Saunas are wonderful places of relaxation, calming, and intense heat. When taking a sauna bath, it’s not uncommon for the temperature in the room to get to 190′ F, which is very high! This heat is typically an extremely dry heat, but as most sauna bathers know, it’s common to add steam to the room in periodic intervals. Consequently, the humidity in the room can fluctuate significantly, very quickly.
Can you take your phone in a sauna? Will the high temperatures and humidity destroy it? And what about the sauna etiquette of using a phone in the sauna?
In this article, we’ll look at the potential risks of harm to your phone from taking it in the sauna, and we’ll also consider the social factors at play.
- 1 Spending Time in the Sauna
- 2 Can You Take Your Phone in a Sauna?
- 3 Operating Temperatures of Common Cell Phones
- 4 Sauna Operating Temperatures
- 5 Humidity, Sauna Style, and Phone Use
- 6 Conclusion
Spending Time in the Sauna
Are you someone that easily gets bored and restless while sitting idle in the sauna and doing nothing? Do you wish you could spend this time doing something more productive side by side? Do you constantly feel the urge to use your cell phone to reply to emails and text messages? Even just scrolling through social media while you sit there seems like a good idea.
I get it. I feel it too, often. That pull can be irresistible.
But I strongly suggest you try to use your sauna time as “me” time. Focus on yourself, use the sauna time to lay down and meditate, restore yourself, enjoy the scenery, the smell of the wood, the powerful heat, the sensations on your body. You will get so much more value out of your sauna time by letting go of the pull of technology.
In researching how saunas relate to workout and recovery, it became clear that one of the biggest benefits to being in a sauna is that it is calming, restorative, and soothing. The sauna can be a quiet place for contemplation, or it can be a social place for chatting and bonding. But if your head is in your phone, you won’t be getting any of those benefits.
And you’ll almost certainly be damaging your phone.
Can You Take Your Phone in a Sauna?
While many people do take their phones to the sauna, in our opinion it’s not a smart decision on their part. We will explain why taking your phone to the sauna won’t be the best thing for you or your phone in this section.
Temperature and Humidity
First of all, the high temperatures and fluctuating humidity conditions inside a sauna are not ideal conditions for almost all consumer electronic devices, including all common cell phones.
The moisture in the air of a sauna room can cause irreparable damage to your device if your phone isn’t equipped to deal with the fluctuations.
Sweat and Phone Use
A good sauna will get you to sweat a river of sweat. You’ll be dripping, dripping, dripping in sweat after a few minutes in a good quality sauna. All the sweat dripping down your arms will be directed right to your phone, which can’t be good. Yes, many phones are water-resistant, but they probably weren’t tested in a sauna environment for water resistance!
If you take your phone into a sauna, you’ll be exposing any sweating people in the area to the germs on your phone. That’s right, on your phone. Studies have found that phones are perhaps the most germ-infested items we carry. As Time Magazine Put it, our phones are 10x as dirty as our toilet seats.
You’re more likely to expose those around you to germs if your phone is in an area where they are sweating a lot.
It can go the other way, too!
Even if you have a waterproof cell phone, taking your phone into the sauna will expose it to many germs. Let’s not forget that a sauna room is where people sweat excessively. This leaves a lot of germs and bacteria behind. Taking your phone in such a place will result in those germs landing on your phone.
After the sauna session, you will most probably take a shower to clean yourself. This will remove all the germs from your body.
But you’re not going to wash your cell phone off! You probably won’t even wipe it down with a lysol wipe. When was the last time you did that?
Of course, if you’re in a home sauna like a barrel sauna, home infrared sauna, or similar, you likely won’t be bothering anyone if you talk. But if you’re in a public sauna, no one is going to want to listen to you talk away on your phone while they try to relax at the same time!
You should not disturb others if they’re trying to chill in the heat.
If you’re answering calls or watching noisy videos inside the sauna, then other people will not be okay with that. Try to be considerate and step out if you need to make an important call. Oh, and remember to close the door as quickly as possible to avoid excess heat loss.
Keep the Environment Peaceful
A sauna is a place where people come to relax. It is meant to be a place where people unwind and feel less stressed. So, make sure you don’t disturb them while they’re relaxing or make a lot of noise when you’re sitting in a sauna.
Operating Temperatures of Common Cell Phones
Let’s look at the recommended operating temperatures of a few common cell phones.
iPhone in Sauna
iPhones have a recommended maximum usage temperature of 85’F and a maximum operating temperature of 113’F. This means that if the phone shouldn’t get above 85′ F while you’re using it, and it shouldn’t get above 113’F while on, but not in use. There is a temperature warning system that will alert you if you get over that temperature. Can you bring your iPhone in an infrared sauna? Even those are a bit too high temp for your phone.
Samsung Galaxy in Sauna
The Galaxy phones are a little more high-temperature friendly. The battery stops charging at 113′ F, and the phone will emergency shut off at 185’F. This is nearly the temperature of many saunas. But you don’t want your phone to emergency shut down.
Google Pixel in Sauna
The Pixel is designed to work in temperatures up to 95′ F. It can be left powered on but not in use in temperatures up to 113′ F, similar to the iPhone.
Sauna Operating Temperatures
Now let’s look at the operating temperatures of a few common types of saunas.
These saunas are perhaps the most traditional of all, and they run at the highest temperatures. These saunas use wood or charcoal stoves to heat up the room. Water is poured on hot sauna rocks for humidity.
These saunas can get up to, and occasionally over, 200′ F.
Electric Stove Saunas
A sauna with an electric sauna heater is heated by an electric current. These heaters expel heat at temperatures up to 190’F. Humidity is added by pouring water over sauna stones.
Infrared saunas use a different style of heating than electric saunas, though both use electricity. Infrared saunas use radiant heat, which heats the body directly, as opposed to heating the air in the room. These saunas are more and more popular as home saunas, and even portable saunas.
Some infrared saunas use sauna rocks to supply steam, though many of these systems don’t work with sauna rocks and steam.
Infrared saunas run at a much lower temperature than traditional saunas, landing at around 110′ F – 140′ F.
Dry Saunas and Phones
Wood, electric, and infrared saunas are often referred to as dry saunas, as they warm with a dry heat, and moisture is only generated through pouring water on lava rocks. Steam rooms are much more humid, and work in a fundamentally different way. Phones will have more difficulty in steam rooms than in dry saunas.
Home Steam Saunas
Home steam saunas operate at a temperature of about 130′ F. These are almost always in the portable tent format, and are not freestanding structures. Due to this design, your hands remain outside the unit when you’re using it. So your phone wouldn’t actually be exposed to those temperatures, even though the rest of your body would.
Shower Saunas are usually built-in or free-standing shower units with steam functionality. These units can expel steam into the enclosure, and create a very moist, steamy environment. Phones are best kept out of these areas.
Humidity, Sauna Style, and Phone Use
As the sauna temperature information and the recommended phone temperature information shows, it’s definitely a very bad idea to bring a phone into a wood-fired or electric heated sauna. These saunas get hotter than the hottest recommended temperatures of common cellphones. And the significant humidity fluctuations can’t be good for electronics.
They may do some damage to your phone, or constantly cause it to trigger emergency shut down.
Infrared saunas, however, are a slightly different beast. They operate at a lower temperature, and are more compatible with the recommended operating temperatures of most phones. They also often don’t have a steam functionality, so the humidity often stays dry the whole time.
You may be able to get away with light cell phone use in an infrared sauna, but as mentioned above, I strongly discourage you from using it in the sauna.
In many saunas, you’ll almost certainly cause damage to your phone, or cause it to emergency shut down, if you take it inside. So why bother? If you need to make a call, do so before or after you use the sauna. Spend your time in the heat relaxing, sweating, and focusing on yourself and your loved ones.
Not on your Instagram feed!