AMACO built their first kiln in 1931 and since then, they have been striving to make the best quality kilns they can. AMACO kilns have become well-known for withstanding the test of time. Within the AMACO family, there are two distinct lines of kilns: the AMACO-branded kilns are rectangular and square kilns that are often called ‘refrigerator’ kilns because they are loaded through a front door, much like a fridge; the EXCEL line consists of top-loading round kilns.
What are some of the factors to consider when you are choosing between a rectangular, or refrigerator, kiln in your space versus a round kiln? Neither style is inherently ‘better’ than the other – it just really comes down to what your studio needs, and what your space can accommodate.
The rectangular AMACO kilns are extremely heavy-duty pieces of equipment, and often feature a build-in stainless-steel frame. This frame style is great because it ensures that your high-firing kiln is far off of the ground, and can provide additional storage space for kiln furniture. Front-loading kilns may also be easier to load for people with back problems. Additionally, because the metal sheath or ‘jacket’ that is placed around the kiln brick is often made of stainless steel panels (rather than flashing, which you see with many round/oval kilns), front-loading kilns can cool very slowly, making them a great addition to studios focused on crystalline glazes.
Round or oval kilns, on the other hand, tend to be a bit lighter – which can make them easier to ship, to move, and to set up in your studio. Although the round and oval EXCEL-brand kilns have many of the same capacities as the AMACO rectangular kilns, they do tend to be a bit less expensive, which is very often an important consideration for schools and studios alike. So if these kilns are capable of high firings, and feature the same digital controller, why the price differential? Because these kilns tend to be encased in metal flashing, as opposed to a specially-welded frame, they are a bit less expensive to build. This flashing also helps the kilns cool slightly faster than refrigerator models, which is a great feature for studios that have to move through many loads of student work.
Additionally, when you buy an AMACO kiln you may be eligible up to a $275 gift of lead-free AMACO glazes. Not sure what kiln is right for you? Call The Ceramic Shop at 215-427-9665. We would love to talk kilns with you!