Imagine having access to a sauna whenever you want, where boosting your wellness is as simple as walking a few steps into your backyard. That’s the beauty of having an outdoor home sauna. You can gather with close friends for some quality time together or create a wellness practice that includes the entire family. Whatever the reason, a backyard sauna is there whenever you want to use it. However, there are a lot of sauna options out there and some big decisions you need to make before you install and start enjoying your personal backyard oasis.
For this blog, we’ve compiled some helpful tips for choosing the right backyard sauna to fit your needs.
History of the Outdoor Sauna
Saunas today come with all of the modern bells and whistles you could imagine, from temperature control directly on your smartphone to built-in speakers. But these tech-savvy phenomena have ancient roots, with the sauna tradition thought to have originated in northern Europe around 2,000 B.C.
Much simpler than our modern-day saunas, the first saunas were man-made caves draped closed with animal skins, containing a fire burning inside underneath a pile of stones. After the fire was put out and the smoke dissipated, those who took refuge there would pour water over the stones to bask in the heat of the steam. Legend has it that among these wild animal skins, having a kumbaya moment in the steam, is where we found Rory, our sales manager. A true caveman in all his glory!
The more archaeologists dig, the more evidence they find of sauna presence across the ancient world. There has even been evidence found of mysterious ancient circles made from wood and stone along the British Isles and other areas of Europe that archaeologists believe to be the remnants of ancient outdoor saunas.
The Modern Outdoor Home Sauna
Fast forward to the present day, and it’s apparent we’ve come a long way from the era of sauna caves. Today’s outdoor saunas take on a variety of shapes, sizes, and features, with enough choices to make your head spin. How do you know where to start? Let’s break it down.
The first step in choosing an outdoor sauna is knowing what size you want. If you want your whole family to be able to use the sauna, you’ll want to opt for a larger option. If your backyard space is limited in size, you may need to choose something a little smaller to accommodate your space.
Next on the list of to-do’s is determining what shape you want your outdoor sauna to be. Rectangular saunas are the most spacious, but barrel saunas heat up the fastest because of their shape. If you live somewhere snowy, you may want to look into an igloo style sauna, because the roof shape allows for snow to slide off easily. What are your needs and what matters most to you? Start there to begin narrowing down your options.
In our opinion, this is the best part — designing the sauna experience of your dreams! Combining amenities is the most fun in your backyard, because you can combine your sauna with an outdoor shower, with a pool, or even an outdoor kitchen. Maybe you want to go all out and include all three? Get ready to be the host of every family gathering for the rest of time! Also, invite us over because this sounds amazing. Whatever you choose, your outdoor sauna will combine nicely with any and all backyard amenities you’re looking for.
Before excitement gets the better of you and you find yourself in a purchasing frenzy, make sure you know what heat source you’ll be using. Do you want an electric sauna or wood fired? Because those are two very different types of saunas and heat sources.
As a rule of thumb, a home electric sauna typically requires 240 volts and a 30-60 amps dedicated circuit. Your home sauna will need a reliable electrical source to operate properly and accommodate the necessary power, so we recommend talking to an electrician first to see if what you want to do is actually possible.
If you already know a wood-burning sauna is what you want, an electrical source isn’t necessary. All you need is some good old fashioned logs a-burning! But you will have to install a chimney or vent to get the smoke out so you’re not coughing up a storm in your sauna. That’s not relaxing or enjoyable for anyone involved.
We will forewarn that although wood fired saunas may seem tempting because they don’t require an electrician, they are trickier to install and tend to be more expensive. Our suggestion is to just do your research with each option to make sure you’re happy with what you’re getting!
Something else you’ll want to think about is where your sauna should live. The closer your sauna is to your house, the easier it is to access and the cheaper it is to run power to the sauna heater.
When you’re choosing a location, you’ll also want to put your sauna somewhere with good drainage so that water can’t pool around the base of your structure and cause any damage.
Our Top Picks for Outdoor Home Saunas
If you’re ready to start exploring options, here’s a roundup of some of our favorite outdoor home saunas on the market today.
Thermory Barrel Saunas
Thermory Barrel Saunas are quality through and through. As the world’s leader in sauna wood manufacturing, Thermory starts with responsibly sourced premium Spruce and then X-rays each board for internal flaws. Next, all premium materials are heated to over 400 degrees and infused with steam to ensure their durability for outdoor barrel sauna use. Once thermally modified, Northern Europe’s finest Nordic Spruce takes on a distinctive rustic and refined look that compliments any outdoor space.
Wet, cold, or hot climates, Thermory barrels outperform and outlast them all.
Clearlight Infrared Saunas
Featuring a contemporary design and groundbreaking innovation, Clearlight Sanctuary Saunas are top notch when it comes to outdoor infrared saunas. They are the only true Full Spectrum Infrared Saunas available, offering advanced, near, mid and far infrared technologies.
Ready to Install Your Backyard Sauna?
There are so many reasons why having a home sauna rules! If you’re interested in installing a sauna or you have more questions about the process, you can connect with our sales manager, Rory, by filling out this form. He’s our go-to expert for sauna installation and will be happy to help you find what you’re looking for.
Already have a sauna?
Want to show off your own sauna oasis to the world? Send us a picture of your setup! We’d love to see it.