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The question of indoor vs outdoor saunas has been around for ages as Spa centers are struggling to figure out the positioning of all their rooms and interior space. Moreover, as good infrared saunas become more and more accessible to the general public, people start to think about whether they should put aside a whole room in their house for the sauna or just build a small outdoors cabin that houses the sauna.

In this article, I will walk you through some of the main differences, advantages, and disadvantages of both indoor and outdoor saunas and help you decide which one would be a better fit for you and your family. Let’s start with the indoor option first…

Indoor Saunas

Indoor saunas have recently become more accessible to people thanks to more models emerging on the market and better overall affordability. While the initial cost is still high, the indoor sauna cuts on a ton of other costs such as additional electric and water installations and foundations. Since you pretty much have everything set up in your house already (a solid foundation, electrical outlets, and water supply) you don’t have to do any of that before installing your sauna.

Most indoor saunas come in kits which can be assembled rather fast. Moreover, most of them come with the option of a professional installing them for a small fee or even free of charge.

The other great benefit of these saunas is that they are more private and don’t require you to even leave your home to get into them. That is a major advantage over their outdoor counterparts, as you also neglect the effects the weather is going to have on your experience. You pretty much enter it any time you feel like taking a sauna. The luxury touch is another advantage that is often overlooked.

While all that is good, there are certainly some major disadvantages that might be deal-breakers for some people. The first and most obvious is not having any space to put the sauna in. Even though indoor saunas as generally smaller, they still are quite the bulky thing to install inside and will require at least a dozen free square feet in your house. That very same space restriction is what makes most people opt for an outdoor model. This also restricts the number of people you can have inside at any moment, while with outdoor saunas you can basically make them as big as you’d like in order to accommodate all your friends.

In short, the fewer installation costs and greater convenience of an indoor model can trump the need of an outdoor sauna and the only thing that will be left for you to decide is what type of sauna you’d want for your house. While traditional steam saunas, wood-fired ones, and electric are great, I really recommend an infrared indoor model mainly due to the infrared light benefits and treatment options that come with those particular types.

Outdoor Saunas

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Everyone is familiar with the small wooden outdoor saunas found in some spa centres in the mountains or in the backyard of a person who wanted to have a larger sauna experience. They are very aesthetically pleasing and offer you a combination between nature’s elements and the dry heat of the sauna. This is the way saunas have been built since their invention and people are continuing to want them nowadays for a few very important reasons.

First, outdoor saunas offer a sense of separation from your normal everyday life and offer their hot experience to you even if it is snowing outside. There are a few things which are more relaxing than that, and companies that build these outdoor models know that. Secondly, the design of the outdoor sauna can be as wild as your imagination allows it to. The number of people it can hold, as well as its shape, are only determined by you and can be anything you want. Sure, most outdoor saunas have the traditional barrel shape but some people make them into small wooden huts which not only work well for a lot of people at once but also look amazing in your backyard. Moreover, within that construction, you can build other amenities such as a hot tub or a small neighbouring pool you can dip in to cool down after the sauna.

Lastly, perhaps the best advantage these type of saunas give you is the freedom to build them anywhere you want. Sure, there will be added costs for installation, electrical lines and water piping, but apart from that you can just point your finger at the desired location and start planning and building the sauna exactly there. While indoor models restrict you to any given free room you have, outdoor ones can be constructed anywhere you want.

That actually brought me to one of the major disadvantages here – cost. Outdoor saunas are much more expensive (depending on their type) and almost always require the additional electrical and water installations that go with them. They are also bigger in general so construction will be more costly and last longer.

The venting of different sauna types is also something you need to take into account, especially with the indoor models. While outdoor saunas can be vented quite easily, indoor ones will need additional work for that as well, unless they are infrared and you place them in a bathroom-style room.

If you are looking for an infrared sauna that you can place both inside and outside near your house, I suggest checking out my Sunray Sequioa 4-person Infrared Cedar Sauna review!

Final Words

So which one do you think is the right sauna for you? The indoor vs outdoor saunas debate is one many people go through when trying to pick the ideal option for their families. While both types work fairly well during all of the year’s seasons, indoor saunas offer slightly more comfort, convenience and greatly cut down on your costs. Outdoor saunas, despite being bulky, expensive, and harder to build, are much more visually pleasing and can easily hold as many people you build them to hold. They are also easier to vent and can be placed anywhere in your backyard.