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Article: Ultimate Guide to the Best Home Saunas

Ultimate Guide to the Best Home Saunas

Ultimate Guide to the Best Home Saunas

Written by Chris Lang

Saunas as a concept have been around for thousands of years. From the classic Finnish dry sauna to the Turkish or Russian steam baths, saunas have multiple health benefits, with the main one being improved cardiovascular health.

However, with the hustle and bustle of the modern world, going into a public sauna might be off-putting. Wouldn’t it be much easier to just have a dedicated place at home where you can step in and sweat out your stress?

Home saunas combine the benefits of being in a sauna with the convenience of having one of the best relaxation options nearby whenever you need it.

Now, the only question is, where to put the sauna to reap the personal sauna benefits at home? Read on to learn what saunas you can get and how they influence their ideal placement in your home.

Top 8 Home Sauna

Finnmark FD-1 Full-Spectrum 1-Person Infrared Sauna

This single-person infrared sauna is perhaps the best “infrared starter kit” if you plan to use the sauna alone. With a full infrared spectrum, you get both deep body heating and high ambient temperatures for a more thorough experience. The sauna is made from high-quality Canadian cedar that’s naturally antifungal and antimicrobial. The sauna is big enough to sit comfortably and relax, while being small enough to fit into any room.

Auroom Cala Glass Mini 1-Person Indoor Sauna

This miniature traditional sauna gives you all the benefits of a Finnish steam sauna while allowing you to place it pretty much anywhere you want. Made from high-quality aspen (or thermally treated aspen), the sauna is naturally easy to maintain and looks modern and minimalistic. Just preheat the rocks, step in, and add a small ladle of water to start steaming it up.

Auroom Electa 2-Person Indoor Sauna

If you want to make your sauna sessions a two-person affair, then this Auroom sauna will provide the perfect blend of style, roominess, and luxury. With high-quality European alder wood as the base, the sauna evokes the traditional Finnish sauna feel while giving off a minimalist and modern look.

Finnmark FD-4 Trinity 2-Person Infrared & Steam Sauna Combo

Perhaps you have a hard time choosing between an infrared vs. traditional home sauna. Luckily, this combination sauna from Finnmark is the perfect solution. You can seamlessly switch between traditional steam options or a modern infrared sauna function, all in a luxurious and high-quality cedarwood package.

SereneLife Full-Size Portable Sauna

If you don’t want a permanent sauna room to take up a lot of your space, then a portable sauna is the way to go. The SereneLife portable sauna allows you to take your sauna experience to the living room. You can easily sit inside and take the sauna apart after it’s used and store it away.

Auroom Nativa 4-Person Indoor Sauna

If you want to have a sauna party (for four people, at least), or want to lie down while you sweat, then you’ll need a sauna made for the job, like the Auroom Nativa sauna. This sauna oozes sophistication and luxury through a minimalist design. Let this simple sauna take you away for a journey of relaxation.

Saunalife G11 8-Person Sauna

Do you want to go big while still at home? This eight-person outdoor sauna from Saunalife will bring the authentic Finnish sauna experience to your doorstep (or more precisely backyard). With separate changing and sauna rooms, the sauna’s cabin-like appearance will take you from the hustle and bustle of daily life to relaxation town in no time. It comes with its own front porch, too.

Haljas Hele Glass Mini 3-Person Outdoor Sauna

Do you have a corner between your home and fence that seems to be going unused and want to make the most of it? This miniature glass sauna is an excellent way to create a cozy sauna retreat while getting a full view of the outdoors. The double-glazed mirror glass will ensure you have your privacy while in the outdoors.

Understanding Different Types of Home Saunas

There are a few different types of home saunas depending on how they work, what health benefits they bring, and how much space you have.

Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas are considered the more “modern” version of the traditional dry Finnish sauna. An infrared sauna uses special lamps that emit low-energy infrared light to heat up the body. This light has a large enough wavelength to penetrate the outer skin layers and transfer its energy to cells deeper within the body.

One of the main advantages of the infrared sauna is that the light is designed to target the body specifically. With radiant heat, the process of heating up your body is much slower since your body acclimates to the environment and sweat. Infrared lighting directly heats you up regardless of how warm it is outside. Specifically, infrared lighting transfers its energy to the water molecules inside your cells. Since the body is made from roughly 70% water, meaning the effect can be spread quickly, this type of sauna is thought to have much greater metabolic effects compared to the traditional sauna.

Infrared saunas aren’t as hot as traditional saunas, with temperatures between 110 and 140 Fahrenheit, and don’t have nearly as much humidity. In fact, some infrared saunas can have pretty much no humidity at all. Additionally, infrared saunas by their very nature emit electromagnetic fields (EMF), since they’re electronic devices, which has been potentially linked to a higher risk of cancer.

However, the research is still inconclusive on whether low-energy EMF has any meaningful effect on cancer risk. It should also be noted that the heating element in a traditional sauna also emits EMF, typically at higher levels than a modern home infrared sauna. So, if you were wondering if home infrared saunas are safe the answer is yes. Modern home devices typically emit so little EMF that they’re comparable to many appliances.

These saunas are typically built from one of two types of wood: cedar or hemlock. Cedar (more specifically red cedar) is a highly aromatic wood that’s been linked with multiple health benefits. Particularly, studies have suggested that cedarwood essential oils have an antioxidant and antibacterial effect, and it has also been proposed as a way to reduce pain. For an infrared sauna that uses this material, the cedarwood will be treated to prevent mold and mildew, but the heat and humidity will still allow the wood to release a bit of its beneficial aromas during each session. Hemlock, on the other hand, is a more neutral choice. It’s an inconspicuous pale white or brown wood that doesn’t emit any harsh odors, making it excellent for people who are sensitive to the smell of cedar. It’s also a less “bold” choice compared to the bright reddish hues of cedar, making it look more minimalist.

Traditional and Steam Saunas

A “traditional” sauna uses a heater and water or a steam generator to heat up ambient air while also increasing ambient humidity. Typically, this is done by pouring water over heated rocks. It provides that authentic sauna experience you get when you’re at a spa, sweating your worries away while a gentle mist surrounds you.

The steam in a traditional sauna comes from a higher humidity level, typically between 10 and 20% – with some steam saunas aiming for over 90% humidity. The saunas have relatively high heat, typically between 150 to 200 Fahrenheit, which forces the body to sweat as it adapts to the ambient temperature and humidity. The steam can improve breathing since the high heat and humidity help the lungs remove congestion and work slightly better by creating more mucus that gets expelled by breathing g

Traditional saunas have also been linked with cardiovascular benefits on account of the increased blood circulation. Particularly, saunas have been shown to have a positive influence on long-term heart health, particularly cardiovascular respiratory fitness levels, the body’s ability to distribute oxygen to the muscles during any kind of physical activity.

While commercial saunas typically use a steam generator, home versions will have a small heater that warms up rocks or a stove. When you put a small amount of water on the rocks or stove, it will dissipate into steam, creating the appropriate humidity and increasing the ambient temperature of the sauna. Home saunas will typically use wood as the main construction material, mimicking the traditional Finnish sauna house appearance. There are a few types of wood available, such as aspen, cedar, hemlock, or alder. These can vary in their aromatic properties (as mentioned, hemlock is relatively innocuous while cedar is more fragrant), but also in their color and general appearance.

Portable vs. Built-In Saunas

Komowa KOM-S-30-3P Infrared Sauna Komowa S-30-3P

There are a few different types of portable saunas that homeowners can use to bolster than home relaxation regimes.

The most common, and the one that takes the least space, is the sauna blanket. It looks similar to a sleeping bag, and is essentially a superheated humidified version of a heated blanket. You get into the blanket, plug it into an outlet, turn it on, and let the infrared heat do the rest. Sauna blankets can also look like miniature tents that you squat into, but the underlying principle is the same. These blankets usually maintain relatively low humidity at first. However, they’re built from waterproof materials, so your sweat will gradually amp up the humidity and create a positive humidity loop. They usually come with a timer to ensure you don’t stay too long in the heat.

A similar concept to the blanket is the sauna tent. This is basically a collapsible version of the traditional sauna, with a large canvas subbing in for the wooden room. It’s usually large enough for a person to stay inside completely and comes with deceptively powerful infrared heaters to provide the necessary ambiance.

For something sturdier, there are also towable sauna options. These are basically regular outdoor home saunas that can be attached to a truck and towed around. These are typically traditional steam saunas with rocks and look similar to the regular outdoor home sauna, only made a bit more durable to withstand the road. However, they’re not particularly space efficient, and if you’re only going to use it at home, a regular plug-in outdoor sauna will work largely the same.

Regardless of the particular design, one of the major downsides – or upsides, depending on how you look at it – is that portable saunas are typically made for a single person or two at most. Even then, some of the smaller blanket options don’t provide much wiggle room, so you’ll pretty much have to stay still throughout the 15- to 30-minute session. Additionally, they’re not particularly durable, made from polyester-type material. But blankets and sauna tents can be easily collapsed and put away when they’re not in use.

Portable saunas also have lower heat compared to the “full-size” home sauna options, typically going close to 150 Fahrenheit at maximum. The experience that you get might not be as “sauna-like” as with a regular sauna, either, but it should theoretically provide most of the health benefits. It’s still heating you up and causing you to sweat, so the underlying mechanism is the same.

Choosing the Best Location for Your Home Sauna

Now that you have a better idea of which sauna option should work the best for you, let’s tackle the big question: “Where to put it?”

Indoor Sauna Placement

Indoor saunas typically use a regular 120V or 240V outlet to power the heater or infrared lamps, but the system itself is relatively self-contained. Since the sauna closes relatively almost air-tight, there’s little risk of the moisture escaping outside and posing a problem for the house itself. Therefore, you can put a sauna in pretty much any room in your house.

Still, there are a few ways to make the most of an indoor sauna.

Basement or Attic

Basement or attic spaces are typically underused spaces in the house, but they might be perfect to put an indoor sauna in. Of these two, basements are typically the safer choice.

Basements usually have the waterproofing and ventilation for long-term storage, which can turn into a perfect setup for an indoor sauna. They also often contain electrical outlets. Of course, not everyone’s basement is the same, so if you’ve renovated yours to be more like a living-room with carpets it might not be suitable for a sauna.

Still, the basement allows you to tuck the sauna away from the rest of the house. When you go inside, you’ll feel completely detached from the world, sitting and admiring the heat with no outside noise or interference.

The attic is a convenient place for putting an indoor sauna in since it’s usually a well-ventilated space. Again, this depends on the exact dimensions and construction of the attic. However, attics are also typically less sound- and heat-insulated from the rest of the house, so they might not be the best solution if yours isn’t already decently livable.


The bathroom is one of the few rooms in the house that is purpose-built to withstand high humidity, temperatures, and still provide access to electrical outlets. This makes them nearly perfect to put an indoor sauna in. While the sauna is an enclosed space, you’ll still need to make sure to keep the room ventilated, and the bathroom typically has the installations ready to go for the job.

Additionally, putting the indoor sauna in the bathroom allows you to take advantage of the popular hot-cold plunge cycle. The sauna will heat you up, opening your blood vessels. Then, a cold plunge constricts those vessels right up, effectively giving them a workout like you would with your muscles. A study in Denmark has shown that cold plunges force the body to adapt to these temperature extremes, resulting in a much higher buildup of beneficial brown fat, which has an excellent energy-to-mass ratio (i.e., a small section can store a lot of energy), making it easier to lose visceral fat and convert it to a more beneficial option.


The garage is another excellent option for placing an indoor sauna since it’s usually waterproofed and designed for long-term storage that prevents mold growth. A garage sauna won’t impede with your regular house use since it’s a bit out of the way, and yet it’s more accessible than the one in the attic or basement.

Converting the garage from a car storage area to a workout room will give you plenty of space left over for an indoor sauna and also complete the look of a space dedicated to full mind and body relaxation and improvement.

Other Rooms

As mentioned, with some enclosed sauna options, you can put them in pretty much any space you want, including the living room or the bedroom.

However, bear in mind that not all saunas are made the same, and some don’t come with their own floor. As such, they have to be installed on water-proofed and treated flooring such as ceramic tile, concrete, vinyl, or treated wood that won’t collect humidity or disperse it throughout the room.

A spare room that you don’t use frequently is perhaps among your best options. It should have a window so it can be ventilated, alongside adequate flooring and electrical connection options to operate the sauna safely. You can convert the rest of the room according to your personal needs.

Outdoor Sauna Considerations

Outdoor saunas are an excellent addition to a backyard. Cube or barrel-style saunas made from hardwood slot excellently with traditional wooden patios or end points of a lovely garden. Outdoor saunas also allow you to imitate the traditional Finnish-style sauna, with a wood-burning stove and water to pump up the heat and moisture. It creates a more authentic experience.

There are a few things you need to consider for an outdoor sauna, though.

First, some types of outdoor saunas do need an electrical connection, so it needs to be installed to the section of the property you plan to put it on. This might make the installation price prohibitively high, so check which sauna you’re buying and your garden’s capabilities.

Second, the floor on which the sauna sits on needs to be flat and preferably hard, made from treated wood, paved stone, compacted gravel, or cement. Even if you put a sauna with its own floor outside, putting it on the dirt can cause it to shift. Barrel-style saunas come with additional support options which stabilize the room inside, so they can be put on solid ground with little worry.

Third, consider how private you want the sauna experience to be. Most Komowa home saunas have the door or the entire front section made from clear glass, giving people outside a full look into what’s happening inside. If your outdoors isn’t particularly private to begin with, you may want to maneuver the sauna so it’s closer to the house and hidden from plain sight.

Finally, consider how close the sauna is to the house, or a cold plunge pool that you use. Since you’ll sweat a lot in the sauna, you’ll need to get inside quickly, especially if you plan on using the sauna during the colder months.

Space and Size Requirements

Typically, a portable blanket or tent sauna takes up the least room, usually less than a one-person shower. This is their main appeal and perhaps the best reason for placing them in the bathroom or on the porch if you have the available floor space. So long as you can plug them into an outlet, you should be good to go.

But for regular indoor home saunas, you will need to carefully consider how much available room you have – or plan to allocate – for it.

A typical home sauna is around 80” to 90” high, so you need to ensure that you have that much space for it. This is usually not a problem for regular house floors, but attics and some basements can be a tighter fit.

A one-person sauna takes up around 4 feet by 4 feet of floor space, and the dimensions only start to grow for larger models that fit more people. For example, a two-person sauna might need as much as 6 feet by 4 feet. Saunas for five or six people generally require a dedicated room since they take up more space than a king-sized bed and also need a staging area in front for easy preparation and entry.

Beyond just the available space for the sauna, you need to account for existing furniture or ventilation options. The sauna usually shouldn’t be blocking a window and should be nestled into the corner to minimize heat loss.

Outdoor saunas are typically larger than their indoor counterparts, but the available room is also better to accommodate them. Still, check to see if you have enough room on the patio to create a sitting or changing area in front of the sauna. After all, you’ll need to change before you go in and towel yourself down when you go out.

Installation and Preparation Tips

Once you’ve figured out where to put the sauna, make sure that the place is properly set up to create the best experience while minimizing upkeep.

Preparing Your Home for a Sauna

One of the first things you need to consider for a sauna installation is the available electrical network. Typically, a sauna will require a 120V or 240V connection, the former of which is usually installed in most rooms. However, make sure to check the model you’re considering buying to see if it contains any additional electrical requirements and consult with a professional electrician. Since saunas produce a bit of ambient moisture and heat, the electrical grid around it needs to be properly insulated to reduce the risk of accidents.

The room in which the sauna sits needs to be properly ventilated and insulated to prevent heat loss. While indoor saunas typically have enclosed walls and doors, the material is a bit breathable and transfer the heat and moisture from the inside to the outside. As such, you should make sure that the space can be ventilated easily either through the HVAC system or access to the window.

As far as flooring is concerned, most plug-in saunas come with their own floors, so the only thing you need to do is make sure that you’re placing the sauna on a level surface. However, saunas that don’t have a floor need to use the existing floor. In this case, you’re best off with treated wood, concrete, vinyl, or ceramic tiles, as they provide a stable waterproof surface.

Beyond these, make sure that the place you’re putting the sauna in doesn’t close off access to doors and windows or is close to wooden furniture. The heat and moisture that the sauna lets off might damage furniture that is susceptible to mold.

Overall, the cost of a home infrared sauna will likely be increased by added installation considerations such as vent works and electrical grid securing.

Sauna Assembly and Installation

Each sauna is a bit different, and the same goes for how they are assembled. While manufacturers all do things a bit differently – and you might even get a pre-assembled sauna shipped to your doorstep that you plop in its space and plug in – most home saunas involve a DIY installation.

To make the process simple, the sauna is usually shipped in sections, with detailed instructions on how each section should fit. You’ll need two people to hold and carry the larger and heavier pieces such as the walls and the glass doors, so don’t attempt to install the sauna without a helper.

Here’s a broad overview of how the assembly process goes:

1.      Place the floor of the sauna in the desired position.

2.      Slot the back wall into the floor or connect it according to the specifications, then do the same for the side walls. Larger saunas might have these split in multiple parts so make sure you follow the exact process.

3.      Install the bench and make sure to connect the wiring underneath.

4.      Put the heater or stove if provided.

5.      Place the doors on the front and check if the parts connect without any gaps.

6.      Install the roof of the sauna. You can use pieces of wood to place the roof on top of the sauna while you connect its electricals to the wall panels.

7.      Clean the sauna thoroughly before it’s used and plug it in.

If you notice any gaps in the wall panels, you might need to disassemble the part and repeat the process. Rooms that don’t have appropriate insulation and electrical grids will likely need additional preparation and installation steps that go beyond manufacturer considerations.

On the other hand, portable saunas such as the blanket and tent types are relatively easy to assemble and disassemble for every use. Make sure you place them near the appropriate power plug and use the outlet just for the sauna as it can draw a lot of amperage.

Sauna Features and Customization

Customizing Your Sauna Experience

An indoor sauna by itself is a relatively simple room that you go in to sweat and relax. But it doesn’t have to be plain. You can add entertainment options such as LED screens and Bluetooth speakers to the sauna (or find a model that has these options included) to make the most out of your sauna sessions and tune in to your favorite shows or songs.

You can also use various aromatherapy options to vastly improve the effectiveness of the sauna experience. Himalayan salt walls can be great accents to place in a sauna, since the ambient heat and humidity will slowly erode the salt and create a form of halotherapy that can relieve chronic respiratory issues such as asthma. Another great option is adding essential oil dispensers. With the boost in humidity, the oil will get much more diffused in the air and on your skin. Additionally, since your skin pores open up while sweating, you absorb a lot more of the beneficial oils than normal.

Finally, it’s not just the inside of the sauna that matters. Make sure to prepare the rest of the room according to your relaxation needs. Install towel and clothes racks to make changing before or after sauna convenient, or clear the route between the sauna and your shower to have an easy time showering off your sweat.

Maintenance and Care

Saunas are generally easy to care for and maintain, but here are some tips to ensure you don’t run into any nasty issues like mold or bad odors:

·        Before using the sauna, clean it thoroughly then turn it on the highest setting for at least a session. This will both test the sauna for safety and “cure” the space, allowing the wood walls to expand and close the gaps.

·        Clean the wooden sections of the sauna with mild detergent regularly. You can’t use varnish or dedicated sealants since the wood needs to absorb moisture, but it also can’t stay wet for long.

·        Use a water softener or distilled water for the water you put in a sauna. Minerals that are in the water can accumulate on the walls and will need to be scraped off.

·        Wash your feet before you step inside. It will help minimize the contamination and prevent the sauna from developing bacteria.

·        Put a towel between you and the bench. This way, the sweat will soak the towel instead of the wood, which can absorb the body’s oils and get discolored.

·        Air out the sauna and the room it’s in thoroughly after every session to prevent humidity from lingering.

Making the Most of Your Home Sauna

Health Benefits of Regular Sauna Use

Using a sauna regularly (meaning multiple times per week) has been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health. This is due to the ambient heat causing dilation of the blood vessels, which strengthens them over time and allow your body to carry more oxygen to the muscles when needed. Overall, regular sauna sessions can greatly decrease the risk of heart failure and cardiovascular problems.

Heat therapy has also been associated with pain and soreness relief, which can be a great way to slowly recover from a training accident or just help with aching muscles.

Infrared saunas, in particular, have been noted for its cardiovascular benefits. Since the internal heating effect is greater, the body responds by pumping more blood through the cardiovascular system. The resulting vasodilation approximates a full-body workout but doesn’t increase breathing rates, which can have a beneficial effect on alleviating muscle soreness. This is due to the improved circulation being able to remove lactic acid from the system more quickly.

Saunas can also be extremely calming and help you get into the right state of mind for meditation practice. Since all you have to do is stay still and sweat, you can tune out your environment and focus on your thoughts.

Integrating Sauna Sessions Into Your Lifestyle

While a sauna is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and alleviate pain, using the sauna properly takes some time and practice. First off, you’ll need to spend at least 15 to 30 minutes inside a sauna to get the most health benefits, which means you’ll have to schedule the sauna into your daily life.

You can try to use the sauna early in the day before you go to work. After a quick sauna session and a shower, you’ll feel refreshed for the day ahead. Alternatively, you can use the sauna a few hours before bed. The muscle relaxation properties and high heat will help your body prepare for sleep.

But you can also set up a dedicated time in your day to get into the sauna. Use the sauna after a workout to give your muscles a much-needed rest. Or, you can go into the sauna to empty your mind entirely and “reboot” after a hard day at work.


A home sauna is an excellent investment for your health. With proven long-term health benefits, they combine relaxation and health improvement while also requiring relatively little activity. Plus, you can customize your home sauna to suit your needs perfectly.

Make sure to invest some time into researching what exactly you’re looking for in a sauna and how many people will use it. This will guide you to the best saunas to buy (such as those from Komowa) and how they will fit your home. If you need any help, reach out to Komowa and get the best sauna experience.

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