2024 Sauna Trends: What’s Heating Up in Home Wellness

As we step into 2024, it’s clear that the world of sauna culture is on the cusp of a significant transformation. While this year may be just a fleeting moment in the extensive and storied history of saunas, it promises groundbreaking developments poised to reshape modern sauna design. In our latest exploration, titled ‘2024 Sauna Trends: What’s Heating Up in Home Wellness,’ we delve into how contemporary innovations are marrying tradition with cutting-edge design, catering to the evolving tastes and wellness needs of today’s enthusiasts.. 

Saunas have benefited from wellness trends that promote total physical and mental health. Additionally, saunas have become more popular as they’ve been featured in pop culture and mainstream media, sharing their wellness benefits. 

With new audiences come new demands, giving rise to the trends we discuss in this article. These trends ebb and flow between preserving saunas as they are or adapting them for more modern realities and personalized tastes. 

Some of the emerging market trends for the sauna industry in 2024 include home saunas becoming more popular, smart saunas gaining market share, increased use of technology, growing demand for portable and mobile saunas, a rise in upcycled and DIY saunas, continued demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products, and more. 

Below, we share the sauna trends we expect to dominate in 2024. 

1. Home saunas will become more popular

Per many leading companies in the research space, the American sauna market is expected to experience tremendous growth of about 6.06% during the forecast period (2024 and 2027). 

More and more Americans are searching for information on saunas. In 2020, there were 1,470,000 searches for the keyword “sauna” in the United States. In the three years after, the search volume for saunas has grown by 12.59%, 34.38%, and 42.02% year-on-year, respectively. 

The leading drivers of this trend include work-from-home, a growing consciousness about holistic health and wellness, and the increasing demand for home saunas. 

While total work from home has practically vanished, according to a survey by EY, many employers have adopted a more balanced hybrid model. 

With only 2-3 days dedicated to coming into the office, employees have more time to devote to activities catering to their health and well-being. 

And rather than commuting to a spa, we see many people bringing their thermal haven to their backyard and enjoying the benefits from the comfort of home.

Extensive quantitative analysis shows that the search volume for outdoor saunas has risen by over 76% in 2023. Home saunas offer greater privacy, and owners can personalize them to take advantage of this wellness trend.  

2. Smart saunas are gathering steam

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Smart Saunas Are Picking Up Steam Around the United States.” Smart Saunas are saunas users can control remotely through their mobile devices. 

These saunas offer many benefits, such as:

  • Users can turn on saunas remotely and eliminate the delays associated with waiting for the sauna to warm up. 
  • Users can set the exact temperature and humidity for the saunas
  • The ability to track usage over time, which may be handy for scheduling maintenance and cleaning
  • Users can set the mood with different lighting options

Such is the growth of smart saunas in the United States it was described as the global “breakout home-sauna market.” We expect these saunas to gain more market share in the sauna and spa market size in 2024. 

3. More contemporary and futuristic designs

We’ve mentioned how much of the design and structure for most home saunas haven’t changed much over the last few decades. 

Although we are beginning to see more futuristic sauna designs, we think they will grow more popular in 2024. That means more sculptural and bold designs rather than the popular grill-top boxes. 

A good example is the Thermory Ignite Sauna by Nordak Sauna Co. This contemporary sauna design features an oval shape and is made from thermally modified Nordic spruce with a blackened finish. 

Additionally, with many sauna manufacturers offering custom designs, expect to see more daring and personalized structures and experiences. 

4. Home saunas in harmony with nature

We see many homeowners looking to drive more synergy between their saunas and backyard landscape’s natural elements, thus making the space more inviting and serene for a calm retreat. 

This setting means the sauna will not look awkward or out of place but feel like a thoughtful addition to the outdoor garden.

One of the ways we see this trend play out with homeowners is them opting for saunas made with organic and natural materials like wood and stone. Using stone walls on the inside adds unbelievable depth to the space. 

Furthermore, we see homeowners using more eco-friendly elements like green roofs, which may significantly reduce their energy footprint. 

5. More tempered glass

Glass offers many functional and aesthetic benefits. Some of its functional benefits include:

  • Glass reduces heat loss by trapping heat inside the sauna. Glass also makes for an exceptional insulation material. These twin characteristics ensure you gain maximum benefits (better sleep and aiding muscle recovery) from your bathing experience as the temperature remains optimal throughout. 
  • Glass also provides a clear and unobstructed view of the garden or pool, which may provide additional visual stimulation and relaxation during your heat bath.

And in terms of aesthetics, the benefits include:

  • More natural light penetration reduces the need for extra lighting during the day. Exposure to natural light also has its benefits, like improved sleep and mood. 
  • Glass amplifies space and can make the sauna feel bigger than it is.
  • Well-crafted saunas with plenty of glass have a more modern and sleek look than traditional saunas known for their natural and earthy vibe. 

We see more and more home saunas adopting glass, at least implementing a full glass front wall. 

6. More technology

We’ve talked about how smart saunas are becoming major in the United States, which falls under this category. However, we reckon technology will be deployed in newer and more creative ways in 2024. 

Some of the newer ways technology will be expressed in home saunas include:

  • Voice-activated controls and integration of digital voice assistants like Siri and Alexa.
  • Touchscreen control panels to replace the knobs and buttons commonly found in traditional saunas
  • Personalized lighting, including the use of LED spotlights and strip lights
  • Programmable on and off schedules
  • One research company is also predicting the adaptation of virtual reality in the sauna and spa industry

7. The continuous rise of hybrid saunas

Hybrid saunas are for those who do not want to abandon tradition but are afraid of missing out on recent sauna innovations. 

We believe 2024 will see hybrid saunas in more demand. Between 2022 and 2023, the search volume for hybrid saunas in the United States increased by 70%. 

Hybrid saunas come with both electric heaters and rocks and stones. Additionally, they are equipped with infrared panels. The outcome of this combination is that you get the dry heat that infrared saunas are known for and the steamy environment typical of classic saunas. 

These saunas maintain a temperature between 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough for an enjoyable sweating session but not so hot to pose any significant risks. 

8. Portable and mobile saunas

When it comes to saunas, you can built it in, crane it in, or roll it in to place. While we do all of the above but it’s the saunas on wheels that are taking off for 2024.

All around the globe, especially in Europe, we are seeing an explosion of mobile saunas, mostly around coastal areas. We expect to see portable and mobile saunas enjoy remarkable acceptance in the United States in 2024 and change the market dynamics. 

What are portable and mobile saunas? These saunas are portable and compact. They are made with lightweight materials, which makes them easier to transport to and fro. 

Another feature of these saunas is that they are easy to assemble and decouple, thanks to their collapsible frames. People can take the saunas with them on a road trip or to the beach.

One of the consequences of mobile saunas is “social sauna bathing.” Mobile saunas are becoming a favorite place for people to meet new friends and converse with strangers in a relaxed environment. 

9. Upcycled and DIY saunas

With increasing sauna popularity, we reckon that many individuals may be building their saunas rather than making a purchase. 

However, rather than buying new materials, they’ll use repurposed objects. There’s no limit to what DIYers may use, from old horse trailers to buses. Expect to see a variety of designs. 

One thing to note is these saunas may not be the best, especially when built by inexperienced DIYers. Some major flaws of upcycled or DIY saunas are heat loss, poor ventilation, and uncontrolled temperature and humidity. 

So, we recommend a bit of caution when using DIY saunas. Also, check local regulations for the required permits if you can build one. 

10. Saunas go dark

One of the interesting themes we’ve been observing is the use of black or dark gray in saunas, on the walls, accessories, benches, and even stoves. 

Beyond the omnipresence of darker shades in Scandinavian design, one of the reasons many adopt, especially areas like benches that are more exposed to dirt, is that they’re easier to maintain. 

Many designers also balance the dark shade with contrasting light shade. For example, the entire room may be dark, but the decorative fixture on the heater may be white. 

Ensure the decorative stone is at the top of the heater and not mixed with the original sauna stones. 

Nordak Sauna Co. offers many dark-themed saunas made from naturally treated wood for that stylish and modern addition to your backyard. The Porter Sauna is one example. 

11. Keeping it simple with minimalist designs

Minimalist designs prioritize simple lines and shapes. 

While we noted that we’ll see more contemporary and futuristic designs in 2024, expect to continue to see minimalist designs, too, owing to their price points and those craving clean and uncluttered outdoor saunas. 

The thing about these saunas is they’re almost a blank canvas that their owners can personalize as they wish if there ever comes a time they get bored of the sauna’s minimalist look. 

12. Reclaimed wood goes bang!

Reclaimed wood has been battered by the elements (sun, rain, and snow), giving them an edgy yet rustic look that gives a peculiar type of charm. 

Before they can be used in sauna production, though, they must be cleaned, processed and kiln dried. This process ensures there are no insects and that the sauna lasts long. 

Each reclaimed wood has its unique story to tell, and every sauna room built with them is unique in its own right. We see the use of reclaimed wood for producing saunas growing in 2024. 

13. Customer Interest in Heat-Modified Sauna Materials

As the sauna industry evolves, there’s a growing interest in specialized materials that enhance the sauna experience. Among these, heat-modified woods, such as those offered by Thermory, are gaining popularity for their exceptional qualities.

These woods, treated through a natural thermal modification process, offer unique benefits. They are more durable, have greater dimensional stability, and provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance without the need for chemicals. This makes them an ideal choice for sauna enthusiasts who value both quality and a natural approach to material selection.

Consumers are increasingly drawn to these heat-modified woods not only for their functional advantages but also for their distinctive look and feel, which adds a new dimension to the traditional sauna experience.

Sauna manufacturers who incorporate these innovative materials are likely to appeal to prospective owners who are keen on embracing modern yet natural solutions in their wellness spaces.

14. Sauna Cool Rooms Get a Little Cooler

The cool room, once just a simple space for cooling off post-sauna, is evolving into a modern wellness haven. These areas now combine functionality with luxury, transforming into more than just transitional spaces.

Key to this transformation is the introduction of practical yet elegant features. Lockers and cubbies offer personalized storage, while technology integration is a given. Charging ports and speakers ensure a seamless blend of relaxation and connectivity.

Cold plunges are becoming a staple, offering an invigorating contrast to the sauna’s heat. This isn’t just about cooling down; it’s about enhancing the wellness experience.

Beyond functionality, these rooms are embracing a lounge-like ambiance. Coffee tables and tasteful lighting create a space not just to pass through, but to unwind and socialize.

These revamped cool rooms symbolize the shift in wellness spaces from purely functional to experiential. They’re becoming a crucial part of the sauna experience, offering a holistic approach to relaxation and social interaction.

Takeaway: 2024 will be defining for the sauna and spa market 

The wellness and spa market covering the sauna and other segments is expected to grow through 2024 and 2027. One of the key drivers of the sauna market growth is the demand for outdoor saunas. We see this continuing in 2024. 

One of the major growing themes to expect in the sauna space is the demand for mobile and portable saunas that are easy to assemble and transport. In terms of aesthetics, we expect more reclaimed wood, darker themes, harmonizing saunas with nature, and keeping it simple with minimalist designs. 

We’ll keep our eyes peeled for new trends and keep you updated as they emerge. 

Do you have an interesting sauna idea you would like to implement? Nordak Sauna Co. offers impeccable craftsmanship to bring all its essential aspects to life, whether it’s a traditional or modern sauna. Contact us today to get started on creating the best sauna experience tailored to your needs and taste.