What is the cost of a sauna? Electric vs Wood heat - ALTAR SAUNA

What is the cost of a sauna? Electric vs Wood heat

Navigating the Cost of Sauna Heating in the USA: Electric vs. Wood Heat

Saunas hold a special place in many cultures, including in the USA, where they offer relaxation and rejuvenation. But alongside the therapeutic benefits of sauna bathing, there's a practical consideration: the cost of heating them. In this article, we'll explore the economics of heating a sauna in the USA, comparing the expenses associated with electric and wood heat options.

The American Sauna Tradition:

Saunas have found their way into American culture, serving as a retreat for relaxation, wellness, and socialization. Whether it's a traditional wood-fired sauna in the countryside or a modern electric sauna in a suburban home, the appeal of sauna bathing transcends borders.

Electric Sauna Heating:

Electric saunas are popular for their convenience and ease of use. With a simple switch, the sauna heats up quickly, allowing for spontaneous sauna sessions without the need for preparing a fire. However, this convenience comes at a cost.

Cost Analysis:

In the USA, the average cost of electricity varies depending on factors such as location, provider, and consumption. As of 2020, the average residential electricity price in the USA was approximately $0.13 per kWh.

For an electric sauna heater with a power rating of 6 kW (kilowatts), the hourly cost of running the sauna can be calculated as follows:

Hourly cost = Power rating (kW) × Electricity price ($/kWh) Hourly cost = 6 kW × $0.13/kWh Hourly cost = $0.78

Wood-Fired Sauna Heating:

Wood-fired saunas offer a traditional and authentic experience, appealing to those who enjoy the ritualistic aspect of sauna bathing. While heating a wood-fired sauna requires more effort and planning compared to electric options, many sauna enthusiasts prefer it for the superior heat and ambiance it provides.

Cost Analysis:

The cost of heating a wood-fired sauna in the USA primarily depends on the price of firewood. As of 2020, the average price of firewood in the USA ranged from $150 to $300 per cord, depending on the region and type of wood.

Assuming a typical sauna session requires 20-25 pounds of firewood, the cost per session can be calculated as follows:

Cost per session = Firewood price ($/cord) × Volume of firewood (cords) / Number of sessions per cord Cost per session = $200/cord × 0.025 cords / 1 session ≈ $5.00

Comparative Analysis:

To provide a comprehensive comparison, let's calculate the monthly and yearly costs of heating a sauna using both electric and wood-fired methods.

Monthly Cost:

Assuming three sauna sessions per week, each lasting two hours:

  • Electric sauna: $0.78/hour × 2 hours/session × 3 sessions/week × 4 weeks/month = $18.72/month
  • Wood-fired sauna: $5.00/session × 3 sessions/week × 4 weeks/month = $60.00/month

Yearly Cost:

  • Electric sauna: $18.72/month × 12 months = $224.64/year
  • Wood-fired sauna: $60.00/month × 12 months = $720.00/year


In conclusion, the choice between electric and wood-fired sauna heating in the USA involves a trade-off between convenience and cost. While electric saunas offer ease of use and quick heating, they come with higher operating expenses. On the other hand, wood-fired saunas require more effort but offer cost savings in the long run.

Ultimately, the decision depends on individual preferences, budget considerations, and the importance of tradition and ambiance in the sauna experience. Whether you opt for the modern convenience of electric heating or the rustic charm of wood-fired heating, the true value of sauna bathing lies in its ability to promote relaxation, well-being, and cultural connection.

So, the next time you step into a sauna in the USA, take a moment to appreciate not only the warmth on your skin but also the economics behind the heat.

Written by Malin.

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