A Buyer’s Guide to The Best Outdoor Sauna

We’ve created the ultimate buyer’s guide to the best outdoor sauna. We also narrowed it down according to budget, style, and everything else you need to know before making the purchase.

best outdoor sauna

My favorite mornings start when I put on a robe and slip into a pair of sandals, and enjoy a few minutes in the outdoor sauna. Rain or shine, winter or summer, the sauna is one of the best ways to relax, destress and rejuvenate. But there are also a ton of health benefits to using a sauna like cardiovascular health, reducing muscle soreness, and arthritis pain and even lowing your risk of Alzheimer’s.

So it’s no surprise that the outdoor sauna has become one of the most popular cottage accessories this year, and there are tons of varieties to choose from. We’ll explore the traditional saunas to the more modern options with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Whatever your style or budget is, there’s an outdoor sauna for it. Keep reading to see which one is the best, and learn everything you need to know before making the purchase.

cedar barrel sauna

What is a Sauna?

The sauna is a small building or room that is designed to be a heated experience. A sauna can also be a wet or dry experience depending on the facility.

Did you know? That saunas have been used traditionally for thousands of years, dating back as far as 2000 BC. Even though the modern-day sauna still uses high heat or steam to make the user perspire, it’s now done in different ways like infrared technology. We’ll get more into the different types in a second.

What is the Difference Between a Sauna and Stream Room

While both the sauna and steam room involve exposure to hot air, the steam room has a high humidity level whereas the sauna uses dry heat.

Traditionally, a steam room is heated with a wood-burning stove, and once it reaches a certain temperature a bucket of water is poured over the rocks. This fills the room with steam. More modernly there are steam rooms that don’t require you to pour the water yourself, instead you activate a steam generator by pressing a button.

Does a Sauna help detox your body?

Both sauna and a steam room help support your body’s natural ability to sweat. However, recent studies show that your body doesn’t actually release enough toxins through sweat to show any significant benefit.

Read the Article

What’s the Temperature of a Sauna?

The average temperature of a sauna is usually between 70° to 100° Celsius, which is 158° to 212° Fahrenheit.

cedar sauna

Types of Saunas

Wood Burning

Traditionally used wood-burning saunas require no electricity and tend to last longer than an electrical heater. The wood-burning heater also is the more affordable option of the three, but you will need space to store wood. There is also a bit of upkeep associated with a wood-burning heater for your sauna, like shoveling the ash after every use and occasionally cleaning the chimney.

Costs nothing extra to run!

Infrared Sauna

Infrared saunas use light to heat the body and penetrate the skin. Compared to an electrical heat or wood-burning sauna, the infrared does not heat up as high. It uses ceramic or carbon heaters that reach around 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, users will still reap the same benefits and sweat without overheating. It also costs about $10-$15 a month to run.

Electrical Heat

Electrical heaters are usually made from galvanized metal, aluminum, or stainless steel. The electrical coils have rock laid over them and heated. We love that it can be managed through a panel or connected through your device. However, electrical heaters can take 20-45 minutes to heat because their heat output isn’t as high as other forms of heat. It costs anywhere from $14.00 to $45.00 a month depending on the output needed.

Gas Heat

Gas heaters use natural gas or propane to heat the sauna, and require around 30 minutes to fully heat your outdoor sauna. We do think this is one of the safest, most cost-effective, and environmentally friendly options. They also require the least amount of space and overall many people like using them which is why you’ll notice gas heaters in most public saunas. It costs about $10.00 extra to run a month.

The Best Outdoor Saunas

Best Overall Outdoor Sauna:
SunRay HL 300D Grandby Outdoor Sauna

Best Outdoor Barrel Sauna:
Aleko 4-person Sauna

Best DIY Outdoor Sauna Kit:
DIY Finnish Sauna Blueprints

Best Outdoor Infrared Sauna (Low EMF):
Kanlanth Far Infrared Sauna

Most Affordable Outdoor Sauna:
Xmatch Far Infrared Wooden Outdoor Sauna

Best Luxurious Sauna:
Thermowood Panorama Sauna

Best Modern Sauna
Muskoka Outdoor Cube Sauna

The Best Outdoor Sauna Guide

We’ve done a lot of research and put together a list of the best outdoor saunas, from the best affordable option to the best outdoor sauna kit, and the best all-around option.

Best Overall

SunRay HL 300D Grandby Sauna

Why it Made the List

We love the SunRay HL 300D Outdoor Sauna, and so do a lot of our followers. We polled them the other day asking which sauna was their favorite and over 65% said the SunRay. We know it looks charming and is a great price. But we also love that it has a pitched roof, made from durable, and strong material. Its thoughtful design is perfect for lasting through our Canadian winters, and did we mention that it’s affordable compared to others this size?

  • Infrared Sauna
  • Includes oxygen ionization system which purifies the air
  • Recessed interior lighting
  • It is easy to assemble
  • Perfect size for a patio or backyard
  • Made from durable materials (Canadian Hemlock Wood)

  • It’s not as strong as others
  • Some assembly required
  • Infrared Sauna
  • Includes oxygen ionization system which purifies the air
  • recessed interior lighting
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • cup holders
  • easy to assemble
  • Perfect size for a patio or backyard
  • made from Canadian hemlock wood


83″ H x 57″ W x 45.3″ D

415 lbs

Max temperature 140°F

1900 wattage, 120 volts, 20 amps

Best Outdoor Barrel Sauna

Aleko 4-Person Cedar Sauna

  • 4-person sauna
  • Includes everything like stones
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
  • 6kW electric heater
Why it made the list

The luxurious Aleko Outdoor Finland Cedar Sauna made the list for several reasons. Its high-quality wood is naturally resistant to weather conditions, rot, and insects, and it has durable tempered glass and supports that lift the sauna off the ground to prevent further rot. There is also a shingled roof that also extends the life of the sauna. So if you’re looking for a high-quality, well-made cedar barrel sauna that will last years, this is for you.

  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
  • Free shipping
  • Comes with a canopy
  • The shingle Bitumen roof extends the life of the sauna
  • Can be used wet or dry
  • Automatic 1-hr shut off
  • Comes with accessories, including a heater, stones, bucket, ladle, and more.
  • Does not have windows
  • Made internationally
  • Some assembly required




Best DIY Outdoor Sauna Plans

DIY Finnish Sauna Blueprints and Instructions

Why it Made the List

Out of all the DIY outdoor saunas, these were the best plans. We consulted with several landscapers and contractors who’ve built outdoor saunas, either for clients or themselves. And these we the best plans you could buy online.

  • Downloadable plans
  • Customer support for answering questions
  • Includes tips for maintaining the sauna
  • It takes time to build
  • Requires tools
  • Buy your own supplies
  • Heater is extra


Meausrements – 76″ x 66″ x 77″

Best Infrared Outdoor Sauna

Kanlanth Far Infrared Sauna – Low EMF

Why it Made the List

The 4 personal infrared sauna has 8 built-in Carbon plates that are low emf, and it’s made with environmentally friendly red cedar and it’s not hard to assemble. We also think this is more of a reasonably priced sauna for four people.

  • 8 built-in, low EMF heater plates
  • Made from red cedar
  • Energy efficient compared to others
  • EMF 3:10
  • Only weights 240 lbs fully assembled
  • No need for additional voltage can run off the household connection (needs 110-120 volts)
  • Fits 4 people comfortably
  • Control panel
  • Takes about an hour to reach maximum temperatures in cold weather (however, it normally takes 10-15 minutes to preheat)
  • Assembly required
  • Glassdoor (6 mm)


1.5~1.9m (4.9-6.2 ft) tall


Max Temperature Up to 65°C/149°F

Most Affordable Outdoor Sauna

Xmatch Far Infrared Wooden Outdoor Sauna

Why it made the list

The Xmatch Far Infrared Wooden Outdoor Sauna made the list because it is one of the best outdoor saunas for an affordable price. It is an infrared sauna that heats up quickly, looks great, and works really well for one or two people.

  • Infrared Sauna
  • 9 Low-EMF Heaters
  • Quick 10-minute pre-workout
  • Preset Time and Temperature
  • Bluetooth Speakers
  • 2 Led Reading Lamps
  • 2 Chromotherapy Lights

  • Technically considered a 2-person sauna but might be better suited for one
  • Assembly Required
  • Not recommended for taller people (6.2 ft)


147*104*208 cm (58 x 41 x 82 in)


20-65 Celsius (F: 68 – 149)

Most Luxurious Outdoor Sauna

Thermowood Panorama Sauna

Why it made the list

We’ll tell you that it wasn’t easy to pick the most luxurious sauna, we had a lot to choose from. But our thought was that this particular sauna could be moved if needed and that it was more on the affordable side next to build-in saunas that cost upwards of $40,000. The Thermowood Panorama Sauna is luxurious with its floor-to-ceiling windows that can overlook the lake, the mountains, or anywhere you want.

  • Lots of natural light from the windows
  • High-quality materials
  • Can be moved
  • Stable
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Made to last
  • 4 – 6 person sauna

  • Cost
  • Self Assembly
  • Does not come with roof shingles (which can be added to the package)



71” L x 72 ¾” W x 76 ½” H

Heater Type

6kW Harvia Cilindro Electric, 9kW Harvia Cilindro Electric, or Harvia M3 Woodstove

Best Modern Outdoor Sauna

Muskoka Outdoor Cube Sauna

Why it made the list

One of our favorite outdoor saunas because not only is each and every sauna made to order and made to last but it’s a beautiful aesthetic piece perfect for any cottage or cabin. This premium sauna is made with high-quality materials that are sturdy and durable even with lots of snow.

  • Made to order
  • Made to last
  • Significant height
  • Made with Western Red Sauna
  • Non-Toxic
  • Electrical Heat

  • Price
  • May not suit every style of home, cottage, or cabin.



71 x 78 x 83″


0-189 F

Now that you have everything you need in order to make the decision to purchase a new sauna a bit easier! Because we know you’ll enjoy it! Don’t forget to tag us @cottagelivingandstyle with a picture of you enjoying your new sauna. Or send us an email with any tips you learned about saunas.

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