There may be methods of firing pottery without ceramic kilns, but most home-based crafters will agree that finding the best ceramic kiln for home use is indispensable for a long list of DIY ceramics and other uses such as metal-work and jewelry.
Are you worried about them being too big or cumbersome for your cozy pottery studio? Stop worrying because some of the kilns in this review are ideal for tight spaces and are very portable. I’ll also list some dream kilns for those who are wanting to produce larger quantities or larger clay creations that wouldn’t fit in a tabletop kiln.
If you think you’re having trouble making a decision based on our reviews, please skip down to my buyer’s guide at the end of this post. It has everything you need to make an educated decision.
If You Are Short On Time, Here Is My List of The Best Ceramic Kilns for Home Use:
- USA Cast Master 5KG <<Best Ceramic Kiln for Home Use
- Skutt KM818 <<Best for Medium Size Ceramic Creations
- Paragon Iguana Front Loading Kiln <<Best for Large Projects
The best ceramic kiln for home use can vary from very small to large sizes
Reviews of the Best Ceramic Kilns for Home Use
This propane furnace delivers up to 2700 F and 1500 C degrees of temperature! This kit includes a crucible and tongs. I really like how the USA Cast Master team really makes this easy to get going. If you are getting into using kilns for a hobby or just as a beginner, I highly recommend you use this product first. You will learn a lot about yourself and if you want to upgrade down the road you absolutely can do so later.
- Everything is the box to get going right away
- Just follow the instructions
- Their warranty is solid! I had to use their warranty and they honored it with flying colors.
2. Skutt KM818 – My Top Pick For Medium-Sized Ceramic Creations
The Skutt KM818 has been a great addition for many home studios because it comes with an electric control that has a number of preset cone fire programs. Of course, this would make it a suitable choice for professionals but its 11.25” x 13.5” dimensions will limit your creativity for large pieces or in larger batches of small items.
- Can be powered by a standard 120 V and 15 amp home outlet
- Can fit easily into any corner of your home studio
- Maximum temperature of 2250 degrees
3. Paragon Iguana Digital Front Loading Kiln – My Pick For Best Front Loading Kiln
This beast of a kiln uses a standard 6-50 R outlet, so if you are already wired for kiln use, this unit is ready to roll. The large interior will handle pieces that are tall and bulky. It comes with a Sentry Digital Controller for complete temperature control and has a programmed cool-down for exact reliability
- 22½”H × 18″W × 18″D interior
- Fires to cone 10
- Industrial grade, heavy-duty elements
- Loaded with safety features
- Highly reputable company
- Custom-built for each order and shipped from the manufacturer
- For the serious home ceramic craftsman
4. Delphi Glass Ez Pro 15-6 Kiln – For Metal Clays, Very Low Firing Clay and Glass
The Delphi Glass Ez Pro may not have the largest ceramic fiber shell interior, as the 6” x 6” x 6” chamber is perfect for small projects. Also, what I loved about this product is that it fired up and cooled down small items as quickly as under 30 minutes. Additionally, this kiln is also very energy efficient since it runs at only 1560 watts (less than your average hair dryer). Suitable for beads, metal clays and glass. If you are crafting very small, low-firing ceramic creations, this may be the only kiln you will need.
- Energy efficient
- Great price
- Top temperature is 1700 degrees
- Very portable and compact
- An additional pyrometer keeps fusing temperatures constant
5. Melting Furnace RapidFire Programmable Tabletop Kiln Melter – Best For Small Creations and Beginners
This tabletop kiln provides users with a great mix of power and portability. Its firing chamber measures up to 8.5” x 3.5” and its ease of use makes it the perfect choice for beginners or intermediate sculptors. When you use this product, small ceramics, enamels and glass fusing projects they will be completed in as little as 15 minutes!
- Easy to use
- Operates easily on standard voltages
- Perfect size for tight spaces
- Heats to 2200 degrees
Weighing in at just 12 pounds, this is another very portable kiln with a front-loading design and an ergonomic handle. It also boasts some impressive heating possibilities due to its maximum heating capacity of 2200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- A trusted brand
- Higher temperature range can fire up most glazes and clays
- Digital temperature toggles
Lastly, this larger Skutt kiln is sold for a budget-friendly price and still gives you twice as much room for moderate to smaller sized pieces. The interior chamber will accommodate up to a 23 inch tall pot, or a 21 inch wide platter. Paired with its maximum firing temperature of 2250 degrees Fahrenheit allows for even and quick heating of high-fire stoneware and ceramic clays. If you live in a hot area, a 60 amp breaker is needed and if the room temperature exceeds 95 degrees F, the internal circuit breaker may trip.
- Perfect choice for professional artists
- Works with any standard 120V home outlet
- Can fit in any tight space of a cramped home studio
- Easy lift lid – open with one finger!
- Fires to cone 10
8. Amaco Excel Deep Select Fire -My Pick For Serious Ceramic Use
Sorter in stature ceramic artists, this kiln is 4 inches deeper than competitor models, yet easier to load and unload. Capable of firing objects up to 18 inches tall, it comes with a tall steel stand.
- Requires a NEMA 6-50 outlet – check with your home electrician
- Modular design for easy brick change-outs
- High-quality Kanthal A-1 elements
- Available in 16 different single and three-phase models
- Fires up to cone 10
Buying Debates: Buying the Best Ceramic Kiln for Home Use
1. Types of Glaze and Clay
Glazes and clay are known to mature at very different temperatures, which is why you need to be very clear about what you plan on making before you buy a kiln. You see, the temperature to work with earthenware, stoneware, porcelain and glass are all quite different. For this reason, you will have to match each product’s capabilities with whatever you plan on working on.
Additionally, if clay gets fired at very high temperatures, there is always a possibility that it might get ruined. In some cases, the clay may get so deformed that it might even start melting or the glaze might run off completely. Alternatively, if the temperature is set too low, you will just end up with a rough and dry finish on your ceramic end products.
Similarly, the glaze you plan on using also differs greatly with respect to how much temperature they are compatible with. For instance, Raku requires low-fire kilns whereas Oxide stains (and many others) require high temperatures.
Have you considered where you would store the kiln? If you have found ample space inside your home, then this particular consideration shouldn’t be much of an issue. However, if your home studio can be described as a cozy space, then we would recommend staying away from overly big kilns.
The best ceramic kiln for home use should ideally have at least 2 feet of open spaces around it to allow for breathing room.
Since we’ve already covered the size of your workspace, it is time for us to consider the size of kilns. The size you choose should depend on the space of your pottery studio and the size or type of pottery you are going to be working with.
Another key consideration here is efficiency since you don’t want to fire up many small items in a huge kiln. This would be as good as a complete waste of power and space. Here’s how you can pick the right size for your projects:
- The smallest kilns can measure up to 9” x 11” and they are ideal for the smallest items such as doll parts, beads etc.
- If you’re planning on working with slightly larger items but not in large batches (such as bowls, plates or pots) then you should stick with the medium-sized 18” x 18” kiln.
- The most common size of ceramic kilns is 23” x 27” and they are ideal for bulk firing projects where you intend to create larger items.
Since I’ve already mentioned that glazes and clay have very different firing requirements, you should avoid future disappointment by buying a ceramic kiln that exceeds your planned temperature requirements. That being said, you should bear in mind that the maximum firing capability of your kiln will reduce gradually over time. This is why you should overestimate your maximum temperature requirements by at least 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for the initial purchase.
Here’s how you consider temperature requirements based on what you are working with:
- Porcelain – High-temperature kilns
- Stoneware – High- or mid-temperature kilns
- Glass and Earthenware – Low-temperature kilns
Before we conclude our buyer’s guide, we would like to communicate a final word about safety. Kilns are manufactured to run at dangerously high temperatures. This also means that you have a potential hazard in your home if you have any animals or children lose in your home. For this reason, you should have a few additional items to keep you and your family safe:
- Toxins are one of the hazards of having a kiln in your home and they are released due to the chemical changes of clay. This is why you should make sure that your pottery studio is well ventilated. Some kilns have heat and gas exhausts that you should vent to the outside. Make sure to follow all manufacturer’s directions precisely.
- The inside of a kiln tends to get so bright that constant exposure can be damaging for your eyes. This is why you should wear protective eyewear, even though some sculptors prefer wearing glasses.
- Protective gear is necessary because a kiln is a dangerous contraption even after hours of sitting still once you’re done using it. This is why you should never touch the exterior of a kiln with your bare hands unless you’re 100% sure that it has cooled down. Also, always wear high temperature gloves when you’re working with a kiln.
6. Top Loading vs. Front Loading
Professional kilns are available in either loading option. It is much easier to remove your fired creations with a front loading kiln, as you don’t need to bend over and lift objects up and out.
7. Craft kilns vs. professional ceramic kilns
Many home kilns are designed for shared use by glass, low-firing clays and enamel work. Other kilns are specific to ceramic clay uses. What do plan to use your kiln for?
Some kilns are programmable for precise and ideal firing of your ceramic creations and safe automatic cool-downs.
9. Your home electrical wiring
Tabletop kilns just plug into your regular home outlets. Larger kilns require more electrical energy and probably will require an electrician to install a proper outlet in your workspace. Check the energy requirements carefully before purchasing!
1. Does Voltage and Amperage Matter When Buying the Best Ceramic Kiln for Home Use?
On average, the bigger the ceramic kiln you’re working with, the more energy it will need to run. This is why you should check how much amperage and voltage you have available in the space that will be housing your new kiln. Also, if you pick a kiln that has a high power requirement, you should spare a fraction of your budget for the necessary upgrades with a licensed electrician, as high power kilns need more power than a household current outlet provides. Safety first! Always consult an electrical professional!
Other considerations are the room temperature where you will be firing. Some of the larger kiln’s circuit breakers will automatically pop if the room temperature exceeds 95 degrees F.
2. Does It Matter How Many and What Size of Pieces I’m Working With?
To determine more clearly what size of kiln your project needs, you will first have to approximate the dimensions of the pieces you’re creating. Also, the more pieces you need to fire up simultaneously, the more kiln space you need.
3. Does the Type of Clay You’re Firing Matter?
Ceramic materials are typically classified based on the temperature they are heated at for their clay to mature. For this reason, the temperature range of a kiln should be picked based on whether you’re working with glass, porcelain, stoneware or earthenware.
Tips and Inspirations
Here’s some great tips:
How To Load Your Kiln:
Cone Temperature Demystifying:
My Conclusion About The Best Kiln for Home Use
After testing and reviewing the top models, I recommend that you start with the USA Cast Master.
Choosing the best ceramic kiln for home use can be so much more daunting if you aren’t armed with all the reviews and buying considerations. That is why should follow my guidance and grab the USA Cast Master. It is my #1 choice for the best kiln for home use.