We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.
After a long day of work (or post-workout), nothing sounds worse than getting hot and sweaty. Nevertheless, the best home saunas will help you unwind after a stressful day. A Sauna session can actually help with stress relief1 as well as muscle recovery.
Saunas can be a bit cumbersome to fit inside your home gym, though. If that’s the case, you should look into outdoor saunas, such as the Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Cabin, a four-person sauna made for the outdoors—as the name suggests.
How does it perform? Is it a premium sauna experience? In this Redwood Outdoors Sauna review, we’ll look at the performance of this sauna, as well as some of the highs and lows of ordering and assembling this large piece of recovery equipment.
These Saunas Are Feeling the Heat From Our Testing
Here at Garage Gym Reviews, we’ve tested some of the best muscle recovery tools, from massage guns to compression boots and now saunas. Our team of certified personal trainers, lifting coaches, and competitive athletes know what to look for in the best tools for recovery and fitness. Heck, in my weightlifting training leading up to the Tokyo Olympics, I regularly used a sauna after workouts to reap the health benefits.
RELATED: Top Benefits of Sauna After Workout
For the Thermowood Cabin by Redwood Outdoors, GGR’s lead reviewer of Garage Gym Reviews Everything, Lindsay Scheele, got up close and personal with this sauna, from the ordering and an arduous assembly (more on that later) to performance in use and customer service.
Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Cabin
- Outdoor sauna kit
- Designed to stand up to the elements
- Traditional Scandinavian design
- Constructed from ultra-dry Thermowood timber
- Comes with a Harvia heater
- Includes bucket and ladle, backrest, sauna rocks, light fixture
Pros & Cons
- Ability to relax and recharge from your backyard
- Interlocking lumber for streamlined assembly
- Powerful electric heater
- 2-level seating
- Expensive price tag
- Short 1-year limited warranty
- Requires 240V for electric heater
- Some drilling required for assembly
A Quick Look at the Redwood Outdoors Sauna
Located just outside Seattle, Washington, Redwood Outdoors is a small company specializing in saunas, hot tubs, and cold plunge tubs. Their products are made with Canadian red cedar or Scandinavian Thermowood, which are treated for outdoor protection. The American company has multiple partners in manufacturing, including Estonia, Canada, China, Finland, and the United States.
Their flagship product is outdoor and backyard saunas, although they do have a few indoor saunas available. The sauna designs vary in shape and size, from extra-wide outdoor barrel saunas to cube saunas, all the way to traditional Finnish saunas, like the Thermowood Cabin.
Unlike their cedar barrel saunas, the Thermowood used in the cabin sauna and Thermowood barrel saunas has been heat treated in special chamber kilns to increase the wood’s longevity, making it an ideal wood for an outdoor setting, especially during more extreme seasons like summer and winter.
The Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Cabin seats four people and uses an electric heater, which is easier to use than a traditional wood-burning stove.
Before You Buy
- I’ll reiterate this point more throughout our review, but this sauna will require a 240-volt outlet. If you don’t have this outlet available, you’ll have to call in an electrician—unless you’re able to DIY the power outlet (which I wouldn’t recommend without prior knowledge and experience). If you don’t want to add to your cost, then this may not be the best sauna for you.
- Make sure to build the sauna on level ground. Because these pieces stack and interlock, any off angle can cause larger issues as you build on.
- This sauna performs well, getting to an optimal temperature of about 190 degrees in around 35 minutes, which is pretty fast for a traditional sauna. If that temperature sounds uncomfortable, you may want to try an infrared sauna, which will max out around 150 degrees.
RELATED: Infrared Sauna Benefits
Is the Redwood Outdoors Sauna Worth It?
Most home saunas are going to be an investment, and the Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Cabin is no exception. Still, it provides space for up to four people, room enough for those wanting a spacious sauna experience or families. For its overall value, Lindsay gives the cabin sauna a 3 out of 5. Compared to other saunas, this is on the higher end for a four-person indoor or outdoor sauna, although it’s not the priciest.
The Redwood sauna performed extremely well, heating up quickly and maintaining the temperature. But Lindsay is a bit torn on whether it’d be worth it. She explains, “I’m split 50/50 on this sauna; it worked so well once we got it up and running. It kept the temperature and humidity where we wanted perfectly. However, it was a bit of a pain to set up.”
We’ll get into the assembly later, but it was a challenge for our team. With issues like poor instructions, weak screws, and electrical installations, it became a much larger hassle than anyone anticipated. While most assembly involves interlocking pieces like Lincoln logs, it’d help to have a little bit of woodworking experience to be able to screw together a solid foundation.
The Redwood Outdoors sauna is a great sauna that performs very well. The major things to look at to see if it’s worth it for you are the price and assembly. If you’re able to afford the nearly $6,000 price tag, plus shipping and any extra costs, including electrical installations or building a level foundation for it, then you’ll have a solid outdoor sauna that performs great.
- People looking for a traditional sauna
- Those wanting a sauna that performs extremely well
- Users looking for a durable outdoor sauna
Not recommended for:
- Those looking for more budget-friendly saunas
- Anyone avoiding possible extra installation costs
- People not wanting a difficult assembly
Redwood Outdoors Sauna Specs
|Price||Starts at $5,999|
|Footprint||78.75” L x 59” W x 96.75” H|
|Seats||Up to 4 people|
|Type of sauna||Dry or steam|
|Type of heater||Electric Harvia heater|
|Electrical requirements||110V for lighting, 240V for heater|
Using the Redwood Outdoors Sauna
The Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Cabin performed exceptionally well; GGR lead reviewer Lindsay Scheele says, “Overall, I was impressed with how quickly it got hot in the sauna.” The cabin sauna rose to a temperature of 190 degrees within 35 minutes, which is a fast time to get to an optimal temperature for the health benefits of a traditional sauna. Because of this, Lindsay rated the Thermowood Cabin’s performance a 5 out of 5.
The sauna has two gauges which display temperature and humidity within the sauna. The temperature can be adjusted with manual knobs or by a WiFi-controlled wall pad. It can even be operated off your mobile device. If you don’t want to operate the temperature control, you can also adjust your seating; the upper and lower bench are designed to have differing temperatures since hot air rises. Sauna rocks can have water poured over to create steam as well.
RELATED: Steam Room Benefits
At 800 pounds, this sauna is not portable in the slightest sense, so make sure you build it where you want it to live. The sauna is large but can seat quite a few people—a total of four, depending on the size of each person. It takes up a lot of outside space, at a width of 59 inches, length of 78.75 inches, and height of 96.75 inches; however, the size makes sense for the number of people it can fit.
Additionally, the Redwood sauna is tall enough for people to stand in, which isn’t necessary, but it’s nice to have the option. Because of the suitable size of the sauna, Lindsay rated the footprint of the sauna a 4 out of 5.
Construction and Durability
The Redwood Outdoors sauna is built out of Thermowood, which the company explains is made from heat treating Scandinavian softwood in temperatures between 180 and 230 degrees for up to 96 hours. The treatment helps prevent the wood from swelling, warping, or cracking, as well as resisting rot and fungi—extremely important in an outdoor sauna. All of this increases the wood’s longevity and, therefore, the lifespan of the sauna.
The heater is a stainless steel electric heater from Harvia, a Finnish company that excels in making sauna heaters. This heater performed well in our testing, reaching temperatures exceedingly fast.
One thing to note is that “The heater element just runs off of a 30 amp system, meaning that you have to have a 240-volt outlet installed in order to hook up the unit,” Lindsay says. “This cost us around $1,600,” she adds, “and required us hiring an electrician in order to actually get the heating element set up.” This will be a common issue with outdoor saunas, so be mindful of the extra work and cost.
Features and Extras
Being a traditional sauna, quite a few standards are included, such as a ladle and bucket for water, which can be placed on sauna rocks to increase the humidity. The sauna heater is built by Finnish company Harvia, a top manufacturer of electric sauna heaters. The temperature can be adjusted through two knobs within the sauna or by WiFi—with a mounted wall pad, phone, or tablet. The sauna also comes with a lighting fixture, too.
There are quite a few add-ons for the Redwood sauna as well. You can add roof shingles to the sauna for more protection or get an adjustable sauna recliner. Aside from specific add-ons for the sauna, you can also purchase an outdoor shower and an Alaskan cold plunge tub. Each add-on will increase the price of the order, though, of course.
RELATED: Redwood Outdoors Yukon Tub Review
Comparison to Renu Therapy The Rusticus 2-3 Person Indoor Sauna
- Traditional sauna made with aromatic rustic red cedar wood
- Seats 2 or 3 people
- Includes Finnish-made Harvia heater and ambient lighting
- Maximum temperature of 195 degrees
- Customizable door
- Requires 220V outlet
Pros & Cons
- Customizable door
- High max temperature
- Harvia heater
- Ambient lighting
- High-quality wood
- Multi-year warranty
- Requires 220V outlet
- Only for indoor use
Although these two saunas are built for different environments, I think it’s important to compare two similarly priced saunas and the additional costs that may come with an outdoor sauna, along with the pros and cons of each.
Along with a similar price point, the two products are both traditional saunas with electric heaters. However, the footprint of the Redwood sauna is larger than the Rusticus, but footprint will be much more of a concern for an indoor sauna. Another difference between the Thermowood Cabin and the Rusticus is the warranty: Renu Therapy offers a much more robust warranty for a longer period of time.
In addition to these differences, a costly difference is that the Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Cabin requires a 240-volt power source for the heater, which can be a costly installation if you don’t already have this outlet available. This is a common issue with outdoor saunas, and will surely add extra costs to your sauna purchase.
Being an indoor sauna, the Rusticus only requires a 110-volt outlet, which is standard in American households, so there won’t be any additional costs for electrical requirements.
An outdoor sauna will certainly have increased costs from any electrical installations—or laying out a level foundation if you’re lacking one. Still, an indoor sauna the size of the Rusticus will require a decent amount of floor space in your home or garage gym. Ultimately, it’ll depend on your budget and what sort of space you have, inside or outside.
|Redwood Outdoors Thermowood 4-Person Cabin Sauna||Renu Therapy The Rusticus 2-3 Person Indoor Sauna|
|Price||Starts at $5,999||Starts at $6,004|
|Footprint||78.75” L x 59” W x 96.75” H||70” W x 47” D x 78” H|
|Weight||800 lbs||515 lbs|
|Wood materials||Thermowood||Rustic red cedar|
|Seats||Up to 4 people||2 to 3 people|
|Type of sauna||Dry or steam||Dry or steam|
|Type of heater||Electric Harvia heater||4.5kw or 6.0kw KIP electric heater|
|Indoor or outdoor||Outdoor||Indoor|
|Electrical requirements||110V for lighting, 240V for heater||110V|
|Warranty||1-year limited||Limited lifetime warranty on the sauna room, 5-year limited on the heater and components, and 1 year on heating elements (coils)|
GGR lead reviewer Lindsay gave the overall customer experience a 5 out of 5, as there are multiple modes to contact them, as well as promptness in responding to customers. They can be contacted by phone or through a contact form online. Lindsay reached out to Redwood Outdoors, and they replied back within an hour. Lastly, many customer reviews raved on high-quality customer service.
The warranty and returns policy are a little lacking however. Redwood Outdoors provides a one-year limited warranty to all of their saunas and cold plunges, which is not a long coverage period for a product costing over $6,000. It covers defects in manufacturing, but claims must be made within the warranty period, or the claim is voided.
If a product or part of the sauna is deemed defective, Redwood Outdoors will provide a replacement piece or product, or they’ll refund part or all of the product if deemed irreparable.
Returns can be made within 30 days of delivery for credit or a refund, but the product must be returned in its original wood crate. You’ll get any shipping charges deducted from your refund, as well, which could be costly with an 800-pound crate. Also, if any steps are not adhered to, you risk having your return and refund denied. Because of the short warranty and return window, Lindsay rated this a 2.5 out of 5.
Ordering and Assembling the Redwood Outdoors Sauna
The Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Cabin can be ordered directly from the Redwood Outdoors website, and although it has a hefty price tag, they do have financing options available through Affirm, starting at $208 per month with 0% APR. The website states that delivery times currently are between three to five weeks. They ship nationwide in the USA, including Alaska and Hawaii.
During our testing, we had our share of issues. Lead reviewer Lindsay Scheele helped put together the Thermowood Cabin with Sam Presley, GGR’s operations manager, and they ran into a couple of problems during construction. For one, the instructional video for the sauna seemed to be for an older or different model of sauna, which led the team to have to troubleshoot and guess at the right pieces while building the sauna.
Once the foundation is built out on level ground, the walls are constructed like Lincoln logs, which is simple enough, but getting there was a challenge. To build the foundation (along with the sauna benches and roof), screws were provided, but they weren’t the best quality.
Lindsay recalls, “The biggest issue we ran into was the screws that came with the sauna. They were a very cheap, imported metal that would shred apart when met with any resistance, such as going into the wood.” This led them to purchase higher-quality screws from the hardware store to help with the assembly.
Lindsay gave the setup a 3 out of 5; although most of the setup was easy enough with building interlocking pieces, issues like the vague instructions, the cheap screws, and even the wood having mites (not termites, but mites) led to the assembly being a longer process than anticipated. Along with that, pieces were sometimes difficult to align perfectly. Lindsay says, “Unless you’re a carpenter and can make small changes, you may end up slightly disappointed in the end result.”
Another thing to consider is that this outdoor sauna—like many outdoor saunas—will require a 240-volt outlet for the electric heater. This is not a common voltage, so many people will probably need to hire an electrician to run the proper wiring to get the sauna to operate. This is extra time and cost to factor into your build out; for us it was an extra $1,600.
Out of 144 customer reviews, Redwood Outdoors are rated overwhelmingly positively, scoring an average of 4.9 stars out of 5. However, these reviews are for the company as a whole, not specific to the sauna we tested. Regardless, reviews are positive and speak about having great customer service and all products performing well.
The lowest review I could find was 4 stars, and the very few I found had minor complaints on issues with deliveries or assembly. One reviewer said, “Really, really pleased with the support we received from the questions we had about the assembly process! While it definitely took us longer to put together than was stated on the website, we are so happy with the final product.”
A positive review on the Thermowood cabin speaks highly of the performance and feel of the sauna, saying, “We purchased a 4 person Thermowood outdoor sauna from Redwood Outdoors, and we absolutely love it! The 8-kilowatt heater heats the space quickly, so it is ready for use when we feel the urge to use it…We opted for the glass front and it adds that extra special touch of feeling connected with nature.”
Final Verdict of Our Redwood Outdoors Sauna Review
With quick heating and a sturdy build, the Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Cabin is a nice outdoor sauna that performs well and has convenient adjustable knobs for the temperature. However, to get to that point, it took a lengthy assembly process along with an electrical installation.
Here are some tips to keep in mind for the assembly of the sauna:
- Make sure to build on level ground. Not “mostly level” ground, but level ground. Because the wood pieces stack up, the slightest angle at the start can make larger pieces, like the door, not fit later on in the build out.
- Having at least two people is essential for building out this sauna.
- If you don’t already have an outlet made for 240 volts, prepare to have an electrician over and factor this into your costs overall.
- In our assembly, the screws provided were weak and shredded easily. It may be worth it to buy some heavy-duty screws for installation.
At its price for a four-person sauna, it may not be a feasible option for people on a budget, especially when factoring in any electrical costs. If you have the money, though, it performs incredibly well and heats up quickly.
Redwood Outdoors Sauna Rating
Redwood Outdoors Thermowood Cabin Sauna
A small company that’s made a big splash in hot tubs and saunas. Are their saunas worth it, though? Find out in our Redwood Outdoors sauna review.
Product Brand: Redwood Outdoors
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 5999
Product In-Stock: InStock
Redwood Outdoors Sauna: FAQs
What is the best wood to use for a sauna?
The type of wood for a sauna will vary depending on the function of the sauna. Cedar is a commonly used wood for outdoor saunas, as it is long-lasting and resistant to mildew and insects. Hemlock is another common wood, as it is mildew and stain-resistant.
Redwood Outdoors uses rustic red cedar, as well as Thermowood, which is heat-treated Scandinavian softwood. The treatment makes the wood more resistant to water, rot and fungi, which helps prevent the wood boards from warping, cracking, and bending.
Are outdoor saunas worth it?
The best outdoor saunas can be worth it and perform well. It’s also often easier to find space for a sauna in your backyard instead of inside your house. However, with an outdoor sauna, you may have extra installation costs to lay down a level foundation or to install a power outlet, as most outdoor saunas require 240 volts. If you can budget for or afford these potential costs, an outdoor sauna can be a solid choice for a way to relax and unwind.
How do you clean a Redwood Outdoors Sauna?
Redwood Outdoors recommends cleaning your sauna regularly to keep it performing well and looking good. The company says to never use chemicals on the inside of your sauna, as it can damage the wood.
After use, wipe up excess perspiration with a towel and leave the door open to dry out the inside. Use warm water and gently scrub stain spots you may see over time. A low-pressure washer with a wide-pattern nozzle can also work. If all else fails, you can also buff away tough stains with fine-grit sandpaper.
- Sutkowy P, Woźniak A, Boraczyński T, Mila-Kierzenkowska C, Boraczyński M. The effect of a single Finnish sauna bath after aerobic exercise on the oxidative status in healthy men. Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2014 Mar;74(2):89-94. doi: 10.3109/00365513.2013.860616. Epub 2013 Dec 5. PMID: 24304490.
If you're in the market for a bar that's made for heavy lifting, check out our REP Fitness Helios Squat Bar review to see if this bar’s right for your gym. Read more
There’s one fitness metric that’s simple to use and can tell you a lot about your workouts: RPE. But what is RPE, exactly? Read more
The American Barbell Gold Standard Bar is a great option for anyone looking to purchase a versatile barbell. The Gold Standard Bar has a flashy gold finish, yet durable zinc coat, as well as being produced in the United States, and meets IWF standards. This barbell should not go overlooked when looking to purchase a barbell for any home or commercial gym. Read more
Wondering whether rowing vs running is the better form of cardio exercise? A personal trainer explains the differences. Read more