Choose how to load your kiln


  1. Top loading kilns are the most common kilns in use in the United States, although front-loading kilns are traditionally more common in many other countries.
  2. The reason is mostly cost and ease of shipping and installation.
  3. The reduced insulation found on most top-loading kilns does lead to a hotter kiln case.
  4. There are some advantages for batch processes like ceramics, however, because this does lead to faster cool-down which will improve turn-around time for the firing cycle.


  1. See our Hercules front-loading kilns and Easy-Load front-loading kilns.
  2. Many people prefer front-loading kilns for ease of loading and better insulation.
  3. Front-loading kilns are more expensive than top-loading kilns. The
    reason is that they take much more time to build and require more
    expensive materials (i.e. there is a heavy welded case). When they are
    made cheaply they can be very problematic and hard to repair. If you are going to buy a front-loading kiln do more homework.
  4. Front-loading kilns, no mater how well-built, are also more expensive and difficult to repair than a sectional kiln.


  1. Bell-lift kilns offer a third alternative.
  2. The entire kiln section lifts up.
  3. Loading is from all four sides.
  4. You can slightly lift up the kiln for faster cooling.

Pull-Apart Sectional Sculpture Kilns

  1. One inexpensive way to load a large ceramic sculpture is to “load” the kiln around the object.
  2. This is accomplished by using a sectional kiln and plugging in the kiln sections to a remote control panel.
  3. An example of this is L&L Kilns’ Pull-Apart Kilns.

Car-Bottom & Shuttle Kilns

  1. When doing large commercial volume work and sometimes for loading large pieces a Car Bottom or Shuttle Kiln is used.
  2. These tend to be large and customized.
  3. A Car Bottom Kiln has a movable bottom that is on wheels of some
    kind. the wheels may be either railroad type wheels, inverted “V” shaped
    casters or regular  casters.
  4. A Shuttle Kiln is the opposite. The kiln itself moves over a fixed
    bottom. Typically the wheels on such a kiln are inverted “V” casters or
    railroad wheels.
  5. See some of the kilns made by L&L Special Furnace Company for examples. For a Car Bottom Kiln/Furnace see this. For a Shuttle Kiln see this.

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