What To Consider When Choosing Your Dream Sauna

What To Consider When Choosing Your Dream Sauna

Backcountry Recreation has developed a wide range of saunas that cater to every budget and property size. Regardless of your needs, we have compiled a selection criteria list below to assist you in choosing the perfect sauna.

If you have any questions, we are always available to help. Call us at 877-446-3565 to speak with one of our product experts.

Available space, the first factor to consider is the amount of space you have. Our smallest sauna, the Jooga Sauna, measures approximately 5’ x 6-½’. In contrast, the largest sauna, the Modern Higi Sauna, has a footprint of around 9’ x 7-½’. Our barrels range from 6’ x 6’ to 6’ x 8’.

If your backyard space is limited, a smaller sauna might be more suitable. If space isn't an issue, select a sauna that meets your needs.

The "Product Specifications" section on each sauna's product page has dimensions. Measure your space and compare it to these drawings to ensure the sauna fits. Keep a 1’ buffer zone between the sauna edges and other structures, such as fences, decks, etc.

Keep in mind that all saunas need a strong and level foundation. You can find detailed foundation requirements in our FAQ.

Number of Bathers

After determining your space, the number of bathers is the next factor to consider. We offer saunas for 4, 6, and 8 bathers.

If you're using the sauna alone or with your partner, consider a 4- or 6-person model. However, if you plan on having friends over, a 6- or 8-person sauna may be more appropriate. Some customers choose larger saunas to enjoy the extra bench space, even when using it alone.

Our 6-person models are the most popular, providing ample space without taking up too much room in your backyard.

Bench Style

Once you've determined the space and number of bathers, the bench style is the next step. We offer two bench types: single-level and double-level.

Single-Level In single-level bench saunas, bathers sit at the same height and face each other. This seating option is ideal for using the sauna with your partner or close friends. Single-level seating creates an intimate environment where you can talk to the other bather while enjoying the sauna.

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

Double-Level In double-level bench saunas, bathers sit at different heights facing the same direction. This seating option is perfect for those who prefer high heat. You can sit close to the roof, where hot air collects, making it the hottest part of the sauna. Bathers can move between the medium-heat lower bench and the high-heat upper bench, making it easier to adjust your temperature without touching the heater.

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

Design Aesthetic

You may have a few candidates at this point, but you need to pick the right design. Consider two things: personal preference and matching your space.

Personal Preference Select the look you love. Your sauna will sit in your backyard for many years, so choose a design you like.

The barrel sauna has a timeless classic look. However, some customers prefer the modern garden or cube sauna look. The decision is entirely up to you.

Matching Your Space Consider your space and how your sauna will fit in it. Decide where the door will open, if there is a view to look at, and whether other structures, such as sheds, match your style.

If your property has a view, we recommend the panorama or sauna with lots on windows to allow you to enjoy your surroundings while in the heat.

Wood Type

Before selecting your ideal sauna type, the wood type is a crucial factor to consider. Backcountry Recreation offers three options (with the exception of the modern saunas, they are made from Nordic Spruce) for sauna wood types, red cedar, and Thermowood, both of which provide excellent protection against rot and termites and are highly durable, ensuring many years of use.

Red cedar is a popular choice for North American saunas, known for its pleasant aroma and attractive color. However, due to its limited availability, it is more expensive than Thermowood. Backcountry Recreation uses only the highest quality Canadian red cedar in its saunas.

On the other hand, Thermowood is commonly used in European saunas and is made from superheated spruce, pine, and fir to enhance its longevity. Backcountry Recreation typically utilizes Finnish spruce as the base wood in its Thermowood saunas, and because the wood used in Thermowood is more widely available, saunas made from it are generally less costly than those constructed from red cedar.

It is important to note that not all saunas are available in every wood type, so it's best to check the options before making a final decision. For a more detailed explanation of Thermowood and its manufacturing process, read about wood types here.

Heater Type

Once you've decided on the sauna structure, the next step is to choose the heater that will go inside your sauna. 

Backcountry Recreation has a range of carefully selected sauna heaters to complement our saunas. All of our heaters are excellent options and will provide a wonderful sauna experience. Here are some factors to consider:

On-Grid Vs Off-Grid If your property doesn't have access to electricity, you'll need a wood-fired stove. Backcountry Recreation offers the Harvia M3 stove,HUUM among others which can be paired with our chimney kit to give you everything you need to enjoy a sauna off-grid.

For those with access to electricity, most customers opt for an electrically powered sauna stove. However, if you prefer a more traditional experience, you still have the option of using a wood-burning stove.

Humid vs dry for electric stoves, the next thing to consider is the level of humidity you prefer. Backcountry Recreation offers two stove types that offer different sauna experiences.

If you prefer a dry sauna that runs at high temperature (~190 F) and low humidity (~15% humidity), then the Harvia KIP or Toule is your best choice. These traditional Finnish wall-mounted heaters heat up quickly and reach high temperatures within an hour.

If you prefer a wet sauna that runs at medium temperature (~165 F) and high humidity (~35% humidity), then the Harvia Cilindro or HUUM is your best choice. The Cilindro holds 160 lbs of rocks, which creates a lot of steam and even heat distribution, providing an excellent löyly experience.

The perceived temperature in both saunas will feel the same due to the high humidity in the room. However, in a sauna with the Cilindro heater, the perceived temperature will be comparable to a sauna with the KIP running at a higher absolute temperature.

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

Digital Vs Dial Control All of our electric heaters can be controlled digitally or manually with dials. Digital heaters offer the latest in sauna technology and provide the most convenience. With Wi-Fi, you can control your sauna from a pad mounted near your sauna or from any smartphone. You can preheat your sauna from anywhere, and the Wi-Fi heaters can be set to turn on at a specific time of day.

The only heaters we offer at this time with WIFI functionality are the HUUM brand of heater and the Harvia Cilindro 10.5 KW.

If you prefer a lower-cost option, manual control with dials is also available. Many customers are pleased with this option.

It's important to note that manual control heaters cannot be upgraded to digital Wi-Fi systems in the future. While the manual and digital heaters may look similar, they are different heaters, and if you want to switch to digital in the future, you'll need to replace the heater itself.

At The End Of The Day

Regardless of which sauna, wood type of heater type you select any combination will accomplish the same end result, a well built high performance sauna engineered to last a lifetime. All products from Backcountry Recreation have been thoroughly tested and we would never sell anything we would not offer to a close friend of family member. If you still have questions we encourage you to schedule a appointment with a product expert to help you make your purchase. You can give us a call 877-446-3565, send us a email info@backcountryrecreation.com, or schedule an appointment here

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