For many people, one of their first considerations when thinking about a sauna is “where would I put it?” Saunas can be indoor or outdoor, and there are benefits and drawbacks to each option.
An indoor sauna might be easier to access than an outdoor one, especially when there’s inclement weather. We’ve seen plenty of people add a small changing room and shower area beside their sauna – much easier when the sauna is indoors – and there’s less concern about privacy.
With an indoor sauna you don’t have to worry about a roof, or having a weatherproof exterior like cedar or some other form of siding. The exterior of an indoor sauna can by plywood instead of cedar. You can even customize the outside of your indoor sauna to match the décor of the room around it (most often drywall).
Many people enjoy lying down during their sauna bath. If there are constraints on an indoor space that will preclude long enough benches for this, an outdoor sauna might be the solution, as there are generally less space limitations when planning your sauna room outdoors.
You can take advantage of a great view, if you have one, and install a couple extra windows in an outdoor sauna. Especially in a rural setting, many people find a sauna much more relaxing when they are able to look out over majestic mountains or crashing waves as they bathe. Sometimes privacy can be an issue, but a well-placed privacy fence or shrubbery can take care of that.
You can even make an outdoor sauna the focal point of your yard or garden. When covered in elegant cedar, an outdoor sauna is really a thing of beauty.
We’re often asked about the cost of operating a sauna outdoors in a winter climate, but cold weather is not an issue. Many new hot tub owners are surprised by the hike in their electric bill during the first winter, but there are no such concerns with a sauna, because it’s only heated when it’s being used.
In fact, one of the best benefits of having an outdoor sauna is the ability to create a great, refreshing cold plunge. You can use a pool, pond or lake, and situate your sauna beside it. In wintry weather, a snow bank works just as well, and if your pond or lake is frozen you can cut a hole in the ice, but please be careful! Even just a rainy day can be a cold plunge. Using the drizzling rain to cool off after a hot sauna session can be a rather unique and refreshing experience.
On occasion, a very serious sauna enthusiast might actually have both a sauna in their home as well as one in their backyard. Their indoor sauna will be installed in a finished basement or exercise room, electrically heated and used every day as a part of their daily health regimen.
Out in the backyard they’ll have a sauna which is typically larger, very often heated with an old fashioned wood fired heater and used as a social appliance on the weekends for get-togethers with their friends, family and neighbors.