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Beginner guide to Saunas

If you're thinking about buying a sauna, you'll need to spend a little time thinking about your purchase. After all, the average sauna isn't a small investment. However, it is time well spent. A new sauna of your own gives you a pleasant place to relax and unwind and may have some significant health benefits. What type of sauna do you need? Here's a look at some of the options and some things you ought to think about before you buy.

Traditional or Infrared?

There are two major types of saunas currently on the market. One is the traditional steam sauna, which uses hot rocks or a specially designed sauna heater to provide warmth and water to provide the steam. These saunas get pretty hot and are what most people think of when they hear the word "sauna." Infrared saunas are a newer development. They use infrared rays to provide the heat, and claim to heat only our bodies, not the air. They can be more convenient to use and install.

Kits Vs. Build Your Own

You'll also need to decide what type of sauna you need to buy. The simplest option is to use a modular sauna kit. All the pieces have been manufactured and finished for you. All you have to do is set it up. Most of the assembly is already done, and the average person can get their sauna put together in about a half hour. This type of kit is a good choice for people who'll want to take their sauna with them when they move.

Pre-cut sauna kits are cheaper, but require you to do more assembly. Some people hire a contractor to do the assembly, but this reduces the savings. This type of kit comes with all the pieces already cut out, but you have to do the rest of the work. A pre-cut kit is a good idea for people who already have a little bit of experience putting things together. It's much harder to move when you leave your home, so only purchase one of these if you're planning to stay for a long time.

You can also purchase sauna plans and build your own from scratch. This is potentially the cheapest, but it does require a fairly significant amount of expertise. You will need to source all the materials and do all the assembly. This method does give you an extremely sturdy sauna built to your exact specifications, since you control everything. However, you do have to know what you're doing.


The size of your sauna will have a big effect on the cost of purchase and installation. Choose a sauna that's right for the way you want to use it. If you live alone or just with one or two people, you may not need a large sauna. If you'd like to share your sauna with other people, or have guests use it, something bigger might be required. Models are available in sizes for one to two up to ten or more. Some include shower areas and changing rooms. This is useful if you are planning for guests to use the sauna or will be installing it outside. Install your sauna near an outdoor pool and you can also use it as a pool house.

Inside or Outside

Outdoor saunas can be larger and include more features, but they also take up a lot more space, and will have to stand up to more environmental damage. Outdoor saunas should be designed to take everything Mother Nature can dish out. If you live in a northern climate, this can be a lot. Make sure you purchase a sauna that's right for your area. Before setting up an outdoor sauna, make sure you will not need a permit - otherwise, you could be forced to take it down if you fail to obtain proper permits.

Indoor saunas can be much easier to use, since there is no need to leave the house. They are usually much smaller than outdoor models, and you will need to create a space for them in your home. Measure carefully before you begin work - no one wants to discover that their new sauna doesn't quite fit in the area they have made for it. Look for a sauna that is easy to clean, and big enough that you will be comfortable in it. If your sauna feels like a closet, there's a good chance you won't really use it.


How much do you want to pay for your sauna? There's a wide range, from about $1800 for a two person pre-cut kit up to several thousand dollars for larger saunas or prefab kits. The price of the sauna will depend on several factors. Larger saunas cost more and smaller ones cost less. The more work you do on your own, the more you'll save; and the higher quality the materials, the more you'll pay. Look for good quality sauna heaters and other equipment - they're one of the weak points of a cheap sauna. Imported and rare wood species will usually cost more than more common woods, as well. Some of them may be more durable, however.


Everyone wants to get a long lasting sauna that will provide good service over the years, but finding one may be tricky. Avoid shopping just on price. Instead, compare warranties, and talk to friends and family members who have saunas. They can tell you what's right about their sauna, and what's not so great. If you have a local dealer, ask them for referrals. Information from past customers can help you make a smart decision.

If you decide to buy your sauna online, take a little while to check out the retailer. Is the page well set up and easy to navigate? What kind of promises does the retailer make about their saunas? A cheap looking page with over the top promises should be a red flag. Check out multiple sellers before you make your decision and don't forget to include the cost of shipping in your calculations!

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