While saunas come in many shapes and sizes, one of the most unique by far is the barrel sauna. As the name suggests, these saunas are designed to look like a giant barrel and just like traditional barrels, they are built using rounded wooden staves held together with metal hoops.
Because of their rounded shape, they have a whimsical look that makes them particularly inviting as outdoor saunas, as they can make a unique addition to any landscape design. They look like a quaint workshop or perhaps a children’s playhouse and are a perfect accent to your back patio, garden, or beside a mountain cabin.
Of course, an outdoor barrel sauna is about more than just looks. That unique circular design is just as functional as it is attractive. There are several specific reasons why a barrel shaped sauna is a more practical choice than the traditional square shape...
Like all saunas, an outdoor barrel sauna can provide plenty of health benefits, helping with everything from hypertension to chronic pain. There’s no wonder why outdoor saunas in particular have been so popular in places like Scandinavia for generations. So the entire family can benefit from this enjoyable cleansing experience.
There are many makes and models of barrel sauna for sale, with a range of features to make them even more eye-catching as well as comfortable. You can include an outer room for storing and changing your clothes, an outdoor veranda or porch, or even a window to take advantage of the beautiful view.
You can get your sauna pre-made or buy a barrel sauna kit. They are easy to assemble, portable and free-standing, and come in a range of sizes to accommodate anywhere from four to eight people.
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There are several key features that you’ll want to take into consideration when shopping for a barrel sauna. Let’s take a closer look at them.
When you’re talking about an outdoor barrel sauna, one of the most important factors is the wood. Since your sauna will be exposed to the elements, you need to ensure that it can stand up to everything from winter cold to the summer sun.
Specific needs will vary depending on the climate where you live but in general you want a kiln-dried wood that will be sturdier and more durable.
There are many types of wood used in sauna construction and you’ll want to consider all of your options before making your choice.
Three of the more popular choices for a wood barrel sauna are Nordic Spruce, Hemlock Fir and Cedar. Nordic Spruce and Hemlock Fir are two of the most affordable types of wood and both are attractive with a light color and small knots but Hemlock Fir in particular is not very decay-resistant, which means it’s not as good for outdoor use.
By far the best choice for an outdoor barrel sauna is Cedar. Whether you choose solid red or white cedar, you’ll end up with a sauna that is as durable as it is beautiful. Not only is Cedar lightweight and dimensionally stable, allowing it to stand up to all weather extremes, it also contains no natural toxins and is bacterial and fungal resistant. Its fragrant aroma also makes it pleasant to use and provides the added benefit of being insect repellant.
Fresh air circulation is important for your barrel sauna in order to keep the interior wood from cracking and cupping when it’s regularly exposed to heat and to preserve the cedar smell. A fresh air vent can be easily added but if it is not an included part of the barrel sauna kit, you can simply leave the door slightly open after each use while the sauna cools to achieve the same effect.
Heater Options and Accessories
After the wood, the next most important feature of your barrel shaped sauna is the heater. Again there are several types of heaters to choose from. Ultimately, the type of heater is a personal choice but there are a few things to keep in mind when comparing them.
While electric heaters are the standard, they actually work best for saunas that are 6’ x 6’ or smaller, which wouldn’t be able to handle the heat from a wood heater. For larger saunas, wood or gas stoves can provide a great alternative.
Wood and gas tend to produce more heat than electric heaters and many people enjoy the cozy ambiance and traditional feel of a wood or gas stove.
Another option for your barrel sauna is infrared heating, which provides a gentler heat source at lower temperatures for a completely different feel. There are several different types of infrared heater available, each of which can provide a comfortable and healthy experience.
Aside from the heater, other common features of a wine barrel sauna include the control panel, heater and rocks, and sometimes additional complimentary sauna accessories, such as the water bucket and ladle.
Bi-Level Seat Structure
A final feature to bear in mind is the seat structure of your barrel sauna. Depending on the make and model you may be able to get single or bi-level seating. In general, you’ll probably want to opt for the roomier models that offer two levels of seating as the upper bench of any sauna will get hotter air than the lower one.
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You’ll find these saunas for sale in easy-to-construct “pre-fab” units. Since barrel saunas don’t need water, plumbing hook-ups, or drains (no sauna does), you should be able to set up one up by yourself in less than a day.
All it takes to assemble one of these barrel kits is a drill, square, level, screw driver and hammer, while others come complete as a unit; you just set the cedar barrel down onto the cradle.
There are a number of different companies that offer barrel sauna kits and complete models. Your choice of sauna will depend on the number of people you need to accommodate, the specific health benefits you want to experience and the weather conditions in your area.
Some of the most popular brands include:
Redwood Outdoors has a wide selection of classic barrel saunas and porch barrel saunas in red cedar and thermowood.
You can choose from 6kw or 8kw high-quality Harvia electric heaters or wood stoves, whichever you prefer.
(SAVE $250 with code: SAUNATALK250)
One of the original barrel sauna companies, Almost Heaven has a number of great options to choose from in a variety of woods including rustic cedar and rustic fir.
The barrels can accommodate from 2 up to 8 people depending on the style, and you can choose either wood burning or electric heat, whichever you prefer, along with a number of other customization options.
Established in 2013, BZB provides the very best in outdoor cabins, saunas and other outdoor items. Their sauna kits are made from the finest slow grown European Spruce and crafted with care in Northern Europe.
You can choose from a variety of styles, with units from 2 person all the way up to deluxe units for 12 people. The best part is you can choose wood burning or electric heaters, configure windows and select from a number of great options to customize your barrel sauna just the way you want it.
Founded in 2005 as a small, family owned business Aleko is now a thriving company that offers a wide range of luxury barrel saunas made from Finland White Pine or Rustic Western Red Cedar and including a number of unique features from Bitumen shingle roofing to panoramic view windows.
Some other options for you include...
· SymbolicSpas – selling top quality spas including Canadian Red Cedar and Pine Wood barrel spas since 1998.
· AllwoodOutlet – Allwood Outlet is a division of Allwood Industrials, which was founded in 2000 and offers eco-friendly barrel sauna options imported from Scandanavia and the Baltic States.
There are plenty of reasons to opt for an outdoor barrel sauna, from relaxation to stress relief to specific health benefits including improved circulation and relief from chronic pain. They are quick and easy to set up and will instantly become an attractive feature in your backyard.
The only drawback for many people will likely be the price. While an indoor home sauna can be set up for under $3000, barrel cedar saunas have a price range of $4500 to $9000, depending on the size and style. It’s important to shop wisely but if you’re looking for the most effective and durable outdoor sauna, a barrel sauna is almost certainly your best bet.