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All About Pottery Kick Wheels: A Deep Dive

In the world of pottery, the kick wheel offers a timeless touch to the craft. Today, we’re diving into just how important pottery kick wheels are and how they played an important part in the craft for millions of years. Beyond this, we will touch on the mechanics, techniques, and understanding of just how these tools can help you with your artistry.

Want to learn more about pottery kick wheels? Read on!

pottery kick wheels

Understanding Pottery Kick Wheel Mechanics

Understanding how kick wheels work is the first step in picking one to work with. It may seem complicated with all the components that make the wheel work, but it’s really quite simple.

Mechanics and Components

1. Flywheel

The flywheel is the circular disk that provides the momentum from the kicks (or pedal with an electric version) to move the wheelhead (where the clay sits on top). They are typically made of heavy metal, where the size and weight impact how smoothly the machine will run.

2. Treadle

The treadle is what is connected to the flywheel in the form of a pedal or foot-operated lever that starts the flywheel movement.

The design and response time of the treadle influence the potter’s control over the wheelhead spin.

3. Wheelhead

The wheelhead is the most important part of the pottery kick wheel. This is where the clay is placed for the potter to begin shaping into a masterpiece.

The wheelhead moves in sync with the flywheel, offering the potter control depending on what they are crafting.

4. Bat Pins

Bat pins are metal rods or pins that can attach to the wheelhead so the clay projects can easily be moved off the wheelhead once finished taking shape.

Not only does this offer easy swapping of projects, but it offers even more stability while all the other components are moving.

pottery kick wheels

Tips For Choosing The Best Pottery Kickwheel For You

Before diving into logistics, it’s good to get an idea if a manual pottery kick wheel or an electric would suit your needs best. Here we have broken down some quick pros and cons for both to help you better understand the difference.

Pros and Cons: Electric or Manual

Electric Pottery Kick Wheel

Huanyu Pottery Wheel Ceramic Machine 30CM with Foot Pedal & LCD Screen, Electric Pottery Machine with Detachable Basin for Pottery Studio/Home DIY/Pottery School Christmas Gift (110V for Adults)


  • Consistent Speeds
  • Reversible Rotation
  • Ease of Use
  • Quieter
  • Less Fatigue
  • Variable Clay Usage
  • Built-In Bat Pins


  • Dependent on Reliable Electric Source
  • Initial Costs
  • Harder to Maintain and Repair
  • Weight and Size
  • Learning Curve

Manual Pottery Kick Wheel

VEVOR Forming Machine Pottery Wheel, Manual & Foot Speed Control, Green 18 Piece


  • Lower Initial Costs
  • Quieter
  • Portability
  • Not Dependant on Electricity
  • Low Maintenance
  • Traditional Craftsmanship


  • Physical Effort
  • Speed Control
  • No Reverse Rotation
  • Requires a Higher Skill Level

Size and Weight

Pottery kick wheels come in diverse sizes and weights, offering a wide range of options for potters. Electric wheels tend to be heavier due to the additional mechanics, whereas certain manual kick wheel models are crafted from steel and even feature an integrated seat, making them heavier than their electric counterparts.

For those starting out, there are a bunch of beginner-friendly models available. These entry-level options, both in manual and electric categories, are designed to be more portable, allowing for easy relocation or convenient storage as needed.

With so many options, potters can find a kick wheel that aligns with their specific preferences and creative requirements.

Construction Materials

You need to ensure you pick a pottery kick wheel that is made with durable materials. Most kick wheels are made from heavy-duty, strong metals or stainless steel, keeping everything in working order for years.

Not only will it extend the lifespan of your kick wheel, but it will also significantly impact your pottery’s overall quality and durability. The better the materials, the more studier and smooth your machine will move.

Look for:

  • High center load capacity.
  • Polypropylene surfaces.
  • Strong horsepower (if electric).
  • Aluminum alloy.
  • Switches to control rotation.


Your budget will greatly influence what type of pottery kick wheel you can use. There are great low-budget options available for those just starting out or those who need a smaller, more precise machine for their materials or workspace.

Pottery kick wheels, both manual and electric, can range anywhere from the cheapest, around $120, to the expensive, about $2,000. Plus, there are tons in between.

Choosing a pottery kick wheel on a budget is simple if you just ensure it has quality materials and works best for you and your situation.

Ease of Maintenance

Look for the following for easy maintenance:

Accessible Moving Parts: Access to these parts helps in any repairs, cleaning, or maintenance.

Easy Disassembly: For similar reasons, being able to take apart a pottery kick wheel easily makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze.

Corrosion Resistant Materials: Most pottery kick wheels are made with materials that resist corrosion since the environment is damp. But it’s always a good idea to wipe and clean the areas after finishing with the machine to further prevent any oxidation.

If you consider these factors, you’ll find a pottery kick wheel that suits your creative needs and makes the entire pottery experience smooth and enjoyable.

pottery kick wheels

Setting Up a Pottery Kick Wheel

Choosing the Perfect Location

Space and Stability

You’ll need to secure a location where you have enough space for yourself, the machine, and the ease of movement. Avoid cramped areas and corners.

Good Lighting and Ventilation

For pottery, you’ll require good natural or artificial lighting. Make sure you have access to a large window, overhead lighting, or floor lighting.

As for ventilation, placing your pottery kick wheel next to a window creates a healthier and cleaner working area as it allows the clay dust to exit.

Accessibility to Tools and Water

The closer you are to the items you need to work on, the better the workflow, which enhances your creativity, creating a stress-free environment.

Noise Considerations

Pottery kick wheels, regardless of the size, can generate some noise. Make sure you pick a location that is considerate of neighbors or family.

Assembly, Alignments, and Adjustments

Each kick wheel is different, and you should always follow the instructions that were made for your particular model.

The same goes for any alignments and adjustments. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s detailed guide to keeping your pottery kick wheel in tip-top shape.

You must make alignment adjustments after assembly to keep the wheel functioning properly, maintaining the well-being of the construction and components and making it an entirely more comfortable experience for your craft.

Need some inspiration? Check out these beginner pottery ideas to get those creative vibes going!

pottery kick wheels

Wrapping Up

It’s clear to see that the pottery kick wheel is much more than just a simplistic tool that aids in the creation of pottery. Rather, the mechanics and craftsmanship offer an experience like no other. Giving you the freedom to craft and create whatever comes to mind.

Looking for more on pottery? We have all the pottery tools to get you started. And once you’re ready, find out how these glaze techniques will transform your pieces to the next level.