Ultimate Sauna Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Consider Before Purchasing A Sauna

Warm and inviting home sauna with glowing wooden panels and electric heater.

Choosing the right sauna for your home isn’t just about adding a spot to relax—it’s about enhancing your lifestyle and bringing a bit of luxury into your daily routine.

With years of experience guiding people through their wellness journeys, I’ve seen firsthand how a well-chosen sauna can transform health routines and become an oasis of calm in a bustling world.

Deciding between the various types—be it traditional or infrared, indoor or outdoor—is no small task. Each has its unique charms and benefits suited to different preferences and space considerations.

This Sauna buying guide is designed to demystify the process, giving you all the information needed to make an informed decision that aligns with both your desires and requirements.

Ready? Let’s explore together!

Key Takeaways

  • Wellness Wonders: Saunas offer a suite of health benefits, from stress relief and muscle soothing to improved sleep and detoxification.
  • Choosing Your Heat: Decide between the traditional high-heat experience and the gentler infrared warmth. Your pick impacts cost, ambiance, and wellness benefits.
  • Smart Selections: Factor in the heater type (electric, wood-fired, ceramic, or carbon), sauna size, and location (indoor vs. outdoor) to match your requirements, lifestyle and space.
  • Essentials and Economics: Look for essential features and wood options that enhance your sauna experience. Consider the initial investment, operational costs, and the warranty for long-term satisfaction.
  • Guided Purchase: Try different sauna types to find your perfect match and choose a reputable dealer for a smooth buying process.

Benefits of Saunas and Selecting Sauna Type For Achieving Your Specific Wellness Goals

Saunas are a great way to relax and unwind after a long day. They warm your body up, making you feel cozy and calm. But saunas offer more than just warmth; they are a gateway to improved well-being, offering substantial health benefits that include:

The first time I stepped into a sauna, I expected nothing more than a good sweat. But the benefits extended far beyond. From the immediate release of stress, feeling the tension melt away with each drop of sweat, to the long-term improvements in sleep quality and cardiovascular health, the sauna became my sanctuary.

Contemporary home sauna interior design with sleek wooden benches and ladle.

So, while enjoying that relaxing heat, you’re also doing something good for your body and mind– it’s like getting multiple benefits at once without even trying hard!

Understanding your specific wellness goals is essential in selecting a sauna that aligns with your aspirations. Whether you are looking to improve your cardiovascular fitness, reduce stress and anxiety, detoxify your body, or simply relax and unwind after a long day, there is a sauna that can cater to your needs.

Types of Saunas: Traditional vs. Infrared

Exploring the world of saunas can feel like stepping into a warm, inviting oasis. But wait—before you get too cozy, let’s delve into the two main types you’ll encounter: traditional and infrared.

Traditional saunas have been around for centuries and offer a classic sauna experience with higher temperatures and a more social atmosphere. In contrast, infrared saunas use infrared heat to directly warm the body, providing a milder and more focused heat experience. 

Each one invites you into its embrace differently, and understanding these distinctions is key to choosing your perfect sauna escape.

TypeHeat SourceHeating TimeTemperature RangeKey Benefits
TraditionalWood or electricity30-40 minutes150-195°FHigh heat allows for a more intense sweat session, aiding in relaxation and detoxification.
InfraredCeramic or carbon heaters10-20 minutes120-150°FDirectly heats the body, offering a gentle experience that supports muscle relaxation and pain relief.

Choosing between traditional and infrared saunas feels a bit like picking your adventure. Want the high heat and the ritual of pouring water on hot stones? Traditional might be your lane. Or do you prefer a gentler, quick-start option? Infrared could be calling your name.

Whatever you choose, your sauna journey promises to be one of warmth, wellness, and perhaps a bit of sweating—it’s all part of the fun.

Choosing the Heating Mechanism

Great! You have finally decided on the sauna type. But wait, what about the heat source? This section will clear all your doubts about which heat source to choose, whether you’re buying a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna.

Traditional Sauna Heat Source: Electric vs. Wood-Fired Heaters

Let’s dive into the world of traditional sauna heaters and decide between wood-fired and electric options. Picking the right traditional sauna heater is crucial for those warm, relaxing moments. Here’s your guide to making that choice, keeping it real and focusing on what matters – from costs to vibes.

CriteriaElectric HeatersWood-Fired Heaters
Heat Feel & AtmosphereConsistent, easy temperature control but lacks traditional ambiance.Offers a “natural” heat feel and rustic ambiance with the crackle and scent of wood.
Costs UpfrontMore wallet-friendly initially. Easy installation keeps costs down.Might be pricier upfront, especially with top-notch models. Installation could add to the cost due to venting needs.
Running CostsHigher in areas with expensive electricity rates.Varies with wood prices; potentially lower if you have access to cheap/free wood.
Warm-Up TimeQuick and efficient, minimal wait time for sauna sessions.Takes longer, adding to the traditional sauna ritual experience.
Maintenance & Ease of UseLow maintenance; as simple as flipping a switch.Requires cleaning to remove ash and soot, and a stockpile of wood, making it more labor-intensive.
Environmental ConsiderationsImpact depends on the electricity source (renewable vs. fossil fuels).Considered carbon-neutral with sustainably sourced wood but emits smoke.

In a wood-fired sauna, the process of lighting the fire and waiting for the sauna to warm up is like a meditative practice in patience and anticipation. The natural heat and the scent of burning wood adds an authentic touch that electric heaters can’t replicate.

Related Article: Top 5 Wood-Burning Sauna Stoves of 2024

Choosing between electric and wood-fired heaters for your traditional sauna comes down to what fits your lifestyle and budget and what you value in a sauna experience. 

Looking for ease and consistency? Electric might be your jam. Crave that authentic sauna atmosphere with a touch of ritual? Wood-fired is calling your name.

Related Article: Top 7 Sauna Heaters of 2024

Remember, there’s no wrong choice here; just what makes you step out of that sauna feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to tackle whatever comes next.

Related Article: Sauna Heater Calculator

Infrared sauna spotlight in our sauna buying guide, showcasing a woman relaxing in an infrared sauna with warm light therapy.

Infrared Sauna Heat Source: Comparing Ceramic or Carbon Infrared Heater

You are buying an infrared sauna but unable to choose between a ceramic or carbon infrared heater for your sauna? It’s a choice that might seem small, but it can significantly affect your sauna experience. Here’s a quick rundown to help you weigh your options.

FeatureCeramic HeatersCarbon Heaters
Heat DistributionFocus more on direct heat, creating hot spots.Provide even heat distribution for a more uniform experience.
Warm-up TimeHeat up quickly, getting you into your sauna session faster.Take a bit longer to reach the desired temperature.
DurabilityCan be fragile and require careful handling during installation.More durable and less likely to break, ensuring longevity.
Energy EfficiencyLess energy efficient, potentially leading to higher operational costs.More energy efficient, saving you money in the long run.
ComfortCan make the air feel drier, which might be uncomfortable for some people.Heat feels more gentle on the skin, enhancing comfort.

Both types have their perks, whether you’re looking for something that heats up in a snap or you’re after that even gentle warmth. Consider what matters most to you in your sauna sessions, and you’ll find the right fit.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Saunas: Choosing the Perfect Location

Choosing between an indoor and outdoor sauna brings its own fun. Imagine stepping into a warm, cozy space right in your home or enjoying the fresh air outside as you relax. Both have their cool sides! For indoor saunas, think about ease.

You can hop in any time, no matter the weather. It’s like having a mini spa retreat without leaving your house. Plus, you won’t worry much about setting it up since many homes are already fit for this setup.

On the flip side, outdoor saunas offer a special touch of nature that’s hard to beat. Picture yourself unwinding under the stars or breathing in crisp morning air—that’s what an outdoor sauna delivers! But remember, they need more work to install and keep warm during colder months.

Sitting in the sauna while watching the snowfall or listening to the rain is an experience unmatched by any indoor setting. It requires more maintenance, especially in harsh weather, but the reward was a serene communion with the elements.

Bella, owner of an outdoor sauna

So, whether you’re leaning towards that indoor convenience or craving the great outdoors experience, it will guide you to the perfect pick.

Size Matters: Selecting the Ideal Sauna Size

After deciding whether your sauna will embrace the fresh outdoors or complement your indoor oasis, the next crucial step is sizing it right. The size of your sauna plays a big role in your overall satisfaction.

  • Think about who will use the sauna. Is it just for you, or do you plan on hosting steamy gatherings? A smaller home sauna suits solo sessions or couples, while larger groups need more space to relax comfortably.
  • Also, consider the room where you’ll install it. You want enough space to move around without feeling cramped. Every inch counts—too big, and it can feel empty; too small, and it becomes uncomfortable.
  • Keep in mind future gatherings as well; opting for a slightly larger model now could save you from regret later on.

Remembering these points helps ensure every soak is perfect from start to finish.

Evaluating Sauna Features and Accessories

Now that you’ve figured out the best size for your sauna, it’s time to think about what comes inside. Saunas aren’t just wood and heat. They come with features and accessories that make your time more enjoyable. Here’s a list of things to consider:

  1. Control Panel – A user-friendly control panel makes setting temperatures and timers simple. Some saunas even have smart controls that work with your phone!
  2. Lighting Options – Good lighting sets the mood. Soft, adjustable lights can help you relax better than harsh white ones.
  3. Ventilation System – Saunas need fresh air too! A proper ventilation system keeps the air clean and makes breathing easy.
  4. Seating Arrangements – Comfortable seating is a must-have for an enjoyable sauna experience. Some saunas offer movable benches or ergonomic seats.
  5. Insulation and Door Quality – Proper insulation keeps the heat in, which is key for a good sauna session.. And don’t overlook the door; it should seal tightly but also open easily when you need it to.
  6. Music and Entertainment – Want to listen to music or even watch TV? Some saunas come with built-in speakers or screens.
  7. Aromatherapy Options – Adding scents like eucalyptus or lavender can make your sauna time more relaxing. Look for saunas that have special holders or dispensers for essential oils.
  8. Accessories Kit– Many saunas come with extras like sand timers, thermometers, buckets, and ladles. These add-ons can enhance your overall sauna experience.

Choosing the right features and accessories will turn your sauna into a personal retreat where stress melts away. Take your time picking out what matters most to you.

Woman relaxing peacefully in a sauna with towels, wooden bucket, and whisk

Deciding on Your Sauna Budget

Saunas come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. Setting up a budget for your sauna is like planning a small adventure. You know you want something exciting, but you’ve got to figure out how much you’re willing to spend on it.

From cozy indoor ones that fit just right into your home to luxurious outdoor models that can transform your backyard into a spa retreat. The cost of buying a sauna and the price per hour of using it matter a lot.

Think about what you need in a sauna – maybe it’s infrared heating or traditional steam power – and start setting aside some cash.

Costs vary widely based on types, features, and accessories. A basic home sauna might not break the bank, but adding extras like aromatic woods or advanced heaters will bump up the price tag.

Remember, investing more upfront could save money down the line with lower operational costs. It’s also good to keep an eye out for sauna kits as they can be more budget-friendly options.

Next up, let’s tackle evaluating your space availability.

Evaluating your Space Availability

Finding the right spot for your new sauna might feel a bit like playing Tetris in your home. This step is crucial because it helps determine what kind of sauna you can get.

If you have loads of space outside, an outdoor sauna could be perfect. They add charm and a retreat-like vibe to your yard. However consider the journey from your house to the sauna if it’s outdoor – quick access with some privacy is best!

But, if you’re tight on room or prefer privacy, look inside. Many people find a corner in their basement or garage that’s just waiting for a transformation into a cozy wellness nook.

Think about where you’ll enjoy relaxing most and how much room you actually have there. Measure carefully – those numbers will guide you in picking the right size sauna without any surprises down the line.

Making these decisions now makes bringing this slice of health and happiness into your life super smooth sailing.

Exploring Sauna Wood Options: What’s the Best Wood for a Sauna?

Choosing the right wood for your sauna is like picking the perfect ingredient for your favorite recipe. It makes all the difference.

  • Cedar stands out as a top pick because it smells great and fights off mold and rots naturally. This means it keeps looking good year after year without much work from you. 
  • Hemlock and Aspen are also solid choices because they don’t give off strong smells or harmful chemicals when they get hot.
  • Plus, they’re both tough woods that can handle high heat without warping or cracking.

Choosing cedar for my sauna wasn’t just about durability; it was about embracing the traditional sauna aroma that I had come to associate with relaxation and well-being. The wood’s natural resistance to moisture and decay meant that this investment would stand the test of time, while its scent became a hallmark of my sauna sessions.

So, think about what matters most to you in a sauna experience—do you want that classic cedar scent or maybe a more subtle, clean feel with hemlock or aspen? Your choice of wood will set the mood for your relaxing retreat right at home.

Understanding Sauna Safety Standards and Risks

After choosing the right wood for your sauna, it’s crucial to dive right into the safety standards and risks tied to sauna usage. Keeping yourself and your family safe should be at the top of your mind.

Wood-burning sauna stove with metal bucket and ladle, and wood logs ready for heating.

You might be surprised, but even something as beneficial as a sauna comes with its share of must-know rules and potential health hazards. Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Ensure that the structure can withstand the high temperatures without releasing harmful substances. Knowing what wood is kiln-dried ensures you’re inhaling clean air instead of toxins released by lesser-quality timber at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Setting up requires attention to detail—think about installing GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets near water sources and choosing materials that don’t emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • In an infrared sauna, exposure to electromagnetic fields is a big concern. Go for a reputable and trustworthy brand which offers zero or very low EMF and ELF levels.
  • Overheating can be a big health hazard, so check for features like automatic shut-off and heat-proof surfaces.

Operational Costs of Running a Sauna

Knowing about safety and risks helps, but now let’s talk money because that sauna won’t heat itself for free. Operating a sauna involves several costs you might not have thought about at first.

  • Electric saunas, for instance, pull a lot of power when they’re on. This means higher electricity bills each month depending on how often you use your sauna.
  • If you choose a wood-burning stove, then you need to buy wood regularly.
  • Don’t forget maintenance, either! Over time, parts might wear out or break and will need fixing or replacing.

So, while buying your home sauna might feel like a big spend, remember that its journey with you comes with ongoing costs, too.

Related Article : How much electricity do saunas consume?

Trying Different Sauna Types Before Buying

Finding the perfect sauna is like finding your favorite pair of shoes. You have to try different ones to find the best fit for you. Not all saunas are made the same, and each type brings its own unique benefits and experiences.

Before choosing, I tried various saunas at wellness centers and friends’ places. I noticed a clear difference between the traditional sauna’s dry heat and the infrared’s deep warmth. These trials helped me understand my preferences and how each type suits my lifestyle, guiding my decision.

  • First off, experience the heat difference between traditional saunas and infrared saunas. Traditional saunas use stones and water to create steam, giving you that intense heat feeling. Infrared saunas warm your body directly without heating the air around you too much.
  • Feel the difference in humidity levels. Traditional Finnish saunas offer a lot of steam, making the air feel more humid. Infrared ones stay dryer, which might be better for people not used to high humidity.
  • Notice how your body reacts to each type. Some people find the dry heat of an infrared sauna more comfortable, while others prefer the intense warmth and humidity of traditional styles.
  • Consider setup time and effort as well. Home sauna kits are available for both types, but check what tools you’ll need or if professional help is necessary.
  • Explore which materials you prefer. Infrared saunas often use woods like red cedar that affect how they look, smell, and even feel during your session.

Once you’ve tried different options, choosing becomes easier because you know what works best for your lifestyle, budget, and preferences.

Steam rising over sauna heater filled with volcanic rocks in a private sauna room.

Choosing the Right Sauna Dealer: A Key Decision

When you’re on the hunt for the perfect sauna, the dealer you choose can make or break your experience. Here’s what to keep an eye out for:

  • Reputation: Look for dealers with glowing reviews and happy customers. A good rep is like a warm welcome into the sauna community.
  • Expertise: They should know their stuff, from the nitty-gritty of installation to the art of maintenance. A dealer who can drop knowledge bombs and guide you through your options is gold.
  • Product Range: More choices mean more chances to find your sauna soulmate. A dealer with a broad selection of both traditional and infrared saunas and various heater types is a keeper.
  • After-Sales Support: The relationship shouldn’t end at purchase. Top-notch after-sales support, including help with setup, maintenance advice, and warranty service, is crucial.
  • Location: Local dealers might offer better logistics and support. Plus, being able to visit and see different sauna models in person is a huge plus.
  • Sustainability and Ethics: If green credentials matter to you, check out the dealer’s commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing.

Choosing the right dealer is about feeling confident and cared for from your first question to your first steamy session and beyond. Make sure your dealer ticks all these boxes to ensure a smooth and enjoyable sauna buying journey.

Warranty Of The Sauna

A good sauna warranty keeps you safe from sudden costs if something goes wrong. It’s like a promise that your sauna will work well for a certain time.

  • Most companies give warranties that cover the heating elements and the wood structure.
  • The best ones last many years, showing they trust their saunas. They should also offer help with fixing any issues.
  • Look closely at what the warranty covers – some only help with parts, not labor or shipping costs for repairs.

A solid warranty means peace of mind, knowing you won’t have to dig into your pocket for unexpected fixes right after buying your home sauna.


Buying a sauna should be fun, not stressful. You’ve learned about the perks of saunas and how to pick one that fits your life. Why not make your next step exploring different sauna types?

Think about what works best for you: indoors or outdoors, big or small. Don’t forget to check out the wood and heating options, too.

Ready to turn up the heat on your health and relaxation? A cozy, warm sauna awaits you! May your sauna journey be as warming and enlightening as mine has been.

FAQs about Sauna Buying Guide

1. What are the health benefits of using a sauna?

The health benefits of using a sauna are numerous. From relaxing your muscles to improving your sleep, saunas can boost your health in several ways. They help with detoxification and building up your immunity. Saunas improve your skin, cardiovascular function and mental health as well.

2. How do I choose between an infrared sauna and a traditional sauna?

To choose between an infrared sauna and a traditional sauna, consider what kind of heat you prefer. If you’re leaning towards gentle heat that penetrates deep into your skin, go for an infrared sauna. Traditional sauna warms the air around you thereby raising your core temperature.

3. Can installing a sauna at home cause any heat-related health problems?

If used correctly, saunas are pretty safe for most people. But yes, cranking up the heat too much or staying in too long could lead to issues. Always listen to what your body says, and keep hydrated!

4. What materials should I look out for when picking my perfect home sauna?

Materials matter! Look for durable woods like cedar or hemlock—these guys don’t just look good; they resist moisture and mold, too. Plywood? Not so much—it doesn’t handle humidity well over time.

5. Is there anything special I need on my checklist before buying a sauna?

Your checklist before buying a sauna should start with sizing—make sure it fits where you want it to go. Think about type—infrared or electric? Don’t forget to check on power requirements. And finally, consider extras like swim spas if space allows—an excellent combo for relaxation and exercise.

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