When you’re a potter, one of the most important questions you have to ask yourself is “how hot does my kiln need to be?”
The temperature of your kiln will determine the characteristics of your finished pieces, so it’s important to get it just right.
In this blog post, I’ll go over how hot an average kiln will need to be to fire or glaze your pottery successfully.
How hot does a kiln get
A pottery kiln normally can get somewhere between 2000 and 2400 °F. The maximum temperature depends on the model and the type of kiln.
Below you can find a table of several kilns that are popular among home potters from our article on the best pottery kilns.
As you can see, the temperature range of these kilns is quite narrow. This is because most types of clay can be successfully fired below 2400 °F. Porcelain is an exception though and needs to be heated at higher temperatures.
|Model||Max Temperature (°F)||Inside Dimensions*||Price ($)**|
|Jen-Ken AF3C 11/9||2100||11″ x 9″||910|
|Evenheat High Fire 810||2300||11″ x 9″||1240|
|Olympic Doll E||2350||11″ x 7″ x 9″||990|
|Olympic MAS1823HE||2350||18″ x 23″||1860|
|Evenheat RM II 2322||2300||24″ x 22″||2350|
|Paragon SC2 Pro||2000||8″ x 8″ x 6″||1165|
|Jen-Ken AF3C 15/13||2300||15″ x 13″||1110|
|Paragon SC3||2000||8″ x 8″ x 8″||1260|
*If the kiln has a circular shape, the first number indicates the diameter and the second number the depth. If the kiln is rectangular, the three number stand for width, length, and height respectively.
**Prices were rounded off and may have changed since the time of writing.
How hot does a kiln need to be to fire clay?
The temperature that your kiln needs to be to fire your pots depends on the clay that you are using.
- Low-fire clays such as earthenware can be fired in the range of 1740 to 2020 °F, which is equivalent to Cone 015 to Cone 1.
- Mid-range clays such as some stoneware clays should be fired between 2120 and 2270 °F, which is equivalent to Cone 2 to Cone 7.
- High-fire stoneware needs to be heated at higher temperatures than regular stoneware. Normally, you’ll get the best results between 2300 and 2340 °F, equivalent to Cone 8 and Cone 12 firing.
- High-fire porcelain is normally fired between 2380 and 2460 °F, which equals a Cone 10 to Cone 13 firing. However, pure kaolin fires at a much higher temperature of 3270 ℉.
So if you are setting up a small pottery studio at home, you have to make sure to buy the right kiln for the clay you work with.
Since most kilns are mid-range or high-fire kilns, it’s difficult to find a kiln specifically for low-fire clays. But of course, you could fire low-fire clays in these kilns without any problems.
If you are looking to buy a kiln for pottery, you might want to check our buyer’s guide on pottery kilns.
How hot does a kiln need to be to glaze pottery?
Similar to clays, glazes can also be categorized as low-fire, mid-range, or high-fire. So for glazing, it’s also important to know how hot your pottery kiln can get.
- Low-fire glazes can normally be fired successfully between Cone 07 and Cone 04. However, some very low-fire glazes only need to be heated at Cone 018 to Cone 016.
- Mid-range glazes mature when fired between Cone 4 and Cone 6.
- High-fire glazes should be fired at a similar temperature to the underlying body. For example, for high-fire stoneware the glaze should be fired between Cone 8 and Cone 12.
As you can see, there is a lot of variety in the kiln temperatures needed to fire different types of glazes.
Generally speaking, the low-fire glazes and mid-range glazes are fired at slightly lower temperatures than the underlying clay body. While high-fire glazes at fired at similar temperatures as the underlying clay.
However, you should always look at the instructions of the glaze first. Especially when using low-fire glazes, the necessary firing temperature can vary a lot.
If you are not quite familiar with cones, you can read our pottery cone explanation guide.
One of the most important decisions for potters is deciding how hot their kiln needs to be. This is crucial for firing and glazing your pottery pieces successfully.
An average pottery kiln can reach between 2000 and 2400 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of kiln. However, specialized kilns can reach even higher temperatures.
If you are setting up a small pottery studio at home, make sure to buy the right kiln for the clay you work with so that your pieces turn out just perfect!