TAP IN Blog

Everything You Need to Know About Controlling Your Kiln

Header image for a guide for shopping for kiln controllers
Picture of Brittany Gabel

Brittany Gabel

Shopping for Kiln Controllers: Should I Purchase a Digital Controller, a Conversion Kit, or a Standalone?

If you’re shopping for kiln controllers, you’ve come to the right place! Buying a new (or your first!) kiln controller can be an intimidating prospect. There are a lot of different kiln control methods and types of electric kiln controllers – as well as a wide variety of different kiln controller manufactures.

Hopefully, by now you’ve done enough research that you have decided to go with the precision and ease-of-use of TAP and the robust remote kiln control and temperature capabilities of the TAP Kiln Control Mobile app! But even still, there are different configurations of TAP Controllers – so how do you decide which one is right for your kiln or heat treat oven build?

Kiln Controller Categories: Digital Controllers, Conversion Kits, and Standalones

If you’ve browsed our online store, you might have noticed that we sell TAP Kiln Controllers in three different formats:

We understand that this can be a little confusing for new customers, so below we’ll be explaining the primary use-cases for each format to help you decide which one is right for you! Additionally, if you’re shopping for kiln controllers, we strongly encourage you to check out the new FAQ section of our website. The tabs labeled TAP Products and Shopping for Kilns are designed to help new and existing customers easily decide which type of TAP Controller is right for them, as well as find places where they can buy new kilns with TAP pre-installed!

Digital Kiln Controllers

The section of our online store labeled Digital Kiln Controllers are generally best suited for new kiln or oven builds, or for users who are comfortable with DIY kiln controller installation. The TAP Kiln Controllers in this category only include the controller itself, a wiring harness, and any other selected options (as well as a faceplate for the TAP and TAP II Controllers). However, controllers in this category aren’t designed for plug-and-play installation. It’ll be up to you to splice wires, purchase thermocouples, and make modifications to your kiln to house the controller.

If you’re less comfortable with DIY kiln controller installation, we strongly encourage you to purchase a TAP Conversion Kit if your kiln is automatic or a TAP Standalone Kiln Controller if you’re using a manual kiln. We’ll be explaining those two categories more in-depth below. But if you are interested in DIY kiln controller installation, we’ve uploaded wiring diagrams for all of our controllers to our website!

A TAP II Kiln Controller configured for DIY installation or for new kiln and oven builds.

TAP Conversion Kits

TAP Conversion Kits are for users who are looking for a simple solution to upgrade their current automatic kiln controller. TAP Conversion Kits include everything you need for a plug-and-play kiln controller upgrade – without having to splice wires or make significant modifications to your kiln. Usually, the only thing you’ll need is a screwdriver, although occasionally drilling new holes for the faceplate may be necessary.

We offer a variety of conversion kits specifically designed to replace 3-key, 12-key, and smart controllers by other manufacturers such as Bartlett, Orton, Paragon, and more. Just go to this shop page, select the category for your current automatic controller, and then find the controller you currently have from the dropdown.

Kiln controller conversion kits are a convenient option for replacing your current automatic controller.

Standalone Kiln Controllers

Finally, we get to Standalone Kiln Controllers, which are designed for seamlessly upgrading a manual kiln to the advanced features of TAP. Say goodbye to your kiln sitter and enjoy intuitive touchscreen controls, the ability to save and automatically execute an infinite number of firing schedules, and the peace of mind and flexibility of being able to remotely monitor and control your kiln!

Standalone kiln controllers include the necessary transformer, electrical receptacle, relays, and thermocouples for simple installation without having to modify your kiln. Occasionally, it may be necessary to drill a small hole through your kiln brick to insert the tip of the standalone unit’s thermocouple into the interior of your kiln (or you can enlist the help of a kiln technician to install your standalone).

Additionally, TAP Standalone Kiln Controllers are available in both tabletop and wall mount configurations to easily accommodate almost any studio workspace!

When shopping for kiln controllers, look for a standalone controller to upgrade a manual kiln.

Shopping for Kiln Controllers: Is TAP The Right Choice for You?

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the different categories of TAP Kiln Controllers on our online store. Now, the next question is: Is TAP the right choice for your kiln control needs? We can’t answer that question for you, but we can tell you what separates TAP from other kiln control options. TAP Kiln Controllers allow artists to:

  • Operate your kiln with an easy-to-use, precise, user-friendly touchscreen interface.
  • Precisely manage temperatures for single-zone kilns, ovens, or furnaces – including remote control!
  • Throw away your firing notebook with the ability to create, edit, label, and save an unlimited number of firing schedules and steps.
  • Easily check the status of your kilns with easy-to-read indicators, simple graphs of your schedules and current firings, and push notifications to your mobile devices.
  • Save time and enjoy the convenience of being able to fully control and monitor your projects remotely via the TAP Kiln Control Mobile app.
  • Enjoy peace of mind with preventative maintenance alerts, automatic software updates, advanced diagnostics, safety shutoff, and an industry-leading warranty.

Shopping for Kiln Controllers on KilnControl.com

If you’re in the market for a new kiln controller, we encourage you to checkout our online store! The TAP and TAP II Controllers by SDS Industries provide artists the most advanced, precise, and easy-to-use programmable digital kiln controllers on the market today. With responsive touchscreen controls, an intuitive graphical UI, and integration with the TAP Kiln Control Mobile app, TAP Kiln Controllers can pair with any relay-controlled kiln or oven.

We offer TAP and TAP II as digital controllers, standalones, and conversion kits on our online store. You can also purchase TAP Digital Controllers or TAP Controlled Kilns and Heat Treat Ovens through one of the following distributors:

Shop programmable temperature controllers.

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