Best Kilns For School -

What Are The Best Kilns For Schools?

Choosing a kiln for your classroom is both exciting and a little scary. This is certainly one of the largest capital expenditures an Art Teacher will make in their career, and you want to get it right.  

We created a great document that addresses everything you need to know about choosing the right kiln. We suggest you download this Kiln Management pdf here for more detail. It even has an order sheet with signoff spaces for the Architect, Contractor, and Art Teacher to make sure everyone is on the same page. In this article we will go over the high points. 

Type of Kiln 

There are many styles of kilns to choose from however, most schools choose a top loading electric kiln like the one pictured here for the following reasons: Skutt KMT 1227 kiln.

  • They are the best value in terms of cost per cubic/foot. 
  • Electric kilns are easier to use and safer than gas kilns. 
  • Contrary to popular belief, they are actually easier to load than frontloading kilns because you do not have to cantilever the weight of heavy shelves away from your body which could place undo stress on your back. 
  • They have a sectional design that allows them to be easily taken apart to move through doorways and staircases. Frontloading kilns are not only much heavier, many are too large to move through standard doorways and can pose problems when trying to move them into the designated kiln room. 
  • The controllers on these kilns are designed to be intuitive and are easy to learn, even for teachers who are new to ceramics. The KMT controller pictured here has a kiosk style programming mode that walks the teacher step by step through the process. 

Size of Kiln 

The size and number of kilns needed for your school will be a direct function of how many students are in the program and the size of the projects they will be making. The most common sizes used in schools are the 10 cu/ft and 7 cu/ft models.  

The image below from the Skutt website shows how many 6” bowls can fit in a 7 cu/ft KMT1027 kiln. For this model it is 39. A 10 cu/ft KMT1227 kiln can hold 50 6” tea bowls.  Using this image as a tool, you may determine that you will need 2 KMT1227-3 kilns to handle the ware your program of 100 students produces. If that is not in the budget you can just purchase one kiln but will need to do multiple firings. 

KMT chamber capacity.

A 6” tea bowl is a good representation of an average size of a student project. If your students are going to produce larger projects, you will need to take that into account when sizing you kiln. 

Sometimes the options for where you can locate the kiln in a school are limited. You will want to be sure the space you choose will allow for the footprint of the kiln plus, the 20” of clearance required by code. The outside measurements of all Skutt Kilns can be found at Build A Spec. 

Electrical Specifications 

Skutt Kiln order request form image.

Ordering a kiln that does not match the electrical supply available at the school is one of the most common mistakes purchasing agents make and it is an expensive mistake. If the kiln does not match the supply it needs to be shipped back to the factory at the schools expense. Also, if it is not packed correctly in the original packaging, there is a strong likelihood that the kiln will be damaged in transport and the school would be liable for the entire cost of the kiln. 

In most schools the available supplies are: 

  • 240 Volt/1 Phase 
  • 208 Volt/1 Phase 
  • 240Volt/3 Phase 
  • 208 Volt/3 Phase 

Unlike many other electrical appliances, kilns need to be matched to the exact supply they will be hooked up to. Do not let anyone tell you 220 Volt. This is a generic term in the USA for either 208 Volt or 240 Volt. Use the form mentioned earlier in the Kiln Management document to have them sign off and verify the voltage before ordering the kiln.  


There are basically 3 main purposes for venting: 

  • To remove heat from the room 
  • To remove fumes created by the firing process from the room 
  • To create an atmosphere inside the kiln that is beneficial to the ware 

Envirovent 2 kiln vent.

If the kiln room exceeds 100 °F the kiln is designed to shut off to protect the electronics in the controller. Most kiln rooms are equipped with an overhead vent sized by an HVAC professional to ensure the room stays below temperatures that could shut down the firing. 

A downdraft vent like Skutt’s EnviroVent 2 is installed to take care of the fume removal and improving the chamber atmosphere. The vent is powered by a fan motor mounted to a wall which is connected to a collection cup which fits up under the kiln floor and draws air through small holes drilled in the slab. The fumes are then evacuated from the room much like a clothes dryer.  

This process brings fresh oxygen into the kiln chamber which improves combustion and helps to even out temperatures throughout the kiln.   


You will need a few additional kiln accessories to fire your kiln. To load ware in layers in the kiln you will need a furniture kit. This is composed of various sized refractory posts that are used to stack the shelves along with the shelves themselves. Each kiln model has it’s own recommended furniture kit with the number and size of shelves and posts matched to fit the model. 

You will also want to purchase some pyrometric cones which are used in each firing to measure the accuracy of the thermocouple and the uniformity of heat within the kiln chamber. 

Want to stay up-to-date with teacher and education-related product news and events? Sign up for our newsletter here, and make sure to check the “school teachers” email list. 

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Home pottery studio setup.

How To Set Up A Home Pottery Studio

So, you have taken classes at a local teaching studio and feel that you want to take your craft to the next level or even turn it into career. What now? Most people find they not only want more convenient access to the equipment and tools used to create their work, they want to choose them. They want to create an environment that uniquely fits their style, work habits and functional needs. The obvious next step is to create a studio at home.

Home pottery studio setup.

There is a lot to consider when planning out a functional and safe home studio. In this article we will try to guide you through this process touching on the key aspects you must address:

  • Where to put your pottery studio 
  • Kiln location
  • Space considerations 
  • Aesthetics, functionality, and safety 

Where to Locate Your Studio 

Where you live will obviously affect many of these choices. Most of us do not live in palatial estates with endless option of rooms to locate our studios. Chances are, your options will be slim. The amount of space you need will be determined by: the size and volume of your work, the techniques you use to construct it, and the equipment you will require.

You may determine that locating your ideal studio in your home is not practical and decide you need to rent a commercial space to fit your needs. That’s okay. Most of the information we provide here will apply wherever you set up shop.

Since most studios will want to have a kiln, let’s start there: 

Kiln Location Considerations 

Where should I locate my kiln?

  • Kilns and other equipment need to be located inside, protected from excess moisture and heat. 
  • Kilns need to be set on non-combustible surfaces such as ceramic tile or concrete. 
  • Kilns need to be located in rooms with access to proper ventilation in order to evacuate fumes and excessive heat. 
  • Many new controllers, like Skutt’s KMT, have features (like KilnLink) that require a Wi-Fi connection to the kiln. Make sure the space you choose can be provided with a strong, dependable Wi-Fi signal.  
  • Kilns require 18” of clearance from any wall, other kilns, and any combustible items. Find the outside dimensions of the kiln you wish to install and add 18” of clearance around it to determine the space needed. Example: KMT1027 – Outside Width = 28.5 “ + 40” (for clearance) = 68.5”.  This is the total diameter of the space needed to place your kiln.
  • The closer you can locate your kiln to the incoming power source of your home, the less expensive the wiring will be. Make sure it is wired by a certified electrician and complies to all applicable codes. 
  • Having your kiln close to your studio is convenient for loading. If rolling carts are used to transport your wares to and from the kiln, make sure there is smooth surfaced path to avoid bumpy rides to the kiln. 
  • Allow for room nearby for storing things like kiln shelves, cones, kiln parts — anything regularly used with the kiln. 

Space Considerations 

You can use the same calculation we used above for calculating the space needed for additional items that you will need for your studio. 

  • Potter’s Wheel (don’t forget room for the stool) 
  • Wedging Table 
  • Sink (with clay trap to avoid clogs) 
  • Work Table 
  • Slab Roller 
  • Drying Rack 
  • Clay Reclaiming Station 
  • Photo Station 
  • Storage Rack, Cabinet or Closet
  • Clay 
  • Glaze 
  • Raw Materials 
  • Tools 
  • Molds 
  • Respirator 

Aesthetics, Functionality and Safety 

Hopefully you be spending a lot of time in your studio so make sure you create an environment that is pleasant and safe.


Good lighting is not only important to see what you are doing, it can also set a mood that inspires creativity. Natural light is great when you can get it but of course is only available during daylight hours. Directional spots with separate switch controls allow flexibility and a world of optional lighting scenarios.

Music, Wi-Fi, Refrigerator…  

Who doesn’t listen to music in the studio? You also may want an occasional snack, or stream a how to video on your iPad to learn a new technique. Be sure you have plenty of outlets for these items when planning your studio.

Floor Covering 

We all know studios are going to get dirty and also have the potential to get wet. Choose a floor covering that is waterproof, smooth and easy to vacuum or sweep. Vinyl or polished concrete are great options.

Dust Removal 

Breathing clay and glaze particles all day is not good for your long-term health. Having an overhead fan will help limit the amount of particles floating around in your studio. You may also want to invest in an air purifier as well.  

Gloves, Respirators and Sensors 

Always have non-flammable gloves available when you need to handle peep plugs or lid handles on a hot kiln. Respirators are recommended for many processes such as spraying glazes or grinding pots. Make sure you have a good one handy so you are never tempted to press on without one.

Kilns are very safe to operate in your home when installed and operated correctly. It is still recommended to install a smoke detector just as you would in any other room of your home.

For a more complete guide to all the details associated with locating, installing and maintaining kilns download the Kiln Management Guide.

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