Pre Purchase Check List
Unless you have bought or used a kiln before, buying a kiln can be a daunting experience. Each requirement is different. Here is a little check list to help you to select wisely with your new purchase.
You need to select a kiln that is neither too large for the amount of traffic it will see or too small to be constantly over loaded with work. If you don't have a clue, then please call us as we have helped thousands of pottery businesses or hobbyists over the years. Our two top-selling kilns are: (1) 60 litre plug-in and (2) 190 litre kiln. Here are some pros and cons of both sizes:
| Plug In Options (Small Kilns)
|| Hard-Wiring Options (Large Kilns)
Some of the smaller kilns are available to buy fitted with 13amp plug - a standard household plug.
Please note that extension leads are not recommended when using kilns that are supplied with a 13amp plug. This is for several reasons (1) the kiln will need to draw on the maximum amount of power available and extension leads can reduce the power supply (even when the extension lead is fully extended) and (2) there is an increased risk of danger due to sockets being overloaded, overused, damaged cabling, conductors failing and incorrectly rated fuses for the equipment being used etc.
Furthermore, it is important to know that 2.9kw kiln will draw 12.6amps current, just under the maximum rating for a 13amp plug/socket. Therefore, it is important to check the following to ensure a good power supply
Generally a kiln furniture set is supplied with the kiln. This set usually includes kiln shelves (known as batts in the industry) and shelf risers (known as props in the industry). Typically, "stilts" tend to be sold as an extra. Stilts are used to lift a pottery piece off the kiln shelf during firing. They are useful to stop the glazed ware from sticking to the kiln shelf during the firing process.
Find out what kiln furniture is included in your kiln price and whether this is enough for your requirements.
Most bisque from Country Love Crafts has a dry foot area negating the need for a huge supply of stilts. A dry foot area can be described as a rim found at the base of a bisque item. Glaze and colour need to be removed from the rim (a process called dry-footing, to stop the glazed ware from sticking to the kiln shelf during the firing process).
You may need tools and accessories for your kiln or glazing room. If you are new to the industry, we can provide a check list of necessary equipment required and can help training you in kiln programming, glazing and kiln firing.
Digital controllers are the "computer" of the kiln. They need to be able to cope with the recommended firing times and features of the items that require firing. You may need to upgrade your controller. It is more cost effective to organise a controller upgrade at the time of ordering.
Consider the whole package! Best value for money can be obscured by the impact of a low price. Find out if the manufacturer has a service and support team in your country, how quickly spares are available (hopefully these won't be needed) and who or what company is responsible for maintenance and support. Ask if the company or support team are qualified to meet UK requirements.
Your kiln purchase may be time sensitive. With Country Love Crafts an estimated time of arrival can be provided. Typical timescales are 1-3 weeks for larger models and kilns with controller upgrades. We keep a small supply of top loading kilns and the small desktop Prometheus kilns in our warehouse for immediate despatch i.e. a next day service for mainland UK destinations. Nabertherm ship worldwide so please e-mail us even if you are outside the UK and want to buy a kiln.
Depending on the model ordered, 3 year or 1 year warranties are available. Warranties exclude thermocouples and kiln elements as these are classed as "wear and tear" items.
Consider the safety features, the quality of the fire brick used, the size and gauge of the heating elements, the strength and resistance to corrosion of the chassis, and just how user friendly and reliable is the controller? Check that the kiln is CE tested - a UK regulation.
Can your back survive lifting heavy kiln batts(shelves) or lids? Although top loaders are more popular in the contemporary "paint your own pottery" industry (as there is typically a £300-£500 difference in price between a top loading and front loading kiln), front loading kilns are more popular with traditional potters. Typically, front loading kilns last longer.
We have operated a variety of English, German and USA manufactured kilns over the years. We are well placed to give independent advice on your particular requirement. We offer free training to help our customers (agenda includes programming, loading and cycling your kiln for most efficient and effective results). If you buy from us we promise to support you throughout your kiln ownership.