How to Choose the Best Traditional Sauna for Your Home

Canadian Timber Serenity Sauna

Traditional saunas have a rich history of pampering and purifying the souls of sauna-goers for centuries.

Considered the grandmasters of the sauna world, these heat rooms offer a myriad of health and therapeutic benefits for anyone fortunate enough to enjoy a session, typically lasting about 20–30 minutes.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased relaxation and reduced stress. The heat and steam released help to relax muscles and release endorphins, well known natural mood boosters.
  • Improved circulation throughout the body, thanks to the heat, which causes blood vessels to dilate and increases blood flow.
  • Detoxification as profuse sweating helps release toxins and impurities such as nicotine, caffeine, and heavy metals like mercury and lead from the skin.

Today, traditional saunas come in a variety of sizes, styles, and designs, each tailored to fulfill your wildest sauna dreams.

Whether you seek the cozy charm of a cedar cabin that transports you to a rustic Finnish forest or the sleek modernity of a sauna pod that would fit right into a spaceship, the sauna options are endless.

With such an array of choices, you may be wondering how to find the perfect sauna for your home.

Sun Valley Saunas is here to help. Armed with the knowledge of a thousand sauna experts, we’re dedicated to assist you find the best sauna that will transform your home into a sanctuary of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Below are five factors to carefully consider before settling on a particular traditional sauna.

1 - Consider the Space Available

You must assess the available space in your home before selecting a traditional sauna.

Just as you wouldn't try to fit an elephant into a closet, you don't want to squeeze your sauna into a space that can barely accommodate a potted plant. It's all about finding that sweet spot where comfort and relaxation can flourish.

Measure the length and width of the available space and consider any additional items you may want in the sauna, such as benches, speakers, or lights.

Keep an eye on electrical outlets and vents too, leaving enough room around them to avoid any heat-related mishaps.

Next, you want to consider the dimensions of the sauna itself, ensuring it fits right into your available space.

At Sun Valley Saunas, we offer traditional saunas in various sizes to fit every customer’s needs and preferences.

Check them out below:

1–2 Person Saunas

These are your perfect choice if you want a cozy and intimate sauna experience just for yourself or with a close companion.

Their dimensions typically fall within the range of 3 feet wide, 3 feet deep, and 6.5 to 7 feet tall (though variations may occur depending on the specific model and design), offering just the right amount of space for relaxation without feeling confined.

Examples include:

The table below shows the three examples of 1–2 person saunas.

Auroom Cala Glass Mini Traditional 1 Person Sauna

Golden Designs Narvik 2 Person Traditional Outdoor Sauna GDI-8202-01

Golden Designs Hanko 2 Person Traditional Sauna GDI-7202-01

My sauna—which we LOVE—arrived on time! It was easy to assemble. The directions, even how to unpack it, were so helpful, as were all the other directions for putting it together and getting it set up and working. We use it almost every day, as our schedules allow. — Thomas and Patricia Ryan, Verified Buyer

A small to medium-sized bathroom or a dedicated space in a bedroom or basement will work well for your 1–2 person sauna.

The ideal room size will depend on its specific dimensions, but typically, a room measuring 4 feet by 4 feet provides ample space for a cozy and comfortable sauna experience.

3 Person Saunas

3 person saunas are ideal for your small family or if you’re a group of close friends looking to enjoy the sauna experience together.

They offer a bit more room to stretch out, with rough dimensions of 4 to 5 feet wide, 4 to 5 feet deep, and 6.5 to 7 feet tall, which allows everyone to bask in the rejuvenating heat and engage in lighthearted conversations.

Examples include:

The table below shows a few examples of 3-person saunas.

SaunaLife Model X6 3 Person Indoor Traditional Sauna

Golden Designs Copenhagen 3 Person Traditional Indoor Sauna GDI-7389-01

Golden Designs Drammen 3 Person Traditional Outdoor Sauna GDI-8203-01

As a rough estimate, a room size of about 6 feet by 6 feet will work well for these saunas, though this may vary depending on the sauna's specific dimensions and your preferences.

4 Person Saunas

4 person saunas are your ideal choice if you like to enjoy the sauna experience with a few extra friends or family members.

They provide ample space to create lasting memories (rough dimensions of 6 to 8 feet wide, 6 to 7 feet deep, and 6.5 to 7 feet tall) and enjoy the benefits of heat and relaxation together.

Examples include:

The table below shows 4-person saunas available at Sun Valley Saunas.

Canadian Timber Luna CTC22LU Traditional Outdoor Sauna

Dundalk Leisurecraft Georgian Cabin Sauna

Canadian Timber Serenity CTC2245W Traditional Outdoor Barrel Sauna

As a rough estimate, a room size of around 8 feet by 8 feet will work well for your 4 person sauna. This size needs to provide enough space for the sauna itself, comfortable seating, and sufficient clearance for safety and ease of use.

5 Person Saunas

5 person saunas are perfect for a large family or if you have a gathering of sauna enthusiasts.

With rough dimensions of 6 to 8 feet wide, 6 to 8 feet deep, and 7 to 8 feet tall, these saunas offer generous space for everyone to find their own cozy corner while still enjoying the communal sauna experience.

Examples include:

The table below shows the two examples of 5-person saunas.

Golden Designs Bergen 4-6 Person Traditional Outdoor Sauna GDI-8206-01

SaunaLife Model G6 Traditional Outdoor Sauna

The total room size needed for a 5 person sauna will vary depending on the sauna's specific dimensions and the clearance space required.

A room size of approximately 10 feet by 10 feet should be sufficient for most 5 person saunas, but we recommend checking the manufacturer's guidelines and recommendations for your specific model.

6 Person Saunas

6 person saunas are your ultimate choice if you love to host sauna parties or simply want to create a luxurious spa-like experience at home.

They offer plenty of room for a group of friends or family to luxuriate in the heat together, with dimensions typically ranging from 6 feet to 8 feet in width, 7 feet to 9 feet in depth, and 6.5 feet to 7 feet in height.

It's like having your very own sauna retreat, where you can escape the outside world and embrace the joy of shared relaxation.

Examples of these saunas include:

The table below shows these three examples of 6-person saunas.

Golden Designs Kuusamo Edition 6 Person Traditional Sauna GDI-7206-01

SaunaLife Model G4 Traditional Outdoor Sauna

Canadian Timber Tranquility CTC2345W Traditional Outdoor Barrel Sauna

For the best room size to accommodate a 6-person sauna, you'll need to consider not only the sauna's dimensions but also the space required for proper ventilation, comfortable seating, and easy access.

Below are some general guidelines:

  • Leave at least a few inches of space between the sauna and any walls or obstacles for safe and convenient entry and exit.
  • Ensure the room has enough height to accommodate the sauna's tallest point.
  • The room's layout must be practical to ensure everyone has enough room to sit comfortably.

Considering these factors, the best room size for a 6-person sauna should generally be around 9 feet by 10 feet or larger.

Remember, the right sauna size can transform your home into a haven of relaxation and well-being.

So, choose the size that resonates with your lifestyle, invite your favorite people, and prepare to embark on a sauna adventure like no other.

2 - Check the Durability of the Materials Used

Canadian Timber Serenity CTC2245W Traditional Outdoor Barrel Sauna

When it comes to choosing a sauna, durability is key. You want a sauna that can withstand the test of time like a champion sumo wrestler.

This begins with checking the quality of the materials used in the sauna’s construction.

Always check reviews of real-life sauna enthusiasts who’ve already purchased the traditional sauna you’re eyeing to get a sense of how well it holds up over time.

Generally, the most popular material choices for traditional saunas include:

1 - Cedar Wood

This is the superhero of sauna materials, renowned for its natural durability and resistance to heat and moisture.

A traditional cedar sauna will handle the steamy environment of a sauna like a seasoned pro, maintaining its strength and beauty over time while also remaining mold-free.

2 - Hemlock

Hemlock provides exceptional longevity thanks to its natural properties that make it resistant to both insects and rot.

Thanks to its high endurance, a traditional hemlock sauna can offer you decades of enjoyment and relaxation without worrying about repairs or deterioration.

3 - Spruce

Spruce offers a light and bright appearance with a pleasant fragrance, creating a serene and inviting atmosphere.

With its clean and minimalist aesthetic, a traditional spruce sauna will provide a fresh and calming ambiance for all your sauna sessions.

4 - Canadian Timber

One of the standout features of Canadian timber (white cedar) is its aromatic scent. As a Canadian timber sauna heats up, the wood releases a pleasant fragrance that adds to the overall sensory experience.

This contributes to a soothing and calming ambiance, enhancing the relaxation benefits of your sauna sessions.

5 - Aspen

Aspen has excellent thermal insulation properties that help it to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the sauna.

A traditional aspen sauna’s unique grain patterns create a visually striking effect, elevating its visual appeal and providing a serene atmosphere for relaxation.

The natural properties of the above woods make them ideal for sauna construction, ensuring that you can sweat it out in a safe and comfortable environment.

So, whether you lean towards the enchanting aroma of cedar or the remarkable durability of hemlock, these materials offer a solid foundation for creating your dream traditional sauna.

Embrace their natural beauty, strength, and reliability as you embark on a sauna experience that will leave you feeling refreshed, revitalized, and connected to the timeless traditions of sauna culture.

Pro Tip: When selecting materials for your sauna, always ensure that the wood used is untreated and free from chemicals—such as formaldehyde, polyurethane, and heavy metals like lead and mercury—that could be released by heat and humidity.

3 - Decide Your Ideal Location: Indoor vs Outdoor

When choosing the ideal sauna, a key decision you’ll have to make is whether to go for an indoor or outdoor option.

The major difference between indoor and outdoor saunas lies in their location. Indoor traditional saunas,like their name suggests, are located inside a building or structure, such as a house, apartment, spa, or wellness center.

They’re typically set up in a dedicated room or enclosed space specifically designed to accommodate the sauna.

These saunas offer a heightened level of privacy, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the sauna experience without worrying about prying eyes.

Outdoor traditional saunas, on the other hand, are installed outside, usually in a backyard, garden, or other open-air space. They can be standalone structures or integrated into an existing outdoor area.

Canadian Timber Tranquility CTC2345W Traditional Outdoor Barrel Sauna

The best sauna option for you will depend on factors such as your personal preferences, available space, and lifestyle.

Let's delve deeper into these factors and how they'll influence your decision:

1 - Personal Preferences

Consider the kind of experience that best aligns with your preference. Indoor saunas offer a more private and controlled environment, making them the most suitable if you value solitude and convenience.

On the other hand, outdoor saunas offer a unique and natural ambiance, allowing you to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings during your sauna sessions.

This makes them an excellent choice if you desire to have a deeper connection with nature during your sauna sessions.

2 - Available Space

If you have a spare room or a sizable bathroom with adequate ventilation, an indoor sauna makes the perfect fit. Choose one with a suitable size and configuration to fit within your existing space.

But if you have limited indoor space or ample outdoor space, such as a backyard or garden area, an outdoor sauna might be a great addition.

3 - Your Lifestyle

If you plan to use your sauna regularly or year-round, an indoor sauna is a more practical option.

It allows easy access regardless of weather conditions, ensuring you can enjoy the warmth and relaxation whenever you desire, even during cold winters or rainy days.

On the other hand, an outdoor sauna is more ideal if you prefer to use it only during specific seasons, such as the summer.

In extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or strong winds, using the sauna may become less comfortable or even challenging. You may also need to take extra precautions to protect it from weather-related damage.

Whether you choose an indoor sanctuary or venture into the great outdoors with a traditional outdoor sauna, the goal remains the same—to create a space where you can unwind, rejuvenate, and embrace the therapeutic benefits of sauna bathing.

And guess what? At Sun Valley Saunas, your needs are our priority.

We understand that sauna enthusiasts have different needs and preferences, which is why we offer a range of traditional sauna options to cater to your sauna dreams.

If you're leaning towards the cozy convenience of an indoor sauna, we have a fantastic selection of traditional indoor saunas that will transform any room into a blissful retreat.

From compact models perfect for solo sauna sessions to larger traditional saunas for family and friends to join in the sweat-inducing fun, there's an indoor sauna option that will fit your space and needs like a perfectly tailored sauna robe.

But if you're ready to embrace the wild side of sauna-ing and go for the outdoor sauna experience, we have you covered there too.

Whether you're envisioning a charming sauna barrel that adds a touch of whimsy to your backyard or a cozy minipod sauna that creates an intimate oasis, we have the outdoor sauna of your dreams.

Awesome sauna—perfect in the backyard and can't wait to get this thing going in the winter. Helps my back so much. Would totally recommend. — Jillian H., Verified Customer

Learn about the features of the cozy minipod sauna in the video below.

4 - Consider the Heating System

The heart of any traditional sauna lies within its heater, as it generates the dry heat that envelops your body in pure sauna bliss.

When selecting a sauna, prioritize finding one equipped with a top-notch heater that can deliver consistent, even heat for an unparalleled sauna experience.

Traditional saunas typically use either electricity or wood burning stoves to create heat.

Let's explore the advantages of each option below:

1 - Electric Sauna Heaters

HUUM DROP Electric Sauna Heaters, 4.5kW, 6kW, 7.5kW, 9kW

  • Convenient: Their temperature control capabilities allow you to fine-tune the heat to your desired level, ensuring a comfortable and customized sauna experience.
  • Ease of use: They’re easy to use and require minimal maintenance. With a simple flip of a switch, you can bring your sauna to life, quickly filling the air with blissful warmth.
  • Quick heating: They heat up quickly, providing almost instant heat to the sauna. This comes in handy if you want to enjoy a sauna session without much wait time.
  • Clean and smoke free: They don’t produce smoke or require a chimney, making them cleaner and more suitable for indoor saunas.

Electric sauna heaters come in various models, ranging from basic pre-built kits to more advanced systems with digital controllers.

The pre-built kits offer simplicity and ease of sauna installation, making them perfect if you need a straightforward sauna experience.

On the other hand, the advanced systems with digital controllers allow for precise temperature adjustments, giving you the ultimate control over your sauna environment.

Note: A hardwire installation by a licensed electrician will unleash the full potential of your electric sauna heater.

The electrician, with their expertise, will ensure a safe and efficient connection to your electrical source, paving the way for a truly electrifying sauna experience.

These heaters are so awesome. Good customer service as well. Rare you get to talk to a real person with questions and ordering. — Tyson M., Verified Buyer

2 - Wood Burning Sauna Stoves

Harvia M3 Wood Burning Sauna Stove

  • Provide authentic sauna experience: There's something undeniably magical about the traditional ambiance created by a crackling fire and burning wood. The flickering flames and warm glow provide an authentic sauna experience.
  • Great for outdoor saunas: They’re a practical choice for outdoor saunas in remote areas where electricity may not be readily available.
  • Retain heat: They can retain heat even after the fire has burned out, providing a longer-lasting sauna experience without the need for constant fueling.

With a wood burning sauna stove, you'll experience sauna-ing in its most authentic form, embracing the essence of the age-old sauna rituals that have brought joy and relaxation for centuries.

On the downside, wood burning stoves require regular maintenance, including cleaning ashes and chimney upkeep. This can be time-consuming and less appealing to anyone looking for a low-maintenance sauna experience.

It can also be challenging to precisely control the temperature, unlike electric heaters that can be easily adjusted with digital control.

Expert Tip: Wood-burning sauna stoves are specifically designed for outdoor use, where the fresh air and open sky enhance the overall experience. To ensure proper sauna installation and safety, consider installing an additional chimney kit.

Ultimately, choosing the best heater for your traditional sauna will depend on factors such as your preferences, sauna location, access to electricity, and the overall sauna experience you desire.

If you prioritize convenience, quick heating, and a cleaner operation, an electric sauna heater will make an excellent option.

But if you want a more authentic and traditional sauna experience, enjoy the process of heating with wood, or have an outdoor sauna in a remote location, a wood-burning stove will be the perfect fit.

5 - Determine Your Sauna Budget

When it comes to choosing the perfect sauna, price is a key player in the decision-making game.

Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank. Even in the midst of an expensive world, finding a fantastic deal on a home sauna for your spa renovation is still within reach.

For instance:

  • If you're seeking a more economical choice, consider entry-level traditional saunas, which typically range from $1,000 to $5,000. These budget-friendly options provide a solid sauna experience without compromising on quality.
  • If you can afford a little more luxury, mid-range traditional saunas, which cost between $5,000 and $8,000 are an excellent option. With this price range, you can expect upgraded features, premium materials, and enhanced design elements.
    These include built-in speakers, a digital control panel, stainless steel hardware, and an ergonomic backrest.
  • If your sauna dreams know no bounds and you're ready to indulge in the finest sauna experience (plus, you’ve got the budget for it), high-end traditional saunas are your best bet. They cost around $8,000 to $10,000, or more.
    You’ll get to enjoy privileges such as advanced heating technology, enhanced comfort and ergonomics, and smart features that will allow you to control and customize your sauna experience remotely.

While these figures give you a general idea, we encourage you to explore more on our traditional saunas page for detailed information.

Remember, the price range will also vary based on other factors such as:

  • Size: Larger saunas naturally require more materials and labor, thus they’ll cost higher than small-sized saunas.
  • Materials: High-quality woods like cedar or hemlock are often preferred for their durability, aesthetics, and aroma, but they often come with a higher price tag.
  • Additional features: Some traditional saunas offer extra features, such as touch screen control, ergonomic seating with backrest, and LED lighting options. While they will enhance your relaxation and enjoyment, they’ll also result in higher costs.

Also, indoor traditional saunas will generally fall on the lower end of the financial spectrum compared to outdoor ones, as you don't have to worry about weatherproof materials.

At Sun Valley Saunas, we know that adding a sauna to your home is no small investment.

But we also believe that you deserve the opportunity to experience the wonders of a sauna in your own home.

That's why we offer financing options through Affirm, allowing you to spread out the cost of your sauna over time. With our flexible payment plans, you can create your personal oasis without breaking the bank.

Our mission is to ensure that you get the best possible deal on the products you purchase. That's why we stand by our unbeatable price match guarantee.

If you happen to find a lower price on the same traditional sauna from another online store within six months of your purchase, just give us a heads-up. We'll gladly refund the difference back to your original payment method.

Moreover, if you discover that our own website has lowered the price of the item you ordered within six months of your purchase, we'll happily refund you the difference.

To claim your partial refund, simply send us an email at with a link to the same product on our website or our competitor's website.

Make sure to do so within six months from the date of your order, and our dedicated team will swiftly process the credit, ensuring you receive the savings you deserve.

I have used the sauna every day and it meets or exceeds all my expectations. Thank you, Sun Valley saunas. — Philip Haradon, Verified Buyer

Make Traditional Sauna Shopping a Breeze With Sun Valley Saunas

SunRay Saunas Westlake 3-Person Luxury Traditional Sauna 300LX

Choosing the best sauna may seem like a monumental task. But with these five factors and a sprinkle of thoughtful considerations, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect sauna companion for your needs.

At Sun Valley Saunas, we understand that buying a sauna is not just a transaction—it's an investment in your well-being.

That's why our mission goes beyond simply selling saunas. We take pride in being transparent, reliable, and accountable for every aspect of your sauna experience.

And as a small business, we cherish the personal touch and genuine care we provide to each customer, treating you as part of our sauna-loving family.

So, don't settle for anything less than the best. Check out our wide collection of traditional saunas to get the perfect option for you.

Additional Read: What's the Difference Between an Infrared Sauna and a Traditional Sauna?

Wes McMahon

Wes McMahon, is the founder of Sun Valley Saunas and a seasoned ski town sauna enthusiast. In early 2021, Wes transitioned from being an attorney and sauna aficionado in Sun Valley, Idaho, to founding Sun Valley Saunas. His deep appreciation for the Finnish sauna tradition has helped him understand and select high-quality, hand-built saunas for customers throughout North America. Combined with his understanding of the therapeutic and communal benefits of sauna culture, he advocates for the wellness practices that saunas can bring to your overall health. Got questions? Get in touch by calling 1-855-963-5665 or

Important: The information provided in our articles about saunas and related topics is intended for general informational and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your healthcare practitioner before using saunas, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are pregnant. Individual health needs vary, and what benefits one person may not be suitable for another.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published