Indoor Vs Outdoor Sauna: Which Is Right For You?

Indoor infrared sauna on the left and an outdoor barrel shaped sauna on the right side, catering to preferences in the debate of indoor vs outdoor sauna.

Have you ever found yourself unwinding in a sauna, surrounded by warmth, and caught yourself daydreaming about having one of these relaxing retreats in your own home? Trust me, that’s a thought bubble I’ve floated in more than once.

Through an exhilarating deep dive into all things steamy and soothing, I’ve bubbled up with some juicy tidbits that are sure to help clear the mist around this toasty topic: indoor vs outdoor sauna.

Whether nestled indoors or cradled under the open sky, this blog is ready to unwrap the pros and cons of cultivating your personal oasis of calm.

So sit back, grab your towel – metaphorically speaking – and let’s get cozy with the idea of bringing that sauna bliss right into our homes.

Quick Summary

1. Indoor saunas are great for convenience and privacy, fitting well in smaller spaces inside your home, like a bathroom or basement. They need good ventilation and may come with extra costs due to installation specifics.
2. Outdoor saunas offer a natural setting and more design freedom, making them ideal for bigger spaces in your yard. They can handle harsh weather but require more upkeep against the elements.
3. The cost of both indoor and outdoor saunas can be similar, but things like location, size, maintenance needs, design preferences, and how often you plan to use it should guide your decision on indoor vs outdoor sauna.

Indoor vs Outdoor Sauna: Differences & Factors to Consider

Imagine stepping out your back door into a cozy haven or sauntering downstairs to your own wellness sanctuary.. Sounds dreamy, right?

But here’s the deal: there are several key factors, or should we say differences between the two, which will steer you toward the perfect sweat spot that fits like a glove—or should I say, like a snug towel wrap?


So, you’re thinking about where to put your sauna. If you pick an indoor sauna, it’s like adding a special room to your home. It can be a welcome addition to your home gym, or maybe you have a spot in the basement or a cozy corner in your bathroom.

It’s nice because it’s private and safe inside. Plus, if it’s cold or rainy outside, no worries! You can just step into your warm sauna without stepping foot outside.

But what if I told you outdoor saunas have their own magic? Imagine sitting in the heat and looking out at trees or stars – pretty cool, huh? You don’t need to worry about making space inside your house either.

And hey, when friends come over for a barbecue, what could be better than showing off your awesome backyard spa? Plus, outdoor models give guests at pool parties something extra to talk about! Just remember that weather can affect when and how you use it. So think about where you live – lots of rain or snow might make an indoor one seem better after all!


Think about the space you’ve got. An indoor sauna might fit snugly in a corner of your basement or transform part of your bathroom into a spa oasis. That’s what I love about them – they’re cozy and don’t need a big area.

But hey, if you have more room outside, an outdoor sauna can be as grand as you want! Imagine stepping out into a larger sauna with the sky above and nature around: think bigger benches and stretching room for those post-sauna yoga poses.. You get to choose how much space to fill with that delightful heat.

Whether it’s indoor or outdoor, you can have your custom sauna built just right for the spot you picked out.

A cylindrical barrel sauna with a chimney set against a stunning mountainous backdrop, offering a unique outdoor spa experience.


Money matters, right? We all have a budget to stick to. So, let’s talk cash when it comes to getting either an indoor or outdoor sauna. You might think there’s a big price difference between the two, but guess what? There really isn’t! The cost for buying and setting up is pretty much the same for both kinds.

But here’s the kicker: putting in an indoor sauna can hit your wallet harder because of all those sneaky extra costs like making sure you’ve got proper ventilation and meeting building rules.

Now, I’m not saying this will always be the case; sometimes, you’ll find an awesome deal on indoor sauna material kits that won’t break the bank. And if you’re handy, picking up one of those could save you some serious dough on installation.

But generally speaking, those hidden expenses with indoor ones can creep up on you – especially if you’re aiming high with fancy custom designs or trying to squeeze one into your bathroom or basement where space gets tight.

So before diving headfirst into any purchases, take a good look at your budget and weigh up which type fits best. Oh—and don’t forget about things like insulation and vapor barriers! They’re crucial for keeping heat in but can also add a few dollars more to your final bill—no matter if it’s inside or outside.

Related Article: What All You Need to Consider Before Buying a Sauna


Keeping your sauna in top shape is key, no matter if it’s inside or outside. For indoor saunas, it’s mostly about cleaning. You’ll need to wipe down surfaces and maybe vacuum a bit.

Now, these home retreats don’t face rain or snow, so they’re often easier to keep looking new.

Outdoor saunas are different—they have to battle the weather. You’ve got to do more than just clean here; protect them with a good weatherproof cover and treat the wood often to stop rot and fading.

Let’s not forget sweeping leaves off the roof and making sure critters haven’t made themselves at home! Regular checks will save you headaches later.

Okay, moving on from scrubbing down walls or refreshing wood stains—let’s think about design and installation..

A modern indoor sauna with glass door open, revealing the wooden interior, providing a serene and private relaxation experience

Design and Installation

Designing and building a sauna in your home is like creating a little getaway spot. First, think about how it will look and where it’s going to fit.

For my indoor sauna, maybe the basement or bathroom would work best. That way, I’m close to all the things I need, and it feels cozy and private.

If building isn’t your thing – no worries! Prefab kits make everything simple. These kits come with everything you need — from wood to heaters.

As for outdoor saunas, there’s something magical about stepping into a warm cabin while the air outside is crisp! If you choose an outdoor model, you get more freedom for cool designs like:

  • Barrel Sauna
  • Cabin Sauna
  • Pod Sauna
  • Raindrop Sauna
  • Acrylic Bubble Sauna
  • Glass Front Sauna
  • Panoramic View Sauna

Sure, the weather might affect when I use it, but having that sauna experience under the stars could be worth putting on an extra layer before dashing out.

Pros and Cons of Indoor Saunas

From convenience and accessibility with an indoor setup to weighing out space constraints that might cramp your blissful sweat sessions, I’ve got you covered with what shines and what might fog up your sauna dreams indoors.

Now, keep reading as we navigate through those steamy details..

Table highlighting the pros and cons of indoor saunas, including benefits like home comfort and health, and challenges like limited space and complex ventilation requirements.

Pros of Indoor Saunas

Stepping into an indoor sauna feels like a mini-vacation right in your home. Imagine escaping the daily grind without ever leaving your house.

  • You get to chill out any time you want. No need to wait for the gym to open or for it to be ‘sauna weather’ outside.
  • Say goodbye to extra stress about getting dressed and driving somewhere; the sauna is just steps away.
  • Having a sauna at home means privacy. It’s just you and the soothing heat, no strangers around. You have the freedom to wear what you want or even nothing at all.
  • Saunas provide great benefits for your health! They can help your muscles relax and make you feel less pain.
  • Indoor saunas fit nicely into small spaces. You could tuck one into your bathroom or basement with no trouble.
  • These cozy spots warm up fast. Your wait time’s shorter compared to outdoor saunas that might face cold winds or chilly temps.
  • Maintenance is simpler inside. You don’t have to worry about weather messing with your sauna.
  • Customizing is super fun! Pick out special lights, music systems, or wood types that make it all yours.
  • With a sauna right there in your home, you’re likely to use it more often, which means more health perks!
  • Some folks even find their skin looks better after regular sauna sessions—more glowy and clean.

Cons of Indoor saunas

Let me tell you, there are some things you should know about indoor saunas that could sway your decision.

  • Space can be tight indoors. If you’re looking at putting a sauna inside your home, remember that you might not have as much room as you’d like. Indoor saunas need to fit into your existing layout, so they’re often smaller than their outdoor cousins.
  • Getting the air right is tougher inside. Saunas need good ventilation to work best and keep the air fresh. In your house, making sure there’s enough airflow for your sauna can be more complicated than if it were outside.
  • You’ve got fewer choices for custom features. Imagine dreaming up the perfect luxury sauna with all sorts of neat perks—a little tougher when you’re working within the confines of your home’s structure compared to the blank slate of the outdoors.
  • Think about what’s underfoot! The foundation for an indoor sauna needs careful thought because all that heat and moisture can be rough on certain materials.
  • Not as much natural light gets in. There’s something special about enjoying a steam while basking in sunlight coming through windows—a bit harder to come by with an indoor setup unless perhaps you’ve got a great spot in mind already!
  • Adding a new room is a major construction business. Wanting a custom indoor sauna often means building a completely new space or doing serious changes where it’ll fit—that’s no small task!
  • Maintenance must-haves might get missed. With any indoor addition, especially one that creates lots of heat and steam, you’ve got to consider how it affects everything from your walls to your wiring.
  • Humidity control is super important indoors—way more than outside—to protect your home from damp-related issues after sweating sessions.

Pros and Cons of Outdoor Saunas

Let’s dive in to see if an outdoor sauna is truly your ticket to a personal oasis or if it’s better left as a pretty picture on a Pinterest board.

Table showcasing the pros & cons of outdoor saunas, featuring pros such as natural immersion and design freedom, and cons like weather dependency and privacy concerns.

Pros of Outdoor Saunas

I love the thought of stepping out into my backyard and unwinding in a sauna. It’s like having a private retreat just a few steps away from home. We all are aware of their health benefits but let’s talk about some other awesome things about outdoor saunas.

  • They give you fresh air and lots of room to make them your own. Since they’re outside, you don’t have to worry about how big they get or how they’ll fit with your house.
  • You get to enjoy nature while relaxing. Imagine being surrounded by trees or looking at the stars while you’re all warmed up in your sauna.
  • There are no limits on design. With an outdoor sauna, I can think up any style I want, and there’s space for it! Whether it’s next to my pool or by the lake, it becomes part of my backyard oasis.
  • No need for special permissions most times. This is great because I can set up my backyard sauna without jumping through too many hoops.
  • Outdoor saunas are super for parties or family time. Having friends over? What better way to hang out than a session in the sauna?
  • They don’t take up precious space inside your home. I don’t have to figure out where to squeeze it in between my kitchen and living room!
  • You’ll find that outdoor saunas are tougher against bad weather. Built with materials like thermowood, they stand strong rain or shine.
  • Proper ventilation comes naturally with outdoor saunas. Being outside means there’s plenty of air moving around, so I’m not worried about steam building up where it shouldn’t be.
  • The experience feels more authentic, kind of like traditional Finnish saunas people have been enjoying for generations.

Cons of Outdoor Saunas

An outdoor barrel sauna covered with snow in a scenic winter forest, depicting how extreme weather conditions can limit your sauna use in case of an outdoor sauna

Outdoor saunas have their own set of challenges. It’s not just about stepping outside and enjoying a hot steam; several factors can make them less than perfect.

  • Weather impacts use: Mother Nature dictates the terms of engagement with an outdoor sauna. Blizzards, downpours, and extreme temperatures can limit your sauna season.
  • More upkeep: From sun damage to leaks, expect regular upkeep to keep your haven in tip-top shape.
  • Privacy concerns: Privacy concerns are a real factor, especially for urban sauna enthusiasts. Unless nestled in a secluded oasis, outdoor saunas can feel like glass houses, exposing your detoxing to the neighborhood’s curious gaze.
  • Higher cost upfront: Yearning for that Scandinavian-chic barrel sauna? Be prepared to splurge. Outdoor saunas often boast higher upfront costs compared to their indoor counterparts, making them a pricier path to relaxation.
  • Climate restrictions: Not all places are sauna-friendly. Scorching deserts turn your sauna into a sweaty oven, while harsh winters test its weatherproof prowess. Your relaxation quest might be better served by an indoor haven in extreme weather zones.
  • Bigger space needs: Forget shoehorning an outdoor sauna into a city balcony. These relaxation pods demand room to breathe, requiring ample outdoor space that might be a luxury in urban jungles.
  • Construction challenges: Unless you’re a lumberjack in disguise, building your own outdoor sauna can be a daunting task. Permits, regulations, and construction complexities might have you yearning for a ready-made steam haven.

Remember, even paradise has its hiccups. Weighing these limitations against the outdoor sauna’s undeniable charm will help you chart your perfect path to sweaty serenity.


So, you’ve been thinking about where to put a sauna, right? Maybe you have the perfect spot in your backyard. Or perhaps there’s that unused corner in your basement just waiting for something exciting.

It’s a tricky choice! Both indoor and outdoor saunas can make you feel amazing and add something special to your home.

  • Having a sauna inside means stepping into warmth without even needing shoes! Plus, it’s super private.
  • But hey, I get it if you’re worried about making sure the air stays fresh inside or following those building rules.
  • Outdoor saunas? They’re all about feeling free with no walls closing you in and breathing in that crisp air.
  • I bet you’re thinking about dollars now—both kinds cost pretty much the same.
  • Don’t forget, though, where you live matters too because rain or shine can change how often you’ll use an outside one.

Here’s my advice: picture yourself sweating out those toxins.. where do you see it happening? Whatever feels right – whether bathed in sunlight or cozied up indoors – go for it!

End of the day, whether I’m chilling outdoors looking at the stars or staying snug inside my house, what counts is enjoying that hot sauna time whenever I crave it.

Now come on.. ready to take the plunge and choose your very own sweat sanctuary?

FAQs about Indoor vs Outdoor Sauna

1. Which gets hotter, indoor or outdoor saunas?

Both can reach scorching temperatures, but indoor saunas heat up faster and stay hot longer due to better insulation. Outdoor saunas might take a tad longer to heat up and lose some heat to the outside, but good insulation and efficient heaters can bridge the gap.

2. Is an indoor or outdoor sauna more expensive?

Both kinds cost pretty much the same, with pre-built options starting around $2,000. Outdoor saunas, especially pre-built barrel saunas, usually start around $3,000 and can climb higher for larger or customized models. However, consider additional costs like installation for indoor saunas.

3. Which sauna needs more maintenance?

Outdoor saunas are the high-maintenance divas, needing regular TLC to weather the elements. Expect resealing wood, checking for leaks, and protecting against sun damage. Indoor saunas require less upkeep, mainly focusing on cleaning and proper ventilation.

4. Is an indoor or outdoor sauna more spacious?

Outdoor saunas win the spaciousness award, offering room to stretch out and breathe. They come in various sizes, from cozy duos to social hubs. Indoor saunas are often more snug, like warm cocoons. Consider your available space and preferred capacity.

5. Can I use an outdoor sauna year-round?

It depends on climate and sauna construction. Well-insulated outdoor saunas with efficient heaters can be used year-round, even in colder climates. But in extreme temperatures, heating time might increase, and comfort might decrease. For harsh winters, an indoor sauna might be wiser.

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