It’s crossed my mind a few times, to be honest. I use my headphones everywhere, and the sauna hasn’t been an exception. I use it after I hit the gym, to relax and for the numerous health benefits. I never stay in the sauna long, but I’ve always wondered: is it actually safe to use my headphones in the sauna?
Quality headphones with a minimum IP rating of 67 could safely withstand short periods in the sauna. Some headphone manufacturers specifically state not to expose their headphones to high temperatures and humidity levels. So, the safest option would be not to use your headphones in the sauna.
There are two main issues when it comes to using your headphones in the sauna – heat, and humidity. Perhaps it’s good to just clarify the differences between a dry sauna (traditional) and a wet sauna (steam room).
A dry sauna heats the air around you; some moisture is usually manually added by pouring water over heated rocks. There is a continuous flow of air, keeping this dry but hot.
A steam room, on the other hand, generates moist heat. The actual ambient temperature is often lower than in a dry sauna, but the moisture is much higher.
Headphones containing batteries shouldn’t be exposed to heat
Your wireless headphones are powered by batteries, while this powers the speakers and keeps the music flowing, they can pose a few risks, especially when subjected to extreme heat and humidity.
Rae from Bose Support put it best: “Do not expose products containing batteries to excessive heat (e.g., from storage in direct sunlight, fire or the like).” If that’s their technical statement, you probably shouldn’t use Bose headphones in the sauna.
We’ve all left something in the sun for a few minutes to hours, and my iPhone has actually warned me that my device is too hot after one episode. Needless to say, I’m more cautious now.
But, does 15 minutes in the sauna count? Saunas can reach anything between 180-195°F (78-90°C ), while batteries shouldn’t be exposed to anything above 140°F (60°C). The limits can be tested a bit, but this will have an effect on your battery life.
That being said, I’d never even push the limit to 140°F (60°C) unless they are explicitly designed to handle the heat. But, you should know when you’ve pushed the limit to the max… it might make your headphones explode.
Most headphones will auto shut off in the sauna
While you might think you’re taking your headphones for a relaxing session in the sauna, there is one auto function that could throw a wrench in the works. Some headphones have an auto shut off function to protect the electronics from heat and moisture damage.
If your headphones have this function, they probably won’t last more than 5 minutes in the intense heat and humid environment of the sauna.
Luckily, they should start working again within 30 seconds if you leave the sauna. As soon as the sensors detect that the danger is gone, everything should start up again.
This is actually quite a common feature in most headphones, regardless of the brand. It is used to protect the battery. There are a few brands that don’t do this, but that just means your headphones will get damaged by the moisture. If you don’t care about your headphones, I guess it’s fine, but if you do, make sure they have the right specs to handle time in the sauna.
Water-resistant doesn’t mean sauna proof
While an IPX water-resistant rating of 7 or higher offers some protection, it doesn’t make it sauna proof. The risk lies in condensation. Condensation is a headphone killer. You’re taking your headphones from a cool/normal temperature to a really hot and humid one. This can lead to condensation forming on the inside, which is really bad for your drivers.
Your headphones and earphones also have small openings for the microphone and speakers to receive and play sound. The high humidity can enter your headphones through these openings. And, if your headphones are a bit older, the risk is even higher. Water-resistant seals don’t last forever.
Even new seals can be damaged by hot steam, so while your headphones might be protected for a while, they won’t last as long as they should.
All of this puts your drivers at risk of water damage—one of the things manufacturers don’t cover in the warranty.
The moisture could favor mold and bacteria growth
Headphone hygiene is essential to your health. You may not realize this, but if you don’t clean your dirty headphones regularly, they build up bacteria, dirt, and ear wax. Add to this mix, a hot and humid environment that mold really likes, and your headphones become a breeding ground.
I don’t want to ruin your sauna experience, and most saunas clean with a bleach mixture regularly, but mold and bacteria flourish in these environments. Many headphone earpads are covered with leather, a great place for mold to grow. Heck, any material is great for mold.
Using your headphones in this environment just exposed the crevices to new microorganisms. And, let’s face it, thoroughly cleaning headphones takes time, which means downtime from your music. I’d rather skip the 15 minutes in the sauna and not have to clean for an hour.
If you have used your headphones in a sauna recently, it might be a good time for a deep clean. While mold and bacteria from saunas can actually damage your headphones, and lead to really gross smells, you’re also risking these organisms reaching your ear canal, which can cause ear infections. Best to play it safe.
Try to relax instead of using your headphones
Many people use the sauna as a post-workout break. To recover from an intense routine and actually gain more from the workout. They also use it to meditate a bit. With all that heat and steam, I can understand why some people might need a bit of meditation to stay there for the full 15 minutes.
Doing this has a few benefits though. The heat and “shutdown” helps your body enter a parasympathetic state, where, according to research on human brain function, your body recuperates faster. Your heart rate is reduced, blood pressure lowered, and even your digestive system gets a rest.
That doesn’t sound bad, right? I might even give it a go next time.
Using headphones in the sauna might void your warranty
Your headphones are covered by warranty, some for a few years, but there’s a loophole. If the moisture sensors in the headphones are tripped, your warranty is null and void.
Many manufacturers will declare a warranty void if there is “gross electromechanical damage”. This can either be inside from condensation damage, or the most common issue is with the charging port.
Can you use Apple AirPods in a sauna?
Apple specifically states that their AirPods Pro should not be used in saunas or steam rooms. Airpods Pro has an IPX4 rating, meaning they offer some water and moisture resistance, but it’s meant mostly for the accidental spill or splash.
It definitely doesn’t cover continuous sauna conditions. Any prolonged moisture damage will not be covered by the warranty, and believe me, these guys just know.
Can you use Beats headphones in a sauna?
Beats headphones are powered by the Apple H1 headphone chip, meaning the same rules of the AirPods apply. Both the Powerbeats and Powerbeats Pro have a water resistance rating of IPX4, meaning they’re only protected from random splashes.
They are also very specific to point out that they are sweat and water-resistant, meaning they aren’t sweat- or water-proof. Being “sweat and water resistant” means that the conditions they can be exposed to should by no means be prolonged or permanent. They also mention that your Powerbeats or Powerbeats Pro should not be used in extremely humid conditions (sorry, saunas are out).
Something else to keep in mind, your Powerbeats Pro charging case isn’t at all waterproof, sweatproof, sweat-resistant, or water-resistant. Meaning you have to be very careful when putting your sweaty or damp earbuds back in to charge.
It’s always a good idea anyway to wipe your headphones or earphones with a soft cloth if they come into contact with water. You could even leave them for a few hours to make sure any condensation has evaporated.
Best headphones you can use in the sauna
Sauna proof headphones are a tall order. Which headphones can you use in the sauna is a common question. Is water-resistant enough, or are there other factors that need to be present for you to have complete peace of mind.
It’s hard to make sense of all the spec the manufacturers make available, and none just clearly come out and say: “These are sauna proof headphones”.
There are, however, a few headphone models that have great reviews or media releases that shed some light. I’ve summarized the information below, so it’s easy to cut through all the tech talk.
While Jarba explicitly states on their website that their headphones should not be used in a sauna, of course, there will be people who still try it out. So, thanks to quite a few Amazon reviews, it seems like the Jabra Elite 65t Earbuds can take some heat and sweat from the sauna.
If you are, however, buying them new, and they’re under warranty, I probably still won’t advise you to test this. The reviews are great, but since the manufacturers don’t explicitly mention it, any damage could render your warranty void.
Aftershokz are possibly the best sauna proof headphone brand out there. For one, they actually promote their headphones as sauna friendly.
They can handle a bit of heat, and Aftershokz recommends not exceeding 10-15 minute sessions in the sauna.
While they only have an IP rating of 55, the durable titanium frame will keep your headphones protected from any internal electrical shortages. Both their Titanium and Air headphones are considered “dry sauna friendly”. Titanium is a poor heat conductor, making it the perfect sauna headphone material.
What about the steam room? While the Aftershokz Titanium and Air’s rating is too low, the newer Aeropex model has an IP rating of 67, making it a “go-to” choice for high humidity. One cool feature is a “moisture detection alert” that will let you know if your headphone battery is at risk of water damage. Much better than just switching off like other models.
While all of the above models will still work in the sauna, you might have to compromise a bit of sound quality. If that doesn’t sit well with your audiophile self, then the AfterShokz Xtrainerz is the one for you. It has all the added benefits to make it sauna proof, while still delivering amazing sound quality. I’ve tried these; in terms of sound quality, they beat them all.
The bottom line
Not all headphones are safe in the sauna. To make sure your headphones are safe to use in the sauna make sure to look out for:
- A high IP water-resistant rating.
- Choose headphones made from poor heat conductor material like titanium.
- Only use headphones that are promoted as sauna proof by the manufacturer if you’re worried about the warranty.
While it’s tempting to just take your headphones into the sauna, it can damage the electronics. Make sure you choose the right brand if you can’t go without music, and that you always thoroughly dry them after use. As a final tip, never go from hot to cold too quickly, or you might cause internal condensation, the silent headphone killer.