Sauna vs Hot Tub: Understanding the Key Differences

Sauna Vs Hot Tub

If you’re someone who enjoys a good sauna or hot tub session, you may have considered installing one in your own home. But how do you choose between the two?

Key Takeaways

  • Saunas and hot tubs offer different benefits and experiences, so it’s important to consider your personal preferences and needs.
  • Installation, maintenance, and resale value are all factors to consider when choosing between a sauna and hot tub.
  • While both options can be relaxing and enjoyable, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with each.

The health Benefits of a Sauna vs. Hot Tub

Both sauna and hot tub offer a number of health benefits, but how do they compare? Let’s fin out!

Benefits for the Heart and Circulation

Saunas and hot tubs offer numerous health benefits, including improved heart health and circulation. When you sit in a sauna, your body temperature rises, and your body responds by increasing your heart rate, which pumps more blood around the body and improves circulation. Additionally, the heat causes blood vessels to dilate, further enhancing circulation. Regular use of saunas may lead to a reduced risk of sudden cardiac arrest, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease, as well as lower blood pressure.

Similarly, sitting in hot water raises your heart rate, which provides many of the same benefits as a sauna. A study in Japan showed that regular hot tub use provided some protection against fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events.

Immediate Relaxation & Stress Relief

Saunas and hot tubs are also great for relaxation, stress relief, and improving mental health. Spending time relaxing in a sauna leaves you feeling less stressed and in a better mood. Additionally, if you use a sauna with other people, there’s also a social element, which is important for mental health.

Hot tubs also provide a great way to unwind, de-stress, and forget about the worries of your daily grind, and like saunas, they can also provide an opportunity for social interaction.

Relief from Muscle Aches & Physical Pains

Saunas and hot tubs are also known for their ability to provide relief from joint pain, rheumatic conditions, and muscle aches. Anecdotal evidence from regular sauna users suggests they are something of a panacea for aches, pains, stiffness, and rheumatic conditions, and the science seems to back this up.

Many athletes use saunas to help them recover more quickly after training or competition since they can help relax muscles after strenuous exercise.

Sitting in warm water can also bring relief from stiff muscles, much like a sauna, and if you have massage jets in the tub, this can enhance the effect. Like saunas, hot tub therapy can help reduce the pain from rheumatoid arthritis too.

Benefits For Your Skin

Sauna users often report a skin “glow” after using a sauna, probably due to the increased blood flow to the skin and the opening of pores due to sweating.

Saunas can also help with dry skin and conditions like acne since they open the pores and moisturize the skin, giving the skin a deep clean.

Unfortunately, hot tubs don’t offer these benefits, and in fact, the chemicals in the water – along with any bacteria – may make skin worse.

Sauna vs Hot Tub For Immunity Boost

There is some evidence that saunas can help boost immunity – or at least resistance to the common cold. There is no similar evidence for hot tub use.

Sauna Vs Hot Tub ForBetter Sleep

Both saunas and hot tubs are reported to help users get to sleep more easily and also to help them to enjoy more deep sleep, which is important for memory and the restoration of brain function.

The Bathing Experience In A Sauna vs. Hot Tub

The experience of using a sauna or hot tub is quite different. Saunas are more meditative and personal, with dim lights and steam creating a mysterious environment. Due to the intense heat, people tend to sit quietly and sweat, rather than move around much.

If you go to a public sauna or arrange a sauna party for your friends or family, then sauna can be a social and chatty environment. Generally, you can chat with strangers in a sauna, just remember to respect the sauna etiquette. Additionally, drinking alcohol in saunas is not recommended, so they don’t lend themselves to a party atmosphere.

On the other hand, hot tubs are more versatile. You can sit quietly alone or with friends, or you can enjoy your hot tub with a drink in your hand and some lively music. Adding creative lighting can change the mood entirely. You can invite friends over for a hot tub party, or join your hot tub with your children.

In fact, one of the most surprising benefits of investing in our hot tub is the time we spend in it as a family, cuddling and talking with no iPhones or other distractions. The whole family loves it!

Hot tubs offer more options for entertainment, such as water jets, aromatherapy, and massage. The warm water, buoyancy, and humidity make it a relaxing experience, and you can even stretch out on a comfortable wooden bench.

Hot tubs are also a great way to unwind after a long day, and the heat source can provide therapeutic benefits through hydrotherapy.

Depending on when you want to use bath is also important – as our sauna is wood-heated, it will take more time to set it up. This means, I don’t take a sauna bath for example in the morning after exercise and before work. However, I do take a quick bath in our spa! But, ask again when we have installed our electric sauna later this year…

The Design Aesthetics and Resale Value

When it comes to the aesthetics and resale value of your property, having a hot tub or sauna both often increase the value. However, my gut feeling is that a spa pool that is a few years old is not as valuable as a sauna – it’s easier and less expensive to change the sauna heater than a spa pool. Also, many spa pools look outdated…

A hot tub can be a statement piece in your backyard, but it may be visible to your neighbors, especially if it includes colored lights. To maintain privacy, you may choose to build an outdoor hot tub gazebo or install it somewhere hidden from view. However, a hot tub can add value to your property and make a statement to anyone who visits your home.

On the other hand, a sauna is more discreet. You may have it installed inside your home, making it less obvious from the outside that you even have a sauna. Alternatively, you might choose to construct an outdoor sauna in a specially-constructed building, but even so, it will be a more understated addition to your home than a hot tub.

Again – I’m not a real estate expert, but real estate agents claim that having a sauna usually make your house worth more, while hot tubs are more complicated. Invest in yourself and your own wellbeing first, but also have in mind that having a spa in your home often does increase the resale value.

The Installation Of a Sauna vs. Hot Tub

Installing a sauna in your home can be done in several ways, but most people choose to buy a prefab kit. You can then fit it yourself if you have the necessary skills, or you can have professionals do it for you. However, the installation process is generally more complicated with saunas than with hot tubs.

To install a sauna, you will need to ensure that the walls and ceiling have the proper paneling and insulation. You will also need to ensure that your sauna has proper ventilation, which is essential for maintaining a comfortable and safe environment. Proper ventilation helps to remove excess moisture and prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and mold.

You will also need to pay an electrician to wire in the light and switch as well as the heater.

On the other hand, hot tubs are usually easier to install, partly because many people choose to locate theirs outside in their yard. This means that you don’t need to have a special enclosure or building constructed. All you need is somewhere with a level surface that can support the weight of the tub and the water.

Hot tubs don’t necessarily need to be plumbed in since you can just fill them with a hose. However, the pump and filter systems will require electricity.

Note that if you want an indoor hot tub, you will probably have to build an extension as the tub will usually need to be installed first before the walls are built around it. Choosing an indoor hot tub is more complicated since you have things like the floors, the walls, and drainage to consider.

The Maintenance Of a Sauna vs. Hot Tub

Maintaining a sauna is relatively easy and requires minimal daily maintenance. You just need to ensure there is enough airflow to allow it to dry when you’re not using it. Of course you need to take care of the wood paneling and benches, and make sure your sauna hygiene is good, but generally – saunas require very little maintenance.

On the other hand, hot tubs require more attention and ongoing maintenance. You need to monitor the water chemistry at least twice a week and add chemical products to alter the chemistry if it’s not right. The filter will also need to be removed and cleaned or replaced as required, and you’ll need to keep a constant eye on it to check when this happens.

Additionally, you’ll also need to change the water every few months, even if you look after it with the proper chemicals and keep the filters clean. This ongoing maintenance can add up in terms of both time and cost.

The Cost of a Sauna vs. Hot Tub

When it comes to purchasing and installing a sauna or hot tub, the costs can vary greatly. A kit for a four-person sauna can cost between $2500-$3500, and professional installation can cost up to $1500-$3000.

On the other hand, a four-person hot tub can cost between $3000-$20 000, depending on the model. Installation is cheaper, costing around $300 if you do some of the work yourself or $500 if you get professionals to do all the work.

I will break down our costs for installing both sauna and hot tub.

  • Cost of purchasing our hot tub (coming soon)
  • Cost of building our electric outdoor sauna (coming soon)

Once installed, however, running a sauna is much cheaper than running a hot tub. Since you only turn on the sauna when you use it, it can cost as little as $0.50 an hour. Conversely, hot tubs need to be left on all the time, and depending on how energy efficient yours is, you can expect an increase in your electricity bill of around $20-$70 a month.

Energy Efficiency of a Sauna vs. Hot Tub

In terms of energy usage, both saunas and hot tubs require electricity to operate. However, saunas generally require less energy than hot tubs, making them a more energy-efficient option. Hot tub needs to be “on” at all times, whereas sauna doesn’t.

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