Earthenware Vs Stoneware: What is the difference and which should you use?

Earthenware Vs Stoneware: What is the difference and which should you use?


Earthenware and Stoneware both have distinct properties, and have pros and cons based on your intended use. This article will summarise the differences between Earthenware and Stoneware so that you can decide what is best for your next project.

How do earthenware and stoneware differ?


 Earthenware clay

Earthenware is often recommended to beginners due to it being very easy to work with. It is fired at a relatively low temperature compared to stoneware. This means that earthenware is highly porous compared to other clay bodies, resulting in a higher susceptibility to chips. For this reason, earthenware pieces are often thicker than stoneware pieces to prevent breaking.

Earthenware is cheaper than stoneware. It is often used for pots or roof tiles, as it is not as suitable for items such as dinnerware, due to its fragility.



One of the main differences between earthenware and stoneware is that stoneware is a lot more durable. It is also fired at much higher temperatures. This means that stoneware is not porous. Therefore, stoneware is a great choice for dinnerware.


Earthenware vs Stoneware Properties

Stoneware vs Earthenware differences table


Earthenware is generally cheaper than stoneware


Earthenware bisque is usually slightly orange or red, while stoneware is usually white or brown.


Stoneware is much stronger than earthenware due to it being fired at much higher temperatures.


Earthenware: Above 5% Porosity

Stoneware: Usually below 3%

Earthenware must be glazed to become waterproof, but stoneware will not absorb water if it is fired correctly.

Firing Temperature:

Stoneware is fired at higher temperatures than earthenware

-Earthenware: 999°C-1140°C

-Stoneware: 1180°C - 1280°C



Earthenware vs Stoneware: Which to choose?

This will depend on a variety of factors. Here are a few pros and cons of earthenware and stoneware.

Earthenware pros:

-Can be fired at a lower temperature. This can save you electricity/fuel and does not wear out the elements of your kiln as quickly.

-It has a lower shrinkage rate from firing, making the final product closer to what you put into the kiln.

-It is the cheapest type of clay

If you do not need your piece to be especially durable or waterproof, earthenware is probably the best choice.

Stoneware Pros:

-Regarded as easier to work with for beginners

-Is less likely to crack during firing

-Can be food-safe and able to be microwaved, washed in the dishwasher and used in the oven.

-Durable and able to withstand frequent use.

If you want to make a functional piece that is used frequently. Stoneware is your stronger bet.


Example uses of earthenware and stoneware:


-Plant pots: Earthenware is a great choice for plant pots, as they will hold water, helping to keep the soil moist.

-Decorative pieces

Earthenware vs stoneware


-Tableware: Plates, bowls, mugs

-Cooking items: Oven dishes etc

 Difference between stoneware vs earthenware

In summary, each clay body type can be a good or bad choice, depending on what you intend to use it for. We hope this article helps to clear up the differences between stoneware and earthenware clay.

Happy Potting!

The Pottery People

Stoneware vs Earthenware differences table
Back to blog

Thinking of building a garden studio?

We can design and build your dream garden pottery studio, exactly how you want it.