How Much Does a Sauna Cost To Run? (Monthly & Yearly Average)

Do you know that blissful, weightless sensation of breathing in hot, humid air? It’s hard to put into words just how wonderful it feels, but what we can articulate is how hefty the price tag is. How much does it cost to run a sauna on a monthly and yearly basis?

A traditional 2-person, 2.2 kWh sauna costs $0.15 per 20-minute session, $1.85 per month, and $22.18 per year in electricity. The purchase, installation, and maintenance will be around $5,297 the first year, while additional accessories are an average of $78. To limit costs, clean your sauna regularly and lower the temperature. 

Keep reading to discover how much power a traditional home sauna uses, the total costs to run one per month and per year, and how to save money while doing so!

How much power does a traditional home sauna use

The amount of power a traditional home sauna uses will vary depending on the heat source, type of sauna, and how much you pay locally for electricity.

A traditional sauna heater requires 1 kW to heat 50 cubic feet of inside space and takes around 15 minutes to warm up. Based on square footage, a traditional 2-person sauna requires 2.2 kWh, while a larger 5-person sauna requires 4.9 kWh to run. 

The average household in the United States uses 10,812 kWh every year.

To find out what percentage of your electricity bill a sauna will be, use the calculations below!

Sauna cost calculator

In order to determine how much it will cost to run a sauna, we must utilize the figures above. Although the cost of electricity varies by area, we’ll use the national average of 12 cents per kWh for mathematical purposes.

To find the cost of powering a traditional sauna, take its average energy per hour (kWh) and multiply it by $0.12 to determine the price. If you spend less than an hour in the sauna, we’ll then multiply the cost/hour by the percentage of an hour the sauna was utilized. 

I’m more of a visual learner, so here’s an example:

*Remember that it takes 15 minutes for a traditional sauna to heat up

  • Sauna’s Cubic Feet: 130 ft3
  • Minutes Used: 30 minutes inside (+15 minutes of preheating) = 45 total minutes
  • Average National Cost/kWh: $0.12/kWh

Step 1: Calculate kWh based on sauna size.

(130 ft3) / (50 ft3) = 2.6 kWh (Note: 1 hour of use is equivalent to 1 kW of power needed.)

Step 2: Calculate how many hours (or fractions of an hour) the sauna was used.

(45 minutes/ X) = (60 minutes/ 1); Solve for “X”

 X = 0.75 (or 75% of an hour)

Step 3: Calculate how much power was used in 45 minutes.

(0.75) x (2.6 kWh) = 1.95 kWh used (we’ll round this to 2 kWh for simplicity)

Step 4: Calculate the average cost per sauna session.

(2 kWh) x ($0.12) = $0.24

While most of us only consider the up-front price of purchasing a sauna, it’s important to remember the energy costs as well. This is a really easy formula to find the average cost of your sauna per session if the retailers don’t know or you aren’t provided with the heater’s kWh.

How much does it cost to run a sauna for an hour?

Using the numbers above, let’s calculate how much it costs to run a traditional sauna for an hour. To make things easier, we’ll assume the sauna was preheated for 15 minutes and used for 45 minutes.

It costs about 31 cents to run a sauna for an hour, based on the national average electricity cost.

Here’s the math explained:

Step 1: Considering that a 1kW sauna uses about 1 kW per hour, use the formula below.

(2.6 kWh) x ($0.12) = $0.312 (We’ll round this to 31 cents.)

The total costs to run a traditional home sauna

Many factors equate to the total costs of running a traditional home sauna. However, the average user spends 20 minutes inside, 3 times per week (or 12 times per month), 144 times per year. We’re going to use those numbers specifically, but feel free to plug in your own schedule using the formulas above.

The total cost to run a traditional 2-person home sauna with energy needs of 2.2 kWh is 15 cents per twenty-minute session, $1.85 per month, and $22.18 per year. 

Don’t forget to add 15 minutes of preheating to your formula! The sequence of calculations is: kilowatts [(kW) x (35/60)] x ($0.12) = cost per session. Then, take the cost per session x (12 sessions/month) to get the cost per month; take the cost per month x (12 months/year) to get the cost per year.

Below is a chart detailing the average costs for the most common traditional sauna heaters according to their kilowattage.

KilowattsCost/Session(20 minutes)Cost/Month(12 sessions)Cost/Year(144 sessions)
2.2 kW$0.15$1.85$22.18
3 kW$0.21$2.52$30.24
4.9 kW$0.34$4.12$49.39
6 kW$0.42$5.04$60.48
8 kW$0.56$6.72$80.64
10 kW$0.70$8.40$100.80
12 kW$0.84$10.08$120.96
Cost of running a home sauna per sessions, month, and year

How much does an electric sauna cost per year?

The average cost per year of an electric sauna depends on the size and energy needed to power it.

A traditional 2-person electric sauna costs $22.18 per year, while a conventional 5-person electric sauna costs $49.39 per year. Commercial-sized mega-saunas (15 kWh) will cost a gym or spa $151.20 per year to run.

As you can see, the more square footage there is to heat, the more expensive the sauna is to run.

How much does an electric sauna cost per month?

The average cost per month of an electric sauna will also heavily depend on the size and energy needed to power your particular sauna.

A traditional 2-person electric sauna costs $1.85 per month, while a larger, 5-person electric sauna adds $4.12 to your electricity bill per month. An industrial-sized sauna (15 kWh) will cost $12.60 per month to run. 

What other costs does a traditional home sauna include?

It’s not just the retail price and yearly electricity costs you have to worry about; there are other potential costs associated with a traditional home sauna.

Other costs include maintenance, accessories, and cleaning fees. 

Let’s dive into the details below.

Maintenance Costs of a Traditional Home Sauna

A traditional home sauna will require some maintenance along the way.

Unless you’re a master electrical technician, the initial setup is pricey and will cost $1,850. Average yearly maintenance, like fixing broken parts or electrical work, will run about $425 per year. 

This puts the first-year cost of purchasing a $3,000 traditional home sauna at a whopping $5,297. It should cost significantly less (about $447, to be exact) every year after, assuming you don’t run into any significant problems that need repair.

Accessory Costs of a Traditional Home Sauna

There are so many accessories you can add to your traditional home sauna experience to make it that much better!

Accessories include a Himalayan sea salt brick for $149, a bench cover for $48, and an aromatherapy oil set for $39. 

The possibilities really are endless! Just keep in mind that every new apparatus you purchase will add to the overall cost of your sauna per year.

Cleaning Fees of a Traditional Home Sauna

No one likes to do this, but cleaning your traditional home sauna will lead to less damage and incurred costs in the long haul. Doing it yourself will be cheaper, but hiring someone is also an option.

It is recommended that you clean your sauna at least once per month. To do it yourself, you will only have to pay for the tools like mild dish detergent and a mop (which you should already have) for around $15 max. You could also ask your cleaning person to include it in her visit for around $50 extra.

Regardless of the cost, this is a very important practice in the proper maintenance of your traditional home sauna.

Are gas or wood-burning home saunas cheaper than electric ones?

Although gas and wood-burning sauna home saunas are less common, they do still exist. How much do they cost?

Gas heaters have a higher up-front cost because they take longer to preheat but require less maintenance and cost about $120/year less than an electric home sauna heater. Wood-burning saunas are the most expensive option, costing about $125.76 in wood per year for a standard 2-person sauna. 

Natural gas prices are consistently 2.5x lower than electricity, thus making them less expensive. Gas or propane sauna heaters are great for the outdoors because they require a certain amount of ventilation. Take into consideration, however, that they can take 30-60 minutes to heat up the sauna instead of the 15 minutes needed by an electric heater.

Also a great option for outside, wood-burning sauna heaters provide the heat needed to enjoy your sauna experience, as well as the relaxing crackling of a fire! These heaters are known for being efficient and heating up the room quickly. Try using Western red cedar for $6.55 per board foot to get it going.

How to save money running a home sauna

There are a few practices that will help you save money while enjoying your home sauna.

The best ways to save money with your home sauna are to:

  1. Clean your sauna heater regularly.
  2. Lower the room temperature.
  3. Limit the use of accessories.
  4. Keep the door closed.
  5. Turn the sauna off immediately after use.

Each of these suggestions will help you save money both up-front and in the long run.

Tip #1: Clean Your Sauna Heater Regularly

A dirty sauna heater is never a good thing.

Cleaning your sauna heater will enable it to work properly; a dirty heater may be working overtime and using more electricity than necessary. Even worse- if your sauna heater breaks, you could be responsible for an endless amount of repairs.

Tip #2: Lower the Temperature

Turning down the heat will help you use less electricity in your traditional home sauna, resulting in lower monthly costs.

By turning the temperature down just 5 degrees, you can lower your electricity usage by about 3%.

How’s that for savings!

Tip #3: Limit the Use of Accessories

Although accessories are fun and make your sauna session that much better, they can add up and become costly.

All you really need is your body, some water, and a towel. Not only are other accessories unnecessary, things like essential oils can also make your sauna dirtier, faster. This leads to more frequent cleaning and higher costs. 

Tip #4: Keep the Door Closed

Remember that a traditional electric sauna takes about 15 minutes to heat up.

Keep the door closed to keep the heat and steam inside. Every second the door is open, your heater is working harder (and using more energy) to maintain the set temperature in the room. 

Tip #5: Turn the Sauna Off Immediately After Use

The sooner you turn your sauna off after you finish, the sooner it stops using electricity.

For every working minute, your sauna costs about $0.0075. While that’s only a fraction of a cent, the pennies add up. 

To keep your sauna working properly and running smoothly, limit its run time.

We all want to enjoy the benefits of sauna, but it can be a costly endeavor.

Traditional home saunas cost about $22.18 to run, in just electricity.

Saunas are typically not cheap, and installing them could cost thousands even just to make space. In addition, operating costs add up when you consider gas or electricity prices.

But there’s good news! There are many ways that you can save money on your sauna sessions without having to give up too much quality time with friends and family members.