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Newbie buy 1st kiln deciding btwn used paragon and new olympic

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I have dabbled over the years but lost access to my neighborhood studio during covid and have decided to build my own studio.  

Right now I'm looking at either:

1.  a new olympic   MAS1827HE: V6-CF 40 amp. I think it's about 4 CU FT. inner dimensions are  17.5 wide and 26 deep. $1365 with furniture etc. probably need one or 2 more shelves

2. a used paragon Paragon Janus 27 Multimedia Kiln, relays were replaced last year. All new elements but one which needs replacing stil (cost $120 and partner can do it for me). Brickwork in great shape.   Comes with furniture and spare relays and plenty of shelves.  I think it is about 2x the capacity. $1700 

I would welcome any advice. Is the latter a steal of a deal? Should I bargain down? It is more than i need but I know they say plan for the kiln you need in 5 years.  I will be building a shed for it so i don't worry about fumes in my basement. Is that a good idea? Thank you so very much for sharing your wisdom with me!

many thanks,




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22 hours ago, Aminah Bradford said:

(cost $120 and partner can do it for me).

$120 for one element? That's incredibly high priced, like double what elements for most kilns cost. I'm also not a fan of lid elements, as they are difficult to replace, and when you do replace them it damages the bricks a little bit and they drop bits all over the top layer in the kiln. Not worth the hassle, and unnecessary. So I'd avoid the Paragon.

22 hours ago, Aminah Bradford said:

a new olympic   MAS1827HE:

The 18" width is very limiting. You can't fit serving bowls, platters, etc in a kiln this size, since the shelf is only 15.5" wide and the posts take up a couple more inches. They're good for small things like mugs and vases, but not much else. I have a kiln this size, and it's perfect for my kids classes and small works, but I mostly hate it because it doesn't fit anything else without a lot of wasted space. Just loaded some soup bowls into it last night and could only fit one per shelf, plus some little things.


18 hours ago, Aminah Bradford said:

oh and one other option is an L & L .   It's a 2005,    2.3 Cu FT., fired only 3x.  The controller is a barlet with just the 3 buttons.   $900    So it's small but not intimidating. I'm inclined almost towards this one. 

At that price you should buy it, but with the intention of getting a larger kiln soon. You'll be happy to have both sizes. When you run the electrical circuit, plan for adding another kiln later. If you're near the breaker box, no problem.  If you're not close to it, run a subpanel that can handle a 60 amp kiln later and the small kiln now.

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Thanks all, well I was too pokey but your advice is really helpful.

I have two other options and really hope to make a decision tonight:

1.  a Duncan Teacher's Ceramics Kiln. Model DE -820-2 with working elements and a working 12 button controller $500 probably has about 3.5 CU

2. a new (ran 5 times) Cress Kiln - ET18 and furniture   $800  2.6 CU

I hear you on the small kiln issues but as a newer potter I don't like the idea of spending too much until i know I'm gonna keep going and could imagine getting another one down the line.  

I would be all over the Cress (if it's a reliable brand??) except it has 2.5 in bricks :(

thank you soo very much for your help. Feeling a little lost.



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Thank you so much! I went ahead and took the cone 10 cress kiln for $800 and he threw in a new bailey wheel for $500! I hope that's good. I've only worked on a brent but it seemed like a good deal.  Thanks for taking time to share. I think this kiln won't hold me forever but it's new and might be a good test kiln or easy enough to sell off if need be. regards! Aminah

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You'll find you fill this kiln very quickly, which can be a good thing, or a nuisance depending on how prolific you are. It'll be a nice test size for later though.

I have a Cress, and while it's hard to get it serviced in Canada, I will say it has needed very little from me. Also, Arturo at Cress is very helpful if you need any technical assistance.

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