Which sauna heaters are best?

From saunas that make you feel like you’re in the middle of the Sahara to saunas that steam up the room like a London Fog, there’s nothing like a good sweat session.

Regardless of the amount of money you put into constructing a room, the wrong sauna heater can ruin the entire experience. If you’re looking for the best, consider the Finlandia FLB-80 Sauna Heater. Although compact, it’s durable, versatile and packs a punch. It has a corrosion-resistant stainless-steel design to power through no matter how many times you splash water on it. 

What to know before you buy a sauna heater

Types of sauna heaters

With your favorite sauna suit ready for some heat, the next step is to decide which type of heater you prefer. 

  • Electric sauna heaters are some of the most popular because they’re easier to install and have timers and temperature controls. The most user-friendly models plug into wall outlets, and some others require directly wiring them in. 
  • Infrareds are similar to electric types but much more costly and complex. They typically require professional installation and can make a significant dent in your wallet if any part were to malfunction. 
  • Wood burning heaters are the way to go if you want a more traditional experience. Although cheaper upfront, they can have a high operating cost unless you chop your own wood.

Size

The required heater size depends on the capacity and size of the room. Most home sauna rooms ranging between 140-317 cubic feet will require no more than 4.5-7 kW. 

Anything more is typically unnecessary and best for sizable commercial sauna rooms. It’s important to get the correct size to prevent over or under heating. 

Cost and quality

Smaller commercial saunas and ones at home don’t require a high temperature or heat capacity, so they’re typically much cheaper upfront. Commercial-sized sauna heaters are much more powerful and can run upwards of $1,000. 

  • Infrared heaters provide numerous health benefits but generally require professional installation and cost more upfront. However, the operational and maintenance costs are much less than the more popular electric sauna heater.
  • Electric types are much easier to install because a vast majority come pre-assembled. They’re the most straightforward option to use, and operational costs are minimal depending on the frequency of use. 
  • Wood heaters are typically the cheapest upfront but can be the most expensive to operate. One way to reduce costs is to chop your own wood. Then you save a considerable amount upfront and throughout its lifetime. 

What to look for in a quality sauna heater

Stone count

Generally, the higher the stone capacity a sauna heater has, the more powerful it is. Whether it’s a wood or electric heater, the stone’s purpose remains the same.

Sauna heaters use a specific list of stones that can handle high temperatures and retain the heat. Most units come with heat regulators and turn the device off when the room reaches the desired temperature. 

As the heat disperses from the stones, the heater will cycle on and off until it’s manually turned off or the timer runs out. You can also regulate the temperature and enjoy some humidity by splashing a little water on the stones. 

Heat-up time

Relaxation is the reason why most people enjoy sauna sessions. Having to wait several hours for your sauna room to get to the ideal temperature is an easy way to ruin the mood. 

The best sauna heaters achieve desired temperatures within an hour. Ideally, it should consistently maintain and regulate the heat by operating about only half the time it’s in use. 

Ease of use and installation

When installed and assembled correctly, sauna heaters are a safe, reliable device. The easiest to install and maintain for home use are either electric or wood-burning heaters.

If you prefer a gas or infrared electric heater, it’s best to employ a professional. In addition to a more complex installation, they are also much more difficult to maintain. 

Sauna heaters are generally simple to use, regardless of type. However, having built-in or remote controls for the time and temperature can make your experience much more relaxed and convenient. 

Many newer heaters come with pre-heating technology that allows you to step away and come back when it’s nice and hot. You may also find some with digital displays for a more accurate reading. 

How much you can expect to spend on sauna heaters

Depending on the type and heating capacity, you can expect to spend between $125-$1,300 on a quality sauna heater. 

Best sauna heaters FAQ

Do I need to use sauna stones?

A. Stones play a vital role in sauna safety by absorbing and retaining the heat. Once the heater is turned off, the rocks maintain the room’s temperature, reducing the risk of a fire. Each sauna will have its own recommended type and size of stone. Because of the varying reactions based on the stone’s size and type when splashing with water, the safest stone is the one recommended by the manufacturer. 

Will a sauna heater increase my energy bill?

A. Electric sauna heaters in domestic settings tend to minimally increase energy bills depending on the size of the room and how often it’s used. An average-size traditional heater uses a 5 kW sauna heater. Putting the technicalities aside, that amounts to approximately $0.50 an hour. Of course, other variables like the time of day and season will determine the total amount it increases. However, assuming most people only use it a few times a week at most, the increase will likely be minimal and not even noticeable. 

What’s the best sauna heater to buy?

Top sauna heater

Finlandia FLB-80 Sauna Heater

Finlandia FLB-80 Sauna Heater

What you need to know: This home sauna heater is for those who want the reassurance of a reputable company that is proven to follow all US health, safety and environmental protection standards. 

What you’ll love: This heater uses durable stainless steel, which means it is not only corrosion-resistant but allows for easy steam control. Although it’s compact, this powerful heater can comfortably heat up a 425 cubic feet room. It also features a 1-hour timer so you can enjoy your sauna in peace and total relaxation. The FLB-80 comes with free sauna stones, so you’re ready to go from day one. 

What you should consider: Not rated for commercial use and some users found it to be a bit small.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top sauna heater for the money

VEVOR Sauna Heater

VEVOR Sauna Heater

What you need to know: The sauna heater from VEVOR offers heating power and features you’d find in higher-end competitors at a fraction of the cost.

What you’ll love: It’s available in various heating capacities, which are powerful enough to heat a 2-13 cubic meter room. There are two knobs at the front for time and temperature control and can work for up to 4 hours. The units with larger heating capacities quickly heat up, and almost all units come pre-assembled for rapid installation.

What you should consider: There’s no warranty. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Harvia M3 Wood-burning Sauna Heater

Harvia M3 Wood-burning Sauna Heater

What you need to know: This is an aesthetically pleasing wood-burning sauna heater from one of the leaders in the industry. 

What you’ll love: It features a stainless steel construction built to resist rust and has a glass door for enhanced visual effect. This heater is one of the easier models to install, and it comes with sauna stones to remove the hassle of a separate purchase. 

What you should consider: Compared to electric sauna heaters of the same size and capacity, this unit heats up much quicker and is more costly to maintain. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Christopher Lee writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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