Types of Saunas

Saunas have exploded in popularity since the early 2000’s, when owning one was a luxury unaffordable for many. With the increased demand, more and more types of saunas are entering the market. It’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for in a sauna before making a buying decision. On top of that, most folks can’t just walk into a sauna dealership in their backyard.

What are the types of Sauna?

A sauna is a place in which a type of stove is located. With that in mind, there are 5 sauna types in the world.

  1. Traditional Wood fired saunas
  2. Barrel saunas
  3. Electric stove saunas
  4. Infrared, portable saunas
  5. Sauna steam rooms
  6. Portable stove-less saunas

For the purposes of not naming every single variation of sauna type possible, the sauna types listed above are all the possible variations a person can have when it comes to sauna. For the purposes of the saunas we personally use, we cover mainly traditional saunas here on our site.

Steam room, or sauna?

While a steam room is a type of sauna, when we compare saunas vs steam rooms, they are in completely different categories. We consider a sauna to be a room with a stove, either infrared, electric, or wood fired. We did a deep dive into the two elsewhere on our website and we encourage you to check it out.

Traditional wood fired saunas

Of course, each type of sauna comes with different variations. As far as wood fired saunas are concerned, there are two types.

  • Indoor wood fired saunas
  • Outdoor wood fired saunas

Can you have a wood fired sauna indoors?

While not common, there are indoor saunas that are wood fired. Wood fired indoor sauna stoves have been replaced by electric sauna stoves in recent years, and wood fired saunas are typically used in outdoor saunas.

Barrel saunas

The barrel sauna is one of the most convenient options for those looking to set up an outdoor sauna on their property. Barrel saunas offer several different stove options for those looking to customize their experience.

  • Wood fired barrel saunas
  • Electric barrel saunas

Electric stove saunas

Saunas that use electric stoves have become increasingly popular over the past 20 years, especially due to the increased efficiency that comes with updated stove technology. Contrary to what many think, electric sauna stoves are actually highly efficient. There are three types of electric stove saunas.

  • Indoor electric stove saunas
  • Outdoor electric stove saunas
  • Dry Saunas

Do outdoor saunas use electric stoves?

Actually, electric stoves are the most popular stove option for an outdoor sauna. It’s not uncommon for sauna users to have two saunas on their property, one indoors and one outside. Traditionally, outdoor saunas used wood fired stoves, however, they’ve been increasingly replaced with electric stoves due to the convenience and performance.

With dry saunas, water is not generally added to the stove.

Infrared, portable saunas

Infrared saunas have multiple different sub-types.

  • 1 Person Sauna
  • 2 Person Sauna
  • 3 Person Sauna
  • 4 Person Sauna

Sauna steam rooms

Sauna steam rooms are commonly used in fitness centers and gyms throughout the world. While they were popular within the last 20 years, sauna steam rooms generally offer an experience too mild for avid sauna enthusiasts. Sauna steam rooms come in a wide range of sizes, but the majority are built for large groups.

Portable stove-less saunas

If there’s a sauna steam room option for those looking to get the steam without the heat, a portable sauna would be your go to option. Portable saunas are a great starter option for those looking to test out an infrared sauna prior to purchasing.

Frequent questions on the different types of sauna

When we consider all of the different types of saunas in the world, there are a high number of variations one could have. For many of these, we’ve addressed individual questions on a certain article.


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