Best Home Saunas

The Best Home Saunas of 2020: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

A highly popular thermotherapeutic option that has existed as different versions, probably since time began, sauna bathing is only growing in allure to the folks of the United States. And why not? The feel of warm water against your skin, the aches and pains of a long day soaked away, utmost relaxation—what’s not to love? Add to that the fact that it’s endorsed by science (you now have a valid reason to hog the bathroom for hours!) and sauna baths are a win-win! Studies indicate that saunas can reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce pain, improve circulation, help you sleep better and even cut down the pounds!

If you’re looking to buy a sauna for your home, here’s us making your job a little bit easier—reviews of the best home saunas of the year so far! Should you decide not to go with one of our picks, we’ve also added in a handy buying guide so that you know what to look for in a sauna and are equipped to pick one on your own. Read on, mate!

Best Home Saunas

  • Editor’s Pick: Jacuzzi Clearlight Sanctuary 2
  • Best Sauna for Small Spaces: Jacuzzi Clearlight Premier IS-1
  • Best Luxury Sauna: Jacuzzi Clearlight Sanctuary Retreat
  • Best Family Sauna: Radiant Saunas Infrared Hemlock Sauna
  • Best Value for Money Sauna: NH Lifestyles Joyous Far Infrared Sauna

Editor’s Pick—Jacuzzi Clearlight Sanctuary 2

Editor's Pick – Jacuzzi Clearlight Sanctuary 2

At a Glance

  • You can consult with an expert—(877) 852-1958
  • Readers of Tuck get special discounts up to $600
  • An infrared-heating facility (full spectrum) for superior performance
  • Constructed using either North American basswood or western red Canadian cedar, both eco certified
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

The Jacuzzi Clearlight Sanctuary 2 is a full-spectrum sauna that promises deep penetration and impressive power, built of the finest eco-certified North American basswood or Canadian cedar.

The medical-grade chromotherapy lighting in the sauna leads to some excellent results, protecting users from any harmful electromagnetic radiation exposure; it does this by keeping the extreme-low-frequency levels (ELF levels) low. Users can even use their tablets and smartphones to digitally control the sauna, via an installed app, letting them heat their sauna sans any disturbance while also enjoying their favorite playlists over Bluetooth or via aux inputs. Additionally, the roof is ventilated to ensure airflow.

Comfortable and one helluva looker, the Jacuzzi Clearlight Sanctuary 2 also features an ergonomic bench specially designed by doctors, as well as an ergonomically-designed backrest, specially designed by chiropractors, setting the stage for a supremely comfortable sauna experience!

With its good looks and utility going for it, it’s little wonder that the Clearlight Sanctuary is as popular as it is! The gorgeous Italian-style wood design, LED accent lights and glass roof add to its appeal, making it compatible with just about any space in your house.

Relatively easy to assemble, you can put together the Clearlight Sanctuary in as little as an hour, give or take a few minutes, and the limited lifetime warranty ensures easy repairs and maintenance.

Best Sauna for Small Spaces—Jacuzzi Clearlight Premier IS-1

At a Glance

  • You can consult with an expert—(877) 852-1958
  • Readers of Tuck get special discounts up to $600
  • Features heaters on the back and sidewall, as well as heaters in front, all low EMF and full spectrum
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Constructed using North American basswood and western red Canadian cedar, eco-certified

Just because you don’t have a ton of space at home, doesn’t mean you have to forego a sauna—the single-user Jacuzzi Clearlight Premier IS-1 is one of the best picks in the market for small spaces. Classically designed, the sauna, as mentioned, is built using eco-certified North American basswood and Canadian cedar, and like the Clearlight Sanctuary, features low-ELF True Wave heaters in front, on the sidewalls, the back, under the bench and even the floor—heating is quick, efficient and hassle-free!

The lighting, chromotherapeutic, keeps users protected against harmful electromagnetic radiation via the ELF shielding feature; it also houses LED accent lights, furniture-grade cabinets, and a super-handy door handle that’s conveniently equipped with a slot for your smartphone—uninterrupted video watching and music listening is guaranteed even in your sauna time!

The Jacuzzi Clearlight Premier IS-1 also boasts in-built audio speakers, digital keypads (both interior and exterior) that let you easily adjust sauna settings and the facility to program heat settings in advance (up to 36 hours).

The sauna comes with a lifetime warranty and takes about an hour to assemble and install.

Best Luxury Sauna—Jacuzzi Clearlight Sanctuary Retreat

Best High-End Sauna – Jacuzzi Clearlight Sanctuary Retreat

At a Glance

  • You can consult with an expert—(877) 852-1958
  • Readers of Tuck get special discounts up to $600
  • Features heaters on the back and sidewall, as well as heaters in front, all low EMF and full spectrum
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Constructed using North American basswood and western red Canadian cedar, eco-certified

Our pick for the “Best Luxury Sauna”, the Jacuzzi Clearlight Sanctuary Retreat is the very definition of a classic, luxurious, full-fledged Italian sauna experience! The sauna, constructed of North American basswood and Canadian cedar, features a glass front, two waterproof-cushions-equipped removable benches for utmost comfort, as well as a glass ceiling. The sauna also features frontal full-spectrum heaters that considerably reduce EMF levels, while the extra heaters at the back and on the sidewalls supplement the front heaters.

The sauna also comes with the facility to adjust sauna settings via an app on their iOS or Android smartphones/devices, as well as easy-to-use interior controls. You can even preset the settings for up to 36 hours in advance. One of the best parts, though, is the sauna’s inclusivity—people with disabilities can easily and effectively use the sauna. It comes with a 1:12 ramp that is Americans-with-Disabilities-Act certified and a door handle for ease of use.

The Sanctuary Retreat is not just user friendly in its features but also user-friendly in assembly—it takes anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes to assemble and install. Additionally, like all other models from Clearlight, the sauna is backed by a lifetime warranty.

Best Family Sauna—Radiant Saunas Infrared Hemlock Sauna

Best 4-Person Sauna – Jacuzzi Clearlight Premier IS-1

At a Glance

  • Features 9 carbon infrared heaters that are low EMF
  • Constructed using hypoallergenic Canadian hemlock wood that’s also resistant to scars
  • Features a color therapy system that’s full spectrum
  • Comes with a 7-year warranty
  • Has an integrated sound system that features radio, a CD player and an aux input

With 9 strategically-placed low-EMF carbon heaters, you know that the Radiant Saunas Infrared Hemlock is a powerhouse! Additionally, it’s extremely durable, constructed using Canadian hemlock that is not only resistant to scratches but also mold, mildew and microbes.

The sauna features a bronze-tinted door made of glass, as well as an audio system and a chromotherapeutic lighting system that helps get rid of the anxiety and lets you relax more easily. It also features an LED control panel that’s user-friendly, letting you adjust the heat and light settings as you wish, hassle-free! Also, the sauna features an oxygen ionizer that lets you breathe easier while making use of the sauna.

The Radiant Saunas Infrared Hemlock comes supported by a 7-year warranty; you can choose to assemble it on your own or avail the company’s expert assembly facility for an extra cost. Overall, one of the best 4-person/family saunas—you can truly make sauna time a family affair with the Infrared Hemlock!

Best Value for Money Sauna—NH Lifestyles Joyous Far Infrared Sauna

Best Value – JNH Lifestyles Joyous 2-Person Far Infrared Sauna

At a Glance

  • Features 7 infrared carbon-fiber FAR heaters
  • Features pure dual layers of FSC-certified Canadian hemlock wood
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty and lifetime tech support
  • Features a control panel for digital temperature

Using infrared technology, the JNH Lifestyle Joyous comes equipped with 7 carbon-fiber heaters, as opposed to the ceramic heaters generally used in other infrared saunas. These heaters are not only better for even heat distribution but they are also more durable and eat up less energy; the Lifestyle Joyous features these heaters on the back, calf and side areas for maximum benefits.

The sauna is constructed using scratch-resistant and organic Canadian Hemlock Wood that’s free from chemicals; it’s built using a tongue-and-groove style that is durable and also features a see-through door. The dual-layer walls ensure that there is always maximum insulation of heat, while the easy-to-use, tool-free design facilitates setting up of the sauna with the mere buckling of the panels together.

Picking out the Best Home Sauna 101—Buyer’s Guide

Getting your personal sauna is like having your own mini-spa at home, health benefits included. However, we do admit that they can be quite the wallet burners; a home sauna can cost you quite the tidy sum! And yes, there can be quite an overwhelmingly vast number of options to choose from, which is why we’ve put together a ‘Picking a Home Sauna 101’ for you, exploring recommended brands, heat sources and their types, and even the pros and cons of owning a home sauna.

Firstly, What Is a Sauna?

Humans aren’t new to the idea of hot baths—they’ve been an integral part of human culture, right from the sweathouses of the Mayans to the ancient bathhouses of Rome to the more modern saunas today. Saunas, one of the oldest and most-loved therapies, have long been used for a variety of health benefits, relaxing and even spiritual benefits. This form of “sweating as therapy” is believed to have originated in Finland—after all, saunas are as integral to Finnish culture and as inevitable as Ruislepa and the midnight sun!

Finns gather at saunas to refresh their bodies and minds. Typically, Finnish saunas are heated using a stove or fireplace, with temperatures varying from 158 to 212°Fahrenheit (or 70 to 100°Celsius). These saunas typically have more of dry heat, with humidity as low as 10-20%. In a Finnish sauna, your skin temperature can go up to 104°Fahrenheit (40°Celsius) from the normal range of 92.3 and 98.4° Fahrenheit (33.5 to 36.9°Celsius), leading to an increase in your heart rate and of course, profuse sweating. Typically, these sauna sessions last 15 minutes at a time; you can add more sessions if you alternate them with cooling sessions.

The original Finnish saunas made use of wooden fireplaces to heat up stones, getting them to incredibly high temperatures. Once there, water was thrown over the stones, leading to the creation of steam. Gradually, this model evolved and metal and electric stoves found their places in the sauna mechanism. Today, more variations exist, such as the infrared sauna which uses infrared light to warm the user’s body, rather than using an external heating source.

One thing that most people do is confuse saunas with steam rooms. Though both may seem similar and result in similar benefits, they’re two different therapies. Saunas are characterized by dry heat, whereas steam rooms involve the release of vapor into an airtight setting with the aim of building up humidity. The humidity in the latter can be as much as 100%, whereas, in the former, humidity is between 10 and 20%. Steam rooms are also much cooler than saunas, though the humidity makes it seem like they’re much hotter! Steam rooms generally range between 110 and 120°Fahrenheit (38 to 48°Celsius), whereas saunas hit 158 to 212°Fahrenheit (70-100°Celsius).

Both steam rooms and saunas help improve circulation and relaxation, though the former is much more intense than a sauna session, as the steam keeps the sweat from evaporating. However, that is precisely what makes it a better option for those with congestion issues or allergies. Saunas are a better option for those who are sensitive to humidity; for example, those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

What Good Comes of Using a Sauna?

The medical benefits that come from using a sauna are many; in fact, they’re so vast that they’re still being explored! Apart from promoting better circulation and relaxation for centuries, saunas also help in the following:

  • Healthy Hearts: According to some studies, saunas help in lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke and deterioration of the neurological system. Those who bathed/underwent sauna sessions twice or thrice a week showed a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease by as much as 23% compared to those who only did sauna sessions once a week. Those who used saunas 4-7 times a week exhibited even better results; they had a 48% lower risk of heart disease than their once-a-week counterparts.
  • Better Breathing: According to some studies, saunas can help improve and fight respiratory weakness and illnesses, such as bronchitis and asthma, as sauna bathing can improve the capacity of lungs and their functioning. Regular sauna use can also help lower the occurrence of the flu and colds by improving the immune response of the body.

  • Pain Relief: One of the most common uses of sauna bathing is pain relief. Studies state that sauna bathing can reduce pain from conditions such as fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, musculoskeletal conditions and even chronic headaches. In combination with cooling sessions, sauna sessions can improve the painkilling response in the body.
  • A Better Mood: Sauna baths are believed to boost the production of endorphins and other hormones that make a person’s mood better, according to some studies. There have been links between thermal therapy and improvements in the appetites and anxiety of patients suffering from mild depression.

  • Recovery from Sports: Infrared sauna bathing has the potential to make healing the neuromuscular system faster and better after endurance training.
  • Improved Sleep: Many studies show that saunas can positively impact the quality of sleep. Heating your body before going to bed can increase sleepiness and make you fall asleep much quicker, which is why warm showers and baths, before hitting the sack, are popular! Additionally, as mentioned, saunas improve the mood of bathers; they take away the fatigue, stress, and other symptoms of chronic fatigue, leading to better sleep.

Saunas also help you fall asleep quicker by impacting the thermoregulation process of the body. The sauna session warms the body, which cools down extremely quickly on exiting the sauna. This process helps your body prepare better for sleep by sending signals to the brain to initiate the generation of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Factors to Considering When Buying a Home Sauna

There are a number of factors to consider while purchasing a home sauna, such as:

The Source of Heat

Today, saunas come in two styles—infrared saunas and the more traditional wood/electric stove saunas.

Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas, despite their relative novelty, are quickly becoming the more popular option. These saunas provide benefits similar to those provided by traditional saunas but by using a different process. Where traditional saunas heat the air around users, infrared saunas raise the user’s core body temperature by directing radiant energy to it. This energy penetrates the skin, warming the body from within—muscles, tissues, joints, the whole deal!

As infrared rays work from within the body instead of heating the air around, users are given to intense sweating even at lower temperatures; infrared saunas are much cooler, ranging between 110-130°Fahrenheit (43-54°Celsius) than traditional saunas. Additionally, they heat up much faster—traditional saunas can take up to 40 minutes to reach the required temperature, whereas it’s almost immediate with infrared saunas, thanks to their light emitters. The emitters run at full capacity to efficiently deeply penetrate the body with infrared energy. Typically, a session in infrared saunas is 10-15 minutes (recommended), though many users choose to have longer sessions due to the lower temperatures.

To add to this, many studies show that infrared saunas provide many health benefits, such as better relaxation, sleep, heart health, rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure, systolic hypertension and chronic pain. They can also decrease fatigue and stress and help improve the symptoms of chronic stress.

Traditional Saunas

These saunas use wood or electricity as fuel to heat up, though today, there are more electric stoves than wood. Despite the source of heat, traditional saunas run by heating up volcanic rocks placed in a compartment, so that the air in the room heats up, to temperatures as high as 150-194°Fahrenheit (65-90°Celsius). The body absorbs the heated air which leads to an increase in body temperature. Users can control the temperature and the humidity in traditional saunas simply by pouring water on the compartment of rocks that are heated by the stove. This also releases steam, leading to additional benefits such as moisturizing the nasal passageways and improving congestion; users can also mix in essential oils with the water for additional benefits.

Traditional saunas require the rocks to be preheated to reach the desired temperature. Once this temperature is reached, the stove keeps going on and off to maintain the temperature. The insulated sauna walls, and the already-heated stones, aid in keeping the temperature inside steady.

Which type of sauna you choose depends largely on your heat tolerance; infrared saunas have lower temperatures while traditional ones have higher. If you want the benefits of steam, opt for the latter.

The Size

Another important consideration is the size of the sauna. Home saunas come in a variety of shapes and sizes; thus, it’s highly important that you consider the amount of available space in your house, as well as the number of users who will most probably use the sauna at the same time, to help you decide which size to pick. You should also consider whether you’ll be reclining or sitting when bathing inside the sauna.

Traditional saunas average 5×6 feet dimensions, allowing 2-3 bathers, seated, or one bather, reclining. Infrared saunas are generally smaller—4×4 feet—with the largest ones around 7×8 feet.

Saunas also come in a variety of shapes, such as the barrel-shaped barrel sauna, perched on top of legs. This sauna is good for up to 4 users and can be installed and used both indoors and outdoors. You can also get single-user saunas; these are designed for reclining users and are generally made of wood.

Portable personal saunas are also an option, made of a zippable, foldable, canvas-tent-like material; easy to set up, these can either be infrared heated or heated via a steam heater attached to them.

Other Factors to Consider

  • Indoor or Outdoor: You can install a sauna within or outside your house, though generally, users install them in their bathrooms, with easy access to power, water and drain lines. Indoor saunas are also more popular for the privacy they offer, as well as the convenience of just walking to the bathroom for a sauna sesh instead of down the stairs and out of the house! Those who like the additional space and natural setting opt for outdoor saunas. You can also install a sauna in your basement or attic.
  • Pre-Built or Kit: Home saunas are available both in pre-built and ready-to-assemble kits. The former is manufactured in the form of free-standing rooms, featuring exterior walls that are finished. The latter comes with parts that require assembly by the buyer, including pre-hung doors and door trims, handles, benches, ceilings and walls. Before you purchase a sauna that requires assembly, take a look at the instruction manual to gauge how easy or tough it will be to assemble the sauna and what tools or help you may require. Alternatively, you could also convert an existing room into your personal sauna as an advanced do-it-yourself option, using rocks, benches, paneling, a sauna door and an installation system.
  • Safety Level: Safety is a consideration in all things and saunas are no exception. Familiarize yourself with any potential risks as well as the safety features in place. A safe sauna should be equipped with sensors to prevent overheating and ample lighting so that there is a minimal chance of tripping or stumbling. A timer also comes in handy, letting you monitor your time in the sauna and preventing overextended sessions. Proper ventilation facilities will enable the circulation of clean, fresh air into the sauna.
  • Ease of Cleaning: The model you purchase has a lot to do with how to clean your sauna; there are, generally, instructions from the manufacturer to clean and maintain your sauna. Typically, traditional saunas require a good wipe down after each session to do away with the residual humidity. You may also have to clean it thoroughly once (or ten times) a month, depending on how frequently it’s used. This ensures that the sauna lives its longest life and also inhibits bacterial growth. You can either use home cleaning techniques such as a mixture of rubbing alcohol and warm water for cleaning or purchase supplies online. Infrared saunas are generally easier to clean, as they are subject to less humidity; however, they still need to be cleaned regularly, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. You can use cleansers like warm water, apple cider vinegar and regular vinegar for cleaning. With both traditional and infrared saunas, sweeping and vacuuming occasionally is strongly recommended for minimal dust and dirt accumulation.
  • Warranty: Warranties help you recognize the faith a manufacturer has in his/her product as well as give you access to easy repairs and maintenance. Good brands will provide warranties that cover the heating source, electronics and structure against material defects and workmanship. Any external damage or damage to modifying a sauna is not covered; neither is damage due to the incorrect assembly of a sauna. Ensure you look over the warranty deal carefully to know what kind of service to expect.
  • Extra Features: Home saunas also come with special additional features, such as speakers, oxygenizers, reading lamps and specially-designed backrests. Some feature chromotherapy lights for better relaxation and to help sufferers of seasonal affective disorder. See what features you require and don’t before you pick a sauna; sometimes, the more the features, the higher the price too, so don’t pay extra for a feature you’re not even going to use!

The Final Word

Well, we hope this article covered everything you needed to know about the best home saunas of the year so far, as well as picking out your own sauna when required. Remember, research goes a long way, so carefully weigh your options and consider your restraints and requirements before you settle in on a choice. Making the choice is the hardest part, so ensure you’re well equipped to do it—our reviews and guide have hopefully helped equip you with this knowledge! Once the choice is made, it’s all smooth sailing, or should we say smooth bathing?


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