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susieblue

L&l Vs Skutt

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susieblue    11

I am looking into buying a new kiln and have narrowed it down to two models that can work for my purposes, The Easy-Fire 23s by L&L or the Skutt KM1018.  Both are the same price with the accompanying furniture kits. Both would be supplied with their standard model controllers. Dyna-trol vs Kilnmaster. I have a 60amp breaker and my electrician brother is wiring a new outlet for me (the old kiln was hardwired).

 

At first I thought the L&L was a shoe-in because of the element holders but now I see that Skutt has their own rebuttal to this claiming that the heat distribution in their kilns is better because it isn't limited by the kiln element holders https://skutt.com/features/pdf/L%20_L%20response.pdf. I really am not sure what to think. I realize that some of it is simply subjective but not being able to actually experience these models first-hand I am at the mercy of the oh-so-fickle internet. Are there more linear feet of coils in a Skutt? Are the element holders of an L&L a help or a hinderance? are there other glaring differences I should know about? I would appreciate any insights potters here may have regarding these two models, especially those who have experienced both manufacturers' (pref recent) products. 

 

Thank you.

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Mark C.    1,807

I own 3 skutts. I have used skutts. since the early 70's. My next kiln will be an L&L they are better made-better thought out-designed better. Better materials. I could add more details but my mother said say nothing if its not nice.

I suggest send a PM to Neil on this board and have him give you a quote as he is a dealer for L&L.

here's his info

http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/user/6933-neilestrick/

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Roberta12    135

I started out using a skutt (community studio) but purchased an L&L.  The element holders make it a bit easier to change elements ,imho, but I have to say that the biggest selling point for me is the incredible service.  I live in a remote area so I have to do all of my own maintenance and diagnostic if there is a problem.  I have had the president of the company return my email at 10:00 at night (midnight his time) and answer newbie questions, I was put in touch with my very own kiln person, who 5 years later still will answer my questions via phone or email.  The manual is thorough, and the website has a great deal of information plus videos.  I know that Skutt has been around for a very long time and probably has many of the same service plans, but L&L has my vote.  667 firings later, I still love my L&L. 

 

Roberta

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oldlady    1,323

if you look at photos of the interiors of each one after 10 years use, you might notice that the L&L looks new and the skutt has a few bruises where shelves hit the bricks on the way into or out of the kiln.     there are lots of discussions here recently about this topic, maybe look at some of them.

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Joseph F    867

I bought an L&L. Unlike you I could have gotten a much larger skutt for same price. However after changing my elements I have realized I made a better decision. Also the customer service at L&L is amazing. You can email them any kiln question you want and they will answer it quickly or find someone to answer it. I had some interesting questions for them and they reached out to other people they knew in the industry and asked them my question and got back with me a reply. How fantastic is that? Mostly unheard of in the corporate world. I also had a problem and they got me the number of a guy who I could ask another odd question to and they contacted him first to let him know I would be calling him to ask the question.

 

So my vote goes to L&L. Easy to maintain. Mine still looks brand new. Customer service through the roof.

 

Get the new controller though! 

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neilestrick    1,381

I like how they say 'The Facts'. The fact is, if everything they said was true, then L&L kilns wouldn't work, and yet they work very well. People don't have problems with the things Skutt talks about. There's a lot of opinion and marketing in kiln design, just like everything else. 

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At first I thought the L&L was a shoe-in because of the element holders but now I see that Skutt has their own rebuttal to this claiming that the heat distribution in their kilns is better because it isn't limited by the kiln element holders

 

Thank you.

 

 

This is absolutely 100% true. Skutt elements put more heat directly into the firing chamber as Skutt elements are usually hanging out of their broken brick grooves drooping down into the kiln and onto the brick and element below it. :lol:

 

 

I own 5 or 6 Skutts and there is no comparison, L&L all the way; especially if we're talking the same money.

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Mine don;t look like that Nerd except for the old beater we were given a long time ago (still always goes to cone) but I've seen SEVERAL Skutts fit that description. I've also seen a lot of old beat up exterior L&Ls that are pristine inside too. Ours will last the rest of our careers but if there is to be another new one, it'll be an L&L. (for a reason).

 

 

I would like to say I've had excellent customer service from Skutt.

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glazenerd    816

NLM:

Wish I could claim innocence is brick bashing, but alas! I still remember getting my first kiln and exercising great caution as not to gouge the brick when placing shelves. Lowering one ever so gently, and hearing the haunting snap of my type S thermocouple being broke off. Who was the idiot that put it so far out into the chamber?

Nerd

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Joseph F    867

Skutt has good customer service as well. Well at-least their wheel repair department does. I called them got my question answered, took apart my wheel, called them back got a part sent. The only thing I had to pay for was return shipping of my core.

 

I haven't dealt with the customer service of skutts kiln repair though if its different even I don't know. I will say that that "The Facts" article is interesting. I don't know enough about it all to claim its false, but I do know that usually making a document full of reasons why you don't do what someone else does generally isn't seen as good marketing practices. 

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neilestrick    1,381

Skutt does have excellent customer service. I've dealt with them from a business standpoint for 15 years and I've never had a complaint about their service.

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NLM:

Wish I could claim innocence is brick bashing, but alas! I still remember getting my first kiln and exercising great caution as not to gouge the brick when placing shelves. Lowering one ever so gently, and hearing the haunting snap of my type S thermocouple being broke off. Who was the idiot that put it so far out into the chamber?

Nerd

 

 

I hear ya brother, I've broken three. They'll still work fine as long as you don't break the wire and just change the outer sheath/tube.

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neilestrick    1,381

About 30% of the thermocouples I replace for repair customers have been broken by shelves, rather than wearing out in use. The protection tubes used by L&L are very difficult to break. I've seen it done, but it's very rare.

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perkolator    54

A friend was looking to buy a new oval to replace her old one (a 20yr old Bailey) - I asked her about kiln choice and explained Skutt is easy since it's what we have in studio and might as well keep it all the same, but on paper the L&L product looks awesome with those element retainers.

 

She explained to me that she used to have an L&L kiln, it worked great, but then she explained to me the exact same thing Skutt mentions in that link above, regarding how the heat dissipates inside from the elements.  She's been doing ceramics for 40+ years, so I trust her opinion.

 

Anyways, after looking up stuff online at all the current kiln manufacturers, we decided that if she were to replace the oval, a Tucker's Cone Art would be the choice for the best bang for the buck. 

 

In the end, she decided to not fork out the $ yet and invest in a replacement kiln, but instead upgrade to digital control box, new elements and new lid/floor slabs.

 

If I won the lottery and could have any electric kiln I wanted, I'd likely go with a Nabertherm front-loader.  Not sure why as I know nobody with one, but I saw one once in person and it just seemed like one of those "someday" purchases

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glazenerd    816

"If I won the lottery and could have any electric kiln I wanted, I'd likely go with a Nabertherm front-loader. Not sure why as I know nobody with one, but I saw one once in person and it just seemed like one of those "someday" purchases"

 

Now that would make a great question of the week:

 

You just won 10 million in the lottery, what pottery equipment would you buy?

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Dick White    155

Somebody, dunno who or when, donated a Nabertherm to another rec center in our county park system, not the one where I manage the pottery studio. They installed it in the electrical distribution room, wired directly into one of the main panels. I was asked to go over and replace the elements. Wow! Each element was probably 30 feet long. It took two of us to stretch them to exact length, and then wind them back and forth across each side. Yes, a someday lottery win.

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Mark C.    1,807

Skutt has super thin type S thermocouples . They are an accident waiting to happen. The entire probe is about 3/16 .I could not believe this when I helped set up a friends custom order cone 10 skutt kiln.

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She explained to me that she used to have an L&L kiln, it worked great, but then she explained to me the exact same thing Skutt mentions in that link above, regarding how the heat dissipates inside from the elements.  She's been doing ceramics for 40+ years, so I trust her opinion.

 

 

 

Because what, kiln brick is a better conductor of heat?!    Skutt elements sit deeper in their groves where only the very top part of the element is exposed vs L&L that entire top half is exposed not to mention the space above the element is much great in an L&L than a Skutt allowing heat energy a clearer path into the chamber.

 

https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0LEVv0RJo1ZACwAnqMnnIlQ?p=L%26L+kiln+holder&fr=yhs-mozilla-004&fr2=piv-web&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004#id=7&iurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hotkilns.com%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Ffeature-holder-950.jpg&action=click

 

 

If her L&L wasn't getting to cone, I suspect there was another problem elsewhere.

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Joseph F    867

All I know is I changed my elements in about 2 hours; never changed elements before. Most of it was taking pictures of the wiring setup before and as I took it off to reverse engineer it back together. The actual placing of the elements was around 5 minutes of work per element. It was the easiest thing ever. 

Edited by Joseph F

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She explained to me that she used to have an L&L kiln, it worked great, but then she explained to me the exact same thing Skutt mentions in that link above, regarding how the heat dissipates inside from the elements.  She's been doing ceramics for 40+ years, so I trust her opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'd also like to add: either it worked great or it didn't; either there was a problem or there wasn't. Sounds more like she believed the hype v.s there is a design flaw in the kiln; you can't argue with results.

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neilestrick    1,381

 

 

She explained to me that she used to have an L&L kiln, it worked great, but then she explained to me the exact same thing Skutt mentions in that link above, regarding how the heat dissipates inside from the elements.  She's been doing ceramics for 40+ years, so I trust her opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'd also like to add: either it worked great or it didn't; either there was a problem or there wasn't. Sounds more like she believed the hype v.s there is a design flaw in the kiln; you can't argue with results.

 

 

Not necessarily a design flaw. The fact that her kiln was having an issue, but the vast majority don't, points to a problem specific to her kiln and/or situation, not a design flaw. If it worked sometimes, but not others, then there was probably an issue with some specific part of the kiln. Could be a sticky relay, faulty thermocouple, bad thermocouple wire (often overlooked), a loose connection, or controller issue. It could also be related to how the kiln was loaded, or the firing schedule. ALL kilns, regardless of design, can have issues caused by how they are loaded or programmed. I've seen some strange things happen with kilns, but there's always a reason.

 

The blame always goes to the kiln, when it may have nothing to do with the problem. For instance, I've got a customer who is getting terrible element life from her kiln, and she's mad at the manufacturer, but the fact is we came up with a list of several things she's doing that are known to shorten element life, including how she loads the kiln and the clay she's using. Kilns are not perfect in every situation. There is a certain amount of responsibility that falls on the user to ensure that things work properly. If you don't get the MPG in your car that you're supposed to, it's probably because of the way you drive, not because of the car.

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perkolator    54

I dunno where you saw that her kiln was having issues....I merely mentioned her observation and the reasoning for not choosing the L&L again.  She fires A LOT and I suppose when you observe for a few years, side by side firings between different brands of basically the same thing, you may develop a preference at some point.  Like said, you can't argue with results.

 

 

Personally I'd consider getting an L&L because I'm curious about the element holders as I've no personal experience with them - but they look cool!  But seriously though, I see most arguments about L&L favoring the holders, nothing else about the equipment really -- So with that I'd ask how often you actually plan on swapping elements based on your experience?  I'm the one who works on my kilns and I don't really need to change them very often at all, they last about 100 firings for us.  If anything, I'd say most of my elements fail because someone will eventually get glaze on it before their life is up, happens 90% of the time on the bottom two rings....and if they're managing to get glaze on the elements higher up than the bottom ring, then I'd seriously question the element holders because they'd get glaze all over them and we'd have a problem and the benefits would be a wash.

Edited by perkolator

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