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How to Pick Your Perfect Sauna

Redwood Outdoors - Mar 8th 2023

Redwood Outdoors has carefully designed a range of saunas to fit every property and budget. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it. We’ve compiled the list below of selection criteria to make it easy to pick the sauna that’s just right for you!

If you ever have questions we’re happy to help. You can get in touch with one of our product experts by calling 1800 567 8036.

Available Space

The first thing to consider is how much space you have. The smallest Redwood Outdoors sauna is the Thermowood Cabin Sauna, it has a footprint of approximately 5’ x 6-½’. The largest Redwood Outdoors sauna is the Thermowood Garden Sauna, it has a footprint of approximately 9’ x 7-½’. Our barrels range from 6’ x 6’ to 6’ x 8’.

If you have a constrained backyard, you may need a smaller sauna. If space is not a concern, you can pick whatever sauna best meets your needs.

Dimensions for each sauna are available in the “Product Specifications” section of the product page. We recommend measuring your space, then comparing it against these drawings to confirm the sauna will fit. You should leave at least a 1’ buffer between the edges of the sauna and any other structures (e.g., fence, deck, etc).

Remember, whatever sauna you choose, it must be placed on a strong and level foundation. There is detailed information about foundation requirements in our FAQ.

Number of Bathers

Once you’ve determined how much space you have, the next thing to consider is how many bathers you think will be using the sauna. Redwood Outdoors offers saunas for 4, 6, and 8 bathers.

If you plan to use the sauna mostly by yourself or with your significant other, you may want to select a 4- or 6-person model. If you plan on having friends over to enjoy a sauna session with you, you may want to choose a 6- or 8- person model. Some customers prefer to have larger saunas even if they’re using the sauna alone so they can use stretch out on the extra bench space.

6-person models are most popular as they feel roomy without taking up too much space in your backyard.

Bench Style

Now that you’ve narrowed down how much space you have and how many bathers will be using it, the next step is to pick the bench style. Redwood Outdoors offers two types of sauna benches.


In single-level bench saunas, the bathers sit at the same height facing each other. This seating choice is perfect for anyone who plans to use the sauna with their significant other or close friends. Single-level seating creates an intimate environment as you can look directly at the other bather and have a conversation while saunaing together.

Single-level seating is the most common option in barrel saunas.


In double-level bench saunas, the bathers sit at different heights facing the same direction. This seating choice is perfect for anyone who wants to get really hot. Double-level seating allows you to sit close to the roof, which is where the hot air collects making it the hottest part of the sauna. Bathers can cycle from the medium-heat lower bench to the high-heat upper bench, making it easier to adjust your temperature without touching the heater.

All cube saunas and some barrel saunas have double-level seating.

Design Aesthetic

At this point, you’ve whittled it down to a few options, but you may still have a couple of candidates. For example, you could be choosing between the Classic Thermwood Barrel and the Thermowood Panorama.

Picking the right design comes down to two things:

Personal preference

Sometimes our customers fall in love with a look, and that is great! Your sauna will sit in your backyard for many years, so it's important that you like how it looks.

The barrel look is a timeless classic, but some customers prefer a more modern look and prefer the garden or cube sauna instead. There is no right or wrong answer, it’s all up to you!

Matching your space

Think about your space and how your sauna will fit within it. Things to consider include, where will the door open, whether is there a view to look at, and if there are there other structures (like a shed) you’d like to match stylistically.

If your property has a view, we recommend choosing the panorama sauna as it will give you the opportunity to enjoy your surroundings while you’re in the heat.

Wood Type

The last point before you choose your perfect sauna type is the wood to use. Redwood Outdoors offers saunas in red cedar and Thermowood.

Both wood types offer excellent protection against rot and termites. Both wood types are incredibly durable, no matter which wood you choose, you’ll have a sauna that will last for many years.

Red Cedar

This wood type is commonly used in North American saunas. Cedar is famous for its smell and beautiful color. Red cedar is grown exclusively in the pacific northwest of Canada and the US, which means there is a limited supply available. Redwood Outdoors only uses the best Canadian red cedar in its saunas.

Because of its limited availability, red cedar costs more, and saunas made from red cedar are more expensive than the equivalent sauna constructed from Thermowood.


This wood type is commonly used in European saunas. Thermowood is made from a mix of spruce, pine, and fir that has been superheated to increase its longevity. We have a detailed FAQ about Thermowood and how it's made which you can read here. Redwood Outdoors primarily uses Finnish spruce as the base wood in its Thermowood saunas.

Because the wood used to make Thermowood is more plentiful, saunas made from Thermowood are less expensive than the equivalent sauna constructed from red cedar.

Note that not all saunas are available in all wood types.

Heater Type

After going through the list above, you should be able to pick your sauna structure. Now the only thing left is to decide what heater to put inside your sauna!

Redwood Outdoors has carefully selected the very best sauna heaters to pair with our saunas. Whichever heater you choose, you simply can’t go wrong. All of our heaters are excellent options and will give you a wonderful sauna experience. The main items to consider are below.

On-Grid vs Off-Grid

Does your property have access to electricity? If not, you’ll need a wood-fired stove. We offer the Harvia M3 stove which can be paired with a Redwood Outdoors chimney kit, giving you everything you need to enjoy a sauna off-grid.

If you have access to electricity, most customers choose to use an electrically powered sauna stove. However, you still have the option of using a wood-burning stove if you’d like a more traditional experience.

Humid vs Dry

If you’re going to use an electric stove, the next thing to consider is how humid you like your sauna. Redwood Outdoors offers two stove types that give unique sauna experiences.

If you’d like a dry sauna that runs at high temp (~190 F) and low humidity (~15% humidity) then your best choice is the Harvia KIP. The KIP family of electric sauna heaters are traditional Finnish wall-mounted heaters. They heat up fast and reach high temperatures within one hour.

If you’d like a wet sauna that runs at medium temp (~165 F) and high humidity (~35% humidity) then your best choice is the Harvia Cilindro. The Cilindro specializes in creating a lot of steam. This is because the heater holds 160 lbs of rocks! All these rocks create a more even heat distribution and an incredible löyly that would make any Finn proud.

The temperature of both saunas will feel the same when you’re inside. Due to the higher humidity in the room, the perceived temperature in a sauna with a Cilindro sauna will feel comparable to a sauna with a KIP running at a higher absolute temperature.

Note that due to design limitations, not all heaters are available in all sauna types.

Digital vs Dial Control

All of our electric heaters have the option to be controlled digitally! Digital heaters are the latest in sauna technology and will help you get the most out of your investment. The huge convenience boost offered by Wi-Fi means you will use your sauna more, and that means more health benefits.

Our digital Wi-Fi heaters can be controlled via a pad mounted near your sauna, or from any smartphone. The biggest convenience of Wi-Fi is remote start, you can pre-heat your sauna from anywhere—whether at the office or on the slopes. Wi-Fi heaters can also be set to come on at a specific time of day, so your sauna is ready when you wake up.

Alternatively, you can choose to have your electric heater controlled manually with dials which is a lower-cost option. Many customers choose this option for their heater and are very pleased with it.

Unfortunately, you cannot upgrade a manual control heater to a digital Wi-Fi system in the future. While the manual and digital heaters look very similar, they are in fact totally different heaters. If you want to change in the future it would mean replacing the heater itself.


Having answered the questions above, you should have a good idea of what sauna to select. If you ever have questions or would like to chat through the different options, our product experts would be more than happy to speak with you via phone or email. You can reach us at or by calling 1 800 567 8036. If you’re in the Seattle area, you can also drop by and visit our showroom! We’re based in Tukwila at 1077 Andover Park East.

Happy saunaing!