What Sauna Heater Do I Need?

You may be new to the whole sauna world, or maybe you own a sauna or have been visiting one for years. Either way the question remains the same, what sauna heater do I need?

The first thing to determine is which type of sauna you have or use. There are various types of saunas but chances are you have either a traditional sauna or a far-infrared sauna. With an infrared sauna you will be using infrared heat lamps. Most likely if you have an at home infrared sauna unit, these lamps will come built in and you should consult with the manufacturer for any replacement lamps needed. As for a traditional sauna, there are a few different heating options each with their own unique experience and capabilities.

Traditional heating options:

  1. Wood Burning Heaters
  2. Electric Heaters
  3. Gas Heaters

Wood Burning Heaters

These heaters bring us back to the sauna origins and give an authentic sauna experience. In the early days of saunas wood burning stoves were used to distribute heat. Wood burning heaters, often known as stoves, require a special sauna setup in order to have ventilation or a chimney outlet to remove any fumes or smoke that occurs in the burning process. These wood burning heaters do exactly what it sounds like, they burn logs in order to create the high temperatures desired within a sauna. Typically saunas equipped with wood burning heaters use a specialized ventilation system that helps to circulate the heat put off by the heating system. A bed of rocks sits above the wood burning heater to heat the rocks. In traditional sauna fashion water can be poured on top of these very hot rocks to produce steam within the sauna.

While wood burning heaters can be adapted to indoor saunas, they are more traditionally used in outdoor saunas where electricity is limited or cannot be accessed. This option does have the benefit that it does not use up any heating or electric costs and the therapeutic advantages that help motivate for a healthier lifestyle.

What are the drawbacks of a wood burning heater? For one, they can be a bit more to clean than other heating options. Most wood burning stoves do come with an ash tray that allows you to dispose of the incinerated wood. Another drawback of wood burning heaters is the emissions. Burning wood does release C02 into the environment and for this reason it is not as prevalent as a heating source as some of the other options out there.

Where to buy? Luckily, both Harvia and Hanko manufacturers are available for purchase on Amazon. Both of these brands are trusted and known for their quality and durability. It is always important to know your options and do your research before purchasing such a crucial element in your sauna experience, but with these two brands you can be sure that an authentic, wood burning sauna experience will be enjoyed time after time. Check out Harvia’s top model here and Hanko’s top model here. Both options offering free shipping and great warranties!


Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are the most common to find in at home and local sauna locations. ESauna Heaterlectric sauna heaters are designed with stainless steel exteriors, integrated heating coils, and a bed of stones located directly above the coils which allow for quick and efficient heat production and the option for steam when water is poured over the rocks. Electric sauna heaters utilize easy to operate controls for heat management to help make your sauna experience the best possible. A great feature of many electric sauna heaters is that they are engineered with heat deflectors. These heat deflectors help maneuver the heat released to the center of a sauna as opposed to towards the ceiling. This helps increase heat distribution for a more relaxing experience.

Why are these electric heaters so popular? For one, most sauna owners have electric outlet access to be able to connect these heating sources within their homes. They are also very eco-friendly unlike their wood burning counterpart and do not let off any damaging or harmful emissions. What drawbacks come with electric heaters? These electric heaters generally use a 120V/220V hookup and may require a technician to install this. They can also be less cost efficient than other methods.

Where to buy? There is a large selection of brands that are offering electric heaters for home sauna units online but a key thing to look for is electrical output to see if your outlets can handle the unit, control options (digital preferred), and above all, a great warranty! Turku is a very trusted brand and their TU90WD-OD model is a great traditional electric unit with digital controls and acts as a wet or dry unit. Check out this great unit on Amazon here

Gas Heaters

Gas heaters are another great option if you are looking to sauna at home! Gas heaters are often used due to their cost efficiency and quick heat up times. A gas sauna heating option can be a great option because of their simplicity as well. These heaters can connect to your homes natural gas line, and often times are also able to connect to a propane tank. The triple wall construction that many gas heaters feature are designed to help reduce the surface temperatures of the units for safety and reliability. Most units also feature a control panel for temperature settings as well as additional optional features. Similar to the previously mentioned heating options, the gas sauna heaters have a bed of rocks located above the heaters. These rocks are heated up and can create steam within the sauna when water is poured on top of them.

What are the drawbacks of gas sauna heaters? Similar to wood burning heaters, these units do let off emissions that are not great for the environment. On average, the size of these units are usually bigger than other sauna heating options. Gas heaters will often times require professional installation as well in order to connect to your home’s gas line whereas electric heaters can be plugged directly into your home outlet if it features a 120V/220V output.

Where to buy? Scandia is a great manufacturer of sauna equipment and supplies and is located here in the United States in Idaho. They have an incredibly built gas heating unit, the 285-Scandia Ultra Gas Unit. This unit features 80,000 BTU’s, stainless steel body to look sleek within your sauna unit, a great warranty, and free shipping! Feel free to check this unit out here.

In conclusion, there are various heating methods available if you are looking to install a sauna in your home or are just exploring sauna heating options. As always, you should ensure that you work with a professional or do your research before installing. Make sure that your home has the space and capability to install a sauna. Thanks for reading! Sit back, turn on the heater, and enjoy 🙂


Interested in more? Check out The Top 10 Health Benefits of Saunas or read some Advice from Industry Experts!

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