With health being at the forefront of the collective psyche, it is no surprise that more individuals are turning to sauna bathing to improve overall health and boost immunity. As such it is not much of a puzzle that the sauna market is saturated with many choices with each company promising to deliver the very best sauna.
Whether an individual has turned to saunas to improve fitness, lose weight, or as part of the treatment for an ongoing chronic condition, it is best to first find out for yourself what type of sauna you are looking for.
There is enough peer reviewed data to suggest that sauna therapy is effective in improving health. Furthermore, from an anthropological perspective, humans have turned to a variety of forms of heat therapy since before the written word to optimize health. Every culture across the globe and throughout the ages has developed some form of heat therapy to treat ailments. From sweat lodges in the Americas, to Turkish Hammans, to the traditional Finnish sauna, humans have found a way to improve health with intentional sweating.
If you have decided to bring a sauna into your home you are joining a long lineage of ancestors and contemporary peers who made the same choice.
The steps to finding the best sauna for you in a sea of choices is relatively simple. First, you will want to determine your own health goals, and based on those find the most suitable form of heat therapy. Most common choices include traditional saunas, steam rooms, far infrared saunas, and full spectrum infrared saunas.
The second step is understanding the differences between the most popular forms of heat therapy, and what type will most benefit your health.
The third step is determining how much money you have available to spend on a sauna. If a luxurious steam room is out of your budget for example, then you may want to consider a simple far infrared sauna. The cost of a sauna purchase can be anywhere from $2000 to $20,000.
The fourth step is understanding the way sauna companies brand their products, how the sale of sauna products generally works, and finally finding a company that has a real person that you can speak with about your sauna needs.
A 2022 Sauna Buyer’s Five Step Process
- Determine your health and wellness goals
- Decide what type of heat therapy or sauna will serve your wellness goals
- Take a realistic look at your budget and a cost analysis of different saunas
- Understand the sauna market and how different companies brand their products
- Speak with someone who understands the sauna market and can help guide you to the best sauna for your health and financial needs.
Determine The Why: What Are Your Health and Wellness Goals?
Before diving into the depths of internet research or the sauna marketplace, first start with yourself. Why do you want to buy a sauna for your home and what health goals are you looking to reach. By understanding your personal needs it will help to keep you on track as you move through the myriad of sauna options.
If your objectives are more general, for instance you are looking to improve cardiovascular fitness, detoxify the body, and reap all of the benefits of intentional passive sweating then your navigational course toward the ideal sauna will be made much easier. This is because most heat therapy devices will do the trick. Traditional saunas, steam rooms, far infrared saunas, and full spectrum infrared saunas will all help you to sweat profusely, improve circulation, cardiovascular fitness, and detoxification.
If you fall into this category, then it may be just a question of personal preference and budget. One form of heat therapy is not necessarily better than the other, and largely the differences lie in how the body is heated.
Traditional saunas use convection heat, meaning they heat the external atmosphere of the sauna and therefore will need to be able to reach close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. There is significant hype surrounding the need for high heat in order to benefit from sauna bathing. The fundamental flaw in this line of thinking is a misunderstanding of how heat operates.
Infrared light is light, so it is a radiant heat and will move through the cabin structure like waves to heat the body up from the inside out. This is why measuring the atmospheric temperature alone can be deceptive. A traditional sauna relies on maintaining a high temperature within the cabin in order to effectively cause the body to sweat. An infrared sauna can cause the same levels of perspiration at a much lower temperature. As such, for those unable to handle high heat for health or other reasons, an infrared sauna may be a better choice.
Steam rooms use heated water, thus the steam, this wet heat can be excellent for pulmonary function, as well as clearing the pores. It is often costly and may involve changing the plumbing in your home and extensive cleaning. Steam rooms can help deliver the benefits of creating more Heat Shock Proteins, a false fever, and all of the other health benefits associated with heat therapy, but will definitely cost you more money and clean up labor.
A full spectrum infrared sauna that includes near infrared light and red light therapy, is most likely the best option for anyone dealing with chronic illness, particularly those who will benefit from changes to mitochondrial function. Photobiomodulation is the term that refers to the shift in adaptation of the mitochondria to specific light frequencies, namely red and near infrared light.
If you are looking for a way to sweat and benefit from all the health rewards of a hot box, then you can really choose any type of heat therapy depending on personal preference. However, if you have a health concern that is a chronic autoimmune disorder then it is more than likely best for you to look into a full spectrum infrared sauna that includes lots of near infrared heaters and red light.
Cost Analysis Of Saunas: How Much Are You Willing To Spend On Your Sauna
For those for whom money is no object then creating a personalized sauna in your home may be the way to go. This allows you to use a professional designer to create the exact space and type of heat you desire. For instance it may be that you decide to convert a room in your home into a sauna and create a hybrid between infrared and traditional sauna. To get a well made personalized sauna the likely cost will be at least $20,000.
If you are on a budget there are still ways to enjoy the benefits of sauna therapy by buying a prefabricated sauna that you set up in your home. The price for these types of saunas can range anywhere from $2000 – $11,000 depending on the brand, type of heat used, and additional bells and whistles.
In general traditional saunas will cost the most, followed by full spectrum infrared saunas, and lastly far infrared saunas.
The size of the sauna you choose will also affect the price, meaning that the smaller the sauna, the less expensive it will be.
From Most Expensive To Least Expensive Saunas:
- Personalized Sauna Design For Your Home
- Steam Room
- Traditional Sauna
- Full Spectrum Sauna
- Far Infrared Sauna
Prices will vary depending on the brand of the sauna as well, sometimes pricing is an indicator of quality, but not always. When saunas come with a very high price tag, it is usually because you are paying for some bells and whistles. This may or may not be important to you personally, but will certainly not affect the actual sauna experience.
Sauna Product Branding: How To Tell The Difference In Quality Between Brands
The vast majority of prefabricated saunas are made in Asian countries. This may not be ideal, however it is a fact, unless you have $20K to spend on a personalized sauna in your home. Even if this is the case most likely the heating elements will come from Asia.
Just like the phone or computer you are reading this on, your sauna will most definitely come from Asia or Southeast Asia. Different sauna brands that you are trying to choose between may have been made in the same factory despite the multitude of claims of uniqueness or superiority to other brands.
There will be some slight differences between sauna brands, but unless they are very low quality saunas found in big box stores, you will be choosing a sauna that is basically on par with its competitors.
For example, Sunlighten and Jacuzzis’ Clearlight saunas are both great infrared saunas and are safe to use. These are examples of higher end saunas that will deliver an excellent experience. They both use the same technologies with subtle differences, and they are both manufactured in Asia.
Some sauna companies are beginning to incorporate computerized programming in their sauna, so if you find a prefabricated infrared sauna with a $10,000 price tag, you are probably paying for a $5,000 sauna with a computer. If programming your sauna via an i pod like system is not important to you, then save the $5,000 and just get the sauna.
Almost all saunas are bought online, and while you may want to go to a showroom, this is rare to find. This means find a sauna company that has an extensive website with many well researched blog articles sourced from reputable institutions. Understand that despite a sauna being a fairly significant investment, it is unlikely that you will have the opportunity to try the brand out before its purchase.
While there are many different sauna brands, you can assume that they are all more or less the same, despite claims that state otherwise. This is why you will want to look for a company that will spend time with you on the phone to help answer any questions you may have about the details of the sauna, how to use a sauna safely, and how to get the most for your money.
Find A Company That Will Speak With You, And Make Sure You Ask These Questions:
- Is The Wood Kiln Dried? By asking this question you can be assured that no toxic varnish is used in the interior of the cabin structure. Remember saunas heat up and therefore are subject to off gassing of products.
- What Is The EMF Reading? All electronic devices have an electromagnetic field, unfortunate, but true. If a sauna company claims a ZERO emf reading then you know right off the bat that it is a false claim. A healthy index for an emf reading on a sauna should be lower than 5 mgs.
- How Many Heaters Are In The Sauna? Smaller saunas will obviously have less heaters, but specifically when it comes to infrared saunas there should be heaters or lights on at least four of the six walls.
- What Is The Lead Time For Delivery? Saunas are in high demand, make sure you ask how long it will take to get your sauna. As most saunas are coming from Asia, there can often be a long wait time.
- What Are The Electrical Requirements? Smaller sauna units are unlikely to require special electrical wiring, but will most likely require a dedicated circuit. Larger saunas may require the assistance of an electrician to change your outlet to a 20 amp, so be sure to leave room for this in your sauna budget.
- Is This Sauna Full Spectrum Infrared Or Just Far Infrared? As each spectrum of light has a unique effect on human physiology it is important to determine what type of spectrum your sauna will come with.
Choosing the right sauna for you begins with deciding what your health goals are so that you have a starting point as you begin the search for your ideal home sauna. Finally, take the time to find a company that will spend time helping to answer your questions and one that will be available to you before, during, and after the purchase of your sauna to support you. Given that many brands are physically quite similar the difference will be in the customer care you receive!