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How Much Does Sauna Installation Cost?

Last Updated on May 13, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Saunas are increasingly popular features in modern homes and businesses due to the proven health benefits of sauna use, including improved circulationmuscle relaxationstress relief, and more. With so many options available like luxurious custom wood-burning saunas or convenient plug-and-play infrared saunas, many people consider installing their own sauna an attractive investment.

However, it’s crucial to fully understand the range of costs involved in a sauna installation project. Depending on the sauna type, size, features, and complexity of installation, costs can range from budget DIY options to premium bespoke saunas. This comprehensive guide examines the cost factors and provides tips to help you budget and plan your own sauna installation.

How Much Does Sauna Installation Cost?

The costs of installing a sauna can range in average from as little as $1,500 for a basic portable infrared sauna up to $10,000+ for a large custom wood-burning sauna.

The sauna itself accounts for a major part of the installation costs. Prices are influenced by:

  • Type of sauna – traditional steam, infrared, or portable
  • Size and capacity – number of people it fits
  • Materials – common wood types like cedar, hemlock, spruce or luxury woods
  • Features – heating system, lighting, audio, glass doors, etc.
  • Brand – budget portable models start under $1,000 while premium brands like Finlandia can cost up to $10,000 just for the sauna kit.

Another major cost component is the complexity of the installation process, including preparation, construction, electrical, ventilation, and finishing touches. We’ll break these down in detail later.

Additional costs may also include design fees, permits, and ongoing maintenance and operation expenses. As you evaluate your sauna options, understanding how these factors impact overall costs helps choose the best sauna installation that fits your budget.

Family Handyman notes that saunas typically cost between $1,000 and $5,000, more if you need professional installation or additional wiring or plumbing.

Forbes Home mentions in an article that a project cost for building a sauna is from $1,000 to $12,000.

At Mainely Tubs™ a traditional sauna costs $6,000 to $11,000+, while an infrared sauna costs $4,400 to $9,000+.

At Epic Hot Tubs an indoor sauna installation costs from $2,300 to $11,500. Outdoor sauna can cost from $5,500 to $34,000 and portable sauna can cost from $200 to $2,000.

Popular Types of Saunas

The most fundamental decision you’ll make that affects cost is which type of sauna you should install. The three main options include:

Traditional Steam Saunas

These classic saunas involve heating a stove covered in rocks to very high temperatures, up to 200°F. Water is then poured over the hot rocks to produce steam, raising the humidity inside the sauna. Typical residential steam saunas fit 4-6 people and need at least 7 feet in height.

Cost Range:

  • Materials only: $4,000 – $8,000
  • Professionally installed: $7,000 – $12,000+

Larger commercial steam rooms over 200 sq. ft. can cost $15,000 or more. Ongoing costs include water, heating, and electricity bills.

Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas use heating panels or emitters that produce infrared waves which are absorbed by the body, heating you from the inside out. Unlike steam saunas, the air itself does not get hot. Initial purchase costs tend to be lower than traditional saunas.

Cost range:

  • DIY infrared sauna kits: $1,500 – $3,500
  • Professionally installed infrared saunas: $3,000-$6,000

While infrared sauna startup costs are lower, they tend to be less energy efficient, leading to higher electrical bills over time.

Portable Saunas

Also known as barrel saunas, these prefabricated modular designs are quick and simple to set up, requiring minimal installation work. However, they offer less customization and fewer luxury features.

Cost range:

  • Basic portable sauna: $1,500 – $2,500
  • Deluxe model with Bluetooth, lights, etc.: $3,000 – $5,000

Portable saunas are a budget-friendly DIY option but won’t have the fit, finish and performance of a permanently installed sauna.

You might also like our articles about the cost of an inground pool, an above-the-ground pool, and a Thermospas hot tub.

Sauna Size, Design and Custom Features

Beyond choosing the type of heating system, sauna costs also come down to size, layout, materials, and included features.


Sauna size is measured by interior floor space and correlates closely with total costs.

  • 2-person mini saunas: $2,000 – $4,000
  • 4–6-person residential saunas: $4,000 – $8,000
  • 6–8-person luxury saunas: $8,000 – $12,000
  • Large 10+ person commercial saunas: $10,000+

To determine appropriate size, allot 15-30 sq. ft. per person. Height should be at least 7 feet. Benches, rocks, and heater require extra space.

Design and Layout

Common sauna layouts include L-shape, square, rectangular, and circular. Work with a designer or installer to create the optimal layout for your space. Creative touches like multi-level seating can increase costs.


Western red cedar is the most popular wood for sauna walls and benches due to its lightness, aroma, and moisture-resistance. It costs approximately $9 per square foot. More expensive woods like hemlock, spruce or ash cost $12-$15 per square foot.

Luxury Features

Upgrading from a basic sauna to a luxury experience adds considerable cost such as:

  • Chrome therapy light panels – $500
  • Sound system – $300
  • Glass door – $1,000
  • Recliner chair – $600
  • Air circulation fan – $200
  • Digital controls – $400
  • Chromotherapy lighting – $800

Installation Costs: DIY vs Professionals

You have two options when it comes to actually installing your sauna – DIY or hire professionals. Here’s an overview of the costs:

DIY Sauna Installation

The major advantage of installing the sauna yourself is cost savings on labor. With good DIY skills and ample research, you may be able to complete basic installations for 30-50% less than hiring a pro. However, there are some significant disadvantages:

  • Requires more time and physical labor
  • Potential for expensive mistakes due to lack of expertise
  • May void sauna equipment warranties
  • Health and safety risks if electrical/ventilation not properly handled

Professional Sauna Installation

Bucket for SaunaWhile hiring a professional sauna installation company costs more upfront, it ensures your sauna will be properly and safely installed to function optimally for years.

Benefits of professional installation:

  • Project management for smooth, timely installation
  • Licensed tradespeople for electrical, plumbing, framing, etc.
  • Compliance with local building codes and permits
  • Warranty on all work for 1-3 years typically

Cost range:

  • Basic sauna installation: $1,500 – $3,000
  • Large or luxury sauna: $4,000 – $8,000

Professional installation is highly recommended for inexperienced DIYers to avoid safety issues and ensure sauna longevity.

Detailed Installation Cost Breakdown

Now let’s look at a more detailed cost breakdown of the installation process whether DIY or hired out.

Framing and Structure

  • Framing lumber – approximately $500 depending on sauna size
  • Plywood for exterior wrapping – $100-$300
  • Moisture barrier – $100-$200
  • Insulation – $200-$500
  • Labor – $500-$1,500 if hiring pros


Electrical costs depend largely on whether your main electrical panel can handle the sauna’s power demands or if new wiring is needed.

  • Electrical panel upgrade – $1,000 – $3,000
  • GFCI outlets – $150 per outlet
  • Wiring and connections – $300-$800
  • Installation labor – $500-$1,000


For steam saunas, plumbing is needed for hot and cold-water lines, drains for the floor, shower fixtures if adding a shower area, etc.

  • Copper supply lines – $200-$500 in materials
  • Drainage – $100-$300
  • Shower – $500-$1,500 for tile, fixtures, labor
  • Installation – $500-$1,000


Good ventilation and fresh air flow are crucial. Costs include:

  • Exhaust fan(s) – $200-$500
  • Ductwork – $500-$1,000 in materials
  • Labor – $300-$800

Doors, Flooring and Interior

Finishing touches include:

  • Sauna heater – $800-$1,500 installed
  • Wood benches – $300-$800
  • Door – $300-$1,000 for glass doors
  • Flooring – $500-$1,000 in tile, wood, or masonry
  • Lighting – $200-$500
  • Thermometer/Hygrometer – $50-$100


  • Building permits – $200-$500
  • Inspections – may include extra fees

Operating Costs and Maintenance

Beyond the initial investment, saunas also incur ongoing costs:

Energy and Utility Bills

For heated saunas, costs include:

  • Electricity – infrared saunas use 1.5 kW to 3 kW per hour. At $.12/kWh, estimate $100-$300 per year.
  • Water and heating – approximately $200-$400 per year for steam saunas
  • Improving insulation and adding timers can reduce energy costs.


Basic sauna maintenance costs around $200 – $500 annually for tasks like:

  • Replacing rocks
  • Sanitizing benches
  • Checking heating elements
  • Testing safety features
  • Repairs as needed – heating system may need $500 repair every 5-10 years.

Proper maintenance improves safety, energy efficiency, and sauna longevity.

Health and Property Value Benefits

The costs of installing a sauna may seem high initially, but saunas can provide benefits that enhance quality of life and home value.

Health Benefits

Numerous studies cite saunas’ positive impacts:

  • Improved circulation and cardiovascular function
  • Reduced inflammation and joint pain
  • Improved muscle recovery after exercise
  • Lower stress levels and better relaxation
  • Possible reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Added Property Value

Adding a sauna can increase a home’s resale value by $2,000 – $10,000 depending on size and features. For many buyers, a home sauna is a desirable luxury amenity.

Choosing the Right Sauna

Follow this advice when selecting and budgeting for your sauna:

  • Consider how often you will use it and the number of people
  • Choose type – infrared, traditional steam, or portable barrel
  • Decide on size and features based on needs and budget
  • Research brands thoroughly and read reviews
  • Confirm safety certifications on heaters and electrical
  • Get bids from 2-3 installation companies
  • Ask about warranties on workmanship and materials

Final Words

Installing a sauna is a significant investment, with total costs potentially ranging from $1,500 for a basic portable infrared sauna up to $15,000+ for a large custom luxury sauna and a complex installation.

Important factors impacting costs include sauna type and size, DIY vs. professional installation, energy efficiency, and ongoing maintenance. By understanding the costs involved and properly planning your project based on personal wellness goals and budget, a home sauna can be an incredibly rewarding addition that provides years of soothing stress relief and potential health benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know about installing a sauna?

The main things to understand when installing a sauna are proper site selection and preparation, having an electrical supply to power the heater, following building codes and permits, ventilation requirements, and using moisture-resistant materials. Hiring professional sauna installers ensure it is done properly and safely.

Where do you install a sauna?

Saunas can be installed indoors or outdoors. Indoor locations include a bathroom, basement, garage, or spare room. Consider ventilation needs, access to power and water, and convenience. Outdoor saunas require a weatherproof and insulated structure with a roof, and often a view.

How long does it take to install a sauna?

A typical sauna installation takes 1-3 weeks from start to finish. Preparation like framing the room can take 3-5 days. Electrical and plumbing may require a couple days. Finishing the interior with wood, heater, lights, and benches takes 3-5 days. Allow extra time if any customization is needed.

Can I install a sauna in my house?

Yes, saunas can absolutely be installed in residential homes, either indoors or outdoors. Ensure you have adequate space, electrical supply, ventilation, and plumbing if needed. Hire professional installers or consult local building codes for requirements. Pre-fab portable saunas are also easier, lower cost DIY options. Consider your budget and talk to a sauna company to explore your options.

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