We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Differences Between a Sauna and a Steam Room?

By Bronwyn Harris
Updated Feb 01, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Steam rooms and saunas have many similarities, as both involve heat and are used for relaxation. Both steam rooms and saunas can be built into a private home or are easily found in health clubs, gyms, and spas. Although most people know that steam rooms are humid and wet, and saunas are dry, there are many other differences between a sauna and a steam room.

First of all, a steam room has a steam generator located outside the room, where it is not seen from people using the steam room. A sauna's heater is located inside the sauna, whether it is a traditional sauna heater or an infrared heating system. While a steam room gets its heat by water being heated and injected into the room as steam, a sauna gets its heat in a different manner. A sauna's heater heats the air inside the sauna. The air is vented through intake and outlet vents.

The normal temperatures inside a sauna range from 120° to 150° F (49° to 66° C), while those inside a steam room are generally lower; under 130° F (54° C). Although the temperatures are lower in a steam room, the humidity is generally 100 percent, as opposed to a sauna, which keeps humidity at around 40 percent.

The inside of a sauna looks very different than that of a steam room. Saunas are traditionally wood which is untreated and sun-dried. Saunas do not have to be waterproof and usually have a distinctive, pleasant smell from the wood when it is heated. On the other hand, steam rooms are usually made from ceramic tiles, glass blocks, or other waterproof, nonporous materials which are smooth and hold up in a moist environment.

Since condensation can be a problem in a steam room, they often have sloped ceilings, to divert the condensation which could otherwise build up. Saunas, on the other hand, should be built with flat ceilings to keep the heat more evenly dispersed in the room. Because steam rooms are wet, a floor drain is needed, while saunas need no drain.

Whether you prefer a steam room to a sauna or vice versa, it is important to be safe, avoid dehydration, and stay in the sauna or steam room only as long as your body can handle it.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By mackdesign — On Jun 19, 2008

Can a steam room and a sauna share the same space (as one room) even though there are many differences in what they do?

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.