Every sauna used to be an outdoor sauna.
Then came the rise of indoor sauna rooms, infrared “saunas”, gym saunas, and other sauna trends. It’s easy to forget what made saunas so essential to begin with.
The convenience of a sauna without leaving home is appealing, but something is lost when saunas are removed from nature.
Nature is important to the Finnish culture and people, and saunas were a way to gather your family and community and experience the outdoors.
Outdoor saunas made the outdoors accessible throughout the cold Finnish and Russian winters. Exiting a steam room into cold nature, or taking a cold plunge enhances the experience, even if you have to make hole in the ice.
Outdoor saunas are a proven way to bring neighbors, family, and friends together for a time-honored tradition.
Types of Outdoor Saunas
Even if you don’t have a breathtaking wilderness setting, saunas can create the ultimate backyard escape. From simple but cool Barrel Sauna to Cabin-Style Saunas, there’s truly a sauna for every natural setting.
Home Outdoor Sauna Kits
Most affordable options are actually outdoor sauna kits. Be especially careful while searching for outdoor saunas because often times they are shipped as kits that need to be assembled, and are not adequately advertised as such.
Remember, outdoor Finnish saunas had wood burning stoves, but most kits come standard with electric heaters. If you don’t already have a strong feeling about this, check out guide to deciding between wood burning and electric heaters.
Outdoor sauna kits can be shed saunas, barrel saunas, and pod saunas.
Outdoor Sauna Cabin Kits and Shed Saunas
Cabin/Shed style sauna kits are the most common, and are great if you don’t want to draw attention to your new sauna (many look exactly like sheds).
The best cabin sauna kits are easy to assemble, simple, and made out of quality wood that holds up outside.
Polar outdoor sauna kits are extremely popular and an incredible value. Even the smallest model has upper and lower benches for flexible seating based on heat and humidity preference. They for for $6,000 – $8,000 at Saunas.com.
They come in rough cut mahogany or Red Western Cedar. They come standard with a Polar HMR-45 and have no option for a wood burning upgrade.
If you need a wood burning outdoor sauna we recommend a barrel sauna kit which can be converted to wood burning saunas.
Outdoor Barrel Sauna Kits
Barrel Sauna Kits are super easy, and actually kind of fun to assemble. Putting together a barrel sauna this way will give you an appreciation for their simple, minimalist design. These kits ship precut and are actually kind of hard to mess up, go for it!
Aleko and Toule make popular barrel sauna kits that you can actually buy on eBay. See below for the latest prices on barrel saunas for sale that we recommend.
6 Foot Red Cedar Toule Barrel Sauna Price: $2999 The most popular barrel sauna listed on Sauna Marketplace – for 2 people (four is a tight fit) with a front porch. Delivered as a barrel sauna kit, assembly required. Check out the sellers store for other sizes and prices.
Aleko Pine Barrel Sauna Price: $3899 These 5 person barrel sauna kits ship for free from Washington. Imagine the view from the inside at your cabin or home. Comes with ETL approved 4.5 kw electric heater. Shingle roof not included.
Where to buy an outdoor sauna
There are some outdoor barrel saunas for sale on Amazon, not a great selection but there’s one we recommend.
The Catalina Outdoor Saunas have a wide array of options and sizes for every yard.
These are high quality kits with great customer support that go together easy.
Saunas.com does a great job of showing you exactly what you are going to get in your kit so there are no surprises.
Of course, there are some awesome options you can browse right here on Sauna Marketplace. We feel that finding the best outdoor sauna for your needs should be fund and inspiring.
Can I build my own outdoor sauna from scratch?
Absolutely, if you want a cheap outdoor sauna or the “sweat equity” (see what we did there), you should consider building your own sauna like those that came before us.
It is a particularly good option if you have access to cheap local lumber like Canadian Red Cedar. Sometimes sauna kits have lumber sourced in North America shipped to China to be cut, then shipped back to the US for the consumer market. If that sort of globalization makes you cringe, you should consider building from locally sourced lumber.
Backyard sauna plans start with a vision. Consider drainage, year-round accessibility, privacy, and access to electricity or solar power.
We like to recommend a DIY ebook with plenty of pictures and outdoor sauna plans from Glen at Sauna Times. He’s helped hundreds of people build their homemade backyard saunas. He has tons of great tips from decades of experience you will not find anywhere else.
Where to put an outdoor sauna
If you are lucky enough to have a lake, river, ocean, or swimming pool, then an outdoor sauna is really the way to bring more life to your outdoor escape, especially if the water is cold (or even frozen) for much of the year.
Finding ways to bring cold into your sauna practice multiplies the benefits. If you are not fortunate to live in a cold place, you can always add ice baths. You won’t regret it.
And just in case you think saunas are only for cold climates, here’s a sauna Toule Barrel Sauna we helped ship to Aruba!
Small and Large Saunas For Sale in US and Canada
Here’s a broad look at the North American market for outdoor sauna kits approximately 5′ x 6′ to 6′ x 7′ (5’x7′ being the most common) which can fit 3-4 people.
These sauna kits are all available for sale in US and Canada. Shipping is included in price ranges below. They’re all available with electric sauna heaters, and some have wood burning options.
In general the electric heaters need to be hardwired to a 40amp breaker, but check specs for each and confirm that you are able to run permanent power.
Besides the barrel sauna, they all have stadium bench seating, cedar wood (western red cedar), free shipping, and basic accessories.
Best Small Outdoor Saunas
Polar Outdoor Sauna Kits
By all accounts these are among the fastest and easiest kits to assemble. The double bench lets you choose which heat intensity you prefer, making it great for couples or groups with different heat preferences (higher bench = significantly hotter).
With Cedar upgrade, electric heater, roofing shingles, and delivery (free) – the 5’x7′ kit should be just under $9,000 USD. They ship in 4-6 weeks.
Avalon Outdoor Sauna Kits
While still basic, the Avalon has a more premium look and a cooler bench design than the Polar kits.
Like the Polar model, the Avalon includes benches, thermometer, and headrests but sidelights are extra.
With Western Red Cedar, electric heater, and delivery, the 5’x7′ sauna kit will be just under $10,000 USD. Ships in 8-9 weeks.
Laatu Outdoor Sauna Kit
Sizes range from 4×5′ (smallest size) to 5×7′.
Very similar to the Avalon, but it comes with a glass door and more windows. This might be the most back for your buck, still coming in just under $10,000 USD for the 5×7′ model. Also it currently ships faster than the Avalon at 4-6 weeks.
Catalina Outdoor Sauna Kits
These are really high quality sauna kits with really nice western red cedar.
It includes premium double benches, and lots of accessories including a cedar bucket and ladle, cedar vent, hygrometer/thermometer, sand timer, and wall light.
However, there aren’t windows included.
In this case, the 5×7′ kit will be closer to $11,000 USD. They also have a longer wait time at 8-9 weeks.
Alternative: Barrel Sauna Kit
You could also consider a barrel sauna kit. They are easy (can actually be fun) to assemble, inexpensive, and heat up quickly.
Dundalk Leisurecraft Cabin Saunas
Dundalk is a well known Canadian sauna brand with several different kits to choose from. They are a high quality builder and have free shipping in the US and Canada.
Their 6×7′ cabin sauna with an electric stove, one window, and basic accessories would be around $8500 including shipping.
You can order directly from Dundalk here.
Saunacore is another Canadian brand we don’t have much experience with but seem to make quality products. Their classic outdoor sauna kit fits the criteria, but they seem difficult to order and may not deliver reliably. We’ll update if we have more info in the future. Pricing is currently unavailable for Saunacore.
Goldstar 1250b Outdoor Sauna
This western red cedar sauna kit is approximately 6.5′ x 6′.
It comes with many accessories and has stadium seating.
With an electric heater and two backrests, the sauna costs approximately $6,000 USD, shipping (for free) from Tennessee.
Check it out here