The Complete Guide to Buying a Barrel Sauna

Investing in a barrel sauna is a luxurious and health-conscious decision, providing relaxation and various health benefits. However, with a myriad of options available in the market, selecting the right barrel sauna can be overwhelming. This guide breaks down the key factors to consider when purchasing your own barrel sauna, covering design, location, size, heater options, automation, and accessories.

Understanding Barrel Sauna Designs

Traditional vs. Modern Designs

When exploring barrel saunas, one of the first decisions to make is between traditional and modern designs. Traditional barrel saunas typically feature a rustic, wooden aesthetic, often made from cedar or spruce. Modern designs, on the other hand, may incorporate sleeker lines and a combination of materials like glass and metal. Your choice depends on personal preference and the overall aesthetic you envision for your sauna.

Materials Used

Selecting the right materials for your barrel sauna is a pivotal decision that significantly influences its longevity, aesthetic appeal, and overall performance. Among the various wood options available, cedar stands out as a popular choice, primarily due to its inherent qualities that make it well-suited for sauna construction.


Cedar is renowned for its exceptional durability and natural resistance to decay and insects. These qualities make it an ideal material for crafting a barrel sauna, where exposure to heat and moisture is constant. The natural oils present in cedar wood act as a protective barrier, preventing decay and deterring insects from compromising the structural integrity of your sauna.

Beyond its practical benefits, cedar also exudes a distinct and pleasing aroma that enhances the overall sauna experience. The aromatic properties contribute to the sensory aspect of your sauna sessions, creating a tranquil and refreshing atmosphere. Additionally, cedar's rich, reddish-brown hue adds a touch of warmth and elegance to the sauna's interior, enhancing the visual appeal of the space.


While cedar is a top-tier choice, spruce emerges as a popular alternative, particularly for those mindful of budget considerations. Spruce possesses commendable qualities that make it a reliable wood option for barrel saunas. It is lighter in color compared to cedar, imparting a brighter and airier feel to the sauna's interior. This can be particularly appealing if you prefer a more neutral or light-toned aesthetic.

Despite its budget-friendly nature, spruce maintains a level of durability suitable for sauna construction. However, it's essential to acknowledge that spruce may not possess the same natural resistance to decay and insects as cedar. Therefore, regular maintenance and protective treatments become crucial to ensure its longevity, especially in environments where the sauna is exposed to varying weather conditions.

Considerations for Material Selection: Climate and Maintenance

When deciding on the material for your barrel sauna, it's imperative to consider both the climate of your location and the maintenance requirements of the chosen wood. For instance, if you reside in an area with high humidity or drastic temperature fluctuations, the natural resistance of cedar to decay and insects becomes particularly advantageous.

Additionally, maintenance considerations should align with your lifestyle and willingness to invest time in caring for your sauna. Cedar, with its innate resistance, demands relatively less maintenance compared to other wood options. However, regardless of the wood type chosen, routine checks and treatments are essential to preserve the wood's integrity and prolong the lifespan of your barrel sauna.

Size and Capacity

When it comes to choosing a barrel sauna, one size certainly does not fit all. Size and capacity are crucial considerations that can significantly impact your sauna experience. Barrel saunas are available in a range of sizes, accommodating different numbers of individuals. To ensure your sauna meets your needs, it's essential to consider how many people will typically be using it simultaneously.

Determining Size Based on Usage Patterns 

The first step in selecting the appropriate size for your barrel sauna is to assess the typical usage scenarios. If you envision using the sauna primarily for personal relaxation or with a partner, a more compact model may be suitable. Compact barrel saunas are designed to fit snugly into smaller spaces, making them ideal for homeowners with limited room but a desire for a personal wellness retreat.

Conversely, if your sauna sessions are anticipated to be social affairs with friends or family, a larger model might be the ideal choice. Larger barrel saunas can comfortably accommodate more people, providing ample space for socializing while enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the sauna environment. This makes them perfect for those who envision their sauna as a communal space for relaxation and bonding.

Customization Options

Personalization is a key aspect of creating a truly unique and enjoyable sauna experience. Beyond size considerations, customization options play a crucial role in tailoring your barrel sauna to match your preferences and lifestyle.

1. Interior Layout: Explore customization options related to the interior layout of your barrel sauna. This could include the placement of benches, the positioning of the heater, and the overall spatial arrangement. Tailoring the interior layout ensures that the sauna space is optimized for your preferred seating arrangements and enhances the overall comfort of your sauna experience.

2. Bench Configuration: The configuration of benches within your barrel sauna can impact both comfort and capacity. Consider whether you prefer multi-level seating for a tiered effect or a single-level design for simplicity. Customizing the bench configuration allows you to maximize seating space and create a layout that aligns with your aesthetic and functional preferences.

3. Door Placement: The placement of the sauna door is another customization option that can affect the flow and accessibility of the space. Choose a door placement that complements the layout of the surrounding area and provides easy entry and exit points. This consideration becomes particularly important in smaller spaces where optimizing every inch is crucial.

4. Additional Features: Many manufacturers offer a range of additional features to enhance the functionality and ambiance of your barrel sauna. These may include windows for natural light, interior lighting for added visibility, and different wood finishes for a personalized aesthetic. Explore these options to create a sauna environment that not only meets your practical needs but also aligns with your style preferences.

Choosing the Right Manufacturer for Customization

When exploring customization options, it's essential to choose a reputable manufacturer with a track record of delivering high-quality, personalized saunas. Look for manufacturers who offer a variety of customization choices and have a transparent process for tailoring the sauna to your specifications.

Choosing the Right Location for Your Barrel Sauna

Indoor vs. Outdoor Saunas

Deciding whether to install your barrel sauna indoors or outdoors depends on available space and personal preference. Outdoor saunas provide a unique and natural setting, while indoor saunas offer year-round accessibility. Ensure that the chosen location adheres to safety and ventilation requirements.

Ventilation Considerations

Proper ventilation is essential for any sauna, preventing the buildup of excess heat and ensuring a comfortable experience. Outdoor saunas typically have natural ventilation, but indoor saunas may require additional measures like ventilation systems or vents. Be sure to consult with a professional to determine the best ventilation solution for your chosen location.

Accessibility and Privacy

Consider the accessibility of your chosen location and the level of privacy you desire. Outdoor saunas should be easily accessible from your home, while indoor saunas may require careful consideration of the space and its proximity to changing and relaxation areas.

barrel sauna

What sauna size is right for me?

Choosing the appropriate size for your barrel sauna depends on your available space and the number of users. Smaller saunas, designed for 2-4 people, are suitable for more intimate settings, while larger models can accommodate 6-8 individuals or more. Measure your available space and determine how many people will typically use the sauna simultaneously to make an informed decision.

What kind of heater works best?

Sauna heaters come in various types, including traditional wood-burning, electric, and infrared options. Traditionalists often prefer wood-burning heaters for their authentic sauna experience and distinctive aroma. Electric heaters are convenient and easy to control, while infrared heaters emit heat directly to the body. Choose a heater that aligns with your preferences, taking into account installation requirements, cost, and maintenance.

What about automation?

Some barrel saunas offer automation features to enhance user experience. This may include digital controls for temperature and duration, pre-set programs, and even smartphone connectivity. While these features add convenience, consider whether you prefer a more traditional sauna experience or the added benefits of modern automation.

What are the best sauna accessories?

Enhance your sauna experience with carefully chosen accessories. Common additions include:

  1. Sauna Stones: Essential for traditional wood-burning saunas, these stones retain and radiate heat.
  2. Bucket and Ladle: Used for water and essential oil infusion, creating bursts of steam and enhancing the sauna atmosphere.
  3. Thermometer and Hygrometer: Monitor temperature and humidity levels for a comfortable and safe sauna session.
  4. Backrests and Headrests: Improve comfort during your sauna session.
  5. Lighting: Consider LED lights or traditional sauna lamps to create the right ambiance.


Purchasing a barrel sauna is an exciting endeavor that involves careful consideration of design, location, size, heater type, automation options, and accessories. By evaluating these factors based on your preferences and lifestyle, you can ensure a rewarding and rejuvenating sauna experience for years to come.

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