Minnesota plays a significant role in Finnish American history, early American public saunas, and is home to some of the longest lasting sauna companies in the US. Although public Minnesota Saunas have widely disappeared in favor of private basement and cabin saunas – there is a resurgence.
Basement and backyard saunas are still popular, but there’s also a resurgence of public saunas, rental saunas, and sauna culture.
From Duluth to Minneapolis, a revival of sauna builders, innovators, and entrepreneurs have created a hub of sauna culture connecting a receptive MN crowd to the Scandinavian tradition. Minnesota is home to open sauna sessions, sauna rentals, and some of the best sauna builders and manufacturers in North America.
Minnesota is also at the forefront of the mobile sauna movement.
Unfortunately, some of the best sauna builders in Minnesota are hard to find, and traditionally do business by word of mouth. That’s why we started our sauna concierge program to help match you with the perfect builder or prefab sauna (see below).
But if you’re in a hurry, we are opening up our database of trusted MN sauna options below, we hope it’s helpful!
Minnesota Sauna Companies
Ox Builders Custom Saunas
Indoor and Outdoor
This family-run Duluth business builds wood-burning cabin/shed style backyard saunas that are delivered prebuilt. They use their own outside-feed wood burning stoves. Christensen Saunas delivers throughout Minnesota as well as Wisconsin and Michigan. Prices range from $8,500 to $13,000.
They offer 6×10′, 6×11′, 8×14′, and 8×16′ models that are build to order. The larger models have changing rooms.
More info and purchase details coming soon.
Custom Mobile Saunas
Finn Sisu is a cross-country ski store that sells Saunatec and Finnleo Saunas. They sell traditional and infrared saunas at their St. Paul location. Finn Sisu also offers custom built options for rooms that are already studded and insulated.
Minnesota Barrel Saunas
Custom Line Saunas
We don’t know where they get their cedar from but it’s beautiful. Custom Line Saunas stands out with their craftsmanship and standard 7′ diameter barrels. They offer 8′, 10′, and 12′ length models built to order.
Prices range from $6,800 to $8,800 with outdoor sitting area or changing room available on larger models.
Custom Line Saunas builds their own wood heaters, with an electric option from Polar in Finland.
Also known as Rozycki Woodworks, LLC – RW Saunas is a one man show building barrel saunas in Royalton, MN. For Minnesotans who are not interested in barrel sauna kits, there’s also Keweenaw Saunas who build and deliver quality cedar barrel saunas throughout the midwest.
Sisu Saunas builds unique barrel saunas in Britt, MN. Sisu Saunas builds true bowed (coopered) barrel saunas that are impossible to buy as kits. If you’re lucky enough to live in Minnesota or surrounding states, you can have one of these delivered at $.85 / mile.
Prices for Sisu barrel saunas start at $4,400 for a standard 5′ barrel sauna and they have custom options.
Or Buy A Barrel Sauna Kit That Delivers to MN…
Sauna Kits Available In MN
The most widely purchased traditional sauna kits in Minnesota are available through dealers like Costco (Almost Heaven Dealer) and Minnesota Hot Tubs (HELO dealer). Both have indoor and outdoor saunas available for order, with limited options to see in person.
For prefab and sauna kits manufactured in Minnesota, check out Airmist, located in Hanover, MN. Airmist offers indoor and outdoor traditional sauna solutions.
These Outdoor Sauna Kits Also Deliver To MN…
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Though they’re technically in Ashland, Wisconsin – Superior Sauna provides the Minnesota market custom and prefab sauna options from a global sauna player.
Superior Sauna is a sauna manufacturing company, sauna distributor, and sauna lumberyard for DIY sauna builders and sauna companies.
What’s great about Superior Sauna is they help you design and source materials for your sauna build.
They also have one of the largest selection of sauna parts worldwide – another reason DIY builders love it.
Minnesota Sauna Finder
Public Saunas in Minnesota
Many Finnish immigrants operated public saunas after moving to Minnesota in places like Duluth, Ely, International Falls, and Virginia, MN.
Though some of these still exist, they largely fell out of style by the 1920s.
Today, the Twin Cities and Duluth are leading a revived sauna culture and making it their own. Here are a few examples:
612 Sauna Society – Minneapolis Mobile Sauna
A crowdfunding that launched a mobile sauna also served as a springboard for a revived sauna culture in Minnesota. The 612 Sauna Society is likely the only member-owned co-op sauna in the world. There are currently 150 member/owners, but you don’t have to be a member to book a session on their website.
Hiki Hut – Duluth Mobile Sauna
Hiki Hut is the newest mobile sauna in Minnesota, offering the optional Lake Superior cold plunge between sessions. They have public hours on most weekends and also offer private rentals for parties and events.
There’s also a new mobile sauna in Duluth called Cedar and Stone that would be worth checking out. They are still looking for residencies but will hopefully have some open sessions soon. Cedar and Stone does not offer private sauna bookings.
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Is Duluth, Minnesota the sauna capital of North America? Is this the perfect mobile sauna? We don’t know the answers, but these seem like perfectly reasonable questions. This part of the Great Lakes has one of the highest Finnish populations in the country, and a unique history of public saunas. You may not work on a copper mine, you may not be Finnish, but our lives are still stressful and sauna can make winter awesome. Check them out and book a session at @cedarandstonesauna #saunashare
Hewing Hotel – Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Hewing Hotel has a rooftop sauna in Minneapolis that serves as a cultural center of the North Loop – an industrial warehouse district that has become the place to live in the city.
The sauna is large and features aufguss sessions and open sauna events. You can also pop-in as a guest for about $35 – just call the Hewing Hotel front desk to confirm availability.
The hotel also has an awesome hot tub and rooftop access with a view of the Minneapolis skyline which is about as good as a cool-down between sessions gets. Showers are also available.
If you’re going with two or more people, it my be worth renting a room which can be done affordably on weekdays when they’re not too busy. Of course, the sauna and rooftop facilities are free for guests.
Private Sauna Rentals in Minnesota
Along with some of the saunas above, there is a growing network of saunas available for rent in Minnesota.
There are several rental sauna in Minneapolis, Hopkins, and Duluth – some serve the entire state. Check out SaunaShare.com for the latest on saunas available in your area.
Additionally, Lake Minnetonka has a mobile sauna rental company called Tonka Steamers, though their website (tonkasteamers.com) is currently down.
Frequently Asked Questions
We recommend an outdoor, wood burning sauna next to a lake! Indoor basement saunas are also very popular in the Twin Cities and Duluth. There’s also nothing wrong with a good electric heater.
Outdoor saunas should be insulated, with the exception of barrel saunas. Insulated saunas are more consistent and heat up faster. This is especially important with electric heaters in Minnesota.
In general, you can get away with a small wood burning outdoor sauna about the size of a shed. Indoor saunas or electric saunas almost always require a building permit. Talk to your local building department or a contractor.
Minnesota has a rich history of Finnish immigrants who make quality saunas and sauna heaters. They are honest folks who do good work.
Sauna History in MN
Minnesota has a rich history of Scandinavian sauna culture dating back to the early 1800s. Finns increased in population in Minnesota until the 1920s when they became the 4th largest immigrant group in the state.
Finnish settlements popped up in Northern Minnesota where they found work in Lumber Camps, railroads, and mines.
One county official doubted the Finns ability to evaluate land, but their “longing for a snow-covered nature, where smooth ice-covered stretches of lake could be glimpsed through pine and spruce” explains their destination.
Swedish speaking Finns from Ostrobothnian coastal towns and from the Aland Islands tended to seek out new homes along the water, so that they could continue their occupation of fishing on the shores of the Great Lakes.
The First Finnish Sauna and Lawsuit in Minnesota
In 1868, 3 Finnish neighbors (Isak Parbo, Selvälä and Salmonson), built the first known sauna in the region between their three farms.
It was a simple log sauna with no dressing room, 10×12′ with seven foot ceilings. The hot room had a pile of stones heated by fire in the corner, a high bench along the back wall, and openings near the ridge to let smoke escape. Today this would be known as a savusauna, or smoke sauna.
For 20 years, the neighbors families took turns every Saturday using the sauna.
In Finnish fashion, they would stand outside naked to cool themselves between sessions. This became a problem after a road was built right next to the sauna.
The stark naked Finns cooling themselves in front of the sauna led to all sorts of grumbling and muttering about the strange ways of the Finns.
The village authorities ordered the sauna removed “from the middle of the road” in 1885. The owners removed the sauna, but brought the first Finnish lawsuit to court in Cokato where they won $70 in damages and moving expenses which allowed them to build a bigger, nicer sauna elsewhere on their property.
The original Savusauna still stands in Cokato after moving several times, and was recently restored.
Sauna Heater Innovations in MN
Saunas were not traditionally for sale in Minnesota because building them was almost a Finnish Right of Passage. When Finns bought land, they often built (and still do) their sauna first. They would live in the Sauna as the house was built.
Wood burning sauna heaters, on the other hand have a long history of innovation and entrepreneurship in Minnesota.
One company that began in the early 1900s is still selling sauna heaters today.