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Barrel Saunas vs Traditional Outdoor Saunas

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

When it comes to creating a home outdoor sauna experience, there are a few different options to choose from. While traditional Finnish, Estonian and Nordic saunas are well known and highly sought after, cheaper barrel saunas are quickly becoming a popular choice for those looking for a more budget friendly outdoor home sauna. But what other differences are there between barrel saunas and more traditional luxury outdoor saunas? We'll explore how they differ, along with pros and cons of each, so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to pick the perfect sauna for your home.

What is a Barrel Sauna?

A barrel sauna is a type of outdoor sauna, shaped, you've guessed it, like a large barrel. It is typically constructed from wood, although some manufacturers offer metal options as well and they are designed to be easy to set up, with many models able to be assembled in just a few hours. Often sold in kit form for DIY assembly or delivered in one piece ready to go, barrel saunas offer a cheap and cheerful entry point to home sauna bathing.

The design of the barrel sauna allows for greater flexibility than a traditional outdoor sauna, because their lightweight construction makes them easier to deconstruct and move. This makes them ideal for those who are seeking a temporary "pop up" sauna experience, or one that can be taken from location to location. Additionally, the curved walls of the barrel sauna provide a unique rustic aesthetic that's evocative of Alpine ski lodges.

However this lightweight design and flexibility comes at the expense of its overall quality. Barrel saunas aren't insulated like more permanent traditional saunas, don't tend to have controlled ventilation and can be prone to leaks. The timber used is lower grade than you'd find in higher end luxury saunas and in damp conditions (which let's be honest, aren't unusual in the UK) they can quickly deteriorate.

Where are Barrel Saunas Found?

Aside from their lower cost over more traditional outdoor saunas, barrel saunas attract interest from those keen to get handy in the garden. A barrel sauna kit is a great opportunity to test your DIY skills and have something fun to show for it.

What's more a barrel sauna's mobility can be part of its appeal, with some available on trailers for ease of moving from location to location. This is great if you don't plan on staying in the same home for many years and want your garden sauna to come with you when you do relocate. They can also be used for events, easily packed up and repositioned for outdoor shows and festivals across the country.

Their versatility also makes them suited to snowy, mountainous regions where installation of a high end luxury sauna could be more challenging. These environments also suit the barrel sauna as the snow acts as an insulator.

What Makes a Wildhut Different?

At Wildhut we have used a team of architects and structural engineers to ensure our luxury outdoor saunas are designed and built to the very highest standards, using environmentally conscious materials including sheep’s wool for insulation. They are handcrafted at our workshop in the UK and then delivered and installed in situ. All our saunas have been specifically designed to withstand the temperate British climate and stand the test of time for many years to come.

With a choice of sizes available, from our small outdoor sauna, the Tuli model, through to the large 8 person Maa sauna, when you buy a Wildhut you add style and value to your home, investing for the long term so you can provide enjoyment for generations to come. We offer a freestanding off-grid sauna with rechargeable battery and wood burner, or can supply connected to your water supply and mains electricity. This makes a Wildhut sauna considerably more durable than a barrel sauna. Less of a novelty and more of a genuine sanctuary for those serious about the many health and wellbeing benefits of traditional Nordic sauna bathing.

Additionally, we offer a wide selection of sauna accessories and upgrades to help you customise your sauna experience. From stainless steel outdoor showers to specialist lighting and bespoke window design, our high end saunas deliver everything you need for a relaxing and luxurious sauna experience.

What to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Sauna for Your Home

Given everything we've highlighted above, your primary considerations when choosing an outdoor sauna for your home really need to be: how often will you be using your outdoor sauna, what kind of budget do you have available and do you need a flexible and temporary sauna or something more solid and long-lasting?

A Wildhut sauna costs more than a barrel sauna because it will withstand the elements and provide a better, more luxuriant home sauna bathing experience here in the UK. We specialise in high quality luxury outdoor sauna cabins and have designed our products for maximum longevity and customer satisfaction.

If you'd like to learn more about how traditional luxury outdoor saunas differ from barrel saunas get in touch and we can help you discover the Wildhut difference today..


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