What Stones Are Used for Saunas?

stones for sauna

What Stones Are Used for Saunas?

I remember just one thing I memorized about sauna stones when I was there – to not touch them. This realization comes even without any additional information – the moment you look at those bundles of steaming rock, you instantly get the idea that it’s not for playing. However, it has never come to my mind what kinds of stones are used for saunas until I decided to build my own sauna. You need particular types of stones for saunas and I’ll explain you why.

The best type of stones for sauna is igneous stones which solidified from lava or magma. Those are the heaviest and roughest surfaced stones. Here are some kinds of igneous rocks you can use for the sauna: peridotite, olivine, vulcanite, granite.

I guess that is why the stones in a sauna get so hot and dangerous to touch – because they are taken from a vulcano itself. I don’t mean to say that sauna will make you feel like in the center of a vulcano but it can definitely help to better your experience in the sauna if you choose the stones wisely and know how to use them.

Most popular stones for saunas are:

1. Vulcanite

vulcanite stone for saunas
vulcanite stone for saunas

2. Granite

Granite stone for saunas
Granite stone for saunas

3. Peridotite

Peridotite stone for saunas
Peridotite stone for saunas

4. Olivine

Olivine stone for saunas
Olivine stone for saunas


How do sauna stones work?

If deep down in your heart you are a true engineer or an explorer or a constructor, before starting using things probably you want to know how do they work.

There is nothing complicated about sauna stones. Their main mission is to keep the temperature in the sauna right, to regulate the steam in the room. Because of the qualities of heaviness and density which igneous rocks have, consistent heat is produced and it is kept better in the room, in this way steadier steam comes out.

Usually the rocks are heated up using a wood fire or an electric heater. Even if you stop using the wood fire or turn off the electric heater, the rocks keep the atmosphere pleasant and hot.

I have never thought that rocks can have some kind of functions. I used to see them just as someone’s mania to collect things, well, okay, maybe they help to build a fire in a fire camp as well. But that’s pretty much it about my rocks understanding before. Now it has turned out that it not just has other functions but also you need to be well aware of what you are choosing.

How to choose perfect sauna stones?

I am the same human being as any of you is – I struggle when I need to choose something. Most often I am not very decisive and I don’t like to take long to make decisions. I don’t look up on the internet when I need to buy a phone or a watch to decide which is the best for me. Usually I ask for recommendations. Probably most of us trust recommendations. However, I have always wished to be more diligent. More thoughtful and hardworking. Because then you get better things.

So if you are like me, here you will find a compromise. A short concentrated answer how to choose the best stones for your perfect sauna.

First of all, when you are picking your own sauna stones, don’t choose the ones which have been dipped into water for too long. Because if the moisture gets into the rock, as soon as the rock is placed in a hot environment, the high heat will turn the moisture into steam inside the rock and the rock will crack. Even if the rock in your sauna one day will crack anyway so you will need constantly to replace it but it is a fact that putting it into a contact with water makes it crack faster.

It is good to know that the heavier the rocks are, the better it is: heavy rocks retain the heat longer. Also  if the surface is rough, it is more likely the steam will be spread more gently.

A right size is as much important as the density if you want the rocks to heat up gradually and release the heat in the same manner. You should have different sizes of stones to be able to stack them easily within a sauna heater. The size should vary from ½ the size of your fist to as large as 3 times the size. Too big rocks heat up too slowly and too small ones – too fast. This is one more reason why the size is so important.

A too big amount of rocks is not necessary as well if you want them to stay loosely for the air circulation.

When you pick the stones, inquire what kind of smell they have. Because some of them might have a distinctive, unpleasant smell.

This was the basic information which you need to know about how to choose sauna stones. Hopefully, it was useful. And now let’s go on with how to use sauna stones.

How to use sauna stones?

The first step when you are using the rocks for the first time is to clean them. This should be done from time to time. You soak them in warm, soapy water when you are sure that they are cool. Use a mild brush to clean the rocks off and then put them into water. It is important the rocks are completely dry before you place them back in the heater.

The way you order the rocks should be taken into consideration as well. They should be kept loosely for the air circulation. Otherwise the heater might overheat. Put the bigger rocks on the bottom and the smaller ones on the top.

You might be waiting until I come to the most important part of the story – water splashing. Because that is the best thing about using the sauna stones – when the steam and heat are released. Most of us in the beginning want to try more steam and heat but it must be known that pouring too much water on the rocks or doing it too often might cool the rocks too much or flood the sauna heater.

Finding the balance would make your experience better and keep your heater in a better condition for a longer time. You can try pouring warmer water than it is usual. If you stick to the cold water, it should be about 3-5 bottles at a time that is to say in one session. You might start with smaller amounts of water to let the sauna stove heat up.

The last thing you need to know is that sauna stones must be replaced from time to time depending on how often you use sauna. Let’s say it is once a week – then the rocks should be replaced once a year. Accordingly you can do the calculation if you use them more often.

So that’s about it, folks. That’s all I wanted to tell you about sauna stones. My mission is completed. Now I leave you to enjoy all the pleasures it gives.


It turns out stones are not just pretty little things on the beach or some accessory on a woman’s neck. It is quite a lot of things to know about them and they might be of some use if used wisely, if they are picked wisely. Hopefully the tips I have put down here will improve your sauna experience!

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