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Outdoor Sauna Buying guide

Are you spending lots of dollars on sauna sessions? Want to experience a sauna session on your will but cannot fit it in your home space? Opt for the amazing outdoor saunas.

The outdoor sauna saves a lot of expenses over the year and provides you with a simple solution to enjoy a relaxing session anytime.

However, selecting the right shape, size, material type can take a lot of your valuable time. Also, you have to research for different resources to look for all the information.

In this comprehensive buying guide, you will get all the information under one roof, which will save your valuable time. With all this in-detail information, you can easily find the right product for yourself among several options available in the market.

What are Outdoor Saunas? What are its benefits?

These incredible saunas are generally set-up near a pool in the garden. They are places of relaxation which create an environment of heat and humidity, which is scientifically known to calm and rejuvenate.

Usually made out of wood, they can be installed in your yard or your garden. The wood provides for natural insulation as well as an aesthetic look to go with any ambiance. To install an outdoor sauna, you must make space for a solid foundation, power connection, and water supply.

When it comes to recreation and therapeutic advantages of outdoor saunas, they are countless. In the vicinity of your own homes, these saunas provide you with heat and steam to help you with muscular pain and enhance cardiovascular performance. They enable weight reduction and help with stress as well.

Importance of the buying guide

With so many options in hand, you can easily get duped by the market's pretense and invest your money in the poor quality product. By reading a proper buying guide, you can get all the information regarding the product and gain the upper hand while selecting the best option for your space.

In this buying guide, we have listed out all the crucial characteristics to deem about, which can vary your sauna experience.

Types of Outdoor Saunas

There are mainly two types of outdoor saunas that you can choose from: Traditional saunas and FAR Infrared Saunas. Both types have certain pros and cons and differ in design and other features. You can choose the one that caters to your needs and preferences on the basis of the brief description of both that follows.

  1. Traditional Saunas

As the name suggests, these outdoor saunas use traditional technology when saunas were invented. They make use of sauna rocks that are heated to extreme temperatures. Water poured on these rocks turns to steam and heats the room.

It takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes for the sauna to be heated to its maximum. The electricity used to heat up the rocks is enormous, so this type of sauna is not quite energy-efficient. It is quite expensive to maintain, but the perspiration and heat are far more than infrared saunas.

  1. FAR Infrared Saunas

In contrast to the maximum temperature of 195 degrees in traditional saunas, infrared saunas have a lower maximum of only 140 degrees. However, the trade-off for this is low electricity consumption and half the time in reaching the maximum heated temperature.

Infrared saunas make use of electric heating generated through heat lights. This is the reason for relatively less intense heat than traditional saunas, but the low maintenance costs make up for this.

Things to Consider When Selecting the Appropriate Outdoor Sauna

  1. Wood Type

The type of wood that makes up the saunas determines the heat insulation capacity, maintenance, and quality and price range of the sauna. Thus, it is essential that you consider the type of wood that is used in the sauna of your choice.

  1. Cedar

A very popular type of wood for outdoor saunas, it is aromatic and long-lasting. Because of its resistance to mildew and insects, it makes for a perfect choice for outdoor saunas. Even in situations of harsh weather, it is robust and decay-resistant. All these features make it highly sought after and quite expensive.

  1. Nordic White Spruce

This wood type is extremely handsome, with a white-tone and fine-grained aesthetic. They are much like the cedar wood that is resistant to aging and decay for quite long. Prices are also in the same high-end range as cedar.

  1. Hemlock

Less aromatic than most sauna woods, it is still an A1 choice for saunas because it is impervious to stains and mildew. Especially for people with allergies, this is the perfect option. Moreover, it falls in a relatively more affordable range and acts as a budget-friendly product.

  1. Aspen

The durability of this wood is affected by its inability to remain decay-resistant for long. This is the reason that aspen is less appropriate for outdoor saunas.

  1. Size

The area you have to work within your backyard or garden, or near the pool will determine the size of the sauna you can install. Also, you must consider the budget, the number of people planning to use it at a time, and insulation requirements.

A typical outdoor sauna ranges from 4 by 4 to 8 by 12. Because of the need to entrap as much heat for as long as possible, very large saunas may not be very efficient. The number of benches that you require will determine the size. Each bather will require about a 2 feet bench.

Often, saunas have a lower and an upper bench, 18 inches, and 36 inches high, respectively. You can opt for no lower bench variant if the size is an issue. But they serve as footrests as well as relatively cooler regions against extremely hot upper benches.

  1. Shape

The sauna's efficiency, the size, the maintenance, and the prerequisites of foundation and land all depend on the shape of the sauna. The aesthetic and ambiance settings also affect the shape choices of several people.

More often than not, barrel-shaped outdoor saunas are highly sought after. The design is highly effective as the lack of corners heats up the area quite quickly. The walls are positioned in such a manner that the interior space is maximized for benches.

Barrel-shaped saunas are quite attractive options for the reason of foundation ground as well. Because of the ability of the sauna to be lifted, not much foundation and support is required.

However, they are not exactly compact. So, if your needs dictate compactor shapes, you should opt for cubic or cuboidal shapes.

  1. Design

A well-designed sauna will allow for maximum heat and efficient insulation along with maximized interior space for the comfort of the bathers. You must ensure that the sauna that you choose has a design that attends to your preferences while also serving efficiently.

While the outer design takes into consideration how the wood is shaped and how much space it occupies, the interior design follows patterns of seatings. So, you must make sure that you take into consideration the seating arrangement. It may be a single long bench or opposite seatings.

Stylish and aesthetic designs of outdoor saunas are also important as they are required to merge with the ambiance of the settings. You can look for options made with light-colored or dark-colored woods, the shapes of the saunas, and how the interior is designed to find the most aesthetically pleasing.

  1. Sauna Heaters and Controls

There are several heater types that can be used to heat up your sauna efficiently and quickly. You can determine which type of heater will suit you best based on the following descriptions.

  1. Traditional Heaters

Traditional or electric heaters are the most common heaters in outdoor saunas. They are extremely effective and heat up the sauna to extremely high temperatures when compared to other heater types. They make use of rocks that are heated, and then, water poured on the rocks turns to steam.

Apart from the high temperatures, which are quite ideal for saunas, they also allow for humidity adjustment. You can do so by sprinkling water on the rocks that are used as heaters to create more moisture. Depending on your preferences then, you can take either dry or wet saunas.

The classic sauna experience is delivered to you by the traditional heaters, but the downside to this is a large amount of time it takes to heat up. Additionally, even though electricity may prove economical, overall maintenance and running costs of traditional heaters are quite high.

  1. Infrared Heaters

The main difference in heating techniques of infrared heaters and traditional heaters is that infrared heaters directly work towards heating the bodies. While the traditional outdoor saunas first heat up the air, which then, in turn, heats up the bodies, the infrared heaters deliver heat straight to the bodies.

All downsides of traditional heaters are rectified by infrared heaters. They take half as much time to heat up, and their maintenance running costs are also significantly less.

However, infrared heaters have some cons too. Apart from the inability to adjust humidity, they also have lower heating capabilities. They have a maximum heating capacity of only 140 degrees in contrast to a traditional heating capacity of 190-200 degrees.

There are two types of infrared heaters:

  • Ceramic

High in efficiency, this type of infrared heater is found in high-end outdoor saunas. They generate extremely high temperatures of heat, and so, they are very pricey as well.

  • Carbon

The more popular and newer technology of infrared heaters, carbon infrared heaters reach the max limit within 10 minutes. They are quite inexpensive and make the running costs of saunas quite low.

  1. Cost of Buying and Operating an Outdoor sauna

The prices of saunas depend upon the quality of wood that is used in the making, the type of heater, the size, shape, and design of the sauna and other features that it may offer. You can find the sauna that is perfect for you and affordable among the various options that flood the market.

The starting prices of outdoor saunas are about $1000. This is the most basic of all models. Prices can reach up to $12000, too, depending on its make and quality.

When determining how much you should spend on a sauna, it is not necessary to buy the most expensive model. But investing a little more than settling for basic models will pay for itself in the long run with its health benefits and the relaxation it provides.

To determine the running costs of a sauna, the answer will be determined on the basis of the cost of electric current in your area, the type of heater you choose to install, and usage of the sauna. For instance, if the cost of kilowatt per hour is 50 cents, and the sauna heater uses 2 kilowatts, the running cost of an hour would be 100 cents.

  1. Ease of Installation

If you are not quite tech-savvy, and installation may be an issue by yourself, you can consider calling a professional electrician. Also, you can opt for portable saunas. They are the type of outdoor saunas that are very easy to install and can be up and running in time.

Often, outdoor saunas come in kits which have parts that need to be assembled. They also come with detailed guidelines to help you through the entire process of installation.

Some manufacturers make it extremely easy for the user by attaching most parts in an ensemble already with only minor setting up requirements. You can opt for such saunas to make installation a hassle-free task.

  1. The roof of the sauna

It is crucial that you look for a sauna with a good roof as it plays an important role in outdoor saunas. Apart from ensuring insulation, a high-quality roof ensures durability and efficient operation of the sauna for a longer duration.

The weather conditions directly affect the roofing, and so, you must ensure that the roof of your sauna has been installed correctly and is secured. It should be as decay-resistant as possible for immunity to harsh weather and leaking.

The shape of the sauna, the design, and the quality of wood will determine the roofing quality, so ensure that you take into consideration all the factors and make a sound choice.

  1. Voltage

The voltage requirements of a sauna refer to the electric current amount it would need for operation. The sauna's voltage will determine the type of electrical outlet you require in the place of installation. So, you must make sure that the outlet in your garden or backyard is compatible with the sauna you are planning to purchase.

A 110 volt or 120-volt sauna is compatible with household outlets. But a larger sauna will require special wiring. Less voltage will also make the sauna more energy efficient.

  1. Sauna Upgrades

Sauna upgrades refer to additions to the outdoor saunas that can be made for a better experience. These include LED lights, salt walls, windows, etc.

  1. Salt Wall

A backlit Himalayan salt wall can be mounted above the heater in your sauna for more support and relaxation. It gives the interior of the sauna a style and a pleasant aesthetic.

  1. LED Light Bar

A wooden frame with LED lights can be added to the sauna interior. The soft and subtle lighting that it provides can give the sauna an elegant look. It can be placed horizontally or vertically or near the benches.

  1. Vista Window

A tempered glass window that does not affect insulation but provides you with a view is the perfect addition to your outdoor sauna. Even a small interior can look roomier and can even help people who are uncomfortable in enclosed spaces.

  1. Additional Features

For more comfort, aesthetics, and enhancement of overall experience, certain additional features can be added to the sauna. These could include inbuilt speakers so that you can enjoy music to relax further. Cup holders, magazine holders, and backrests are other features that you can include to customize your experience just the way you like.

All the features that you plan to add must be waterproof. Waterproof music system and headphones, a waterproof fitness tracker to record your calorie burn and blood pressure. Waterproof in-built clocks so that you do not lose track of time.

Roof vents and other adjustable vents can prove to be amazing additional features that can help the air circulation in case you feel stuffy. They may be digitalized so you can control them with the touch of a button.

Ensuring Safety Before and After Using a Sauna

The experience of outdoor saunas is magical. But certain dangers that can be posed while using them must be avoided to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones. Therefore, it is essential that you follow the following tips before, during, and after you use the sauna.

  1. If you have heart conditions, it is advisable not to use saunas for too long or in some scenarios. The heat of the sauna cannot be borne by the heart, which is already making extra efforts to keep the blood flowing.
  2. People with other conditions like diabetes, hypertension, thyroid, or kidney problems should also consult with their doctors without putting their bodies through the intense heat of saunas.
  3. Pregnant women should not use saunas, especially in the first trimester, without checking with their doctors.
  4. The intense perspiration caused by saunas can lead to dehydration. Be mindful of water consumption as well as drinking juices and smoothies before and after the sauna.
  5. Going from extreme heated temperatures of the sauna to a cold shower or swimming pool can cause the blood pressure to soar. Thus, people with blood pressure problems or history should avoid doing so.
  6. The sweat that is released during saunas also carries essential minerals out of your body. Thus, you must ensure to consume more copper, zinc, and magnesium and other vital nutrients in your diet.
  7. After the sauna, it is best to take a shower. It may come in handy to have a shower nearby.
  8. Adding non-slip mats both inside and outside the sauna can help prevent any slippery accidents.


1. How can I get an outdoor sauna on my property?

When you are planning to get an outdoor sauna, you first need to get a permit so that you can install it hassle-free. Moreover, you will have to pay extra taxes owing to the well-structured area dedicated to the sauna in your backyard. Further, you need to search for all the vital rules related to it in your locality.

2. Is there a requirement for a changing room nearby?

Well, you may think that a sauna must accompany some changing room nearby to change your wet clothes and get dry. Nevertheless, it is entirely your own personal preference to create a changing room near it or not.

3. What should I opt for: a traditional or infrared sauna?

While traditional saunas use wood for heating the sauna stones, an infrared sauna uses radiant heat. Thus, if you want just a relaxing experience without having to compromise on your budget, a traditional sauna is the way to go. However, you can opt for an infrared sauna if you are looking for low steam and have money to spend.

4. Can I install a music player inside my sauna?

Yes, definitely! You can customize your sauna in whatever way you want to. Adding a music player in your sauna and listening to soothing music while the sauna bath is very peaceful and relaxing. The only thing you need to make sure is that your music player should be waterproof.

Final Verdict

To enjoy a relaxing and soothing sauna session, you need to find the right fit for your space. In this buying guide, we have gathered all the information about each characteristic that plays a crucial role in varying your sauna experience.

Once you install the product in your space, then you can enjoy the experience anytime and relive all the stress and pressure of your hectic schedule. / - © Copyright 2020