*Disclaimer: The written article is based on a summary of existing literature on the topic of infrared saunas. The article is for educational purposes and the information provided below cannot be taken as a promise to help with acute health problems or diseases. 4 references back the claims in the article. All references are numbered. You can access the text of the reference by clicking on the number.
Generally, it’s extremely unwise to use electronics in a sauna. I’ll give you several examples as to why doing so is almost always a very bad idea. Let’s start with infrared saunas:
Using Electronics In An Infrared Sauna
An infrared sauna has temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit (F)) (1; 2). Different types of electronics, such as Apple AirPods, laptops, and the Apple Watch, all have maximum temperatures of around 30 - 45 degrees Celsius, at which they can be stored or operated (86 - 113F).
At the very least, electronics in an infrared sauna will be exposed to excessive heat. And, because infrared light heats objects from the inside out in a different way than hot air would, this process speeds up in a wrong way. Hence, generally, unless the instruction manual of your electronics state you can use it in piping-hot environments, don’t do it.
And the problem gets even worse:
Using Electronics In A Dry Sauna
Dry saunas have temperatures of 80 - 90 degrees Celsius (176 - 194F) (3). That temperature is a massive problem for almost any electronic product. Please remember that most smartphones or laptops are already shut down automatically once temperatures approximate 30 or 35 degrees Celsius (86 - 95F).
And, if the device contains a battery, that battery can be permanently damaged. So once again, it’s incredibly unwise to use electronics in a dry sauna. Also, because the electronics get so hot, they may be uncomfortable for your skin and cause damage that way. Don’t do it, the risk isn’t worth it.
Using Electronics In Traditional Saunas, Such As Finnish Saunas
The horror story continues. Traditional saunas such as Finnish saunas are an even bigger problem than the previous examples I used because they get much hotter and are extremely humid. Finnish Saunas can attain temperatures of a whopping 110 degrees Celsius (230F) (4).
Using electronics in traditional saunas, such as Finnish saunas, will thus shut down devices extremely quickly. And, due to the piping hot temperatures in Finnish saunas, the risk of permanent damage to any electronics is exceptionally high once more.
But you may think: “What about using electronics in steam rooms?”
Using Electronics Steam Rooms
Steam rooms aren’t too hot, with maximum temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius (113F). However, the problem in this case is that steam rooms are incredibly humid. That humidity ensures that heat is conducted towards electronics very rapidly. And, quicker heating of electronics once again implies that the electronics will be shut down or damaged.
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General Rule For Electronic Devices In Extreme Heat. Why Heat Damages Electronics
You probably already know it’s not wise to keep your electronics in a hot car during summer. Lots of technology even has cooling systems, such as a computer or a laptop, that prevent them from overheating. Operating these devices in the first place generates heat, which needs to be mitigated.
And most electronics have been created to operate at what are considered “normal temperatures” across the globe. A cold winter and hot summer in the UK are good examples of average working temperatures for electronics. Once you try to use a laptop in Siberia or the Sahara desert, it quickly shuts down and may be permanently damaged.
That trend isn’t just true for computers and laptops, though. Many different devices, from televisions to wireless earplugs such as Apple AirPods to the Apple Watch, don’t do well outside these normal temperature ranges.
Usually, it’s not even worth to risk using these devices in hot environments like a steam room or infrared sauna. The limited warranty on the product may no longer be honoured, for instance, if a company learns that you kept your laptop in a dry sauna.
But why does this happen? The reasons are simple: chemical processes in batteries, for instance, function differently in average temperatures or very high temperatures. Over time, all batteries slowly break down due to use. But, under extreme heat, that process is sped up dramatically.
Then, with smartphones or smartwatches like the Apple Watch, the screen can be made from materials that don’t withstand heat very well. So you can end up with a screen that no longer functions. Or, metals inside the smartphone or smartwatch might reach really high temperatures and burn other materials such as plastics or semiconductors inside those electronics.
Also, many materials inside electronics are packed tightly together. Extreme cold or heat can expand or shrink materials, depending on the case. These very cold or very hot materials can then interfere with nearby materials and damage them.
Therefore, your iPad or iPhone will already give you warning messages when you leave it in the sun on the beach. You can imagine what happens to these devices in an infrared sauna or traditional sauna, which are far hotter.
Moreover, even if electronics aren’t technically overheating they may still be damaged by heat over time. So electronics’s lifespan goes down when exposed to more heat. Even a hot car that’s in the sun or even in the shade can thus already be damaging - let alone a sauna or steam room.
Lastly, let me answer a few questions on this topic for an even deeper understanding:
Can You Bring Electronics Into A Sauna Frequently Asked Questions
Below I consider a few rapid-fire questions on whether you can bring electronics into a sauna:
Can You Put A TV In A Sauna?
Generally, no, you cannot bring a television inside a sauna. If and only if you have bought a television that is specifically made to withstand the extreme heat of a steam room or sauna, would I recommend doing so.
Standard televisions can be equated with smartphones or laptops and aren’t made to perform in temperatures hotter than the average room temperature.
How Can I Watch TV In My Sauna?
The answer here is simple: you get a TV that’s specifically made to withstand high temperatures. Or, as a DIY project, you integrate a TV in a sauna in such a way that it’s not exposed to any of the heat, although I’m not sure on how to proceed with such a project myself.
Are Other Electronic Devices In Sauna Okay?
What other electronics in infrared sauna are possible or prohibited? Well, you can do what you want, of course, but in general, most electronics cannot withstand the heat of a sauna. Again, check for each electronic device specifically in the instruction manual or on the manufacturer’s website whether it’s possible to use the device in the heat. And if you don’t see that the device can be specifically be used in the heat according to the manufacturer, don’t use it there.
Can I Take My iPhone In The Steam Room?
No, you cannot. An iPhone will automatically shut down when it’s too hot in an attempt to lower its temperature. That shutdown already occurs at 35 - 45 degrees Celsius (95 - 113F). Higher temperatures might (permanently) damage your iPhone.
Can You Use A Computer In An Infrared Sauna?
No, you cannot use a desktop computer in the sauna unless you’ve taken extreme precautions to check and double-check that the device can be used there. As you might know, desktop computers already have fans to regulate their heat. Standard desktop computers - you guessed it - are made to function under average room temperatures. So if you use a desktop in a steam room or infrared sauna or dry sauna temperatures, damage that may be permanent is likely.
What Is Not Allowed In A Sauna?
I firmly recommend not using any electronics in a sauna unless you’ve checked with the electronics manufacturer that it can be used at non-room temperature heat levels. Often, you’ll have to buy specialised equipment to use electronics in a steam room or sauna. Most electronic devices simply aren’t made for high temperatures.
Conclusion: Using Electronic Devices In Sauna Isn’t Smart
Some things in life just aren’t wise to do. Examples are driving a car without a seatbelt or dancing next to extremely loud music. Using your iPhone or laptop near water is another example - they may get damaged permanently if they fall into that water.
And water isn’t the only risk for devices like an iPhone or laptop - heat is too. Most electronic devices have been made to withstand room temperatures but not the extreme heat and/or humidity of a steam room or traditional sauna, or infrared sauna. So, don’t take the risk if you value your devices. Your laptop, AirPods, or iPhone may never turn back on after frying them from the inside out.