Wood burning sauna stove review and comparison

Guest Post series continues.  Thanks Christian for your oneness and candor in reviewing wood stove options, below.  Christian is in the midst of his own backyard sauna build and in return for his research, I am sending him a free copy of my ebook.

Enter Christian:

As you’ve probably discovered I pride myself on researching the finer details, benefits, pros and cons and most recently I’ve been exploring a popular topic. Sauna wood burning stoves. Some of my opinions or pros and cons will be unique to my decision criteria’s but in the spirit “your word” of sharing some information with my brethrens I thought the following matrix would be helpful to anyone considering a new wood burning stove.
Quickly, some context of what was important to me.
Firstly, it was imperative to source a stove that would be extremely efficient and one that would not produce a ton of smoke so I may maintain a stealth Zen like status.
Secondly and key, was a stove that was hand built and built to last 20 plus years. In particular, the thickness of the steel and the components used.
The following is a comparison matrix chart of the beautiful Harvia Legend 150 and the Clydesdale “my word” Kuuma wood burning stove:

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11 thoughts on “Wood burning sauna stove review and comparison”

  1. between the steel, the rocks and the water in the tank, the kuuma stove is a monster. if it will rest on a floor with wooden joists, consider additional blocking and/or sistering in the area under the stove to help minimize floor sagging.

  2. I cannot say enough great things about my Kuuma. Well built, and i absolutely love it. I hit the exterior with some stove paint every two years, still looks great – and it is incredible. In fact – it’s 40’s and raining – i think i’ll go outside and light a fire in it right now… Thanks for making me think of it.

  3. Thanks Miller. Exactly, Clydesdale seems appropriate too eh 🙂 I built a concrete foundation which is approx. 4 inches thick so I’m hopefully she’ll hold.

    Does your Kuuma stove have adjustable legs for leveling side to side or back to back?

  4. I own two Kuuma wood burning sauna stoves. My cabin sauna stove is 20 years old. My Minneapolis sauna stove is 11 years old. I have taken over 1,000 saunas with each of these two stoves, as I sauna 3x/week.

    Like sharing the appreciation of a good microbrew, I enthusiastically endorse the Kuuma stove.

    PS: I have had Finlanders in my saunas and they have all given the Kuuma an enthusiastic thumbs up.

  5. We just got our Allwood barrel sauna model 250-WHP with wood heater. Have not yet fired it up, just put it together. It’s beautiful! Looks like a long lasting quality sauna, and the oven looks perfect. Will report in a bit when we try it.

  6. Hi Glenn,

    Great information on this site. I’m planning a sauna build. Wondering what your opinion is on the Harvia M3? I’m concerned with clearance dimensions for my build, and like that the M3’s are very small.

    Related to this. Wondering what your clearances are for your Kuuma to get it to fit in your 8×12 with 2 benches.



  7. Hi Shawn: I hear you on clearances. Both stoves you mention perform. I am a nut for the Kuuma as evidenced throughout my writings. The clearances detailed in the hand written Kuuma manual conform to UL certification. Not sure, but is the Harvia M3 UL certified? IF yes, you’re comparing apples to apples (clearance wise). Either way I’ll tell you that I own two small Kuuma wood fired stoves in my two saunas, and like the cobblers’ kids shoes having holes in them, I nudged the stoves closer to the wall than detailed in the owner’s manual. I built my cabin sauna in 1996 and have that up North of 200f. many, many times. I”m not telling you to do this, i’m just saying…. (as when I have built saunas for others I have applied a more safety first non combustable, sleep at night, no lawyer waiver form needed mentality).

  8. You discuss the Kuuma stove a great deal on the site. I have sent the company multiple emails trying to get shipping rates to Portland Oregon and have yet to receive a reply. I suppose I remember to inquire again every couple of months, so I’m probably 3 emails in…
    Noticed today you list the stoves for sale on your website. Can you provide a quote to Portland?
    Otherwise I probably will go with the Harvia 150. The Finlandia office is a few miles away and I can easily pick up everything there.

  9. Hi Wes: Yes, i’m a nut for the Kuuma Stove. My cabin sauna stove is from 1996, my backyard sauna stove is 2003, and i’ve enjoyed thousands of saunas in my 2 saunas. And what’s more is that i’ve taken thousand(s?) of saunas in other saunas with other stoves. All this 25 years of ranting and raving, and, yes, now saunatimes is an official distributor for Lamppa Manufacturing. Your freight quote to Portland is $379.65 including crating, residential lift gate.

    As you compare sauna stoves, it’d be fun to consider the price/pound. (your Kuuma ships at 400lbs. including fire brick). Also, consider “country of origin.” Harvia (God love them) is a Finnish company with great production rates in China, included which are great rates on lower cost thin steel.

    Wes, if after you purchase and install and toss water on the rocks on your new Kuuma sauna stove, if you don’t completely rave about your decision, i’ll come out to Portland and haul your stove back to MN on my back. That’s how confident I am in this stove. It’s the best sauna stove in the World. How do I know this to be true? I partook in 50 of the best saunas in Finland. The Finns know good heat. Daryl Lamppa does too. He is a 3rd generation sauna stove maker who understands (and taught me a lot about) lampomassa.


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