To find a secondhand kiln, contact local ceramic supply companies and independent kiln makers that specialize in refurbishing electric kilns. Buying a used kiln often costs 25 to 50 percent less than the price of a new oven.
Ceramic supply companies buy and sell secondhand kilns, and independent kiln dealers refurbish kilns with new elements and controls, sometimes including a one-year guarantee with purchase. Availability depends on the inventory and store; contact individual dealers for specific models.
Check the power supply, temperature rating, controllers, switches and kiln sitters before buying a secondhand kiln. Other factors to check out are the insulation depth, firebrick and elements. Common problems include incompatible volt requirements, inadequate temperature limits in older kilns, damaged firebrick that lets heat escape, and worn-out elements that take a lot of time to reach the highest, desired temperature. Other questions to ask a seller include how many times the kiln has been moved and what it fired, since kilns that heated lead glazes cannot fire and finish pottery intended for dinnerware safely.
Further cost considerations when buying a used kiln include the availability of the owner’s manual and the inclusion of all the parts, furniture and tools that arrived in the original kit.