TOP BARREL SAUNAS: A Complete Buying Guide
Considering purchasing a home barrel sauna? Audacia Home has you covered with our complete buying guide. The guide will discuss all of the most important considerations when choosing a barrel sauna, and then we will give our recommendations of the top barrel saunas on the market. Enjoy!
Barrel Sauna Blog: Introduction
Owning a barrel provides numerous excellent benefits including immediate access to relaxation and a place to unwind, a place to socialize with friends, and even a beautiful aesthetic piece for any backyard. Audacia Home is here to walk you through the most important questions to consider when choosing a barrel sauna for your home.
What Size of Barrel Sauna is Right for You?
One of the most important considerations when choosing a home barrel sauna is choosing the correct size that will align with your envisioned uses. Many people buy and use saunas for completely different reasons, and these reasons are often the main determinant in what will be the correct size of barrel sauna.
How Do You Envision Using Your Barrel Sauna?
Some customers may envision their barrel sauna as a primarily social-related activity meant to be enjoyed with friends and family. For example - who wouldn't love a nice barrel sauna session after a nice evening campfire? Or alternatively, who would not love a nice steamy barrel sauna session in the midst of a cold winter evening? Both situations make for excellent potential uses of a barrel sauna for socially related purposes with friends or family.
However, many barrel sauna users may have their sauna sessions as a time to relax and unwind. These users may enjoy their sauna session as "their time" and envision using their barrel sauna for primarily personal use.
Both situations are excellent uses of the sauna, but as you can see, they are very different. For the first group (socially related users), a large barrel sauna that can house up to 6 people may make the most sense, while for individual users, a smaller barrel sauna may make sense. However, if an individual user also wants to be able to stretch out and relax in a laying down position, a larger option may also make sense as well.
Barrel Sauna: Size Restrictions
Another consideration when choosing a barrel sauna is the amount of space you have for one. If you live out in the country and have a large yard - you can skip this section in its entirety. However, if you are an urban resident with a smaller yard, it is something to consider. I would recommend taking measurements of where you envision placing the sauna and comparing them with the sauna measurements online in order to determine whether or not you will have enough space for the sauna of your choosing.
What Kind of Heater Should I Use in my Barrel Sauna?
Essentially, there are two types of heaters that one can use in their sauna: wood-burning and electric. We will briefly discuss each, and why you may choose one over the other.
HUUM Steam Based Electric Heater
Wood Burning Stove Sauna Heater
The oldest type of sauna heater, a wood-burning sauna heater will give your sauna a traditional and authentic feel like no other. Who doesn't love the thought of enjoying a nice warm sauna session with the scent of a campfire inside? Even writing about it makes me want to hop in one. Another benefit of using a wood-burning heater is the extreme amount of heat that they are capable of producing. Lastly, a benefit that may appeal to some customers is the fact that they do not run on any electricity - ie. there will be no need to have your electrician come and run a circuit out to your backyard.
As wonderful and authentic as wood-burning heaters are, it would be imprudent of us to ignore the fact that they do have some disadvantages as well. For starters, they take much longer to heat up than their electric heating counterparts. Additionally, depending on whether you live in a rural or urban area, finding wood to burn in your barrel sauna may be very difficult, or even costly. Secondly, while wood-burning heaters can get extremely hot, it can be difficult to control the exact temperature in the same way that you can on an electric heater. Lastly, while the wood heaters themselves are usually cheaper than the electric options - if your sauna does not come with a pre-built chimney, you will likely have to add one to your sauna, which can end up costing more than the electric heater on its own.
These are a few of the considerations to take into account if you are considering a wood-burning sauna heater. If you have further questions, I would recommend connecting with our team of experts who would be happy to advise you further.
Electric Sauna Heaters
Electric heaters are simple, quick to heat up, and easy to use. Top-of-the-line electric sauna heaters can often reach the maximum permitted by United States law of 194 Fahrenheit within 10 minutes. Depending on the model, you may even be able to "pre-program" your sauna to turn on at a specific time so you can hop right in when it's already reached full temperature.
Like wood-burning heaters, electric heaters do come with certain disadvantages as well. For example, the fact they are electric means that they will have an effect on your home utility bill. Additionally, depending on where you plan to locate the sauna, it may be difficult to have your electrician run a wire out to that spot to facilitate the electric requirements.
Harvia Electric Sauna Heaters
Barrel Sauna Heater: Conclusion
Both wood-burning and electric sauna heaters come with their own idiosyncratic advantages and disadvantages. We recommend considering all of the factors discussed above, and coming to a conclusion based on your own personal preferences. In our opinion, assuming that electrical requirements are not an issue, the decision boils down (pun intended) to whether you would prefer the authenticity of a wood-burning sauna experience or the simplicity and ease of use of an electric sauna heater
What Type of Outer Wood Should I Use for my Barrel Sauna?
The type of wood that you choose for your barrel sauna is an essential consideration that must be carefully considered. There are many different options on the market, with considerable cost differences amongst them. Given this, it is important to know what you are, or are not, paying for when choosing a type of wood. Below, you will find a brief summary of the most popular wood types, along with our opinions of each.
The most popular and sought-after type of sauna wood, and for good reason. The two most obvious benefits of a cedar sauna are the terrific cedar aroma that occurs once the sauna heats up, and second, the beautiful red-cedar aesthetic. While these are the most popular benefits of choosing a cedar sauna, there are other important factors as well. Additionally, some saunas use white cedar wood which has many of the same characteristics as its red cedar sibling, however, it will be lighter in aesthetic.
For one, Cedar is a "soft" wood, which means that it absorbs less heat. This means that if you are making your sauna extremely hot, it will not get as hot to touch or sit on, and the wood itself will not expand. When a type of wood - such as hardwood - absorbs a significant amount of heat, the wood expands, causing it to worp or become deformed over time and continuous use. Further, another factor making cedar wood such an excellent choice is the fact that it is mold and decay resistant, which is very important for outdoor saunas, such as barrel saunas.
One important caution of cedar wood is that it can become discolored over prolonged periods of exposure to the sun. Given this, it's important to put a protective coating on your wood to prevent discoloration over time. Additionally, some saunas - such as our Clearlight Outdoor Infrared Saunas, use composite cedar wood to prevent this and to provide exceptional longevity benefits. This is why our Clearlight saunas carry a lifetime warranty!
Nordic Spruce is an exception-looking wood that balances durability, tight knots, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Nordic spruce wood is typically lighter in color, making it a favorite for customers who prefer a lighter look for their barrel sauna.
Nordic is also slightly more cost-effective, which is excellent for customers looking to save some cost on their barrel sauna. However, some of our saunas - the Thermory Barrel Saunas, in particular, use thermally modified Nordic Spruce. While an oversimplification, thermo-treated wood is exposed to extreme temperatures over a long period of time; this exposure makes the wood virtually indestructible at no cost to the aesthetic. This is extremely beneficial for outdoor barrel saunas which have to go through harsh conditions. This is exactly why the Thermory Barrel Saunas (which use thermo treated wood) carry a limited lifetime warranty! They are - as of writing, the only barrel sauna to use thermally treated wood.
A very cost-effective option, Hemlock wood hardens as it ages. This does come with a cost, however, as if wood becomes hard and absorbs significant amounts of heat, it can become deformed over time. Additionally, hemlock is not as decay resistant as cedar. These are likely the primary reasons why it is cheaper in cost, and would usually not come with a lifetime warranty. However, if you do not plan on using your sauna at extreme temperatures and are looking to save some cost on your sauna, then this may be an option to consider.
Barrel Sauna Assembly
Another consideration when choosing a home sauna is the difficulty of the assembly process. Customers usually fall into 3 baskets;
(1) Customers who want a "kit", and otherwise want to complete sauna assembly themselves as a sort of handy project
(2) Customers who want the sauna to come as easy to assemble as possible, and to have everything set up within a couple of hours after delivery.
(3) Customers who want the cheapest option, and are willing to outsource and hire someone else (such as a general contractor) to put the sauna together.
Depending on what one of these groups you fall into, you should carefully consider the assembly process and installation options offered by the store that you are purchasing from. Audacia Home takes pride in this, and we can help with the complete installation of any product.
THE TOP BARREL SAUNAS OF 2022
1. Thermory Barrel Saunas
Thermory is a new brand in the barrel sauna space. Traditionally, Thermory is most commonly known as a treated wood manufacturer who is known for their amazing wood. As of recent, they have transitioned into the Barrel Sauna business and have created in our opinion, the top barrel saunas on the market. Thermory also offers the largest range of heater options - with electric, wood burning, and steam all available. Thermory Barrel Sauna is priced at a premium and based on what you get, very rightfully so. Thermory also backs their saunas with a lifetime warranty.
$8,395.00 USD Thermory 4 Person Barrel Sauna With Porch The Thermory Barrel Saunas: It all starts with stunning Spruce. Our Nordic spruce is harvested exclusively in Scandinavia, a region known for the most responsible forestry in the world. This spruce offers impressive rot… See Product Details
Thermory 4 Person Barrel Sauna | No. 60 & No. 61
Thermory 4 Person Barrel Sauna With Porch The Thermory Barrel Saunas: It all starts with stunning Spruce. Our Nordic spruce is harvested exclusively in Scandinavia, a region known for the most responsible forestry in the world. This spruce offers impressive rot… See Product Details
Thermory Barrel Saunas
- Wood Type:Nordic Spruce, ThermoTreated.
- Sizes:4 Person or 6 Person.
- Heater Options:Electric, Wood, or Steam.
- Warranty:Limited Lifetime.
- Ease of Set-Up:Moderate - 4-6 Hours.
- Cost:Premium price.
- Aesthetic/Look:Exceptional - both of the 4 and 6-person options have the availability of a full back window.
Optional Back Window in Thermory Saunas
2. Dundalk Barrel Saunas
The Dundalk manufacturing facility is in Canada. They source all of their wood directly from these northern cousins, which means they have some of the top-quality cedar wood on the planet available for their saunas. Dundalk makes all of their saunas custom and built to order. While this helps to save some cost, it also means they have longer lead times, which is one drawback of these saunas. However, if you do not mind a longer wait time in order to save some cost, we would recommend checking out Dundalk saunas! Dundalk also offers saunas in a variety of sizes with both electric and wood-based heater options. All Dundalk saunas come with a three-year warranty.
$6,945.00 USD CT Luna Sauna 3-Person Sauna This Canadian Timber Collection Luna Sauna by Dundalk LeisureCraft is handcrafted from Eastern White Cedar that is lighter in color and has tight knots in the wood. This Luna Sauna kit comes with solid… See Product Details
Dundalk CT Luna 3 Person Barrel Sauna | CTC22LU
CT Luna Sauna 3-Person Sauna This Canadian Timber Collection Luna Sauna by Dundalk LeisureCraft is handcrafted from Eastern White Cedar that is lighter in color and has tight knots in the wood. This Luna Sauna kit comes with solid… See Product Details
See Dundalk Saunas
- Wood Type:White Cedar
- Sizes:3, 4, or 6 people.
- Heater Options:Electric or wood burning.
- Warranty: 3 years.
- Ease of Set Up:Moderate - 4-6 Hours.
- Aesthetic/Look:Great. No window options which makes it a little bit sub-par compared to the Thermory sauna, but still an amazing-looking sauna.
The inside of a Dundalk Barrel Sauna
3. Almost Heaven Barrel Saunas
Almost Heaven has the largest barrel sauna collection out of any manufacturer, and they offer plenty of different options in terms of sizing, customization options, woods, and price points. There is truly an Almost Heaven sauna for any customer. This considered, many of their saunas use Hemlock Fir wood, and they likely do not have the superior quality as some of the options higher up on the list.
- Wood Type:Hemlock, Cedar, or Spruce.
- Sizes:2 person - 6 people.
- Heater Options:Electric or wood burning.
- Warranty:Limited lifetime on saunas, 5 years on heaters.
- Ease of Set-Up:great - likely the easiest to set up.
- Cost:moderate - depending on the unit.
- Aesthetic/Look:Great. Lots of cool options such as LED mood lighting and the option to add on a window - but you will pay extra.
Barrel Sauna Buying Guide: A Conclusion
We hope that the above blog post has helped to illuminate some of the most important factors when choosing a barrel sauna for your home. We would recommend carefully considering all of the factors, and determining what is best for you specifically based on these considerations.
All options on our top 3 list are great options, and what is #1 for you will depend on your budget, sauna size and heater preferences, and personal aesthetic taste.
If you have any questions about barrel saunas, or if we can help make your barrel sauna buying decision any easier, you can reach out to a member of our product expert team at 844-793-0403 any time, or also email us at email@example.com. We would love to help you out! Alternatively, if you are more generally searching, and are open to other types of saunas such as traditional, infrared, or indoor options, I would recommend checking out our award-winning blog post on the Top Home Saunas of 2022.
By: Casey H.