The Best Traditional Saunas of 2020

best traditional sauna

Table of Contents

We often hear about infrared saunas and their growing popularity, but there is something to be said for having a luxurious, relaxing and detoxifying traditional sauna at your home as well. Below we’ll cover the best traditional saunas of 2020 and a brief history of the sauna, such as the history of the Finnish sauna. We’ll also provide you with information such as what the differences are between an infrared and traditional sauna, and what you can expect if you’re looking for a traditional sauna for sale.

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  • Spacious one-person sauna
  • Includes a dial-controlled Finnish-style water-and-rocks steam heater
  • Sauna typically reaches around 150 degrees in 30 minutes, and up to 195 degrees in less than an hour
  • Sauna kit is made from cedar lumber
  • Includes a red cedar accessory kit with backrest, leg lift, hook, shelf and magazine holder
  • For indoor usage
  • Tongue-and-groove lumber construction
  • 220-volt hard-wire electric heater connection


  • Exterior dimensions: 53 in. L x 36 in. W x 78 in. H
  • Interior dimensions: 49 in. L x 31 in. W x 77 in. H
  • Bench dimensions: 31 in. L x 16 in. W x 22 in. H
  • Door size: 64 in. H x 24 in. W (made with tempered glass)
  • Window size: 64 in. H x 17 in. W

The Basics: In our opinion, Almost Heaven is one of the best brands if you want a traditional sauna experience. We love this sauna because it’s one of the few truly compact traditional saunas that give you the Finnish sauna experience but have a minimal footprint in your home.

With its cedar construction, this sauna is beautiful and you have the option to enjoy wet or dry heat. It heats up relatively quickly and the included accessory package is great.

What Do the Reviews Say: According to review for this Almost Heaven traditional sauna, it’s fairly easy to put together and it looks great.

People who have purchased it say that they have even been able to fit two people in the spacious design and that the cedar looks beautiful. Reviews also say this Almost Heaven sauna is almost maintenance-free and they feel like they’ve invested in their long-term health.

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  • 4-person capacity
  • Electric barrel sauna
  • Traditional steam style sauna
  • Barrel helps ensure maximum circulation of heat
  • Solid cedar door with tempered glass window
  • Dial-controlled stainless steel heater
  • 40 pounds of sauna stones
  • Heats to as high as 195 degrees Fahrenheit in less than an hour
  • Two opposite-facing benches
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors


  • Interior depth 64 inches, Interior Height 71 inches, Interior Width, 71 inches
  • Product dept 72 inches, Product Height 77 inches, Product Width 72 inches

The Basics: The Almost Heaven Saunas Pinnacle 4-Person Barrel Sauna is great in so many ways. First, it can be used indoors or outdoors, and if you use it outdoors, you’ll enjoy the beauty of nature through the expansive tempered glass door.

The barrel design is aesthetically pleasing but at the same time functional, because it helps ensure heat circulates in the most efficient and effective way possible. Since a barrel sauna has curved walls, the heat doesn’t gather and linger at the top of the sauna.

Instead, it circulates back down along the curvature of the walls, and that means you get even, constant heat. The high-quality design of the Almost Heaven Pinnacle sauna includes a ball-and-socket profile, rustic cedar, and stainless steel bands.

This barrel sauna from Almost Heaven is mounted on support cradles so that it doesn’t have any contact with moisture on the ground.

This best traditional home sauna includes an LED light bar for a gentle glow and a 6.0kW stainless steel heater. Also included with the Pinnacle traditional home sauna is 40 pounds of sauna stones, and a five-piece cedar accessory kit including a backrest, robe hook, leg lift, drink shelf and magazine rack.

What Do the Reviews Say: People with the Pinnacle barrel sauna from Almost Heaven say it’s a great investment, and they’ve enjoyed wonderful customer service from the company, as well.

Reviews of people with this sauna say they would and have strongly recommended it to friends and family, but do note that you will likely need to have an electrician come and hard-wire the heater.

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  • Manufactured in West Virginia
  • This traditional sauna kit comes with pre-assembled wall and roof sections for fast, easy assembly
  • Free-standing design that uses your floor as the sauna’s floor
  • Interior includes both an upper and lower bench
  • 5kw heater reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit in around 30 minutes
  • Takes less than an hour to reach temperatures of 185 degrees
  • 8-hour delay timer
  • Interior LED light


  • Interior Depth 60 inches, Interior Height 77 inches, Interior Width 48 inches
  • Product Depth 65 inches, Product Height 78 inches, Product Width 53 inches

The Basics: This traditional sauna has a lot of the benefits of an infrared sauna—for example, the overall design and spacious interior paired with a small footprint are benefits of this beautiful sauna.

Another thing this traditional sauna has in common with an infrared sauna is the fact that it’s easy to assemble. You could relatively quickly assemble this sauna with just two people.

This Almost Heaven sauna has enough comfortable space for three people, and it’s made of rustic cedar. The heater is stainless steel and dial-controlled and there are sauna stones provided with the unit. Features stainless steel hinges and fasteners and it’s made of tongue-and-groove softwood.

What Do the Reviews Say: According to the reviews of the Almost Heaven Madison electric sauna, the installation instructions for this home sauna kit were easy to follow, and the sauna, according to users works fabulously.

Reviewers say the appreciate this sauna kit is made in the U.S., and it reaches the desired temperatures pretty quickly.

Another reviewer said the heating unit looks great in the sauna, and the lighting is beautiful and ambient. Reviewers describe the quality as amazing, and if you are looking for a traditional sauna, people with this unit say you won’t be disappointed.

Yet another reviewer said this Almost Heaven home sauna kit exceeds their expectations and gives them the sauna experience they enjoy at the YMCA or a spa, and there is plenty of room for three adults.

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  • 110-volt LED light creates a soft glow in the sauna
  • Free-standing unit
  • Covered by a lifetime warranty for the sauna kit itself and the heater is backed by a 5-year warranty
  • Includes 40 lbs. of stones for a wet or dry sauna functionality
  • Crafted in the U.S.
  • Includes easy construction with pre-assembled wall and roof sections
  • Side floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Two full-length horizontal benches for multi-level seating


  • Exterior dimensions: 71 in. L x 71 in. W x 78 in. H
  • Interior dimensions: 66 in. L x 66 in. W x 77 in. H

The Basics: With its side glass windows and front door, the Almost Heaven Grayson 4-Person Electric Sauna is as beautiful as it is functional.

You can have a wet or dry sauna experience with this luxury cedar electric traditional sauna, and as is the case with other Almost Heaven saunas, the Grayson is designed and made in America. It comes with pre-assembled wall and roof sections so it’s easy to put together.

This free-standing traditional sauna uses your existing floor as the floor of the sauna, and it’s covered by a lifetime warranty. The heater itself has a 5-year warranty.

The heater is a dial-controlled 6.-kW KIP electric heater and the sauna comes with 40 lbs. of sauna stones. There’s an interior LED light and two full-panel windows.

This traditional sauna from Almost Heaven includes two full-length horizontal benches and multi-level seating as well as an accessory kit for the utmost in comfort.

What Do the Reviews Say: The reviews are glowing for the Almost Heaven Grayson Sauna. Reviews say the benches are comfortable and especially with the addition of the included foot- and headrest.

The light creates an ambiance that reviewers say they love, and they say the “therapeutic benefits are amazing.”

Reviews for the Almost Heaven Grayson Sauna point out that it’s spacious and easily seats four, it’s easy to assemble and that the Almost Heaven customer service team is great to work with.

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  • Beautiful cabin-style design at a reasonable price point
  • Outdoor sauna that can also be used indoors
  • Features a wooden door handle and tempered glass door
  • Electric heater with rocks, bucket and scoop for wet or dry bathing
  • Includes a front stone finish and outside lantern
  • 5kW ETL-approved heater
  • One bench level
  • Touch screen panel
  • Made from Canadian hemlock wood
  • Seats four people


  • Interior depth 43 inches, Interior height 83 inches, interior width 69 inches
  • Product depth 47 inches, Product height 85 inches, Product width 71 inches

The Basics: In our opinion, this traditional sauna from Aleko is the most beautiful on our ranking of the best traditional home saunas. It looks like a chic outdoor cabin, and the indoor space is maximized for the most healing and therapeutic benefits.

The sauna minimized interior cubic feet to ensure efficiency in the heating of the room. It includes rocks and a bucket and scoop for temperature and humidity control.

For what you get with this product, it’s also an impressively affordable price.

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  • Two-person design with wet or dry capabilities
  • Indoor sauna
  • Includes thermometer and hydrometer
  • Touch-screen control panel
  • Comes with 44 lbs. of sauna stones
  • Assembly can be completed in just a few hours—comes partially pre-assembled
  • Made from durable and beautiful Canadian red cedar


  • Interior depth 41 inches, Interior height 72 inches, Interior width 49 inches
  • Product depth 43 inches, Product height 75 inches, Product width 51 inches

The Basics: Aleko makes beautiful traditional saunas, and this two-person Canadian cedar sauna is no exception. We love the spacious interior and the fact that it comes with a bucket and ladles to turn your dry sauna into a traditional Finnish wet sauna.

We also like that this sauna kit is pre-assembled so you can have yours up and running quickly, although you may need an electrician for the 220V-240V hardwired heater unit. This traditional sauna includes one large bench and built-in vent holes.

The entrance features wooden door handles and a tempered glass door for an interior environment that’s soothing, and an exterior aesthetic that looks great in your home.

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  • Barrel design for heating retention and efficiency
  • Seating and space for 4 people
  • Two opposite facing benches on the decorative porch and two full-length interior benches
  • Made in the U.S.
  • Sits on weather-resistant support cradles
  • Made from insulating rustic cedar
  • Interior LED lightbar for a soft glow
  • Dial controlled 30 Amp 4.5kW heater
  • Includes 40 lbs. of sauna stones
  • Heats as hot as 195 degrees in less than an hour
  • Stainless steel hinges, fasteners, band and heater
  • Includes a cedar accessory kit


  • Interior depth 51 inches, Interior height 71 inches, Interior width 71 inches
  • Product depth 72 inches, Product height 77 inches, Product width 72 inches

The Basics: Almost Heaven is the leading manufacturer of traditional saunas and offers some of the best traditional saunas for sale, including the Audra. The Audra is a barrel design, which looks great but also has a function. With a barrel sauna, the heat doesn’t collect at the top but is instead evenly distributed throughout the interior while you’re using it.

This Almost Heaven electric sauna heats quickly and efficiency, and has large, full-length benches on the interior.

The Audra is made of rustic cedar, and it comes with a dial-controlled heater and 40 pounds of stones.

This traditional sauna is designed for longevity with hand-crafted wall sections and stainless steel fasteners. The sauna can be used indoors or outdoors and includes a 5-piece cedar accessory kit.

What Do the Reviews Say: The reviews for the Audra describe this as a fantastic product. One person says it heats up quickly and you could theoretically use it after just 20 minutes of heating time. It’s described as being easy to construct with simple instructions, and one reviewer estimates it can be fully built-in around four hours.

What is a Traditional Sauna?

A traditional sauna is one that dates back thousands of years to Finnish culture. In the most traditional sense, a sauna is a small building or room where people go to have a dry or wet heat session. When you’re in a traditional sauna, you begin to sweat as a result of the heat.

Infrared saunas have become increasingly popular, but some people prefer the idea of a traditional sauna, which doesn’t use infrared heating.

The oldest saunas in Finland were made from pits dug directly into the ground. There was a fireplace, and stones were then heated to a high temperature. Once the stones were heated, water was put on them to increase the heat and temperature in the space.

The temperature would then get so high that most people would remove clothing.

Along with the Finnish history of the traditional sauna, sauna has a long history in other cultures as well, such as in Korea.

In many Northern European countries even to this day, there are built-in saunas in nearly all homes.

For most people sitting in a space with a temperature of upwards of 212 degrees Fahrenheit wouldn’t be bearable, and that’s often the temperature traditional saunas in Finland reach, so humidity is added into the equation to help make this more tolerable. The steam that’s poured on hot stones allows the temperatures of the air to be more tolerable.

To control your heat exposure in a traditional sauna, there are often varying bench levels so you can change your seating as you choose to get more or less heat.

It’s fairly common to see more traditional saunas and steam rooms in gyms and spas in North America and throughout the world.

Wet vs. Dry Sauna

One of the biggest distinctions to keep in mind when you’re looking for a traditional sauna for sale is that there are still two main options. There are wet and dry saunas. In general, a sauna is a room that’s made from softwood and uses either an electric or wood-burning heater.

If you are in that kind of heat and the environment is dry with little-to-no humidity, it’s a dry sauna.

There are also sauna stones that are frequently part of a traditional sauna, however.

These sauna stones are placed on or in the heating component of the traditional sauna, and when they’re hot, you put water on them to generate humidity. So, the only difference between a wet and dry sauna is the humidity.

What Are Sauna Rocks?

If you decide that a Finnish sauna or traditional sauna kit is right for you, rocks will play a big role in how you enjoy your sauna.

Saunas heat the rocks, and even once you turn the heater off in your sauna, the hot rocks can keep the room heated so this saves energy while still maintaining your desired temperature.

There is some debate as to which hot rocks are best for your traditional steam sauna. For example, some feel volcanic rocks are good because they can absorb and store heat optimally.

Non-porous rocks, on the other hand, absorb the water they’re exposed to, which could cause them to explode when the heat is high in your sauna.

Electric vs. Wood-Burning Traditional Saunas

Along with the decision of having a wet or dry sauna, when it’s buying time, you’re deciding between an electric or wood-burning sauna, if you’re going the traditional route.

An electric sauna has some serious benefits over one that’s heated with a wood-burning mechanism.

The max temperature, according to the United States UL code, can’t exceed 194 degrees Fahrenheit, and many of the best traditional saunas with electric heaters will reach that temperature in a matter of minutes.

Electric heaters are very convenient, but you do have to consider the impact they can have on your electric bill.

The true meaning of a traditional sauna is one that’s wood-burning, and it doesn’t get much more authentic, but there are some downsides.

A wood-burning stove isn’t as expensive as a traditional electric sauna, but you do need to install a vent or chimney and it’s much more challenging to control the temperature.  It takes longer to heat up the sauna room, and it can be tough to get the wood you need to use your sauna, so you may find you don’t use it as often as you would if you had an electric heater.

Infrared vs. Traditional Sauna: How Do They Compare?

Infrared saunas are very popular right now, and if that’s what you’re shopping for, we have a complete guide on our picks for the best infrared saunas of 2020. However, an infrared sauna is distinct from a traditional sauna or a Finnish sauna.

When it comes to the comparison of an infrared vs. traditional sauna, the following are things to know.

  • With a traditional steam sauna or hot rock sauna, the environment of the sauna itself is fully heated by a heater and you can just enjoy the heat itself, or add water to rocks to create a wet sauna experience. An infrared sauna is always dry, and the person in the sauna, sometimes called a bather, is heated directly from the infrared heat source.
  • The air temperature in the room of an infrared sauna is only by default of the infrared emitters.
  • With an infrared sauna, you turn on the sauna to the temperature you want and then the heaters themselves get up to that temperature, at which point you get in. It usually takes an infrared sauna around 15 to 20 minutes to heat up, if you’re going to bathe at a temperature of anywhere from 115-135 degrees. With a traditional sauna, it will usually take around 45 minutes to an hour to pre-heat the room’s interior. You would usually wait until there’s an interior temperature of anywhere from 150 to 195 degrees before getting in. When you’re in an infrared sauna you can stay for around 20 to 30 minutes, and you’ll have a deep sweat at this point.
  • While it’s up to you, with a traditional sauna you will often use the room for anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, come out, cool off for a few minutes and perhaps get back in if you’d like.
  • If you want to change the temperature of an infrared sauna when you’re in it, you simply lower the temperature of the heating panels. If you want to change the temperature of a traditional sauna, you would put water on the rocks to create steam.
  • Typically, a traditional sauna requires special writing done by a professional electrician for the heater, although not always. This may be a 220-volt line. With an infrared sauna, most use a 120-volt line so you could simply plug it into your normal outlets in your home without needing an electrician or any special wiring.
  • If you’re buying an infrared sauna, one of the biggest factors that should influence your buying decision is how many heat panels there are and how much heat they’ll provide all over your body.
  • Of all the differences between a traditional sauna and an infrared sauna, perhaps one of the most relevant is how they heat you versus heating the air around you. An infrared sauna directly heats your body, while a traditional sauna heats you by heating the air around you. While the deep penetration of an infrared sauna is a benefit over a traditional sauna, at the same time, a traditional sauna may have more respiratory system benefits.

The Benefits of a Traditional Sauna

There are so many benefits of regular sauna use, whether you have a traditional sauna or you prefer an infrared sauna.

Sauna for Heart Health

Saunas have been used for thousands of years, and in Finland, one in three still use them.

When you sit in a sauna, first your heart rate increases and your blood vessels widen. This can boost your circulation, similarly to low-to-modern exercise. Your heart rate could go up to anywhere from 100 to 150 beats a minute while you’re in the sauna, which can in and of itself bring health benefits such as improved cardiovascular health.

For example, there was a study in Finland that followed 2,315 men between the ages of 42 and 60. They were studied for 20 years, and researchers found people who used a sauna regularly likely had a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Participants in the study were separated into groups based on how often they used a sauna. There was a group of people who used it once a week, a group that used a sauna two-to-three times a week, and a group that used it four-to-seven times a week.

Researchers adjusted for heat-related risk factors, and even with that adjustment, increased sauna use was linked to a lower risk of deadly cardiovascular diseases.

  • Participants who used the sauna two-to-three times a week were 22% less likely to experience sudden cardiac death than the group who used a sauna once a week
  • The research participants who used the sauna four to seven times a week were 63% less likely to experience a sudden heart-related death and 50% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to participants who only used the sauna once a week
  • According to Mayo Clinic, there is evidence that sauna bathing may be linked to a lower risk of vascular diseases including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and neurocognitive disease.
  • Researchers believe a regular combination of exercise and sauna baths may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, sudden cardiac death, and heart-related complications even further.

Neurocognitive Disease

Also according to the Mayo Clinic, regular sauna use may help reduce the risk of neurocognitive disease.

Researchers say that the development of neurocognitive diseases is related to many different factors including inflammation oxidative stress and impaired cardiovascular function.

Emerging evidence, researchers say, points to the fact that sauna exposure could have protective effects on neurocognitive disease.

In the same study of thousands of Finnish men cited above, men who had 4 to 7 sauna sessions a week compared to those who only had one had a 66% lower risk of dementia and a 65% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers are unclear if sauna benefits on brain health stem from the mediation of the pathways that give rise to the diseases, or because it’s something enjoyable that could benefit the brain in that way.

Other Sauna Benefits Cited by Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic, when doing their review of the evidence of the health benefits of sauna bathing, named the following:

  • Sauna use is associated with reductions in pain and symptoms of conditions that are considered musculoskeletal disorders like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
  • If you deal with headache disorders, regular sauna use may help. For example, in one study, 37 people with chronic tension-type headaches were randomized to either regular sauna use or advice and education for a period of 8 weeks. The sauna group saw a significant reduction in headache intensity.
  • One Japanese study showed thermal therapy had the potential to improve symptoms in people with mild depression.
  • There’s evidence sauna use can help with skin conditions such as psoriasis because it helps remove what is called hyperkeratotic scales. Studies have also shown sauna bathing can help keep the function of the skin’s epidermal barrier functioning properly.
  • In one longitudinal study, regular sauna use was linked to overall improvements in quality of life. For example, regular sauna users tended to have better physical function, general health, vitality, and social functioning.
  • People with asthma may find benefits when they use a sauna regularly because it can help open up their airways, loosen phlegm and also reduce stress which can exacerbate asthma symptoms.

Cancer and Hyperthermia Treatment

While hyperthermia treatment is NOT the same as using a sauna, the use of heat as a treatment for cancer is something currently being explored in clinical trials and is worth mentioning if it’s a topic you’re interested in.

According to the American Cancer Society, hyperthermia means that your body temperature is raised to a level that’s higher than normal.

Sometimes our body temperature can rise with certain illnesses, and that’s why for example, we might get a fever when we’re sick.

Hyperthermia can also mean a medical treatment with the controlled use of heat.

The American Cancer Society says that when your cells are exposed to a temperature that’s higher than normal, there are changes in those cells. That can then make the cells more susceptible to certain types of cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Very high temperatures altogether kill cancer cells, which is known as thermal ablation, but exposure to those high temperatures can also damage or kill normal cells. That’s why the American Cancer Society says hyperthermia has to be administered by doctors who are skilled in the applications of this treatment.

There are three forms of medical hyperthermia—local, regional and whole-body.

With whole-body hyperthermia, a person’s body temperature is raised with thermal chambers, warm-water immersion or heating blankets. The temperature is raised as if a person has a fever, and some studies show that this can help immune cells become more active for a few hours.

When the immune cells become more active, then it can raise levels of cell-killing compounds in the blood.

Some researchers will take temperatures to around 107 degrees Fahrenheit for brief periods of time for these effects.

There are also studies currently being done that look at the relationship between chemotherapy and hyperthermia as a way to boost someone’s immune system to help it combat cancer.

The American Cancer Society describes hyperthermia as a promising treatment for cancer, but currently, it’s experimental. There are clinical trials of hyperthermia being done to understand more about it, and current studies are looking at the effects of raising body temperature to combat certain specific types of cancer including breast, bladder, melanoma, lung, thyroid, pancreatic cancer and others.

The National Cancer Institute also discusses hyperthermia, which is also referred to as thermal therapy. According to the National Cancer Institute, high temperatures can damage and kill cancer cells, with minimal impact on healthy tissue and cells. Some studies have shown that the use of hyperthermia can lead to a reduction in tumor size if combined with other treatments.

There was a clinical study that was published in the Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy in 2009 and scientists looked at the effects of far infrared on human cancer cells both in mice and in vitro. In just 30 days, far infrared therapy reduces tumor volumes by 86%.

A Guide to Choosing the Best Traditional Sauna

If you’ve made the decision that having a traditional sauna at your home is right for you, then it’s exciting. You can enjoy the many mental and physical health benefits, in the convenience of your own home.

To make the right buying decision and choose the best traditional sauna for your needs, consider the following factors.

Indoor or Outdoor Sauna

While infrared saunas are typically only for indoor use such as in a bathroom or basement, a traditional sauna might be designed for indoor or outdoor use, or perhaps both.

You’ll have to decide if you want an indoor or outdoor electric sauna and if you’re going to get an outdoor option, such as a barrel sauna, it will need to be lifted off the ground or have some form of moisture protection along the bottom.

If you have limited space, you’ll have the consider the dimensions of the sauna you’re considering.

Do You Want a Barrel-Shaped Sauna?

There are barrel saunas available, and there are other styles that look more similar to cabins. These might be called a classic traditional sauna.

A barrel sauna features a design that is great for efficiency in how quickly it heats, and how well the heat is circulated and retained.

Barrel saunas also tend to work well outdoors because they shed water, and they have a strong high-quality structural integrity that keeps them in great shape even when they’re exposed to the elements.

On the other hand, many cabin saunas are intended for indoor use.

What Type of Heater?

If you’re going to get a traditional sauna, there are two main types of heaters to choose from. There is an electric heater, which is more common, or a wood-burning heater.

An electric heater can work in an indoor or outdoor sauna, and they are convenient. You simply turn on a switch or knob when you’re ready to heat your sauna.

A sauna with an electric heater will usually require 220 volts, and 30 to 40 power amps, and you may need to have a licensed electrician connect your new sauna. The electrician will need to hardwire the heater to the source of electricity.

On the other hand, if you wanted a traditional sauna with a wood-burning heater, you could only use it outdoors and you would also need a larger sauna because wood-burning heaters provide more heat at a more intense level.

What Are the Parts of a Traditional Sauna Kit?

There are typically some common parts that will come in a sauna kit.

Many saunas, particularly barrel saunas, feature what’s called a canopy porch. A canopy porch is a place you can step out of your barrel sauna and cool off, or you can keep your things there while you’re in the sauna.

You may need a roof kit if you live somewhere that the weather is very harsh and you’re going to put your sauna outdoors.

Many indoor saunas use your existing flooring, so you need to make sure you have a nice even surface where it can go. You might want to get an additional indoor floor kit for your sauna,, if you want it to look like the cedar that makes up the rest of your sauna kit.

With barrel saunas, due to the shape of the sauna itself, the interior floor is also rounded. You can get a floor kit for a barrel sauna if you want it to be flat.

Type of Wood

Saunas come constructed of different types of wood, which include the following:


Cedar is one of the most popular materials for traditional saunas to be made of.

The reason people tend to love cedar saunas is that they smell great, and they’re naturally beautiful. Cedar saunas are also decay-resistant. Cedar has a nice reddish-brown color and it repels stains, mildew and insects naturally.

There are two general types of cedar you might find when you’re shopping for a traditional sauna. One type is clear cedar, with no knots, creating a more modern look.

There is also rustic cedar, which, as the name implies looks more rustic because of the presence of knots.

Nordic Spruce

Nordic spruce is used to make saunas because it’s durable and stain-resistant. Traditional saunas made from Nordic spruce are also hypoallergenic, and these types of saunas tend to be cheaper than cedar models.

Hemlock Fir

Most infrared saunas and some traditional saunas are made from hemlock fir wood. It’s an affordable option and hemlock actually gets more durable with age.

A hemlock sauna will be resistant to mildew, but for an outdoor sauna, cedar is the best choice particularly if you live somewhere with a severe climate.

Other Features

Some other features you might look for when choosing the best traditional sauna include:

  • Buckets and ladles: Wooden buckets and ladles often come with traditional saunas, and they’re an authentic way to get water to your rocks in order to make steam.
  • Timers and thermometers: You should look for a sauna that comes with an automated timer, as well as a thermometer and hygrometer so that you can operate your sauna at the perfect temperature and humidity levels.
  • Accessories for comfort: There are so many ways you can customize your traditional sauna experience and make it uniquely your own. For example, you might want a sauna kit that comes with backrests and shelves for your water. Robe hooks and magazine shelves also come with some sauna kits.
  • Entertainment features: If you want to relax in your sauna and listen to music, or perhaps a guided meditation, choose a sauna kit that has something like Bluetooth speakers.

Are There Any Risks of Using a Traditional Sauna at Home?

What’s great about the use of a sauna, for any reason, is the fact that it’s considered relatively safe and it has a low risk profile.

The following are a few potential risks to keep in mind:

  • Always speak with your doctor before you use a traditional sauna, particularly if you have any pre-existing health condition.
  • If you have low blood pressure, speak with your doctor before you use a sauna because it can cause your blood pressure to drop.
  • If you lose too much fluid when you’re sweating in a sauna, you could become dehydrated. Combat this by having water or a sports drink before you get into the sauna, and while you’re in it as well.
  • Avoid alcohol when you’re using a sauna.

How to Use a Traditional Sauna

If you’re new to using a traditional sauna, the following are some things to know to make the most of your bathing experience:

  • Start your heater. You should give your best traditional sauna at least 30 minutes to heat up. If you want it to heat up to around 190 degrees, you’ll need to give it around 45 minutes in most cases. If you’re new to sauna, starting at a lower temperature of around 150 degrees may be best for you, and then you can gradually work your way up.
  • Being in the sauna is best if you’re naked, and you should take off all jewelry and accessories too. Take a shower before you get into the sauna so that you don’t have makeup or hair products sweating into your eyes.
  • Once you get your traditional sauna to the desired temperature, start with a dry round. You can do a dry round for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, and a dry round means you don’t put any water on your sauna stones.
  • Once you’ve done your dry round, you can get outside and bring your core body temperature down a bit, and throughout this process make sure you drinking water.
  • Get back into your sauna for a wet round, using your sauna rocks. To do this, take just a full dipper of water and sprinkle it on your sauna stones. They’ll then create a burse of steam, and while the humidity is dissipating you can sit back and relax again. The ability to have a wet sauna session is why some people prefer traditional saunas over infrared saunas. A wet sauna session can help your lungs and is good for your skin.
  • After a few minutes of wet sauna time, step outside again.
  • Then, repeat the process again, as many times as you want within your own comfort level.
  • During your final cool down, you might want to take a cool shower.

Summing Up—The Best Traditional Sauna for Your Home

We hope you’ve found this guide to the best traditional saunas useful. Enjoying a traditional sauna can benefit your life and your health in many ways and it’s something with a long history the world over. If you aren’t sure whether or not a traditional sauna is right for you, check out some of our other guides, like our guide to the best infrared saunas for home use.