First a thermometer, then a hygrometer, soon there will be a third measuring instrument for saunas

Pretty much every sauna has a thermometer.

Many sauna aficionados also have a hygrometer in their saunas. This instrument measures humidity levels, which run from a dry 5% upwards North of 20-30% when we blast some water on the rocks, which creates steam, which is a critical component to a sauna (otherwise it is not a sauna).

“Sauna pros” in Finland, US, and other countries where people are nuts for sauna, can feel a third critically important element to good sauna:


If a good sauna had a Lämpömassa meter, the gauge would go up, as the heat goes up. And the gauge would stay up throughout many situations including when:

  • water is tossed on the rocks
  • many bodies settle onto the sauna bench
  • some yahoo keeps the door open for an extended time

A sauna with good Lämpömassa is a differentiator.

How do we know our saunas have good Lämpömassa without a measuring instrument?

We feel it. Can you feel it?

What makes for good Lämpömassa in our saunas?

  • A worthy heat source that produces a shit ton of BTUs.
  • A well proportioned mass of stones atop the sauna stove
  • A good mass of conductive material surrounding the sauna stove
  • Dense walls, either log or well insulated with foil vapor barrier and thicker wood paneling the better.

Why is Lämpömassa so important?

A good sauna provides dense heat. Dense heat heats the entire body. This is when the magic happens. Light bulbs and toaster ovens do NOT create dense heat. This is not temperature and it is not humidity. A Lämpömassa meter will tell you so.

Until we have a Lämpömassa meter, our best gauge is more sauna and more consciousness, and more “ahhhhh” that feels great. More about it here because Heat is not heat.

Celebrating Lämpömassa between sauna rounds, thanks to dense heat (that heats our entire bodies).

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7 thoughts on “First a thermometer, then a hygrometer, soon there will be a third measuring instrument for saunas”

  1. Totally unrelated to the blog post, but I have a question about your eBook. Does it cover interesting information for someone planning on building an indoor, toaster style sauna (electric heater) ? You focus a lot on wood burning saunas in the free content, I was wondering if anything pertains to electric saunas in the book.

    Thank you!

  2. Hi Julien:

    The fundamentals of building a sauna are the same, whether it’s wood fired or electric stove. The book includes critical experiential stuff like properly insulating and vapor barrier-ing, details on bench building, some solid floor ideas/solutions, etc.

    I think you’ll dig the book. If not, let me know.

  3. Glenn- I just finished by sauna build. I bought your book and just want to say thank you. there were 100 different things I read in your book that helped me so much. The sauna is very powerful. I love your wild west approach to building. I’m a perfectionist and your ideas helped me get unstuck several times. You were a huge help you have no idea. Here is a photo https://www.reddit.com/r/woodworking/comments/et06v8/just_finished_a_sauna_in_washington_state_burnt/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

  4. Fabulous, Nathan… The Wild West approach came about as lots of folks in the trades can get pretty haughty about things, when really, it need not be that way. So glad you advanced and that saunatimes helped you with your sauna build.

  5. “A well proportioned mass of stones atop the sauna stove”

    Speaking of which, is there a page on sauna stones? Like, what to use, how much & where to source?

  6. Hi Brian: Yes, there is some good information about sauna stones, please use the search bar… “stones” and “rocks”.. and i’m actually geeking out with a geologist right now and hope to publish more soon (mineral components vis a via heat conductivity, etc.).

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