The Ultimate Sauna Buying Guide 2021
If I told you that a 25-minute sauna session benefits your heart in the same way as running, you'd laugh at me, right?
It may be hard to believe, but it's true!
Saunas temporarily increase your blood pressure, creating the same effects as moderate physical exercise.
Aside from maintaining a healthy heart, saunas also have many other health benefits.
For instance, they can slow down the ageing process, optimize athletic performance, improve muscle function, fuel weight loss, boost brain function, improve skin health and even supercharge your immune system.
Factors to Consider - Best Sauna Models 2021
So, you've decided that you want to invest in a sauna to reap the many extensive health benefits they provide?
But choosing the best model can be stressful and almost overwhelming due to the vast number of models, options and add-ons available on the market.
Let the following buyer's guide melt your stress away and help you choose the best sauna to suit your preferences, space, and personal budget!
Is a traditional or infrared sauna more suitable for me?
When thinking about what sauna to choose, you should be conscious of the temperature you want your sauna to be able to reach, which, in turn, will offer slightly different health benefits.
Traditionally, those that use a wood-burning stove, rocks and water to generate steam.
However, infrared saunas are becoming increasingly popular amongst sauna enthusiasts. Let's take a look at the difference between traditional and infrared saunas.
- Traditional saunas have the same look as the Finnish sauna - a wooden room or structure using heated stones and water to create a hot, steamy atmosphere. They get much hotter than infrared saunas, reaching temperatures of 190 - 195 degrees F. The humidity level of a traditional sauna is between 10 and 25%. This powerful "heat stress" combined with the resulting hot steam means they carry significant science-backed health benefits.
- Infrared Saunas emit far-infrared light, heating the atmosphere more directly than a traditional sauna. They can reach temperatures of 120 - 140 degrees F. This causes the user to sweat more, enhancing the detoxifying effects of the sauna. An infrared sauna offers several health benefits, including decreased fatigue, lower stress levels and improved circulation.
What are the benefits of an infrared sauna?
As mentioned an infrared sauna uses far-infrared red light to generate heat.
The physical benefits of the infrared heat generated in an infrared sauna are similar to traditional saunas. However, an infrared sauna requires less maintenance since you won't need to light a fire or maintain it.
Additionally, individuals who can't tolerate the high heat of a traditional sauna can often endure the infrared heat generated by a far infrared sauna. As mentioned, far infrared heaters generate lower heat concentrations, making them tolerable for individuals with certain health conditions.
Far infrared saunas are also considerably newer than traditional saunas, which means they can provide a significant increase to your property's value.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of indoor and outdoor models?
Whether you choose a traditional or infrared sauna, the next step is to decide where you'll want to install the sauna.
- Outdoor models have the advantage of being set amongst nature, which may foster a range of peaceful feelings within the user. However, the elements can also deter you from using the sauna, especially if you live in an area that frequently experiences extreme cold weather. Additionally, exposure to the elements makes outdoor saunas more time-consuming to maintain. They are also more challenging to install due to their requiring electrical lines to function. If you purchase a wood-burning heater, this isn't relevant, of course!
- Indoor models are more accessible, which means you are likely to use them more. Unlike outdoor saunas, they are both easy to install and maintain. However, when installing an indoor sauna, you are limited by the space you may have available since they can only be placed on certain floor types.
What shape of a sauna should I choose?
Just like you or I, saunas come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes.
- Barrel-shaped sauna designs allow them to heat more efficiently than larger, traditional sauna shapes. They are suitable for both indoors and outdoors. However, you'll usually find them outside. They are more suited to outdoor use because of their natural ability to shed water and their durability against harsh outdoor environments.
- Classic-shaped saunas are best-suited for indoor use. Traditionally, a classic-shaped sauna will be a square or rectangular room, with several tiers of benches along one or more of the walls. However, there are many different variations of this same type of design.
Should I buy an electric or wood-burning heater for my sauna?
The heater that is ideal for your sauna is dependent on the location of your sauna, its size and your personal preferences.
However, both electric, infrared heaters and wood-burning heaters are perfectly safe to use with rocks and water to create steam, and both can usually reach 190 degrees F in less than an hour.
- Electric or infrared heaters are more convenient than wood-burning heaters. Once switched on, it will efficiently heat your sauna. That said, you will likely need an electrician to install your electric heater for you. Electric heaters require 220 volts and 30-40 amps of power. They are suitable for both outdoor and indoor saunas.
- A wood-burning sauna heater, on the other hand, is only suitable for use in outdoor saunas. They are more effective in larger saunas than electric heaters, so if your sauna is rather large, a wood-burning heater is likely the best option for you! If you wish to have that traditional sauna experience, there is nothing like a wood-burning heater to create this for you.
Similar to an infrared heater, you might also see some models that use carbon heaters for heating the air.
Regardless, just make sure to consider the many options of sauna heaters that are available before making your choice!
What type of sauna wood is best to use?
You need a wood finish for your sauna that is comfortable to touch and sit on at higher temperatures!
For this reason, you should avoid oak or teak since these are known for absorbing heat.
Softer woods don't conduct as much heat, and for this reason, they are perfect for use in a sauna. Some of the most popular softwoods are as follows:
- Cedar is the most popular wood for all sauna types due to its longevity, fragrant smell, and natural charm due to its reddish-brown tinge. Another advantage of cedar is that it is insect, stain, and mildew-resistant.
- Hemlock fir is the best value for money because of its lower price and durability. It is less fragrant than other woods and has the added benefit of being hypoallergenic. Similar to cedar, it is mildew resistant.
- Norway spruce is a light wood with a yellowish undertone known for its durability. It is incredibly cost-effective due to its longevity and affordability.
What other features can I get for my sauna?
Aside from heat type, shapes, sizes, and wood finishes, there are also various features and upgrades you can get for your sauna.
Some features recommended for your outdoor sauna are as follows:
- A canopy porch is a great extra feature for outdoor saunas if you want a sheltered space to store belongings and cool off after your sauna session!
- A roof kit is also great for use in an outdoor sauna, especially if you live in an area with extreme weather. This will help protect your investment from the elements.
- A floor kit is great for those people with a barrel sauna who wish to make the floor flat. A floor kit is also used in indoor saunas to improve your existing floor, giving it the look of a cedar floor while also protecting the floor beneath from moisture.
- A Himalayan salt wall is a stylish addition to your sauna, creating a tranquil, relaxing environment.
- A vista window is excellent for people who want to bask in a view while enjoying the comforts and relaxation of their outdoor sauna.
What sauna accessories can I get to improve my sauna experience?
Accessories can add elements of ease, convenience and tranquillity to your sauna to improve your experience. Let's take a look at some of the more popular accessories we see people using with their saunas.
- Essential oils like lavender or ylang-ylang can improve and intensify the health benefits of using your sauna.
- Entertainment features like a TV (as long as the unit is properly installed and exposed to outside ventilation) allow you to watch your favourite television programs and movies while you relax and reap the benefits of your sauna.
- Timers and thermometers give you the ability to determine specific times and temperatures so that you can adjust your sauna session, making it optimal for your needs and preferences.
- Wooden buckets and ladles give your sauna an authentic feel and provide a safe way to pour water onto the rocks to create that steamy atmosphere saunas are traditionally known for.
What is the best model for my budget?
The price of a sauna depends on a number of factors, such as its size, the quality of the wood and equipment, and any additional features that you might choose to add.
That said, your sauna can simultaneously increase property values, while also decreasing some of your healthcare costs!
Additionally, you'll also want to factor in the cost of running electricity and power to your sauna. The running cost of your sauna depends on your local electricity cost per kilowatt-hour, the kilowatt reading of your heater, and, of course, how frequently you use your sauna.
How to choose the best sauna for you
What sauna to choose can often be daunting with so many options and add-ons available.
When considering the ideal sauna for your preferences, ask yourself the same questions covered in this guide to give you clarity in your search. And, be sure to take your time, shop around, and choose a model that you're going to love for all the years to come!
Saunas can improve your health and provide enjoyment, relaxation and leisure. They also have the power to enhance the value of your home, health and relationships.
Hopefully, today's buying guide will help you find the perfect sauna for your needs.