The complete buyer's guide to
HUUM sauna stoves, heaters, & controllers
HUUM is a premium and award-winning designer of sauna stoves and heaters.
HUUM combines ancient sauna building principles with contemporary Nordic design and cutting-edge technology. Their heaters and stoves don't just look good in the sauna, but are carefully designed with minimal metal to hold a large number of stones that provide the best possible heat and steam. HUUM has also designed a smart control system called UKU for electric heaters, which includes a wall-mounted controller and mobile app so you can control your sauna with improved safety and convenience.
HUUM stoves and heaters are now at the heart of an increasing number of stylish saunas around the world - from inside luxury spas to modest apartments. There's even an English Premier League football team that ordered a HUUM stove from us and now has a sauna alongside their training pitch.
If you're interested in purchasing your own HUUM stove, heater or controller then here's everything you need to know. We've covered the story of HUUM, how to choose your own HUUM stove or heater, how to order, and then finally offered a look at different HUUM saunas around the world. Later this month (May 2020), we'll also be adding detailed installation guides.
The story of HUUM
The founder of HUUM, Siim Nellis, comes from a family of sauna stove builders over several generations in Estonia.
Following years of technical development, Nellis turned to the Estonian Academy of Arts in 2011 and challenged students there to help design a more efficient electric sauna heater that combines traditional Estonian sauna building knowledge with modern design and smart technology. They decided that modern sauna stoves are too industrial and that the design focus should be returned to the stones, as it has been for thousands of years, which provides a superior heat and leil (sauna steam).
The winning design was the Drop, a wall-mounted electric stove inspired by the shape of a water droplet. Despite taking up very little space in the sauna, the design holds 55kg of stones, which is far more than many wood-burning stoves. After further development, the Drop was launched in 2014 and immediately received positive feedback from sauna enthusiasts, as well as several design awards.
As a result, HUUM has continued to grow and invest in further product development, including the UKU smart control system that would provide sauna users with added convenience and safety. The company established its primary presence in Tartu, the academic and cultural heart of Estonia, but it also relies on skilled expertise from metal workers across Estonia who individually work on different elements of the production, much of which is too creative for automated process lines so it requires handwork.
Their second design was Hive, a larger free-standing stove that is available as both an electric and wood-fired version. This was launched in 2016 and has already proved popular in public saunas and spas, as well as larger home saunas.
The technology has evolved too, including the HUUM mobile app which is under continuous development. This was originally only controlled through an inbuilt SIM card that requires a connection fee, but HUUM then launched their WiFi-connected UKU controllers at the start of 2019.
That's where we come in at EstonianSaunas.com. Anni and Adam received the first WiFi-connected HUUM stove for our Airbnb apartment in Tallinn. At the time, we were mostly focused on sauna tourism to Estonia but were so impressed with the quality of the sauna experience provided by HUUM that we decided to both invest in HUUM to support their expansion and also partner with them as a retailer. We are also currently developing another sauna with a HUUM wood-fired stove - although this one is inside a ZiL-131 Soviet Army truck!
We have since delivered HUUM sauna stoves around the world to help more people create their own saunas - from small apartments to luxury lodges, and even an English Premier League football team.
At the end of 2019, HUUM launched two new heater designs, Steel and Cliff, in response to the demand for home saunas - especially in smaller spaces such as apartments. Home saunas are already the norm in our part of northern Europe, but have now become a rising export market. As a result, Steel and Cliff are designed to accommodate remarkably small safety distances.
So far in 2020, demand for HUUM stoves and heaters has surged as more people spend more time at home and thinking about their health. After global lockdowns began, total HUUM sales increased by over 200% in March. Fortunately, production is able to continue safely even while social distancing and goods are moving relatively smoothly across borders despite restrictions on travel. The biggest issue has merely been sourcing enough stones to meet up with demand because these must be collected, rounded and polished so there are now occasional short delays, although most customers still receive their orders straight away.
This crisis has also been a catalyst for us at EstonianSaunas.com. With the loss of tourism, we have adapted by focusing entirely on helping people around the world build their own saunas with HUUM stoves. We are also scaling up our support so we'll soon be adding resources to advice on installation but you can always ask us for advice by opening our live chat feature.
How to choose your
HUUM wood-fired stove or electric heater
1. Calculate the kW output power you will need (electric & wood-fired)
2. Understand your wiring and input power (electric)
3. Choose your HUUM heater style (electric)
4. Choose your UKU control system (electric)
1. Calculate the kW output power you will need
This first part is for both electric heaters and wood-fired stoves. You'll need to determine how much output power you'll need from your sauna heater or stove in order to heat your sauna hot room properly.
HUUM heaters and stoves can be used in sauna hot rooms ranging from 3 to 35 cubic metres in size. The output power is measured in kW (for both electric heaters and wood-fired stoves). As a very general rule, you will need around 1 kW of power for every 1 cubic metre of room that you are heating, although slightly more if you have more non-insulated surfaces (like windows and a glass door) or heat-storing surfaces (like brick, concrete or large logs) You'll also need slightly more power output if you are using a wood-fired stove.
For most sauna hot rooms though that are built in a classical style with almost all wooden surfaces, this table shows what output power you'll need based on the size of the room:
3.5 kW: 3 to 6 cubic metres
4.5 kW: 3 to 7 cubic metres
6 kW: 5 to 10 cubic metres
9 kW: 8 to 15 cubic metres
10.5 kW: 10 to 17 cubic metres
12 kW: 12 to 25 cubic metres
15 kW: 15 to 30 cubic metres
18 kW: 18 to 35 cubic metres
13 kW: 6 to 13 cubic metres
17 kW: 8 to 16 cubic metres
If you have any doubts about the power you'll need then HUUM has also a great sauna calculator on their website here.
If you are choosing a wood-burning stove: You can now skip the next steps, which apply to electric heaters only, as there is one style of wood-burning stove known as Hive and all you need to power it is your own wood! The only variation for you to consider is whether you want the door to the stove to be inside the sauna hot room or through the wall into the next room. Also, if you are in Germany or Austria then you will need to let us know because stoves there have to be designed slightly differently in line with the Bimsch certification. You can instead scroll down to read how to order or head over to our online shop where you can order a HIVE wood-burning sauna stove. You can also download the manual for it here to learn more about requirements, such as safety distances.
2. Understand your wiring and input power
If you are planning an electric sauna then you'll next need to know the power of your main fuse to ensure it matches the input power required for the heater. You also need to know whether you have 1-phase or 3-phase wiring. If you have 1-phase, which is standard in UK homes but also often found elsewhere in Europe, then you'll need to choose a HUUM sauna heater that has up to 9 kW output power. If you have 3-phase wiring, which is standard in UK commercial premises and most places across Europe, then you can choose any HUUM sauna heater.
As it happens, when we built our own first sauna with a HUUM heater, we had an apartment with single phase wiring that couldn't even handle the kettle and washing machine being on at the same time! However, we were able to upgrade from 1-phase to 3-phase fairly easily so that is also an option if you need more power.
If you have any doubt at all about the correct wiring for your property, check your electricity bill or box - or speak directly to your electricity provider. And always use a certified electrician for any electrical installation.
3. Choose your HUUM heater style
There are four distinct styles of HUUM heaters you can choose from. Drop is a wall-mounted heater, Hive is a larger free-standing heater, and both Steel and Cliff are upright heaters with smaller safety distances.
You will need to choose one that matches the kW power output you need, but all styles come in a fairly wide range of sizes with the free-standing Hive towards the top end for larger saunas, the upright Steel and Cliff at the lower end for smaller home saunas and the Drop around the middle.
After that, your decision about which heater is right for you will be based on the space available in your hot room and your personal style preference. We strongly believe that heated stones should be the design focus of a sauna, as it has been for thousands of years, which is best aesthetically but also provides the best heat and steam. That's why HUUM heaters have been designed to present the stones with minimal metal, a large number of total stones and a large number of exposed stones.
All our HUUM heaters and stoves come with a complete set of stones, which are carefully selected grey rounded volcanic stones gathered in Finland and known as olivine diabase or olivine dolerite. These stones are recommended for HUUM stoves for both their visual aesthetic as well as the quality of the heat and steam that they produce. When comparing us to alternative sauna stove suppliers, note that their prices may not include any stones and, if they do, may not include the same quality of stones. We also include an air tunnel for all electric Hive stoves, which improves air circulation within the stones. If you'd like to purchase a stove from us without stones then send us an email and we can make a special arrangement.
If you're interested, these are the quantities of stones required to fill each HUUM stove:
Drop electric stoves (all): 60 kg of 5 to 10 cm diameter stones.
Hive electric stoves (6 & 9 kW) without air tunnel: 120 kg of 10 to 15 cm diameter stones and 30 kg of 5 to 10 cm diameter stones.
Hive electric stoves (6 & 9 kW) with air tunnel: 80 kg of 10 to 15 cm diameter stones and 30 kg of 5 to 10 cm diameter stones.
Hive electric stoves (12, 15 & 18 kW) without air tunnel: 220 kg of 10 to 15 cm diameter stones and 30 kg of 5 to 10 cm diameter stones.
Hive electric stoves (12, 15 & 18 kW) with air tunnel: 180 kg of 10 to 15 cm diameter stones and 30 kg of 5 to 10 cm diameter stones.
Hive wood-burning stoves (13 kW): 90 kg of 5 to 10 cm stones.
Hive wood-burning stoves (17 kW): 100 kg of 10 to 15 cm stones and 30 kg of 5 to 10 cm stones.
Fun fact: You might be wondering why we keep referring to the sauna 'hot room'. Well, sauna is 'saun' in Estonian, but we consider this to be so much more than just a hot room. It's the entire building and experience around it too. That's why we refer to the hot room separately and call it 'leiliruum' in Estonian. 'Leil' is the name for steam that rises from the stones in a sauna. The Finns also have a word for that:'löyly'.
4. Choose your UKU control system (if electric HUUM stove)
If you have chosen an electric stove then you'll also need a control system for it. This will include a wall-mounted controller known as UKU, which is placed outside the sauna, and available in a range of colours. That colour is your first decision. We provide a black wall-mounted controller as standard, but you can pay slightly more for one in white, sand, metallic, olive, or wood.
Your second choice is whether to have a direct connection, a GSM (mobile connection with a embedded SIM which comes with an annual fee) or a WiFi connection (which we recommend and has no annual fee). If you choose to have a GSM or WiFi-connected sauna then you will also have access to the HUUM mobile app, which includes the same controls. Both the wall-mounted UKU controller and the mobile app will enable you to not just switch your sauna on and off, but also see the current temperature, choose your target temperature, and set a timer. The control system also includes safety features, including an automatic stove shutdown for overheating or when the door is open. Simply choose the colour of your UKU and the type of connection then add them to your basket.
How to order
1. Confirm your order with us
2. Pay your invoice (if manual payment)
3. Receive your HUUM delivery
4. Install your HUUM stove or heater with control system
1. Confirm your order with us
Proceed to our online checkout then you will see the shipping cost added based on your location. At EstonianSaunas.com where payment is in euros, we can accept either card payments or manual payments by invoice. If you are paying through a VAT-registered company, for example, then you should select that option so we can remove the VAT for you. At EstonianSaunas.co.uk where payment is in pounds to our UK bank account, payment is always by invoice. Again, we can remove the VAT in the UK if you are paying through a VAT-registered company. We keep our euro and pound prices the same so this is just for convenience.
We use reliable couriers, most commonly UPS or DPD depending on which has the lowest cost, then add that shipping cost without any markup. If you have your own preferred courier then we'd happily use them instead. Just note that we ship all our heaters and stoves with a complete set of stones so they have to be delivered on a pallet. For Europe and the UK, delivery takes usually takes up to a week and the coronavirus crisis has had no significant affect on this - apart from occasional shortages of stones due to a surging demand for home sauna projects.
Whether you pay by card or invoice, we'll respond to your order within 24 hours (although usually much sooner). By the way, we only use the information you submit to deliver your order then check back with you once in future by e-mail to see how happy you are with your sauna. We don't give anyone else your data or use it for any future marketing.
2. Pay your invoice (if manual payment)
If you've selected manual payment then we will issue an invoice to either you or your company so you can make the payment to either our Estonian bank account with LHV or our UK bank account with TransferWise. Even if you are paying to our Estonian bank account from abroad, we recommend that you use TransferWise for cross-border payments because then there are no cross-border bank fees. Here's our TransferWise sign up link. Once the payment is received (which is usually instantly) then we'll dispatch the order as fast as possible.
Fun fact: TransferWise is also a British-Estonian company and was created by former Skypers. Yes, Skype started in Estonia! We use TransferWise because they have the best service for international banking and money transfers without bank fees. As it happens though, they also share our love of saunas and have a sauna with a HUUM stove in their London office!
3. Receive your HUUM delivery
Once your payment is received, it usually takes about a week for your HUUM delivery to arrive at your address. We'll pass on any specific delivery instructions to the courier and also give you the tracking number so you can see when it's arriving. The delivery driver will have your mobile phone number in case there are any issues on arrival and that's the only reason we ask for your mobile number.
4. Install your HUUM stove or heater with control system
Right now (in May 2020), we're putting a lot of work into developing more resources to support HUUM installation. That includes working directly with HUUM to produce a series of installation videos. If you order now then those will likely be ready by the time your order arrives! However, we are very happy to provide advice over email, phone, or the live chat too. Just remember that any electrical installation requires a qualified electrician.
Finally... we'd love to see the saunas being heated by our HUUM stoves so please do send us any pictures in future!
Interesting HUUM saunas around the world