More and more of us are choosing to fit a regular sauna into our routine. They’re a great way to relax and recharge our batteries.
But if you want to get the most out of your sauna session, you’ll need the right sauna accessories! We’re going to take a look at ten tools for a sauna. And we’ll take you through everything you need to know about how to choose and use them.
So if you’re ready, step this way to find out more!
Sauna Accessories You Must Have
1. Sauna Hat
Unless you’re using a sauna blanket, a sauna hat is a must-have. It will help keep your head cool, enabling you to enjoy your sauna for longer.
The best sauna hats are made of wool or woolen felt. They work so well because wool is a great insulator. That’s why we wear woolly hats in winter!
You might be thinking that a woolly hat sounds like a strange thing to take into a sauna. But the principle is the same as for your winter beanie. The same properties which make wool great at keeping the heat in winter, mean it’s great at keeping the heat out in a sauna.
The traditional sauna hat used in Russian and Finnish saunas is shaped like a cloche. The long sides mean that it’s also great at protecting the tips of your ears from the heat.
But if you’re looking for something a little more distinctive, there are plenty of options to choose from. You can find sauna hats designed to look like captain’s hats, viking helmets, flowers or pandas! The choice is almost endless.
If you like your sauna with an extra dose of complementary therapy, check out the Russian Venik. This odd looking accessory is basically a bundle of different plants and twigs formed into a short broom. And it has a number of different uses in the sauna.
First up, you can use it for massage. Lower the broom into cold water first, for about ten to twenty minutes. Then soak it in hot water for between one and three minutes. It’s then ready for use.
Stroke it across the back of your sauna companion – or even better, get someone else to use it on you! The idea is that the broom will stimulate your circulation.
The different plants also apparently contain essential oils. These, it’s claimed, perform wonder functions like improving your metabolism and reducing the signs of age.
If you’re using a Finnish sauna, you can also use it to flick water onto the coals.
At the very least, the Venik makes an attractive conversation piece for your sauna. And it gives off a pleasant fragrance to enhance the experience.
3. Sauna Mitten
If you’re going to use a Venik, you’ll also need a sauna mitten! This handy – pardon the pun – item looks a bit like an oven glove. You use it to protect your hand if you touch anything in the sauna.
Most sauna accessories are made of wood, so they shouldn’t get too hot. But it’s still a good idea to give your hand another layer of protection. That’s the case whether you’re using your broom or ladling water onto hot coals.
Like sauna hats, most sauna mittens are made of wool, because of its excellent insulating properties. For the smarter sauna user, you can find coordinating hat and mitt sets. And you can even purchase mittens with a textured surface that can double as a massage aid or exfoliator.
Whatever option you choose, you’ll be able to sweep, massage and ladle away to your heart’s content. And you’ll never have to worry about burning your hand.
An essential part of the Finnish sauna experience is ladling water onto the hot coals. A sauna wouldn’t be the same without that lovely sizzle and sudden blast of heat!
That makes a sauna bucket and ladle a genuine essential in any Finnish sauna. (Just steer clear in an infrared one. The water and infrared lights won’t mix well!)
Whatever you do, don’t try to use a standard bucket! The plastic won’t cope with the heat in a sauna. And if it’s got a metal handle, even a sauna mitten may not be enough to protect your hand.
Instead, choose a traditional sauna bucket and ladle. These are made of wood, which conducts the heat less well and won’t hurt your hands. Watch out for any that have metal bands – they’re a recipe for burns.
Some come with rope handles, ideal if you have somewhere to hang it. Others feature a single wooden handle for easy pouring direct from the bucket.
You’ll also want a ladle with a nice long handle. After all, you don’t want to be exerting yourself too much whilst you’re trying to relax!
Whatever kind of sauna you have, it’s important to know what temperature it is inside. That makes a thermometer an indispensable piece of kit. And you’ll want one that’s able to keep working reliably in high temperatures and humid conditions.
Most sauna thermometers have a wooden surround, perfect for blending in with a traditional Finnish sauna interior. But if you prefer a more contemporary look, you can also find round gauges with a metallic rim.
Some feature a built-in hygrometer for a two-in-one solution. (We’ll talk more about hygrometers in a moment.) That’s a good choice if you prefer to keep a minimalist look for your sauna.
Some thermometers are free-standing, whilst others are designed to be mounted to the wall. The former means you’ll have to remember where you’ve put it. But you’ll be able to keep it right next to you, wherever you sit.
A wall-mounted version is a better option for a multi-user sauna.
As well as keeping track of the temperature, you’ll want to know the humidity in your sauna. That’s what a hygrometer is there for.
As with your thermometer, you’ll want one that’s well designed and constructed to withstand the heat and humidity. A two-in-one design incorporating a thermometer is a popular choice. That allows you to check all your sauna stats in one easy place.
Lots of hygrometers these days come with the ability to connect to your smartphone. That’s fine for many contexts, but it’s of limited use in a sauna. You won’t be able to take your phone inside – at least, not without risking seriously damaging it.
So save yourself some money and go for something simple. It will work just as effectively.
7. Sauna Timer
The sauna timer takes us back to a simpler time! Turn it upside down and let the sands run down to show you when it’s time to get out of the sauna.
Most timers are set to run for fifteen minutes. And many have gauges on the side, so you can see when you’ve been there for five and ten minutes too.
The traditional sauna timer is made of wood, and that’s the best choice. You won’t risk burns when you turn it over. And if you want something a little funkier, many brands give you a choice of colors for your sand.
This simple piece of equipment is a great way to ensure you don’t stay in the sauna for too long. Overdoing the heat can lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion, so don’t leave your timing to chance.
8. Back Rest
Saunas are all about relaxation – so you want to be comfy! A back rest can be an excellent investment, especially in saunas that are too small to lie down in.
As with most accessories, a back rest needs to be made of wood. After all, you’re going to have it next to your skin. There are some great options out there in cedar and Canadian hemlock.
You can also find versions in a gentle S-shape. These are designed to hug the natural curve of your spine for the ultimate in comfort.
Back rests are particularly good for use in infrared saunas, where they’ll keep your back away from the panels. But they’re also a comfortable addition to a Finnish sauna. Once you’ve tried one, you’ll never go back to a flat sauna bench!
You can also find sauna pillows – gently sloping wooden platforms that keep your head in a comfortable position. Invest in both, and all you’ll need to worry about is not dropping off while you’re enjoying the heat!
What’s better than relaxing in a sauna? Relaxing in a sauna whilst breathing in a beautiful fragrance!
Different scents have long been known to have therapeutic properties. Lavender is wonderful for relaxation and stress relief. Bergamot is another stress reliever, and it’s also great for eczema. Peppermint boosts energy, and rose tackles anxiety and improves your mood.
So adding an aromatherapy kit to your sauna will bring a whole new dimension to your experience. And there are some great options on the market.
Look for one that’s specifically designed for use in saunas. Something that can be mounted on the wall is ideal – you don’t want to bump into it by accident! And avoid metal oil holders. They will get very hot in the sauna, which can mean burns if you brush against them.
It’s a good idea to invest in a range of different oils to get you started. That will allow you to adjust the fragrance to your mood. And because it’s so hot in the sauna, you won’t need an oil burner. Just sit back and let the heat do its work.
10. Spa Wrap
The question of what to wear in a sauna divides opinion! But if you don’t want to go au naturel, why not invest in a spa wrap?
This clever innovation is made of toweling, so it will absorb your sweat. And it’s designed to close securely, so you won’t have to worry about it slipping.
There are different designs for men and women. Men’s wraps fasten around the waist, while for women, they fasten above the bust. They usually use Velcro, so they’re very easy to get on and off.
Some feature pockets too – very handy to keep your locker key in, if you’re using a public sauna. And there’s a great range of different colors to suit every taste.
11. Sauna Gel
For the sauna user who has absolutely everything, why not consider a topical sauna gel? There are a whole range of products out there that promise to make you sweat earlier and harder.
You might be asking yourself why you would want to do such a thing. It’s a good question, and the answer seems to depend on believing some very dubious claims.
The main one is the sweating-as-weight-loss mantra. Sweat goes the theory, and you’ll lose weight. Sweat more, and you’ll lose more weight. Why diet when you could just slather on some gel and get in the sauna?
Well, the sad news is that while you will lose weight by sweating, all you’ll be losing is water. That means that as soon as you drink anything, you’ll put the weight straight back on. After all, your body needs water to function!
We have no idea whether products like this actually do make you sweat more. But if they do, take care when using this in the sauna.
More sweat means a greater risk of dehydration. So make sure you drink plenty of water before you get into the sauna. Keep sipping while you’re in there too, and have a good long drink when you get out.
Everything You Need for the Perfect Sauna!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up of 11 tools for a sauna! Some – like thermometers, buckets, and timers – are pretty much essential. Others are fun ways to improve the sauna experience. And still, others are, frankly, a bit dodgy (we’re looking at you, sauna gel).
Whether you love saunas or are looking for a gift for someone who does, we hope we’ve inspired you. Enjoy finding your perfect accessories – and happy shopping!