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10 Advantages the Barrel Sauna has Over Regular Outdoor Sauna Cabins - Secret Saunas

10 Advantages the Barrel Sauna has Over Regular Outdoor Sauna Cabins

When discussing the world of saunas, the debate often centers around barrel saunas versus conventional saunas. While I have a fondness for all saunas, there's a prevalent misconception that barrel saunas are inferior. Here's my take on why barrel saunas often emerge as the superior choice, especially for those contemplating a DIY sauna purchase:

1. Appearance: Outdoor Barrel Sauna Design

While there are undoubtedly some beautiful traditional cabin saunas, they can be very labor-intensive and expensive to build. Most look utilitarian. In contrast, barrel saunas consistently stand out as an aesthetic feature, enhancing the appeal of your property.

2. Upgrade: Possibilities for Enhancements

The barrel sauna offers a myriad of creative enhancements with minimal effort. From its placement in the woods or by the shore to adding features like a Japanese wood hot tub or a cold plunge pool, its versatility shines.

3. Cost: Barrel Saunas are Expensive

In terms of value, a barrel sauna can be much more affordable. For instance, a comparable conventional sauna could cost three times as much as a barrel sauna. They also heat up faster, especially when using a HUUM wood burning sauna stove or Harvia electric sauna heater.

4. Sauna Assembly difficult or time-consuming

Setting up a barrel sauna is straightforward and can be accomplished over a weekend. No expert skills required! If you're considering a barrel sauna, don't let this put you off!

5. Materials: Canadian Cedar

In the US a common material for barrel saunas is Canadian cedar, a durable, aromatic wood ideal for sauna construction which is why brands like Dundalk Saunas exclusively use cedar wood for all their sauna kits. This particular wood is great in high temperatures as it will not cause the wood to warp from the high temperatures

6. A Backyard Escape: Your Personal Barrel Sauna

Barrel saunas are a great addition to your backyard or garden. They offer a unique space for relaxation. Their separate, standalone design promotes a more immersive experience in nature.

7. Birch Broom Bathing: A Nordic Tradition

Barrel saunas are fully equipped for traditional birch broom bathing. They effectively retain heat and vapor, ensuring an optimal experience.

8. Steam Compatibility: With the right Heater

The design of barrel saunas makes them especially conducive to steam generation when used with a good quality sauna heater or wood burning stove from Harvia or HUUM

9. Easy Relocation: A Mobile Sauna 

While not exactly portable, barrel saunas can be disassembled and relocated with relative ease, unlike many  traditional sauna types.

10. Versatility: Outdoor Sauna Design

Barrel saunas consistently maintain desired temperatures and humidity, providing a dependable sauna experience in all weather conditions. They're specifically designed for outdoor weather and temperatures.

Debunking Myths About Barrel Saunas

Now, let's address some common myths about barrel saunas:

Myth 1: Thermal Concerns

Some argue that barrel saunas lack sufficient insulation, making them inefficient. However, unique shape and compact volume lead to less energy use and heat distribution. Geographic location isn’t a constraint either, as user testimonials from colder regions demonstrate.

Myth 2: No Changing Room

While many saunas (conventional included) lack changing rooms, simple solutions like hooks can easily address this. Moreover, adding a changing room to any sauna can significantly increase its cost. There are several barrel saunas that have already been designed to include a changing room.

Myth 3: Limited Bench Space

Barrel Saunas are designed to maximise sauna bench space but allowing two benches to run either side with the heater position in the centre. This minimises the space required to heat up while accommodating the most people.

Myth 4: Space Constrains

Contrary to belief, an 8-foot barrel sauna can comfortably accommodate six people, offering a cozy and memorable experience. These are perfect for a home sauna.

Myth 5: Maintenance Demands

While barrel saunas might require slightly more maintenance than their conventional counterparts, it’s not as demanding as some might think. Adding a roof can minimize this need further, extending the sauna's lifespan.

Conclusion: We Love Barrel Saunas 

In conclusion, many criticisms of barrel saunas stem from a lack of first-hand experience. It's essential to explore and experience before forming an opinion before buying a barrel sauna. All saunas require care and maintenance, but the physical and mental benefits of having your own barrel sauna far out way the negatives!

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Jasper Knight the Founder of Secret Saunas photographed in an Auroom Sauna in Estonia

About the Author

I'm Jasper Knight, the founder of During my travels through Finland and Scandinavia in 2018 I was introduced to the thrilling local ritual of taking daily hot saunas and then cooling off by plunging into the dark icy waters of a frozen lake. This experience was so fulfilling that it felt like an addiction. My desire to return to the forests and lakes of Northern Europe led me to set up Secret Saunas with the mission of bringing that authentic Finnish sauna experiences home.

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