If you’re obsessed with your and your family’s health – or you simply love to sweat it out in a sauna – getting an outdoor sauna is an absolute must have!
There are quite a few saunas to choose from, so check out our guide to help you choose right.
How to Buy a Great Outdoor Sauna
The most common heating methods for outdoor saunas are infrared sauna heater, electric sauna heater and sometimes even wood fire rocks heater. They all have their own pros and cons, which you can read about further down in the article. Do you prefer the blasting heat of wood fire rocks heater and electric sauna heater or the even but penetrating warmth of infrared heat.
When choosing a great outdoor sauna it’s highly recommended that the sauna is made of softwood. Other materials may cause bad smell. Also, a sauna made of other materials may not last long and could be swelled.
It’s imperative that outdoor saunas are made of weather-proof materials and can withstand the test of rains and snow. After all, you’re shopping for an outdoor sauna, not an indoor one.
Do consider to have ventilation in your outdoor sauna, as this may make a difference to the air quality when taking sauna.
First and foremost, your outdoor sauna must be comfortable for you and your family, so it’s vital to check its size. For example, if you’re a tall individual, choosing a larger outdoor sauna would be a better choice, as it may be very frustrating if you can’t lay down on the sauna bench full-length.
I really like barrel saunas for outdoor saunas, as they reduce the unnecessary cubic capacity. And that’s vital when you’re trying to heat up your sauna fast, as more capacity equals more time to heat it up.
Barrel shape saunas also improve the inside air circulation. As you may know from physics classes, the diffusion of gases forces the hot air to go upwards, and the cold air downwards.
In parallelogram-shaped saunas, the hot and cold air could be so contrast that your legs can be cool, while your head would be overheated.
Barrel-shaped saunas reduce this contrast to the very minimum, making your sauna session as comfortable as it gets.
When it comes to outdoor infrared saunas, the shape is of less importance since the heat will radiate from the heaters into your body and the air is not heated.
Roof shingles. Make sure your outdoor sauna is built in such a way that it is rain- and snow-resistant. A good way to do this is a roof covered with shingles.
Thermometer. Your outdoor sauna should be equipped with a thermometer. Taking sauna without watching the thermometer could not just be uncomfortable, but also dangerous.
Light. If your sauna would be pre-equipped with light, it would make your sauna-session so much more enjoyable.
Reviews of the 8 Best Outdoor Saunas in 2020
1. Best Barrel Sauna – Almost Heaven Barrel Sauna 6’
The name says it all. This heaven-like outdoor sauna will not only provide you with a relaxing sauna session, but could also serve as a cool way to make your backyard look badass.
It’s stylish and is made of high-quality materials. Not to mention that the price is very fair for a barrel-shaped sauna like this.
- Heating method: 5kw electrical stone heater. Required 220v and 39 Amp hard-wire connection.
- Materials: the sauna is mounted on molded polymer cradles, and that is why it could be placed right on the ground. The sauna barrel itself and its indoor finish is made of softwood Canadian western Red Cedar. As an option, it can also be made of rustic/clear western red cedar or Nordic spruce. Also, it goes with tempered glass door with self-closing hinges.
- Shape: the sauna is barrel shaped.
- Size: 6’. Bench Dimensions: 18”x39”x17”. Shipping size: 40”x73”x78”. Shipping weight: 540 lbs. Assembled size: 72”x47”x77”. Interior size: 71”x39”x71”. Capacity: 2 adults
- Accessories: bucket, ladle, thermometer, hydrometer, sand timer. As an option, you may order an additional roof cover.
- Key feature: sand timer (pretty cool, right?)
2. Best Wood Fired Sauna Allwood Barrel Sauna #220
Imagine this: after working hard for five consecutive cold autumn days, you finally get the chance to relax on Friday night. So you head to your backyard and get into the Allwood barrel sauna to sweat it out while enjoying the soothing sounds of the crackling of the sauna’s fireplace.
If this isn’t heaven, then what is? In fact, the Allwood Barrel sauna is great even if you live in the regions with heavy seasonal rain or snow, as this sauna is equipped with the canopy shield (which comes along with the sauna!).
- Heating method: in stock, it comes with wood fired heater, but as an option, the wood heater could be replaced with the electrical heater.
- Materials: slow grown Nordic Spruce, thickness 1-5/8”, stainless steel chimney. Roof is covered with shingles, which is a good lifespan boost. Also, this sauna includes two cradles that will support the construction and elevate it from the ground.
- Shape: barrel shaped sauna.
- Size: diameter 6’8”, inside length 67”. Capacity: 4 persons.
- Ventilation: separated intake air vents and outtake air vents
- Accessories: stones are included. Also, it comes with a chimney. As an outstanding bonus, this sauna comes with the canopy shield.
- Key feature: canopy shield.
3. Best 4 Person Barrel Sauna – Almost Heaven Saunas 4-Person Pinnacle Barrel Sauna
Another great outdoor sauna by Almost Heaven. Why did this sauna make it to the Top 3 outdoor saunas in 2017?
Well, because with this sauna you wouldn’t have to wait for long until the temperature raises to a comfortable level. In fact, the comfortable temperature is just a few clicks away on the control panel (so you could start your sauna session any time you want).
This is a wonderful option if you’d like to head to the outdoor sauna right after coming home from work.
- Heating method: electrical heater made of stainless steel.
- Materials: Rustic Cedar, door of tempered glass, composite supporting cradles.
- Shape: barrel shaped sauna.
- Size: Assembled Size: 72″x72″x77″, Interior Room Size: 71″x64″x71″, Bench Dimensions: 18″x64″x17″, Shipping Weight: 715lbs, Shipping Size: 40″x73″x78″.
- Accessories: up to 8 hours delay timer, wooden bucket, ladle, thermometer and hygrometer.
- Key feature: heater delay timer
Another awesome outdoor sauna for your backyard (and it doesn’t even have to do anything with the Finlandia vodka, if you’re wondering!).
After you get this outdoor sauna delivered to your backyard, it’s very easy to assemble on your own. The manufacturer provides you with all the details you need in a DVD video instruction, making the assembly process easy.
- Heating method: electrical stones heater JM30 240V.
- Materials: Western Red Cedar, door is made of Douglas fir with 24” clear glass.
- Shape: house shape.
- Size: Height 8’ 10”.
- Ventilation: one metal vent on the front side.
- Accessories: wall light with light switcher, full assembly tutorial on DVD, bucket (wood), thermometer. Every bench is equipped with headrests.
- Key feature: benches come with headrests.
Finlandia has been one of the prominent leaders in the outdoor sauna market, and it proves it once again by landing yet another spot on our top outdoor saunas list.
It’s just as great as the #4 outdoor sauna on the list, but comes with the starline skylight roof, which allows you to watch the skies while enjoying the sauna session.
Personally, I can’t think of a more relaxing way to spend the evening after a long and exhausting day at work.
- Heating method: 8kw electrical stones heater.
- Materials: Western Red Cedar both interior and exterior. Glazed door made of Douglas Fir. Three-layer acrylic roof.
- Shape: parallelogram shape.
- Size: 96” x 72”, internal walking area 12” x 12”.
- Ventilation: one metal vent.
- Accessories: wall light with light switcher, full tutorial on DVD, bucket (wood), thermometer. Every bench is equipped with headrests.
- Key feature skylight roof.
6. Best Outdoor Infrared Sauna – 3 Person Outdoor Sauna Weather Resistant Red Cedar Wood
This infrared high-tech sauna will definitely amaze you and your two buddies. Buying this outdoor sauna will surely make you appreciate all the cutting-edge tech it features (see Accessories below).
- Heating method: 110v and 20 amp infrared heater.
- Materials: The main body is built of red cedar. The infrared heater is covered with carbon fiber.
- Shape: parallelogram shape.
- Size: 75″x 62″x102”.
- Accessories: Air ionizer, ozone generator, Chromotherapy LED lights, digital control panel with MP3 Aux input suitable for iPhone and iPad.
- Key feature digital control panel, low price.
If you’re no amateur when it comes to taking saunas, you will surely appreciate this 4-person outdoor sauna that comes with the Harvia M3 wood burning heater.
- Heating method: wood burner. Electrical heater is optional.
- Materials: Nordic Spruce Roof is covered with shingles.
- Shape: barrel shape.
- Size: interior size of the barrel 6′ 6″ x 6′ 7″. 4-person capacity.
- Accessories: for additional price, you may add round/square windows to your sauna.
- Key feature this barrel sauna has covered terrace with two seats.
8. ALEKO SB4CEDAR 4 Person Indoor and Outdoor Sauna
The outdoor sauna by ALEKO may be a great choice if the quality-price ratio matters to you more than anything else. This sauna will meet your expectations just fine, as its maximum product quality comes with a reasonable price.
- Heating method: 5kw Electrical heater is optional.
- Materials: Canadian Western Red Cedar with preservation treatment for insects and weather resistance. 5×16” full glass self-closing door.
- Shape: barrel shape.
- Size: 60”x72”x75”.
- Ventilation: one fresh air vent on the bottom of the front side.
- Accessories: 44 pound of special sauna stones, one-gallon wooden bucket, ladle 14 inches long, thermometer, hydrometer, interior light. Heater is covered by fence.
- Key feature best price and quality balance.
Outdoor Infrared Sauna vs Electrical Rocks Heater vs Wood Fire Rocks Heater
Pros: the main advantage of outdoor infrared saunas is the so-called uniform heating. Meaning: typical electrical or wood fire heaters heat up the air, while infrared heaters heat up your body and have no effect on the air. As a result, with the uniform heating you would never face any sort of air temperature disproportion (hot on top, cold in the feet).
Infrared sauna is also supposed to have special health benefits from the deeper penetration it is capable of.
Cons: Steam forces your body into the sweating mode (and almost all health benefits of outdoor saunas are associated with your body’s excessive sweating). The sweating will not be as heavy, but the penetration will be deeper with infrared. It is a different feeling.
Electrical rocks heater
Pros: easy to install and easy to adjust the temperature. This type of outdoor sauna could be used with delayed heating option. This type of traditional outdoor dry sauna is easier to manage than wood fire rocks heater.
Cons: this type of sauna may require professional assistance to plug in.
Wood fire rocks heater
Pros: wood fire rocks heaters provide a wonderful natural smell and the relaxing fireplace sound with a soothing view on the flames.
Cons: this requires a chimney. Also, you would need to always store wood to heat up the wood fire rocks heater.
Mistakes to Avoid when Buying an Outdoor Sauna
According to the above-mentioned key specs to consider, not paying enough attention to weather-resistant properties of any outdoor construction would be a huge mistake.
Also, getting a sauna not made of waterproof materials would be just as dangerous. Another huge mistake would be getting an outdoor sauna that doesn’t fit your body type and height.
Think about the perfect outdoor sauna dimensions and make sure the sauna you’re getting would be comfortable for you, your family and guests.
Outdoor Sauna Benefits
Many of you may have wondered, “Why does it have to be an outdoor sauna – why not an indoor sauna?”
Well, that’s a good question. But we strongly recommend going with outdoor saunas because their advantages outweigh those of indoor saunas, if you have space for it. Benefits of outdoor saunas over indoor saunas include:
- you get to breathe the fresh air while sweating it out (studies have shown that getting fresh air (1) improves your blood pressure and cardiovascular health, (2) makes you happier, (3) boosts your immune system, (4) cleans your lungs and (5) gives you more energy and a sharp mind);
- you won’t face any space problems, as finding a perfect place for your outdoor sauna won’t give you much trouble;
- there are no installation difficulties with outdoor saunas
- In fact, your outdoor sauna can be transformed into an indoor sauna in an instant (if you ever change your mind one day and decide to change its location).