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Sauna Timers-Mechanical or Digital?

When choosing a sauna heater you will have the option for either a mechanical sauna timer or a digital sauna timer. What is the difference? A mechanical sauna timer resides on the bottom of the sauna as it is physically built into the sauna heater. With this type of timer there will also be a dial for the temperature control. It uses a spring timer that starts the heater and shuts off when the time is done, the temperature controller will also turn the heater on/off as needed within the duration of the timer “on” period. A digital sauna timer is mounted outside the sauna room on the exterior and controls the activation of the sauna heater. However, it may also have extra functions such as controlling the sauna lights, a stereo or other aux devices. Simply set the time duration of the heater cycle as well as the desired temperature.

Why is a timer important? A timer is used in a sauna so that a bather never has to worry about shutting off the sauna heater. After a great sauna session, you may find yourself in a heightened state of relaxation that may even lead to sleep. For this reason, a sauna timer ensures the sauna will always turn off after a certain period, reducing the chance of a fire or unnecessarily high electric bills.

Mechanical Sauna Timer

Typically, a built in sauna timer or also called a mechanical timer will cost slightly less as it is included with the sauna heater. However, its simplicity is also a benefit for those Do-It-Yourselfers as you will have much less wiring work to prepare for before your sauna is complete. Simply connect the main power supply to the sauna heater through the wall and that is it, your sauna room is complete. The timers/controller are typically 1 hour in duration but sometimes they come in 90 or 120 minute settings. Starting the timer is as simple as turning the dial to the appropriate heater time. The heater will turn on and run for that amount of time. The temperature is set by a similar dial found beside the mechanical timer. During the ON period of the heater the heater will cycle on/off to maintain the set temperature. When using a mechanical sauna controller, you may need to run a separate exterior timer for the sauna light as it never recommended to have just an on/off switch for any sauna component.

Digital Sauna Timer

As mentioned, the digital timer resides outside the sauna room. This means you will need to run the power wire to the controller and then to the sauna heater. You will also need to run a set of wires including the temperature sensor wire into the sauna room from the controller. This will require an electrician to properly set up the controller. However a digital timer can often be more accurate and can display the exact time remaining in minutes. Most digital controllers also have an Aux 110 VAC output that is primarily designed to turn on the sauna light, however, it can also be used for other 110 VAC options such as a stereo etc.

Whether you choose to go digital or mechanical the choice is yours. Both do the job so often the decision is cost. A digital controller will definitely add a little extra to the installation cost of a new sauna room. When buying a controller always buy the proper controller made specifically by the heater manufacture to avoid any warranty and compatibility issues.


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