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How Much Do Kilns Cost? (Kiln Price Explained)

The history of pottery goes back to around 29,000 BC. Though technology has changed, in that entire history, the basics have remained the same. You take purified clay form into a useful or artistic shape and then fire it to make it hard and permanent.

The only real changes have come in the form of the kilns we use to fire our works. Today’s kilns come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and shopping for one can be confusing.

One of the questions we most commonly hear is, “How much should I expect to pay for a kiln?” That is a complicated question. With so many types of kilns available, in so many sizes and for different purposes, there is no cut-and-dried answer.

What we can do is give you the general price ranges for different types of kilns.

Ceramic Kilns

Ceramic kilns are what most people think of when they hear the word kiln. They are used to fire pottery, ceramics, clay statuary, beads, and even porcelain.

Pottery kilns come in both electric and gas kilns, but electrics dominate the market to a very great degree. This is largely due to the ease of control that electric kilns offer and the lack of gas-fired kilns in smaller sizes.

The biggest factor affecting the price of a ceramic kiln, sometimes called a pottery kiln, is its size.

Mini Kilns

Quality minis or compact kilns range in price from around the $500 mark up to $1200 or more. There are some cheaper offerings available but nothing we would be comfortable recommending.

The best of compact kilns, in our opinion, is the Skutt FireBox 8 Kiln.

Skutt FireBox 8 Kiln

Skutt FireBox 8 Kiln


Small Kiln

A small electric kiln suitable for most smaller projects will run you from around $1000 to $2500 depending on the particular model. Keep in mind that if you want a small front-loading kiln, you can expect to pay slightly more than for a top-loader and that models with a higher temperature firing range can be much more expensive.

Paragon Caldera

Paragon Caldera Kiln


Medium Sized Kiln

A medium-sized pottery kiln is generally thought of as being for serious weekend warriors who have advanced to working on slightly larger pieces or who need to fire several smaller works at one time. Top shelf kilns in this category start in the $2500 neighborhood and can easily run over $6000.

Amaco Excel Kiln with Select Fire

Amaco Excel Kiln with Select Fire


Skutt KMT Series Kilnmaster Touchscreen Kiln

Skutt KMT Series Kilnmaster Touchscreen Kilns


Large Capacity Kilns

When you move up to large-capacity pottery kilns, you start looking at spending some serious money. These kilns are most often found in professional shops, schools, and smaller commercial production establishments. The cheapest kiln that falls in this category would run you 6 to $7000 for a base model with no bells and whistles. From that price point, you can easily spend well over $20,000 for a good front-loading kiln.

Paragon Super Dragon Digital Front-Loading Kiln

Paragon Super Dragon Digital Front-Loading Kiln


Glass Kilns

Glass fusing kilns range in price from $600 to $1500 for a 120-volt, single-phase model that can be used in most homes.

When you move up to 240-volt two-phase models, the price increases considerably. You can expect to pay between $1500 and $2500 dollars for these models.

A glass fusing kiln differs from a ceramic kiln in several ways, but the biggest differences are:

  • Most glass kilns are heated from the top.
  • Glass fusing kilns fire at 1700 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, while pottery kilns can reach 2500 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
  • Glass fusing kilns tend to only heat at one level in contrast to a ceramic kiln that attempts to fire consistently throughout the chamber.


Paragon SC-2 Digital Silver and Glass Kiln


Skutt GlassMaster

Skutt GlassMaster Kiln


Ceramic / Glass Kilns

A glass / ceramic kiln is kind of an odd hybrid and is like getting two kilns in one. The majority of these models have elements in the sides of the chamber like a ceramic kiln but also have a heating element in the lid like a glass kiln. They allow the artisan to choose which coils they use for whatever project they may be working on.

As you would expect, this versatility does come at a cost, and these kilns can run you anywhere from $1000 to $3500.

Skutt HotStart Pro Studio Kiln

Skutt HotStart Pro Studio Kiln


Multipurpose Kilns

Multipurpose kilns are generally created for smaller projects worked in glass or PMC clay. They are also popular among knife smiths for hardening and tempering.

Most operate on 120-volt single-phase circuits, so they can be used in a home without any special wiring or additional breakers being needed.

Some can be used for low-fire clay, but not all. So, if you buy a multipurpose kiln, check its specs carefully.

Multipurpose kilns can generally be found new for just over a thousand dollars, and few, if any, will cost you over 3000.

Skutt FireBox14 Kiln

Skutt FireBox14 Kiln


Gas Kilns

A gas kiln is much more difficult to control than an electric kiln. Rather than being able to simply set your thermostat or program a particular cycle, you must control how the kiln fires by adjusting the gas flame and the damper that is in the flue.

The use of gas kilns is usually restricted to areas where electricity is unavailable and to experts who want to achieve very particular glaze effects.

A quality gas kiln will normally sell for between $1500 and $15,000.

Electric Kilns

Most people, when they want a good pottery kiln, just naturally gravitate towards electric kilns. They come in a wide variety of sizes and price ranges, most are easy to set up and operate, and many have programmable controllers that allow an almost endless array of cycles to be preset.

as with any kiln, there are a number of factors you need to take into consideration before buying your own kiln, but if you know the particulars of what you are looking for, it really comes down to two options. A top-loading kiln or a front-loading kiln.

Top Loading Kilns

Top loading kilns are by far the most commonly seen and some would say the most versatile That is provided you have the proper kiln furniture kit for your oven. You can get pretty much any size kiln you want in a top-loader, and they have the advantage of being less expensive than front-loading kins.

Their disadvantage is you must reach over the sides to access the firing chamber. If you are shorter in stature or have back issues, this can be a very real pain.

Top loading kilns can be found for as little as $500, and from there, the sky is the limit depending on the size, controller, and accessories you choose.

Amaco Excel Kiln with Select Fire

Amaco Excel Kiln with Select Fire


Front Loading Kiln

Front-loading kilns have the advantage of it is easier to access the firing chamber. You simply open the door and either place your pieces inside or remove your finished artwork.

Their big disadvantages are you have to have room for the door to swing open, and they do come with a higher price tag.

Small stackable front loaders start around $1500, and from there, the prices rise quickly to $15,000 or higher.

Paragon Dragon Front Loading Kiln

Paragon Dragon Front Loading Kiln


Raku Kiln

Raku kilns are different from all other kilns. Instead of placing objects in the kiln, the firing chamber is lowered over the work to be fired. This is a very traditional form of firing, mainly stoneware and earthenware but can be used for ceramics.

As doubtful as it may be that any of us will ever need a Raku kiln, we can expect to pay one to two thousand for one if the need does arise.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Looking for Kilns

There are a few questions that you need to ask yourself before you begin looking for a kiln to buy. Having these answers in the back of your mind will go a long way towards avoiding mistakes when buying a kiln.

How much space do I have for a kiln?

measuring floor

It can be heartbreaking to think you have gotten the perfect capacity kiln with all the features you wanted only to discover it won’t fit in your shop.

Plan out where you will place your kiln, and then measure what space you are working with. Remember, a kiln does require clearance around it, and doors or lids have to be opened.

What size kiln do I really need?

Do you make large tea sets out of pottery, or is your work limited to small doll parts? Will you be producing one bowl at a time or have multiple creations that will need to be fired together?

Being honest about your firing needs will help you maximize your budget. Buy a kiln large enough for your needs but don’t break the bank simply because you can.

Can I use a rolling stand for my kiln?

caster wheels

If the answers to the last two questions are contradictory to each other, then you may be able to mount your new kiln on a rolling stand. They allow you to tuck your pottery kiln out of the way when not being used and bring it out when you want to fire.

What materials will I be firing?

A kiln that will reach the maximum temperatures needed for glass will not come close to reaching the minimum temperatures needed for high-fire clay.

Kiln prices are, to an extent, directly impacted by the abilities of the kilns to generate and hold heat. If all you are going to do is create bisque and low-fire pieces, there is no need to buy a kiln for your pottery shop that can reach cone nine or higher.

What glazes will I be using?

high-temperature kiln

Just like different mediums, glazes of different types have different firing requirements.

Low-fire glazes like traditional potash glazes will cure out at 1830-1940°F, so a kiln capable of cone 6 is more than adequate for their use.

If you are wanting to use silica or other high-fire glazes, then you will need a kiln that can reach cone eight temperatures between 2305-2381°F.

Needless to say, there is a difference in price between kilns designed to operate across these ranges.

Am I going to need an electrician’s help?

electrician installing breaker

As a general rule, we always advise having an electrician check your wiring before you install a kiln.

There are smaller kilns available that will operate on a standard single-phase, 20 amp, 120-volt household circuit. It must be remembered, though, that these standards have only recently come into force. It wasn’t that long ago that 110-volt, 15-amp circuits were standard.

To avoid possibly creating a dangerous situation that might also void your homeowner’s insurance, it is always best to have a licensed electrician check your wiring.

Beyond these concerns, it must be remembered that most kilns operate on 240 volts, and some can draw as much as 60-amps. This requires the installation of specialty circuits designed to handle this much of a load.

Even if you have the knowledge and skill set that would allow you to do this yourself, don’t, unless you are a licensed electrician, there is a very real risk of voiding your home’s insurance.

Electricity is not something to play with. Always err on the side of safety.

What controller do I want?

Single-speed kilns are less expensive than ones with programmable controllers but do not offer the versatility of more modern models. Still, if you are on a budget, then a more traditional kiln with a kiln sitter is perfectly adequate for most novice pottery workers.

Touch screens, and the like, are very nice but you do have to pay for them.

Should I buy a new or a used kiln?

old kiln

You can often find used kilns on eBay and Craigslist or in the classified sections of newspapers for as little as half their original price. That could be a good place to get a good kiln.

We are assuming if you are reading this article, you are not an expert with the knowledge needed to evaluate the condition of a used kiln. Unless you have someone to help you, we advise against buying used kilns.

Never buy a used kiln unseen. That is simply asking for trouble. As always, let the buyer beware.


Do kilns use a lot of electricity?

The energy consumed within the kiln depends in large part on size and construction. Smaller kilns with a standard household outlet of 120V typically draw 1.5 to 1.6kilowatts, while medium-sized kilns draw about 5 to 8kW.

The actual operating cost of your kiln will depend on many factors, including how full your kiln is at the time of firing.

Do you need a kiln for clay?


Unless you are only creating earthenware, you will need a kiln to fire your pottery after you take it off the pottery wheel. Earthenware is the oldest form of pottery known and can be created using several primitive firing techniques.

Most of these involve building a fire around your creations and allowing the clay to cure in the heart of the fire.

Earthenware is a very porous material that will allow liquids to seep through.

Can I use a kiln at home?

Yes, you can use a kiln in your home. There are many electric home kiln options, and most electrics can be used at home provided proper electrical circuits have been installed. It’s not only for the pottery studio!

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