Let’s be clear:
You need a container for water. This is because you need steam.
You don’t need a fancy bucket and ladle.
Many of them cost $50+. That is expensive for something you can find around your house for free.
You can use any *clean* container that holds a lot of water, and something to scoop with.
However, sauna buckets and ladles do look luxurious. It will make your sauna stand out.
A nice sauna bucket is definitely the way to go if you are willing to spend on that luxury.
You do not want an old, faded, barely orange anymore, Home Depot bucket to go in your luxurious sauna.
You probably already have other nice accessories that will accompany the bucket.
Why you need steam in your sauna
Steam ties together a perfect sauna experience. You want the humidity to make it feel hotter, sweat more, relax, and the air more breathable.
A sauna at only 170 degrees feels much hotter with a lot of steam.
This is done by pouring water over the rocks throughout your session.
The increased humidity relaxes your tense, muscles. Allowing you to melt into the bench.
You’ll notice your nostrils can burn sometimes with a dry sauna and no moisture. The steam helps make it more breathable for your nose.
The steam is great for detoxing because it makes you sweat a lot more. And sweating flushes out toxins.
Steam coming from the rocks is called löyly, in Finland. Löyly is really considered the spirit and life force of the sauna.
Löyly, or steam, is a critical component of an amazing sauna experience.
Below is a list of the best sauna and bucket ladles by price range.
What to look for in a water bucket and ladle
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when buying a sauna bucket and ladle.
The bucket should hold a good amount of water, like 1 gallon. You may not use all of that water in one session, but you’ll need more than a few glasses of water.
The handle on your bucket matter too. Some have a rope, others have a wooden handle sticking out the side, while others just have a handle that goes over-top of the bucket.
You may want a bucket with a lid if you have to carry your bucket far before reaching your sauna.
Your ladle should be deep so it can scoop more water. Too many of the sauna buckets and ladles on Amazon have ladles that are almost flat. You can’t scoop much water with them.
Your bucket and ladle should be made out of wood, or have a handle that won’t burn in the sauna. If you had a metal bucket, it would get too hot in the sauna.
Best sauna buckets and lades, by price range
Best sauna buckets – under $20
DIY – Find a clean container that easily is transported to and from the sauna. Make sure it won’t melt or get too hot (metal) in the sauna.
You can find something around your house. That may be your kids’ sand bucket that they don’t use anymore or some other bucket that you can disinfect.
Home Depot – The Home Depot water bucket is a classic. If you love Home Depot, and/or don’t want to spend money on anything fancy, this is the move.
Amazon – Maybe you don’t love Home Depot. Or you just want a lid.
This 5 gallon, white bucket with a lid is about $20 right now. Since it’s Amazon, you’ll get it quickly.
Notice that you will still need a ladle for these 3 options. While they are easy to find, I’d recommend one that isn’t stainless steel, because that’ll get hot in the sauna.
- This nylon, nonslip grip ladle is a great option, and cheap (Amazon)
- Another one, even cheaper (Crestware)
You can also use any big spoon as a ladle. One you can find around your house.
You can just dump the water from the bucket onto the rocks. That doesn’t give you as much control and you can overpour.
Best sauna buckets and ladles – mid-range
This is where we start getting into the specifically designed sauna bucket and ladles.
The best one comes from this incredible store, called Touch of Finland. It started as a small retail store in Marquette, MI as a place for local Finnish-Americans to get premium, imported Finnish goods.
Their team is incredibly responsive and helpful.
They have multiple different ladles. The aluminum/ wood 19’’ is my favorite.
You can choose buckets from wood, bamboo, and copper.
Best sauna buckets and ladles – high end
For the best sauna buckets and ladles that start to get fancy, local wood-makers on Etsy is a great option.
BestFromNatalia has thousands of sales and hundreds of 5-star reviews for her products.
Her buckets are made of natural wood oak. There is one option for a bucket that holds 10L of water. There is another option where the bucket holds 15L, has a lid, and a handle!
The deep spoon can scoop .5L of water.
Buying all of this can be around $200.
If you are going to splurge, this is the bucket for you.
How to use a sauna water bucket & ladle
Fill up the bucket. Bring it into the sauna. Put it down next to the heater.
The person nearest to the heater is normally the one controlling the steam.
This is where I sit. I want to control the environment.
This is the equivalent of the recliner in the living room, where the old man is the one controlling the remote.
It’s important here to be mindful of others. I use much less water on the rocks than when I am alone, to not overwhelm anyone.
When I am alone… I’m getting that steam going, frequently pouring water over the rocks.
Use essential oils in your sauna bucket
This is a must.
Once you do it the first time with Eucalyptus oil, you will love it.
Pour essential oils into the water bucket, stir it around, then pour the water onto the rocks.
People love it every time I do this in the gym locker room sauna.
How much water do you pour on the rocks
This is preference.
Some people don’t because it makes the sauna very humid. Even though the temperature in the sauna doesn’t increase, it will feel much hotter.
Even a 170° sauna can feel very hot with a lot of steam.
I like a lot of steam. I pour water over the rocks every few minutes. Just 1 or 2 ladle fulls at a time.
Again, this is all preference. Try it yourself!