Sauna Vs. Hot Tub: What Is The Right Choice And When


Done with the daily workout? Now, what – a sauna or hot tub? Both have plenty of health benefits, you know, but the question is; do you want to reap these through sweating or immersing yourself in the water?

Saunas and hot tubs offer a very different experience when it comes to their use and the amount of maintenance required. Many fitness facilities have installed these among other luxurious amenities to entice their clients.

Perhaps you too have been taking advantage of the ones at your local fitness center but always wished to have at least one of them in your backyard. So, if you were to choose sauna vs hot tub, which do you think would serve you the best? The following information will help you make an informed decision. But first, let’s find out their similarities.

Similar Benefits Of Hot Tubs And Sauna

If you are currently trying to lose weight, both are a good choice. Sitting in a sauna or soaking in a hot tub for only 20 minutes will take your metabolism into overdrive just like when taking a long walk.  These two make your body temperature to rise, which causes your blood vessels to dilate, increasing circulation.

As more energy is required to support the increased activities in the body, the stored fat is broken down to meet this extra demand. With the intense burning of calories, you get to lose some weight, which gives you a slimmer, healthier body.  This is one of the major health benefits of saunas and hot tubs and among the reasons why many people have incorporated these in their weight loss programs.

A sauna or hot tub is also an amazing place to relax, unwind, and clear stress. A single session releases the “feel good” hormones that relieve tension and anxiety, leaving you in a good mood. Furthermore, when circulation increases, more oxygenated blood is transported to your brain, which helps it to rejuvenate and feel more refreshed. As a result, your brain functions more efficiently and you feel more relaxed.

Both saunas and hot tubs improve your well-being and can be used to alleviate joint and muscle pains too. The heat acts on your tissue helping the muscles to loosen up.

Sauna Vs Hot Tub: Main Differences

The main difference between a sauna and a hot tub is how each of them works. The simplest way to put it is that saunas get you sitting in a room of infrared heat or steam while hot tubs get you soaking in a tub of hot water. Below is a more detailed comparison of spa vs sauna.


Sauna: The most common types of home saunas are steam and infrared. Steam saunas use heated moisture to warm the air around you while infrared saunas use infrared light that warms your body directly. The choice you make between these two will depend on whether you want a portable sauna or a static one.

Saunas can be bought prefabricated or constructed using mold and moisture resistant materials. To set one up, the area must allow the proper escape of moisture and heat to reduce the risk of mold growth on the walls. If you will be installing the sauna indoors, then make sure the room has enough ventilation to prevent water vapor from being trapped inside the walls.

Hot Tub: A hot tub may not require as much space as a sauna but to install one, you will need at least a power outlet and water source. Setting up a hot tub is much easier than a sauna because unlike the latter, you won’t need an enclosure. But if you love your privacy or want to give your unit added protection, then you can budget for a hot tub gazebo. This one will give your tub the needed enclosure so you can soak all year long as well as protect it.

Another important factor to consider when setting up a hot tub is located. Where you place your hot tub must be level and sturdy to support the weight of the unit, water, and the people who will be using it.

Most spa and hot tub owners prefer letting a professional do the setup. Depending on the size and amount of work involved, installation costs can go up to two or three times the cost of the unit. It is therefore important that you do your homework before the purchase to find out which one will cost you more to get up and running. In most instances, the cost of setting up a sauna will be on the higher side.



Both saunas and hot tubs need to stay in good shape for you to reap maximum benefits.

Sauna: The best way to care for your sauna is to keep it clean. We recommend giving the interior a good scrubbing after every use.

There are also times when you will need to hose down and sand all the interior surfaces to get rid of any dirt that may be hiding in these areas. Mold and mildew will require bleach and stains will need a cleaning agent. If your sauna will be located outdoors, then it will require periodic pressure washing and sanding on the exterior.

Hot Tub: hot tub chemistry at least once a week. This means that in addition to test kits, you will need to budget for hot tub chemicals and sanitizing agents. You may also need to have hot tub defoamers handy, for when the water gets cloudy due to excessive use.

Like saunas, a hot tub will require some serious cleaning at some point. More specifically you will need to remove and clean your hot tub filters at least once a month.

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Social Events

This may sound the silliest item of comparing sauna vs hot tub but tell you what, if you like throwing family parties, one of these two may favor you more than the other.

Sauna: Saunas are mostly associated with calmness and tranquility and will be more enjoyed by couples. This is not the place for family events or fun games. You see, the heat from the sauna is way too much for some of your family members to handle. Kids’ bodies for instance are too sensitive and may not survive even two minutes in that heat.

Hot Tub: A hot tub provides the perfect relaxation for all. It is the best place to unwind and spend quality time with your loved ones – hold family parties, play with your kids, catch up on life, and laugh together. If you can lower the hot tub temperature to swimming levels, even better. For a romantic night, put on some music, pour some wine, and travel to wonderland with your spouse in the spa.

Ironically, hot tubs are not “hot” like saunas and may therefore be appropriate for people of different ages.

Skin Cleansing

Sauna: If you as looking to purifying your skin including your face, then a sauna may be a better option than a hot tub. Every part of your skin is exposed to the heat, and when the temperature of the body rises, you start to sweat from every part, flushing out toxins and leaving your skin glowing.

Hot tub: Hot tubs will also help purify your skin but will not be as effective as saunas because you won’t be sweating as much, especially on your face. Facial cleansing is one of the benefits of using a sauna, but unfortunately, one of the things a hot tub lacks.

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So, what is the right choice and when?

Based on the above sauna vs hot tub comparison, hot tubs seem to be a better option than saunas. For starters, they are much easier to install and don’t require complex maintenance. However, you will need to learn how to test the hot tub water and maintain it at the right balance, which is not easy.

Saunas will be a little difficult to set up and may require you to hire a professional for the job. Cleaning will also require you to do thorough scrubbing in the interior, which can be tiresome, but luckily, it is not done as regularly as chemical balancing in hot tubs.

All said and done, both saunas and hot tubs offer plenty of health benefits, and both demand regular maintenance to serve you best. Your choice will therefore depend on what you want to achieve. If you want a serious detox, the sauna will be a better choice. But if you are looking to include your kids in the fun, a hot tub will be a more viable option.

When to use your sauna or hot tub? That’s all up to you. However, most people prefer taking their sessions after a workout, a long day at work, or any other activity that gets the body exhausted.

More Watergear Hot Tube Guides:


  1. Can A Hot Bath Cut Blood Sugar And Burn Calories?
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