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Buyers Guide: Best Outdoor Sauna For Your Backyard

Best Outdoor Sauna For Your Backyard

There is nothing better in the dead of winter than walking through the snow out to your own backyard sauna and alternating between sessions in the sauna and the snow. Hot and cold. Brilliant!

Having the best outdoor sauna in your backyard is truly one of life's great pleasures. But if you've spent any amount of time looking for an outdoor sauna you'll know that it can be an overwhelmingly tedious process.

There are hundreds of different saunas available for sale, and many things to consider—the capacity and type of heaters to use, not to mention the size of your backyard.

Being a total fanatic, loving winters, and spending many hours in saunas, my name is Wes McMahon, and I'm here to share the nuanced differences between each sauna, so you have a better chance of buying the best outdoor sauna for your backyard.

Before I get to that, take a look at the table below which shows some of the leading outdoor saunas worth considering based on the qualities you desire.

Our Top Outdoor Sauna Options for Backyards

#1 Outdoor Durability #2 Immersive Garden Sessions #3 Most Comfortable
SaunaLife 6 Person Barrel Sauna Canadian Timber 2-4 Person Outdoor Barrel Sauna SunRay Saunas Grandby 3 Person Infrared Sauna

SaunaLife Model E7W 4 Person Barrel Sauna

Canadian Timber 2-4 Person Outdoor Barrel Sauna SunRay Saunas Grandby 3 Person Infrared Sauna
  • Stainless steel barrel bands
  • Thermally modified wood
  • Spruce cradles for barrel stability
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows and a back panoramic window
  • Porch area that seats two people
  • Barrel design
  • Oxygen ionization system for air purification
  • Side cup holders
  • Wide bench for extra comfort

Our sauna purchase from Sun Valley Saunas was easy and straightforward. Wes answered a question I had over email promptly. Their product availability and pricing are better than other companies. What I wanted was in stock, shipped quickly, and arrived in perfect condition. We're extremely happy with our purchase and our sauna gets used almost every day. - Stephanie D, Verified Customer, Boston 2022

With different price points, sizes, and types of saunas, this list should have something for everyone. But, we have to start with SaunaLife, the manufacturer of the absolute best barrel saunas out there.

#1 Best Sauna for Small Footprint and Large Capacity

Quite likely, you'd prefer a sauna that can tuck easily into a quiet corner of your backyard. Well, the SaunaLife E7w Ergo and SaunaLife E8G 6-Person Sauna are compact saunas that fit within a small footprint of 5,153 square inches.

Either one of these saunas will fit in a small backyard of about 6,000 feet. They maximize the usable space inside the sauna and minimize the space on the ground.

The SaunaLife E7w Ergo can fit 4 bathers while only occupying 5,153 square inches compared to the Luna Sauna CTC22LU which also fits 4 people but occupies 7,310 square inches.

If you have a slightly bigger backyard at 8,000 feet square, you can even fit a small waterfall pond kit and have leftover space to include a circular fire pit where you can enjoy a cozy evening together.

Getting the SaunaLife E7w Ergo offers you so many possibilities on what you can do in your backyard, while still facilitating a good number of people socializing.

On the other hand, the SaunaLife E8 6-Person Sauna fits 6 people and only occupies 5,153 square inches compared to the SaunaLife G4 Sauna which also fits 6 people but occupies almost 8,000 square inches.

Just imagine all the things you can do with the extra 2,847 inches. Maybe add a reading area surrounded by potted plants, a children’s play area, or a miniature greenhouse? It’s really up to you.

Amazing sauna. We use it 5 times a week. It was easy to assemble for 2 people and we got great help from Wes when we selected it. - Charles Mucc, Verified Customer Chicago 2023

SaunaLife Model E7W 4 Person Barrel Sauna

#2 Best for People Wanting a Modern Design

The days when saunas included sharp corners, wooden doors and wood-burning stoves are gone. The Dundalk Luna Sauna’s modern design includes a cuboid shape with rounded corners, an electric heater, and monochromatic wood panels.

The wood panels are made from Eastern White Cedar timber and are stacked in a mixture of contrasting light and slightly tinted shades for that modern edge.

Modern sauna designs are also very minimalistic and foster connectedness with the outside world, and that’s at the heart of the Dundalk Luna.

Case in point, it only includes two wooden benches where bathers can lie down. There’s no clutter, whatsoever.

Additionally, it contains a tempered glass window and door which allow sunlight in, as well as enable sauna users to connect with nature. They’re both made using a minimalist rectangular design including white-colored timber at their borders to create visual interest.

The purchasing experience of the sauna was smooth and the delivery was timely. I found a video on YouTube that helped me with the gaps in the directions to assemble the sauna that came with the shipment. Now that the sauna is completed I am very pleased with the product and look forward to many years of enjoying it with my family. - Jeffrey Finch, Verified Customer USA 2022

Dundalk Luna Sauna

#3 Best Sauna for All-Weather Enjoyment

Most outdoor saunas are not made to withstand the elements. That’s what sets the SaunaLife Model G4 Sauna apart. It’s made using premium Nordic Spruce roof boards and wall beams that are 1.75” thick.

Norway Spruce is known to have both tough and elastic timber, and it maintains its integrity even in changing humidity.

Because of these properties, and the slanted roof with a self-adhesive waterproofing system, you can comfortably use this sauna in any weather, without encountering damage.

Easy ordering. The packaging was well done! Nothing was damaged in transit. Easy to assemble. Well thought out design. I love my new sauna. - Tonja D, Verified Customer Michigan 2023

SaunaLife Model G4 Sauna

#4 Best for People Focused on Health & Wellness

The SunRay Cayenne Outdoor Sauna is the sauna for you if you’re keen on maximizing health benefits from sauna use.

I’ll tell you why; it has 8 infrared heaters that’ll emit deep heat into your body tissues while remaining comfortable for you.

Since infrared heaters can penetrate deep tissue, they can improve benefits like detoxification, muscle soreness, and relaxation.

And because this sauna heats up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it’ll cause you to sweat more—improving detoxification and your skin’s appearance.

To top it all off, there’s an oxygen ionization system to purify the air, so you can avoid respiratory inflammations from any impurities in the sauna.

Simply hop into the sauna in the privacy of your backyard and reap all the health benefits you can.

Finally delivered... Its assembly was a breeze, the parts were clearly labelled and the weight of the panels was quite manageable. It looks and works just as described. I'm quite content with it. - Henry Schweitzer, Verified Customer Oregon 2023

SunRay Cayenne Outdoor Sauna

#5 Best Sauna for Relaxation and Socializing

The Tranquility Barrel Sauna is the perfect sauna if you’re going to be sharing a sauna session with a large group—it comfortably fits 6 people.

But its capacity isn’t the only thing that makes this sauna perfect for relaxation and socializing.

It includes 2 long solid benches placed across from each other, which facilitate meaningful conversations to catch up with your friends while maintaining eye contact.

Additionally, with this much space, it’s easy to play games with a group. Whether you’re having friends or family over, the seating arrangements in this sauna will make everyone feel connected.

Finally, there’s a small porch seating area for two. This is an ideal intimate space for couples, close friends or family.

Imagine lounging on those comfortable seats after an intense, relaxing session playing a board game or sipping fresh juice to rehydrate as you enjoy the fresh breeze. What a great way to enjoy a Saturday afternoon!

Why Get An Outdoor Sauna? An outdoor sauna helps you save valuable indoor space to make room for other essential facilities or design elements within your home.

Awesome sauna - perfect in the backyard and can't wait to get this thing going in the winter. - Jillian H., Verified Customer Los Angeles 2021

Tranquility Barrel Sauna

#6 Best for Evening & Night-time Use

The Golden Designs Uppsala Sauna has many fantastic features. However, what I find most outstanding is the interior accent lighting strip.

Not only does it create a soothing ambience, but can you picture just how lovely this ambient lighting looks under the night sky? It’s like having your own little haven.

The light is functional, helping you find your way around and preventing injuries, while also helping you relax more.

We are enjoying our sauna. It was easy to put together. Sun Valley Saunas was very easy to work with. Our sauna arrived quickly and is of very good quality. - James S., Verified Customer, Washington State, 2021

Golden Designs Uppsala 4 Personal Barrel Sauna

Feature Barrel Sauna Cabin Style Sauna Infrared Sauna
Design Aesthetic Traditional, rustic Modern, structured Sleek, contemporary
Space Required Moderate High Low
Capacity 2-6 people 3-6 people 2-6 people
Heating Method Wood/Electric Electric Carbon/Ceramic Infrared Panels
Heat-up Time 30-45 minutes 20-30 minutes 10-20 minutes
Energy Efficiency Moderate High Very High
Installation Complexity Moderate High Low
Weather Resistance High Moderate Moderate
Maintenance Level High (wood-burning) Moderate Low
Cost $4,399 - $7,499 $3,790 - $26,800 $2,790 - $3,290
Best For Traditional sauna experience, larger gatherings Comprehensive sauna experience, larger families Health-focused individuals, smaller spaces
Our Favorite SaunaLife Model E7W 4 Person Barrel Sauna SaunaLife Model G4 Traditional Outdoor Sauna SunRay Saunas Cayenne 4-Person Outdoor Infrared Sauna HL400D

Whether you decide to go with an infrared sauna or a traditional sauna, I think we can all agree there's just something magical about hopping into an outdoor sauna, especially if it's sitting there in your backyard.

Give us a call at 1-855-963-5665 or reach out via email to discuss your sauna options with a sauna expert.

Author's Note: Updated on 13th December 2023 to highlight specific qualities that make each sauna fit for backyard use including taking up minimal backyard space, the sauna’s ability to withstand weather elements, the presence of modern design elements, and aspects that improve the health and wellness of users.


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 info@sunvalleysaunas.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.

 

5 comments

  • Looking for an outdoor traditional sauna

    Sarkis Araian
  • Would you please provide additional information on the barrel sauna, what is included etc.

    Sheila Debban
  • I’m looking for a 3-4 person electric barrel outdoor sauna in the Edmonton area.

    Bruce
  • I am looking for an outdoor infrared sauna for cold harsh winters in Massachusetts

    Leena Desai
  • I’m interested in an outdoor infrared sauna.

    Kathleen Ralston

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