Buying guide: Home Saunas
In this buying guide, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when selecting a home sauna.
Types of Saunas
The first decision to make is what type of sauna you want. There are three main types: traditional, infrared, and steam. Traditional saunas use heated rocks to produce a dry heat, while infrared saunas use infrared heaters to produce a heat that penetrates deeper into the body. Steam saunas, also known as steam rooms, use a humid heat generated by a steam generator.
Traditional saunas are the most common type and have been used for centuries. They use a wood-burning or electric stove to heat up rocks, which then radiate heat throughout the sauna. The temperature inside a traditional sauna typically ranges from 170-190°F and the humidity is low, around 10-20%.
Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to emit radiant heat that is absorbed directly by the body, rather than heating the air around you. This type of sauna operates at a lower temperature than traditional saunas, around 120-150°F, but the heat penetrates deeper into the body, providing a more intense sweat session. Infrared saunas are often preferred by those who find traditional saunas too hot or uncomfortable.
Steam saunas, or steam rooms, use a steam generator to produce a humid heat. The temperature inside a steam sauna is typically lower than traditional or infrared saunas, around 110-120°F, but the humidity can be as high as 100%. Steam saunas are often preferred by those who suffer from respiratory problems or find dry saunas uncomfortable.
Size and Capacity
Once you’ve decided on the type of sauna you want, the next consideration is size and capacity. Saunas come in various sizes, from small one-person models to large six-person models. The size you choose will depend on how many people will be using the sauna at once and how much space you have available in your home.
It’s important to note that the capacity listed by manufacturers is based on the assumption that everyone inside the sauna is sitting down. If you plan on standing or lying down, you’ll need to factor in additional space.
The materials used to construct the sauna are another important consideration. The most common materials are wood and ceramic tile. Wood is the traditional choice and provides a natural look and feel. Cedar is a popular choice for its natural resistance to moisture and insects. Ceramic tile is a more modern option that is easy to clean and maintain.
Other materials to consider include glass, which can be used for windows or doors, and metal, which is often used for the heater or stove.
The heater is the heart of the sauna and plays a crucial role in determining the overall experience. There are several factors to consider when choosing a heater, including:
- Type: Electric or wood-burning
- Size: The size of the heater will depend on the size of the sauna
- Power: The power of the heater will determine how quickly it heats up and how hot it can get
- Controls: Look for a heater with easy-to-use controls that allow you to adjust the temperature and humidity levels
Finally, consider any accessories you may want to enhance your sauna experience. Some popular options include:
- Lighting: Adding lighting can create a relaxing atmosphere
- Sound system: A sound system can provide music or other audio for added relaxation
- Aromatherapy: Essential oils can be added to the sauna for an added sensory experience
- Towel warmer: A towel warmer can provide warm towels for after your sauna session
When choosing a home sauna, it’s important to consider your needs and preferences. Think about what type of sauna you want, how many people will be using it, and what materials and accessories will enhance your experience. With these factors in mind, you’ll be able to select a sauna that provides years of relaxation and rejuvenation in the comfort of your own home.