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FAQs About Kilns


When considering what kiln to use or considering the purchase of a kiln, there are many questions that you may have. A good understanding of what equipment you need and some basic knowledge of kilns will help to inform your decisions.

Below are some of the frequently asked questions about kilns:


What is a kiln?

It may seem like an obvious question, but understanding what a kiln is and what it can be used for is important. A kiln is a thermally insulated chamber that generates significant heat, essentially a type of oven. Kilns have been used for centuries, predominantly to harden or dry materials.


What is a kiln used for?

Kilns are used predominantly to harden or dry materials. Most kilns are used to harden clay into pottery or they can be used to harden bricks or tiles, but they can also be used for glassware. A kiln ensures that the material is hardened enough to use for practical purposes.

Further Reading: What Can a Kiln Be Used For?


How do I use a kiln?

There is some more detailed guidance on our website here about how to use kilns and what to prepare. In essence, it is important to understand what equipment you may need and to prepare the kiln effectively before using it. Achieving the correct temperature is key, but there are additionally the factors of stowing the goods correctly and the careful loading and removal of your wares.


What kind of kiln do I need?

The type of kiln you will need is highly dependent on what you wish to use it for. Are you going to use it for a hobby or to create items to sell? You’ll also need to consider the size and power of the kiln. If you are looking to fire many items at once then it’s better to get a kiln that is slightly larger than your needs. You’ll also need to consider the temperatures required for your finished article, as different items require higher or lower temperatures.



What size of kiln do I need?

This depends on what you intend to fire and where you are intending to locate your kiln. You’ll also need to consider whether you have the sufficient power supply to power your kiln. As with a conventional oven, power sometimes needs to be specifically adapted for that device. Many people will go for a larger kiln, when in reality, a small kiln fired frequently will suffice.


How hot does a kiln get?

Once again, this all depends on what you are using the kiln for. If you are firing china for decorative purposes then you are looking at a temperature of around 780°C. For pots which require additional hardening, you could be looking at up to 1100°C and for glass anywhere between 600°C – 980°C.


How much does a kiln cost to run?

There are many factors which can affect the cost of running a kiln. Obviously the major factors are the size of the kiln, the power of the kiln and the temperature that you need to heat it to. Electric kilns are the most economical, as the temperature can be controlled easily. You will also need to consider how many items you will be firing at once and how long the firing program is. More information on calculating the costs can be found here.


Do I need top or front loading kilns?

Front-loading kilns are better for enameling, where the pieces removed can be extremely hot. This would be difficult with a top-loading kiln since the heat rises when you open the lid. Hobbyists typically use the front loaders for glaze testing and small pieces. Large front-loading studio kilns are easier to load than top-loading models because you don’t have to bend down into the kiln.


What kind of kiln do I need for pottery?

In the case of pottery or ceramic work a high, medium-high, medium-low temperature ceramic kiln is the perfect solution. You are best to purchase a kiln that exceeds the maximum temperature that you require, as kilns do lose power over time.


What kind of kiln do I need for glass?

Glass requires lower temperatures, so a relatively low powered kiln that produces an even heat will be ideal for glass projects. More information can be found about the best kilns for glass fusing here.


How much is a kiln to buy?

The cost of buying a kiln is differentiated by size, power and functionality. The less powerful kilns are, in general, less expensive. The caveat is that certain models have additional functionality, such as smart touch screen controls and different firing programs. Again, there is a balance to be struck between what functionality is important to you versus the cost. Our selection of electric powered kilns come at a range of costs to suit a variety of budgets.

Further Reading: How Much Does a Kiln Cost?



What to do next when considering buying a kiln

If you have any further questions regarding kilns and which kiln is suitable for your needs, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Whether you are looking to buy a kiln to meet your hobby needs or you are making a commercial investment, our expert team will be able to guide you.


Additional resources on kilns