Choosing a Glass Kiln

Choosing a Glass Kiln


A Glass Kiln is a big investment, so buy from a supplier you trust

Choosing a Glass Kiln

There's no better place to buy your Kiln than Warm Glass, the glass kiln experts. We sell kilns every day to glass artists worldwide, but we also use them every day in our studio.
    • We're here to answer your questions - Choosing your kiln? Just call the team on 01934 863344.
    • Quality Glass Kilns- We only stock good quality kilns, with a warranty for your peace of mind.
    • Loyalty Discounts - We offer Loyalty Discounts of up to 20% (on a range of products on future orders) when you purchase any kiln from us.
    • Price Match Promise- If you find a kiln cheaper elsewhere, let us know and we'll do our best to price match.
    • FREE Lifetime Technical Support -Our service does not stop once you've bought your kiln. Whenever you need assistance, we'll be here for you. Simply contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
    • FREE Kiln Delivery to Mainland UK - We can also deliver kilns almost anywhere in the world! *Excludes Highland and Islands *Subject to access 
    • Coaster Starter Kit -The perfect kit to experiment with your new kiln.

To compare the different kilns we sell, take a look at our Kiln Comparison page.

When choosing a kiln, consider the following:

Size of the Kiln:

If your main focus is making jewellery or smaller pieces, there's no point spending extra on a bigger kiln that costs more to fire and takes up more room. For jewellery makers, a small kiln like the Skutt Firebox 8 is perfect, unless you're planning to fire large numbers of pieces at once. If you're interested in bead-making, consider the Paragon SC2 with the optional bead door. This makes annealing the beads much easier than in standard kilns.

If you want to make large plates, bowls or bigger decorative pieces then you need a kiln that will fit the work in. Consider the volume of work you wish to fire - if you're firing a few pieces each day then you'll need a chamber big enough to take the work. Remember that pieces will be in the kiln for the best part of a day. In our medium-sized range, we recommend Kilncare kilns (such as the popular Hobbyfuser) for size, usability and build quality.

If you want to make taller pieces such as drop-out vases or taller castings, you will need a kiln with the depth of chamber to accomodate this, such as the Kilncare Hobbyfuser Drop-Out or the Pro-fuser Deep.

Finally, consider the logistics. Does it fit where you want it to go? Can you get it through the door? If you are looking at a larger kiln, make sure you can get it wired into your power supply.

Power requirements:

The larger the kiln, the greater the amount of power required to operate the kiln. Kilns up to 3 KW and 13 Amps will usually run on a domestic plug outlet and are listed in our Plug-In Kilns section. Larger than this and they will have to be installed by an electrician either by being wired directly or by having a specialist socket installed. Some kilns are available as a 3-phase option; this is rare in domestic premises so make sure you have a 3-phase supply before ordering a 3-phase kiln.

Type of controller:

          • Infinite Switches These are controllers with dials that control how long the elements are on or off. Kilns with infinite switches are cheaper than ones with programmers but need 'babysitting' as the settings usually need to be adjusted throughout each firing. We no longer sell these types of kiln.

          • Digital Programmers: These controllers can be programmed to control the kiln firing automatically and/or have preset programmes. They make firing projects very easy, but the ease of programming varies according to make. Look for a controller that has pre-set firing schedules to get things started, but with the option of adding your own schedules.

Top or side elements:

Glass requires even heat across its surface to fire correctly. Particularly with larger kilns, look for one with elements in the top, allowing for the heat to distribute evenly over the surface of the glass. If the kiln is deep to allow for three dimensional work, then it should ideally also have side elements to help the heat penetrate lower into the chamber.

In the budget kiln market, square kilns with elements in only two or three sides (and not in the top) can suffer from uneven heat distribution and cold spots, especially front loaders.

Front load or top load:

          • Top loading kilns:  These are excellent if combined with top elements. They are very easy to load and unload and allow excellent access to your work.
          • Front loading kilns: These are usually better than top loaders for use as bead annealing kilns.

Build Quality:

We recommended only buying a kiln built by a quality manufacturer with an established history such as Kilncare, Naberthern, Skutt or Paragon (that’s why we stock them).  Prices of kilns vary, but generally the more you pay the higher the build quality, the bigger the chamber and the more ‘extras’ you get like quartz elements or lid opening mechanisms.

After Sales Service:

If you buy a kiln from us then we are on hand to talk you through getting started with your kiln, programming it and looking after it, for as long as you need it and at no extra cost. We are kiln glass experts and are here to help you. Everyone who buys a kiln from us also gets up to 20% discount off a range of products when they buy from us in the future.

To compare the different kilns we sell, take a look at our Kiln Comparison page.

For more information, take a look at our YouTube video: Help Me Choose... Glass Kilns.

Read our advice on Setting Up Your Glass Kiln.

For our recommended kiln schedules, take a look at our Kiln Schedules page.

Table Top Kilns: Skutt Firebox 8 or Paragon SC2?

We often get asked by new glass artists which table top kiln they should choose, the Firebox 8 or Paragon SC2?

If you are looking to purchase a table top kiln, either of these models is a very good choice. Both are well made with easy to use programmable controllers. To decide which is right for you, consider what you wish to use your kiln for: 

The Firebox 8 has a slightly larger chamber, allowing for a wider range of moulds to be used. It also has a top opening lid, making it easy to arrange your work in the kiln. The elements of this kiln are arranged on all four sides of the kiln which allows more even heating (an important consideration). So for straightforward glass fusing applications this kiln may suit you best.

If you are interested in bead making, then consider the Paragon SC2 with the bead door option. The window option is also very useful to keep an eye on your work as it fires. Even without the bead door option it is generally preferable to anneal beads in a front opening kiln to help preserve the heat as the door opens. The trade-off here is that the front opening door means that the elements are only arranged on either side of the kiln. 

Floor Standing Plug-In Kilns: Skutt Firebox 14 or Kilncare Hobbyfuser?

We get a lot of queries about the differences between two of our most popular kilns: the Kilncare Hobbyfuser and the Skutt Firebox 14. Here is what each has to offer:

Both the Hobbyfuser and the Firebox 14 are great starter kilns with easy to use controllers full of useful pre-set programs. They are both plug-in kilns and are well designed for all forms of warm glass work, be it fusing, slumping or casting.

The Firebox 14 is built in the US by Skutt. It is a lower cost, more basic design than the Hobbyfuser, with a brick built chamber and lid with traditional (and reliable) resistance elements. It also has a slightly smaller chamber size than the Hobbyfuser but is still a good, solid kiln and comes with a 24 month warranty from the manufacturer. We use this kiln regularly in our studio and thoroughly recommend it as a starter kiln.

Kilncare prides itself on building high quality, high spec kilns in the UK, and the Hobbyfuser is no exception. Although more expensive than the Firebox 14, the design and build quality of this kiln is unbeatable. Built with a stainless steel shell, refractory brick base and non-ceramic lined lid, this kiln heats evenly and provides a very clean firing chamber, without the risk of brick dust contaminating your work.  It is heated by premium infra-red quartz elements that allow the kiln to ramp up quickly and efficiently. The elements are also included in Kilncare’s extensive 4 year warranty. The optional stand also has the advantage of raising the kiln to a comfortable working height. We use this kiln every day in our studio and it has proven to be an extremely reliable and user-friendly kiln and we would not hesitate to recommend it for beginners, schools and serious glass artists alike.

For more detailed information on each of these kilns, please take a look at the product descriptions in our Plug-In Glass Kilns section.