Home Sauna Guide

Choose the perfect home sauna using our in depth home sauna guides, home sauna reviews. We have spent a lot of time reviewing the best home sauna’s available on the UK market. We are a team with experience in creating home saunas, installing home saunas and most of all relaxing in home saunas.

Sauna Guide UK
Sauna Guide UK

Home Sauna Guide Introduction UK

Saunas are becoming ever more popular in the UK and there can be several reasons for this. But how did they originate and what is the history of saunas? The sauna is thought to have originated in Finland over 4000 years ago but there seems to be some dispute over this. Saunas were originally used as a place for people to relax and socialise together, so we’ve come a long way from them being seen as a luxury well, that depends on who you speak to.

We have guide to selecting the ideal home sauna. We give you the history of the Sauna, the health benefits of the Sauna. We then go through the various types of saunas from traditional, infra red, steam and other inventions that simulate the sauna experience such as the Sauna blanket.

A Brief History of the Sauna

The first Saunas were created in Finland as long ago as 2000 BC, they were built in man made caves where a fire is lit and stones placed on top. The fire burns for hours heating the stones and heating the cave wall. This action also sterilised the area meaning it could have created some of the earliest clean rooms. The fire is extinguished and the smoke is allowed to leave the room. They sealed the doorways to these cave Saunas with animal skins to seal in the heat. People would gather in these rooms and water is poured over the rocks to create steam than further heated the sauna cave. Although Finland seems to hold the sauna cultural birthplace and still continues the tradition of saunas, there are many examples of archaeological finds of similar sauna like rooms in many of the worlds countries, although more so in colder climates.

Ancient Saunas

The reason for the invention of the Sauna is unclear, but it could well be a simple way of creating a warm environment in which to survive the cold evenings in these climates could be as good a reason as any to invent the Sauna.

Saunas have survived into modern day and have become a part of the bathing rituals of Finland. The Sauna and steam rooms have found themselves into many countries around the world and have become a part of the Spa treatments, post gym regime and a great place to relax in at home.

Types of Saunas – from Finnish to Steam Saunas

Although there are plenty of new and old inventions that simulate the sauna experience in one way or another there are 4 real types of saunas.

The four types of saunas are traditional Finnish saunas, dry sauna, steam bath (Also known as a Turkish Bath (Hammam) in Turkey or Onsen in Japan) and the infrared sauna.

Traditional Finnish Saunas:

What is a traditional Finnish sauna?

Well the traditional Finnish sauna has a few variants such as the savusauna (smoke sauna) and the Wooden Stove Sauna kiuas. The main difference between the savusauna and the wooden stove sauna is that the Savusauna is a smoke filled sauna and the wooden stove is used to heat rocks that water is ladled onto to create steam. The Savusauna has no chimney and the smoke fills the room wheras the wooden stove sauna the wood burning stove has a chimney to take away the smoke.

With the traditional finnish sauna the user sometimes beats themselves with birch branches vihad, to stimulate the skin and expel toxins. The building in which the traditional Finnish sauna is made is a type of hut or cabin made of birch or other types of wood. The stove heats stones that are then used to create the steam/vapour löyly. The löyly and how good the löyly is is down to the purity, and density of the vapour/löyly is in the air. There is a strong belief that to create a good löyly you need to use a wood stove with birch wood.

watch this video on the traditional Finnish Sauna from a great YouTuber:

Dry Sauna:

A dry Sauna is similar in many ways to the wet sauna or traditional Finnish Sauna, but the heated rocks do not have the water poured onto them and therefore there is a dry heat in the sauna. Some dry saunas a not capable of having water added to the rocks, due to the build or the rocks used. Other saunas are capable of being a wet (traditional Finnish sauna) as well as a dry sauna so its a case of either adding water to the stones and create steam or not and create a dry sauna environment.

Steam Bath (Hammam, Banya or Onsen):

There are some people who will disagree on whether a steam bath or steam room is a Sauna or not. It comes down to semantics. People talk of the Sauna being a dry heat and the Steam room being a wet heat, but most Saunas use water over the rocks to produce the löyly so there is a difference in set up, but the effect is similar.

Steam Baths have become part of the culture in Russia called Banya, in Turkey and parts of the middle east called the Hammam and in Japan called the Onsen.

Infrared Sauna:

Where the rest of the Saunas in this list have a long history, the history of the infrared sauna is a lot shorted. John Harvey Kellogg an food inventor and a passionate believer in improving health in many ways, including the use of Saunas. Kellogg was one of the first to try creating Sauna heat using bulbs, which were called light therapies. Then in the 1960’s the creation of improved infrared lights that can direct near infrared waves were created along with an increased understanding of the health benefits of infrared.

See more about Infrared Saunas:

One Person Infrared Saunas

Two Person Infrared Saunas

Kellog light bath invention

Although there are many ways to use infrared such as in lamps, and massage pads, the Infrared Sauna is one of the most popular.

Sauna layouts & sizes

Home saunas tends to be smaller than commercial saunas, with the average home sauna being from 1 person to 4 person. Commercial saunas tend to be made for anything from 4 12 people. In more traditional Finnish Saunas they are built inside cabins, but with more modern saunas they are made in a variety of methods, some for use inside the house and some for use outdoors.

1 Person Saunas:

These are more and more popular with more people having home saunas. Although saunas are part of socialising, they can also be enjoyed on your own. Infrared Saunas have made the one person sauna easy to achieve, with more traditional saunas having a one person sauna is hard. If you are interested in a 1 person infrared sauna then take a look here.

2 Person Saunas:

To maximise the heat generated by your infrared sauna, the hottest place in the sauna will be the front heating. The Saunas insulation can help the sauna area to warm up faster and protect the surrounding building from the sauna heat. 

This is important to keep the heat in the infrared sauna and also helps to keep costs down. If people find your saunas more expensive than they are, you can add more than they are worth. 

Well Known Sauna Brands:

As with any product brands come and go and sauna brands are no exception, although some Sauna brands have lasted and some are up and coming. We will look at the better known sauna brands so you know who to look out for and a little history of each brand.

Canadian Spa Company Saunas

the Canadian Spa Company is a Canadian company with a global reach, offering hot tubs, saunas and assorted spa equipment both direct and via big box DIY shops. Canadian Spa company Saunas and Hot Tubs are available in the UK from Argos, Robert Dyas, B&Q and some independent sauna companies. The Canadian Spa Company range of saunas are great value, well made and come with ISO 9001 standards.

Nordic Bespoke Saunas

Nordic is brand of bespoke made saunas and steam rooms, very much high end offering for those willing to spend more on getting a custom made sauna. Nordic Sauna’s have been in business since 1965 as a sub brand in the UK of Utopia Wellness And Leisure Ltd based in Surrey England. Nordic also offer a range of ready made saunas for those that would like the high quality of a Nordic sauna but without the bespoke price tag.

Aspen Infrared Sauna’s

Aspen Infrared Saunas are a brand of the UK Saunas company that are sold on the company website. Aspen infrared Saunas are designed to be assembled at home, but with the bare minimum of DIY skills.

Zen Saunas UK

Zen is a brand of AbodeFit which is a brand of Vitality 4 Life, confused? we were, but Zen Saunas really are worth taking a look at. Vitality 4 Life is a company based in Byron Bay New South Wales Australia and they offer all things health from Walking treadmills to the Zen Infrared Sauna Range. We like the Zen Sauna range here as they come with great reviews, as well as being some of the best priced Saunas for home DIY installation.

Of course, one of the most important factors to consider before buying a sauna set is the location of the sauna you want to place it in. This is understandable, but design and technological advances in homes are continuing to improve and it is much easier to install one in your own home. 

When choosing the best infrared sauna for home use, it is time to think about size. The first and most important decision to make is probably whether you want a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna. If you have chosen both, the next decision is what size you need, and this will implicitly decide whether or not you need to see a sauna or an outdoor sauna. Whether you choose a traditional sauna or an infrared sauna is much bigger, so you need to know exactly how many meters outside your home it will be before making a choice. You have to consider where you want to use the saunas, how large the room is and how much space is in the house. 

Ultimately, for most people, the choice between traditional sauna or infrared sauna boils down to how they imagine steam. 

Where traditional saunas take an hour or more to heat up to the sweat temperature, the infrared sauna is ready for use in a few minutes. The more heat you feel, the more you sweat, which means that you run out of saunas. Infrared saunas allow longer sauna sessions than traditional saunas, as the ambient temperature is closer to the body than that of a traditional sauna. If you want half an hour of Sauna in your own home, sausages can use half the energy to warm up once at home and you can sweat it out in just a few minutes instead of hours.

As you can see, the cost of operating an infrared sauna is relatively low, and most people can use less than £5 in electricity if they use their sauna for half an hour a day. At the top are luxurious saunas and cabins made of high quality materials. 

While traditional saunas at home rely on steam and increasing the room temperature to facilitate the detoxification process, infrared saunas rely on radiant heat. The benefits are more efficient because this type of sauna uses completely harmless infrared light to warm you directly through the air, rather than through air, which traditional saunas do. On the practical side, they use less energy and heat up faster than traditional sauna, making the experience more enjoyable. Modern infrared emitters, which look like a traditional sauna, include hot plates on the walls and stoves.

It can be assumed that the same effect could be achieved by using a house sauna or an outdoor sauna, but this study also used infrared saunas. EMR A low infrared sauna would be a good choice for two people to enjoy the saunas comfortably. For children who do not like the heat of traditional saunas, an infrared sauna is a wise choice, especially for children. 

There are no specific reasons why you would prefer an infrared sauna to a more traditional steam sauna, but remember that you have more options if you choose a sauna. If you have not tried infrared sauna and traditional sauna, you might want to visit a sauna dealer to do demonstrations and test model types to see which sauna you prefer. 

The Jaguar Relaxo Home Sauna is one of the most popular infrared saunas in the UK, with a competitive price of £3,607. Saunafin specialises in high-quality infrared sauna models with a wide range of functions and price points. 

Meet the Century Saunas Team

About Century Saunas

The Team at Century Saunas are here to make selecting a home Sauna, installing and upgrading as easy as pie. We love creating a home spa environment and have years of expertise in installing home saunas, hot tubs and home therapy rooms. We bring the Spa home, for you to enjoy a little bit of Spa luxury in your home and garden.

Century Saunas