The steam fills the enclosure for heat therapy, creating a warm and humid environment that can be very relaxing and therapeutic.
You can convert a regular shower into a steam shower so you can have the benefits of steam baths in your own home.
It produces an ambient humidity of up to 100% with moist heat temperatures in the enclosure between 100 and 115 degrees. Some steam showers also have built-in features like lighting and essential oils to enhance the overall experience.

Benefits of steam showers

We’ve written a very thorough guide on the benefits of a steam shower that you can read here, however, here is a list to give you an idea at a glance of what you get out of having a steam shower with steam heat:

  • Relaxes and soothes muscles, easing aches and pains
  • Promotes a sense of calm and relaxation
  • Opens up pores and helps to cleanse the skin
  • Improves the overall appearance and health of the skin
  • Hydrates the skin, making it look and feel more supple and smooth
  • Raising the body temperature promotes better blood circulation
  • Help with respiratory issues
  • Can be used for aromatherapy
  • Can be customized with built-in features like lighting and essential oils
Hot vs Steamy: Simple Guide to Steam Shower vs Sauna 9
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What is a Sauna?

A sauna is a small room or house designed for people to sit or lie down in while being exposed to dry heat. Saunas are typically heated by a wood-burning stove, an electric stove, or a gas stove, and the heat is usually between 150-200 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat therapy causes sweating and helps to relax muscles and promotes a sense of well-being.

Saunas can be found in many fitness clubs, gyms, spas, and public swimming pools. They are also a common feature in many private homes. Saunas are traditionally associated with Finland, where they have a long history, but they are also popular in other countries such as Sweden, Norway and Estonia.

Saunas are heated in a number of ways. The most rustic and traditional ones will have a wood fired stove. More modern saunas will use a gas powered stove but the most popular ones these days are infrared saunas. 

Benefits of saunas

There are several potential benefits of dry heat and higher temperatures from sauna use, including:

  • Stress relief: Sauna sessions can help to relax the mind and body, reducing feelings of stress and tension.
  • Improved cardiovascular health: Regular sauna use may lower blood pressure in those with high blood pressure, improve circulation, and reduce the risk of heart disease. (Source)
  • Pain relief: Saunas can help to alleviate pain associated with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and headaches.
  • Improved skin health: Saunas can help to open up the pores, allowing for a deeper cleanse of the skin and reducing the appearance of acne.
  • Improved athletic performance: Saunas can help to improve endurance, speed up recovery after exercise, and reduce muscle soreness while increasing muscle relaxation.
  • Improved sleep: Saunas can help to relax the body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Detoxification: Saunas can help to remove toxins from the body through sweating.

Differences between Steam Shower and Sauna

Although both saunas and steam rooms have similar benefits and work to cause you to sweat without any effort to raise your body temperature, the differences are pretty stark. let’s go over the various points where they diverge.


Both saunas and steam showers can be added to your home for convenience. The biggest difference is that a sauna is a stand-alone structure that has only that one purpose. You’ll need to find the space to put a sauna. Most people will put one in a finished basement if there is space. However, it is more common to find saunas being built outside of the house in the yard somewhere with a structure around it for privacy.

A steam shower, on the other hand, can easily be added to your house since you can convert a regular shower into steam baths. It is convenient because you will use it every day as a shower anyway and then when you want to do a steam bath, you can enjoy the benefits in the same space.

The actual installation is much easier if you are adding an infrared sauna since they are already built. In many cases, you can do the installation yourself if you are decent at electrical work. A steam shower is much more intrusive as far as installation goes and usually requires professional installation. 


The cost of both saunas and steam showers can add up quickly depending on what you want. However, a general rule of thumb is that a 2 person sauna that is prebuilt will cost roughly $2,000 to $3,000 plus the cost of installing it. Many people opt for a 4 person sauna for convenience and these can cost between $3,000 and $4,000. 

A steam shower costs roughly $2,000 for the steam generator alone, plus the cost of retiling the walls if necessary and enclosing the shower stall so it is sealed. Add in the cost of the plumbing and electrical and it can cost roughly $6,000 for a space for 2 people. There are prefabricated steam showers that can cost between $2,500 and $8,000.

Temperature and humidity levels

Saunas, steam showers, and steam rooms are popular ways to relax and have similar health benefits, but they have some key differences in terms of temperature and humidity levels.

Saunas are typically heated to temperatures between 150 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit, with dry heat and lower humidity levels of around 10 to 20%. This dry heat helps to open up airways and promote sweating, which can be beneficial for respiratory health and detoxification, and loosening stiff joints. A sauna room is usually made of wood and have a traditional look and feel.

Steam showers and steam rooms, on the other hand, are typically heated to lower temperatures of around 110 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, with higher humidity levels of around 40 to 60%. The wet heat in steam baths helps to hydrate the skin and can be especially beneficial for people with dry skin or eczema. Steam showers are typically made of glass, tile or acrylic and are more modern looking.

How long do sessions typically last?

Sauna sessions typically last between 15 and 30 minutes, with some people staying for up to an hour in the dry heat. It is recommended to start with a shorter duration due to the higher temperatures and gradually increase it as your body becomes accustomed to the heat. It is also important to stay hydrated during a sauna session by drinking water before and after.

Steam shower sessions usually last between 10 and 20 minutes, with some people staying for up to 30 minutes. As with sauna sessions, it’s recommended to start with a shorter duration and gradually increase it as your body becomes accustomed to the humidity. It’s also important to stay hydrated during a steam shower session by drinking water before and after.

It’s also worth noting that the time spent in a sauna room or steam rooms may vary depending on the individual’s comfort level and health conditions. It’s always best to consult with a doctor before using a sauna or steam bath, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.

Bottom Line

It’s not an easy choice when deciding between a steam shower vs sauna. They both have a lot of health benefits but also are so different and have different factors that go into the decision. We hope that the above information has helped open your eyes to the differences so you can understand which one will suit your needs best. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Check out our Privacy Policy for more info.


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