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The basic difference between a sauna room and a steam room

Traditionally, saunas are used to provide dry heat, with the addition of some steam from pouring water over hot rocks, in a wooden room. This results in a temperature of 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity of 20 to 35% — higher if you pour water over your hot rocks.

Steam rooms are tile, glass, or acrylic plastic rooms where the humidity is 100% (fog in the room) and temperature is 110-114° F. A drain is required as well as a gasketed, air-tight door system. Steam generators are installed outside the steam room.

Saunas are wooden rooms with wooden benches and are heated to 160-190° F with low humidity at 20-35%. You add water to the rocks to produce steam. No drain is required (except commercial installations that require more cleaning). Sauna heaters are located within the sauna room itself.

Steam rooms are quite different. They are not as hot, with temperatures of 110 to 114 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity at or near 100%, with water dripping down the walls. Because of the high humidity, they have to be constructed of tile, marble or acrylic, and all the fixtures must be made of stainless steel, brass, plastic or other rustproof material. The ceiling and benches should be sloped, so the water will run off, and there must be a drain in the room, which must not leak steam or water into the outside area. The steam generator is located outside the steam room, nearby, and requires plumbing from the water supply (preferably hot water) and from the generator to the steam room, as well as electrical wiring to the generator.

Tylo and Polar both makes a special residential sauna heater called the "Combi or Steamy" which combines some of the features of both the sauna and steam room. Since it is used in a wooden room, the humidity is still not as high as a steam room, but it does provide more steam than one can get by pouring water over rocks. It requires a 240V elelctrical circuit with 30-40 amps. These reserviors for water that are filled manually or automatically.