As people continue to prioritize health and wellness, outdoor saunas are becoming increasingly popular. Beyond enjoyment and relaxation, saunas (small structures in which users experience dry or wet heat sessions) have been found to provide myriad health benefits, such as improving heart health, reducing stress, fighting illness, burning calories, flushing toxins, and relieving sore muscles.
When shopping for an outdoor sauna, look for a quality product with convenient features and benefits that will also look great in the space. This guide can help you learn about some of the best outdoor saunas on the market as well as key characteristics to consider when shopping.
- BEST OVERALL: Almost Heaven Saunas Salem 2-Person Barrel Sauna
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Xmatch Far Infrared Wooden Outdoor Sauna
- BEST FAR-INFRARED: SDI Factory Direct 4-Person Outdoor Infrared Sauna
- BEST BARREL: Almost Heaven Saunas Audra Cedar Barrel Sauna
- BEST DESIGN: BZB Cabins Outdoor Pod Sauna Igloo Kit 40
- BEST COMPACT: LTCCDSS 1-Person Far-Infrared Outdoor Sauna Room
- BEST FOR GROUPS: Redwood Outdoors 8-Person Thermowood Garden Sauna
- BEST LUXURY: Backcountry Hut System S Preassembled Sauna
How We Chose the Best Outdoor Saunas
When creating this list, we wanted to include a good-quality option for every type of user. We considered the types of saunas at various price points as well as different sizes, styles, and materials. When it comes to size and capacity, it’s important to consider how the sauna will be used, so we included options that are ideal for couples, the whole family, or small groups. The ease of assembly weighed into our decision-making process as well.
We also considered extra features, as shoppers may value certain accessories, such as a stereo system, chromotherapy lights, or a traditional bucket with sauna rocks. Further, we took into account the durability and weather resistance of every option. We wanted to offer a variety of styles to ensure that all users could find a fit to accommodate their space, whether it’s a backyard, deck, or patio.
Our Top Picks
Now it’s time to explore some of the top options. Whether it’s a spacious barrel sauna, compact infrared sauna, or a two-room sauna with a separate dressing area, our top picks include some of the best outdoor saunas to blend seamlessly with many types of backyards.
With so many different models available, choosing an overall best outdoor sauna proved a real challenge. The Almost Heaven Saunas Salem took top spot for several reasons. It comes from one of the top names in the industry with 40 years experience. It is easy to assemble, and ball-and-socket lumber adds stability. The compact size means it will fit into a variety of outdoor spaces.
A high-quality Harvia heater and sauna stones are included, as is stainless steel hardware and weather-resistant plastic support cradles. There’s also an internal LED light. Windows are available at additional cost. This Almost Heaven model provides all the health benefits associated with traditional barrel saunas—and the competitive price ought to be good for the heart rate too!
- Temperature: Maximum 185 degrees Fahrenheit
- Capacity: 2 people
- Extras: Sauna stones, LED light
- Compact enough to fit in most yards yet comfortable enough for 2 people
- High-quality Harvia heater and sauna stones included, as is an LED light
- Ball-and-socket lumber allows simple DIY assembly and stability; all hardware is provided
- Limited capacity makes it unsuitable for those who want to accommodate more people
Get the Almost Heaven Salem outdoor sauna at Wayfair or Walmart.
The luxury of a sauna needn’t be price prohibitive. Nine low-electromagnetic-field (EMF) heating plates warm this affordable model, made with kiln-dried hemlock wood, within 10 to 15 minutes. An LCD panel lets bathers choose an ideal temperature between 68 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. For added benefit, the tempered-glass door keeps heat in while making it possible to enjoy the view outside.
Tongue-and-groove design ensures a quick assembly. A pair of Bluetooth speakers let you play music from a smartphone or tablet to enhance the relaxing experience. Although the interior is spacious enough for two people, this sauna is not ideal for those taller than 6 feet 2 inches.
- Temperature: 68 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
- Capacity: 2 people
- Extras: Reading lamps, chromotherapy
- Snap-together design allows for easy assembly of this very competitively priced model
- 9 heating plates prewarm the sauna in as little as 10 minutes
- Features include 2 LED reading lights, 2 chromotherapy lights, and 2 Bluetooth speakers
- Interior is a bit cramped for larger people, particularly those over 6 feet 2 inches tall
Get the Xmatch outdoor sauna at Amazon or Walmart.
A far-infrared sauna uses light from further down the infrared spectrum, which some studies found may help produce perspiration. This SDI Factory Direct sauna relies on far-infrared ceramic heaters and includes an oxygen ionizer with an ozone generator to keep air fresh. Boasting a shingled roof and waterproof hemlock-wood construction, the sauna has a simple aesthetic that pairs well with many home styles.
The sauna is designed to fit up to four people comfortably. The overall height is more than 7 feet, so even taller individuals can comfortably fit inside. A digital control panel makes it easy to regulate the temperature, but the manufacturer does not indicate the unit’s temperature range in its promotional material. There are four LED reading lights and four chromotherapy lights. You can play music from a smartphone with the auxiliary input, but there is no Bluetooth connection.
- Temperature: Not specified
- Capacity: 4 people
- Extras: Stereo speakers, oxygen ionizer, chromotherapy
- Waterproof hemlock-wood construction with traditional shingle roof uses reliable far-infrared ceramic heaters
- Spacious design can fit in a corner position or be freestanding
- Includes an oxygen ionizer with ozone generator to keep the air fresh
- Panels are fairly heavy; at least 2 people will be needed for assembly
- Though you can play music through auxiliary input, there’s no Bluetooth
Get the SDI Factory Direct outdoor sauna at SDI Factory Direct or Amazon.
This spacious 6-foot-long by 6-foot-wide barrel-style sauna holds up to four bathers comfortably. Thanks to its quality Harvia electric heater, it heats up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit quickly and can also be programmed up to 8 hours in advance. While inside, you can use a sauna ladle to pour water over the rocks and immerse the interior with steam.
Made of solid wood, this handsome sauna includes a covered canopy with additional outside seating and a tempered-glass door with a stainless steel handle. Although sleek and stylish, this sauna must be covered or else rainwater will enter through the wooden roof. There is also no speaker system or smart screen to control the temperature or interior light easily.
- Temperature: Up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit
- Capacity: 4 people
- Extras: Covered porch with 2 exterior benches
- High-quality model with rust-resistant stainless steel fittings; handcrafted in the U.S. and easy to assemble
- Excellent Harvia 4.5-kilowatt heater reaches desired temperature quickly and can be programmed up to 8 hours in advance
- Choice of 4 lumbers, plus several windows, door, and lighting options (some at extra cost)
- Barrel may not be weatherproof if left uncovered in harsh conditions
Get the Almost Heaven Audra outdoor sauna at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Wayfair.
This spacious two-room sauna from BZB Cabins includes a separate changing room with additional benches. This additional area can be used for storage for towels and other essentials, or simply as a post- or pre-sauna hangout. Reminiscent of a classic red barn and complete with two rear windows, this sauna boasts a different aesthetic than most of its competitors. The sauna kit also includes roofing shingles to complete the look while also providing protection from rain and ultraviolet rays.
Accommodating up to eight people, this model can fit the whole family or a group of guests. It is 6 feet 10 inches high, so even taller users can stand comfortably. Shoppers can choose from a Harvia M3 wood-burning heater or a Harvia FLB60 heater. This kit includes everything needed for assembly, although the materials are heavy—putting it together will likely be time-consuming and require at least two people.
- Temperature: Not specified
- Capacity: 8 people
- Extras: Changing room, bucket and ladle, 2 windows
- Attractive igloo design that incorporates both changing room and sauna room
- Includes 2 windows, lockable glass door, and all hardware plus matching water bucket and ladle
- Shoppers can choose from a variety of quality heater options
- The material is unfinished; a protective outer coating is required
Get the BZB Cabins outdoor sauna at Amazon or BZB Cabins and Outdoors.
With a footprint of a fraction under 40 inches square, the LTCCDSS one-person outdoor sauna can fit almost anywhere. It also comes with a budget-friendly price tag, yet it offers many of the features found in far larger, more expensive alternatives.
With only eight prewired panels, assembly couldn’t be easier. It is made from Canadian hemlock for durability, with a waterproof exterior and tempered glass door. The 1,560-watt far-infrared heating panels have an easy-to-use LCD control panel and can take the interior up to 149 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 to 15 minutes. The interior boasts a pair of Bluetooth speakers, an LED reading light, and a chromotherapy lamp.
- Temperature: From 68 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit
- Capacity: 1 person
- Extras: Bluetooth, LED lights, chromotherapy lamp
- With a footprint of just 40 inches square, it’s the most compact model we found
- Easy to put together and made from durable Canadian hemlock with tempered-glass door
- Fast-reacting far-infrared panels in 3 walls provide even heating
- Although we found no complaints, we believe it would benefit from a cover over winter
Get the LTCCDSS outdoor sauna at Amazon.
The Redwood Outdoors Thermowood sauna has been designed to comfortably accommodate up to eight people. Two separate levels of seating plus glazed windows and doors provide a light and airy feel. The main structure is made of sustainably forested lumber that is heat-treated in special kilns to prevent splitting, also ensuring that the interlocking staves create a tight seal.
A stove from Finish experts Harvia is included with sauna stones, and other options are available. There are also a number of upgrades from roof shingles and a towel rack to deluxe shower and cold plunge tub. These allow the Redwood Outdoors sauna to be customized to individual preferences. However, while this sauna is competitively priced as standard, these extras can add a considerable amount to the final cost.
- Temperature: Not specified (depends on heater choice)
- Capacity: 8
- Extras: Sauna rocks, bucket and ladle
- Big enough for family and friends; made from high-quality, sustainably harvested lumber
- 4 different heater options, including Wi-Fi control (though extra cost may be involved)
- A variety of attractive upgrades allow the sauna to be customized to personal preferences
- Although not particularly complicated, assembly of this large model will likely be time-consuming
Get the Redwood Outdoors outdoor sauna at Redwood Outdoors.
For those with a big enough budget, the Backcountry Hut System S is likely to be a very attractive proposition. It arrives fully assembled and just needs a suitable base as well as a connection to an electrical system (details are provided by the manufacturer when ordering).
Build quality is exceptional, with sustainably harvested cedar on the inside that is then insulated with Rockwool in the floor, walls, and roof. This is then wrapped in a foil vapor barrier, and the whole thing is encased in steel to combat the harshest weather conditions. An advanced Tylo Sense Pure 8 heating system is included with a Thermosafe coating to prevent accidental burns. It delivers precise digital control over the sauna environment. A panoramic window provides an expansive view of the exterior while up to six occupants enjoy the ultimate in luxury inside.
- Temperature: Not specified
- Capacity: 6
- Extras: LED lighting
- Comes fully assembled and ready for connection; doesn’t normally require a construction permit
- Compact 10-foot-long by 8-foot-wide footprint with the exterior clad in steel for extreme weather protection
- High-tech Tylo Sense Pure 8 heating system allows for precise control of sauna environment
- Delivery times can be long, and the price makes it difficult to afford for many shoppers
Get the Backcountry Hut outdoor sauna at Backcountry Hut Company.
What to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Sauna
Before making a purchase, consider the size, material, and design of the sauna to find the best fit for an outdoor space. It’s important to find an option with the right amount of seating and the kinds of accessories that make the most impact. Shoppers will want to consider the overall safety of every sauna type. Keep reading to learn more about these key considerations.
Types of Outdoor Saunas
Whether looking for a traditional steam bath or a sauna with dry heat, there are various options to consider. A traditional Finnish sauna is heated by a wood-burning stove with sauna rocks, while a dry sauna typically produces heat with a carbon or ceramic electric heater. Depending on the heat source, different types of outdoor saunas provide you with a different variety of health benefits.
Traditional Finnish Sauna
Although they’ve become popular in all parts of the world, saunas are entwined with Finnish culture. The traditional Finnish sauna is a steam sauna heated by a wood-burning stove, with or without a chimney. A basket of sauna rocks is heated by the stove, and water is tossed on top of the rocks once the rocks have warmed to create steam and humidity throughout the sauna.
With most traditional saunas, you can adjust the temperature to create your ideal atmosphere. The combination of high heat and humidity is known to provide health benefits such as improving skin health, clearing congestion, and reducing joint stiffness. It may also help to lower blood pressure and bolster the immune system, resulting in a general feeling of well-being.
Both steam and dry saunas provide health benefits by heating the body, but they do so in different ways. A steam sauna uses wet heat and high humidity to create a sauna experience, while a dry sauna operates at a much lower temperature and provides much less humidity.
Dry saunas heat the air evenly and penetrate deeper into the skin. The heating element may be powered by an electric or fuel-powered heater. Dry saunas range from 150 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
Infrared saunas use infrared light to penetrate the skin and heat the body directly. They operate at a lower temperature compared to an outdoor traditional sauna and dry sauna, typically between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. You can enjoy a deep sweat without overheating, which results in a safer and more enjoyable sauna experience.
Providing plenty of health benefits, infrared saunas may help with relaxation, improve circulation, relieve sore muscles, lead to better sleep, and more. When shopping for an outdoor infrared sauna, consumers will find near-infrared, far-infrared, and full-spectrum saunas. Most infrared saunas use either carbon or ceramic heaters to evenly disperse heat.
Size and Seating Capacity
Outdoor saunas are available in various shapes and sizes, as they can be intended for a couple, for the entire family, or for entertaining small groups. Two- or three-person saunas look great on a patio or deck, while larger barrel saunas tend to work best in a backyard. Some barrel saunas can accommodate up to eight people, and others even include a separate dressing room and a front porch for additional seating.
Larger saunas typically have benches on both sides, making it easier for you and your guests to hang out and talk while enjoying your backyard sauna experience. It also provides those in smaller groups the option to lie down on the bench while inside the sauna. Whereas both a one-person outdoor sauna and a two-person outdoor sauna tend to have only one bench, they are a great option for those who don’t have a ton of outdoor space.
Materials and Design
Most outdoor saunas are constructed of wood, with the most popular materials being cedar, hemlock, and spruce wood. Thick wood panels offer more insulation so heat stays inside, regardless of the weather outside.
When considering the type of materials, think about the exterior of the sauna for longevity and how it relates to other structures around the yard, such as a pool house or a shed. While some saunas have a wooden door, many have a door made of tempered glass. Some models even have front or rear windows so you can enjoy views of nature while inside your backyard sauna. Some wooden saunas have roofing shingles to protect against damage from rain and ultraviolet rays.
Traditional outdoor saunas use a wood-burning stove, either with or without a chimney. Some have a sauna guard, which is usually a wooden structure that surrounds the heater or stove for safety reasons so that bathers do not accidentally touch the heat source. For a more comfortable sauna experience, some outdoor saunas have vents that circulate fresh air throughout the structure.
When shopping for a sauna, it’s important to consider which accessories will help you enjoy the experience most. Many models allow bathers to set the sauna to the preferred temperature using a thermometer, and some include a timer that can be set hours in advance. There are steam saunas that also include a hygrometer, which measures the amount of water vapor in the air.
Some models include LED lighting inside, making it possible to read while in the sauna. Chromotherapy lights, which are known to provide additional health benefits such as accelerated healing, muscle tension relief, and circulation improvement, may also be included. Additional options include charging outputs and Bluetooth connectivity so you can enjoy music while inside the sauna.
Generally, all outdoor saunas are safe to use regularly, although infrared saunas are considered to be safer in the long term. Infrared saunas operate at a much lower temperature, between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes them the safer option for users who want to sauna bathe for longer periods or for those who want to enjoy their sauna every day.
If installed correctly, outdoor saunas are not considered a fire hazard. Owners will want to follow the instructions closely when installing a sauna. Steam saunas have the potential to grow mold and mildew, which is why it’s important to clean a sauna regularly after each use.
We’ve covered a lot of information about the best outdoor saunas, but you might still have some questions. Keep reading for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about outdoor saunas.
Q. Can I put a sauna in my backyard?
Yes, backyard saunas are becoming increasingly popular. Just make sure that the sauna you choose is built for outdoor use.
Q. Will I have to assemble my outdoor sauna?
Most likely. Some saunas come partially assembled, but most take at least a few hours to put together. Some saunas will also require two people to assemble.
Q. What’s the difference between an indoor and outdoor sauna?
Indoor saunas tend to accommodate two to four people, while outdoor saunas are often larger. Some models are designed to function indoors or outdoors and could be incorporated in an upscale pool house.
Q. What are the health benefits of using a sauna?
Sauna bathing has been known to increase circulation, improve cardiovascular health, reduce pain, boost immunity, improve sleep, and reduce stress. For a full range of health and relaxation benefits, you might also consider pairing your sauna with a hot tub.
Q. How do I clean and sanitize my sauna?
Outdoor saunas can be wiped clean using mild soap and water. Sauna floors can be mopped with a mild detergent.
Q. How much does an outdoor sauna cost?
Depending on the type of sauna and its quality, outdoor saunas can cost anywhere from $2,000 to more than $10,000.
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