No room? No problem! Choosing the right sauna for your small space

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Gyms, health clubs, your neighbor’s backyard... saunas are seemingly everywhere these days. The concept is simple: an inbuilt stove warms dozens of hot stones, with water poured on top at regular intervals to create a powerful cloud of steam. When used properly, this results in temperatures of up to 90°C (200°F). From traditional cabin-style saunas to DIY sauna kits and even sauna-showers, installing a sauna has never been so easy. But what’s the best way to get started – especially if space is an issue? We take a look at some of the latest spa innovations that can help turn your sauna dream into a reality.


Sauna cabins: where tradition meets spa innovation

One of the most popular sauna options, sauna cabins are composed of insulated wooden panels lined with mineral wool. They usually come furnished with an inbuilt stove. If the sauna is intended for general use, you’ll often see wooden benches installed via a series of tiers. The heater or stove is placed underneath, allowing the steam to rise up.

One of the main benefits of installing a sauna cabin is its practicality. Even if the space available is no more than a few meters, it’s still possible to construct a fully-functioning sauna cabin. As an example, some of the most popular models on the market measure 200cm x 175cm x 200cm - the size of a double bed! When dealing with small spaces, you’ll find that sauna cabins tend to adapt better to areas with lower ceilings. Meanwhile, glass doors will bring in light, creating the impression of a bigger space.

The price of a traditional sauna cabin can range from $2,500 to $10,000. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, a number of contemporary options are available, allowing you to install your very own at-home spa.

  • Usually placed outdoors, barrel saunas are easy to build, requiring no major tools for assembly.

  • Looking to go a step further? Get inspired with these converted ski lift chairs – surprisingly easy to transform into mobile electric saunas!

Sauna, steam room, shower – get the best of both worlds!

Another great solution for smaller spaces is the sauna shower. Combining a classic shower with the latest in sauna technology, this multifunctional sauna cabin offers the user several relaxing options, from a traditional ‘dry’ sauna to a steam room or hammam – in other words, three spa functions in one!

Usually constructed from spruce wood, sauna showers allow the user to easily adjust temperature and humidity, depending on the chosen function. For example, while sauna temperatures can often exceed 90°C, the traditional hammam or Turkish bath is usually around 50°C (120°F). Not only are both these spa modes included with a combined sauna shower, it’s even possible to take an ice-cold shower – all at the touch of a button!

Even the smallest surface areas should have no problem installing a sauna shower cabin, with three-person models measuring just 150cm x 110cm x 190cm. If you’re looking to go a little larger, five-person sauna showers are available, measuring around 200cm x 175cm x 190cm.

Prices for combined sauna showers range from $2,500 to $5,000, depending on your chosen design. Premium models offer a range of extras, such as hydromassage and chromotherapy functions.

Infrared or ‘Japanese’ saunas: the latest sauna trend

Health and wellbeing is a central part of Japanese culture. The latest intriguing spa innovation in sauna technology, the Japanese sauna uses infrared light to create artificial dry heat, eliminating the need for a traditional stove. The effects on the body are the same, however; the body perspires as in a traditional sauna, while the mind is able to relax in a calm, tranquil environment.

Another reason for the popularity of the Japanese sauna is its detoxifying capabilities. The infrared light found in Japanese saunas promotes lymphatic drainage while stimulating the body’s fat-burning mechanisms. This makes Japanese saunas ideal for your health-conscious clients, or simply those looking to lose a little extra weight. Japanese saunas can also help relax tired muscles after a hard day at the gym. What’s more, infrared therapy has been proven to help with sleep, as well as eliminating toxins from the body. All in all, Japanese and infrared saunas offer a number of health benefits, making them a great choice for those looking to boost their general wellbeing.

Of course, all this comes at a cost. Prices for Japanese saunas begin at around $6,000, and can vary considerably according to specification. Extras such as LED lighting, oxygen-enriched air filtering, or essential-oil diffusion can push the cost over $20,000.

Looking to install a Japanese sauna? We’d recommend considering a traditional wood-laminate model. Not only are these similar in appearance to classic wood-paneled saunas, their compact dimensions (245cm x 76cm x 135cm, plus table at a height of ~50cm) make them an ideal solution for smaller spaces.

To find out more about the latest health and wellbeing trends, take a look at our industry roundup!

Regardless of the size of your space, it’s never been easier to install a sauna or steam room in your establishment. The only problem? Choosing the right product for your customers’ needs.

Want to learn more about the latest spa innovations?
Join us at Piscine Global Europe's 2018 Exhibition!

Photo credit: Fotolia / ALDECAstudio

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