Which should I choose, Sauna or Hot Tub?

Saunas and Hot Tubs are the perfect companions for healthy living and pampering your body. Using a hot tub in conjunction with a sauna will multiply the benefits enormously. If you are fortunate enough to have the full suite of a home gym, swimming pool, sauna and hot tub, you clearly have the supreme combination for staying physically and emotionally fit, healthy and stress-free.

However, if you were forced to choose either a hot tub or sauna, these factors may help you decide.

Health Benefits


A sauna is an excellent way to cleanse the body of toxins. As the stresses of modern life have increased, people have become more conscious of the therapeutic value of saunas for relaxation and cardiovascular health.

The basic principle of a sauna is to raise the temperature and cause steam in a well-insulated room, balancing heat and humidity. By keeping the ratio of heat and air below dew point, water condenses on the sauna bather’s skin, promoting perspiration that cleanses the skin.

Together with raising the skin temperature, the bather’s heart rate increases and the blood vessels widen, as the body attempts to cool itself down. As with moderate exercises, the blood circulation increases, improving oxygen levels to the brain and body, while carrying away toxins.

Sauna bathers feel invigorated, healthier and stress-free with regular therapy sessions. The following health benefits are associated with regular sauna therapy:

  • Stress relief and relaxation
  • Reduced risk of cardiac death and cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced inflammation in the blood
  • Reduced risk of high blood pressure
  • Detoxification of the body
  • Reduced pain
  • People with asthma and skin problems have reported that they experience relief
  • Some medical professionals also maintain that it reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Improved function of the lymphatic system
  • Improved metabolism that helps with weight loss

Hot Tub

Hot tub hydrotherapy is a holistic approach to health and wellness. A hot tub is arguably the most pleasant way to drain away aches, pains and stress. Also called water-cure, hot tub hydrotherapy is part of alternative medicine, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy.

The basic principle of hot tub hydrotherapy is to use the healing effects of warm water and gentle massage for pain relief and even weight loss treatment. Hot tubs can be used with or without water jets or air jets.

The buoyancy of the warm water removes pressure from joints to relieve pain. Heat penetrates deep into your muscles, allowing them to relax and bringing pain relief. Warming your blood increases your heart rate and causes the blood vessels to dilate to improve blood flow. The increased heartbeat is similar to mild exercise, while the increased blood flow lowers blood pressure and supplies more oxygen to the body and brain, and carries away the lactic acids that cause pain and cramping in muscles.

A large hot tub is perfect for low impact water aerobics and in-place swimming. Muscles can be effectively exercised, without putting a strain on injured muscles or joints.

By adding water jets, you can focus the streams of water to gently massage specific areas of your body to relieve stress and pain. You can also control the intensity of the flow according to the level of pain. The further addition of air jets invigorates the skin and releases steam that opens the nasal and bronchial passages. By adding essential oils, the air jets also enhance aromatherapy for the ultimate relaxation.

The list of physical and emotional advantages of regular hot tub hydrotherapy is almost endless, but studies have highlighted the following benefits:

  • Stress relief and relaxation
  • Treatment for insomnia
  • Lowers diabetic blood sugar levels
  • Relieves pain and tension
  • Soothes sore joints and helps for arthritis
  • Improved metabolism that helps with weight loss

Choice of heating options

Saunas and hot tubs are both available with a wide range of heating options. Sauna heating systems are available for both wet and dry usage.


  • Classic electric heaters heat up the sauna quickly and evenly throughout the sauna, with precise temperature control. Pouring water on the hot rocks in the heater produce steam.
  • Northern Lights Cedar wood saunas have a dual combi-system that lets you enjoy the benefits of either a steam bath or dry sauna. It also has a built-in fragrance dispenser for your favourite aromatic essential oils.
  • Wood-fired heaters for natural heat and the therapeutic effect of watching the flames dance.

Hot Tubs:

  • Electric heating systems in a choice of 1.5 Kw and 5.5 Kw heaters with a variety of circulating pumps and jet pumps. The electrical heating systems allow precise temperature, water flow and airflow control, either manually, or with an advanced programming system. At the top end, these systems are available with remote control capabilities by Smartphone.
  • Wood-fired heaters for heating the tub only.
  • Wood-fired heaters can be enhanced with a wide selection of electric circulation pumps, jet pumps and water filters. It is also possible to augment wood-fired heaters with electric or gas heaters for greater versatility.
  • Gas-fuelled heaters which heat the tub in under an hour. The propane heaters can be teamed with either solar-powered, or electric powered circulation pumps. Firehouse provides a very efficient electric pump that is powered via an inverter by 24 Volt VDC batteries, which are charged by 80 PV solar panels.


For both saunas and hot tubs, it is essential to carefully plan the area where they will be installed to provide easy access and usage both in winter and summer. Integrating your sauna or hot tub into its environment will magnify your pleasure and resale value of the property.

Both saunas and hot tubs can be installed indoors or outdoors, but saunas will usually require more interior space. Hot tubs can be installed in the open, but will generally be more productive and versatile if undercover or in some form of enclosure. Decking around the hot tub will further enhance its entertainment value and hide the heating system.

Hot tubs will require plumbing work to allow for drainage of the water and if installed indoors, will need water-resistant and non-slip flooring for spillage and wet bodies dripping. It is also essential that the surface on which the hot tub is installed is level, stable and robust enough to bear the weight of the tub, water and people inside. Proper ventilation is required to remove the steam generated by hot tubs, after bathing to prevent mildew and mould.

Northern Lights Cedar wood saunas and hot tubs can be dismantled for indoor installation, but with plastic spas, the installation indoors will have to take place before erecting the walls.


Hot tubs generally require more cleaning and maintenance because of the intimate contact with the water. A good filtering system and replacing the water every two- to four months will be sufficient though, and Northern Lights Cedar wood hot tubs are naturally anti-microbial, actively killing bacteria and mould. Northern Lights also provides an ioniser sanitiser that maintains the hygiene of the water with little, or no chemicals. The hot tub cover must also be aired occasionally to prevent mildew and mould.

Saunas will require only general cleaning and airing occasionally the inside by leaving the door open. It is advisable to wipe down the seats after use to avoid sweat stains or bacteria remaining behind.

Energy Efficiency

Hot Tubs

Cedar wood tubs, in particular, are highly efficient in warming the water and retaining the heat. By keeping the hot tub covered when not in use, energy consumption is cost-efficient.

The choice of electricity, gas or wood-fired heaters ensures that hot tubs can be operated at a very moderate cost.


The warm-up time and proper insulation of saunas are the key factors. Modern electrical heaters are incredibly efficient, and cost-saving heaters such as infrared and wood-fired heating systems make it possible to heat the sauna at lower cost. Northern Light Red Cedar Wood saunas are exceptionally well insulated, and the doors are designed to ensure minimum heat loss.

Resale Value

High-quality saunas and hot tubs significantly increase the appeal of a house and make it easier to sell. Especially in upmarket neighbourhoods, the value of the property is increased by the perception of luxury.

It is crucial though that the sauna or hot tub is of high quality and has been well installed and integrated into its environment. Of course, the size of the sauna or hot tub will be a significant factor, depending on the prospective buyer’s family and entertainment habits. It is generally deemed to be more desirable to have a larger sauna or hot tub for resale purposes unless it is an apartment or small house aimed explicitly at smaller families.

Northern Lights Red Cedar Wood saunas and hot tubs exude luxury, and their unique barrel shapes make them particularly attractive and easy to integrate into any environment and design.