The best traditional steam sauna can be easily found in Finland where the first ever recorded evidence on saunas dates back to 1112. Saunas play a significant part of the country’s culture until today. In fact, it is a common form of courtesy, so it is not surprising that saunas are not just an intimate place for personal relaxation but can also be a setting for business meetings.
Finland has an estimated number of 2 million saunas for a population of 5.3 million. However, you no longer have to travel to Finland to get the best and most authentic experience as you can already have this extremely relaxing and health-boosting installation in the comforts of your own home.
How Does it Work?
- 1 How Does it Work?
- 2 Benefits of Using a Sauna
- 3 Addressing the Controversies
- 4 Do’s and Don’ts in Using a Sauna
- 5 What to look for in a sauna?
- 6 The Top 11 Best Traditional Steam Saunas
- 6.1 1. Almost Heaven Logan Cedar 1-person Electric Sauna
- 6.2 2. Almost-heaven Madison Cedar 3-person Electric sauna
- 6.3 3. Almost Heaven Pinnacle Cedar 4-Person Electric barrel sauna
- 6.4 4. Almost Heaven Princeton 6-person Electric Barrel Sauna
- 6.5 5. Almost Heaven Saunas LLC Salem 2-Person Traditional Steam Sauna
- 6.6 6. Baldwin 2-person Traditional Sauna
- 6.7 7. Southport 3-Person Traditional Sauna
- 6.8 8. Baltic Leisure Modular 3-Person Traditional Steam Sauna
- 6.9 9. Almost Heaven Saunas LLC Grayson Fir 4-Person Traditional Steam Sauna
- 6.10 10. Almost Heaven Saunas LLC Bridgeport Fir 6-Person Traditional Steam Sauna
- 6.11 11. Aleko 4-Person Steam Sauna
- 7 Conclusion
There are currently different types of saunas available in the market: portable steam sauna, steam shower, and outdoor sauna. All of them works similarly; they heat up a room to a certain temperature, usually around 110℉ to 190℉. Some of the traditional saunas are heated by wood being burned in a stove. The burnt wood is then placed inside a room, allowing the ember to heat the room.
You can make a simple Outdoor Sauna
Benefits of Using a Sauna
Saunas are known for its many health benefits, and below are just some of them:
It can help with mental fatigue or stress.
Sauna rooms, or also known as dry rooms, can help lower stress. Being in an environment which temperature is higher than usual creates heat stress to the body; thus, it releases dynorphin. To counter that, the brain activates the production of endorphins, a type of chemical that creates a positive feeling to the body.
It increases blood flow and relaxes the muscle.
As the body releases endorphins, this gives the body a tranquilizing effect. The heat from the sauna increases the body’s core temperature. This causes the blood vessels to dilate, which increases the blood flow. This also speeds up the natural healing effect of our body.
It gives you a healthier complexion.
When you produce sweat because of the steam, it opens up your pores. Sweating removes the bacteria from the upper layer of the skin and the sweat ducts, which makes the skin soft and glowing.
It induces better and deeper sleep.
Because of the high temperature in the sauna, the sudden drop in temperature in the environment, especially at night, reduces the endorphins being released, creating a calming effect to the body. Because of this, you will have a better sleeping experience.
It releases toxins.
The major organ for detoxification is the skin. Numerous studies have been published that clearly showed the relationship between frequent sweating and detoxification. Another study showed significant reduction of symptoms of chronic illnesses caused by methamphetamine exposure of police officers after regular sauna sessions.
Addressing the Controversies
Sauna aiding weight loss has been a subject of debates and discussions among skeptics and sauna users, for a good reason. Yes, it does help with weight loss, but only to a certain extent. Overheating causes the body to work harder as it tries to regulate the body’s temperature, thus the sweat. A well-hydrated body effectively eliminates excess water; however, the increased salt percentage in the body causes water retention in the cells, resulting in water weight gain. Sweating helps shed this excess salt.
Other health benefits claimed for using sauna are boosting the body’s metabolism and assisting in muscle growth, but there few to no evidence to support these claims.
Lastly, there is the concern on athlete’s foot. Some claim that using a sauna can cause athlete’s foot; however, this is more on if the room is cleaned properly on a regular basis and not by the use of the room itself.
Do’s and Don’ts in Using a Sauna
Here are some sauna etiquettes and safety tips:
- Rehydrate after use since you lost a lot of water through sweating. It is also recommended to stay no longer than 15 to 20 minutes.
- Take a cold shower before and after using a sauna. This removes the sweat and helps your body relax with the sudden temperature change.
- Do not wear any jewelry or bring electronics gadgets. The jewelry may heat up and burn the skin, and the electronic gadgets may get issues due to the heat and steam.
- Do not eat or drink alcohol before going in. This will cause the blood pressure to drop, which might cause nausea.
What to look for in a sauna?
Here are some tips to look for when purchasing a sauna for your home:
Indoor or Outdoor
Indoor saunas are typically located near the bathroom of the home. It doesn’t require proper insulation but requires proper ventilation. Outdoor saunas are typically located near the pool or garden. It requires proper insulation and foundation, on top of power connection and water supply fixings.
Currently, there are two major types of saunas: the traditional saunas and infrared saunas. The heat in a traditional dry-wet sauna comes from either an electric or a wood heat source. Infrared saunas are relatively new with two types, namely carbon far infrared and ceramic far infrared. Carbon panels can bring the temperature up to 140℉ in 10 minutes, but the ceramic panels can deliver a long-lasting heat as compared to carbon panels. These features make these type of saunas more affordable to operate than traditional saunas.
Modern saunas have moved way past from its wooden origin. A modern-day traditional sauna steam room uses electricity by heating a basket of rocks. Moisture and temperature can be raised by sprinkling water over the rocks; however, it takes 20 to 35 minutes to heat. Its counterpart uses a heating element that radiates heat and takes lesser time to heat up the place.
Sauna interiors are made of softwoods that absorb steam and remain cool, making the room cozy and comfortable. Hemlock, a light-colored hardwood and is naturally stain-resistant, is a good choice for people with allergies since it’s less aromatic. Cedar, long-lasting and aromatic, is naturally resistant to insects, which makes this material a good option for an outdoor home steam sauna. Aspen is usually used for indoor saunas because of its affordability.
The Top 11 Best Traditional Steam Saunas
1. Almost Heaven Logan Cedar 1-person Electric Sauna
The Logan Cedar 1-Person sauna is the best home sauna for indoor use. This sauna comes with a double-window and is built with classy rustic cedar lumber. Also included is an accessory kit of red cedar which includes a robe hook, leg lift, back rest, magazine, and drink shelf. In addition, it has a wide horizontal slat bench which is ideal for one person to relax.
While the sauna has no flooring, it can use your existing floor. The type of floor can be laminate, vinyl, tile, concrete or any other solid material. However, use of a carpet is highly discouraged.
It has a dual-controlled 4.5kW Finnish-style water over-the-rock steam heater. This means that you may get either dry heat or pour some water using the spoon provided over the heated stones according to your preferred humidity.
- Pre-assembled rustic cedar wall and roof area
- Comes with a red cedar fixture kit
- LED light bulb of 110 volts and regular plug-in
- Dial controlled 4.5kW stainless steel steam heater
- 5-year warranty
- Has a tongue-and groove-lumbar section
- Meant for single users
- Flexible vent
- Has a timer that can be delayed for up to 8 hours
- Weather and mildew resistant
- Ideal for indoor use
- Only one person can use it at a time
- Can only be used indoors
- Omits floor
2. Almost-heaven Madison Cedar 3-person Electric sauna
The Madison cedar comes in the form of a kit with pre-assembled walls and roof fittings. The 4.5kW heater is made of stainless steel and has a dial control. It takes about 30 minutes to heat up to about 150° F and will reach 185° F in less than an hour, making it one of the best traditional steam sauna models in the market. You can create a refreshing burst of stem by adding water to the stones.
- Made of Finnish rustic cedar, the sauna comes with pre-fitted roof and wall fittings
- Two benches for multi-sitting
- The stainless heater is equipped with hinges and fasteners
- It is fitted with an 8-hour delayed timer
- Interior LED light of 110 volts and a plug-in feature
- Its tempered glass door has a long handle
- Contains a tongue-and-groove lumber section
- 5-year warranty
- Indoor use
- Its flexible temperature can reach a maximum of 195° F
- Red cedar accessory (5-piece)
- Its long handle makes it easy to open the door
- Quick and easy to set up since it comes with pre-built wall and roof fittings
- Mildew and weather resistant
- The red cedar accessory equipment renders it fit and cozy
- Has no flooring
3. Almost Heaven Pinnacle Cedar 4-Person Electric barrel sauna
The pinnacle is built with thick and insulating rustic cedar. This design uses a ball-and-socket profile which is fastened with bands made of stainless steel. The steam barrel sauna is made in the USA and can service up to 4 people. Maximum heat circulation is allowed due to its round shape.
The natural and smooth wood is held using few fasteners. A tempered glass window is fitted on the strong cedar door. It is fixed on two polymer support cradles. In addition, there is a dial-controlled 60kW stainless steel heater and 40 pounds of sauna stones. Water can be sprinkled on the heated sauna stones for a refreshing feeling
- Heats up to a maximum of 195° F
- The lumber profiles and end- sections are handmade
- Ball-and-socket cedar lumber: 1- ⅜ inch thick
- It is controlled using a dial of 6.0kW KIP
- Stainless steel bands, fasteners, and hinges
- Door made of cedar with tempered glass window
- Interior LED light, 110 volts plug-in
- Cedar heater guard
- Weather resistant plastic support cradles
- Two benches across each other for reclining or sitting
- Includes red cedar fixture kit (5 piece)
- It has an electric Harvia heater of 220 volts and 30 amp
- Can hold up to 4 people
- Used both indoors and outdoors
- Maximum heat circulation
- Retains heat for long
- Limited life warranty on the sauna room
4. Almost Heaven Princeton 6-person Electric Barrel Sauna
If you are looking for a traditional sauna to accommodate your entire family, then this 6-person unit from Princeton is the best traditional sauna for you. This traditional sauna features a classic barrel design. Its simple design is energy saving since it minimizes excess space. It is crafted from rustic cedar, which is a soft lumber known for its great insulation abilities. The interior is spacious enough to cozily seat 6 individuals.
It is also encouraging to know that it is designed using a ball-and-socket profile held in place by stainless steel bands. Few fasteners are used to show off the smooth wood. It allows for maximum heat circulation due to the curved walls.
- Mounted on polymer support cradles
- Stainless steel hinges, fasteners, and bands
- Pre-fixed lumber profiles and end parts
- Meant for indoor and outdoor use
- Ball-and-socket cedar lumber
- Two benches facing each other
- Comes with red cedar 5-piece accessory kit
- Contains a dial controlled 8.0kW KIP electric heater
- 40 pounds of sauna stones
- Includes timer
- Can be used both indoors and outdoors
- Energy saving
- Long lasting
- Has a limited life warranty
- Set up depends on size of home
5. Almost Heaven Saunas LLC Salem 2-Person Traditional Steam Sauna
Almost Heaven is hailed as one of the most trusted traditional steam sauna brands in the market because of their efficient and effective products. The Salem Traditional Sauna is a coveted 2-person sauna among couples.
This is quite affordable, generate satisfying, powerful heat, and is constructed with high-quality materials to meet the user’s need.
- This comes with 40 lbs. of sauna stones that can be heated by a heater that creates really good steam.
- It is also compatible with dry and wet sauna.
- The sauna resembles the barrel shape, making it faster to eat up the entire space.
- Made from Rustic Fir, this sauna provides natural insulation with a classic smooth surface
- You can enjoy a panoramic view outside since a Vista window can be installed as an option.
- Can be used both indoors and outdoors
- Makes use of a KIP heater to heat up the sauna stones
- This heater can be set up to 8 hours of heating.
6. Baldwin 2-person Traditional Sauna
This Sauna is ideal for restoration and relaxing in the comfort of your home. It has a 2.3kW Harvia heater that can produce temperatures of up to 175°F. Also included is a water cask and spoon that lets you add water to the Finnish sauna heater stones to get your desired temperature.
Impressively, it has a tongue-and-groove construction that is easy to assemble and operate. It is a great addition to any home since the Canadian hemlock wood is smooth, durable, and naturally attractive
- Tempered glass door
- Finnish lava stones for intense heat and humidity
- Flexible vent
- 7-year warranty against defects in material and workmanship
- Weighs 325 pounds
- Meets all Canada and USA safety standards
- Has an adjustable temperature of up to 185°F
- Can be used by 2 people
- Has an inbuilt lighting
- Features ergonomic seating
- Comes with flexible vent
- Does not have its own floor
- It can only be used indoors
7. Southport 3-Person Traditional Sauna
This spacious and large conventional sauna is designed to accommodate up to 3 people at a go. It can produce temperatures of up to 180° F, thanks to its 3Kw Harvia heater.
Better yet, it has standard features including an in-built light, relaxed seating, a thermo-hydrometer for displaying humidity level and a cabin constructed with natural Canadian Hemlock wood. The Harvia comes with 40-pound Finnish lava stones.
- Occupied by 3 people
- Comes with a floor of its own
- Harvia 3kW heater with Finnish lava stones
- Made of Canadian Hemlock wood
- Meets all Canada and USA safety standards; 220 volts and 20 amp
- Built-in lighting
- Meant for indoor use only
- Has a 7-year warranty against defects
- Adjustable temperature of up to 185° F
- Delayed timer of about 8 hours and turns off after an hour
- Weighs 396 pounds
- Can be used by 3 people
- The delayed timer is handy for saving energy
- It comes with its own flooring
- The ergonomic seat promotes healthy sitting
- Roof vent can be changed
- For indoor use only
8. Baltic Leisure Modular 3-Person Traditional Steam Sauna
If the barrel-like sauna is not your thing and you prefer the box shape, then Baltic Leisure’s 3-Person Traditional Steam Sauna is an excellent pick.
This is a rectangle sauna made from solid wood with a beautiful tan finish. The Clear Western Red Cedar Plywood backing also added to the wood constructions durability. With a maximum temperature of 194 degrees Fahrenheit, you will surely sweat a lot and release stress and toxins out of your body.
It is advisable to use this steam sauna indoors only.
- Includes 3 benches inside
- Equipped with a really good vent and easy-to-use control panel
- This sauna offers a 5-year product warranty service.
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Safety is not an issue with this one as this is UL listed and CE and ETL certified.
- Delivers gentle yet satisfying heat
9. Almost Heaven Saunas LLC Grayson Fir 4-Person Traditional Steam Sauna
This is a beautifully constructed traditional steam sauna made from Grayson Fir plywood. Just like most traditional steam saunas, it is equipped with sauna stones, standard KIP heater, and bucket and ladle.
For a family of four, this sauna is the ideal size that can fit in the entire family inside. There are also benches inside so that users can sit and get comfy while enjoying the sauna.
- Comes with 40 lbs. of sauna stones which can be heated using the KIP heater
- You can add a sprinkle of water to the sauna rocks to create beautiful sauna steam.
- This is a free-standing sauna that makes use of your existing floor.
- Suitable with ceramic, tile, concrete, and vinyl flooring
- With a 5-year limited product warranty
10. Almost Heaven Saunas LLC Bridgeport Fir 6-Person Traditional Steam Sauna
Another amazing entry from Almost Heaven is this 6-person steam sauna. This is a spacious sauna that is perfect for big families.
If you love all the features of the Salem and Grayson Fir saunas but want a much bigger size, then this is definitely the one for you.
Please note that this is best used indoors only.
- Made from high-quality solid wood material with Rustic Fir finish
- The maximum temperature is 195-degrees Fahrenheit.
- You’ll have a great view of the outside, thanks to its tempered glass door.
- This amazing sauna is also rust-resistant.
- With lifetime limited warranty on the sauna and a5-year warranty on the heater
- UL and CE certified
11. Aleko 4-Person Steam Sauna
This stunning steam sauna has a modern look but still delivers traditional heating environment. Made from Canadian Red Cedar Wood, you can expect this sauna to last longer.
Moreover, it can seat up to 4 people inside. But the best thing about it is that this is a two-way sauna that can be used both for dry and wet sauna experience.
- High-quality Canadian Cedar wood material
- CE and ETL approved
- Includes an interior lamp inside, a heater fence, touch control panel, and sauna stones
- Improves one’s blood circulation and increase metabolism, thus improving the overall health
- Easy to assemble
- Can warm the sauna up to 194-degrees Fahrenheit
If the idea of a traditional sauna in your home gets you excited, then these 6 products should top your list. Nonetheless, the best traditional steam sauna overall is the Almost Heaven Princeton 6-person Electric Steam Barrel sauna. Compared to the Logan Cedar and Baldwin 2-person saunas, it is energy saving since many people can use it at a time. On one hand, the Princeton sauna heats faster because the barrel shape allows for maximum heat circulation. On the other hand, the rectangular shaped Logan Cedar and Baldwin 2-person saunas trap some heat at the top hence poor heat circulation.
Moreover, it is a good choice since it is spacious while with the other designs have limited space. Again, one can sit comfortably as it has a variety of sitting positions while some others only have one sitting position.