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What Should I Consider When Buying a Used Kiln?

By Simone Lawson
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are several factors to take into account when considering the purchase of a used kiln. Before buying a used kiln, the age and condition should be considered, as well as the type of wiring used. A buyer also may want to consider what replacement parts may be required to operate the kiln. It is also a good idea to do some comparison shopping to determine if the price of a used kiln is a better value when considering the advantages of purchasing one that is new.

When considering the purchase of a used kiln, it is generally a good idea to thoroughly inspect the parts if possible. Heating elements are an essential components in a kiln; if they are not in good in shape, the kiln is probably not worth purchasing. Replacing the heating elements can cost hundreds of dollars in addition to the cost of labor for installation.

To check the heating elements, switch the kiln on to start heating up. After a few minutes turn off the lights and open the kiln lid. The elements should be glowing and fully visible. If the elements are not illuminated, or if the kiln does not seem to be getting hot, then the elements may need to be replaced.

It may also be a good idea to ask about which types of glazes were used in the kiln. Lead glazes are toxic and may contaminate a kiln. It is typically not safe to fire any wares that will be used for food or drinking purposes after lead glazes are used.

Another point to consider when purchasing a kiln is the type of wiring that it requires. Many homes are wired with single phase electricity, but a kiln may require three phase electrical wiring. Buyers have the option of choosing a smaller kiln, or installing a larger electrical circuit.

Buyers shopping for a kiln also may want to check the unit for any missing parts. Make sure it has a furniture kit that includes all shelves and posts since replacing these parts may be expensive. Also, check to see if there is a kiln stand and that all of the peephole plugs are intact.

Warranties typically come with most new kilns but are not usually offered with the purchase of a used one. Try to test all parts and controllers; if they seem overly used or worn, price the cost of replacement to see if it's still a value. Purchasing used kilns may be best for those who are comfortable making simple repairs.

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