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How Long Do Saunas Take To Heat Up?

How Long Do Saunas Take To Heat Up?

Jillian Le |

Ever thought about how long it takes for a sauna to get warm? Whether it's a classic Finnish sauna or the newer infrared type, each has its own timing. Things like size, insulation, and the heater can change how long it takes. Let's dive in and learn more about this!

How Long Do Traditional Saunas Take To Heat Up?

The time it takes for traditional saunas (often referred to as Finnish or steam saunas) to heat up typically varies based on several factors:

Size of the Sauna: A smaller sauna might take around 30 minutes to reach the desired temperature, whereas a larger one might take up to an hour or more.

Power of the Heater: A sauna with a more powerful heater, such as ProHeat Series Electric Sauna Heater, will heat up faster than one with a less powerful unit, such as our Harvia Vega Compact

Insulation: Saunas that are better insulated will retain heat more efficiently and, therefore, might heat up slightly faster.

Starting Temperature: If the room or outdoor temperature is colder, it might take longer for the sauna to heat up.

Desired Temperature: Typically, saunas heat up between 150°F (65°C) and 195°F (90°C). If you're aiming for the higher end of this spectrum, it will naturally take a bit longer. Click here to learn more about the recommended temperature of a sauna.

Given these factors, a general estimate is that traditional saunas take 30 minutes to an hour to heat up to their optimal temperature.

Dundalk Luna indoor sauna product

How long do Infrared Saunas take to heat up?

Infrared saunas operate differently than traditional steam saunas. They use infrared lamps to warm your body instead of the air around you directly.

The efficiency of Infrared Panels: High-quality infrared panels can emit beneficial infrared heat almost immediately.

Desired Experience: While you can start feeling the effects of the infrared heat within the first few minutes, some people prefer to wait until the sauna's interior gets warmer, which might take around 15-20 minutes.

Size and Insulation: Though not as impactful as traditional saunas, the size and insulation can still play minor roles in heating times.

On average, infrared saunas take 10 to 20 minutes to heat up sufficiently. However, remember that the focus with infrared is not always on achieving a high ambient temperature but more on the infrared rays penetrating the skin for therapeutic effects.

Remember, while these are general time frames, the exact time for your sauna to heat up will depend on its specifications and the abovementioned conditions. Always consult the owner's manual and manufacturer's guidelines for best practices related to your specific sauna model.

How do Traditional Sauna Heaters work?

Sauna heaters produce and maintain high temperatures within a confined space, creating an environment that promotes sweating and relaxation.

Heating Element: The heater's core contains electric coils or other heating elements. When powered on, these elements get hot.

Sauna Stones: These heaters usually have rocks or unique sauna stones placed on or around them. As the heating element gets hot, it transfers this heat to the rocks.

Steam Production: In traditional saunas, you can pour water onto the heated stones. When the water comes in contact with the hot rocks, it turns into steam, increasing the humidity inside the sauna and enhancing the feeling of warmth.

Thermostat Control: Most modern sauna heaters have a thermostat to regulate the temperature, ensuring that the sauna doesn't get too hot and maintains a steady, desired temperature.

Huum wood fired sauna heater product

How do Infrared Sauna Heaters work?

Infrared Panels: Instead of traditional heating elements, infrared saunas use infrared panels that emit infrared light. The skin absorbs this light and doesn't rely on heating the air. 

Direct Heating: The infrared light penetrates the skin, warming the body directly, which means the air in the sauna stays cooler compared to traditional saunas, but the body feels the warmth intensely.

How to Choose the Right Size Sauna Heater?

Choosing the correct size for your sauna heater ensures efficient heating and longevity. Here are steps to determine the right size:

Calculate Cubic Footage: Start by determining the size of your sauna by multiplying its length, width, and height. This will give you the cubic footage of the space. For example, a 6 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 7 feet tall sauna will be 210 cubic feet.

Consider the Insulation: If your sauna is well-insulated, it'll require less power to heat. However, you might need a slightly more powerful heater for outdoor saunas or saunas located in cooler areas.

Check Manufacturer Guidelines: Most sauna heater manufacturers provide various sizes corresponding to different cubic footage. Always refer to these guidelines.

Factor in Temperature Preference: If you prefer your sauna to be at the higher end of the spectrum, consider opting for a heater size on the higher end for your sauna's measure.

Safety Buffer: It's generally a good idea to choose a slightly more powerful heater than you think you need. This ensures that the heater won't be running at its maximum capacity all the time, potentially extending its lifespan.

Location of the Sauna: If your sauna is outdoors and exposed to colder temperatures, you might need a more powerful heater than an indoor sauna of the same size.

In summary, the key is measuring accurately, referring to manufacturer guidelines, and determining individual preferences and external conditions. This will ensure a pleasant sauna experience every time!

Inside of dundalk barrel sauna product mockup

Key Takeaways:

How Long Traditional Saunas Take to Heat Up:

  • Heat-up time varies based on size, heater power, insulation, starting temperature, and desired temperature.
  • Typically takes 30 minutes to an hour to reach optimal temperature.

How Long Infrared Saunas Take to Heat Up:

  • They use infrared lamps to warm the body directly.
  • High-quality infrared panels can emit heat almost immediately.
  • Typically takes 10 to 20 minutes to heat up sufficiently.
  • The focus is on the infrared rays' therapeutic effects on the skin, not just air temperature.

Sauna Heaters Functionality:

  • Use heating elements (usually electric coils).
  • Sauna stones retain and radiate heat.
  • Option to produce steam by pouring water on hot stones.
  • Equipped with a thermostat for temperature control.
  • Use infrared panels that emit infrared light.
  • Warm the body directly, not the surrounding air.

Choosing the Right Sauna Heater:

  • Calculate the cubic footage of the sauna space (length x width x height).
  • Consider the quality of insulation.
  • Refer to manufacturer guidelines for heater size recommendations.
  • Factor in your temperature preference.
  • Opt for a slightly more powerful heater for safety and efficiency, especially outdoor saunas.

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