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Although they might seem like two starkly different recovery tools, the best home saunas have a few of the same benefits as the best cold plunge tubs—notably aiding in muscle recovery1 and soreness2

It makes sense that many home gym users try to use both methods in their recovery to reap the most health benefits they can, either through separate hot and cold sessions or through contrast therapy (alternating cold plunging with heat therapy). I myself have used both methods in my 25-year-long career in Olympic weightlifting.

Many companies that focus on cold therapy will try their hand at saunas and heat therapy, and vice versa. One of the most recent companies to take the plunge is…well, Plunge. Known for the high-quality Cold Plunge and other cold water tubs, Plunge designed their sauna with durable cedar and hemlock. The sauna is also designed to accommodate friends or a single hot yoga session.

How does this sauna stack up to other saunas? In this Plunge Sauna review, we’ll cover the highs and lows of this product, to see if it’s worth your hard-earned money.

Heating Up With Testing Recovery Products

Having tested fitness equipment since 2014, Garage Gym Reviews has a handle on honest expert reviews, giving you unbiased feedback from our talented team of certified personal trainers, weightlifting coaches, and competitive athletes. When we review products, we know what to look for, based on years in the fitness industry.

In the last year, we’ve taken a deep dive into recovery products, testing over a dozen saunas and 15 cold plunges—and the number continues to grow. (We’ve even tried our hand at some DIY cold plunge tubs.)

For the Plunge Sauna, our expert tester, both a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level 1 trainer, tried out the sauna for multiple 10-minute sessions. Along with testing its performance in those sessions, he rated other aspects of the sauna with a score between 1 and 5, including:

  • Footprint
  • Construction
  • Features and extras
  • Delivery and setup
  • Overall value

Plunge Sauna

Plunge Sauna

GGR Score: 4.13 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Available in standard and XL sizes
  • Traditional steam or dry sauna
  • Can seat 5 people (7 in XL)
  • Slanted wall provides ergonomic backrest
  • Benches can fold up to open sauna for stretching or standing
  • Incense cedar exterior with pine and hemlock interior
  • Waterproof roof provides outdoor protection
  • Requires 240V outlet

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Slanted wall for ergonomic backrest
  • Foldable benches
  • Can seat multiple people
  • Good for indoor or outdoor use
  • High top temperature

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Requires 240V outlet

Bottom Line

The Plunge Sauna is a versatile take on a traditional Finnish sauna. With a slanted back wall, the Plunge Sauna provides an ergonomic backrest to add comfort to your sauna session. Additionally, the benches fold up to allow more space for standing or stretching. The electric heater is able to let the sauna reach temperatures up to 230 degrees, according to the company.

A Quick Look at the Plunge Sauna

In 2020, Plunge made a splash in recovery with its flagship tub, the Plunge, originally called the Plunge Cold Plunge. As mentioned in the Cold Plunge review, the tub is expensive, but saves users a lot of trips to grocery stores for bags of ice. It also saves time since you don’t have to refill and dump water after each session.

Since its inception, Plunge has released several new cold plunge tubs to innovate the cold plunge experience, including the Plunge All-In, the Plunge Evolve XL, and the budget-friendly Plunge Pop-Up—an inflatable tub with an optional chiller and heater that can let the tub operate as an ice bath or hot tub.

RELATED: First Look: Plunge Evolve Series Review

After a few successful years with cold plunge tubs, Plunge entered heat therapy with their sauna in 2023. The Plunge Sauna is made with aesthetics in mind, with strong, angular sides giving a modern look to a traditional dry sauna. The interior is simple, sleek, and easy to clean. The functionality of the sauna is impressive, too, as the two rows of benches can fold when not in use, allowing you to use the rubber flooring for stretching or hot yoga.

Full view of the Plunge Sauna, with our tester inside.

I talked to Thomas Barbeau, CSCS, SCCC, an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Carolina Panthers, about the benefits of home saunas, and he prefers traditional saunas like the Plunge Sauna. “Much of the research suggests that a 20-minute session above 176 degrees is the ideal time and minimum temperature to get the full benefits of heat therapy,” he says. 

He adds that sessions can be shorter with 200-degree sessions or warmer, which is perfect for the Plunge Sauna, since it can max out at 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

RELATED: Dry Sauna Benefits

Before You Buy

  • The price of the Plunge Sauna is comparable to a used car. Make sure you look at the financing options Plunge offers through Bread Pay, with interest as low as 0% if you qualify. It’s also FSA-eligible.
  • Plunge offers white-glove delivery and assembly, so if building out this sauna seems intimidating, there’s an option where you won’t need to handle the installation at all. But it’ll also cost about $2,000 extra. Yikes.
  • Although Plunge says the sauna will seat 5 people comfortably in the standard size, after testing it, we feel the number is more like 3 or 4 folks. Plunge claims the XL version seats 7, but you can expect that to be a tight fit as well.
  • For $150, you can add a sauna kit to your order, including a bucket and ladle, thermometers and timers, and some sauna hats to keep your head cool.

Is the Plunge Sauna Worth It?

The Plunge Sauna performed well in our testing, so it’s definitely worth the investment…if it fits your budget. It has one of the highest price tags we’ve come across so far in trying out home saunas—about $11,990 for the standard size (though we often see it on sale for $1,000 less).

By comparison, the Sun Home Luminar Outdoor 5-Person Infrared Sauna is close to $2,000 cheaper than the Plunge Sauna and seats people a bit more comfortably (although five people is a stretch for both saunas).

The Plunge Sauna’s higher price is due to the HUUM stone heater, which can get up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit. No infrared sauna will get close to those temperatures, so if you’re looking for things to heat up, the Plunge sauna is a solid bet. I’d like to see a warranty higher than two years for this price, however.

Our expert product tester rates the value a 4 out of 5, and quotes GGR founder Coop Mitchell on the quality sauna’s high price: “Buy once and cry once, right?”

Great for:

  • Those wanting space for hot yoga
  • People who want a high maximum temperature
  • Anyone wanting enough space for friends or family

Not recommended for:

  • People on a budget
  • Those with limited space indoors or outdoors
  • Anyone who prefers cold plunging over heat therapy

Plunge Sauna Specs

Price$11,990 (Standard), $12,990 (XL)
Footprint95” H x 68” W x 71” D (Standard), 95” H x 92” W x 71” D (XL)
WeightNot disclosed
Number of people5 (Standard), 7 (XL)
HeaterHUUM stone sauna heater
Electrical requirements220-240 V
FeaturesWiFi control, cedar phone holder, waterproof roof, flip-up benches, customizable airflow
Warranty24 months

Using the Plunge Sauna

Our expert product tester (CPT, CF-L1) took the Plunge Sauna through a couple of 10-minute sessions and liked its performance. As a traditional sauna, it’ll take a long time to heat up, “But once it reaches the goal temperature, it holds it really well,” our tester says.

Our tester lies in the Plunge Sauna.

One of the main callouts our product tester had was the interface on the outside of the sauna. The exterior controls weren’t easy to use, and he preferred using the Plunge app to make adjustments. Still, you have to connect to the WiFi first through the exterior controls, so either way you’ll have to use the interface, and it’s not the most user-friendly tool.

Our tester lies in the Plunge Sauna using the Plunge app.

Let’s take a deeper look at the Plunge sauna—its build and performance in particular.

Footprint

With a waterproof roof, the Plunge Sauna is made for both indoor and outdoor use, although it might be hard to fit in some spaces. Since it’s 95 inches high, you’ll have to consider your ceiling height if placed inside—along with another 12 inches to allow adequate space and ventilation around the sauna. With a footprint of 68 inches wide and 71 inches long, it may not fit in some compact areas, inside or outside.

A full height view of the Plunge Sauna, with our tester inside.

Part of the reason the sauna takes up so much space is that it is built to fit five people. With two benches situated on an angled back wall, it does use the interior space well. However, our product tester says, “After spending some time in the sauna, I think it’d fit more like four people comfortably…maybe closer to three, depending on the size of the people.” The sauna earns a 3.5 out of 5 for the footprint.

Construction

The build of the Plunge Sauna is solid, and our product tester rates the construction a 5 out of 5. The exterior and benches are made from aromatic incense cedar, a wood resistant to mildew and insects, making the sauna an excellent outdoor choice. The interior is made from hemlock, which is also mildew- and stain-resistant.

RELATED: Redwood Outdoors Sauna Review

The back wall and roof of the Plunge Sauna are sloped, which gives a very modern feel to the traditional sauna and acts as an angled backrest for users. The roof is waterproof to further protect the sauna in the outdoors.

Our tester folding down the bottom bench in the Plunge Sauna.

The benches can be flipped up easily, allowing space for light stretching or yoga. The flooring is rubber to provide a good surface for your session, too.

Most importantly, there were no leaks of air in the sauna during testing, allowing it to heat up well and retain its heat. Speaking of which…

Performance

The Plunge Sauna holds up exceptionally well, earning a 4 out of 5 for its performance. It holds its temperature very well. As our product tester says, “It took 30 minutes for the sauna to cool back down after I had turned it off.” However, getting to the temperature was the challenge, as it took a while—like, a while.

Looking through the window of the Plunge Sauna at our tester on the inside.

“I set the heat for my sauna session to 185 degrees and timed the sauna. Starting from 70 degrees, it took 56 minutes and 43 seconds to get to 185 degrees,” our product tester says. While this length of time isn’t too long for a large dry sauna, it’s much longer than the warm-up time of the best infrared saunas—which are increasing in popularity. Infrared saunas are usually half the time, or even faster in some cases (The Sun Home Luminar Sauna took under 10 minutes to reach its temperature of 160 degrees).

Once the sauna reached its set temperature, it retained the heat well, varying slightly within five degrees. If you’re patient enough for the wait, this sauna will get hot and stay hot.

Features and Extras

Our tester sits on the bench inside a Plunge Sauna, holding the LED remote.

The included features of the Plunge Sauna are fairly basic: ventilation, a phone holder, LED lighting with a remote, and a HUUM stone heater with stones. The shining feature according to our product tester was the Plunge app. Being able to control the temperature of the sauna through the app was effortless, especially considering the exterior controls were clunky at best, using a dial knob to connect to WiFi. “For its price, I was expecting a better interface,” our tester explains.

Adjusting the temp controls on the Plunge Sauna.

One thing to note as well is that the heater will require a 220-volt outlet, which isn’t common in too many households. You’ll most likely have to have an electrician install the new outlet, which will add to an already substantial price tag.

Our product tester rates the features and extras a 4 out of 5.

Plunge Sauna vs Sun Home Luminar Infrared Sauna

Sun Home Luminar

Sun Home Luminar Outdoor 5-Person Infrared Sauna

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Outdoor full-spectrum infrared sauna
  • Only need a screwdriver and included Allen wrench for assembly
  • Grade-A carbonized all-season wood exterior to prevent warping and cracking
  • Cedar interior
  • Panoramic glass windows for view of outside
  • Requires 240V outlet

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Minimal tools for assembly
  • Outdoor infrared sauna
  • Full-spectrum infrared
  • Grade-A carbonized wood

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • More of a 4-person sauna
  • Requires 240V outlet

Bottom Line

The Sun Home Luminar Outdoor Infrared Sauna has a sleek aesthetic to its design, while also being functional. One of the only infrared saunas that are able to be set up outdoors, this sauna has an exterior built from Grade-A carbonized wood to prevent warping, cracking, and shrinkage of the exterior. This sauna is a full-spectrum infrared sauna, providing near, mid, and far infrared heat in the sauna.

The Sun Home Luminar Infrared Sauna is another large sauna specifically made for outdoors, unlike the versatile Plunge Sauna’s indoor or outdoor design. Also the Sun Home sauna is an infrared sauna. One of the main benefits of an infrared sauna compared to a traditional sauna is the quicker heating time—under 10 minutes compared to the Plunge Sauna’s 56 minutes.

Still, the outdoor infrared sauna won’t get up to as high of a temperature as the Plunge Sauna, topping out at 165 degrees. Although it may take a bit of time, the Plunge Sauna can reach 230 degrees.

Another point to compare is the warranty. Plunge offers a 2-year warranty, which is a bit less than what Sun Home offers on the Luminar. The Luminar’s controls are covered for 3 years; meanwhile the cabinetry and heaters are covered for 7 years. This is a huge factor if you’re wanting your sauna to last, and we’d like to see Plunge include longer warranties, especially with its high cost.

With the added functionality of modular benches and a higher temperature, the Plunge Sauna’s expensive price may be worth it. But if you think an infrared sauna will better suit your needs, check out our Sun Home Sauna review for more information.

Plunge SaunaSun Home Luminar Outdoor 5-Person Infrared Sauna
Price$11,990 (Standard), $12,990 (XL)$9,799
Footprint95” H x 68” W x 71” D (Standard), 95” H x 92” W x 71” D (XL)82.5” H x 82” W x 51.5” D
WeightNot disclosed1,270 lbs
Number of people5 (Standard), 7 (XL)5
HeaterHUUM stone sauna heater5 far infrared heaters, 10 full-spectrum heaters
Electrical requirements220-240 V240 V
FeaturesWiFi control, cedar phone holder, waterproof roof, flip-up benches, customizable airflowUltra-low EMF/ELF shielding, mobile-app enabled control system, Bluetooth surround sound system, chromotherapy LED lighting
Warranty24 months7 years on cabinetry and heaters, 3 years on controls

Customer Experience 

Plunge has pretty good policies for their products, including a 30-day return policy and financing options for their tubs and sauna. Returns must be in the original packaging and you’ll be charged a 15% restocking fee. Financing is available through Bread Pay; the sauna is also FSA-eligible. 

Multi-year warranties on saunas are ideal, and the Plunge sauna has a 2-year warranty. While that’s good, we’d love to see a longer warranty on such an expensive item. Our product tester rated the policies a 4.5 out of 5 for that reason.

Here’s a quick disclaimer though: You can extend your warranty another 3 years, but it’ll cost an extra few hundred dollars. Customer service can be contacted by phone or through a contact form on the Plunge website. 

Ordering and Assembling the Plunge Sauna

The Plunge Sauna can be ordered directly from Plunge’s website. Both our product tester and customer reviews agree: The Plunge Sauna assembly process is pretty well-thought out. The pieces are laid out nicely in its packaging and the instructions are simple and precise.

That said, this is still a beast of an assembly. Our product tester says, “We suggest at least four people to build this sauna, although six might be good, too. While the pieces are marked out and the instructions are easy to follow, you need a lot of hands to hold large pieces together until you get all four outer walls assembled.”

Due to the number of people needed to put this sauna together, we rated the delivery and assembly a 3.5 out of 5. If the setup is worrisome to you, though, Plunge does offer white-glove delivery and assembly—instead of curbside delivery—although it’ll cost another $2,000.

Customer Reviews

At the time of this writing, there are only nine reviews on Plunge’s website for the Plunge Sauna. Reviews are positive, however, with the sauna earning 4.7 out of 5 stars from only 4- and 5-star reviews.

Some reviews had minor complaints; one review would’ve liked to have seen the screws used covered up to add to the clean look of the sauna. Another review had a couple more reservations, noting that the glass seems thin on the sauna. Additionally, the change in temperature from the floor to the ceiling is significant.

This reviewer also had issues with connecting the app to the sauna, which is surprising, as we had no issues with the app. However, keep that in mind and contact customer service if you have any issues yourself.

Final Verdict of Our Plunge Sauna Review

There are a lot of ways to address your recovery: sleep, supplements, or even biohacking. If you have the budget to add a sauna into your wellness routine, the Plunge Sauna is a solid option, although it will simply be outside some people’s price range.

Still, if you can afford it, the Plunge Sauna is a high-end dry sauna that performs well, reaches a top temperature of 230 degrees, and has added functionality through its modular benches.

Full Rating

Plunge Sauna

The Plunge Sauna is a versatile take on a traditional Finnish sauna. With a slanted back wall, the Plunge Sauna provides an ergonomic backrest to add comfort to your sauna session. Additionally, the benches fold up to allow more space for standing or stretching. The electric heater is able to let the sauna reach temperatures up to 230 degrees, according to the company.

Product Brand: Plunge

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 11990

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.13

Plunge Sauna Rating

Delivery and Setup – 3.5
Footprint – 3.5
Construction – 5
Performance – 4
Features – 4
Value – 4
Warranty, Financing, Returns – 4.5
Customer Service – 4
Customer Reviews – 4.7
Buy Now

Plunge Sauna: FAQs

Is the Plunge Sauna better than a traditional barrel sauna?

The Plunge Sauna has more versatility than a barrel sauna, as you can fold the benches up and use the space for stretching or mobility work—something that the rounded design of a barrel sauna won’t allow for. That said, traditional barrel saunas are less expensive, making them a better choice for those looking at mid-range prices for saunas.

Is a sauna vest the secret to weight loss?

While a sauna suit or vest might help change the number on the scale in the short term, the weight lost is only water weight, which is temporary, unlike fat loss. If you’re looking to recomp your body by losing fat and building muscle, follow these tips:

-Strength train two to three times a week
-Have moderate-intensity workouts throughout the week
-Eat a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats
-Avoid sugars and processed, prepackaged foods

RELATED: How To Lose Body Fat

Is The Plunge worth it?

The Cold Plunge is pricier than DIY options, but can be much more convenient in use, saving trips to buy ice bags and constantly having to drain and fill water. The chiller of the Plunge keeps water as cool as 39 degrees, allowing for an ice bath whenever you want.

References

  1. Ahokas EK, Ihalainen JK, Hanstock HG, Savolainen E, Kyröläinen H. A post-exercise infrared sauna session improves recovery of neuromuscular performance and muscle soreness after resistance exercise training. Biol Sport. 2023 Jul;40(3):681-689. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2023.119289. Epub 2022 Sep 15. PMID: 37398966; PMCID: PMC10286597.
  2. Peake JM, Roberts LA, Figueiredo VC, Egner I, Krog S, Aas SN, Suzuki K, Markworth JF, Coombes JS, Cameron-Smith D, Raastad T. The effects of cold water immersion and active recovery on inflammation and cell stress responses in human skeletal muscle after resistance exercise. J Physiol. 2017 Feb 1;595(3):695-711. doi: 10.1113/JP272881. Epub 2016 Nov 13. PMID: 27704555; PMCID: PMC5285720.

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