Pottery is a fascinating art form with many different approaches towards finished ceramics and sculpture. Maybe you are someone that loves to handbuild models out of clay, using various clay sculpting tools to get the best shapes and marks. Or, maybe you love to throw pots and other functional items on a pottery wheel. Either way, it is wonderful to be able to add slip and glazes, put them in a kiln, and see what comes out at the end. But, what if you don’t have access to a kiln in an art studio and work from home?
Why might you want to buy a top pottery kiln for home use?
Ceramic work and pottery take different forms and you can play around with air-drying clay with ease when hand-building items. But, if you want to make functional pieces on the wheel and then fire them with glazes, it helps to have a pottery kiln. Alternative firing methods do exist. But, a kiln provides the right heat in a controlled environment so you can finish off your work nicely.
The problem is that reliable pottery kilns aren’t readily available for online purchases.
The obvious starting point here if you want to bring a pottery kiln into your home is to go online and see what you can order from Amazon. Ideally, you would get a great piece of kit delivered to your door where you can set everything up and start firing your pieces with ease. But, this is easier said than done. It is easy to fall into a bit of a rabbit hole of different devices and appliances and eventually realize that none are quite right as a pottery kiln for home use. Unfortunately, some consumers figure this out too late.
So, I want to offer a little guidance here on what to expect and what to watch out for to help you avoid disappointment. The first products included in this guide are recommended by other users, but I suggest you use your own judgment before committing as information is limited. Then I have some products for alternative uses. I think it is important to understand where they could be of use in at-home crafting and why you shouldn’t choose them for pottery. Following that, we can talk a little about some alternative solutions for firing pottery at home.
Some of the best ceramic kilns on Amazon.
1) Delphi Ez Pro 15-6 Kiln
As I mentioned above, some of these options come from second-hand recommendations and were not easy to find. I should give a quick shout-out to ceramices.com for their guidance here. However, there are claims that this Delphi kiln has some custom programs for slow-firing clay. This could make it suitable for small projects at home and makes it sound like a fairly user-friendly option. I have read that it is also an affordable and value option that seems to be pretty durable for long-term use. The ease of use of the time and temperature is a must. This also saves having to play around with individual components when building your own kiln at home.
2) MAS1823HE Olympic Kiln (Cone 10) with Furniture Kit
This next option is one that gets some great comments for its performance. The insulated chamber is said to be nice and consistent for a reliable result each time. Again, this makes the product a little more user-friendly for those that are a bit more cautious about setting up a new kiln at home. There are some nice safety features and a good programmable controller. It is noted, however, that there is no vent kit.
3) Fuseworks Craft Kiln
Next, we have a little tabletop option. Now, you will learn a bit more about the variety of tabletop kilns below. This one is said to be OK for ceramic work on a small scale. Maybe you have some small decorations or miniatures in mind. There are compliments on the ease of operation with the easy access and controls. You can then set this up for use on glass and enamel work too. I like the idea of this multifunctional approach and this seems like the best choice if you need something simple and portable.
Beware of tabletop kilns as some of these aren’t for pottery.
When searching online for appropriate products for the best pottery kiln for home use, you may come across a few options that call themselves “tabletop kilns”. This is understandably appealing at first glance because it gives the impression of a more portable and space-saving solution for your home. However, these products are typically for use in jewelry-making capacities and other types of casting. This is why it is so important to look at the specifications and descriptions in more detail first.
PMC Deluxe Mini Tabletop Pro Kiln Propane Gas Furnace Kit
This doesn’t mean that these are bad products, and you may be curious about the possibility of adding a jewelry kiln to your arsenal. This product has great potential for metalwork as it comes with two graphite cups, molds, and a set of tongs so you can melt precious metals for jewelry.
Furnace vs kiln.
The biggest issue with a lot of these furnaces for home use is that their high heats and long cycles make them unsuitable for dealing with clay. I have seen reviews and FAQs on listings where potters ask for advice on these machines and are told not to risk it. This is a shame a there are some great furnaces and burnout ovens around that initially look as though they could be a great tool. Let’s take a look at an example to see how it might still be of benefit.
PMC Tabletop Hi-Temp 2200 Degree Electric Burnout Oven
A good example of this is the PMC Tabletop Hi-Temp 2200 Degree Electric Burnout Oven. They use the word kiln in the description, but that is merely to get more hits on search results. The primary purpose here is to work with flasks of resin and wax at 2200 degrees for various forms of casting. While this product is popular and highly effective for this purpose, with some great tools and easy temperature control, it isn’t going to work on clay.
What should you do if you still want the best pottery kiln for home use?
There are some obvious issues here where I can’t start recommending products for use with clay. The last thing that I want to do is highlight one of these products knowing that it won’t be suitable. You will just end up with an expensive item taking up space that ruins your hard work. If you are interested in other forms of casting or jewelry work then the products above could still turn out to be a good choice for those needs. But, they aren’t pottery kilns. I don’t want you to come away from this thinking that firing your own pottery is impossible. So, what should you do instead?
How to make a kiln for pottery.
You might decide that you would rather try and build your own kiln, perhaps out in a garage or in the yard. This is a project that requires some careful planning and investment to get right. But, it could prove to be the best option if you are serious about creating pottery at home and want something you can build to your own specifications. You can learn more about these projects in my guide on how to make a kiln for pottery.
What can you do if you don’t have the space or money for a kiln?
As you can see, adding a kiln to your home isn’t always the most practical, affordable, or accessible option available. You could find that there are too many downsides to these products for them to be of worth in your current situation. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to give up on the idea of creating and firing pottery yourself. There are alternative methods for firing clay available, including raku kilns, pit firing, and potentially even using the kitchen oven. Again, have a separate guide available on how to fire pottery without a kiln which goes into all this in more detail.
Choosing the best pottery kiln for home use.
There are a few options you can take here. If you keen to buy a kiln online a more accessible way to fire at home, there are a few products out there. However, you do need to be careful here as some are more functional and user-friendly than others. Those tabletop options with various settings and modes are great for a range of crafts, but you don’t always get such a range. The alternative is to try and build your own kiln, which can be a time-consuming labor of love, or to look into other methods of firing clay without a kiln. Whichever you choose, make sure it is the choice you are most confident in so you can take your pottery projects to the next level.