Anyone that has tried glass fusing knows how important it is to have a good kiln.
A bad kiln will fire too fast, unevenly or not hot enough, leaving you will with distorted projects that look far from what you wanted.
In this article you will discover our recommended kilns for glass fusing that you can use at home and how to choose the right one for you.
Electric kilns for glass
In this article we’ll assume that you are still a beginner and new to glass fusing. As a results all the kilns below are small, not too expensive and operate with standard household voltage.
The kilns are ordered based on their price, so you can quickly find which kiln fits the best in your budget.
The kiln by Fusework is the cheapest on our list and has a firing chamber of 8.5″ by 3.5″.
Using standard household voltage, this kiln can reach temperatures of 1400 Fahrenheit within 15 minutes.
However there are 2 clear downsides to this model. First of all, although there is a timer, there is no temperature controller.
Also, since it can’t reach very high temperatures, you will only be able to fuse projects that have two layers.
As a results, this can only be used for very simple glass fusing projects.
The Paragon Quickfire kiln is a clear step up considering the larger firing chamber (6″ x 6″) and higher temperatures (2000 F) it can reach.
This kiln can be used for glass fusing, enameling, china painting, and even ceramics.
Although it has a built-in pyrometer to easily check the temperature, it doesn’t come standard with a temperature controller.
If you go with this model, I strongly advice also buying the paragon controller else it would be hard to control the heating process.
The Rapidfire Pro can reach temperatures of up to 2200 Fahrenheit within 10 minutes and can therefore be used not only for glass fusing, but also for other crafts such as metal clay, ceramaics, bead making, jewelry, etc.
Despite this great perfromance the kiln is actually pretty lightweigth (12 lbs) and can be easily moved around with the carrying handle.
This is also the first kiln that comes with a programmable controller that let’s you control heating time, ramp rate, and temperature. This is crucial for more complex projects.
Note that there is also a cheaper Rapidfire Pro model available that has a digital controller. However, the digital controller only lets you control the temperature and not the ramp rate.
Delphi EZ Pro
If working with glass is your passion, you might want to consider the Delphi EZ Pro. This is definitely one of the best glass kilns you can find.
It can reach temperatures up to 1700 Fahrenheit, which is enough for glass fusing, and has a large firing chamber of 15″ x 6.5″.
It also has a controller that comes with 16 pre-set programs (4 for each type of glass) and 22 programs you can customize yourself.
This makes it very easy to use the Delphi EZ Pro and you won’t have to babysit your kiln like you have to with cheaper models.
This glass kiln is great for beginners, but is also good enough to be used by professionals.
How to choose a kiln for glass?
Temperature and heating
Because glass is a low-fire material, you don’t need to get a kiln that reaches extremely high temperatures like you would need for ceramics. A kiln that reaches just 1700 degrees Fahrenheit will be enough in most cases.
Instead, you want to pay extra attention to the heat distribution of your kiln. Since glass pieces are normally pretty thin and sensitive to heat variation, you will have to evenly heat them across the entire surface for good results.
If you have a pretty small kiln, having a single heating element in the top will be sufficient. (Note that ceramic kilns normally have the heating elements on the side). But if you have a large glass kiln you will need heating elements in both the top and the sides for even heating.
Since cheap kilns or ceramic kilns normally only have heating elements on the side they aren’t ideal for working with glass.
The temperature of electric kilns can be controlled with either an infinite switch or a digital programmer.
The infinite switch is the cheaper version and let’s you control which elements are on or off. The downside is that you will have to constantly keep an eye on your kiln to adjust the temperature when necessary.
With a digital programmer you can easily schedule the heating temperature, heating rate, and the time. Since you can just set it and forget it, it’s strongly recommended to go with this type of controller.
However, there are many different types of programmers available. Don’t focus too much on all the extra features some models may have. Just find one that is easy and intuitive to use, because you don’t want to check the manual every single time.
As mentioned above, a smaller kiln is easier to heat evenly and it takes considerably less time and energy to heat it up.
But more importantly, the size of the kiln will dictate the maximum size of your pieces and how many small pieces you can heat at the same time.
A small kiln for glass will be great for beginners. But if you want to make several pieces a day, you might be better off with a slightly bigger kiln.
Electricity and voltage
If you are using a small glass fusing kiln for home use you probably don’t have to worry about electricity and voltage. However, if you are buying a big kiln you might have to call an electrician to help you.
This is because reaching high temperatures takes a lot of energy. Small kilns can normally operate at the standard 120 V available in most U.S. homes. However, bigger kilns need 240 V so you can’t just plug them in and press start.
Moreover, for big kilns your breaker needs to be able to reach around 40 amp, while 15~20 amp is standard.
If you don’t want to worry about any of this, make sure to get a small glass kiln that operates at lower voltage.