Combined with regular exercise, bathing in a sauna has many potential benefits. Studies have shown that relaxing in a sauna like the Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Garden Sauna can reduce inflammation, loosen up stiff joints, and ease muscle tension. (1) Plus, sauna sessions can aid in stress relief as well. (2) But it can be hard to find the extra time to hit up your local gym or spa to get in that sauna time, which is why a great at-home sauna like the Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Garden Sauna can be a useful investment.
The Thermowood Garden Sauna is a full-size outdoor sauna with an 8.5’ x 7.42’ footprint, a specially treated Scandinavian Thermowood build, interior lighting, and seating for up to eight people. This sauna also has visual appeal, looking like something you’d find next to a hot spring in Norway instead of your backyard. Thanks to the roomy interior, the high-quality building materials, and classical styling, the Redwood Outdoors Garden Sauna could be an excellent recovery tool.
Redwood Thermowood Garden Sauna
Redwood Thermowood Garden Sauna
This sauna is great for relaxing with friends since it can host up to eight people. The bi-level bench design produces dual heating zones so you won’t need to adjust the heater to keep everyone comfortable and happy.
About Our Tester
Billy Brown is one of BarBend’s reviews editors. He’s a certified trainer and competitive athlete who has spent countless hours in saunas for both recovery and relaxation. He put together this review using a combination of his own personal experience, product testing notes from other BarBend testers, and reports from user reviews.
- This sauna has stadium seating with enough room for up to eight people.
- Depending on which of the traditional heaters you get, this sauna can reach temperatures up to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The Thermowood that makes up this sauna is treated to be rot- and fungi-resistant and an excellent insulator.
Redwood OutdoorsThermowood Garden Sauna Highlights
- Price: Starts at $7,999
- Seating Capacity: 8
- Max Temperature: About 220 degrees Fahrenheit
- Wood Type: Scandinavian Thermowood
Saunas, in general, can be expensive tools for boosting performance, and this sauna is no exception. It starts at $7,999, and the price quickly rises when you start adding options and accessories — not to mention shipping and any fees associated with assembly (more on that later). But what you’re getting for that price is a backyard sauna that can rival the ones that you see in your local gyms or spas.
Made of rot- and fungi-resistant Scandinavian Thermowood, which is treated without the use of harsh or dangerous chemicals, the Thermowood Garden Sauna resembles a tiny cabin and is the most stylish offering we’ve seen from Redwood Outdoors. The windows and glass slider allow plenty of natural light, and the stadium seats fit up to eight (depending on how cozy you’re willing to get.
Buyers can choose between three electric heaters that kick out temperatures of up to 195 degrees F, with varying amounts of humidity depending on the heater. Two of those electric heaters come with a Wi-Fi version for remote operation, but if you’re looking for a more classic method, there is a wood-burning heater option as well.
Keep in mind, though, that this is a huge sauna. It’s got an 8.5’ x 7.42’ footprint, so you’ll need plenty of space to accommodate it. Also, the Thermowood Garden Sauna weighs 1,500 pounds, so you’ll need a deck or a concrete slab for it to sit on. Users who put it on their backyard lawns reported it sinking into the dirt. Also, if you’re looking for an infrared sauna, you’ll have to look elsewhere, however. Every one of the heater options uses traditional steam heat.
- Excellent seating capacity with room for up to eight people.
- Made with Scandinavian Thermowood, which is resistant to rot and fungi.
- Capable of reaching temperatures up to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Buyers can choose between three different traditional heaters as well as a wood stove heater.
- The $7,999 starting price may not fit a lot of budgets.
- At 1,500 pounds, you’ll need some friends to help you move and assemble it.
- User reviews have noted that the assembly can be complex.
Using the Redwood Thermowood Garden Sauna
We have been thoroughly impressed during our test periods with Redwood Outdoor Saunas, and there’s no reason that the Thermowood Garden Sauna would be an exception. The heaters can hit temps of 195 degrees in under an hour (with a safety switch to turn them off when they hit 220 degrees), and the Thermowood’s insulation keeps the saunas toasty even hours after shutting the heat off.
The bleacher-style seating lets you choose between the hotter upper seats (hot air rises, after all) or the relatively cooler lower bench. One thing to consider is that assembling the Garden Sauna requires at least one friend and some modicum of carpentry skill, so if you’re not sure you’re up to it, don’t hesitate to hire out the work.
The Garden Sauna comes completely disassembled, and it is a beast. You’re going to need at least one friend to help you put it together, and by all accounts from user reviews, it’ll take you the better part of a day. Also, the heater requires a 220v outlet, so if you don’t have one handy, you’ll need to hire an electrician to set that up for you.
Our tester concurs based on his experience testing for Redwood Outdoor’s Thermowood Barrel. “Set-up was definitely a grind,” he said. “I would absolutely recommend hiring some help unless you’re a true DIY junky. You also have to hire a licensed electrician to ground the heater to its own breaker.”
Redwood’s saunas all use Harvia sauna heaters, which Redwood claims are some of the highest-quality heaters available. Each heater is ETL-certified for safety and quality, and the electric heaters can be controlled manually or remotely via Wi-Fi. The manual operation is through two dials, one that controls the heating and one that acts as a timer. The timer has up to an eight-hour delay, so you can set it, head off to work, and then have it ready for you when you get home.
The Wi-Fi heaters allow you to control the temperature and time from a phone or a tablet, but you’ll need to choose that option before you buy your sauna. According to Redwood, the manual and Wi-Fi heaters are so different that you can’t upgrade to Wi-Fi at a later point.
All of the electric heaters will come to full heat (between 165 degrees and 220 degrees, depending on the heater), and they can do it in around an hour. If you’re looking for more humidity, the Harvia Cilindro will be the way to go — it tops out at 165 degrees, which is the right temp to achieve 30 percent humidity. If you’re looking for a drier sauna sit, the Harvia Kip heater cranks up to 195 degrees with a humidity between 15 and 25 percent.
“We have the Harvia Kip heater, and it gets to 195 in under an hour,” our tester says. “I also enjoy the automatic shut-off if it reaches over 220 degrees, and the timer is a nice safety feature.”
The sauna is made up of Scandinavian Thermowood, which is heat-treated in temperatures between 180 and 230 degrees. This treatment takes place over the course of 96 hours, drying the wood to its core to remove all of its internal moisture and resin.
According to Redwood Outdoor, this treatment makes the wood less reactive to changes in humidity and eliminates the nutrients that make it susceptible to fungi and wood rot. Plus, the treatment doesn’t require the use of toxins and harsh chemicals.
For all its benefits, the treatment does not stain the wood, so it will eventually turn grey from exposure. To prevent this, we recommend treating the wood with a non-toxic stain.
At 8.5’ long by 7.42’ wide, this beast will take up a good amount of space in your backyard. But that huge footprint provides enough room for a spacious interior, one that can fit six to eight people. At 8.25’ high, anyone can stand upright in it, so you never have to worry about feeling cramped.
What to Consider Before Buying the Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Garden Sauna
Saunas are a hefty investment, so be sure to consider some key factors before pulling the trigger on the Thermowood Garden Sauna. Price is definitely a consideration, since this sauna is on the expensive side. So is space, as this is one of the larger saunas you’ll find. Finally, you’ll need to decide which heater you want and which accessories (if any) you’ll need.
The Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Garden Sauna starts at $7,999; plus, you’ll have to tack on a few hundred more for shipping and whatever an electrician will charge for adding a 220-volt outlet to your home.
You can also upgrade your heater (which can bump up the price a few thousand dollars) and opt for add-ons like protective roof shingling, a lounge chair for inside the sauna, and even an Alaskan Cold Plunge Tub. If you add all the upgrades, you’ll pay $13,374 before shipping and electrical work.
If that’s out of your price range, there are other options in the Redwood Outdoors lineup that are easier on the wallet, as well as ways to mimic the effects of a sauna without spending a couple grand. But if you’re looking for the roomiest sauna that Redwood Outdoors makes, this might be worth the investment.
At 8.5’ long by 7.42’ wide and 8.25’ tall, the Thermowood Garden Sauna may feel more like an addition to your house than a backyard accessory. That said, you’ll need to make sure you have the square footage in your backyard to make it fit comfortably. You’ll need even more room if you add the cold plunge accessory to the mix.
The sauna weighs 1,500 pounds, so make sure that you have a stable area, like a concrete pad, for it to sit on. If you put it on dirt or grass, it will likely sink into your yard over time.
When buying the Thermowood Garden Sauna, you must choose one of four heater options. All four use traditional steam heat, but they offer different heating and humidity levels, and all of the electric ones have safety timers so you don’t end up steaming for too long. Plus, there’s a wood stove option if you want to go off-grid with your sauna.
Harvia Kip Electric Heater
The Harvia Kip Electric Heater is the default heater. It can reach temperatures of up to 195 degrees and offers a relatively low humidity at 15 to 25 percent. It’s available with either manual or Wi-Fi controls.
Harvia Cilindro Electric Heater
If you prefer more humidity, the Harvia Cilindro Electric Heater tops out at 165 degrees with a higher humidity at about 30 percent and is available with either manual or Wi-Fi controls.
HUUM Drop Electric Heater
The HUUM Drop Electric Heater is the premium option with a modern tear-drop design and Wi-Fi controller. It holds up to 120 pounds of rocks for steaming and reaches temperatures up to 195 degrees in an hour or less. The HUUM Drop Electric heater provides a more balanced experience, heating up to 195 degrees with a humidity of about 20 percent.
Harvia M3 Wood Stove
For those who want a more old-school approach to heating, the Harvia M3 Wood Stove will provide that classic sauna experience. It’s larger than the other heaters, so the sauna’s capacity will be reduced to six. Also, you’ll need to add a chimney to accommodate this heater, so be ready to hire a contractor to add that bad boy.
If you’re not especially handy, you may have to hire an electrician for a few aspects of installation. You’ll need someone with some expertise to install the internal overhead light, which requires 110 volts. The heaters will require 220 volts, so if you don’t have a 220 outlet, you’ll need to have that installed as well.
Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Garden Sauna Vs. The Competition
You’ll be spending a pretty penny when you buy a sauna, so it’s worthwhile to make sure you’re buying the right one for you. Here’s how the Thermowood Garden Sauna stacks up against other saunas on the market.
|Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Garden Sauna||Sunlighten mPulse Believe Infrared Sauna||Higher Dose Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna||SereneLife Portable Full Size Infrared Home Spa|
|Dimensions||99.23” H x 105.5” L x 90.5” W||77” H x 48” L x 71” W||77” H x 48” L x 71” W||71” H x 35” L x 35” W|
|Materials||Scandinavian Thermowood||Eucalyptus, Basswood, Cedar||Engineered Wood Exterior, Mahogany Interior||Oxford Fabric, Aluminum Insulated Film, Metal Alloy Frame|
|Heat Type||Traditional (Steam)||Infrared||Infrared||Infrared|
|Max Temp||220 degrees||145 degrees||174 degrees||140 degrees|
If you aren’t planning on sharing your sauna (or you want to save a few bucks) the SereneLife Portable Full Size Infrared Home Spa will be the most appealing choice. Also, The SereneLife sauna offers infrared heat, which is designed to operate at lower temperatures than traditional steam heat. In this case, the heat tops out at 140 degrees.
If you want to incorporate red light therapy into their recovery programming, the Sunlighten mPulse or Higher Dose Full Spectrum saunas will deliver, but they do have a higher starting price than the Redwood Outdoors. If you’d prefer to use traditional steam heating, the Thermowood Garden Sauna is the best choice — it’s extremely roomy, has a few heater options that customize your experience, and its starting price is lower than the higher-end saunas above.
Places to Buy
You can buy the Thermowood Garden Sauna directly from the Redwood Outdoors website.
Redwood Outdoors offers an extensive line of saunas, cold plunges, and hot tubs. In addition to their one-year warranty, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of their products and financing options through Affirm. To speak to a team member, you can contact them at 1-800-567-8036, or head over to their Contact page, fill out a form, and someone will email you.
Redwood Outdoors makes some of our favorite saunas, and the Thermowood Garden Sauna might be the best for people who prefer to steam it up with friends. It can seat up to eight people, the Scandinavian Thermowood is rot- and fungus-resistant; the heaters reach nearly 200 degrees in less than an hour, and this sauna offers a variety of heaters and optional elements to customize your sauna.
Plus, with stadium seating and room for up to eight people, the Garden Sauna is the biggest sauna the company makes. Fully loaded, it can cost you upwards of $13,000, but if you’re looking for a sauna that can fit the whole crew, The Thermowood Garden Sauna might be the perfect choice.
How much does the Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Garden Sauna cost?
The starting price for the Thermowood Garden Sauna is $7,999 before shipping and any potential electrician costs. Depending on the options you choose, you could spend $13,000 or more.
How hot does the Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Garden Sauna get?
Depending on the heater you choose to go with your sauna, the top temperature can range from 165 to 220 degrees.
How many people can fit in the Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Garden Sauna?
The maximum capacity inside the Thermowood Garden Sauna is eight, but it’ll be pretty cozy. If you’re not the cuddly type, six will be more comfortable.
- Hussain J, Cohen M. Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Apr 24;2018:1857413. doi: 10.1155/2018/1857413. PMID: 29849692; PMCID: PMC5941775.
- Sutkowy P, Woźniak A, Boraczyński T, Mila-Kierzenkowska C, Boraczyński M. The effect of a single Finnish sauna bath after aerobic exercise on the oxidative status in healthy men. Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2014 Mar;74(2):89-94. doi: 10.3109/00365513.2013.860616. Epub 2013 Dec 5. PMID: 24304490.