Skip the Spa Weekend: These Are the Best Home Saunas For Hygge All Year Round

Photography by Caroline Lefevre.

Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit ‘add to cart.’ That’s why we call them Simply the Best.

Gone are the days of not-so-hot saunas plunked down in damp, suburban basements. The temperamental electric heater is now high powered and today’s at home saunas deserve a spot in the sun (aka your backyard) or a corner of your home gym. They’re efficient, oh-so beautifully designed, and a great way to make home feel well balanced and spalike.

We all can’t break a sweat and then take a dip in the Baltic Sea like the Finns, but you can take a page from that lifestyle and get your blood circulation flowing on the regular in the best home saunas. To make it your part of your daily pastime, here are the best for indoor and outdoor use, including ones with electric and wood-burning stoves, brands that do amazing custom work plus sauna kits and budget friendly picks. 

Our Favorites

Best Barrel: Dundalk LeisureCraft Inc. Clear Cedar Outdoor Barrel


Capacity: Six different size options, the smallest can seat four | Heating type: Wood-burning or electric | Wood: Western red cedar | Additional features: Add-ons include a front porch, a changing room, an overhang, and a panoramic window

What we like:

  • Loads of ways to customize the design
  • Six size options

Worth noting:

  • For outdoor use only

Why we chose it: This eye-catching design is also highly efficient, perfect for a satisfying sweat session on a cold day. 

A barrel-shaped sauna is designed to maximize hot hair. Without a flat topped roof, the heat doesn’t just rise to the top, but circulates more easily. That efficiency and ability to heat up quickly is ideal in an outdoor model, particularly one that requires a trek through snow or chilly air to reach it. This one is available in a more traditional wood-burning stove or an easy-to-use electric style. Finnish saunas are traditionally powered by a wood burning stove, and in both wood-burning and electric options, water is added to a stovetop basket of rocks to increase humidity. 

There are extensive ways to customize this model, from adding a front porch or overhang to more windows or a changing room. Placement near a backdoor may require only an overhang, but a sauna further away would benefit from a changing room or larger front porch to leave shoes on. Capitalize on great views with additional windows and add a rubber roof for particularly inclement regions. 

Best Small Space: Cala Traditional Indoor Finnish Sauna by Auroom


Capacity: 1 | Heating type: Electric via a Tylö 4.6 KW or a Huum Drop 4.5 KW heater | Wood: Aspen | Additional features: Wifi controlled heater is an add on and they also sell sauna accessory kits

What we like:

  • Three different heater options, including a wifi-compatible one
  • Sleek horizontal paneling
  • Takes four to six hours for two people to put together, according to the brand

Worth noting:

  • Heater is not included in the price

Why we chose it: Small but mighty, this model features a powerful heater and two benches for optimizing heat, or inviting in a friend. 

At a little under 4’ by 5’, this sauna is ideal for those who don’t have significant space to dedicate but want the full experience of an at home sauna. Heater options are from Tylö or Huum (two well regarded brands) and the interior benches allow for alternating between high heat and the slightly cooler lower bench. (Because heat rises, sitting on the higher bench will be hotter than the lower one.)

In smaller spaces, the sauna exterior matters even more. While a large home may have room for a sauna largely out of sight in the basement or home gym, squeezing a sauna into a smaller home means it’s likely to be way more visible. Thankfully, Auroom’s design, which features wax finished horizontal panels of aspen, is easy to integrate into an existing design scheme. 

Best Sauna Kit: Dundalk LeisureCraft Inc. Pure Cube Outdoor CU580D


Capacity: 3 people | Heating type: Wood-burning or electric heater | Wood: Western red cedar | Additional Features: Built in shower

What we like:

  • Options for wood-burning or electric heater
  • With a shower built in, this model is great by the pool

Worth noting:

  • This is an outdoor model, but there are Pure Cube indoor models

Why we chose it: It’s a beautiful outdoor model with a built in shower that isn’t impossible to put together. 

The owner of Country Saunas By Design, Bill Millette has been working in the sauna industry for over twenty years. Having handled over six hundred sauna projects, both residential and commercial, he knows his stuff. His tightly curated offerings, including this Pure Cube model, are meant to provide serious relaxation. That means they’re well made and made to be used well without serious issues popping up. The Pure Cube kit comes with wall and roof panels, which makes assembly less of a jigsaw puzzle and more of a solid weekend project. 

In Finland, it’s pretty standard to shower before hopping in a sauna and this model makes it easy to do so. The built-in shower is also great for use after a swim, if there’s a backyard pool. The shower hardware and door hinges are stainless steel. With two tiers of benches and a vent, it’s easy to control the heat. The optional semi-privacy panels (a cedar grill on the exterior of the sauna) are ideal for high traffic areas or adding a bit more seclusion to a backyard sauna without blocking out all the light. The built-in shower is great for a post sauna rinse or use after a swim, if there’s a backyard pool. 

Best Budget: Almost Heaven Saunas Hillsboro 2-Person Indoor Sauna


Capacity: 2 people | Heating type: Electric via a Harvia 4.5kW heater, but an upgrade to a 6kW heater is possible. | Wood: Nordic spruce | Additional features: set start time up to eight hours in advance, LED lighting.

What we like:

  • Sections of the wall and roof, plus benches and backrests come pre-assembled
  • Heats up quickly because of the small size

Worth noting:

  • “Mid-level handyman and assembly skills” needed
  • Does not have a floor, so it must be placed on tile, ceramic, concrete, or laminate flooring

Why we chose it: A budget friendly option that doesn’t skimp where it counts.

With a trusted Harvia heater (plus the option to upgrade to a more powerful model), this is a solid budget pick ideal for primary use by one person and occasional use by two. The hinges and fasteners are stainless steel; the window and glass door are both tempered and tinted. Especially in a small unit, a nicely sized door and window are key in preventing the sauna from feeling claustrophobic. 

While spruce is a softwood, Nordic spruce isn’t as porous as other softwoods, which means it’s less likely to absorb sweat and then smell. Lighter wood, like the Nordic spruce used here, is also less likely to show discoloration from wear over time. So this model is poised to handle steady use without quickly deteriorating. Taken together, the design decisions that make up this sauna will satisfy a budget shopper who doesn’t want to sacrifice quality. 

Best Custom Outdoor: Finnleo


Capacity: Customizable  | Heating type: Electric or wood-burning | Wood: Extensive options include Canadian hemlock, Nordic white spruce, European alder and Western red cedar | Additional features: LED lighting, floating benches, heat and moisture resistant speakers, and mobile sauna control

What we like:

  • Free design services includes 3D CAD renderings
  • Solid warranties
  • A brand with decades of experience

Worth noting:

  • Customization with Finnleo gets expensive

Why we chose it: A standout brand with an amazing array of customization options.

With meticulously selected woods, decades in the industry, and a team willing to help make custom sauna dreams a reality, Finnleo is a great choice for backyards and various outdoor structures like pool houses. Finnleo has an extensive array of personalization options–from bench style to wood to door type– to ensure an outdoor sauna doesn’t stand out in a bad way, but instead is both easy on the eyes and easily integrated into a backyard design. 

Going the traditional route via a wood-burning heater doesn’t mean entirely forgoing technological upgrades. “Finnleo’s wood-burning heaters have been reinterpreted for modern living,” says Mark Raisanen, Director of Sales & Marketing at Sauna360 Inc, Finnleo’s parent company. “The patented air channeling system between the outer shroud and inner firebox allows heated air to efficiently pass through the rock chamber for faster and more even heating of the rocks. This improves steam generation and air circulation in the sauna.” 

“I really loved working with Finnleo,” says interior designer Kristin Hildebrand, who used the brand for her most personal project to date–her home. “After doing extensive research, I felt that they were a great manufacturer that produces really high end, beautiful saunas.” While she went with an indoor model, a brand you can trust outdoors is also one worthy of indoor consideration and what’s great about Finnleo is that they have varying levels of customization to accommodate a range of budgets. 

Best Custom Indoors: Tylö Sauna 


Capacity: Customizable  | Heating type: Electric | Wood: A bevy of options, including aspen, taika, Western red cedar, | Additional features: luxe control panel allows adjustment of auxiliary fans, fragrance or lights

What we like:

  • Extensive sizing, including a tiny sauna that’s only 16 square feet
  • Sauna control system is high tech, easy to use, and wifi-enabled

Worth noting:

  • A fully custom sauna comes with a high price tag

Why we chose it: A brand known for its heaters also offers an array of custom saunas.

From Plug-N-Play options to prefabricated sauna rooms to fully custom designs, Tylö Sauna has quality options at various price points. Industry experience to guide customers pairs perfectly with a plethora of personalization options. We particularly love the look of the Panorama interior and the unique black taika paneling

But it’s not just about looks with this brand. Tylö’s electric heaters are known to be some of the best in the industry; they’re extremely efficient, high quality, and made to last. “Tylö heaters are unique in that they keep the rock chamber and air chambers separate,” says Raisanen, explaining that this design leads to a more rapid heat up.

Infrared Saunas We Like

Some people prefer infrared saunas, where the heat feels way less intense. (Because it lacks a heater with rocks and the resulting steam, a number of sauna authorities reject applying the term “sauna” to infrared models, but it has become pretty standard terminology in the US.) We’ve put together a guide to the best infrared options over here, but some standouts include:

How We Chose These Products

We talked to experts in the field—from a sauna dealer who has installed hundreds, to a favorite architect who has used ‘em in multi-million dollar projects—to get a better sense of what makes a quality sauna. And because there’s no point in adding a relaxing feature to your home if it doesn’t work well or breaks down quickly, we looked for durable woods, solid tech specs, and high quality heaters from trustworthy brands.

Our Shopping Checklist


When it comes to design, there are a few key things to consider–location, wood type, heater, and extras. First, determine whether your sauna will go indoors or outside, as the latter must be made to withstand the elements. In both locations, consider how custom you’ll go, which is often a budget-driven question but will impact location (a pre-fab model that can fit in the at-home gym versus a custom one that is more embedded in a primary bathroom.) There are saunas available in a variety of wood types, with various pros and cons. As for heaters, “some choose the wood-burning heater to enjoy the ritual of cutting wood and tending the fire to heat up the sauna,” says Mark Raisanen, Director of Sales & Marketing at Sauna360 Inc. “For cabins and remote locations, a wood-burning heater is chosen because no electricity is needed. Then they enjoy the relaxing crackle of the wood-fueled fire. Others choose the electric heaters for convenience.” (Note: some wood-burning saunas do require electricity.) Both wood-burning and electric heaters have the traditional pile of stones that you ladle water onto to create steam. 

Heat Source

A wood burning stove uses firepower, but wood must be cut to fit the size of the firebox and it takes more effort and time to heat the sauna up. Electric saunas, by contrast, take about fifteen to thirty minutes to reach a high temperature and newer wifi compatible interfaces streamline the process further. “I think the heater is the most important component when purchasing any sauna,” says Bill Millette, the owner of Country Saunas. “You can buy a heater online from any Joe Schmoe but chances are it will come with little to no specifications or schematics on wiring it and usually no warranty assistance from the online seller.” Look for reputed brands like Tylö and Harvia. A heater is not a place to save money. 

Wood Type

“Walls are most often covered with Nordic white spruce, hemlock, or cedar wood types,” according to Finnleo. Benches aren’t always the same type of wood. For example, at Sauna360, they often use abanchi or aspen on the benches and backrests since “it has no knots, which means the skin will not come in contact with any excessively hot surface,” as Raisanen says. He reports that a western red cedar “is a traditional North American sauna wood choice” with a “pleasant aroma” that “holds up well to moisture” and, due to its characteristics, is “comfortable at high temperatures,” which means it can act as a bench material in addition to a wall material. 

Our small space pick is aspen, but it has been thermo-heated, which means it has been essentially “baked” to make it more resilient. As Raisman puts it, “taika’s main quality is the low maintenance as well as the dramatic color variation from a lighter bench/backrest system.” Canadian hemlock is “gaining in popularity for its consistent color, clear vertical grain and trademark odorless features.” It’s also a good option for those with sensitivities to the smell of woods like cedar.

“Nordic design is based on light colors, clean lines and natural materials—all to make a warm and inviting space,” he says, of the Nordic white spruce that is also popular. “The light-colored wood makes a small space feel larger and contributes to the overall calm and relaxing. Saunas smell fresher with this wood type, as sweat doesn’t impregnate the wood as it can with other woods.”

Size Millette has great advice when it comes to figuring out size. He recommends following what he calls an “80% usage capacity,” meaning size the sauna for how many people will be in it 80% of the time. “Don’t base it on how many people you think will want to come try out your sauna the first day it’s installed or when all the family is over for the holidays,” he says. “Instead, base it on daily usage by you and your family.” For tiny saunas, he wouldn’t recommend going smaller that 4’ deep by 4’ wide by 7’ tall. The most popular size he sells for in-home use is 5’ deep by 7’ wide by 7’ tall. Cathy Purple Cherry, the founder and principal architect of Purple Cherry Architects, recommends a minimum of 7’ in one direction so that laying down is possible. For two individuals to be able to lay down comfortably at the same time, she recommends a sauna that’s 7’ deep and 7’ wide.  


All electric saunas require an electric hookup; some wood-burning ones do too. Very small saunas can be plugged into a standard outlet, but larger ones require 220/240V power connected to a breaker with 30-amp or 40-amp breaker. As Milette points out, in order for the warranty to be valid, many brands required a licensed electrician to complete the job. Cherry says, “My advice would be to understand where the electrical source is coming from and whether or not the sauna requires a separate circuit. Typically, power feeds from the top or the ceiling of a space.” Before ordering and installing, “make sure you can run wiring to the location that is desired for sauna placement.”


These days, there are lots of options for lighting, bench design, doors, and controls. Even prefab models will sometimes allow an upgrade for nicer lighting or a different bench type. We particularly like the look of recessed lighting, which helps facilitate a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere. Some electric heaters can now be linked to wifi, allowing pre-heating hours in advance or assuring the sauna is ready post-workout. As for benches, there are floating designs and varied slat thickness, ergonomic add-ons for upright sitting and bench backs. The more custom the design, the more options there are to consider, which is why it’s nice to work with a quality retailer that can talk through more than just the cost of various options, but also how said choices will impact the user experience. 

Doctor’s Orders and Safety

Before investing in an at-home sauna, check in with your doctor to make sure they don’t have any concerns given your particular health history and medication usage. Anyone who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant should also consult with their obstetrician. Even though it may seem obvious, always read the safety instructions that come with the sauna to understand best practices for safety. If others will be using the sauna as well, consider posting a copy of the safety instructions next to the sauna or include those instructions with any usage guidelines you offer guests. 

Raisanen recommends looking at safety listings for the sauna brand. “There have been multiple companies entering the U.S. market that claim to have a U.S. Safety listing but are not listed under the all-important category of UL875 (which is the sauna safety category),” he says. “There are some heaters on the market that don’t even have a high-limit cut-off or meet some of the other very critical safety components of the U.S. Safety listing. You want the entire heating unit to be safety listed under the Sauna category of UL875.”


The text of a warranty tends to be long and boring, but it’s worth taking a look before ordering a sauna to really understand how much the company is willing to back its product and what will happen if problems arise down the line. Also, it’s good to get a sense of how to manage installation to avoid voiding the warranty. As mentioned above, many brands require the use of a licensed electrician. A solid warranty can also act as an indicator of quality—if a company is offering an extensive and long-lasting warranty, that indicates a faith in its product’s ability to withstand regular use.

Ask Domino

Q: Where should you put a sauna in your house?

Both Interior designer Kristin Hildebrand and her husband are former pro-athletes. “Over the course of our professional volleyball careers, we used and felt the benefit of saunas a lot.” So when they renovated their home gym, adding a sauna was a no-brainer. For a more integrated look, they considered the flooring used in their home (engineered white oak) and chose an unstained fir for the sauna to match the wood tone of the flooring in the rest of the house and “give it the organic look and feel of the saunas you see in Finland.” 

This sauna placement isn’t just common with the pros. “The sauna is typically located in close proximity to a gym area, whether in a principal structure or in a detached structure,” says Cherry of Purple Cherry Architects. “Post-gym is an ideal time for sauna use. In addition, placing a sauna next to a space that gets used regularly promotes more frequent use.” A fully custom sauna can be integrated into underutilized space, like beneath a staircase or as a replacement for a second walk-in closet off the primary bedroom. 

Q: What is the difference between an infrared sauna and regular sauna and a wet sauna?

“Saunas can be custom made or they can be purchased prefabricated,” Cherry explains. “This is not true of a wet sauna, also known as a steam room. Think of a steam room as a tiled room with a sloped ceiling, essentially a waterproof box. A custom sauna is typically built behind a wall so that you don’t even know the room is a sauna other than by the door, which is typically a smoky glass, wood-framed door. A prefabricated sauna unit is typically a freestanding element that is tucked into a corner.” 

Infrared saunas rely on infrared heat; traditional saunas use electric or wood burning heaters to produce heat and introduce humidity. Infrared saunas are a newer option and don’t reach as high temperatures, so some people prefer them because it’s not as heat intensive as a traditional sauna. 

Q: What accessories do I need for my sauna?

Start with a bucket and ladle if it’s not included. Tylö has some really nice options, in addition to add-ons like a thermometer and an hourglass to track how long you’ve been in the sauna. 

Q: With an at-home sauna, do I need to worry about mold?

If you’ve been to spas or fancy hotels with saunas, you may notice a drain in the sauna, which raises questions about moisture and what kind of issues at home saunas may produce. It turns out, drains are only necessary for commercial saunas and are used for cleaning purposes, not moisture drainage from regular sauna use. Saunas have “a fairly dry humidity level from 5% to 35% typically,” says Mark Raisanen, Director of Sales & Marketing at Sauna360 Inc. “After use, leave the sauna door open to air it out completely. The heat remaining in the rocks and in the wood should dry the sauna completely, and even can help dry down the shower area, if it is adjacent to the sauna room.” The most common mistake he sees in custom saunas is a failure to plan for ventilation. “It’s not that difficult, but it’s a super important step to plan for an inlet vent and an exhaust vent,” he says. 

When it comes to dealing with moisture, Millette points to the importance of a vapor barrier. “When installing all of our indoor saunas, the first step besides installing faced insulation is to install a quality vapor barrier over the studs before the wood panels are installed,” he says. “This along with the high temperature and the cedar wood inside prevents the growth of mold.” While it’s not necessary, for a custom indoor sauna in a remodel, if a drainline is easily accessible, Millette recommends adding a drain to the sauna to make cleaning easier.

Q: How do I keep my sauna clean?

We turned to Raisanen for this question and his advice demonstrates that a little bit of maintenance goes a long way with a sauna. “A good ritual for after a sauna session is to take a hand brush, tip it in the water bucket (plain water), and do a quick scrubbing of the benches and backrests that were used. This 30-60 second ritual will keep the sauna looking great for years. After you’re finished using the sauna, and your cleaning process is complete, prop the duckboards off the floor and leave the door open. Occasionally wiping down the wood with a mild detergent and water is needed if dirt or sweat stains develop. Depending on how often you use your sauna, occasionally wet-mop with a liquid deodorizing cleaner such as Pine-Sol.”

The Last Word

Indulging in this Nordic tradition is a great way to decompress after a long work day, recover after a strenuous workout, or reconnect with friends. Whether it’s a barrel in the backyard or a fully custom design in the bathroom, adding the heat and hiss of a sauna to your home is the kind of addition that reduces stress rather than amplifying it. 

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