Updated: November 2017
- What is a home sauna?
- Benefits of using a sauna
- How much do infrared saunas cost? Which should I buy?
Saunas were first used by the people of Finland in ancient times and have evolved over the years. Europeans still use saunas more than us in the United States and they believe saunas will help with health issues like weight loss, high blood pressure, and fatigue. Putting a sauna in your home is a great idea if you have the space. Saunas are an excellent way to take a steam bath and open pores on your body and sweat out impurities. Saunas resemble walk-in closets in terms of size and they should be placed next to an indoor wall in your house.
The sauna room you build in your home should be able to accomodate more than 2 people, so keep that in mind when figuring on space. Finnish saunas, or rock saunas, use heated rocks to create steam while infrared saunas direct heat towards you creating a soothing massage. Some recent research shows that Far Infrared saunas are better than rock saunas in "detoxification" (we will discuss the differences between the 2 types below). Many people use saunas to lose weight by sweating off those extra pounds, although it's mostly water you lose.
The video below shows why an infrared sauna is good for your health - Dr Oz on the Oprah Show:
What to look for in a home sauna?
Buying Guide - You might see sauna belts or sauna suits advertised on tv as an effective way to lose weight and get those toxins out of your body but beware. The Velform Sauna Belt and inexpensive sauna suits ($20) are NOT going to work nearly as well as sitting in an actual sauna. Saunas will definitely help you lose excess water (weight) if you use them consistently.
Manufacturers and people who regularly use saunas say you should sauna in the nude to allow all of your body to sweat and release toxins. Place a towel on the wooden bench so that your sweat doesn't collect on it directly. The one thing that many websites mention that is most crucial when buying any home sauna is a quality warranty.
Heaters are the most critical element in a sauna and if that goes out the cost to replace it could be almost as much as buying a new sauna. You want to purchase a sauna with a warranty that covers the heaters for as long as you own it. A ceramic heater will give you more penetrating heat than do the metal rod or carbon heaters.
You'll also want the sauna cabinet and controls to have a solid warranty. If the wood used to make the sauna was not dried properly it could warp and buckle in time. Make sure your sauna is made with close grain clear cedar wood and not produced from hemlock, spruce, or fir. Cedar wood is the best at resisting cracks and doesn't split with the constant heating and cooling it will undergo.
The top brands for Infrared saunas are Monterey, Sonoma, Santa Cruz, and Sierra Far. Some of the top names in Finnish saunas are Pacific, Cascade or Alta. We visited blogs, forums, and top sauna sites on the Internet to see what experts and owners are saying about the best selling and most popular home saunas. You can browse the top rated infrared saunas online here.
Best Infrared Sauna:
The Santa Cruz Infrared Sauna consistently rates high with owners as a quality sauna experience. The 3-4 person Far Infrared sauna is crafted with your choice of exterior wood and the interior is made with solid cedar or hypo-allergenic Poplar. The overall dimensions are 73" x 45" x 74" and the Santa Cruz infrared sauna comes with 8 pre-fabricated sauna panels that 2 people can assemble with no problems.
Hidden buckles and screws let you put the sauna together in just a few simple steps. Features include Pure Ceramic sauna heaters, stereo speakers built into the sauna panels, and digital sauna controls. The ConstaHeat technology used by the infrared heaters works wonders on your body and releases all stress and toxins. Prices vary on the dealer you go with, but we suggest contacting Sundance-Sauna.com for the latest details on cost.
The warranty from Sundance on the heaters is for life (great deal), 5 years for the electronics, and 1 year for the wood. Expect to spend $1500+ on any 3-4 person indoor sauna. You should also check out Brighton Sauna for infrared home saunas. They offer a nice guide to understanding how infrared saunas work, why ceramic heaters are the best, the differences in constant heat vs. thermostats, and the benefits of 15amp, 110 volt saunas.
They design and sell their custom saunas factory-direct, saving you money. From their self-cleaning options to the cool DVD players, they offer good products that should be on your shopping list. They operate out of Reno, Nevada but ship all over.
To check out how to assemble and use a home sauna - click the image below to go to video.
Best Rock (Finnish) Sauna:
Saunas.com offers the Polar Pre-built Sauna Rooms ($3200) that measures 48"x48"x79". We like this site because it actually shows you pricing (unlike other websites) and there is an installation guide PDF you can download off their webpage. The Polar Sauna kit includes pre-fabricated fully insulated wall and ceiling panels, interior lined with Western Red Cedar tongue and groove, standard Polar heater and rocks, pre-assembled benches, wall thermometer, copper bucket, copper ladle, vapor proof sauna light, and more. They offer models over $7000 that are much larger (96"x120"x84") and are a double tier L shaped that hold up to 10 bathers.
Top Outdoor Sauna:
The 3 Person Sauna from Heat Wave is very popular as it is corner fitting with FIR FAR 7 carbon heaters and hemlock wood. Features include interior and exterior LED control panels, color mood light, CD player with MP3 plug-in, backrests, towel hooks, and it operates up to 141 degrees F. The solid hemlock wood with tongue and groove assembly makes it really easy to put together. The official name is the HeatWave Santa Fe SA2412DX. Owners like the electronic oxygen ionizer that releases negative ions and helps purify the air in the sauna. Comes with a 5 year warranty on heaters, structure, and electrical. RECOMMENDED - Check out all the most popular portable outdoor saunas here.
Infrared Sauana vs Finnish Sauna:
Most people have experienced a rock sauna or come across one at some point but the new Far Infrared saunas are gaining popularity. Which is better you might ask? It really depends on who you ask since we found many comparisons online but no true winner overall. It will probably cost a little more to run a Far Infrared sauna versus a rock sauna. In terms of which does a better job of getting those nasty toxins out of your body through sweat, it's a toss up. There is no strong evidence that either work better but some people prefer one over the other.
Many users say they prefer the traditional feel of a steam and rock sauna but others say the heat (temperature) is overbearing in a rock sauna. A Far Infrared sauna will reach temps around 110-130 degrees F while a rock sauna can get up to 140-190 degrees F. The heater in a rock sauna will take about 1/2 hour to heat up while the heaters in a Far Infrared warm-up in 20-30 minutes time. Research both types online and see which features or benefits most interest you.
More videos and resources are here on our Home Sauna Resource Page.
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