Buying an Electric Kiln

If you are looking to buy a kiln, there are a number of factors to consider.  Among the most important are the size and number of pieces being fired, intended frequency of use, method of attaining desired temperatures (electric / gas/ oil / microwave/ burning wood), ventilation, cost of unit & install, etc.  In these articles I will attempt to explain the different kilns available and explain the nuances of each.  Hopefully this will help you make a better informed decision in purchasing a kiln.

Manufactured kilns are numerous and can be bought from several large producers.  Some common names in this arena include Amaco, Paragon and Skutt.  These companies produce microwave, gas and electric kilns.  If you plan to fire pottery or glass frequently, the gas or electric models would be the most logical choice.  (Most appropriate for schools and studios.)  Although electric models are more expensive in terms of fuel cost, the do not require extensive venting or gas lines installed in the area where placed.  Electric kilns are considered the most "green" of the fuel methods required in firing pottery or glass. (Wood burning is the most labor / resource intensive and damaging to the environment.  They are however the least expensive to implement and the wood can come from sustainable forests.)

Large kilns that require electricity utilize use a three phase supply similar to those found in homes with electric driers or ranges.  Their operation is the most controllable, predictable and are commonly used in heavily populated areas where smoke may be an issue.  They are typically constructed from brick in a metal casing making them very heavy.  (You should think about the structural integrity of the location where the unit will be situated.)  In recent years electric kilns have become much more efficient through the use of ceramic fiber technology.  When buying this type, the more insulating fiber the better.

As with gas, there are two methods of loading units - access from the top and side loading variations.  Top loading kilns are convenient for smaller scale workshops because they are cheaper to buy and to install.  The firing cycle in these is quicker due to faster cooling, (compared to side loaders) but some potters feel that this has a negative effect on their work.  This is mostly a personal consideration.

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Model KS-1018 Kiln

Model KS-1018 - Top Load

Model 1018 kilns have a 23-3/8" diameter firing chamber that is 18" high, and fire to Cone 8 (2300 F). External Diameter is 33". Shipping weight is 174 lbs.

Paragon Dragon Front Loading Kiln

Paragon Dragon Front Loading Kiln

Paragon's Dragon is powerful and feature-packed! Its muscular 16.8 KW heat the interior to cone 10. Extra insulation saves energy and allows the kiln to cool slowly, giving glazes time for full development.

Gts 2541-9 25 Floor Kiln With Pyrometer

GTS 2541-9 25 Floor Model With Pyrometer

With tons of room and superior performance its no contest, this is the best around. Perfect for artists who need space for volume firing or want to keep options open on piece size.

Skutt Gm1018 Production Kiln

Skutt Gm1018 Top Load Production Kiln

Skutt and 39;s extremely versatile line of Production Series kilns allows for fusing on multiple layers. With Zone Control standard, the GM1018 fires each section independently to insure even firing from the top to bottom.

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