Choosing a ceramic kiln for home use?
Are you concerned that kilns are going to be overly large or unwieldy for your comfortable pottery workshop? Don’t worry, because some kilns in this review are great for confined places and are highly portable. We’ll also include some dream kilns for anyone who is looking to create bigger batches or larger pottery pieces that won’t fit in a tabletop kiln.
If you feel you can’t decide based on our reviews, go to check out our buying guide at the bottom of this post. That’s where you’ll get all you need to come to an educated conclusion.
While you may find pottery firing solutions that don’t include a ceramic kiln, most crafters will admit that choosing the perfect ceramic kiln for your home is critical for a growing number of home crafts, including metalwork, jewelry, and other uses.
Issues you need to consider when searching for kilns
When you buy a kiln, you have a lot of different things to take into account, regarding the things you are going to create and the area in which you are going to be working. Below are a few of the key issues you need to consider:
Which kind of clay will be fired?
Ceramic materials are mainly categorized by the temperature needed for the maturing of the clay. Whether you are using earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, or glass, the temperature range of the kiln you need will differ.
Which type of glaze are you using?
Not all glazes will melt at identical temperatures. Certain glazes, like raku, need a low firing temperature, whereas other glazes, like oxide stains, may need a medium to high firing temperature. Consult the glazes you will be used for information on the temperature and cone areas you will need.
Which size and number of pieces do you plan to create?
To find out which size kiln you will use, you must first take into consideration the size of the pieces you want to create. The more pieces you are going to fire at one time, the more space you will also need.
What is the size of the space where you will place the kiln?
Further key measurements relate to the kiln itself. Take into account length, width, and height, and keep in mind that a kiln must have at minimum three feet of space on either side for it to breathe.
What kind of power do you have available?
The bigger the kiln, the more power it will need to function. For this reason, be sure to match the voltage and amperage specifications of your preferred kiln to the room that you have on hand. If you decide to get a kiln that needs more power, you should anticipate additional expenses for its installation
What is a kiln used for?
At this point, you need to get an idea of how a kiln works and why you might need one. Generally, a kiln generates a lot of heat to change the composition or physical state of metal, glass, or clay. The best example of this is a pottery kiln, which turns clay into pottery and makes it strong and solid. Without a kiln, the clay would not be able to keep its proper shape.
Kilns are also commonly used to fire and alter glass or metal. For example, pieces of glass can be combined or the shape of a piece of metal can be changed. These devices are often used in various industries.
The commonest kind of kilns may be seen in the field of pottery. As a rule, they are small and compact, and ready to be used in a workshop. Naturally, there are also big models suited for industrial use. You place clay objects in them, wait a set period of time for the fire to do its job, and take the pottery out. It is that easy. All the pottery kilns are able to produce and hold heat, but also to isolate it from the fire if it is there. This happens in order not to damage the items.
Best Choice – Tabletop RapidFire Tabletop Kiln
This kiln is a great option for beginners. It is both portable and user-friendly. The comfortable grip is an attractive feature and turns the Rapidfire into a kiln for the demanding craftsman. With dimensions of 7′′ x 8′′ x 13′′, the Rapidfire Pro Electric is a compact kiln perfect for ceramists who are planning to do smaller projects. It features a small compartment, which is ideal for those small projects you have wanted to make for a long time.
The Rapidfire kiln is lightweight weighing just 12 pounds. Thus, it is simple to move around your home studio.
Achieving lacquer effects is even simpler, as the Rapidfire kiln can get up to 2200 degrees. Thanks to the hotter temperature, you will be able to fire the majority of clays and glazes. It uses cutting-edge technology to evenly spread the heat. As a result, you have greater control over your material.
The key characteristic of the Rapidfire Oven is its digital temperature regulator. With 1500 watts of power, it allows you to keep juggling several projects at once. Great for ceramics and glass fusing, it is an outstanding option for enthusiastic novices.
- Compact and lightweight (only 12 lb).
- Firing capability of up to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Digital temperature display.
- Not appropriate for big and complicated projects.
Types of kilns
Kilns come with a long, long history. They were already used by the ancient Egyptians.
Back in the days, kilns were made from holes in the ground and bonfires. Today, they have advanced with technology. There are several kinds of kilns, in fact, but there are still three types: electric, gas, and wood-fired.
Electric kilns belong to the most widely used kilns overall. Their principal characteristic is that they are operated comfortably by electricity. They are in a lot of ways quite economical and perfect for people who don’t have much room.
Electric kilns operate using the oxidation method. This signifies that the oxygen is confined in a properly regulated space. Due to this, great results are achieved for the glazes.
When you use gas kilns, you are dependent on fire and natural gas for the reduction. In other words, no oxygen is provided throughout the firing process. Although gas kilns can deliver inconsistent outcomes, it allows you to create nice earth shades.
Though, their unpredictability results in inconsistent outcomes. The use of gas kilns creates unique miracles and original designs, but they never ensure a uniform result.
Wood kilns have been around for hundreds of years. They are wood-fired. They also take a significant amount of physical labor, as the constant replenishing and fanning of the fire to maintain it at a steady, high temperature.
Wood stoves need more than double the time of electric or gas stoves to get burning. In addition, they must be supervised at all times if pottery is produced.
In spite of all these hassles, wood-fired kilns deliver gorgeous, one-of-a-kind outcomes. The wood ash that lands on your projects as they fire lends them an additional glaze, which can make all the hard effort rewarding.
The best ceramic kilns for home use
Now, here is the section where we begin discussing the actual kilns, the various kinds of kilns, as well as the various brands of kilns. There are so many different brands of kilns. And no brand is superior to the other. But every brand appears to be focused on one certain thing.
Seattle Pottery Electric Kiln
The ideal kiln for professional studios and schools. This eight-sided, top-loading 18″ pottery kiln affords potters considerably greater room than the 12″ pottery kiln, while still adapting nicely to domestic studios. Available in two heights (all are 18″ inside diameter), the 18″ inside depth model comes with 2 rings and is roughly 2.8 cubic feet; the 27″ inside depth model has 3 rings and is 4 cubic feet. The 18″ deep model needs a minimum of a 30-amp circuit protector and a NEMA 10-30-2 connector. We highly suggest the 18″ Top-Loading Home Pottery Studio Kiln for home use because it comes with 2 rings and only needs a 30-amp circuit breaker. Be cautious with kilns rated for over 30 amps if you wish to refrain from needing to call an electrician to rewire your residential studio.
- 18-inch diameter kiln for pottery and ceramics.
- Most popular kiln for home studios and extremely easy loading and unloading.
- Fires up to cone 10.
- Features a V6Cf digital control system.
- 8-sided kiln fits any 15″ octagon rack.
- Comes with a digital control unit V6CF.
- Built from 3-inch firebricks.
- ETL approved, 1-year warranty.
- Handcrafted in Seattle, WA, the USA since 1975.
- Not appropriate for a limited budget.
FUSEWORKS Craft KILN
It is an outstanding beginner’s kiln on the market. This tabletop kiln from Fuseworks delivers a great blend of portability and output. It has limited settings to get to know and has simple firing and adjust the timer. You can put it on a small table and features a functional clamshell style lid. This kiln is great for firing small projects and features an 8-inch diameter firing chamber and 4-inch depth. With a firing chamber that is 8-1/2′′ × 3-1/2″, a fiber body, and high-grade steel straps that strengthen the shell-like cover, it is an ideal kiln for beginning and intermediate potters.
It is perfect for glass fusing, enameling, or ceramics, particularly for smaller objects like jewelry or saucers.
The great thing about this item is its quickness: in no more than 15 minutes, you can completely fuse two sheets of glass. If you’re uncomfortable with a microwave oven, you will love the additional room it provides.
The only downside is that there is no pyrometer, making it hard to gauge the level of fusion (higher priced models come with pyrometers). Nevertheless, it is a terrific entry point into the world of pottery for beginners and allows you to determine whether it is a hobby you would like to follow (without a huge capital investment).
- Perfect home kiln for beginners.
- Fiber structure with steel strengthening.
- Perfect for smaller projects.
- Can be set up on a tabletop.
- Simple to use.
- Outstanding performance.
- Simple to use, the kiln for beginners and advanced users.
- Superb construction value.
- Ideal size for smaller rooms.
- Functions with standard tension.
- Quick heat up – full fuse in 15 minutes.
- Since there is no pyrometer, it is complicated to define the degree of use.
Relate: Best pottery wheel for home use
Paragon Dragon Front Loading Kiln
The Paragon Quikfire 6 is a great starter kiln for all kinds of pottery, enameling, glass fusing, and porcelain art, and it’s certainly among the handiest kilns included on this list.
It’s certainly among the most reasonably priced, too. But this doesn’t imply for you to reject it as trashy, completely the contrary. Paragon has designed the most ideal piece of equipment for first-time potters or anyone who simply has no room at home for an industrial-size kiln.
With a ceramic fiber bowl that measures just 6′′ × 6′′ × 6′, it’s not massive on the inside, but its chamber is easily enough for smaller items.
It’s also super-fast. You can fire little glass bits and let them cool to room temperature within just 30 minutes, whereas pottery can take just 50 minutes – so no need to spend time waiting for a bigger kiln to load up to test out a new skill. Indeed, it’s well deserving of its name.
Compared to other beginner kilns, this kiln comes with a pyrometer to maintain a steady melting temperature, so this is definitely a bonus. Plus, it’s energy-efficient, because it operates on only 1560 watts (which is less compared to most hairdryers!)
- Very affordable solution.
- Compact, lightweight, low power usage (1560 watts).
- Features a pyrometer to maintain a steady fusing temperature.
- Excellent for ultra-fast firing.
- Size might be restrictive.
- Not a high fire kiln.
Where can I use a kiln?
Advanced kilns are widely used in pottery for firing clay and porcelain objects, in metallurgy for roasting iron ores, for burning lime and dolomite, and for producing Portland cement. They can be lined with firebricks or constructed completely of heat-resistant alloys.
Buyer’s Guide: The best ceramic kiln for home use
Major points to consider:
1. Kinds of glaze and clay
It is common knowledge that glazes and clay mature at very different temperatures. Therefore, before you decide to get a kiln, you need to thoroughly evaluate what you will be creating. After all, the temperatures for pottery, earthenware, porcelain, and glass are very different. Therefore, you will have to identify the opportunities for any product based on the kind of work you wish to perform.
In addition, if the clay is fired at ultra-high temperatures, the risk of deterioration is constant. Sometimes the clay becomes so misshapen that it begins to melt, or the glaze leaks out altogether. And if you adjust the temperature too low, your completed pottery will simply appear coarse and dry.
There are also huge distinctions in the glazes you use in regards to the temperature they can withstand. Raku, for instance, needs low-temperature kilns, and oxide glazes (as well as a number of others) demand high temperatures.
2. Working area
Have you considered where you are going to keep the kiln? Assuming you have sufficient room in your home, this thought wouldn’t pose a big issue. However, when your home studio can be described as homey, we advise you to refrain from using kilns that are too bulky.
Ideally, the finest residential pottery kiln needs to get a minimum of 2 feet of space surrounding it to let it breathe.
Now that we have dealt with the size of your work area, now it is time to take a look at the size of the kilns. The size you pick is expected to be determined by the size of your clay workshop as well as the size or kind of ceramic you’ll be dealing with.
The next main consideration is its efficiency, as you don’t wish to fire a number of small things inside a massive kiln. That would pretty much be a total loss of energy and space. Learn how to pick the proper size kiln to fit your particular needs for your projects:
- The smallest kilns might be as small as 9″ x 11″ and would be fine for the littlest items including doll pieces, jewelry beads, and so on.
- When you need to handle somewhat sizable pieces, though not in great batches (for example, bowls, plates, or pots), you may want to opt for a medium kiln that measures 18″ x 18″.
- The most usual size of pottery kiln is 23″ x 27″, making them great for big firing jobs where you are looking to create bigger objects.
Since we have already mentioned that glazes and clays have vastly different firing specifications, you may want to prevent frustration later on by buying a pottery kiln that surpasses your intended temperature specifications. You should remember, though, that the maximum firing rate of your kiln will decline with time. Because of this, you may want to exceed your peak temperature needs by a minimum of 200 to 300 degrees Celsius when making your first buy.
By doing so, you consider the temperature needs based on the materials you are handling:
- Porcelain – High-temperature kilns
- Stoneware – High or medium temperature kilns
- Glass and earthenware – Low-temperature kilns
Relate: Pottery at home: the best tips and ideas for beginners
Before we wrap up our buying guide, we would like to add a final word regarding safety. Kilns are manufactured to run at hazardously high temperatures. This also implies that you will have a potential danger in your home when you have pets or kids in your home. Because of this, you may want to consider taking a couple of extra steps to protect yourself and your loved ones:
- Among the hazards that come from a kiln are poisons that are emitted by the chemical modifications of the clay. For this reason, you need to ensure that your clay studio has good ventilation.
- Several kilns have exhaust and thermal vents that you may want to vent to the outdoors. Be sure to carefully adhere to all of the directions provided by the manufacturer.
- The inside of a kiln is quite common to be so bright that continuous exposure can be damaging to the eyes. This is why you need to use safety glasses, although some sculptors might choose to wear goggles.
- The safety gear is needed since a kiln is a hazardous device to use even after it has stopped working for hours. For this reason, you should NEVER handle a kiln with bare hands until you are100% confident that it is completely cold. In addition, you should wear high-temperature gloves at all times when handling a kiln.
6. Top Loading vs. Front Loading
Professional kilns are offered with either loading type. With a front-loading kiln, it is a lot simpler to take out the fired designs as you do not need to reach down to lift the items and bring them out.
7. Craftsman kilns vs. professional ceramic kilns
Many domestic kilns are built to be used with glass, low-firing clays, and enamel work. Yet other kilns are specifically made for use with pottery clays. So what do you plan to have your kiln used for?
Certain kilns are programmable, enabling accurate and perfect firing of your ceramic works, along with reliable auto-cooling.
9. Your home electrical system
Tabletop kilns just plug into your standard power socket. Bigger kilns need more power and will probably need an electrician to mount a proper socket in your work area. Be sure to carefully check the power needs before buying!
Best brands of the ceramic kiln for home use
The American manufacturer (from Texas) Paragon is the one who proposes the greatest number of models and references on the market. Because of this, there is a perfect fit for any need, although the most basic models are priced from 1000 $. Have a wide number of configuration choices and are highly resistant to wear and tear due to their stainless steel design.
- Tabletop Furnace Company
The Tabletop Furnace Company is your one-stop store for all your tabletop furnace needs. Offering a great variety of residential kilns for melting metal and firing precious metal clay.
Every product is manufactured right here in the USA with pride. The in-house team works day in and day out to produce high-quality furnaces.
- Seattle pottery supply
A manufacturer of pottery supplies and a retail store that sells both online and in its Seattle retail store. The company, which has been in business since 1975, manufactures and ships pottery kilns, ceramic glazes, and clay bodies across the country – and in some cases, the world. They also supply everything else a home or professional potter needs, from modeling tools and wheels to raw materials, corks, brushes, and handles for teapots.
Price of the ceramic kiln for home use
Ceramic kiln for home use under 500$:
- FUSEWORKS Craft KILN.
Ceramic kiln for home use under 1000$:
- Paragon Quikfire 6 Kiln.
- Tabletop RapidFire Tabletop Kiln.
Ceramic kiln for home use under 3000$:
- Seattle Pottery Electric Kiln.
How to fire pottery at home?
Firing earthenware in the oven is a real first step, and it offers many benefits.
Here are some of them:
- You learn the basics of making pottery without having to learn the technicalities of firing;
- You get a basic feel for firing in the oven;
- You learn how to make basic clay molds;
- It’s much cheaper, both in terms of firing costs and the clay used;
You’ve already chosen a pottery kiln, so why not try firing your handmade product in it?
If you have children, this is a good creative activity for them.
The oven is a good environment for learning pottery. It has the following properties:
- Beginners always make mistakes. With an oven, the firing process is more controlled;
- You can make quite durable products in a regular oven;
- You can watch the firing process through the glass.
Ovens are a great way to roast because they do a great job, and you don’t have to worry about overheating your apartment’s wire cross-section, or the danger of fire.
Limitations of the oven
However, there are a few limitations when roasting in the oven, and it’s important to be aware of them.
Here are some of the limitations associated with the oven:
- There is no way to get very high temperatures;
- You can’t get the chemical changes that take place in the oven by baking in the oven;
- You won’t get a “smooth” product out of ordinary clay;
- You don’t have to glaze it;
- You don’t have to spend 12 hours on firing.
For baking in the oven, a few hours is usually enough. Most ovens cannot get temperatures above 350 degrees, and the real firing of earthenware requires temperatures starting at 1,200 degrees.
Now let’s talk about the clay firing process. When you put a piece of clay in the kiln, because of the high temperature, it gets very hot, and chemical changes occur in it – glazing, gloss, and luster appear. With a piece of clay fired in the oven, you can’t do this because the oven isn’t hot enough. You need 1600 degrees for that kind of change. So oven-fired products are not ceramics in the full sense of the word, but they have some of the same properties.
When heated to 110 ° clay gives all the mechanically mixed water, but its other properties remain unchanged. At 250° a very slow, gradual removal of constitutive water from the clay substance begins. At 425-450° most of the chemically bound water is released from the clay matter, and the molecules of the clay matter disintegrate. The remainder of the constitutive water is removed around 900°. For this reason, ceramics are fired at temperatures of at least 900°, otherwise, they will not be sufficiently stable with respect to weathering as well as to the action of water, dilute acids, and alkalis.
Does the type of clay you are firing matter?
As a rule, ceramic materials are classified according to the temperature at which they are fired so that their clay can mature. For this reason, the temperature class of a kiln must be selected based on whether you are firing glass, porcelain, earthenware, or stoneware.
Does the number and size of the pieces I’m working with really matter?
To more accurately determine the size of the kiln for your project, you first need to roughly determine the size of the pieces you will be making. The more pieces you need to fire at once, the more space you will need in the kiln.
Do voltage and amperage matter when it comes to choosing the best pottery kiln for domestic use?
The bigger the ceramic kiln you are operating; the more energy it needs to function on average. This is why you need to consider how much amperage and voltage are provided in the area where you want to put your new kiln. If you opt for a kiln that uses a lot of power, you will also want to set aside some of your budgets for any needed upgrades performed by a certified electrician, as heavy-duty kilns need more electricity than a residential socket can provide. Put safety ahead of everything else. Be sure to always contact a professional electrician for the advice!
It’s obvious that choosing the perfect kiln for your home can be challenging. However, if you find out your criteria fast and make the decision to go for it, you will be fired up in no time.
We hope that this article has helped you better get to know what kinds of the kiln is considered best and what you should choose to buy. In order to choose the proper one, you need to keep in mind the guide, which can help you find out exactly what you need.
Using the proper kiln, you will certainly be able to produce some lovely items. These items are only a buy-away.