After a long 18-month wait, I was finally able to fly back to Finland in June 2021. This trip felt a bit special after such a long wait: I normally go to Finland a few times a year.
I decided to make the most of it and bring back some sauna stuff. Almost everything can be ordered online but sauna accessories are marked up quite a lot here.
Just because everything works a bit differently in barrel sauna when it comes to steam, I wanted to try something I had in Finland a long time ago: a sauna fountain. The literal Finnish translation is “sauna genie” (think Alladin) but it seems that the international translation goes “Sauna Maestro”. Sauna genie would have been much better.
Anyway, this bowl is made of soap stone. You simply put it on the stove and let it heat up. Then when you start saunaing, you simply pour it full of water. At first the water evaporates just like when you pour water on regular sauna stones creating a nice steam. When you keep adding water, the bowl will cool down a bit and starts spitting the water out of the pipes on the stove. So, it’s almost steam automation.
Nice stuff but do I like it? I can’t tell, so let’s dust my precisely calibrated equipment and review this thing scientifically.
This kind of a two-deciliter bowl (one cup) is quite big for my 3.5 m3 sauna so my hypothesis was that this could affect the steam. As you remember from my About Sauna Temperature and Humidity blog post from May, the absolute humidity went from 10 g/m3 to about 40g/m3. The difference is that when I’ve tried this device in summer time, the the starting humidity is very different. Now in summertime, it seems that the absolute humidity is quite often in the 50’s if I go to the sauna when it’s 70c and in the 40’s when I go there a bit earlier.
Below is one example of my summer sessions: I went in at around 8:55PM and spent 90 minutes including quite long breaks. I had three more intense sessions that you can see in the humidity line. You can see that on the first round, the humidity increased by about 40 g/m3 which is a bit bigger increase that I have seen before installing Sauna Maestro. The second graph with title Löyly session 1 shows how the humidity increased by about 35g in the first session, 25g in the second session and 15g in the third session. Then again with Sauna maestro, you see about 40g in the first session, 30g in the second and 40 in the third one. This supports my anecdotal feelings as well that the gadget helps to increase humidity more in the second and third session. I must admit though that 95c and 110 g/m3 steam was a bit too much for me in my small sauna.
In other sessions earlier this summer, I have tried the limits of the stove. Once I reached 100.31C temperature and shut down the stove because I thought my thermometer cannot take that temperature for very long. I filled the Maestro and got the humidity to 116 g/m3. That translated to only about 20% relative humidity but keep in mind that the dew point then was 60c so basically all surfaces less that 60 degrees hot including my body condensed steam to water like crazy. Interesting feeling all in all.
Is it worth it?
Sauna Maestro seems to cost $70 in the U.S. before shipping and tax. It costs about 30 euros in Finland so you pay a bit of a premium here. It looks nice and makes a nice hissing sound. It probably won’t transform the sauna experience in one way or another but I feel it add nice “background” löyly in the room at least in my small sauna. I then also pour water on the regular stones, of course.