How to Choose the Best Outdoor Sauna on a Budget: A Buyer’s Guide

An outdoor sauna is a fantastic addition to any home, offering relaxation, health benefits, and a touch of luxury. However, many people believe that investing in a high-quality outdoor sauna is beyond their budget. The good news is that in 2023, there are affordable options available that won’t break the bank. This buyer’s guide will help you navigate the world of budget-friendly outdoor saunas and make an informed decision on the best one for your needs.

Why Invest in an Outdoor Sauna?

Before we dive into the details of choosing an outdoor sauna, let’s briefly discuss why investing in one is a wise choice. Saunas offer a range of physical and mental health benefits, including:

  1. Stress Reduction: Saunas help relax your body and mind, reducing stress and promoting overall well-being.
  2. Detoxification: Sweating in a sauna can help your body eliminate toxins and impurities through your pores.
  3. Improved Circulation: Sauna sessions increase blood flow, which can be beneficial for heart health and muscle recovery.
  4. Pain Relief: The heat in saunas can soothe muscle and joint pain, making them an excellent choice for those with chronic pain conditions.
  5. Skin Health: Saunas can promote clearer skin by opening up pores and improving blood circulation to the skin.
  6. Better Sleep: Regular sauna use can lead to improved sleep patterns and a more restful night’s sleep.

Now that you understand the advantages of having a sauna, let’s explore how to choose the best one for your budget.

1. Determine Your Budget

The first step in choosing an outdoor sauna on a budget is to determine your spending limit. Saunas come in various price ranges for Barrel Sauna, so setting a budget will help you narrow down your options and prevent overspending. Remember that your budget should include not only the cost of the sauna itself but also any installation, electrical work, or additional accessories you may need.

2. Decide on the Type of Sauna

Outdoor saunas come in two main types: traditional saunas and infrared saunas. Each type offers a different sauna experience, so it’s important to understand the differences and choose the one that best suits your preferences and budget.

  • Traditional Saunas: These saunas use heated rocks to generate steam and provide high heat levels. They are known for their therapeutic benefits and are typically more expensive to install and operate.
  • Infrared Saunas: Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to directly heat your body, producing lower temperatures and milder humidity levels. They are often more budget-friendly, energy-efficient, and easy to install.

Consider your budget and the experience you’re looking for when deciding between traditional and infrared saunas.

3. Determine the Size and Capacity

The size and capacity of the sauna are crucial factors to consider. Saunas come in various sizes, ranging from compact one-person saunas to larger models that can accommodate four or more individuals. Think about how many people will use the sauna at once and the available space in your outdoor area.

Choosing a smaller sauna may be more budget-friendly, but it could limit the number of people who can enjoy it simultaneously. A two-person sauna is a popular choice for many households, offering a balance between space and cost.

4. Material Matters

The material used to construct your sauna can significantly impact its price, durability, and aesthetic appeal. Two common materials used for saunas are:

  • Hemlock or Cedar Wood: These woods are popular choices due to their natural resistance to decay and insects. They also have a pleasant aroma. Cedar saunas are generally more expensive than hemlock saunas.
  • Other Softwoods: While not as durable as cedar or hemlock, other softwoods like spruce or pine are more budget-friendly options. These saunas may require more maintenance to prevent damage.

Choosing the right material depends on your budget and your willingness to maintain the sauna over time.

5. Consider Heating Elements

Heating elements play a crucial role in how your sauna operates and, consequently, in your budget. Here are two common heating elements you’ll come across:

  • Electric Heaters: Electric heaters are often used in both traditional and infrared saunas. They are known for their energy efficiency and can be controlled with precision. However, they might require a dedicated electrical circuit, which could add to installation costs.
  • Wood-Burning Stoves: Wood-burning stoves provide an authentic sauna experience and are often used in traditional saunas. While they add a rustic charm, they require a constant supply of wood and may involve more maintenance.

Choose a heating element that aligns with your budget and preferences.

6. Additional Features and Accessories

When budgeting for an outdoor sauna, don’t forget to account for any additional features or accessories you might want. Some common extras include:

  • Built-in Sound Systems: These allow you to enjoy your favorite music or sounds while you relax in the sauna.
  • Chromotherapy Lighting: Colored LED lights can create a soothing and therapeutic ambiance.
  • Oxygen Ionizers: These devices help purify the air in the sauna and can improve the overall experience.
  • Sauna Stones and Buckets: If you opt for a traditional sauna, you’ll need sauna stones and buckets for creating steam.

Each of these features can add to the overall cost, so prioritize them based on your preferences and budget.

7. Warranty and Maintenance

An often overlooked aspect of buying a sauna is the warranty and the long-term maintenance requirements. Consider the following:

  • Warranty: Check the warranty offered by the manufacturer. A longer warranty can give you peace of mind and protect your investment.
  • Maintenance: Understand the maintenance requirements of your chosen sauna. Some saunas may require more upkeep, which can translate to additional costs over time.

8. Installation and Electrical Requirements

Before making a purchase, determine whether you have the necessary electrical supply and space for the sauna. Some saunas, especially those with electric heaters, may require a dedicated electrical circuit. Additionally, factor in the cost of installation if you’re not planning to set up the sauna yourself.

9. Read Reviews and Compare Brands

Once you’ve identified saunas that match your budget and preferences, read customer reviews and compare brands. Reviews can provide valuable insights into the performance, durability, and overall satisfaction of other users. Consider the reputation of the manufacturer and their history of providing quality saunas.

10. Plan for Safety

Safety should be a top priority when choosing an outdoor sauna. Ensure the sauna you select adheres to safety standards and includes features like emergency shut-off switches and proper ventilation.


Investing in an outdoor sauna on a budget is a smart decision that can bring numerous physical and mental health benefits. By following these steps and considering your budget, preferences, and available space, you can select the best outdoor sauna that aligns with your financial limits while delivering the relaxation and wellness benefits you desire.

Remember that while affordability is essential, it’s equally crucial to choose a sauna that suits your lifestyle and offers lasting value. Make an informed decision and soon you’ll be enjoying the many advantages of having your very own outdoor sauna.

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