The 7 Best Outdoor Saunas for Wellness Benefits in Your Backyard, Reviewed by an Expert

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For 2024 wellness trends, nothing’s hotter than temperature therapy. Be it an icy dunk in a cold plunge bath or a sweaty sauna session, these ancient modalities have modern-day interest. For those who take their wellness routines seriously, the best outdoor saunas and outdoor sauna kits give you spa-grade passive heat therapy in your backyard.

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Sauna bathing dates back to 2000 BCE in northern Europe, with strong ties to the population of Finland. (Even today, there are 3.3 million saunas for the country’s 5.5 million people, according to Unesco.) Formerly relegated to spas and luxury gyms, home saunas — particularly outdoor saunas — are an increasingly popular way to reap the recovery and relaxation benefits of the heat therapy. The sauna market in the US is estimated to increase by $12.19 million from 2022 to 2027, with a CAGR of about 4 percent, according to the recent market study by Technavio.

Outdoor saunas are standalone structures, most often crafted from insulating softwoods like hemlock or cedar wood, with capacities that can accommodate one to eight people inside. Some outdoor saunas are delivered to you fully constructed, while other outdoor sauna kits come with everything you need to build the sauna from scratch. Equipped with an electric, stone, or wood-burning heating unit, these enclosures produce wet or dry heat to deliver benefits for your skin, cardiovascular system, mind, and more.

The ideal temperature for an outdoor sauna should typically be between 160°F to 195°F,” says Dr. Jonathan Leary, CEO and Founder of Remedy Place. “This range strikes a balance that allows for a deeply therapeutic and invigorating experience, which aligns perfectly with the principles of holistic healthcare.” Dr. Leary recommends two to three 15- to 20-minute sessions per week “to reap the substantial benefits of sauna use, such as relaxation, improved circulation, and detoxification, without overexerting the body.” He notes that beginners should start with shorter sessions and work up to 15 minutes.

Because the benefits of sauna bathing come with consistent use, outdoor saunas are an investment that’ll save you repeat trips to the spa and pricey luxury gym memberships. We spoke with experts like Dr. Leary and conducted extensive market research to compose this list of the best outdoor saunas for any backyard.

Top Outdoor Saunas of 2024

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Related:
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Benefits of Blue Light Therapy

7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts
7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Sun Home Saunas Luminar Outdoor 5-Person Full-Spectrum Infrared Sauna

Editor review rating: 4.9/5 rating
Dimensions: 82″ W by 51.5″ D by 82.5″ H
Capacity: 5 people
Material:
Carbonized cedar
Warranty:
7 years

$9,099 $9,699 6% off

Buy Now at Sun Home saunas

Sun Home Sauna’s Luminar Full-Spectrum Infrared Sauna is a luxury choice with 15 high-output heaters for efficient heating. It’s an editor’s choice pick for its durability, special features, and energy-efficient design, making it well worth the price point. The heat-treated carbonized wood is highly insulating, ensuring that the heat inside stays at a stable temperature no matter the weather outside, while a mix of full-spectrum and far infrared heaters are strategically placed for even heat distribution.

Inside this outdoor infrared sauna, you’ll have plenty of space to stretch and relax comfortably, with luxury features like a built-in bluetooth audio surround sound system, ergonomic seating, and cup holders. Fans of red light therapy face tools will appreciate that this sauna also offers LED light therapy, and is compatible with add-on red light therapy panels for more intense benefits. Testers note that it’s simple to assemble and requires minimal upkeep — two factors where competitors’ saunas tend to fall short.

Price upon publish date of this article: $9,099

Related: Red Light Therapy Benefits


7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts
7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts

BEST OUTDOOR STEAM SAUNA

Aleko Rustic Cedar Barrel Sauna

Editor review rating: 4.6/5 rating
Dimensions: 73″W by 81″L by 79″H
Capacity: 4 people
Material: Cedar wood
Warranty: 1 year
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$5,999

Buy Now at amazon

A powerful steam generator sets Aleko’s outdoor sauna apart from the rest — the Finnish-made heating element allows you to pour water over the stones for more humidity, or let it evaporate for a dry sauna experience. This outdoor steam sauna also includes a dial control that allows you to adjust the sauna between 154°F and 194°F, a safe range for beginners and pros. It comes to you partially assembled for a streamlined building process. Plus, this backyard sauna also includes a built-in mini porch that allows you to slowly cool down after your sauna session on mild weather days — an essential step for safe sauna usage, according to Dr. Leary.

Price upon publish date of this article: $5,999


7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts
7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts

Plunge Sauna

Editor review rating: 4.8/5 rating
Dimensions: 7’11”H by 5’8”W x 5’11”D
Capacity: 5 people
Material: Cedar wood
Warranty: 2 years

$10,990

Buy Now at plunge

Plunge’s outdoor sauna features two stacked flip-up benches for a miniature version of the stadium-style seating you’re accustomed to at the gym’s sauna room. This allows a max capacity of five people inside, but also provides a few different surfaces for stretching and bodyweight exercise for a solo sauna bath. This modern outdoor sauna comes equipped with the highly-rated Huum Drop Sauna Heater, Wi-Fi connectivity, a phone mount, and a sliding vent to adjust the temperature quickly when you’re inside. Plunge notes that two people can assemble the structure in two to three hours, however you can also upgrade your order to include an assembly service for an added charge at checkout.

Price upon publish date of this article: $10,990


7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts
7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts

BEST BUDGET OUTDOOR SAUNA

Ltccdss Outdoor Infrared 2-Person Sauna

Editor review rating: 4.7/5 rating
Dimensions: 57.9″ L x 40.5″ W x 81.1″ W 
Capacity: 2 people
Material: Hemlock
Warranty: None
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$2,799

Buy Now at amazon

Outdoor saunas can cost upwards of $15,000 — if that’s not in the cards for your wallet, consider this Amazon option. Despite the low price for its category, it comes with special features like bluetooth speakers and built-in reading lights. Plus, this backyard sauna is created with high-quality hemlock wood sourced from Quebec, Canada. It’s compatible with outdoor temperatures ranging from -5°F to 120°F, making it safe for use in most locations. Testers note that the outdoor sauna is easy to assemble in under an hour and doesn’t develop mildew in wet climates.

Price upon publish date of this article: $2,799


7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts
7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts

SPONSORED

Sun Home Saunas Panoramic Cedar Outdoor Sauna

Editor review rating: 4.9/5 rating
Dimensions: 5.9 feet wide by 5 feet long
Capacity:
4 people
Material:
Cedar
Warranty:
5-year warranty on the heater; 1-year limited warranty on the sauna cabin

$15,300 $16,300 6% off

Buy Now at sun home saunas

Barrel saunas are known for their efficiency in heat distribution — the rounded shape allows hot air to circulate evenly throughout the structure, preventing pockets of too-hot or too-cold air. Sun Home Saunas’ barrel sauna comes with a Huum Drop Electric Heater and accompanying control panel for easy operation, and it can reach a max of 220°F, making it the hottest outdoor sauna on our list. The unique acrylic window provides panoramic views from the ergonomic benches inside.

Price upon publish date of this article: $15,300


7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts
7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts

Xmatch Far-Infrared Wooden Outdoor Sauna

Editor review rating: 4.5/5 rating
Dimensions: 45.7″ Lx 39.37″ W x 79.6″H
Capacity:
1 person
Material:
Kiln-dried hemlock
Warranty:
None
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$2,199

Buy Now at amazon

Sauna for one? Consider it done with Xmatch’s kiln-dried hemlock outdoor sauna kit. This single-person backyard sauna is spacious enough for you to sit and stretch comfortably inside, with a deep bench, an LED control panel, and bluetooth compatibility. It features plenty of venting and a pitched roof that prevent mildew and rot over years of use. Note that it’s only fit for people under 6’2, so tall sauna bathers will want to seek out a more spacious option.

Price upon publish date of this article: $2,199


7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts
7 Best Outdoor Saunas, Reviewed by Experts

BEST OUTDOOR STEAM SAUNA

Almost Heaven Saunas Audra 4-Person Traditional Steam Sauna

Editor review rating: 4.7/5 rating
Dimensions: 72″W by 72″D by 77″H
Capacity:
4 people
Material:
Cedar
Warranty:
Limited lifetime warranty on sauna; 5-year warranty on heater
Wayfair Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$5,604 $11,208 50% off

Buy Now at wayfair


Almost Heaven Saunas’ Audra outdoor sauna barrel comes highly rated by testers who report fast delivery and a simple assembly process with clear instructions. This best outdoor sauna is created with aromatic and antimicrobial cedar wood set on a weather-resistant polymer cradle. Up to four people can sit on the two benches inside, and it features two seats outside of the sauna to catch your breath if needed. As a bonus, this sauna comes from one of few sauna manufacturers based in the US.

Price upon publish date of this article: $5,604


Outdoor Sauna Shopping Tips: What to Consider Before You Buy

Building codes and permits

Outdoor saunas are considered accessory structures on property, so depending on your local zoning regulations and factors like the size of the sauna and the type of heating unit it uses, you may need a permit to install one in your yard.

Start with your local building department’s website to learn more about what’s required in your area (simply search your town, city, or county name and “building permit” to locate the right website).

Materials

Durable, weather-resistant materials are an essential factor to look for in outdoor saunas. Because of fluctuations in temperature and humidity inside and outside of the sauna, you’ll want to look for specific types of wood, like hemlock and cedar wood, that are insulating and resistant to decay. If the sauna you’re considering has a glass door, make sure it’s tempered glass (the same material in car windshields), which can withstand wind, harsh weather, and sudden fluctuations in temperature.

Capacity

Outdoor saunas run the gamut of small, one-person structures up to larger sauna cabins that can comfortably fit up to eight people inside. Larger saunas have a higher cost up front and will generally take longer to heat up to your desired temperature than smaller options. Smaller saunas, on the other hand, heat up quickly, however you’ll want to make sure the size can accommodate your height and weight.

Expect to pay a minimum of $2,000 for a high-quality single-person outdoor sauna, and upwards of $15,000 for a six- to eight-person sauna.

Special features

Many of today’s outdoor saunas come equipped with add-ons that make your sauna bathing experience more comfortable — think built-in bluetooth speakers, digital control panels, and reading lights. Note that these additional features can increase the price of the sauna.

The Different Types of Outdoor Saunas

  • Outdoor Finnish saunas: “Traditional saunas, often known as Finnish saunas, typically have low humidity levels, around 10 to 20 percent, and rely on high temperatures to induce sweating,” Dr. Leary explains. “In this dry heat, the low humidity allows for a more intense heat sensation, facilitating deep sweating which is beneficial for detoxification and stress relief.”

  • Outdoor infrared saunas: Traditional saunas heat the air around you to raise your body temperature, where infrared saunas employ wavelengths that elevate your body temperature with a lower air temperature. These options are best for those who are sensitive to intense heat, although most employ a combination of heated air and infrared heat.

  • Outdoor steam room saunas: “Steam rooms or Turkish-style saunas have much higher humidity levels, often close to 100 percent, but operate at lower temperatures,” Dr. Leary explains. The high humidity in these environments provides a different kind of heat experience, which is less intense but deeply penetrating, offering benefits such as improved skin hydration and respiratory relief.”

  • Outdoor barrel saunas: These cylindrical saunas could employ infrared or traditional heating mechanisms. The rounded shape is better for distributing even air temperatures inside the sauna and often heat up more quickly and stay at a steadier temperature than boxy outdoor saunas.

The Benefits of Sauna Bathing

Yes, saunas are designed to deliver health benefits, but exposure to intense heat can come with risks. First things first, check with your doctor before you set out for a sauna session, particularly if you are pregnant or have existing health conditions. To avoid adverse reactions, Dr. Leary recommends to hydrate well before and after your sauna session, exit the sauna if you feel dizzy, and allow yourself to cool down gradually with a lukewarm shower afterwards.

More research is needed to verify the health benefits of sauna bathing, however anecdotal evidence and small studies have pointed to a few promising pros for your health. For starters, you’ll break a serious sweat. “Sweating is one of the body’s natural ways to eliminate toxins, and infrared saunas can kickstart this process,” explains Dr. Leary. “Although more research is needed, some studies suggest that heavy metals and environmental toxins can be excreted through sweat.” More benefits of sauna bathing, below.

  • Pain relief: “Infrared heat can penetrate deep into muscles and joints, providing relief from pain conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and muscle soreness,” explains Dr. Leary. “Many users report significant pain reduction after regular use.”

  • Stress reduction and relaxation: “Anecdotal evidence is abundant when it comes to the relaxation benefits of infrared saunas,” Dr. Leary says. “The gentle, soothing heat helps relax muscles and promote a sense of calm, which can reduce stress and anxiety.”

  • Improved circulation: According to Dr. Leary, “Infrared saunas are believed to improve blood circulation by increasing heart rate and dilating blood vessels. This can potentially benefit cardiovascular health, but more research is needed.” A 2019 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology posits that saunas could help reduce the risk for and severity of cardiovascular disease.

  • Skin health: “Some studies suggest that infrared therapy can promote collagen production, potentially improving skin texture and reducing the signs of aging,” says Dr. Leary. Collagen production aside, sauna bathers can expect a short-term glow after a session due to the increase in circulation.

How We Selected the Best Outdoor Saunas

Since 1910, WWD — often referred to as “the fashion bible” — has been the leading industry voice of authority for senior executives in the global women’s and men’s fashion, retail and beauty communities, while also informing the consumer media that cover the market. Today, WWD’s breaking news and trend coverage continues to be a trustworthy resource for both fashion insiders and consumers alike. Our shopping editors continue to uphold WWD’s editorial standards and values with quality, expert-backed product selections.

To select the best outdoor saunas, our editors began with outreach to experts in the field to understand key features and qualities to seek out in outdoor saunas. Using this information, we researched the most durable materials and efficient heating elements to narrow down our list of the best outdoor saunas and outdoor sauna kits. We read through customer reviews of top-rated saunas to further whittle down the selections based off of positive tester feedback relating to assembly, ease of use, and durability over time. Our editors also carefully researched materials, heating elements, and special features like infrared heat, then applied these findings to rate each outdoor sauna on a scale of 0 to 5, creating a list of the seven best outdoor saunas and DIY sauna kits suitable for use in various climates.

Why Trust WWD

Since 1910, WWD — often referred to as “the fashion bible” — has been the leading industry voice of authority for senior executives in the global women’s and men’s fashion, retail and beauty communities, while also informing the consumer media that cover the market. Today, WWD’s breaking news and trend coverage continues to be a trustworthy resource for both fashion insiders and consumers alike. Our shopping editors continue to uphold WWD’s editorial standards and values with quality, expert-backed product selections. Learn more about us here.

Meet the Expert

image of wellness expert Jonathan Leary
image of wellness expert Jonathan Leary

Dr. Jonathan Leary is the founder and CEO of Remedy Place, the world’s first social wellness club dedicated to holistically bring their guests back into balance. He graduated at the top of his class with a Doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine that provided him with an extensive foundation in anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, clinical nutrition, and rehabilitation. Dr. Leary spent a decade researching and developing Remedy Place’s cutting-edge techniques that optimize the body’s natural ability to heal. Throughout his career, he has brought his professional expertise to a wide range of celebrities, professional and Olympic athletes, and patients from all walks of life.

Meet the Author

Claire Sullivan is the Senior Beauty and Lifestyle Commerce Editor for Footwear News and WWD, where she writes and edits beauty, fashion and lifestyle stories. She has over six years of experience as a writer and editor for national media outlets including Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle, and Byrdie. She keeps her finger on the pulse of all things related to beauty and wellness, as well as the latest shopping trends and clothing brands.

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