Firing Up the Debate: Gas Kiln vs Electric Kiln

Last Updated on February 2, 2023

What is the difference between a gas kiln and an electric kiln?

Pottery is a beautiful art form that has been around for centuries, and the choice of kiln can make a big difference in the final outcome of your work. Two of the most popular kilns for pottery are gas kilns and electric kilns, and the debate over which is better has been going on for years. So, which is the best option for you?

In this blog post, we’ll be taking a closer look at gas kilns and electric kilns for pottery, examining the advantages and disadvantages of each. From ease of use to temperature control, we’ll cover all the key factors that make a difference in the quality of your pottery. Whether you’re a seasoned potter or just starting out, this guide will help you make an informed decision and choose the kiln that fits your specific needs and budget. So, let’s heat up the debate and find out which kiln is right for you!

pots fired in kiln

What Is A Gas Kiln

Gas kilns are the most widely used type of fuel fired kiln. Gas kilns offer the ability to control the atmosphere of your firing environment which directly impacts the quality of your fired pieces. The atmosphere effects both the way your glaze turns out as well as your clay bodies.

A gas fueled kiln is very popular with modern ceramics artists. Gas kilns do not require stoking to maintain temperature. They also do not create ash as a byproduct of running them.

The majority of modern gas fueled kilns utilize propane or natural gas making them fairly economical to use. There are other fuels used such as methane but these are not as widely used.

Gas fueled kilns can achieve very high temperatures. This makes them the go to style when firing porcelain and stoneware.

colorful ceramic bowls

What Is An Electric Kiln

An electric kiln utilized an electrical current to produce firing temperatures. Electric kilns are designed with brick that is insulated for withstanding and controlling the extremely high temperatures needed for firing. Along the inner walls of the kiln are coils made of an alloy that is capable of producing the high heat. Electric kilns are capable of producing very consistent temperatures.

There are electric models that allow you to fire them manually and others offer controls for firing. Kilns with controls make it possible to lower or raise temperatures as you go.

Electric kilns are designed for firing at low and mid temperatures. They are able to handle earthenware but are not suit for high firing temps such as needed for porcelain and stoneware.

Electric kilns are very popular though for their safety, relative low cost and ability to be used in the home or classroom. They are relatively easy to operate and offer the ability to fire a wide range of colors.

For more ceramics tips and guides check out these articles