From all types of kilns out there, electric kilns bring the most advantages to ceramic artists and glass blowers alike.
These machines are relatively compact, thus easy to fit into a tighter space, easy to control, versatile, and relatively economical to buy.
With a plethora of options out there, choosing the best electric kilns could be overwhelming, though.
That’s where this guide steps in, aiming to make things easier. To get started, check out the best electric kilns below to find the right one for you.
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- 1 Amaco Excel Kiln with Select Fire
- 2 RapidFire Tabletop Kiln Melter
- 3 Amaco Excel 22″ Deep Select Fire
- 4 Paragon Dragon Front Loading Kiln
- 5 Skutt KMT Series Kilnmaster Touchscreen Kiln
- 6 Fuseworks Craft Kiln Kit
- 7 Features to Look For In Electric Kilns
Amaco Excel Kiln with Select Fire
- Brand: Amaco
- Model: EX247SF
- Weight: 140 lb
- Dimensions: 3½” × 28¼” × 33”
- Voltage: 208V
Amaco is one of the most popular electric kiln manufacturers, thanks to its dependable, high-quality kilns. From all, one that truly stands out is the Excel Kiln with Select Fire. Designed for three-phase circuits, it is an excellent choice for commercial workshops and industrial settings alike, although its attractive price tag makes it suitable for amateur use too – provided you can hook it to a three-phase circuit. Alternatively, you could pick the single-phase model available from the brand.
The kiln comes in two sizes, and you can choose from a depth of either 18 or 27 inches, so you can choose the most suitable based on the volume of work.
We particularly like the Select Fire feature that allows you to create smaller or bigger fires alike. Thanks to its easy operation and adjustable temperature, this kiln is perfect for burning ceramic objects, making tiles, blowing glass, and other artistic projects.
All Amaco kilns come with a 2-year warranty and can be purchased with or without an easy-lift lid, based on your budget. No doubt, one of the best electric kilns around.
RapidFire Tabletop Kiln Melter
- Brand: RapidFire
- Model: PRO-LP
- Weight: 12 lb
- Dimensions: 7” x 8” x 13”
- Voltage: 120V
If you’re not particularly enthusiastic about the round kilns, the RapidFire Tabletop Kiln Melter could be the right one for you. It is similar to the Fuseworks up to an extent, in that it’s a lightweight, compact model designed for jewelers and amateurs.
Like the Fuseworks, it runs on 120-volt current, so you can easily plug it in any wall outlet. The rectangular design with a large door also makes it easier to place and remove your artwork from the furnace.
Its digital controller also makes it easy to adjust the power – thus, the temperature – up to 1,500 watts and 2,200°F; thanks to this feature, this kiln is suitable for anything, from glass fusing to enameling, curing ceramics, and even making jewelry.
Performance aside, we also like the generous storage space under the burning chamber as well as the convenient carrying handle.
More expensive than Fuseworks, but lighter, easier to handle, and easier to use, this electric melting furnace is undoubtedly worth the investment.
Amaco Excel 22″ Deep Select Fire
- Brand: Amaco
- Model: EX-232SF
- Weight: 155 lb
- Dimensions: 36” x 29” x 22 ½”
- Voltage: 208V or 240V
If you liked the Amaco Excel melting furnace above, but need a deeper model, the Excel 22″ Deep Select Fire could be your best bet. As its name suggests, it has a depth of 22 inches, which is four inches deeper than the 18-inch Excel above.
Apart from the depth, the differences between the two models are minimal. Similar to the Excel, this electric kiln comes in either 208-volt single-phase or 240-volt three-phase variants.
No matter which you choose, you’ll still have to ensure expert installation, as the furnace must be hooked directly to the main circuit rather than plugged into a wall outlet. That said, this model is, after all, designed with commercial and industrial users in mind.
Suitable for all kinds of projects, from glass blowing to enameling and pottery making, this melting furnace impresses with easy fire control and temperatures that go up to 2,381°F. Depending on your budget, you can also choose between regular and easy-lift lid variants.
Paragon Dragon Front Loading Kiln
- Brand: Paragon
- Model: 30151-2401
- Weight: 130 lb
- Dimensions: 24″ × 24″ × 27″
- Voltage: 208V or 240V
Top loading kilns are incredibly popular, but often hard to use by beginners. If you need a professional kiln but don’t really feel like using a top-loading one, check out the Paragon Dragon Front Loading Kiln.
Its name makes it clear right from the start what makes it special. Similar to the RapidFire Tabletop Kiln, this melting furnace boasts front loading and is perfect for starters. The kiln can get to cone 10 temperature in mere minutes, while the firing chamber is generously sized for holding larger items or batches of tiles and other smaller objects.
We particularly like the cool-touch exterior that doesn’t get past 170°F even when the interior is burning at max temp.
Another highlight is the number of accessories you can pair this furnace with. A few add-ons you can get from the brand include a handy stand, shelves, and posts you can use inside the kiln, as well as door elements for faster heating.
All Paragon kilns are custom-built, and the brand can provide furnaces tailored to your needs. Getting such a kiln isn’t cheap, but you’ll undoubtedly get your hands on one of the best electric kilns on the market.
Skutt KMT Series Kilnmaster Touchscreen Kiln
- Brand: Skutt
- Model: KMT-818
- Weight: 130 lb
- Dimensions: 17″ × 17″ × 18″
- Voltage: 240V
Smart and compact, this electric kiln is perfect for small, professional workshops. It fits into tight spaces easily, yet it boasts unrivaled performance and outstanding features. Perhaps its greatest highlight is the touchscreen control panel and built-in Wi-Fi.
Not only can you control it as easily as you would control your smartphone, but you can even download software upgrades for free. Furthermore, the Skutt app allows you to control the settings directly from your mobile device.
Various modes make it easy to adjust the time and temperature for various projects. Settings include a ConeFire mode for bisque or fire glazing and a ramp programming mode that allows you to input your own firing programs.
Current sensor technology also makes it easy to read the amperage and voltage under load. In terms of requirements, this kiln runs on a single-phase 208-volt current, although a 240-volt, three-phase variant is also available from the manufacturer.
Furthermore, you can also pick from a variety of other melting furnaces from the same series, should you have different requirements.
Fuseworks Craft Kiln Kit
- Brand: Fuseworks
- Model: 90COE
- Weight: 15 lb
- Dimensions: 8” × 8” × 4”
- Voltage: 120V
Designed with hobbyists in mind, the Fuseworks Craft Kiln Kit is the best electric kiln for beginners. It runs on normal 120-volt circuits, so you can use it at home or in a garage workshop, and is particularly suitable for glass fusing.
Light and compact, the kiln is also very easy to move. Artisans looking to make glass objects at fairs or markets will find this kit particularly valuable.
We also like the more than attractive price tag, as well as its ease of use. Unlike the bigger, more complicated kilns, this one is easy to operate by everyone. Simply set the timer to create beautiful glass coasters, small items, or jewelry.
This glass kiln comes with everything you need to start creating right out of the box. You’ll get stringers and fiber paper, a bag of dichroic scrap, a variety of bits and pieces, as well as two ounces of frits. No doubt, the best electric kiln for amateur use you can find.
Features to Look For In Electric Kilns
The first thing to understand before buying a melting furnace is that not all were created equal. The success of your project, therefore, will largely depend on whether the kiln you have is suitable for your needs. Here are some of the most important things to check before buying.
Electric Kiln Type
The various electric kilns out there could be divided into tabletop and freestanding, with either top or front load.
- Tabletop kilns: Are an excellent choice for amateurs, beginners, as well as artists manufacturing small objects, such as jewelry or small decorative items. Front load tabletop kilns are often easier to load and unload than top loading ones.
- Freestanding kilns: Are more suitable for bigger projects and are often employed by commercial and industrial users. Depending on their capacity, you could use a freestanding kiln to make ceramic tiles, pottery, glass blowing, and a variety of other purposes. While the front loading ones are easier to load and unload, top loading kilns are a better choice for glass blowing.
Materials You’re Working With
Another very important thing to consider before buying is the type of material you’re working with. If you’re working with ceramic, a kiln with side elements and that can reach high temperatures is cheaper and more than suitable for the purpose. However, if you’re working with glass, you need a kiln that can radiate heat from all sides, including from the top.
While glass doesn’t require very high temperatures, it does require overall heat distribution to counter the sensitivity of the material to temperature variations.
With this in mind, the best electric kilns for glass are the shallower ones that ensure all-round heat distribution, while the best kilns for ceramic are those that allow for higher temperature range so that it can accommodate a wider variety of ceramics.
Before spending your hard-earned money on an electric kiln, it is also important to check out its electricity requirements – especially if you’re looking for a melting furnace for home use. That’s because bigger kilns designed for commercial or industrial use often must be integrated into a 208-volt or 240-volt circuit and require professional installation. Furthermore, the bigger the kiln, the higher impact its use will have on your electricity bill.
When buying a kiln, one of the most important things to ensure is project suitability. As you should know, different materials require different temperatures, and if you want the versatility to switch from one material to another, you should make sure the kiln you want has a wide temperature range.
Indeed, a melting furnace with a temperature range between 1,700°F and 2,600°F is the best if you want to tackle all projects from boiling glass to working with porcelain.
Size and Capacity
Two other essential things to check before buying include the overall size of the furnace and its capacity.
The size determines both its suitability for your workshop and the portability. As you can imagine, a smaller, tabletop kiln is easier to fit in a home workshop or in a tighter space, and also easier to transport if the need arises.
The capacity determines the kiln’s versatility. It is easy to understand that the bigger the capacity, the more projects you’ll be able to tackle. For instance, you could use a bigger kiln for making jewelry and small decorative objects, but also tiles of all sizes, pots, mugs, plates, and so on.
Last but not least, you should consider how easily you can access and manipulate your projects while they’re inside the kiln. This is important not only to ensure quick placement and removal but also for embossing or reforming pieces during the firing process. Some of the kilns have large access doors, while the best electric kilns also feature peepholes or clamshell doors that allow you to monitor and access the workpieces easily throughout the firing process.