S aunas are excellent ways to get a good moment of relaxation while sweating away all the toxins that have accumulated in your body. Regular sauna sessions can help clean your skin from pollutants and chemicals that can penetrate the exterior layer and cannot be easily removed with regular soap. But, most important, it can cast away all the stress that has accumulated after a tiring day of work.
The technology behind these units can vary from the traditional wood-fire heated barrel-shaped saunas to the more modern infrared models. Nevertheless, before getting down to these technicalities, you will first need to decide if it is an indoor sauna that you need or an outdoor one.
The differences are considerable, and the benefits and drawbacks of each type can play an important part when making a decision, so only a sharp analysis of both of them can guarantee you are picking the right one. This article will provide you with the necessary information, so continue reading and find out all the details.
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Outdoor Sauna – Pros and Cons
Exterior saunas usually come under the form of a barrel, but square models exist as well, and you can even give your sauna an unconventional shape if you choose to build it yourself. The room is built of wood, and heat can be generated through an electrically-powered heating element or the old but still enchanting wood-burning method. You can choose to take a dry sauna session or a wet one. For the second type, you will need to place rocks inside the room and wait for them to heat. Then, pour water on them and enjoy the vapors that lift into the air.
Find the best outdoor saunas on the market among our top and compare prices and specifications that will help you decide for the most suitable model. Check out the shapes as well. We truly like barrel-shaped models, but square saunas tend to be more spacious and are an excellent investment as well.
The Benefits of an Outdoor Sauna
The beautiful looks of an outdoor model could be enough to make you dream about it, but there’s much more it can offer. Check out the advantages:
It is perfect for families
Saunas at sports and wellness centers have more than health purposes. They are excellent spots for relaxation and socialization. Here you can find out the last gossip, discuss with your sweating neighbor about Steven King’s last book or dive into serious things like businesses or politics. No matter the subject, chatting can be relaxing so why not doing it with your wife, kids, or friends?
Well, you won’t be able to enjoy this for sure with an indoor model, which is usually pretty cramped and can accommodate one, or a maximum of two persons. This is where outdoor models always win. As there are no space restrictions, you can pick a larger one and fit up to 4 people inside. Or start a DIY project and build an even larger sauna. It is all about your needs.
It allows you to enjoy the scenery
If you are lucky enough to live close to a nice river, lake, valley, or even a beach, you should always go for an outdoor model. Just imagine yourself walking to your beautiful wooden room in the afternoon when the sun has just found a good place in the sky. The large windows will allow you to admire the scenery and relax. Then you can take a nice bath in the lake or the sea and chill yourself. If this doesn’t sound heavenly then probably nothing does.
However, if your home isn’t located close to such a panorama, a beautiful garden can be just as relaxing. In the evening especially, the smell of the flowers feels stronger, and you can enjoy it when taking your short breaks to chill between two sweating sessions.
It is easy to vent
Now that we have exposed the dreamy advantages, it’s time to take a look at the practical aspects as well, and venting is an important one, especially if you prefer wet sessions. All the vapors need to go somewhere and, in this case, they will just go outdoors. In the case of an indoor model, some of the moisture will end up in the house, increasing the humidity and eventually leading to mold development.
A sauna is supposed to be hot and humid, but extremes should be avoided. For safe sweating, see our selection of sauna thermometers, which are specially designed to resist the conditions inside and show if you are at risk of getting overheated. Some models measure humidity as well and will help you keep your lungs safe.
We named them possible because they may not necessarily occur. It all depends on the way your home is built and the conditions it can offer for installing an outdoor model. Here are the difficulties that you may encounter:
It needs to be installed
Setting up a sauna means more than finding a space for the wooden chamber and placing it there. Saunas may require electricity and a water source, and these are not always at hand outdoors. So, you will need to make the proper adjustments for your steam chamber to receive enough power and in a safe way. In some cases, a specialist can do it for you if your practical skills are not very good.
On the other hand, you can go for a model that is heated by wood and solve the electricity problem from the start. The wood-burning will smell wonderful. Nevertheless, you will need to make wood supplies, carry the wood to the stove, and light it when you need to use the sauna. This doesn’t sound very relaxing, but you will have all the time in the world to restore your balance afterward.
It requires a foundation
You may have to pour cement on the ground if there’s no steady and level surface where you can place it. If a good foundation isn’t provided, the wooden chamber won’t be stable, and you risk for it to slide or deteriorate in time. Building the foundation will cost you extra money, so consider it when you allocate your budget for this item.
It deteriorates faster
It will be placed outdoors, so it will be directly exposed to diverse weather conditions. If the sun is blazing for most of the year, the wood may crack, while if it is used in an area with high humidity and heavy rains, the wood will eventually swell. Mold can also be a problem in this case. Therefore, it is better to go for this type of sauna only if you live in an area with a moderate climate and are willing to put up with maintenance works.
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Indoor Sauna – Pros and Cons
This sauna type is usually more compact, as it is designed to fit into the restrained space inside your house. It can be a wood-fired, electrical, or infrared model, and, depending on the type, it can come with a more restraint or a larger array of functions.
The Benefits of an Indoor Sauna
If you find a good place for it, it will look amazing, turning your bathroom into a relaxation corner. The wood chamber inside your home will make you feel like you are permanently on vacation. Plus, the benefits just cannot be ignored:
No foundation required
As the chamber goes inside, the floor is just the perfect foundation. No need to invest more money into building one or wait a few days for the cement to dry. Everything is already set. Nevertheless, you will need to clear the floor as it wouldn’t be safe to place the sauna on a carpet.
Installation is easier
First of all, you will have everything at hand and this includes water and electricity, so no preliminary works that may have needed the experience of a specialist need to be done in this case. You can easily bring the chamber inside (with this you may need an extra hand or two) and make the connections yourself. Everything will be ready in no time, and you will be able to enjoy your well-deserved relaxation.
It is more comfortable
As it is placed inside, you won’t need to walk outdoors to get a sauna moment. This is very convenient, especially in the winter, where it could be really uncomfortable to get out in the excruciating cold, wearing only your rope and some slippers, and go to your outdoor sweating chamber. Some people do enjoy it, and they like to get out and rub themselves with snow to chill after a hot session, but if this sounds too cold for you, we recommend to stick to indoor arrangements. Not to mention that you will get more privacy and will not open your eyes to your neighbor’s kids looking at you over the fence.
Weather does not affect it
Picking an indoor model is the wisest decision you can make if you live in an area with either extreme cold or heat. It doesn’t matter how well-treated the wood is, constant exposure to weather elements will eventually lead to its degradation. But an indoor model will never experience these problems, as there will be a huge roof on top of it, protecting it from the harsh weather.
Check out or high-quality infrared saunas if you are looking to install one inside your home. Ranging from portable to permanent wood models, the options are variate so you can easily find one to your taste.
At a close analysis, an indoor model can present the following disadvantages:
It can create humidity inside the house
If you like to enjoy wet sauna sessions, then you will deal with an increased level of humidity. The venting in this case is not as easier as it is with an outdoor model. To put it short, all the vapors will eventually end up in your bathroom. In this case, we recommend ensuring proper ventilation of the room by using either bathroom fans or a portable tower fan. If the situation tends to get dramatic, and you fear that mold may grow on your walls, a dehumidifier could help you keep moisture under control.
On the other side, if you are willing to settle for dry saunas or pick an infrared model, you will not need to deal with this problem.
Not the best choice for families
As space is usually a problem, indoor models will usually accommodate one to two persons, so your relaxation moments will be pretty lonely. And this wouldn’t really be an issue if you would find yourself in a magical scenery that would allow you to dream and meditate, but with an indoor model, you will only get a wall panorama.
Takes up space
If you have a really large bathroom or a space in the house where to place it, then the problem is solved from the start. But how often does this happen? The space is pretty limited inside a house, and even if the house is large, it is usually already taken up by furniture or decorative items. A sauna is a pretty bulky item and will occupy a good amount of your floor space, so you should consider this aspect before investing in one.
A sauna that can be installed any time you need it and then just packed and stored would be a good idea if the space in your house is rather tight. Take a look at our fairly-priced portable sit-down infrared saunas and get similar effects with a more budget-friendly investment.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Sauna? What Should You Consider When Picking Yours?
The first criteria you will want to examine is the weather. If it is mild and pleasant all year round, without extreme humid or dry months, then an exterior model is an excellent pick, especially if you have the amazing scenery we were talking about. However, if this isn’t the case, it is a better idea to go for an indoor model and keep it protected from the weather elements.
Regarding the price, it can vary depending on the technology behind each model. But, in general, an indoor model will cost you around $4,500 while an outdoor kit can range from $2,000 to $7,000. If you decide to build it yourself, however, you may be able to save some money.
The running costs can be influenced by the size of the chamber, so it is obvious that a 4-person sauna will have a higher power/wood consumption than a 1-person model. Furthermore, in the winter, it will cost you more to heat a sauna that is placed outdoors than one that is placed indoors.
And if you were wondering which type will require more maintenance, the answer is, of course, the outdoors model, which will require not only periodical inside cleaning but exterior maintenance jobs and repairs, as the weather can be pretty cruel with wood constructions.
The Bottom Line
All the criteria from above can help you make a well-informed decision, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot buy the model you want, even if, for example, the weather isn’t on your side. It isn’t uncommon to see outdoor saunas in Scandinavia in the winter (this is why some of them are called Scandinavian), and the winters here can be pretty cold and dark.
The most important thing, in the end, is to get the relaxation you need. If you like the comfort of your home and wish to jump from the sauna directly into the shower, then buy an indoor model. Otherwise, if you already see yourself sweating and chatting with friends while gazing at amazing landscapes or the roses in your garden, don’t hesitate to buy an outdoor model.