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If you’ve ever used a sauna at a health or fitness club, it’s likely been of the indoor variety. If you’ve seen a traditional Scandinavian sauna, though, you know they’re almost always located outdoors.

But which type of sauna is right for you, and does either kind have benefits that the other doesn’t? Let’s start by looking at the advantages of each.

Outdoor saunas are:

  • Located in a naturally relaxing environment.
  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • Able to be placed in a wider variety of locations.

On the other hand, indoor saunas are:

  • Conveniently located.
  • Easy to install.
  • Easier to maintain.

Read on to learn more about indoor saunas vs. outdoor saunas and which one you should choose.

Outdoor Sauna Pros and Cons

outdoor sauna

Whether you look at saunas in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe or Central America, those of the traditional variety will all be similar in that they’re located in outdoor wooden structures.

These types of outdoor saunas have been used by a variety of civilizations for thousands of years, whether to find relief from cold weather or simply to relax.

Outdoor sauna pros include:

  • Located in a naturally relaxing environment: Many people find nature to be relaxing on its own. Simply walking through the fresh air to reach your sauna can make you feel calmer and provide a sense of separation from your normal everyday life, especially if your sauna is located in a scenic area such as a forest, coast or shoreline.
  • Aesthetically pleasing: Outdoor saunas come in a variety of styles, and almost all of them are visually appealing in one way or another. For example, the round Latvian sauna pictured above has an undeniably charming look, while log cabin-style saunas offer a rustic aesthetic.
  • Able to be placed in a wider variety of locations: While indoor saunas will always be limited by the amount of space that you have, outdoor saunas come in an array of shapes and sizes and can be placed in almost any area of your property.

However, outdoor saunas aren’t without drawbacks. Their cons include:

  • More difficult to install: Chances are that the outdoor location you choose for your sauna won’t already be outfitted with electrical lines. So, unless you’re using a wood-burning sauna, you’ll need to do additional electrical work. Plus, outdoor saunas can take more time to set up than their indoor counterparts.
  • Your exposure to the elements: Although weather conditions won’t affect the inside of your sauna, you will have to be exposed to your elements on your way to the sauna. If you live in an area with cold temperatures or extreme weather, remember that you’ll have to walk through that environment to reach your sauna.
  • More time-consuming to maintain: Since they’re exposed to the sun, wind, rain and snow, outdoor saunas can require additional maintenance such as exterior washing and leak-proofing.

Indoor Sauna Pros and Cons

indoor sauna

Many home saunas, as well as those located in gyms, spas and health centers, are similar to the one pictured above: Compact wooden box-shaped structures outfitted with electronic controls and lights. Most utilize ceramic heaters or electric stoves.

Indoor sauna pros include:

  • Conveniently located: When your sauna is located inside your home, you’ll never have to brave the elements to reach it. This means that your sauna will always be accessible, and you can easily walk to it in the comfort of an indoor environment.
  • Easy to install: Since your home is already equipped with a functioning electrical system, no additional electrical work will be necessary.
  • Easier to maintain: Unlike outdoor saunas, your indoor sauna won’t be exposed to your area’s weather conditions. So, you’ll never have to worry about weatherproofing, washing the exterior or fixing leaky areas.

Like outdoor saunas, though, indoor saunas have their own set of cons, including:

  • No separation from your home: Although your indoor sauna’s home location will certainly be convenient, consider whether you want your sauna sessions to feel separated from your everyday life.
  • Limited by space: When selecting your indoor sauna, your final choice will ultimately be determined by the amount of space you have available. For example, if you plan on putting your sauna in your bathroom, you may not have enough space for the four-person sauna you want and will instead have to make do with a one- or two- person variation.
  • Only able to be placed in certain locations: When installing an indoor sauna, it’s likely that you’ll have just a few suitable locations to choose from. In addition to space, you’ll also have to consider the floor type (saunas shouldn’t go on carpeted areas).

Whether an indoor or outdoor sauna is right for you depends entirely on your preferences and space, so be sure to consider both before making your final decision.

As long as you take the above pros and cons into consideration, however, you’re sure to end up with a sauna you’ll love and appreciate for years to come.