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5 Best Ceramic Kilns for Home Use (2022 Guide)

Buying a home kiln is no small matter. They come with a hefty price tag, and there are literally dozens of options on the market.

If you have wondered how to find the perfect kiln for you, what to look for when shopping for a kiln, or what sets one kiln apart from another, keep reading.

In this article, we will look at the different types of kilns, how they differ, the top brands, and what you should look for when buying a kiln. There is a lot of information to cover, so let’s dive right in.

Got no time to read? Here’s a summary of the best kilns for home use and why we picked them!

Kiln Name Why we picked it
Skutt Firebox 8×6 Best Pottery Kiln for Beginners
Paragon Caldera Best Ceramic Kiln for Home Use
Skutt GlassMaster Best Kiln for Glass Fusing
Paragon SC-2 Digital Silver and Glass Kiln Best Kiln for Precious Metal Clay (PMC)
Skutt FireBox 8 Kiln Best Small/Mini Kiln

Best Kilns for Home Use

Skutt Firebox 8×6 – Best Pottery Kiln for Beginners

Skutt FireBox 8x6 Kiln

The Skut Firebox 8×6 is widely considered one of the best starter kilns on the market. It can reach a temperature of 2,250°F, so it puts firing at cone six within your reach and truly excels at these mid-range firings.

It gives you 0.22 cubic feet of space in the chamber, so it works well for the smaller projects that most beginners are most comfortable with. For newer clay workers, the fact that it works on a standard 120-volt circuit means they won’t have to invest in wiring a special plug to set up this kiln.

Paragon Caldera – Best Ceramic Kiln for Home Use

Paragon Caldera Kiln

For home-studio use, our top choice is the Paragon Caldera Kiln. It can be used to fire ceramics, porcelain, metallic clays, and fuse or sag glass.

It can be operated as a single-speed kiln or with up to eight ramps and hold stages, making it very versatile. Best of all, it uses 2-1/2 inch Caldera refractory brick for long life and is one of the fastest heating kilns on the market.

The easy programming, firing speed, and durability of the Paragon Caldera Kiln make it one of the best electric kilns for the test-firing process or small-scale production.

Skutt GlassMaster – Best Kiln for Glass Fusing

Skutt GlassMaster Kiln

The Skutt GlassMaster Kiln is widely considered the best kiln for sale, expressly designed for fusing, slumping, and molding glass.

It features the GlassMaster controller making it easier to program than most other kilns, and it has top and side heating elements to provide more uniform heating.

The oval chamber of the GlassMaster is 13.5-inches deep to allow for tall slumping and drop mold projects and comes standard with a lid lifter for easy two-finger opening.

Just as much at home in a commercial setting as in a small shop, the Skutt GlassMaster is available in both 208V and 240V models.

Paragon SC-2 Digital Silver and Glass Kiln – Best Kiln for Precious Metal Clay (PMC)

The Paragon SC-2 is a time-proven design that has only gotten better with recent upgrades. Great for a home pottery studio, art center, or school, this powerful little electric kiln has room for three trays of PMC projects.

It features a steel-clad ceramic fiber firing chamber to prevent heat loss and keep the outer casing from getting hot. Loading and unloading are made simple by the door, which swings a full 180 degrees to allow easy access with minimum chance of accidental contact.

Skutt FireBox 8 Kiln – Best Small/Mini Kiln

Skutt FireBox 8 Kiln

If you have limited space to set up a kiln, only work on small projects, or just want the efficiency that heating small kilns offers, then you can’t go wrong with the Skutt FireBox 8 Kiln. This small kiln reaches the temperature needed to fuse glass in under 20-minutes and for mid-range ceramic firing in just half an hour.

With a 4.5-inches deep 8×8-inch chamber, it is large enough for most novice-level projects but only occupies a small amount of space. Perhaps best of all, it can be operated on a standard 120-volt, 20 amp circuit like most home appliances.

Further Readings:

Considerations When Making a Kiln Purchase

A kiln is a big investment and not one to be taken lightly. Not only is there the original investment of buying a kiln, but you may also have to have electrical work performed to power it. Then there are the power or fuel costs that have to be taken into consideration.


To help you make the best choice from the kilns, you find for sale, we offer this short guide to what to think about when buying a kiln.

Making Sure You Have Enough Space

One of the most common mistakes people make when buying their first kiln is not considering how much space they have available. It may sound a little funny, but it really isn’t.

People will consider all the other factors on our list and pick the perfect kiln for their needs, only to find they will need to remodel their workspace to make it fit. Whenever shopping for a kiln, always keep in mind the size limitations your workshop has.

What Types of Clay Will You Be Firing

You probably realize that not all clay fires at the same temperature. Depending on whether you work with earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, or glass, the temperature needed for proper maturing of the clay will vary.

Be sure to buy a kiln that works well in the temperature range that you need. If buying a used electric kiln, keep in mind that coils weaken over time and find a model that would normally exceed your needs.

What Size Projects Will You Be Creating

woman in pottery studio

This one is kind of a no-brainer but be sure you buy a kiln that will hold the size projects that you work on. It does no good to get a great buy on a kiln if it won’t hold the size and number of pieces you will be firing.

This second point is often overlooked. As you progress in your journey working clay, you will probably find that you create more works faster and need to fire more pieces at one time. If you have the space and resources, it is always best to buy a larger kiln than you presently need.

What Size Pottery Kiln do You Need.

small pottery kiln

The space you have available and the number and size of projects you will be working on will determine what size pottery kiln you will need to buy. Keep in mind, though, that compromises often have to be made.

In some cases, you may have to settle with smaller kilns than you initially hoped for. The only other option is to remodel your shop to make room for the sized kin you really need.

  • Smaller kilns (9″ x 11″ and below) are excellent for beadwork, test pieces, and the small projects most novice clay workers start with.
  • 18″ x 18″ and similar-sized kilns are considered ideal for the ceramic artist that has advanced to creating medium-sized works like plates, bowls, and pots in small numbers.
  • 23″ x 27″ kilns are considered large kilns for the hobby crafter but moderately sized for commercial and teaching shops.
  • 29″ x 27″ and larger kilns are generally reserved for production use below an industrial level.

What Types of Glaze Will You Be Using

Just like clays, different clays require different temperatures to perform properly. Raku glaze requires a much cooler temperature than oxide glazes that can require higher temperatures to flow out and harden.

Check the labeling on the types of glazes you will be using to determine the temperature and cone ranges you will require from your kiln.

What Type of Power Will You Be Using.

gas powered pottery kiln

You have two basic choices in heat sources in kilns; gas or electric. Electric kilns are by far the most popular, but keep in mind that the options extend beyond a power source. There is more than one type of gas-powered kiln available.

More importantly, electric kilns can require a range of voltages to operate. If you purchase electric kilns that must have a higher voltage than is presently available in your shop, be prepared to invest in upgrading the wiring in your shop.

Most homes in the United States are wired for 120 volts single phase with some two-phase 240 circuits for large appliances like clothes dryers or dishwashers.

Beyond this, most circuits in U.S. homes are only rated for 15-20 amps. Some kilns can pull as much as 60 amps. Even if you have a power source available at the correct voltage, it can still be advisable to consult an electrician before installing your kiln.

Controller Type

Almost all kiln manufacturers have their own particular controller options, but for the most part, other than special features, they function much the same. You have two basic options. These are single-speed and programmable.

Single-speed controllers function much like the kitchen oven, you set them, and they come up to temperature and hold at that point until turned off.

Programmable controllers can have multiple options and allow you to customize how your kiln cycles. You can pre-heat, hold, heat, and cool to achieve the exact results you want from your work.

If your pockets are deep enough, then programmable controllers are very nice to have, but they do come at a cost. Single-speed or manual controllers have been used for generations and have the advantage of simplicity.

In the end, the choice is yours.

Top Loading Kilns or Front Loading Kiln

top loading pottery kiln

Top loading kilns are generally cheaper than front-loading kilns, but as is usually the case, there is a trade-off.

If you are height-challenged or have issues with your back, top-loading models can be difficult to work with. To be honest, they can be and cause pain.

Front-loading kilns are much easier to load and empty but cost more. If your budget can take the extra strain, we recommend front-loading for smaller, older, and clay artisans that have back issues to contend with.

Kiln Furniture and Accessories

As a general rule, all kilns other than small or mini kilns will have to be delivered by a heavy truck. They are not light objects that are easily handled. The furniture that goes with them is no lightweight either. To save on shipping, it is usually best to order furniture with your kiln.

Kiln furniture increases the usefulness of your kiln and helps guarantee the best results from your firing. When shopping for a kiln, especially a large kiln, a few items you may want to make sure comes with it or are readily available are:

  • Kilns stilts
  • Kiln posts
  • Bead racks
  • Kiln bricks


Price is always the 400-pound gorilla in the room. A new high-quality kiln can range in price from just below a thousand dollars to “what did you say.”

Among the top brands, prices are usually comparable to size. As an example, a small kiln like a Paragon Caldera or Skutt FireBox 8 will be right around 1K. Moving up in size to an Evenheat Ceramic Kiln, you can expect to pay in the five thousand range, and when you move up to the big front loaders, you can spend fifteen thousand or more. These prices don’t include furniture.

These are just the investments that you can expect to pay to buy the kiln. Remember that the larger the kiln, the greater your power supply will need to be, and operating costs will run.

Also, the larger your kiln, the more kiln furniture you are likely to need to make full use of its capabilities. That’s why we recommend getting a kiln that is large enough to serve your needs but don’t go overboard, even if you have the budget for it.

Types of Kilns Explained

Top Loading Kilns

front loading pottery kiln

A top-loading kiln is an open chamber with a hinged lid to seal off the top. They are loaded, as the name implies, by leaning over the top and placing items to be fired inside the firing chamber.

While the top-loading design may be more difficult to load and unload, these kilns are by far the most popular on the market today. To a great extent, this could be because they are generally less expensive than a front-loading kiln of equal size.

One other advantage that they offer is because the lid goes up rather than out, they require less working space in your shop.

Front-Loading Kiln

Front-loading kilns are kilns designed much like a cabinet. Where most top-loaders are round or oval, front-loading kilns tend to be square. Their doors, just like a cabinet door, swing outward, and you simply load items through the opening as you would dishes in your kitchen.

For the most part, you will see smaller versions of these kilns used for firing beads, doll parts, and other small items, but some are used for slightly larger pieces.

Pottery Kilns

A pottery kiln, often called a ceramic kiln, is any type of kiln that is used for firing objects created out of clay and similar materials.

They come in many different shapes and sizes, may be gas, electric, or wood-fired, and are used to fire a variety of types of items, including:

  • Earthenware
  • Stoneware
  • Ceramics
  • Porcelain
  • Precious Metal Clay
  • Glass

Electric Kilns

Electric kilns are by far the most popular kilns used for home pottery shops. They are basically a chamber lined with ceramic bricks and heated by resistance coils. You will see them in both front and top-loading designs.

Depending on the model, they can be used for firing low-fire clays, high-fire ceramics, glass, and PMC.

Ceramic Kiln

A ceramic kiln is the same as a pottery kiln, except many times, they are distinguished by being able to climb to and hold higher temperatures. Ceramics, as a rule, are created from high-fire clays.

These kilns are available in an endless variety of sizes, and both top and front-loading designs are available. You will also generally have the option of buying a gas-fired or electric ceramic kiln.

Gas Kilns

Gas kilns are ceramic or pottery kilns that are heated using either propane or natural gas. They come in two varieties; updraft and downdraft.

Updraft Gas Kiln

Most often, an updraft gas kiln will have burners on each side of a brick-lined chamber. The heat from the burners passes around the chamber and is vented out a flue at the top of the kiln.

This flue can be opened or closed to control both the temperature and the atmospheric pressure inside the kiln.

Downdraft Gas Kiln

Downdraft gas kilns are considered more efficient than updrafts. They operate in much the same way, except that the flue is positioned at the bottom of the firing chamber.

The heat from the burners is forced to travel around the chamber and then forced to flow through the chamber to reach the flue.

Regardless of which type of gas kiln is used, caution must be used to assure that they are properly ventilated.

Different Size Kiln Options

Kiln Sizes Explained

For round or oval kilns, they are listed with the diameter of the opening being listed first with the depth of the chamber being the following number. An 8 x 8 kiln would have a mouth that is 8 inches in diameter and eight inches deep.

Square or rectangular kilns will normally be listed by the total cubic feet capacity of the firing chamber itself.

Kilns come in an almost endless variety of sizes but below are what is considered the standard sizes produced by most manufacturers.

Small or Mini Kiln Range

mini pottery kiln

These kilns are usually 9″ x 11″ or even smaller. Mini kilns are great for firing beads, doll parts, test items, and other small pieces.

Medium Kiln Range

At 18″ x 18″ or close to it, these kilns are ideal for home potters that have advanced to making larger pieces or who need to fire several small items at a time.

Large Kiln Range

large kilns are considered to be around 23″ x 27″, give or take a little. These are the most common-sized kilns seen in small shops and the homes of advanced weekend warriors. Large kilns will handle most projects the average potter is ever likely to make or a fair amount of smaller pieces.

Extra-large Kiln Range

extra large pottery kiln

29″ x 27″ or larger kins are considered very large for home use. Extra-large kilns are generally found in commercial pottery and ceramic shops or large teaching environments that need to fire a large number of items on a regular basis.

Any kiln beyond these sizes would be considered commercial or industrial-sized.

Kiln Brands

There are quite a few companies that produce and sell kilns in the United States. Here is a short synopsis of what we consider the best brands available today.


Skutt is credited with developing the first lightweight kiln intended for home potters in 1953. While 60 years have passed, the company has remained dedicated to bringing professional quality products to the hobbyist clay artisan.

They offer some of the easiest kilns to program and some of the most precise. They have also ventured into pottery wheel production with excellent products.


Paragon makes some of the most precise kilns and ovens on the market. While their products are primarily targeted toward clay artisans, you will find their kilns being used in chemical laboratories because of the degree of accuracy they provide.

Paragon’s controllers offer some of the most detailed programmability available but can be a little intimidating to newer users.


Duncan is no longer manufacturing kilns, but they can often be found used at very reasonable prices. If you buy one and need parts or manuals, they can be sourced through Paragon’s technical department.


Amaco kilns are unique in the industry due to coming with a lifetime guarantee. Their kilns are a little pricey but needless to say, they are built to last. The warranty does have some restrictions but nothing that doesn’t cover normal use.

Where to Buy a Kiln

If you are on a tight budget slightly used kiln in good condition can often be found on Craigslist, eBay, and similar sites. Be aware though, that many will no longer be under warranty and electrical coils lose their efficiency over time. If a kiln has been heavily used, it may have trouble reaching its maximum firing temperature.

Our personal choice for purchasing a kiln is through the Blick Art Supply website. Their technical assistance and customer service are unparalleled.

Kiln Temperature Ranges Explained

large pottery kiln

Kilns can be operated over a wide range of temperatures depending on the type of clay being used and the desired physical properties of the finished products.

Generally, you will hear kiln temperatures described as low-fire clays, mid-fire, and high temperatures. These correspond to earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain.

The temperatures required for these different types of pottery are as follows.

  • Earthenware- 600 to 1100 degrees Centigrade (1112 – 2012 Farhienhit)
  • Stoneware- 1,100 to 1,200 degrees Centigrade (2012 – 2192 Farhienhit)
  • Porcelain- 1,200 to 1,400 °C (2,192 and 2,552 Farhienhit)

You will also often hear the word cone used when describing firing ranges. Cone can be complicated to explain, but in simplest terms, it is a measure of how fast a piece of pottery is brought up to a specific temperature and how long it is held there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you have a kiln in your house?

Yes, many hobbyist potters and some professionals operate kilns in their homes. Be aware, though, that a kiln does require proper clearance and ventilation and may require the installation of a special breaker and electrical circuit.

Do kilns use a lot of electricity?

Kilns do use quite a bit of power. The biggest determining factor of how much is the size of the kiln. The smallest kilns running on 120-volt household current normally consume around 1.5 kW, while larger kilns typically consume about 5kW or 8kW.

Can I use my oven as a Kiln?

Household ovens and even commercial ovens are not designed to reach or withstand the temperatures that are required for firing clay. No, you cannot use your oven as a kiln.