Steam saunas as home addition projects never seem to fall out of fashion, and if you're looking to build one too, we suggest you factor in the best residential sauna heaters.
You see, while sauna rooms were uncommon in traditional American homes, they've become a go-to add-on in both old and new homes, thanks to their impeccable health and wellness benefits. And as more homeowners seek to build a sauna, this trend is only likely to grow.
However, the advantages of a steam sauna bath depend largely on optimum heating within the sauna enclosure. So no matter how luxurious or comfortable a sauna you build, it's always the sauna heater that decides your overall experience.
Meaning for an enjoyable and productive sauna session, your sauna heater has to be the best.
Nonetheless, it goes without saying that buying the right sauna heater can be quite a task. After all, the steam sauna marketplace has a ton of different sauna heaters, and not all of them are apt for your needs.
But you can rest easy as we've compiled the seven best home sauna heaters on the market based on price, performance, heating capacity, and more. So read on to find your ideal sauna heater.
Our best picks for residential sauna heaters:
#1. Harvia Virta Pro (best among all-purpose sauna heaters)
Harvia is a renowned name in the world of steam saunas and has pioneered sauna technologies and solutions over the past seventy years. So no wonder why their electric, infrared, and wood saunas are all the top sellers.
Talking about the Harvia Virta Pro, it's a power-packed sauna heater with a sleek design to complement modern saunas. And although marketed as a commercial-grade heater by some vendors, it is perfect for residential saunas, especially large-sized enclosures.
In fact, we have come across the Virta Pro in a lot of mansions and villas with premium sauna bath facilities.
This 21.6 KW sauna heater features a solid stainless steel body that provides decades of reliable service life.
A unique feature of the Virta Pro is its dual heating elements, something we rarely see in residential sauna heaters. And this ensures highly accurate and balanced heating.
Another impressive feature missing in many home saunas is a large number of sauna rocks to quickly create sufficient steam.
Not to mention, the heater is quite compact in size for its heating capacity and class. So apart from allowing for installation in tight spaces, they also make maintenance easy, a bonus for homeowners.
In short, this is one of those few sauna heaters that fits all sauna types and sizes.
#2. HIVE from HUMM Sauna (perfect combination of elegance + power)
If a heater could be the centerpiece of your sauna enclosure, it'd be none but the HIVE series sauna heaters from HUMM.
While the heaters from HUMM are commonplace across North American and European saunas, the HIVE sauna heater is a design par excellence.
Carved in a wooden frame with a rock basket in the center, this heater is truly a work of art. And with one of these heaters, you can have the elegance of an authentic Nordic sauna.
In fact, the heater blends so well with the sauna wood that you can install it right in the middle of the sauna bath to enhance its aesthetic appeal.
But what about its heating capacity, you may ask?
Well, you can get a HIVE series sauna heater starting from 6 KW and up to 18 KW. Meaning, be it a small bath-sized sauna room or a large sauna enclosure, there's an ideal heater for all sizes.
Sauna rocks are crucial to your sauna experience since less or low-quality rocks can make your session very uncomfortable. Thankfully, the HIVE series heaters are packed with an abundance of best-in-class sauna rocks, so you can rest assured of a cozy sauna session.
Bonus: enhance your sauna experience with the UKU Wi-Fi sauna controller
The manufacturer provides a highly advanced touchscreen-based and Wi-Fi-enabled UKU sauna control system. Also, you can control the sauna heater with the HUMM mobile application right from your smartphone.
We promise you won't find a more convenient way of running your sauna heater.
#3. Amerec Designer B (best residential sauna heaters in the budget-friendly category)
Are you on the lookout for a solid and affordable sauna heater?
If yes, then the Amerec Designer B sauna heaters and packages should be your one-stop shop.
Amerec is the country's leading manufacturer of steam sauna gear and is known for its dependable commercial and residential sauna accessories. And among their sauna heaters, the Designer B series are top-rated courtesy their cost-efficiency, among other qualities.
You see, while the average cost of Designer B sauna heaters ranges between $1500 and $2000, you can avail regular online sales to get one for a little over $1300. A medium-sized sauna heater can't get more pocket-friendly than this.
Now, the fact that this is a budget sauna heater is no indication that it's lacking in features. On the contrary, these heaters have some of the best features for a relaxing sauna session.
For instance, instead of regular rocks, the heater's 50 lb vulcanite sauna rocks that perfectly create the ambiance of a traditional Finnish sauna.
Similarly, the heaters have in-built control panels that allow you to run the heater and regulate the sauna atmosphere to your liking. Meaning you need not invest in a sauna control panel separately.
Interestingly, what makes these heaters so appealing to homeowners is a long five-year warranty cover which is further extendable thanks to Amerec's limited lifetime warranty program.
Bonus: complement your sauna with Amerec's cutting-edge sauna controls
While the Designer B sauna heaters have built-in control panels, Amerec also manufactures some of the most advanced sauna controls with state-of-the-art features. And with these controls, you can make your sauna highly futuristic.
#4. Aleko Coasts sauna heater (apt for prefabricated saunas)
Like all things pre-made, modern-day saunas, too, are available as prefabricated units. And this has made life easy for those who can't afford the time and patience to build a sauna room from scratch.
Nevertheless, the compact size of the prefab saunas makes things a little complicated when it comes to installing sauna accessories. For instance, you can have a hard time installing a regular sauna heater in such enclosures.
Fortunately, there are sauna heaters on the market designed for tight spaces, and among such heaters, the Aleko Coasts fares best.
The Coast series heaters from Aleko are 3 KW units capable of heating a sauna room sized anywhere between 120 and 140 cubic feet for 45 minutes straight.
If you've ever used a full-sized home sauna, this may not sound like the quality of the best residential sauna heaters. However, for a tiny sauna space built for one or two people, this can indeed provide optimum heating.
Built into a solid galvanized steel outer body and featuring stainless steel heating elements, the Aleko Coasts sauna heaters guarantee an exceptionally long service life.
Also, you can operate the sauna seamlessly with the heater's in-built controls.
In short, this is an ideal heating solution for all compact saunas.
#5. Harvia Cilindro (best residential sauna heaters for standard enclosures
As a counterpart to the Virta Pro, we have the Cilindro series residential sauna hearts from Harvia.
You see, while the Virta Pro heaters have super strong heating elements to effectively heat large sauna rooms, they're energy-intensive too. Also, it goes without saying that cost-wise, Virta Pro series heaters are on the higher end.
So if you have a standard-sized home sauna room, you don't really need a heater with that much power.
Thankfully, Harvia has its own Cilindro series heaters to fill the void.
Available with 6 KW and 8 KW power outputs, respectively, not only are Harvia Cilindro heaters energy-efficient but also highly economical. And with one of these heaters, you can effectively heat a sauna sized between 200 and 350 cubic feet, which is also the common sizing range for home saunas.
Coming to the design, the Cilindro sauna heater features a stylish round style extending a modern look to your sauna.
In fact, the design also creates enough room for a lot of sauna rocks. Now, since sauna rocks are the mainstay for optimal heating quality, this means you can be sure of smooth and laid-back sauna sessions.
That's awesome, isn't it?
#6. Harvia Legend 150 (best among wood-burning saunas)
You'll agree when we say that wood saunas never lost their charm, despite the advent of more advanced electric and infrared saunas. Moreover, for those looking to create the touch of a classical Finnish sauna, a wood-burning sauna is the first priority.
And if you're one of those classic sauna geeks wandering in search of your ideal sauna heater, we have the Harvia Legend 150.
By now, you'd have sensed why the brand name Harvia seems to repeat so often in our list. If not, take our word that Harvia is the unparalleled leader in sauna accessory manufacturing, cutting across sauna types and sizes.
Talking about the Legend 150 heaters, these are dual-use sauna heaters that also double up as a fireplace. Meaning apart from heating and steaming your sauna room, you can also indulge in a soothing lounging experience with one of these heaters.
Now, the dual features of this heater are no indication that it's lacking in its basic functionality of warming up the sauna. You can rather use a Legend 150 to heat a large space up to 450 cubic feet and create an ambiance that perfectly replicates old-school saunas.
Simply put, if a luxurious Nordic sauna experience is on your mind, then this is your go-to heater.
#7. TECSPACE sauna heater
Last but not least, we have the TECSPACE sauna heater, a low-cost counterpart to Amerec saunas.
This is a 9 KW sauna heater designed for homes with small sauna spaces and can heat sauna room sizes between 70 and 106 cubic feet.
For the folks who think that sauna heaters can't be bought on a shoestring budget, this sauna heater will prove them wrong. That's because you can get a TECSPACE heater for well under $1500.
However, it's worth mentioning that this is a dry heater, meaning you won't find any sauna rocks. So if you're in for the steamy experience in this budget, you should better stick to Amerec Pure or Designer B heaters.
Overall, this sauna heater is the right fit for those who're looking for the health benefits of a steam sauna.
Looking for more sauna heaters reviews before you buy one?
You can go through our 2022 review of the best sauna heaters and develop a more detailed understanding.
Some things to consider before buying residential sauna heaters
All sauna heaters, notwithstanding their type, perform the same task of heating a sauna room. Nevertheless, heaters do differ in terms of heating methods, capacity, heat-up time, and more.
So it's important to take into account a few things before you settle for a sauna heater, which include:
The type of sauna heater
As you may already know, sauna heaters can be classified into four types, namely electric, infrared, wood-burning, and gas heaters.
And while electric and infrared saunas are more convenient and efficient to run, wood saunas are apt for sauna enthusiasts keen on the original experience.
Gas sauna heaters, at the same time, better suit the needs of public spas as they can heat large spaces. Also, the fact that they're too expensive upfront makes them less attractive than home sauna heaters.
Heating capacity and physical size
After having factored in the type, you'll have to decide on the heating capacity and size of the heater. And herein, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't apply, meaning the best residential sauna heaters need not be ones with the largest capacity.
In fact, sauna experts suggest that you should have a minimum of 1 KW heating capacity for every 40-50 cubic feet of sauna space.
So if you're building a 400 cubic feet sauna enclosure, you should buy at least an 8 KW sauna heater.
Coming to the physical size of the heater, it should depend on the space in your sauna room.
For instance, if you have a 100-200 cubic feet sauna, we suggest you go for a compact heater. That's because such a heater will leave enough space for sauna bathers to comfortably sit back and enjoy their sauna session.
Another crucial consideration is the warm-up time, or the total time each heater takes to heat a sauna.
While infrared saunas are the quickest, heating your sauna room in 10-15 minutes, electric saunas can take up to 30 minutes to warm the enclosure. However, infrared saunas directly heat your body, unlike electric saunas that heat and steam the entire room.
Wood saunas, on the other hand, can take more than an hour to heat. But that said, wood saunas are more about the experience they offer than the time they take to heat up.
Sauna heaters can be dry, i.e., without any rocks, and you can avail the health benefits that saunas typically offer.
Nonetheless, when it comes to the sauna experience, the type and number of rocks are quintessential.
For instance, regular sauna rocks can be smelly and ruin your sauna bath experience. So we suggest you go for heaters with top-quality vulcanite rocks.
Similarly, for a smooth and soft steam creation, you'll need a large number of sauna rocks; thus, going for a heater with abundant rocks makes sense.
Ease of installing and running
These days most sauna enthusiasts tend to DIY their home spas. And if you're among this group of DIYers, we suggest you opt for a sauna heater that is simple to install.
Likewise, we suggest you go for a heater that starts with a press or a click. After all, you don't want to be bogged down by a complex on/off process.
Residential sauna heaters: FAQs
Which type of sauna heater should you go for? The type of heater for your sauna room should depend on a host of factors, like how quickly you want to heat the sauna, your ideal sauna experience, and more.
If you're new to the realm of saunas, we would recommend you go for an electric heater since they're very efficient and straightforward to use.
Do you need sauna rocks?
No, you don't, as dry saunas are also beneficial.
However, with sauna rocks, you can indulge in top-notch sauna sessions at your home every day.
What is the cost of a sauna heater?
You can get a decent average-sized sauna heater for anywhere between $1500 and $2000. A high-end heater loaded with amenities and features can, however, cost upward of $5000.
How long can a sauna heater last you?
The average lifespan of a good-quality sauna heater ranges between 20 and 30 years. Nonetheless, the top-of-the-line heaters on the market can also last you for up to 50 years.
Buying steam sauna accessories, more so sauna heaters has never been easy as there are a ton of choices and an equally large number of considerations.
But we hope that our list of the best residential sauna heaters will help you buy the right heater for your needs.
Looking for expert assistance in choosing your ideal sauna heater?
You can reach out to us!
At Steam & Sauna Experts, we combine decades of experience in installing the best-in-class saunas. Also, we have the largest inventory of steam room and sauna accessories from leading manufacturers in the country.
So whatever is your sauna room requirement, we've got you covered.