How to Buy a Sauna
(list of dealers below)
Many to Choose From
There are several types of Traditional Finnish Saunas—including custom-built on pre-framed walls, modular and plug-in portable. Additionally, there are indoor saunas and outdoor saunas. Before purchasing your sauna, you should first think about the space available and how you plan to use the sauna (e.g. number of people using it at one time; private only or also for invited guests; tie-in with nearby swimming pool; proximity to a shower; etc.).
Inside of a Private House
Most often in the US the sauna is inside of a private house. The type of sauna is pretty evenly split between the custom-built on pre-framed walls (sometimes called “Precut” or “Custom-Cut” Sauna Packages) and modular saunas (sometimes called “Prefab”). Which one is the best choice for you? This depends on the space available, and your own preference.
The process of planning for a sauna varies according to whether the house in question is a new one being built, or an existing one. In the house-to-be-built, you should as early in the process as possible contact a sauna company – and/or have your architect design the sauna into your floor plan. A common mistake in planning for a sauna is to have it in a wrong location inside the house, or have it of a size and shape which is neither practical nor comfortable.
The sauna design is important. Things to remember are e.g. ventilation, potential windows, access to shower, electric power availability, drainage etc. Architects are generally not aware of all the related sauna details; thus, contacting your sauna supplier as early as possible will help everybody, and provide the desired end result, which is a truly enjoyable sauna.
In an Existing Home
If the sauna will be placed in an existing home, then there are more details to take into consideration—but both types of saunas—custom/frame-built or modular—are still possible. A custom/frame-built sauna can be nicely tied in to a remodeling project—such as an in-home fitness center, a remodeled master bathroom, etc. . Free-standing modularsaunas can be placed in almost any space and, thus, don’t need as much advance planning. Once again, it is advisable to talk to your sauna supplier as early in the process as possible—and before starting any other work in the area.
Pre-cut Sauna Kits
Pre-cut sauna require carpentry skills. They can either be installed on existing framed walls (e.g., converting a walk-in closet to a sauna) or require walls to be framed to fit the design of your sauna project. If you are not very familiar with saunas and the various requirements, qualities, options and features, the best choice would be to buy the sauna from a local dealer. All the dealer members of the American Sauna Society are “certified”, and very qualified to provide you a guaranteed quality product as well as after-purchase service.
These dealers, together with the help of the sauna manufacturers’ design departments, will provide you or your architect with valuable no-cost design assistance in the beginning of the project. The local dealer is your final assurance of a properly functioning and enjoyable sauna. Most dealers offer professional installation service. Using an experienced sauna installer might save you from some common design and installation errors. Installing a sauna is not a difficult task, but there are a few things that might be overlooked, if the installer is not familiar with saunas.
Modular Free-Standing Saunas
Modular/Prefab saunas require almost no carpentry skills and are designed to be installed by do-it-yourselfers, or by the sauna specialty dealer. Free-standing modular units to be placed almost anywhere inside your house—where physical space is available (e.g. in the home gym, master bathroom, garage, or any other space). Ideally the sauna will be located near a shower and near an outside patio/deck area. They must be installed on a waterproof floor—concrete, tile, etc.—never on carpeting. Some modular saunas include an integral waterproof floor, and can then be installed even on carpeted floors. By design, they are very easy to install—some requiring only a few minutes to put together.
We believe that you can buy these without worry from any reputable sauna company, dealer, or web-store. Just make sure that the room itself is manufactured by an established sauna company, and its components (especially the heater) fulfill all the technical and electrical safety approvals. The most important safety detail is to confirm the heater and control is UL® listed.
The North American Sauna Society recommends the following member companies as the most reliable and experienced sauna suppliers:
The Sauna and Steam Center
Georgia Spa Company
New England Spas
Mountain Hot Tub
White River Junction
Allen Pools and Spas
Olympic Hot Tub Company, Lacey
Member Sauna manufacturers are: