If you’re considering buying a sauna for your home there are a few things you can get figured out to direct your purchase in the right direction. Most people are interested in getting a traditional sauna style, which essentially consists of a room made of wood and a heater, usually electric, topped with rocks. If you want to create steam in the room you can pour some water on the rocks once they come up to temperature. Go easy though, a little bit of water goes a long way in driving the humidity in the sauna through the roof.
Another thing that you could consider is going with an infrared sauna. They are often quite a bit cheaper than the traditional style saunas, though they do operate a bit differently. You can learn just about everything there is to know about them in MBISR’s helpful home sauna guide. You’ll have to decide if this alternative design is right for you, because if you’re a sauna aficionado you may want something that is a bit more authentic.
For the most hardcore sauna lovers among us, the one arguably supreme option remains. That option is the outdoor barrel sauna. These are about as real of an experience as you can get, and you can have quite a few friends join you if you get a larger one. If you equip it properly they can get quite warm and they can do so quickly. These are definitely not for the faint of heart though, because to use them you’ll most likely have to make a trek outdoors – regardless of whether its spring, summer, fall, or winter.
Let’s just make the assumption for now though that you’re going to choose a fairly straightforward home sauna as we’ve all come to know and expect, as that’s what most people will end up buying just based purely on statistics. If this is the case you’re going to have a few big decisions to make. Try approaching them in the following order as they are prioritized by importance.
First of all, how big is your sauna going to be? Is it just going to be for your personal use? Are you going to spend your time in the sauna with your spouse? Do you want to have friends and family join you too? Generally, at least a two-person sauna is recommended. The exceptions would be if you want something particularly large to accommodate lots of people or if you need something particularly small due to space constraints or something similar.
The other major thing you’re going to want to nail down is the type of wood you go for. Many saunas out there are manufactured from hemlock or cedar, and many people feel that this is superior wood. However, do keep in mind that the odors from these types of wood are quite pungent, and they only get more intense as the sauna heats up. Oftentimes it’s recommended that you go with a type of wood with a neutral odor like pine. You’ll have to pick whatever best suits your preferences.
One last thing to keep in mind is that when you finally get your sauna home you’re probably going to need to work with a professional electrician, as most of the standard saunas require a 220V power supply. The main exception here is with the infrared saunas, which can often just plug into a standard wall outlet. Good luck with your sauna purchase, and I wish you many hours of relaxing and undisturbed sauna time.