Your Comprehensive Guide to Selecting the Best Harvia Traditional Sauna Heater for Your Home
Heaters are the heart of the traditional sauna. Without them, steaming sessions would be underwhelming or even impossible.
From the sight of dancing flames to the hissing sound of cold water landing on hot rocks and the soothing sensation of the steam surrounding you, the heater creates an atmosphere that makes you feel that everything is alright in the world.
It’s unbeatable at providing a truly authentic sauna experience.
However, not all heaters work well for all types of saunas. With numerous products available in the market, it can be tricky to decide which one is best for your home steam room.
Today, we're exploring different products from Harvia and the features which make these heaters ideal for home use.
As we do so, you’ll learn:
- Safety features to look out for in sauna heaters
- Different models of Harvia heaters for various sauna types
- Where to find the best traditional sauna heaters for your needs
Let’s start by looking at the categories of traditional sauna heaters.
Types of Traditional Sauna Heaters
When it comes to choosing a sauna heater, there are different types you can use to create the perfect relaxation atmosphere.
- Wood burning heaters - These heaters hark back to the saunas of olden times. The dancing flames, the pleasant scent of wood, and the soothing hum of the heater firing away enable you to enjoy sauna sessions in the most authentic way.
- Electric heaters - As the name suggests, these heaters use electricity to provide steam. Depending on the type of heater, you can get soft steam from pillar heaters or dry and hot steam from wall-mounted heaters.
The table below compares the environmental impact of wood-burning heaters and electric heaters and weighs the ecological considerations for your traditional sauna selection.
|Produces smoke, emissions
|Higher carbon footprint
|Lower carbon footprint
|Uses wood as fuel
|Depends on energy source
|Potential for air pollution
|Renewable fuel source
|Depends on energy mix
Let's look at other factors to keep in mind when selecting a heater for your home sauna.
It’s important to ensure the heater you choose matches the space available. Otherwise, you’ll end up with either an overheated sauna room or sections with cold air, which makes your sessions uncomfortable.
Also, a heater that’s too big for your room takes up lots of space, which makes it not only uncomfortable to move in the sauna but also could cause tripping hazards.
Keep in mind that the volume and structures of the sauna affect the power requirement of your heater. The bigger your room, the more powerful a heater you will need.
Apart from that, window glass and heat-storing surfaces such as brick, concrete, or massive logs in the sauna increase the power you’ll need since they absorb heat from the air.
If your sauna is on the smaller side (between 70 to 175 cubic feet), consider the Harvia Vega 3500 Compact Electric Sauna Heater.
Measuring 11"W x 11" D x 21" H, it’s compact enough to fit in rooms with limited space, allowing you to walk around unobstructed.
What’s more, this heater can be mounted in different positions on the wall. This flexibility means you can install it high in the room, and remain with more floor area to move around freely.
But that’s not all. Due to its compact capacity, the Harvia Vega 3500 provides just the right amount of heat for tight spaces. You’ll enjoy relaxing sessions without feeling like you’re in Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Geyser.
Perhaps you have a mid-sized outdoor sauna measuring 460 cubic feet and below?
Then the Harvia M3 Wood-Burning Stove is one to consider. This classically designed heater features a 29-pound stone capacity for consistent heat all over the room.
Measuring 17.7" W x 15.4" D x 28" H, it provides sufficient warmth for the ultimate steam therapy experience.
"Works great. Cranks my 6x6 sauna up to 190 with ease!" - Kevin Deckard
If you’ve got a large indoor sauna, the Harvia Kip Electric Heater will get the job done perfectly. Harvia provides a range of kilowatt capacities for this model, making it suitable for small and large saunas ranging from 130 to 425 cubic feet.
Harvia Kip Electric Sauna Heater
Included with this purchase:
Harvia Kip Electric Sauna Heater With Built-In Control
Included With Purchase:
Thanks to its generous stone capacity, this heater ensures heat disperses evenly throughout your sessions. As such, you’ll have no cold air pockets in the room that water down your relaxation experience.
To make the space evaluation process easier, Harvia developed this handy calculator to help you determine the effective volume of your sauna and which heater is best for your situation.
"This is a great company. Very very helpful customer support and the best prices I saw anywhere. The tech support was wonderful walking me through troubleshooting. Thanks again."- Jonathan Markley
Temperature Control System
To have the best experience in your sauna, it’s essential to ensure the temperature remains at a level comfortable to you the entire time. When choosing electric heaters, ensure they have a temperature control mechanism such as a thermostat.
This allows you to easily adjust the temperature to your liking so that you’re feeling neither cold nor too hot.
For wood-burning stoves, temperature control is done by adjusting the air vents. Closing the vents restricts air from getting to the fire resulting in gentle heat, while opening them gives you hotter flames.
No matter what type of experience you're looking for in your home sauna, Harvia heaters have everything you need to ensure complete satisfaction with every use, allowing everyone in your house to enjoy personalized comfort during their wind-down sessions.
To protect your body from overheating, it’s advisable to keep your sessions to a maximum of 45 minutes.
Having a system that helps you stay within a safe time limit is essential, especially on those days when the steam seems ultra soothing and you feel like going for longer.
Most electric heaters come with controls that allow you to set a time limit for your sessions. When the maximum is reached, the heater switches itself off, ensuring safety.
You’re free to unwind without constantly checking your watch, worrying about whether your body is at a dangerous heat threshold without being aware.
Safety sensors continually monitor the heaters, turning them off when they get too hot to avoid risks such as:
- Skin burns
- Damage to the heater
- The sauna room catching fire
Apart from avoiding injuries to you while in the sauna, the heater itself needs to remain at safe temperatures. If it becomes too hot, the internal elements could get damaged and cause the heater to stop functioning completely.
Before selecting a heater for your home sauna, ensure it has a safety shutoff system. This works by turning off the device when the elements overheat, and only allowing it to run again after everything has cooled to a safe operating temperature.
All of Harvia’s electric heaters have this safety system in-built, ensuring peace of mind during your steaming sessions.
"The heater now works incredibly. Happened to be the luck of the draw that with first use the timer burnt out, thus putting the heater out of commission completely. Tech support was amazing in sending the part, plus a series of photos to replace the part while also being on standby in case the photos were not enough. Replaced the part, been having fantastic sauna sessions since. The heater is great." - Loren Evans, Verified Buyer
In general, electric heaters are easier to install than wood-burning stoves. This is due to extra parts such as ventilation systems and chimneys required for the stoves.
The installation of Harvia’s electric heaters is easy enough to DIY in case you have any doubts about the wiring or electrical supply.
For the wood-burning heaters, you’ll need safety-boosting accessories such as protective walls and a protective base for the floor of your sauna.
These additions will vary depending on the model of the heater and the construction of your steam room.
Whether you choose an electric heater or wood-burning stove, make sure you install it in accordance with building codes and the manufacturer's installation and safety instructions.
Manufacturers always specify the following aspects for each heater:
- Minimal distance from surfaces such as walls
- Space needed between the heater and combustible materials
- Clearance distance for ventilation
- Thermal insulation requirements for the walls
Following these guidelines will ensure the safest conditions in your sauna and enable you to experience ultimate relaxation. Additionally, you can watch this video by Harvia on how to install your heater in your home sauna.
Durability Of Materials
Since sauna heaters are an investment, you’ll want something that serves you well for years and gives you the best value for your money.
Whether you’re looking for an electric or wood-burning heater, all of Harvia’s products are expertly engineered to ensure they hold up well against wear and tear.
Their durable stainless steel outer frames don't warp or lose their structural integrity from the heat, no matter how frequently you use the sauna.
In addition, stainless steel withstands physical stress from impacts quite well due to its structural stability. This means that your heater won’t bend or break easily and you’ll enjoy having it for years to come.
Stainless steel is also highly resistant to corrosion and rust. As such, these heaters aren’t affected by moisture accumulation from high temperatures and humidity in sauna rooms.
But that’s not all. Stainless steel is non-reactive to rapid changes in temperature and humidity such as those that occur in saunas. You can rest easy that your Harvia heater will maintain its structure over time.
The price of sauna heaters depends on several factors such as:
- Stone capacity
- Size of the heater
- Heating capacity in kilowatts (kW)
- The type (wood burning or electric)
Wood burning heaters typically cost more because of their large size and more components needed to function, such as the wood compartment.
In the table below we show how three Harvia sauna heater models compare in terms of price.
|Harvia M3 Wood Burning Sauna Stove
|Harvia Kip Electric Sauna Heater
|Harvia Vega 3500 Compact Electric Sauna Heater
What Others Said About Our Traditional Sauna Heaters
Harvia heaters are designed, engineered and made in Finland, where the sauna culture is quite strong. As such, they’re crafted to deliver unmatched performance for ultimate relaxation.
The controls are easy to navigate, all the materials used are durable, and installation takes only a few minutes.
Our customers love these heaters for their:
- Excellent construction
- Ease of installation
- Outstanding functionality
- Ease of use
Here’s what some of our clients have to say about their purchases.
"Love the new heater, just wish the on timer was longer than one hour." - Jay Smith, Verified Buyer
"We love our new powerful sauna heater. Easy handling, fast warm-up, stylish design." - Fred & Sabine, Verified Buyer
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I replace my sauna heater stones?
Because of the exposure to high heat, sauna stones tend to yellow, crumble and lose their properties over time. As such, you need to replace them once a year, or after 300 hours of usage if you use your sauna three times a week.
If you have less frequent sessions, once every two years will do for a stone replacement schedule.
What size of traditional sauna heater do I need for my sauna room?
As a guiding principle, you need around 1kW of heating power for every 50 cubic feet of space. So if your sauna room is 250 cubic feet in volume, a 5kW heater will serve you best.
Always round up the figure you get and if in doubt, go to the next size.
How do I maintain and clean my traditional sauna heater?
To keep your sauna heater in the best shape, inspect the stones and periodically check for any signs of damage. Replace any cracked stones as soon as possible to prevent grit from crumbling pieces coating the heating elements.
Also, remember to remove ashes regularly from wood-burning heaters to allow enough space for airflow so that the fire burns efficiently.
As for limescale stains on the surface of the heater, use a mixture of water and vinegar or citric acid powder to wipe off the streaks. Heaters with a stainless steel surface will benefit from a heater cleanser that removes limescale without leaving marks.
Can I pour water over the sauna stones in an electric sauna heater?
Yes. Sauna stoves are designed with this in mind, meaning that it’s safe as long as you drizzle the water a little at a time. We recommend that as much as possible, use distilled water to prevent mineral buildup on the stones and heater elements.
Also, ensure you use a ladle while doing this to avoid the risk of burning your hands.
Get the Best Quality Traditional Sauna Heaters From Sun Valley Saunas
The heater you choose for your home sauna can either give you a mundane experience or turn your sessions into self-pampering adventures that you always look forward to.
We only stock heaters from reputable brands, so you’re sure that you’re making the right choice when you buy a Harvia heater.
Ready to take your wellness routine to the next level? Browse our extensive collection of traditional sauna heaters to find one that best suits your needs.
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 email@example.com
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.