Is it time for you to go to the next level in your ceramic hobby? One of the first things you’ll have to do if you want to open a home studio is buy a kiln.
To help you narrow down your options and choose the ideal ceramic kiln, we’ve compiled this buying guide covering the most crucial considerations to keep in mind.
Our top picks for kilns that we think will appeal to a wide range of readers are featured at the conclusion.
What to Consider When Choosing a Kiln
There are a lot of things to think about while shopping for a kiln, including the materials you’ll be firing and the size of your workspace. Some of the most crucial inquiries to make are as follows:
- Please specify the kind of clay you’re burning.
- One of the main criteria for categorizing ceramic materials is the temperature at which the clay must grow.
- Therefore, the required kiln temperature range differs depending on whether you’re working with earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, or glass.
To What End Are You Applying This Glaze?
Not all glazes have the same melting point. For example, although low-fire temperatures are suitable for Raku and other low-fire glazes, mid- to high-fire temperatures may be necessary for oxide stains.
Glazes vary in their needed temperature and cone ranges, thus it’s important to examine the labels.
Can you tell me how many and what dimensions your components will be?
If you want to know what size kiln you require, you should start by measuring the finished products. You’ll need extra room if you wish to launch many parts at once.
How large is the room that will serve as the kiln’s home?
The kiln itself is another crucial factor to think about. Measure the available space in all directions, keeping in mind that a kiln requires at least two feet of clearance on all sides.
What is your current power capacity?
Energy consumption increases in proportion to kiln size, thus it’s important to consider whether or not the available voltage and amperage can support the kiln of your choice.
Be ready to make more expenses in its installation if you choose a kiln with greater energy needs.
Here are some best Ceramic Kiln for Home Use:
Ceramic Kiln, Jen-Ken AF3C 11/9 Model
- Use with a regular wall socket to make it work in your home studio.
- An inexpensive choice for experts who need to fire a large volume of tiny projectiles
- Optimal for use with both medium and high temperature stoneware clays
The Jen-Ken Ceram-a-Glass AF3P 1815
- Improved capacity to fire larger clay and glass creations
- It’s one of a kind since it can also heat ceramics and glass.
- You may need a new breaker because of the 240V and high amp load.
Kiln for Fireproof Ceramics, Model RM II 2322
- Throw more of the larger objects like pots, plates, and bowls with ease.
- The larger size and more flexible features are well worth the additional cost.
- You may need a new breaker because of the 240V and high amp load.
- When shopping for a ceramic kiln, what features should I prioritize?
- Although at first sight many kilns seem to be identical, we have identified key distinctions between them.
Here is a rundown of some of the features to look for in the kiln of your dreams:
The primary factors in determining the size of the kiln you purchase are the kinds of tasks you want to do and the available floor space.
Beads, doll parts, little pieces, and test items are best fired in smaller kilns (up to 9″ x 11″), and they are recommended for starting ceramic artists.
If you want to make pots, plates, and bowls, but not in bulk, or if you want to make more little pieces than can fit in a small kiln, an 18″ x 18″ kiln is ideal for you.
Most potters choose for a 23″ x 27″ kiln because of its affordability and practicality, although a larger 29″ x 27″ kiln is preferable for mass production.
Maximum efficiency is achieved when the kiln is filled to capacity, thus it’s necessary to think about not just the size of the item being fired, but also how long it will take to fill the kiln.
Needed Voltage and Current
Your kiln selection should also take voltage and amps into account. In a typical home, the voltage is 120V. This shouldn’t be an issue for smaller kilns. Larger kilns, however, often need 240V; an electrician should be consulted if one is to be installed in a private residence.
You should also check that the kiln’s amperage requirements are met by the breaker you want to use. Look at the plug’s fuse/breaker box to check how many amps are available before attempting to use it.
The circuit breakers in most American houses are rated at 15 to 20 amps, but a big kiln might easily exceed that. An insufficient amp rating will render a bigger kiln inoperable, even if the voltage is right.
Condition and Cone
Which kiln you need greatly depends on the temperature you want to fire it at. A high, medium-high, or medium-low temperature ceramic kiln may be needed, depending on the materials and glazes you want to utilize.
Earthenware and glass are examples of low-fire materials, stoneware is suitable for both mid- and high-firing kilns, and porcelain needs the highest temperatures of them.
You should also choose a kiln that can reach temperatures higher than the absolute highest your project requires.
A kiln loses efficiency with time, which means it can’t maintain the same high temperature for as long. Overestimating the temperature by 200-300 degrees Fahrenheit can ensure that your tasks are completed successfully.
If you’ve looked at various kinds of kilns, you’ve probably seen that some of them use cones as a unit of temperature measurement.
While a Fahrenheit degree measures just one instant in time, a cone may be used to quantify both energy and temperature. For example, 018, 019, and 020 are all low cone temperatures, whereas 12, 13, and 14 are all high cone temperatures with two digits.
Cone temperatures range from 15 degrees to a low of -22 degrees. Consider the materials and glazes you want to employ and their recommended cone temperatures before making a final decision on a kiln.
At Soul Ceramics, you can get kilns for both the casual hobbyist and the professional manufacturer at the industry’s best rates, guaranteed.
Both the Even heat High Fire 1210B ($1,375.99) and the Jen-Ken AF3C 11/9 ($1,049.99) are available from Soul Ceramics within the $750 – $1500 price range. These two kilns are top-loading miniature versions that are perfect for firing delicate items.
The Olympic Kiln – 3027HE is $5,480.00, while the Even heat Ceramic Kiln – High Fire 2927 is $4,543.99.
These kilns are among the largest on the market (without considering industrial output!), allowing for the burning of even the largest studio sculptures.
There are hundreds of additional kilns, varying in size and cost, in between these two extremes.
The Top Load vs. Front Load Dishwasher
Consider your height and the condition of your back before settling on a top- or front-loading kiln, as stupid as it may seem.
Top-loading kilns are less expensive, but they might be challenging to operate with if you don’t have a lot of vertical clearance.
While a stool may help, the constant bending over these kilns can eventually lead to back pain. You’ll need to assess whether or not the cost savings and improved safety that come from loading and unloading from the front of a kiln are really worth it.
Style of Controller
Knowing the five distinct sorts of controls that are available on Soul Ceramics kilns will help you narrow down your selections and eliminate those that won’t work for you.
The manual setting gives you complete control over the firing process, but it also necessitates that you begin with the kiln at its coolest temperature and make any necessary adjustments as you go.
Manual kiln sitters are only available on a select few types.
- The Set-Pro Control is an inexpensive electronic control solution. Using only three buttons, the artist may choose from among four distinct firing programs.
- The Ramp master Control is another electronic alternative, and it has six distinct firing program choices and a user-selectable cone number.
- Despite its intimidating name, Temperature Automation by Proportional-Integral Derivative (TAP) Control is a powerful tool that has allowed artists to create works that were unimaginable even a decade ago.
It has a user-friendly touchscreen, shooting accuracy technology, and a Wi-Fi connection so that programs can be written and edited on any device.
The Genesis Control is a touchscreen device, similar to the TAP control but less opulent, that stores up to 12 separate programs and allows for modifications to be made throughout the firing process.
Here are some more specific examples of these controls in action.
- Furnishings & Accents Fired in a Kiln
- Soul Ceramics Kiln Posts
Since kilns can only be supplied by truck, it might be cost-effective to acquire other furniture and accessories at the same time. Here are a few of the most useful add-ons to think about purchasing:
- Cordierite, a naturally occurring mineral composed of silica and alumina, is often used to construct kiln shelves.
- Cordierite kiln shelves may withstand repeated firings up to cone 10, however they tend to deform at temperatures over cone 8.
- High-alumina kiln shelves can resist temperatures up to cone 11 if you plan on firing at those higher temperatures.
Although twice as expensive as Cordierite or high-alumina shelves, silicon carbide shelves are smaller, lighter, and won’t distort under high temperatures.
When firing at low to medium temperatures, items may be held and protected by using kiln stilts. Some stilts may maintain their shape at cone 10, but in general, they perform best at temperatures between cone 6 and 4.
Shelf support and efficient use of kiln space are both provided by kiln posts.
They may be made to order in a wide variety of depths and heights.
A furniture kit may be the most convenient option to get all the extras you need at once, since it often includes a selection of posts, shelves, heat-resistant gloves, and cleaning supplies.
There are a wide variety of options, so you may choose one that works well in your kiln.
You can fit more beads, buttons, and other tiny hanging objects in your kiln with the help of a bead rack.
This tool is useful for potters and jewellers alike for creating functional ceramic jewellery.
These come in a wide range of forms and are made from clay or sandstone, both of which are excellent insulators and are used to line the interior of kilns.
Hard bricks are thick and robust, making them an excellent building material. While they can’t take as much heat, soft bricks are better at keeping in warmth.