The 5 Best Sauna Heaters Of 2023 + How To Get The Most From Your Sauna Session
- Best portable: Smartmak Steam Pot Portable Generator
- Best quality: Finlandia Harvia FLB-80 Sauna Heater
- Best wood-burning: Huum Hive Wood Series 13kW Wood-Burning Sauna Stove
- Best compact: Harvia Vega Compact Electric Heater
- Best wall-mounted: Huum Drop Series Sauna Heater
You can't reap the benefits of saunas without an excellent sauna heater. The best sauna heater provides a sauna with one of its most essential components: warmth.
Since a sauna heater can make or break your sauna experience, finding the best option feels all the more daunting. With so many sizes, styles, and designs, where do you even begin?
That's where our expert-led guidance comes in. Read on and a more enjoyable sauna experience may be in your near future.
What is a sauna heater?
"A sauna heater serves as the heating component within your sauna," explains Meg Mill, a functional medicine practitioner in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Per Mill, a sauna heater is responsible for generating the warmth essential in saunas. "By employing electric elements or wood-burning mechanisms, the sauna heater effectively raises the temperature within the sauna cabin, offering a space for relaxation and potential health benefits," she says.
Who should use a sauna heater?
If you're looking to boost your well-being, Mill points out that a sauna, equipped with a sauna heater, of course, is an accessible and enjoyable way to do so.
"If you're interested in relaxation, stress reduction, improved circulation, and harnessing the potential benefits of detoxification, a sauna heater can be a great fit for you," she says. "Regular sauna sessions provide a relaxing environment that can contribute to a sense of overall health and vitality."
"Saunas can be beneficial for individuals who want to improve their circulation, alleviate chronic pain, reduce joint stiffness, and even strengthen their immune system," she says.
Saxena says saunas and sauna heaters can aid health conditions and rheumatologic skin diseases such as psoriasis.
However, some people should be cautious when it comes to saunas. "While sauna therapy generally boasts a favorable safety profile, specific individuals should exercise prudence or avoid sauna heater utilization," explains Mill.
She goes on to say that pregnant women and people with cardiovascular conditions, respiratory issues, or skin sensitivities should check in with their doctor before participating in sauna sessions.
"It's advisable to seek medical guidance if any doubts arise regarding the compatibility of sauna heat with individual health circumstances," Mill adds.
How to use a sauna heater
After your sauna heater is installed and ready to go, Mill suggests the following protocol to get the most out of your sauna session:
Preheat: "Start your sauna routine by preheating the sauna to the preferred temperature, allowing adequate time for the heat to distribute evenly," she says.
Hydrate: Don't step into a sauna before properly hydrating. "Adequate hydration is key," Mill says. "Ensure you consume ample water before and after the session."
Listen to your body: It's important to keep in tune with how your body feels while in a sauna and to make sure you don't overdo it.
"Enter the sauna for a duration comfortable to you, typically commencing with 10 to 15 minutes, followed by a cooling-off period," says Mill. She stresses that you should always stay attuned to your body's signals and leave the sauna if you have any discomfort or concerns.
How we picked:
High-quality products often not only last longer but are safer to use. This in mind, we included top-rated sauna heaters made by brands that keep quality at the forefront.
Each sauna comes with its own set of unique features, such as Wi-Fi-enabled connectivity or triple-walled construction. We've outlined these features in our product descriptions.
We kept expert insight in mind when choosing the best sauna heaters.
From heaters that can be mounted on walls to others that are portable, we made sure to include a variety of styles that can easily be integrated into your lifestyle.
How to choose the best sauna heater
When it comes to choosing the best sauna heater, it boils down to personal preference and what best fits your needs.
"Finding your ideal sauna heater is like choosing the perfect playlist for a relaxing day," says Mill.
Beyond price and design, take the below factors into consideration:
- The size of your sauna space
- Your prefered heating method, such as electric or wood-burning
- How much control you want over the temperature
"While electric heaters are all about convenience, wood-burning options might be your preference," notes Mill.
The benefits of saunas
Sauna sessions come with various physical and mental benefits that keep well-being enthusiasts coming back for more.
"Engaging in sauna sessions can have a multitude of advantages, benefiting both the physical and mental aspects of well-being," Mill says. She explains that the warmth of a sauna can induce relaxation, resulting in stress reduction and potentially improving sleep quality and digestion.
"Enhanced circulation contributes to cardiovascular health, while the act of sweating supports potential detoxification by purging impurities from the body," Mill says, adding that it can also ease muscle tension and promote mental rejuvenation.
Our picks for the best sauna heaters of 2023:
- 16-gear adjustment
- Preheats quickly
- Remote control
- Explosion-proof design
- Have to be very close to unit to use it with remote control
Key Features:Remote controlOne-touch power on/off16-gear adjustmentStainless steel steam pot linerTimer
This steam sauna heater, which can be used with steam saunas, cabins, tents, and more, preheats quickly and has a 4-liter water capacity.
It features a stainless steel steam pot liner, an explosion-proof design, and a remote control (and one-touch control, which is a nice detail). There’s also a timer and a 16-gear adjustment, which can help you customize each and every sauna session.
This pick currently has a 4.1 out of 5-star rating, with 120 reviews. Shoppers love that this sauna heater is high-quality yet wallet-friendly and cranks out consistent, high heat.
Best overall: Finlandia Harvia FLB-80 Sauna Heater
- Heats up quickly
- Stones included
- Built-in controls
- Stainless steel
- Electrical holes in back of heater only fit one size wire
Stone Capacity:50 pounds
Sauna Capacity:Up to 425 cubic feet
Key Features:Stainless steel constructionIgneous sauna stonesBuilt-in controls
This sauna heater, which is a good fit for heating rooms up to 425 cubic feet, comes with 50 pounds of Igneous sauna stone, an installation and operation manual, and handy built-in controls.
It has a durable stainless steel frame that won’t tarnish over time and a triple-wall construction that allows its surface to be lower in temperature. There’s also a 60-minute timer and a pre-set heating function of up to 8 hours.
Best wood-burning: Huum Hive Wood Series 13kW Wood-Burning Sauna Stove
- Live fire and crackling wood creates a cozy atmosphere
- Long-lasting steam
- Stones not included
Stone Capacity:198 pounds
Sauna Capacity:212 to 459 cubic feet
Key Features:Wood-burningInnovative designCast iron furnace door
This is a great pick for those who prefer a wood-burning sauna heater. Huum, which means “flame” or “glow” in Estonian, is a trusted brand whose founder is a third-generation sauna stove producer.
The company makes a wide range of sauna stoves, accessories, controllers, and heaters, like this one, which features a stylish stone design and gives off a mild, long-lasting steam.
With a flame tamer made of stainless steel and a durable cast iron furnace door, this heater’s live fire and cracking wood noise create a cozy, relaxing atmosphere. It holds up to 198 pounds of stones (note that stones are not included) and is an ideal fit for saunas that are between 212 and 459 cubic feet.
Best compact: Harvia Vega Compact Electric Heater
- Easy to install
- Stainless steel construction
- Stones not included
Stone Capacity:29 pounds
Sauna Capacity:Up to 103 cubic feet
Key Features:Wall-mountedBuilt-in control unitStainless steel constructionErgonomic operating switches
Known as one of the global leaders in the sauna and spa space, Harvia has been crafting high-quality sauna and spa products since its inception in 1950. In fact, the Finnish company’s products are available in over 80 countries throughout the world.
This compact electric heater is perfect for heating rooms up to 103 cubic feet. It has a stainless steel outer shell, an easy-to-use integrated control system, and a wall-mounted design that helps free up space inside saunas.
Best wall-mounted: Huum Drop Series Sauna Heater
- Wi-Fi-enabled connectivity
- 2021 Red Dot Design Award Winner
- Heats up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit
- Heat-resistant power cable not included
Power:4.5kW - 9kW
Stone Capacity:121 pounds
Sauna Capacity:110 to 530 cubic feet
Key Features:Wi-Fi-enabledPhone appWall mount
Inspired by the shape of a drop of water, this Huum sauna heater from the brand’s Drop series is the perfect combination of style and function. The wall-mounted heater can hold up to 121 pounds of stones (depending on heater size), boasts a stainless steel frame, and gives off gentle, long-lasting steam that makes for a relaxing experience.
The Huum Drop series sauna heater is an excellent fit for those looking to integrate useful technology into their home for a more convenient, streamlined experience. It’s even Wi-Fi-enabled and can be controlled via an app on your phone, meaning you can preheat your sauna when you’re not home.
What size heater do I need for a sauna?
This depends on the size of your sauna. If your sauna is on the smaller side, such as around 100 cubic feet, a compact heater may be able to get the job done.
Do sauna heaters use a lot of electricity?
This depends on each specific sauna heater model. Make sure to read the descriptions of the ones you're interested in to learn more.
What is the life span of a sauna heater?
The lifetime of a sauna heater varies and depends on how often you use it.
The best sauna heater can easily elevate your sauna experience. Sauna heaters provide high, consistent heat, resulting in a range of benefits, including improved skin health1, cardiovascular health, and immune function3. If you’re interested in learning more about saunas, take a look at our guide to infrared and traditional saunas and the best at-home infrared saunas.