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How Much Does a Kiln Cost?

When considering the cost of a kiln, there are intricacies that extend beyond the initial purchase price.

Delving deeper into the factors influencing the cost of a kiln reveals a combination of technology, craftsmanship, and operational considerations that collectively determine not only the upfront investment but also the long-term costs of using this essential piece of equipment for pottery and glass arts.

several ceramics pieces inside a kiln


Type of Kiln: Electric or Gas

The price range of kilns changes depending on what you want to use the kiln for and whether you are looking for an electric kiln or a gas kiln.


Electric Kilns

Electric kilns come in a broad spectrum of prices due to their varied sizes and technological features. Small, tabletop models, suitable for hobbyists or small-scale operations, can range from $300 to $1,000+.

In contrast, larger models designed for professional studios or educational settings can climb to $5,000 or more. The price reflects not only the capacity and build quality but also the sophistication of the control systems, with digital controllers adding to the cost.

Examples of Small Electric Kilns

Examples of Large Electric Kilns

Olympic - Hotbox E

Olympic Kiln 2831HE

Jen-Ken AF3C 11/9 Ceramic Kiln

Evenheat RM II 2541

Olympic HB64E

Olympic Kiln FL17E


Gas Kilns

Gas kilns, favored for their ability to produce specific atmospheric effects, require a more substantial initial setup, including gas lines and exhaust systems.

The costs for medium to large gas kilns can range between $5,000 and $10,000, influenced by the kiln's size, insulation quality, and safety features. Additionally, operational costs can be higher due to the price of gas and the need for more frequent maintenance.

Let’s look at the other factors that influence how much a kiln typically costs.


Kiln Size and Capacity

Choosing the right size is a balance between current needs and future growth. Artists might start with smaller kilns due to budget constraints but should consider medium-term growth prospects to avoid the need for an early upgrade.

Studios or schools, on the other hand, might opt for larger kilns to accommodate volume and efficiency, with prices for such kilns easily exceeding the $10,000 mark for top-of-the-line models.


Temperature Range and Material Compatibility

The material you plan to fire significantly dictates the required temperature range, impacting the kiln's cost.

When answering the question of how much a ceramic kiln costs, you need to consider kilns that can reach temperatures of Cone 10 (2350°F) or higher, such as the Evenheat High Fire 1413, necessitating robust construction and insulation materials, which increase the kiln's price.

Conversely, low-fire materials and certain glass fusing can be accommodated in less expensive kilns such as the Jen-Ken AF3C Ceram-a-Glass 1513, with lower maximum temperature capabilities.


Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency plays a critical role in the overall cost of owning and operating a kiln. Models with excellent insulation and energy-efficient designs may cost more upfront but can significantly reduce electricity or gas bills over time.

The Olympic Medallion range provides a great example of energy efficient kilns such as the MAS1818HE at the lower end of the budget and the MAS2827HE at the higher end. This is particularly important for high-usage scenarios, where operational costs can accumulate quickly.

The trade-off between higher initial investment and long-term savings is a crucial consideration for buyers.


Advanced Features and Control Systems

The sophistication of control systems can greatly influence the price of a kiln. More basic models, such as the Olympic HB84E might use manual controls or simple timers, while advanced models feature programmable digital controllers or can be paired with a digital controller, such as the Jen-Ken AF 2829 3" Ceramic Kiln. This allows for precise control over firing schedules, holding times, and cooling rates.

These features not only contribute to ease of use and consistency in results but also add to the cost of the kiln. For professionals and serious hobbyists, the investment in advanced controls can be justified by the superior outcomes and flexibility they offer.

hands wearing brown gloves holding a ceramics cup


Brand Reputation and Quality

The manufacturer's reputation for quality, reliability, and customer service can affect the kiln's price. Brands that are known for their durability, longevity, and minimal maintenance requirements often command higher prices.

However, the long-term benefits of reduced downtime, lower repair costs, and consistent performance can make these brands a wise investment. Brands such as Olympic and Jen Ken are renowned for their quality.


Kiln Controllers

Kiln controllers range from basic manual switches to advanced digital controllers, with several variations in between.

Manual controllers are the simplest form of kiln control, often using switches and kiln sitters to regulate temperature. Kilns with manual controllers tend to be less expensive than their digitally controlled counterparts. This makes them a more budget-friendly kiln option for beginners or those with simple firing needs.

Digital controllers offer programmable settings, allowing users to set specific ramp/hold profiles and make repeatable, precise firings much easier. The sophistication of digital controllers significantly adds to the cost of a kiln. However, the investment reflects in the convenience, precision, and customizable firing schedules they offer.

Some of the latest kilns come equipped with touchscreen controllers, offering the ultimate in ease of use and programmability. These represent the high end of kiln technology and accordingly have a higher price point. They allow for more detailed control and easier adjustments, often with the ability to store numerous custom programs.

When planning to purchase a kiln, focusing solely on the sticker price can lead to underestimating the total cost of a kiln. Several other cost factors play a critical role in the long-term financial commitment of operating a kiln.


Installation Costs

Many kilns, especially larger models, require a dedicated electrical circuit or a specific voltage that may not be standard in your current setup. The cost of hiring an electrician to install new outlets or upgrade your electrical service can be significant.

Proper ventilation is not just a kiln safety requirement; it's essential for the longevity of the kiln and the quality of your work. Installing vent hoods, ductwork, or specialized kiln vents adds to the initial setup cost.


Operational Costs

The cost of electricity or gas to fire a kiln can vary widely depending on the kiln's efficiency, the cost of utilities in your area, and how often you fire the kiln. High-temperature firings and longer cycles consume more energy.


Maintenance and Repairs

Regular maintenance is required to keep a kiln operating efficiently. Over time, elements will need replacement, thermocouples will wear out, and brick or ceramic fiber linings may need repair. These costs can accumulate, especially for heavily used kilns.


Material Costs

Shelves, posts, and stilts are necessary for stacking ware inside the kiln. Depending on what you’re firing, you might need a variety of sizes and shapes, and these items need to be replaced periodically due to wear or accidental damage.

Kiln wash for kiln shelves must be reapplied regularly to prevent glaze from sticking to the shelves. While not a significant expense, it’s an ongoing cost.


Safety Equipment

Safety equipment, including heat-resistant gloves, goggles, and sometimes respirators (when dealing with certain materials), is essential for operating a kiln safely.

Depending on the location and setup, additional fire safety measures such as fire extinguishers rated for electrical fires may be recommended or required.

a man carefully places a ceramics piece inside a large kiln



Operating a kiln, especially in a home studio, can affect your homeowner's insurance premiums. It’s essential to check with your insurance provider to ensure you have adequate coverage for your studio and kiln. In some cases, a separate policy or a rider on your existing policy may be necessary.


Training and Education

If you’re new to firing kilns, there may be a learning curve. Workshops, classes, or online tutorials can help but might add to your initial costs.

Considering the entire cost landscape is crucial when budgeting for a new kiln. By accounting for these expenses upfront, you can make a more informed decision that aligns with both your creative aspirations and your financial reality. Planning for the total cost of ownership ensures that your investment in a kiln supports your work for years to come without unexpected financial burdens.

Investing in a kiln is a significant decision that involves weighing initial costs against long-term benefits. Factors such as the kiln's type, size, temperature capabilities, energy efficiency, features, and brand reputation all play into its cost.

To get started, have a look at the range of kilns at Soul Ceramics for all budgets and purposes, or continue with our guides for the best ceramic kilns for home use and the best kilns for beginners.