Jun 21, 2016

Premium specialized sauna accessories-- not required.

Once the sauna was getting close to completion, usable, but not finished, a big step for me was to start buying the accessories for it. A necessary accessory is a wooden bucket and a ladle. My go to place for both was the web. However, I was a little surprised that I had to pay $60+ for anything close to decent (a plastic water liner in a 200+F sauna? Really?). Also, it was no secret that the same buckets/ladles being sold on different websites were also sold on AliExpress at about $20 cheaper per bucket or even cheaper when bought in bulk. After exhausting all my options, I bit the bullet and bought the best deal I could find, on Amazon, which fit my needs. Grand total for the sauna bucket and ladle, about $69.

Bucket I purchased online, specifically for sauna use $45.
Bucket I purchased online, specifically for sauna use $45.

Ladle I purchased online specifically for Sauna use $21.55.
Ladle I purchased online specifically for Sauna use $21.55.


When everything arrived, we were excited to try them out. Both the sauna bucket and ladle looked authentic and were a great fit to all the cedar used in the sauna. Things were good, however, after the first few sessions, we noticed that the ladle sprung a leak. The ladle, advertised as being specifically for a sauna, was carved out of wood. It seemed like the cup portion of it, was carved out of a piece containing a knot. After a few more rounds of sauna, with shrinking and expending, the wood gave and the ladle split. A few sessions later, the ladle broke completely. This was a special ladle, specifically for saunas, and thus, at a premium price of $21.55.

A wooden sauna ladle cracked from use.
A wooden sauna ladle cracked from use.

For a few sessions after, we ended up using Styrofoam cups and whatever else we could find to dump water on the sauna stove. One day, I was at Walmart, in the cooking accessories isle. There was a stainless steel ladle for sale, with a wooden handle—for cooking. Ladles of such material, specifically for saunas, are $40 online!! This thing, under $6.

This brings me to my main point. An item doesn’t need to be specifically made for a certain use to be charged a premium on. Below is a screenshot of ladles on Walmart.com

A regular ladle is cheap!
A regular ladle is cheap!

Now, here is the same search with the word Sauna added. Do you see my point?

A ladle with the word "Sauna", is sold at a premium.
A ladle with the word "Sauna", is sold at a premium.

Furthermore, as one of my friends pointed out, if you go to say HomeDepot.com and do a search for Galvanized Pail, you’ll get the following, CHEAP, results. These things will outlive your sauna by many years.

Alternative cheap sauna buckets sold at Home Depot.
Alternative cheap sauna buckets sold at Home Depot.

So, the moral of this post is, try and find non-specialized items to be used in a sauna, in a specialized way. It may save you some money as well as frustration of buying inferior specialized products sold at a premium.

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