Just like with most things, the prices of home saunas vary depending on the quality of the units. You can find very basic ones for around $1,000, and top of the line multi-person saunas for $5,000 and up. It's a matter of figuring out what your budget is and taking it from there.
There are a number of different factors that come into play when it comes to the cost of a sauna. One such factor is the wood. Lower cost saunas, whether they are the popular infrared variety, or an outdoor barrel sauna, will typically have lower quality woods.
The wood itself might be inferior, or the panels may be too thin or poorly constructed. High quality, thick, well constructed wood saunas will be more expensive than those that are not.
Another factor of course is the size of the sauna. For obvious reasons, a 1-2 person sauna will not be as expensive as a 5-6 person unit, assuming all other factors are equal. Why? Because there is more wood, more heating panels/larger capacity heating unit, additional benches and other consideration for larger units.
Speaking of heating, that is a big factor when it comes to sauna cost as well. There are many different heating options, from wood burning to electric to gas to infrared panels. Within each category there is a wide range of quality as well.
You might notice that there are a lot of infrared sauna options out there today, but it's important to recognize the fact that not all of their heating panels are of the same quality.
They are largely unregulated, so you really don't know what you are getting unless you deal with a reliable manufacturer like Jacuzzi/Clearlight or another company that has third party research available that speaks to the quality of their heaters.
It's a little more cut and dried with an electric heater where you can see the output and other specs right on the manual itself. You know what you're getting. Unfortunately this is not true with infrared saunas...you're kind of flying blind in that regard.
Besides the wood, the size and the heating unit, you also have other factors that go into sauna pricing. The construction itself is one of those factors. It's great to start out with high quality components, but how are those components put together?
There is a lot that goes into the building process, and unless you are building it yourself from scratch, you can't be too sure that the proper care was taken to put your sauna together. The adhesives used, the way the woods are aligned, ventilation considerations...these all need to be done the right way to avoid issues like mold, allergic reactions and toxicity.
Another factor affecting the sauna cost are the wiring or piping, depending on what type of sauna you end up going with. Obviously, there is wiring and or/piping involved with an electric or gas heater. If you're going with the more traditional wood sauna heater, then you have the costs of the wood and the need for a chimney for ventilation.
So depending on whether you go with an indoor or outdoor sauna, and whether it is wood, electric, gas or infrared heat, you have the added consideration of the requirements for the type of heat you have chosen. Infrared will be the least expensive as you just need an electrical outlet, and no extensive wiring, pipes or chimney are needed.
Besides the wood, the heater, the construction and the costs involved in getting your sauna to work, the only additional costs besides daily operation are any extras that you choose to have.
You can often customize your sauna with additional benches, windows, door options and configurations. You can add Bluetooth music, chromotherapy, LED lights, smartphone controls, charging stations. There are endless possibilities for customization, especially with some of the better brands and companies.
You can save yourself a good deal of money if you are able to build your own sauna from scratch, but most people opt for a prebuilt unit as there are a lot of considerations when it comes to DIY, and it's not a project to take lightly. Although you may end up saving a thousand dollars in the long run, you don't want to risk releasing toxic fumes, mold development or some other issue.
We would definitely recommend going with one of the top sauna brands that we discuss on this site. Although they are more expensive than the cheaper companies, you definitely get what you pay for.
The cheap saunas made in China and elsewhere may save you a few bucks, but the quality simply isn't there. You're not getting the same benefits, and you may be putting yourself at risk, especially if you have any allergies or are otherwise sensitive to certain woods or adhesives.
A sauna is a long term investment, and as such it makes sense to get something that is high quality and can offer you the true benefits of sauna. You just can't achieve this with poor quality units with inferior woods, shoddy construction and low grade heating units.