A close-up picture of a stack Canadian Basswood which is used to make SaunaRays infrared sauna

Basswood Saunas: What Is the Best Type of Wood for an Infrared Sauna?

If you’re in the market for an infrared sauna for your home or vacation property, you have many decisions to make. One of the first questions you’ll need to answer when working with a sauna manufacturer or installer is which type of wood you’ll use. Here at SaunaRay, we believe that a Basswood sauna is the best option available, thanks to the unique natural properties of Basswood, which we’ll explore below. In fact, Basswood is the only kind of wood we use in our saunas—including our premanufactured saunas and our custom saunas.

Many types of wood can be used safely and successfully in an infrared sauna, but they aren’t interchangeable. Each type has its own look and feel, as well as a host of other important properties (like durability and scent).

What Is Basswood?

Basswood is a natural, sustainable hardwood that’s native to North America. It reproduces by root growth, like a weed, and matures in as little as seven years. It’s also the least allergenic wood on the continent, which is important when you’re placing it inside your home. Strongly scented woods are noticeable throughout the home and can be a dominant and unwelcome aroma. Basswood is actually used in the medical industry to make tongue depressors, and in the food industry to make popsicle sticks – because you can put it in your mouth without having a reaction to oils in the wood.

 Basswood is very light in color, ranging from off-white to light brown. Light bounces abundantly inside and it feels more spacious than darker woods. It’s easy on the eyes and blends with almost any design and color palette. It’s visually lighter than some traditional wood choices for saunas, like cedar which has a heavy and dark natural look.

Advantages of Choosing a Basswood Sauna

The type of wood you choose is one of the more important design choices when selecting an infrared sauna. These are the reasons why Basswood is the superior choice.


Some wood types can create an allergic response, leading to eye or skin irritation. Obviously, this isn’t ideal inside an enclosed space. 

Basswood is one of a few wood types that are considered hypoallergenic, making a Basswood sauna the perfect choice for those with sensitive skin.

Naturally Sustainable.  

Since they mature in as little as seven years, Basswood trees replenish earlier than the lifespan of the product they are used to build. That is the primary definition of sustainability:  Can the product live longer than it takes to grow the tree?  

Cedarwood can be harvested from 500-year-old trees, especially in Canada. Hemlock trees typically mature at 60-80 years. Basswood, as we’ve already bragged, can mature in seven years and reproduce without replanting. SaunaRay products are designed to last your lifetime, which makes them the only truly sustainable infrared sauna on the market. 

Durable and Nontoxic

If it’s cut thick enough (¾” or thicker) Basswood can add a lifetime of durability to a stand-alone sauna cabinet. And its natural non-odorous and non-toxic properties make it the wisest choice to place inside your home. 

The SaunaRay Difference

Most lumber is treated with toxic chemicals or is fumigated upon import. SaunaRay has worked with local sustainable foresters for almost 20 years. We select each tree within 100 miles of our factory. We bring the Basswood direct from the forest to your home, bypassing the mystery of where the wood came from. 

We don’t use any toxins or synthetic glues to build our saunas. Instead, we use natural, healthy beeswax to coat the outside.  We leave the inside natural, just as nature designed it. 

A SaunaRay infrared Basswood sauna uses only the most natural wood, heaters, and glass, giving you an unparalleled natural experience that you can trust for a lifetime.

Ready to learn more? Reach out today. We are here to help.