Best Wood for Sauna: What Should You Pick?

A sauna is a relaxing experience. Not to mention, it is also believed to have a long list of health benefits. If you want to transform your house into a spa, having a sauna is a must. If your budget permits, then go for a wooden sauna so that it will look and feel more authentic.

If you plan on having a sauna at home, one of the most important considerations is the material used. In this article, we’ll talk about the best wood for sauna. We’ll list down some of the choices and help you decide what to choose.

The Benefits of Wood

To start, let us first talk about some of the reasons why wood is a common material of choice in saunas. If you notice most of the traditional saunas, they are almost all made of wood. Traditionally, saunas are built outdoors, and hence, people want it to blend with nature. Hence, wood is their preferred material.

Aside from aesthetics, wood is also used in sauna because it is heat-tolerant. This means that it can withstand high temperatures, unlike others that can be prone to warping. To add, wood is also moisture-resistant. It can withstand humidity. Wood also has a pleasant aroma, which will contribute to the overall experience, assuring your relaxation.

Top Choices for the Best Wood for Sauna

If you are clueless about the right wood to use for a sauna, below is a list of some of the best options that should be on your list.

1. Cedar

The list of the best woods used in saunas will be incomplete without mentioning cedar. The popularity of cedar can be attributed to its natural aroma. It contains phenols, which are responsible for releasing a pleasant scent, which will enhance your sauna experience. If you hate strong aromas, however, it is best to stay away from cedar. Aside from its smell, cedar also has natural oils that make it provide great antibacterial and antifungal benefits. It is a softwood that can withstand high temperatures, making it great if you are after durability. Cedar also comes with millions of tiny air cells, which prevent it from getting hot to the touch.

2. Basswood

If you have sensitive skin, you can never go wrong with basswood. The best thing about this wood is that it is hypoallergenic. It also does not emit any fragrance, so this is good for those who easily get irritated with strong scents. This is also a great choice if you are looking for an affordable sauna. It is easy on the wallet but big in terms of the benefits that it can deliver. It is also a good long-term investment because of its durability.

3. Pine

A light-colored wood, pine is another popular choice when it comes to wood used in saunas. It looks like spruce, but the main difference is that there are knots. It is also one of the most affordable options available. Plus, it has a distinct pine scent, which will also help make your sauna experience more relaxing. One of the most common problems with pine, however, is that the knots can leave holes in the sauna. This means that you need to exert extra effort in maintenance to avoid such a problem.

4. Poplar

This hardwood is odorless and hypoallergenic, which makes it a common option for people who have sensitive skin. The color ranges from pale yellow to white with uniform and straight grain. It is a resistant wood, so you can expect it to withstand many years of use. Despite its strength, it is also a good thing that it is easy to shape. However, it is not as strong as the other woods that have been previously mentioned above as it can be easily prone to dents. This is also a great wood in terms of availability. That said, you can expect this to be affordable since it is widely available.

5. Hemlock

Hemlock is a softwood that is also a popular choice among builders. This Canadian conifer has a uniform texture and warm color. It looks good when combined with other materials for contemporary details. Because it is light-colored, this will also make the sauna look bigger than its true size. It is best to use this wood in an infrared sauna. In steam saunas, it may not be a good choice because it can crack when exposed to extremely high temperatures.


The best wood for sauna will ensure durability, aesthetics, and safety, among other things. Take note of the woods mentioned above to help you make the right choice if you plan to build a traditional sauna at home.

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