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If you happen to be looking for a hybrid approach, you can find information on outdoor saunas here. You can also see all my infrared sauna reviews here, and as always check the constantly the updated list of Certified Saunas here.
Most everyone usually asks me what I think the best size for their indoor sauna should be. Normally you would expect it depends on how many people are going to be using it, but there are also power requirements to think about here as well.
Usually I always recommend going one size bigger than you think you want.
When I bought my first sauna, the mistake I made was not going one size larger. After I got it installed, I realized having the extra leg room would have been well worth the extra $1,000 dollars to go up one size.
Usually you can get away with choosing one size larger, without having to up the electrical over your original choice. For something you’re going to use often for the next 10 years or more, an extra $1k to be more comfortable and enjoy it more, it definitely worth it in my opinion.
2) Power Requirements
This is a big one, and something a lot of folks overlook when picking out their sauna.
Saunas come in all shapes and sizes, and the same goes for the electrical required to power them. Some take 120v 15 amp, which will plug in to any standard house outlet, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, some can take as much as 240v 30 amp for large units.
Steam saunas and electric dry saunas, usually always take 220v. A lot of the infrared saunas, you can still get a great sweat in a 15 amp 110v model, which really helps out a lot of people. Not having to upgrade the electrical is a huge selling point for most folks, just depends on what you’re looking for.
As a general rule, and 2 person or larger steam sauna, is going to require 20 – 30 amp 220, and most 2 person and smaller infrared saunas can run on 15 amp 110.
Most people wonder if the lower usage electrical from an infrared sauna, produces less sweating or takes forever to heat up. Usually the contrary, since infrared requires less power to run, generally heats you up faster with shorter preheat times, and overall uses less power consumption to power the sauna if you’re looking at the monthly cost on your power bill.
3) EMF Levels
EMF levels vary greatly in all types of saunas, with huge magnetic fields being present next to the steam generators in infrared saunas, and high electric fields in a lot of carbon panel infrared saunas.
This is a case by case basis, and you should verify EMF in the sauna you’re interested in via a third party.
I have several other articles that talk about the false advertising from saunas listed for sale on Costco, Amazon, etc…
Definitely vet before you buy!
4) Wood Type
The type of wood that will work best for your sauna, is going to depend on the type of sauna you pick, your personal needs such as allergies, chemical sensitivities, etc…
Normally steam saunas use Cedar, and it’s the preferred wood type for dry saunas as well.
The high moisture content in those saunas, demands a particular type of wood grain to avoid splitting and shrinkage long term. Many people think that all lumber is created equal, but it’s really not. You can engineer a Hemlock steam sauna to perform well like Cedar as well, but most people prefer the smell of Cedar since it’s the industry standard.
Infrared saunas offer a lot more flexibility in terms of wood choices. You don’t have the high moisture content, so mold, mildew, etc… is not an issue like it is in a steam sauna that doesn’t vent well.
No matter which type of sauna you choose, most chemically sensitive people, anyone with skin allergies, and so forth, avoid any type of lumber that emits an oil since it can become an irritant.
Poplar, Hemlock, and Basswood would be better choice is this fits your needs.
A lot of sauna companies use the sauna wood type as a selling point, but I’ve never found that to be significantly important. However, I do not have any sensitives or skin allergies, so the only difference the lumber makes in all the saunas I’ve tried, is the smell.
5) Infrared VS Steam VS Dry
Steam saunas generally get to a much higher temperature than infrared saunas, whereas infrared saunas cause you to sweat at much lower temperature, usually much quicker depending on the size.
There are pros and cons to each, but as a general rule, if you’re going to install your residential sauna indoors without ventilation, infrared will remove all the extra moisture content created by a steam sauna.
If you have an outdoor lanai, or are doing a mater bathroom renovation and can include a sauna in your build out, it’s very easy to add a ventilation system to accommodate any type of sauna you’d like.
Bringing in additional moisture to an uncultivated space, can cause some further issues in your house if there isn’t at least an exhaust fan to help with elimination.
Personally, I prefer my infrared saunas, since I can install them anywhere I like, and the only moisture content you’ll find inside, is the sweat from me. As soon as you turn the sauna off and get out, there isn’t anything left behind… Not hauling water, no splashing, etc…
The Best Indoor Saunas For Sale You Can Buy In 2019
The list of Certified Saunas will help you evaluate the top of the line far infrared saunas on the market this year. With several home sauna models to choose from, you can easily pick out your new indoor sauna with ease.