Barrel Saunas

 

What are Barrel Saunas and What are they made of?

Barrel saunas are a distinctive type of sauna known for their cylindrical shape, resembling a giant wooden barrel. This design aesthetic not only provides a charming touch to your backyard but also boasts functional benefits. Unlike traditional saunas, the curved walls of a barrel sauna promote even heat distribution and faster heating times. Typically, barrel saunas are constructed from high-quality wood, with Western Red Cedar being a popular choice due to its natural insulating properties, beautiful aroma, and resistance to moisture and warping. We also have barrel saunas made of spruce.

 

Barrel Saunas vs Traditional Saunas

Choosing between a barrel sauna and a traditional sauna comes down to your priorities when it comes to your at-home spa experience. Let's break down the key differences:

  • Shape:
    • Traditional Saunas: Typically square or rectangular, offering more potential for customization.
    • Barrel Saunas: Cylindrical shape, promoting even heat distribution and faster heating times.
  • Space:
    • Traditional Saunas: Can be built in various sizes, but may require more space overall.
    • Barrel Saunas: Generally more compact, making them ideal for smaller backyards.
  • Heating:
    • Traditional Saunas: May take longer to heat due to larger space and potential heat pockets.
    • Barrel Saunas: Offer quicker and more even heat distribution thanks to the curved design.
  • Customization:
    • Traditional Saunas: Straight walls allow for easier installation of features like benches, windows, and additional lighting.
    • Barrel Saunas: Limited headroom and may offer less flexibility for customization compared to traditional saunas.

In conclusion, traditional saunas offer more customization options and might be ideal for larger spaces, while barrel saunas are space-saving, heat up faster, and boast a unique aesthetic.

 

What Size of Barrel Sauna Is Best for Me?

Choosing the ideal size for your barrel sauna requires considering several factors to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable sauna experience. Here are some key criteria to ponder:

  • Number of Users: This is a big one! Consider how many people will typically use the sauna at once. While manufacturers specify how many people a sauna can "fit," remember comfort is key. Opt for a size that allows everyone to stretch out and relax comfortably.

  • Heating Time and Efficiency: Generally, larger saunas take longer to heat and require more energy. If you plan on using your sauna frequently, a smaller size might be more economical.

  • Available Space: Measure your designated spot for the sauna and ensure there's enough clearance for safe operation and ventilation. Don't forget to factor in ease of access around the sauna for cleaning and maintenance.

  • Personal Preference: Some users prioritize spaciousness for a luxurious feel, while others value a more compact design for quicker heating and smaller footprints. Consider how you'll use your sauna and what experience you desire.

In essence, the best size barrel sauna for you strikes a balance between accommodating your usual number of guests comfortably, optimizing heating efficiency for your needs, and fitting seamlessly into your designated space.

 

What Heater is Best for Me?

The type of heater you choose for your barrel sauna significantly impacts your sauna experience. Here's a breakdown of the two main options to consider:

  • Electric Sauna Heaters:
    • Pros: Electric heaters are incredibly convenient. They offer quick and easy startup with a simple flip of a switch, reaching desired temperatures within 30-60 minutes. Electric heaters are also generally more compact and require less maintenance compared to wood-fired heaters.

    • Cons: Electric heaters may not provide the same "authentic" sauna experience some users prefer. They also require access to a dedicated electrical circuit and can lead to higher energy bills depending on usage frequency.

  • Wood-Fired Sauna Heaters:

    • Pros: Wood-fired heaters offer a more traditional sauna experience, some users favouring the radiant heat and natural crackle of a wood fire. They are also a good option for off-grid locations where electricity isn't readily available.

    • Cons: Wood-fired heaters require more planning and effort. You'll need to store and source firewood, and starting the fire takes additional time compared to electric heaters. Additionally, wood-fired heaters necessitate proper ventilation (chimney installation) and may require more ongoing maintenance like ash removal.

In conclusion, the ideal heater depends on your priorities. If convenience and ease of use are paramount, an electric heater is the way to go. However, if you crave a more traditional sauna experience and have the space for proper ventilation, a wood-fired heater might be the perfect choice.

 

Should I Add a Sauna Change Room?

Whether or not to incorporate a change room into your barrel sauna experience depends on your priorities and available space. Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons to help you decide:

Benefits of a Change Room:

  • Convenience and Comfort: Especially in colder climates or during rainy weather, a change room provides a comfortable buffer zone between your home and the sauna. No more trekking outside in your towel!

  • Cleanliness: A dedicated space allows you to remove shoes and store belongings, keeping the sauna itself cleaner and more hygienic.

  • Relaxation Space: The change room can double as a relaxation area between sauna sessions. Here, you can cool down, enjoy refreshments, and unwind before heading back inside.

Considerations Against a Change Room:

  • Space: Adding a change room increases the overall footprint of your sauna project. Even a small change room requires additional space. Typically, a minimum of 4' x 4' is recommended for basic functionality.

  • Cost: A change room adds to the overall cost of your sauna. Consider if the additional expense aligns with your budget and priorities.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal needs and available space. If you have the room and prioritize convenience and comfort, a change room can be a valuable addition. However, if space or budget is limited, a well-placed towel rack near the sauna entrance can provide some level of convenience.