With a home sauna, you can enjoy the benefits of heat and steam anytime you want. When choosing a model for your home, you’ll find that you have many options. One of the most important things you need to consider is the sauna style: square or barrel.
Barrel saunas, the traditional sauna style, have many advantages. Along with their attractive design, these saunas may also enhance the therapeutic effects of sauna sessions.
Why Choose a Barrel Sauna?
What gives barrel saunas an edge over square and other style saunas?
#1 – Durable Solid Wood Construction
Quality barrel saunas are made with durable solid wood, which offers many benefits, including:
- Weather resistance
- Superior insulating properties
- Structural integrity
Some of the most common solid woods used for barrel saunas include:
With its pleasing aroma and high durability, cedar is arguably the most popular choice for sauna woods. Cedar is resistant to:
- The elements
In extreme weather conditions, cedar won’t shrink or swell. These properties make it an ideal choice for outdoor barrel saunas. Cedar also looks beautiful, which is just an extra bonus when choosing a material for your sauna.
An economical choice for sauna woods. Hemlock fir is durable and offers great value due to its ability to harden as it ages. That being said, this wood is not ideal for extreme weather conditions because it isn’t as resistant to decay as cedar.
If aesthetics is your main concern, Nordic spruce is a great option. This solid wood has a light color with tight knots to create a rustic look. Like hemlock fir, this wood is affordable and durable.
Western Red Cedar
Overall, cedar is the superior choice for saunas. But more specifically, Western Canadian Red Cedar is the top choice.
Western Canadian Red Cedar offers natural insect, moisture and decay resistance. It will not absorb heat, and it offers excellent insulating properties. Like other types of cedar, Western Red has a pleasant aroma that’s enhanced by the steam from the sauna.
#2 – Quick Heat Time
Barrel saunas heat up quickly thanks to its circular design. Square saunas have more cubic feet of space to heat than a barrel-style sauna.
The circular design also eliminates unused air space, making heating both faster and more efficient.
#3 – Better Heat Circulation
Barrel saunas offer better heat circulation compared to square saunas. Heat rises. The circular design means that hot air rises to the ceiling and quickly spreads around and back down to the floor.
The efficient circulation of heat means that the sauna heats up more quickly (as mentioned previously) and stays warm.
#4 – Flexible Heater Options
With a barrel sauna, you can choose a heater type that best fits your budget and personal preference. A wood burning stove is the more traditional choice, but you can find electric models for barrel-style saunas.
Electric heaters are ideal for smaller saunas. A wood burning stove may make the space uncomfortably hot. While convenient, electric heaters may require the help of a licensed electrician for installation.
With a larger sauna, you may prefer a traditional wood heater. The aroma and ambiance add to the experience while helping you relax.
Accessories and Custom Features are Available
The best barrel saunas have multiple accessories to choose from and may also allow you to add custom features. Some of the most popular options include:
A standard barrel sauna typically doesn’t include a changing room, which means that you may have to change outside. Depending on your location, that may or may not be ideal.
Adding a changing room can help solve this problem by providing you with a private place to dress and undress. Changing rooms also provide space for storing your items or just to take a break from the heat of the sauna.
Salt therapy is becoming increasingly popular, and you can harness its benefits right in your sauna. Inhaling salt particles can help ease inflammation, lift your mood and even help with respiratory issues like asthma and allergies.
Salt therapy, or halotherapy, has been around since Medieval times, and it can make a great addition to your barrel sauna.
Many barrel saunas are compatible with LED light bars that can help add to the relaxing ambiance. Some sauna manufacturers, like Almost Heaven, offer LED light bars as an accessory or additional option with their sauna models. This makes it easy to naturally incorporate this feature into your sauna.
While barrel saunas are designed with durable wood and to prevent leaks, it’s worth the peace of mind to invest in roof protection. Specialized sauna roof shingles can help protect against leaks and weather damage.
#5 – Easy and Quick Assembly
Prefab saunas are designed for quick and easy assembly. Most models can be assembled by two people in just a few hours. Barrel saunas are especially easy to assemble.
If you prefer, you can have a professional assemble and install your sauna to save you time.
#6 – Easy Care and Maintenance
Due to their solid wood construction, most barrel saunas have minimal maintenance and care requirements. Depending on the material you choose, the wood may naturally weather and age after exposure to sunlight and moisture. The weathering process makes the wood more beautiful over time.
However, if you prefer the original look, there are some things you can do to preserve its appearance:
- Pressure-wash the exterior (on a low setting) periodically
- Apply a UV-inhibiting stain to the exterior to reduce or eliminate the effects of sunlight.
It’s important to note that stains should never be applied to the interior of the sauna. Do not apply paint or varnish to the exterior of the sauna.
Cleaning the interior is easy, too. Vacuum or sweep the sauna periodically to remove dirt. From time to time, you should also clean the wood to remove dirt, perspiration or grime. Tougher stains can be removed using a fine grit sandpaper, while a light scrubbing with warm water can help remove dirt.
Taking time to care and maintain your sauna will ensure that it lasts for years to come.
Who Makes The Best Barrel Sauna Kits?
Barrel sauna kits make it easy to get your sauna up and running in no time. But with so many options available, you may not know which kit to choose.
Almost Heaven Saunas have a reputation for being the best in the industry. Why? Because they use top quality materials, have superior craftsmanship and are built to last.
Barrel saunas have been their signature product for more than four decades.
Here’s what makes Almost Heaven so special:
Multiple Size Options
Almost Heaven offers multiple size options to ensure that you choose a sauna that meets your needs. Their models range from two- to eight-persons.
Whether you’re single or have a large family, there is a size that will meet your needs.
Multiple Wood Options
All of Almost Heave’s barrel saunas are made with quality solid wood materials. You have the option of choosing whichever lumber you please:
- Rustic Fir
- Red Cedar
With Almost Heaven, you also have the option of customizing some of the sauna’s options, such as:
- Bench styles: vertical slats or horizontal slats
- Door styles: glass, wood w/glass, fading glass, or all wood
- Component upgrades: rear window
- Accessories: Backlit salt bar or the bucket, ladle and thermometer package
One of the things that sets Almost Heaven apart from other sauna manufacturers is the easy assembly process. Each sauna comes with pre-assembled wall sections. The kit arrives on a pallet for easy installation.
Almost Heaven offers a few options for shipping and delivery, so you can choose one that’s most convenient for you.
Made in the U.S.
All of Almost Heaven’s saunas are made right here in the U.S. in West Virginia. For more than 40 years, the company has been creating DIY sauna kits in the Finnish tradition. They are one of the few sauna manufacturers to be based in the U.S. and to make their products right here in the U.S., too.
Almost Heaven saunas are backed by a limited lifetime warranty on the sauna itself and a five-year warranty on the heater.
Final Advice On Buying A Barrel Sauna Kit
Barrel saunas offer many advantages over square saunas and other sauna styles. Along with their attractive design, they also heat up more quickly and use their heat more efficiently. Easy installation and quality materials mean that you can spend more time enjoying your sauna.