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What To Consider When Buying An Olympic Kiln

Olympic Kilns was established over 50 years ago in Seattle, Washington. The company continued to grow throughout the years and then moved their manufacturing to Georgia, which brought them closer to the resources used to build their kilns - speeding up the production process and ensuring the kilns were delivered to the loyal and valuable customers in an even more timely manner.

Their expertise reigns throughout the industry and they continue to influence the market with incredible new designs.

In this guide we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the different kilns Olympic offers. We’ll go over their main characteristics including price, size, type of controller and other features depending on the model. Once you know more about them, you’ll be able to choose the right kiln that fits your needs and budget.

 

Electric vs. Gas Kilns

Olympic offers both electric and gas kilns. 

Gas kilns (either Raku or Torchbearer Updraft Kilns) work with natural gas or propane that need to be bought separately on a regular basis. While they give ceramics a darker color and a unique rustic, aged look, they are not as practical as electric kilns simply because they require additional set up as well as permits for fire safety. 

Gas kilns are mainly used to make Raku Pottery. Olympic offers other electric kilns that work similarly to traditional Raku kilns but with electricity instead of gas. 

Electric kilns are easier to install and operate. They work with heating elements that are basically pieces of wire designed to resist the passage of electricity, similar to most heating appliances. Coiled heating elements inside the kiln impede electrical movement and therefore cause the wire to heat up and radiate heat throughout the kiln’s interior. 

Olympic offers a wide range of electric kilns that serve a variety of purposes including pottery making, glass fusing and heat treating. They are very versatile in terms of temperature and sizes and are suitable for both professionals and amateurs. 

We definitely recommend you to go for an Olympic electric kiln unless you are a professional already looking for a gas kiln for any specific reason.

If you want to learn more about electric kilns, here is a full guide on how to use them.

 

Electricity and Voltage: 120v vs 240v

Olympic kilns require either 120v or 240v plug wirings. Keep in mind that if you are looking for a kiln for home use, you’d want to get a 120v kiln as most homes in America only have 120v wiring. That’s not going to be a problem if you are looking to get a small or medium-sized kiln. However, If you want to buy bigger, more professional kilns, you will most likely have to install 240v wiring in your place with the help of an electrician.

If you want to see the main difference between them, here you can check all the 120v Olympic kilns and here you can check the 240v ones.

 

Temperature

Different kilns can reach different maximum temperatures. All materials, including clay, glaze and glass are created to melt and mature at specific temperatures. So you should definitely check what temperature you’ll need the kiln to reach to get optimal results in terms of durability and color of your pieces. 

Glass fusing, for example, usually requires temperatures lower than 1510°F. Porcelain, however, reaches optimum hardness between 2381°F and 2455°F while earthenware does it at around 2000°F (1100°C). Here’s a little help on what kilns to get based on the materials you will be working with as well as firing techniques you want to apply: 

     

    Controller Types

    All kilns are equipped with a control device, called a controller, that allows you to regulate the kiln’s temperature and its heating rates. When you buy an Olympic kiln, in most cases, you will have the option to choose the kind of controller you want. 

    Controllers go from the very basic to the most advanced ones. Kilns with manual controllers work through the use of switches that need to be manually adjusted to change temperatures during the firing process. On the other hand, controllers with more advanced features include Technical Assistance Programs (TAP) as well as LCD touchscreens. They automatically adjust the temperature of the chambers and some can even be controlled from a smartphone or a computer via Wi-Fi. 

    Olympic has close relationships with several manufacturers of a variety of digital controllers. This means you will have nothing but the best the best in terms of performance and accuracy in your firings.

    For more information, you can check our full article on kiln controllers here.

     

    Size

    The size of the kiln you should get depends on the pieces you are going to create. 

    Olympic offers kilns in many, many different sizes. 

    For example, the Olympic Kiln - HB84E is the smallest one available with internal dimensions of 6.5 x 6.5 x 4.5 inches and a volume of just 0.11 cubic feet. These kilns are the cheapest ones and are ideal for beginners and those who are looking to make small pieces in small quantities at home. 

    On the other hand, the biggest kiln Olympic offers is the huge Olympic Kiln - FL53E Car with internal dimensions of 46 x 46 x 45 inches and a volume of 53 cubic feet, big enough to fire multime items of considerable size at the same time. 

    When it comes to sizes, Olympic offers pretty much anything in between those 2. You can check all Olympic kilns available and filter them by size here.

     

    Prices

    Of course, price matters too. The prices of the Olympic kilns vary greatly depending on the specific model as well their size, controllers, capacity, and many other factors. Some models can be customized and some others require you to buy additional pieces or accessories depending on the material you’ll use and items you’ll make.

    To give you an idea though, the cheapest Olympic kilns cost just over $500. They tend to be the smallest ones with manual controllers. The most expensive kilns tend to be the biggest ones with advanced features and set-up, which can cost around $25K.

    Here you can check all the Olympic Kilns available, sort them by price, check the models that best fit your needs and buy any of them directly on our website. 

    If you have any questions about any of the Olympic kilns, don’t hesitate to contact us. We absolutely pride ourselves on having phenomenal customer support and want to ensure everything is taken care of for you.

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    Jen Ken 5 Stars
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