Dundalk Buyers Guide
COMMON CHOICES WHEN BUYING A DUNDALK LEISURE CRAFT INDOOR OR OUTDOOR SAUNA
Dundalk Leisure Craft has a wide variety of different types of saunas, so which one is right for you? I will do my best at answering that with this blog post. First we will discuss the general choices you have with almost every Dundalk sauna on our site:
How to select the right size sauna, with the right wood type?
Should you select an electric or wood-burning heater for your sauna?
Do you need a porch or a changeroom for the sauna?
Should you upgrade to Signature or Lounge sauna interior?
What kind of door? Glass, small window or solid wood?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make the right buying decision, as we're diving deeper into the individual sauna details later in this buyer's guide. Let's start with the most important question, sizing the sauna!
SELECTING THE RIGHT SIZE SAUNA ROOM
First question: how many people will be using the sauna at one time? This is something that people sometimes over-estimate. Even if you have a large family, all of you are probably not going to be using the sauna at the same time. Especially if your kids are not small anymore, they will probably go on their own turn.
Same thing if you often have a bunch of friends visiting, often the men and women like to go on separate turns. Most often, the saunas are used by two people at a time. If you think you need an 8 person sauna, this is something to consider.
Then again, even if you're just looking for a sauna just for your own use, a smallest possible sauna is not the best choice either. Traditional saunas benefit from having some extra space, as the steam from the rocks has more space to disperse. If I was buying a sauna just for myself, I might still consider a 3-4 person sauna.
I wouldn't want to oversize either, because larger saunas takes a while longer to heat up, and of course the amount of electricity/firewood needed grows. These are not huge differences, just something to keep in mind. There are situations where a large sauna can be really nice, so if you're unsure, give us a call at (888) 655-3625 and let's talk!
Of course, the other consideration with the sauna room size is if it will actually fit where you want it to go. Obviously, this is more important in the indoor saunas, and even with outdoor saunas, this is something to keep in mind. Another thing to think about is that you want some room right outside the sauna, to have some breathing space between sauna sessions. If you have limited space for the sauna, consider leaving some space free.
WOOD TYPE SELECTION FOR WALLS / ROOF
All of the Dundalk saunas are made of red cedar. It is in many ways a perfect wood type for a sauna, as it is weather-resistant, has good insulation capabilities and a pleasant smell. When used inside the sauna for benches, it doesn't get hot. Finally, it doesn't absorb much water, increasing the longevity of the sauna even if water gets splashed around.
KNOTTY RED CEDAR VS. CLEAR RED CEDAR
There are generally two types of wood products: knotty and clear. Knotty wood shows the branches that have grown out of that part of the tree. Clear wood is selected from the parts of the tree where there were no branches. Because trees tend to have a lot of branches, more knotty wood comes from one individual tree than clear wood. That's why knotty wood gets priced lower than clear wood.
You may also have heard that knotty wood might be not as structurally sound as clear wood. If you go shopping for raw lumber, this is generally true. With certain other types of knotty wood the knots may sometimes even pop out of the wood. Having holes in the walls or roof wouldn't be good for your sauna, so Dundalk has made sure it doesn't happen.
With Dundalk saunas, they use carefully selected knotty wood called "select tight knot red cedar", meaning that the knots are an integral part of the wood. The parts of the tree used in your sauna have grown around living branches, making the knotty wood just as durable as clear wood.
That makes the selection of knotty vs. clear just a question of aesthetics. Knotty red cedar is a great wood choice. If you have the budget for clear red cedar and like the clean and smooth look, go for it!
HEATERS: WOOD-BURNING LUXURY OR ELECTRIC PRACTICALITY?
The selection between wood-burning heater and electrical heater comes down to what you can use. When possible, our recommendation is to select a wood-burning heater. For some reason, the heat from the wood burning heaters feels smoother. Then again, there are many situations where the wood heating is just not practical or even possible (city regulations may prevent it). Electric heaters are the most popular choice in Finnish saunas for a reason.
Growing up in Finland, I've spent lot more time in electrically heated saunas than wood-heated ones. Electric heaters are just very practical, especially in cities. You don't need to worry about sizing the electrical heater, as we've taken care of the selections for you. If in doubt, you can always contact us by chat, email or phone (888) 655-3625.
CHANGEROOM AND PORCH: MORE RELAXED SAUNA EXPERIENCE
Changeroom and porch can really add to the usefulness of your sauna. In Finland the saunas almost always have a changeroom, and there's a reason for that. With outdoor saunas, especially if the sauna is far away from other buildings, how far do you want to walk dressed in a towel? With the mosquitoes in the summer, rain in the fall, and snow in the winter? It's just much easier if you can change clothes at the sauna!
Speaking of winter - the changeroom can increase the usability in another way. When taking a sauna, you probably want to have a few breaks within the sauna session. Consider if it gets cold outside... you might not want to take the breaks outside, but there wouldn't be an issue sitting in the changeroom. You can have total control over the temperature by opening the changeroom and sauna doors, giving you a perfect temperature room at any weather!
The nice temperature in the changing room can be enjoyed even more by adding windows so you can see outside. Depending on the sauna and heater type, you can have different windows in the front wall, changeroom wall and the back wall.
Porch depends on the other surroundings of the sauna. With the porch, you don't need to build a lot of outdoor seating area around the sauna and can just enjoy the outdoors on the porch. It is great for relaxing between and after the sauna session. The porch crowns the facade of the sauna and protects the entrance from the elements.
A new option in 2020 is the possibility to combine the porch and changeroom into one 6' long changeroom. It is possible to do this with all the saunas that have the option of changeroom + porch: Pod, Barrel and Panoramic Barrel.
BENCH CHOICES AND INTERIOR UPGRADES
With many sauna types, you can choose between 1 and 2 tier benches. If possible, go for the 2-tier. It gives you more options with the seating and improves the enjoyment of heat. As heat rises upwards, it is hotter at the top bench, while the lower bench stays at milder temperatures. It is especially recommended if you have small kids. You can enjoy the heat as you like, and your kids can take it easy on the lower bench.
SIGNATURE AND LOUNGE BENCH UPGRADES
Signature seating is available in Barrel, Panoramic and Pod saunas (with Luna, the standard benches are almost the same as signature benches). Signature seating is a more premium choice than standard benches, as it has rounded edges, and cedar walls between the bench and floor. It gives the saunas a smoother, finished look. With Barrel and Panoramic saunas, the Signature seating includes the flat floor upgrade.
Lounge seating is a special upgrade, and highly recommended. It allows you to set the angles of the back- and feet-rests, so you can really relax and enjoy the sauna in the way you like best! Lounge benches are available with 7- and 8-feet long Luna, Barrel and Panoramic saunas. Like the Signature upgrade, it includes the flat floor upgrade in the Barrel and Panoramic sauna rooms.
You can also select the signature bench just on one side and have the other bench as normal. This can be especially useful in the Luna sauna, as you can have the other side as 2-tier bench and upgrade the other to Lounge model. That way you can really get the best of both!
DIFFERENT DOOR OPTIONS & SOLAR LIGHT
You can choose between 3 different door types: the default option in all saunas is the wood-framed glass door. It is a great option as it allows in a lot of light to the sauna. If you'd like more privacy, you can choose a door with a smaller round window. For full privacy, you also have the choice of solid wood door.
To keep your sauna entrance well lit, you also have an option of adding a solar light. This is especially useful lighting option in wood heated, off-grid saunas without electricity!
Hopefully by now you have a good understanding of the Dundalk sauna basics! Next, we will be diving deeper into the individual sauna details.
BUYING A DUNDALK LEISURE CRAFT INDOOR OR OUTDOOR SAUNA: THE SPECIFIC CHOICES WITH EACH SAUNA
Previously in this guide, we went through the general choices with most Dundalk Leisure Craft indoor and outdoor saunas. Now, we will discuss how we've simplified your choices of selecting these saunas, and the biggest differences between each sauna. Finally, we're going to see how you can have a full spa experience in addition to just having the sauna, even completely off-grid!
With all of these saunas, it is important to note that all of them work very well as saunas. The choices come down to functional things like size and shape, and aesthetic considerations, like how the sauna looks like on the outside. As these saunas are always custom made to order at the factory, there are a lot of different options with each of them.
READY-CONFIGURED PACKAGES VS. FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE SAUNAS
For saunas that have the most customization choice, we've simplified things for you and created 3 ready-configured packages. That way you don't need to overwhelm yourself with all the different options. You can either buy the ready packages as they are or use them as ideas for configuring your own sauna with the fully customizable options.
Even with the fully customizable versions, the options are presented so that the selections guide you. On some of our competitor sites, you are just presented with all the "raw" choice. The problem with that is that many of those choices are incompatible with each other. You may be left scratching your head, trying to figure out what you can really choose.
With our customizable products, the choices are made in a logical way, and the "impossible" selections (based on the selections you've already made) are not even shown to you! In cases where it makes sense to present you with options that might not be compatible, we clearly tell you which selections you can make. If you'd like to discuss the options with a real person, you can give us a call at (888) 655-3625 anytime between Mon-Fri 9-5 EST!
Now let's dive deeper into the actual saunas, to see which one is the right one for you. We'll start with the newest 2021 design, a sauna that may give your health a significant boost...
THE HOT YOGA TRAINING SAUNA
The Hot Yoga Training Sauna is a great new option for serious yogis and athletes! It is a modified variation of the Outdoor Cabin sauna and works great for increasing your flexibility and athletic capability. It comes with foldable benches, giving you maximum space for doing different yoga poses, or just working out with added heat.
And of course, in addition to being a great boost to your training, you can use the Yoga Sauna as a regular sauna, providing you with great exercise and relaxation options.
Supercharge your health and buy the Yoga Sauna here!
The Pod sauna has a beautiful raindrop shape, combining looks with functionality (plenty of headspace and a 2-tier bench option). These saunas come 8' wide, with lengths of 6, 7 and 8 feet. We also have available the Mini Pod sauna, a smaller square shape of 7x7 feet and a bit less choices. With the full size Pod saunas, you can customize almost everything.
Our recommendation for most people comes with knotty wood walls and roof, wood-burning heater, 8x7 sauna room and changeroom (included in the Smart package). The full customization options for Pod sauna are sauna room size, wall & roof wood types, heater, porch/changeroom, windows in back/middle/front, benches, and your choice of accessories.
In short: choose the Pod sauna if you want to combine functionality with a unique look.
Another uniquely shaped sauna is the Luna, with square shape and rounded corners. One of the main features of Luna are the very large front windows, making this a great choice in places with a view. To maintain the view, Luna doesn't come with the changeroom option, although you can select a porch.
A new option for the Luna are solid walls instead of large windows. Some of our customers have really liked the beautiful outside shape of Luna, combined with the functional design indoors. Still, they've requested a more private configuration, and we've delivered: the Luna is available with solid wood front wall. Combined with the more private door options, this can be a great choice in certain environments!
In short: choose Luna if you are placing it somewhere with a view, or if you just want a beautiful and very functional sauna!
The barrel saunas have a couple of distinct advantages: as they are fully round, there is less interior space to heat up. This shortens the time it takes to fully heat the sauna. Another big benefit is easy transportability: unlike the usual "building-like saunas", the barrel saunas can be easily picked up by a crane and moved, even when fully assembled. If you're not sure how long you're going to stay in your current home, this can be a big advantage
For the options, the barrel saunas probably have the most choice. Our usual recommendation is the knotty wood 7x7 feet barrel sauna room with wood burning heater, changeroom, flat floor and extra rubber roof and a cove (the Smart package). If you'd like to customize it, your full options are the barrel wood type, diameter and length, heater, changeroom & porch, extra roof, cove, interior upgrade (benches/floor), windows in front/middle/back, and your choice of accessories.
In short: if you're planning to move to a new house in the future, Barrel sauna is a safe choice.
PANORAMIC BARREL SAUNA
The Panoramic Barrel sauna is one of the most premium choices of Dundalk saunas. They are a variation / upgrade on the barrel sauna. Instead of wooden back wall, the whole "wall" is a window. This combines the benefits of the barrel sauna with allowing for views like the Luna
The only restriction that comes with the wall is that the outside feed wood burning
In short: choose the Panoramic sauna if you have a view or might need to move the sauna in the future.
Kota sauna has a very distinct shape that allows the people inside the sauna to face each other. For the options, it is quite straight forward: you have two different sizes, 8' for 5 people, and 10' for up 8 people. The roof comes either as knotty cedar bevel or cedar shingles.
In short: choose the Kota if you want a sauna where people can face each other
The Cabin saunas get you a great looking simple sauna for a relatively affordable price. These cabins come in indoor and outdoor versions. If you only need a sauna for inside you home, you can save some money as you don't need the weather-proof roof. With the indoor saunas, there are 8 sizes to choose from, and they all come with
In short: choose the Cabin sauna for indoor use, or if you want a traditional solution for an outdoor sauna.
EAGLE'S NEST SAUNA
If you like the idea of a cabin sauna but would like something just a bit more adventurous with the looks, the Eagle's Nest sauna is for you. It also comes with more options than the normal cabin sauna, as you can add the changeroom and porch. You can choose the wood type between knotty and clear cedar, allowing for more price savings. The heater can be electric or wood-burning, and with electric heaters you can get an extra window on the back wall.
In short: choose the Eagle's Nest if you want a more versatile Cabin type sauna.
NICE ADDITIONS TO THE SAUNAS: CEDAR HOT TUB AND OUTDOOR SHOWER
The cedar hot tubs can really complement your sauna. It's like having a full spa experience even at an off-grid cabin!
If you're interested in heat therapy, other use for a tub would be to use it as a cold-water plunge. This is very popular in Finland, where people swim in icy lakes between sauna sessions. I haven't tried it myself yet, but everyone who has says that it makes you extremely relaxed afterwards. There is a lot of new scientific evidence coming out about the benefits of hot AND cold therapy, so it's worth considering.
The outdoor shower is a useful addition, even if you buy the tub. You should always have a quick rinse before going to the sauna or to the tub, so this outdoor shower will serve you well. It can be hooked up to both cold and hot water like any normal shower.