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Top Loader versus Front Loader

What is the diffence and which is the best to buy?

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Kiln Differences

There are pros and cons for top-loading -vs- front-loading kilns:

  • USERS:  Front-loading kilns are generally preferred by traditional potters; top-loading kilns are common in the contemporary ceramics market.
  • PRICES:  Front-loaders tend are more costly to manufacturer and tend to be more expensive; front loaders can be around £500 cheaper.
  • SHELF STACKING:  Shelves are stacked on top of each other from the bottom upwards for both styles.  Loading a front-loading kiln is less strain for users with back problems.
  • ITEM LOADING:  On front loading kilns, items are loaded on the shelves from the back towards the front; top loading kilns shelves are stacked from above (it is easier to view the sheves on a top-loader - a birdseye view from the top). With a top loader you can look down on the shelf and see all pieces; with a front loader the shelves are stacked from the back to the front and therefore the "back view" is blocked as you load.
  • DOOR versus LID:  There is more wear and tear on the lids of the top loading kilns due to gravity e.g. over time particles of the bricks drop onto the firng piece. This can be resolved by placing a top shelf as a protective layer.

ENAMELLING KILNS:  tend to be front loading - there is usually a "viewing hole" or window in the door.  Generally, small desktop kilns are used for enamelling.

RAKU KILNS:  a front loading kiln would have the advantage of NOT having to lean over the edge of a hot kiln to remove items. 

METAL CLAY KILNS:   tend to be front loading - there is usually a "viewing hole" or window in the door.  Generally, small desktop kilns are used for silver clay (PMC, Art Clay - silver clay, gold clay and copper clay).  Click here for more information on our small, desktop kiln.

If you need help choosing the right kiln, please call us on 01235 861700 or email sales@countrylovecrafts.co.uk.

Want to buy a kiln?  Click here.