Electric Vs Wood-Fired Sauna Stove: Which Is The Best Choice For You?


Getting a home sauna is one of the best decisions that you can make. You stand to gain many sauna health benefits such as lower stress levels, improved blood circulation, less chance of heart disease, and a boost to your immune system to mention a few.

Recent studies have shown a direct correlation between regular use of sauna and fewer heart-related complications. What’s more, the value of your house will rise significantly the moment you install that sauna.

When buying a sauna, there are many options at your disposal including infrared saunas and portable saunas.

Two of the most common sauna types are the electrically heated sauna and the wood-burning sauna. Buyers often wonder which of these two is the better option and often it will come down to your individual situation and preference.

Below is the difference between the two and will help you decide which is the best choice for you between a wood-burning sauna vs an electric sauna.

Electric sauna

One of the main benefits of the electric sauna is that it is quick, efficient, and clean. Most models of electric saunas are designed to reach a top temperature of 1940F and can be attained in ten or fewer minutes.  What’s more, you can program your sauna to have the room heated when you plan to get in.

An added benefit of the electric saunas is that they come with safety measures such as resetting after a pre-set period.

However, these types of saunas also come with their own share of drawbacks. The main one being that they are electric. This means that if you don’t live in an area with a reliable power supply, the electric sauna may not be the best choice for you.

Wood-fired sauna

This is the original type of sauna and has been used for hundreds of years. In fact, many people still prefer the wood-fired sauna due to its authenticity.  When it comes to cost, these types are also very affordable though the cost of installation may be higher than the electric variety.

The smell of the burning wood creates an ambiance unlike any you will find in other types of saunas.

A major benefit of installing a wood-fired sauna is that you do not need the services of an electrician to perform the wiring necessary for it to function such as is the case with an electric sauna.

However, you will need another structure such as a chimney or a vent. Another main drawback is that it is far more difficult to control the temperature in the sauna. Also, it takes much longer than an electric sauna to heat the room.

Then there is the cost of the wood which can be expensive in certain places. If you live in a big city, then the cost of firewood here can be quite high.

Maintaining your sauna

You will need to perform regular maintenance of your sauna to ensure it lasts as long as you want it to. The majority of sauna rooms are made from wood so ensure to avoid chemicals such as ammonia or bleach.

When it comes to the electric sauna, maintenance is simple and fast as you will mainly need to change the element in case it burns out or the stones in the stove.

With the wood-burning sauna stove, it takes longer to light a fire and when you are done using it, you will need to also take out the fire. Some people might find this inconvenient at times. You also need to ensure the flue doesn’t get blocked.


Both the wood-burning sauna vs electric sauna are capable of reaching similar temperatures of between 80-100 degrees. There is also not much difference in the method used to heat the sauna room.

With the electric variety, electricity heats the stones in the stove which in turn heat the room. Fire in the case of a wood-burning sauna is used to heat the stones which then heats the room.

Controlling temperature is much easier in an electric sauna as you can bring it down whenever you feel that you need to. The same however cannot be said with the wood-burning stove. If you want to bring down the temperature, you will need to extinguish the fire.

Installation costs


There is not much difference in the installation costs between the wood-burning sauna vs electric sauna. However, in certain locations, it might prove more expensive to install the wood-burning variety.

First off is the cost of the stove. Both electric and wood-burning stoves will cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on factors such as quality and style.

Additional factors that will contribute to the cost of installation include a chimney for the wood-burning stove and electrical wiring for the electric stove.

Overall, even while the difference might be small, the wood-burning stove may be the more expensive option due to the extra construction costs.

Cost of running the sauna

The costs of running both the electric vs wood-burning sauna stove will depend on several factors. With the electric variety, the duration of use, cost of kW per hour of electricity, size of the stove as well as how frequently you use the sauna in a month will determine the overall cost.

As for the wood-burning sauna. One of the main factors that you may want to keep in mind is access to a reliable source of firewood. You live in the city, then firewood may be harder to come by and will be quite expensive.

However, if you live in the country near a forest then accessing firewood will be easy. Also, how long you plan to use the sauna as well as how many times in a month will determine the overall cost.

Yet another important consideration is the size of the wood-burning stove. The larger it is the more wood it will consume and the higher the costs.

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There are many sauna advantages and disadvantages and both the electric vs wood-burning sauna stove will offer you all the benefits of using a sauna. While they are similar in many ways, they also have their differences and the right one for you will depend on your situation and preference. If you don’t mind the extra work of setting up a fire and putting it out, and if you live in the country where there is ready access to firewood, then a wood-burning sauna is best.

On the other hand, it is easier to control the temperature and maintain an electric sauna.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!