How Long Does a Barrel Sauna Last? Everything You Need to Know!

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If you’re a sauna enthusiast, you might be considering purchasing a barrel sauna for your backyard. Barrel saunas are a fantastic way to enjoy the soothing and therapeutic heat of a sauna from the comfort of your own home. However, since they are a substantial investment, you’ll want to make sure you get one with the utmost quality to get the best lifespan. How long does a barrel sauna last?

A barrel sauna made of Canadian grade-A cedar lasts on average 15 to 20 years. To ensure the best lifespan for the outdoor sauna, you should stain the sauna with a semi-transparent stain every 2-5 years to protect it from the elements. 

Barrel saunas made from Canadian grade A cedar have a long lifespan. In fact, if you choose a wood like this, you won’t have to worry about it for years. To achieve a long life of a barrel sauna, routine maintenance is required. Keep reading this detailed guide to learn everything you need to know about how long barrel saunas last, how to maintain them, and more!

How Long Do Barrel Saunas Last?

Round wooden barrel bath stands in the forest on a summer day

Barrel saunas have a long, useful lifespan lasting on average 15-20 years. However, if you take meticulous care and do routine maintenance, your barrel sauna could last for well over 20 years. Take this SymbolicSpas Canadian Redwood Cedar Sauna (on Amazon), for example; it has the following component pieces: 

  • Canadian red cedar – this cedar has excellent resistance to weather and all climates; with great care, this wood could last for 15 to 20 years or more
  • Heater – both wood-burning and electric heaters last for years with minimal maintenance and can easily be replaced or upgraded 
  • Bucket and ladle – last a long time but can be replaced
  • Sauna rocks – should outlive you
  • Thermometer and hydrometer – rarely break down but can be replaced
  • Benches – made from the same red cedar as the sauna 

As you can see, the critical component that determines the life of the sauna is the wooden structure, i.e., the Canadian red cedar in this example. Therefore, if you want a long life for your sauna, you should take meticulous care of the wood. 

How Do You Maintain a Barrel Sauna?

Unfortunately, no wood lasts forever, especially when it is routinely exposed to the elements. Rain, snow, ice, and sunlight will all be working hard to degrade and damage your barrel sauna day in and day out. After a handful of having your barrel sauna outdoors, you’ll start to notice a change in the appearance of the wood from the moisture and sunlight exposure. The color change is entirely normal. 

To properly maintain the wood of your outdoor barrel sauna, you should apply a good quality, semi-transparent stain to the outdoor wood every two to five years. Additionally, if you want to get your sauna looking new again, you can use a circular sander with a smooth grit to further freshen up the look of the wood before staining.  

Additionally, you can sand the inside surfaces as well. Be mindful of how often you are sanding your sauna. Sanding removes small layers of the wood each time you do it. If you do it too much, you’ll eventually grind through the entire thickness of the wood! It would take a while, however.

How Many People Can Fit in a Barrel Sauna?

ALEKO SB4PINEB5 Outdoor and Indoor White Pine Wood Barrel Sauna - 4 Person - ETL Certified Heater

The amount of people you can squeeze into a barrel sauna depends on its size. The smallest barrel saunas can accommodate 3 to 4 people, with large ones fitting up to 8 individuals! An eight-person barrel sauna is ginormous, but if you are a sauna enthusiast with lots of social-sauna connections, you can buy one this large. 

There are barrel sauna size options available that are designated on how many people they can fit, including two-person saunas, four people, five people, seven people, and eight people. Custom barrel saunas can be made even larger, but they are more difficult to heat with the increased volume. 

How Much Do Barrel Saunas Cost?

A barrel sauna kit costs between $3,500 to $10,000. Prices vary depending on size, the number of people it can accommodate, wood-burning vs. electric, and the quality of the materials. For example, check the price of this ALEKO White Pine Wood Barrel Sauna (on Amazon), and compare and contrast it to this BZBCabins Barrel Sauna Kit W34 (on Amazon).

If you are a handy-person and want to show off your advanced carpentry skills, you can opt to build your own barrel sauna. If you DIY build a barrel sauna, you’ll likely spend more money on materials, tools, etc., than if you were to purchase a kit. You’ll also be using up more of your time, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. However, if you build it entirely yourself, there is an unparalleled satisfaction level that comes with it.  

Can you Really Build Your Own Barrel Sauna?

Yes, you can really build your own barrel sauna! With that being said, building a sauna is no easy task. You’ll have to draw up your own plans, have the necessary woodworking tools, purchase the wood, and have a ton of free time on your hand, moreover, you also have to figure out how to clean it on your own which is easier with our guide to help.

How Much Do Barrel Saunas Weigh?

Barrel saunas are often constructed of 1-½” thick wood, and as you can imagine, they can get very heavy with a large amount of wood that’s included.  Small, four-person ones weigh 350 to 450 pounds on average. Larger ones often weigh at least 800 pounds, with some weighing in at 1,000 pounds or more. The weight depends mainly on the type of wood it’s made from and the physical size. 

Can You Move a Barrel Sauna?

A barrel sauna can be moved, but since they weigh so much, it would be challenging. It is best to let the barrel sauna stay in the same location as moving can inadvertently cause damage. It would require the help of many people to move it or the use of machinery. Additionally, if you have power running to the barrel sauna, be mindful of the electrical connections before attempting to move it. 

Are Barrel Saunas Portable?

Barrel saunas are portable in a sense. There are versions of barrel saunas that can be constructed on a trailer and pulled by a truck with a hitch. With that being said, a barrel sauna that is not on a trailer is not portable. 

Can you Use a Barrel Sauna Indoors?

Barrel saunas are designed for outdoor use. They are shaped to repel water, snow, and the weather well, but nothing’s stopping you from moving or indeed installing your barrel sauna indoors! If you have the space in your garage or workshop, go for it!

It’s a bit unorthodox, but it will work! If it’s wood-burning, though, then you’ll have to manage the smoke with a chimney – be very safe and cautious if you use a wood-burning stove indoors and make sure to properly maintain everything.

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