Okay guys, I keep getting questions and emails forwarding to me asking about the best type of wood to buy in their sauna. This is getting out of hand, and some of this stuff is so ridiculous, I’m glad you’re sending it to me instead of falling for it.
We’ve got sauna companies saying crazy things like, “if you don’t have cedar wood, you won’t get the same sauna experience.”
This is nuts. I’ve been in more than 20 saunas now, and let me be the first to tell you… The type of wood the sauna is made of, has never contributed to the sauna sweat experience in any way.
Now, there are a couple exceptions to the rule, which I’ll cover below. But all this arguing amongst sauna salespeople, is just that… nonsense to try and get you to second guess which sauna to buy.
Bottom line, no amount of Cedar, Poplar, Hemlock, Basswood, Spruce, Pine, or even Eucalyptus like some of the old saunas were made of is not going to change how you sweat.
Now if you like the smell of one over the other and have a preference, hey by all means go for it! Always buy what you like. But as far as someone telling you that you have to have Poplar or Cedar for low VOC’s, this is complete and utter bullshit.
Poplar Is More Hypoallergenic Than Other Lumbers
This is nonsense. Complete nonsense!
Listen, I promote saunas made of Poplar. But I’m not married to Poplar lumber. Other lumbers like Hemlock work just fine, and when I test the two side by side, there is no difference in my sauna experience in one of the other.
Some sauna companies are saying you have to use saunas only made of Poplar in order to get low VOC. This is a lie.
When I tested the Poplar saunas, they actually read HIGHER on the VOC meter than the Hemlock. Neither was high enough to make me worry, but the simple fact that it didn’t have any less volatile organic compounds, was enough for me to disregard the nonsense.
Basswood Is Less Irritating Than Hemlock
Another lie, right out of the gate!
Both woods are extremely mild, and I actually prefer Hemlock over Basswood given the choice. But when it comes to skin allergies, or dealing with children or even adults with chemical sensitivities, really you only have to watch the woods that can emit an oil that may become an irritant.
Usually Cedar is the one to look out for if you have MCS or skin allergies, and choosing a more mild sauna wood type would be the better way to go.
Hemlock Will Splinter And Warp From Moisture In Your Sauna
This makes me laugh! Sauna companies are now saying that softwoods like Basswood, Hemlock, Poplar, etc… will warp and crack from excess moisture in your infrared sauna long before Cedar.
Funny thing is, there is no moisture in an infrared sauna. 🙂 It’s a dry sauna!
And even if there is, the wood type isn’t going to contribute to warping or splintering, unless you plan on leaving the dang thing in your flooded basement for a few weeks after a hurricane.
So Which Sauna Would Type Is Best To Buy?
At the end of the day, if you like the smell of one over the other, buy that. I promise you, if you had two saunas in your home side by side, one made out of one lumber and the other made out of your second choice, you wouldn’t have a different sauna experience except for the smell when you open the door.
if that is important to you, buy what you prefer.
For me, I generally like Hemlock, Basswood, Cedar, and Poplar…
See my sauna reviews to check out the videos of all the sauna brands and types of lumber I’ve been in.
Seriously, we’ve got to start checking these people and what they’re saying. It’s just not true, and it’s swaying people on a several thousand dollar purchase decision for no reason at all. 9 times out of 10, the sauna sales person you’re talking, doesn’t even have both brands in their own house you’re asking about!