Understanding Sauna Energy Use: How Much Electricity Does a Sauna Use?

Understanding Sauna Energy Use: How Much Electricity Does a Sauna Use?

When it comes to energy consumption, saunas can vary widely. Traditional saunas often use more electricity than their infrared counterparts due to the need to heat air and stones. To directly answer your question, "How much electricity does a sauna use?", it largely depends on several factors including size, insulation, and heater type. This article outlines the key contributors to a sauna’s electricity use and provides practical tips on how to calculate and minimize those costs.

Key Takeaways

  • Infrared saunas are more energy-efficient compared to traditional steam saunas, as they warm the body directly and require less electricity due to their targeted heating method.
  • Several factors contribute to a sauna’s energy usage, including the sauna size, quality of insulation, and the type of heater used, with larger saunas and poor insulation leading to higher energy consumption.
  • Sauna owners can reduce electricity costs through energy efficiency measures such as choosing the right sauna, regular maintenance,  smart usage practices, and accounting for local energy rates when estimating overall cost.

Types of Saunas and Their Energy Consumption

Types of Saunas and Their Energy Consumption

Saunas have been cherished for centuries for their soothing heat and health benefits. Today, they are available in various types, with traditional steam and infrared saunas being the most prevalent for residential use. Each sauna type offers a unique experience and, intriguingly, has a different energy consumption profile. We will now explore the energy consumption differences between traditional and infrared saunas further.

Traditional Saunas

Traditional saunas, often referred to as Finnish saunas, have a rich history dating back thousands of years. They create an intensely warm and humid environment in a sauna room by heating rocks to generate heat. This process usually takes about 20 minutes for the sauna to heat up sufficiently for two individuals.

However, this level of warmth and humidity comes with a cost. Traditional saunas typically require more energy due to the need for substantial heating of both the air and the sauna stones. The energy requirements can increase further for larger saunas or outdoor sauna locations.

Traditional Saunas

Infrared Saunas

Unlike traditional saunas, infrared ones have the following advantages:

  • They emit radiant heat to warm the body directly.
  • This targeted heating method is highly efficient, requiring less electricity than traditional saunas that heat the air around you.
  • Infrared saunas heat up much faster, further enhancing their energy efficiency.

In terms of energy consumption, infrared saunas are the clear winners. Their ability to provide direct heat without the need to heat large volumes of air means they consume significantly less energy. For sauna enthusiasts looking to minimize their energy consumption, infrared saunas are an appealing option.

Factors Affecting Sauna Electricity Usage

Factors Affecting Sauna Electricity Usage

While the type of sauna you choose plays a significant role in energy consumption, several other factors come into play:

  • size of your sauna
  • level of insulation
  • type of heater 

Understanding these factors can help you optimize your sauna experience and manage your energy costs effectively.

Sauna Size

Sauna Size

The size of a sauna can significantly affect its energy usage. Larger saunas typically require more power due to their increased internal volume. This larger volume impacts the energy required by the heater to reach the desired temperature.

Moreover, larger saunas have more internal area to heat, which can increase energy usage. Beyond just heating up, larger saunas typically require more power to maintain the desired temperatures. Therefore, when planning a sauna installation, it’s crucial to consider the size that best suits your needs and energy consumption preferences.



Insulation plays a key role in maintaining heat within the sauna, reducing the energy required for heating, and minimizing heat loss, thus significantly impacting a sauna’s energy consumption. Saunas, especially those located outdoors, benefit from proper insulation materials such as:

  • quality wood
  • fiberglass rolls
  • thermoplastic boards
  • reflective foil
  • foam panels

For effective thermal resistance and to hamper significant heat loss, materials providing suitable R-values should be used to insulate the sauna’s ceiling and walls. Additionally, optimizing sauna design with maximal wood-clad surfaces and strategic glass placement can alleviate the need for higher wattage heaters, making use of residual heat to benefit the home, thus reducing energy consumption.

Heater Type

The type of heater used in a sauna, including heating elements, can also significantly affect its energy consumption. Traditional saunas with wood-burning stoves and heated rocks can lower electricity usage compared to those with electric heaters. 

Electric saunas are efficient in quickly heating up the sauna space and require less maintenance than wood burning sauna heaters, but they can result in higher energy costs, especially with frequent use. On the other hand, using a wood-burning stove instead of an electric heater can significantly reduce the electricity usage of a traditional sauna.

Calculating Your Sauna's Electricity Cost

Calculationg Your Sauna

Having discussed the factors influencing sauna energy use, we will now focus on how to calculate your sauna’s electricity cost. Estimating these costs involves considering the wattage of your sauna, the frequency and duration of sauna sessions, and your local energy rates.

The cost of a sauna session varies depending on the type of sauna. For instance, a 30-minute session in a traditional sauna can cost between $0.72 to $1.08, while a 30-minute session in an infrared sauna costs approximately $0.18 to $0.42. Understanding how to calculate these costs will enable you to effectively manage your energy expenses associated with sauna use.

Estimating Wattage

Estimating Wattage

Efficient sauna operation depends on determining the suitable wattage for a sauna heater. The general rule is to apply 1 kilowatt (KW) of heater power for every 50 cubic feet of room volume. This estimation is vital in understanding how much power your sauna needs and subsequently, your potential electricity costs.

Your sauna heater's wattage significantly impacts your sauna's total energy consumption. Therefore, selecting a heater with the correct wattage, based on your sauna size, is vital.

Factoring in Usage

Factoring in Usage

Your sauna’s total energy consumption is significantly influenced by the frequency and duration of your sessions. Reducing sauna usage to a few times each week, rather than daily, can also decrease overall energy consumption and costs. 

By understanding these factors and managing your usage accordingly, you can optimize your sauna experience while keeping your energy costs under control.

Incorporating Local Energy Rates

Incorporating Local Energy Rates

Finally, the cost of operating a sauna is significantly affected by your local energy rates. Knowing the local energy rates and how they affect operational costs is crucial for sauna owners to accurately calculate their monthly electricity expenses for sauna use. 

By incorporating these rates into your calculations, you can gain a realistic understanding of your sauna’s running costs and plan your usage accordingly.

Energy Efficiency Tips for Sauna Owners

Energy Efficiency Tips for Sauna Owners

As demonstrated, multiple factors affect the energy consumption of saunas. However, there are several strategies and practices that sauna owners can adopt to enhance energy efficiency and reduce costs.

We will now explore these strategies and practices, beginning with the selection of the right sauna.

Choosing the Right Sauna

Infrared saunas are known for their energy efficiency. They offer:

  • Minimal electricity usage
  • Immediate access without the need for preheating
  • Lower operating temperatures, resulting in enhanced energy savings and lower carbon emissions compared to other sauna types.

By choosing the right sauna type based on energy use, you can enjoy the benefits of a sauna without worrying about excessive energy consumption.

Maintaining Your Sauna

Ensuring regular maintenance is key to your sauna operating at maximum efficiency. Here are some maintenance tips to follow:

  1. Clean and service your sauna at least once a year to maintain energy efficiency.
  2. Check the sauna stones annually and replace eroded stones.
  3. Properly restack the stones to preserve optimal energy efficiency.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your sauna operates efficiently.

Implementing Energy-Saving Practices

Implementing Energy-Saving Practices

You can adapt several simple practices to save energy during sauna use. For instance, entering the sauna promptly after it has reached the required temperature and turning off the heater immediately post-session avoids unnecessary energy use.

Smart sauna controls with cloud connectivity can enhance energy efficiency by providing more precise control over heating and energy use.

Lastly, planning sauna sessions during off-peak energy hours can lead to cost savings due to lower electricity rates.

Comparing Sauna Energy Usage to Other Household Appliances

Comparing Sauna Energy Usage to Other Household Appliances

A typical home sauna uses between 9 to 13 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per one-hour session, which translates to an energy consumption rate of approximately 9 to 13 kWh per kilowatt hour. So, how much energy does a sauna consume? It’s important to consider this when planning to install one in your home.

To put this into perspective, the energy consumption of an infrared sauna session is on par with operating a dishwasher, while a session in a traditional electric sauna equates to using a larger household appliance like a dryer.

The Environmental Impact of Sauna Use

The Environmental Impact of Sauna Use

Saunas offer health and relaxation benefits, but their environmental impact shouldn't be overlooked. Factors like energy source, consumption, and construction materials all contribute. Wood-burning saunas, for instance, emit pollutants and contribute to deforestation.

Yet, opting for energy-efficient saunas can mitigate these environmental concerns. By choosing eco-friendly options and adopting energy-saving practices, you can enjoy the sauna's benefits while minimizing your environmental footprint

Health Benefits and Considerations

Health Benefits and Considerations

Regular sauna sessions offer relaxing moments that are precious in today’s stressful world situation, with sauna use capable of increasing heart rate by 30% or more, which enhances blood circulation, particularly to the skin.

General sauna safety guidelines recommend:

  • Avoiding alcohol and certain medications before and after sauna sessions to prevent adverse effects
  • Limiting sauna sessions to 15-20 minutes
  • Following sauna sessions with a gradual cooldown period to reduce health risks
  • rehydrate with two to four glasses of water to maintain proper hydration after sweating.
  • individuals with uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart disease should use them with caution.


We’ve journeyed through the intricacies of sauna energy use, exploring different sauna types, factors influencing electricity usage, and how to calculate sauna electricity costs. We’ve also provided practical energy efficiency tips and compared sauna energy use to other household appliances. Undoubtedly, understanding these dynamics is key to optimizing your sauna experience and managing your energy costs effectively.

Remember, choosing the right sauna type, properly maintaining your sauna, and implementing energy-saving practices can significantly impact your electric bills and environmental footprint.

So, whether you’re a seasoned sauna enthusiast or considering installing a home sauna, keep these insights in mind to ensure you enjoy the benefits of a sauna while being a savvy energy consumer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between traditional and infrared saunas in terms of energy consumption?

Infrared saunas use radiant heat to warm the body directly, resulting in lower energy consumption compared to traditional saunas that heat up air to warm the body. This makes them a more energy-efficient option.

How does the size of a sauna affect its energy consumption?

The size of a sauna directly affects its energy consumption, as larger saunas require more power due to their increased internal volume. Therefore, the size of the heater needed impacts the power output and energy consumption.

What role does insulation play in a sauna's energy usage?

Proper insulation in a sauna reduces the energy required for heating and minimizes heat loss, significantly impacting the sauna's energy consumption. This is essential for energy efficiency.

How can I calculate my sauna's electricity cost?

You can calculate your sauna's electricity cost by multiplying the wattage of the sauna by the number of hours it's operated and the local cost per kilowatt-hour charged by the electric company. This will give you an estimate of the monthly energy costs for your sauna.

What are some tips for enhancing energy efficiency in my sauna?

To enhance energy efficiency in your sauna, consider choosing an energy-efficient sauna type, maintaining it properly, and implementing energy-saving practices during use, such as turning it off immediately after use. These steps can help reduce energy consumption and costs.

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