Pottery can be a fun experience and hobby to take up. But if you’re serious about working with pottery, it’s imperative you have the right tools.
Choosing the best tools to invest in doesn’t have to be a guessing game.
In this article, we’ll show you what you can expect from online pottery tool listings, as well as what you should purchase to help your pottery projects turn out that much better.
Are you ready to start shopping for some pottery tools? Keep reading to see which tools we feature.
Don’t have time to read? Here’s a quick summary of the products we recommend.
|ISSEVE Pottery Clay Sculpting Tools Set of 43 Pieces
|Wooden handles provide grip and comfort
|NOZOMY Clay Tool Set of 12 Pieces
|Steel rib resists rust
|Blisstime Tool Set of 42
|Carrying cases provide easy portability
|Meuxan 30 Piece Sculpting Tool Set
|Variety of hand building tools, many of them double-sided
|S & E Teacher’s Edition Pottery and Clay Sculpting Tools
|Variety of metal tool heads
|Blisstime Set of 30 Clay Sculpting Tools
|Wooden handles make for easy cleanup
|Mudtools Polymer Rib
|Flexible polymer makeup
|Kemper Pottery Tool Kit
|Universal clay sculpting tools
Best Pottery Tools
Here’s our list of the best pottery tools you can purchase to help you in your projects.
ISSEVE Pottery Clay Sculpting Tools Set of 43 Pieces
For more value and a whole lot more clay sculpting tools, check out the ISSEVE Pottery Clay Sculpting Tool Set. This set features 43 pieces you’re likely to find yourself experimenting with as you work with pottery.
One of the best things about this tool set is that it all comes in a handy storage case. If you find yourself traveling or taking pottery classes, you can easily bring your own tools to work with and then quickly store them afterwards.
Included in this 43-piece set are tools to help you clean up greenware, carve intricate details, shape what you throw, and smooth out any imperfections. The double-sided design of the loop tools allows you to minimize clutter and also keep multiple tools at hand. Smooth wood handles allow you to grip the tool sufficiently while still being comfortable in your hand.
The durable and corrosion-resistant stainless steel ends of these tools flex slightly to help guide them into the clay. Included in the set are tools with taper points, cup chisels, flat chisels, and angle chisels. The ball stylus tools can also achieve some pretty cool textures and features as well. The wooden sculpture knives also make it easy to manipulate clay to your liking.
- Wide variety of clay sculpting tools
- Wooden handles provide grip and comfort
- Carrying case included
- Case will wear out over time
NOZOMY Clay Tool Set of 12 Pieces
The NOZOMY clay tool set includes 12 pieces, each of which will help you in your clay projects.
The round yellow sponge introduces water where necessary and can be used to smooth clay as well. A steel rib trims where necessary and a clay cutting tool helps slice off just the right amount of clay from your supply.
Included in this set are 2 double-sided ball styluses as well. A stainless steel needle tool and a feather wire tool make detailing much easier.
Plus there are plenty of wood handle clay sculpting tools to choose from. A double-sided loop tool includes a rounded edge and a squared edge. Both of the wooden knives provide edges for trimming while the wooden-handled blade slices off excess clay.
- Ball stylus tools included
- Steel rib resists rust
- Double-sided tools provide value
- Sponge isn’t of the highest quality
Blisstime Tool Set of 42
Let’s talk about value for a minute. This Blisstime Tool Set of 42 clay tools provides great value, no matter how big or small your pottery tool collection is.
Included in this set are 3 carrying cases that link together to form a single large carrying case. These zip-up cases contain plenty of tools to choose from. Many tools are made from durable wood that feels comfortable in your hand.
There are also stainless steel pottery tools to choose from. Many of them are double-sided to declutter your space, providing twice the tool without taking up more room than necessary. These high-quality tools are sure to unlock tons of potential the next time you work with clay.
Before you get too far, don the included apron that’s part of this set as well. There are also 2 round yellow sponges for soaking up water and applying it where necessary as you sculpt and/or throw.
- Huge variety of tools
- Carrying cases provide easy portability
- Basic apron included
- More wood tools than stainless steel tools
Meuxan 30 Piece Sculpting Tool Set
Many potters look for various tools when they’re shopping, sometimes searching out specific tools to include in their collection. If you’re a fan of wooden handle tools made of durable stainless steel, look no further than the Meuxan 30-Piece Sculpting Tool Set.
Included in this set are over a dozen double-sided, durable wood-handled tools. The ends are capped by stainless steel instruments to help you shape, cut, and mold clay to your liking. Plus, the round yellow sponge and wire clay cutting tool are a must if you’re serious about pottery.
A few of the tools included in this set are a spearhead and curved tool, a metal wire brush tool, a spoolie tool, a salt and pepper drill tool, a loop tool, a potter’s rib, and a clay hole cutter.
Incising tools, a metal scraper, and a curved vane and large spearhead tool are sure to open up the possibilities as you’re throwing or hand building.
Meuxan also offers a 1-year warranty on this 30-piece set.
- Variety of hand building tools, many of them double-sided
- Wooden and steel rib
- Stainless steel tips resist rust
- No carrying case included
S & E Teacher’s Edition Pottery and Clay Sculpting Tools
The S & E Teacher’s Edition Pottery and Clay Sculpting Tools may seem like a small set of clay utensils compared to some of the other sets we’ve included on this list, but oftentimes quality is better than quantity.
For example, these double-sided, wooden handled- tools are plenty to get your collection started. The 12 tools range in length from 6.3 inches to 7.8 inches, and are easy to handle as you work. There are carving tools, needle tools for detail, plus various loop tools to slice off clay where you see fit.
- Double-sided value
- Wooden handles provide easy grip
- Variety of metal tool heads
- Small addition to a pottery tool collection
Blisstime Set of 30 Clay Sculpting Tools
Large sets of pottery tools are not all made the same and this is especially true for this particular set from Blisstime. Within these 30 pieces are plenty of possibilities to manipulate clay to fit the design you’ve got in your head.
Many of the tools in this set are double-sided. This gives you more tools to work with, without having to worry about taking up a bunch of space. Of the wooden-handled modeling tools, many are capped by steel tips that are firmly attached so you can apply pressure without worrying about breaking a tool.
Some of the tools featured in this set are 2 double-tipped rubber shapers. These tools remove fingerprints and work to smooth out the clay’s surface as you work. The large loop tool removes copious amounts of clay at a time, while the sponge adds water when necessary.
A needle tool, steel and wooden ribs, as well as a clay wire cutting tool all round out this 30-piece set. The wire cutter features two wooden handles with a wire stretched between them.
With these tools at hand, it’s easy to work with clay and shape it how you want.
- Wooden handles make for easy cleanup
- Rubber pottery sculpting tool for smoothing
- Variety of loops and scrapers modeling tools
- Limited shape and size of potter’s ribs
Mudtools Polymer Rib
Choosing the right pottery rib, such as this polymer rib from Mudtools, can make a difference when you’re throwing. Steel ribs often flex in ways you don’t want them to but these polymer ribs provide just enough flex to sculpt how you want.
Besides flexibility, this polymer rib also resists cracking. You won’t find any burrs on the rib either. Mudtools offers this rib in different sizes, shapes, and degrees of flexibility to suit your needs.
- Flexible polymer makeup
- Modeling tools available in various sizes
- Multiple shapes available
- One color available
Kemper Pottery Tool Kit
This particular pottery tool kit from Kemper has practically everything you need to start a strong foundation of pottery tools. These quality hand tools are priced affordably so you can focus more on your pottery projects.
Made from quality stainless steel, the needle tools and steel scraper will resist rust as you use them. Smooth hardwood featured on the loop tool, ribbon tool, and potter’s rib plays nice with your hands. The wood modeling tool comes to a sharp point for detail work.
It’s always good to have a quality sponge when you’re working with pottery, and the yellow one included with this set is just that. Plus, there’s a wire clay cutter tool that’s handy if you don’t want to get clay underneath your fingernails as you pull what you want from the main block.
- Universal clay sculpting tools
- Affordably priced
- Variety to begin your pottery tool collection
- Basic set with little in the way of specialty tools
Types of Basic Tools for Pottery
As you shop for pottery tools, you’ll come across various sizes as well as types. If you’re not sure what each type of tool is, we’ve got a short list of the most common ones below for your reference.
Generally speaking, sponges are a bit of an all-purpose tool when it comes to pottery. They can smooth and texture, or add water where necessary. They can also be a great way to remove excess glaze or tighten up a glaze line.
For instance, depending on the texture of the sponge, it may or may not be used to smooth out the sides of bowls or vases when throwing pottery.
Softer sponges will provide more of a gentle smoothing, while bristly sponges can texture a surface well.
As with many of the other clay tools on this list, you’ll likely want to stock up on various types of sponges for your pottery tool collection. Since they’re typically immersed in water, they don’t resist wear and tear as well as wooden and metal tools do.
A single needle tool can perform a variety of functions when it comes to clay sculpting, making it one of the essential tools you should have in your collection.
For example, needle tools can part projects on the potter’s wheel when you’re throwing. They can also be used at practically any stage for intricate details or carefully removing clay.
Loops and Ribbons
Most ribbon and loop tools are affixed to a wooden handle, but include sharp edges to cut through clay. Loop and ribbon tools come in various shapes and sizes. Each clay sculpting tool is meant to remove clay in a particular spot with varying results.
For instance, a circular loop tool creates a more rounded look, while an oval- or oblong-shaped loop tool adds a bit more character.
As you search for trimming loops and ribbon tools, keep in mind that having a few different profiles on hand can help you as you throw and/or model.
Loop tools are useful in the beginning stages of throwing, while ribbon tools can be used on thrown or modeled projects.
Besides hand-held tools, pottery also requires the use of potter’s ribs. These large, flat pieces are available in various types of materials, each with their own set of pros and cons.
For example, most of the common potter’s ribs are made from wood. A wooden rib is useful in shaping clay while providing a strong but flexible surface upon which the clay can move.
Ribs can also be purchased in metal, rubber, plastic, or other various materials.
In many instances, ribs are often referred to as scrapers. However, there are a few key differences between the two tools.
Wire Clay Cutter
This wire cutting tool is used to cut a slab of clay from your stock. While it doesn’t necessarily perform a huge job when it comes to sculpting, it’s still incredibly useful when it comes to working with clay.
For instance, besides cutting clay from a block, a wire cutting tool can also be used to cut shapes in half. If you have a long rope of clay that you’re working with and need to remove excess clay, or even cut the rope into smaller pieces for modeling, that’s possible with a wire clay cutter tool. Simply take the wire cutter and use it like a knife.
Investing in a solid wire cutter can be one of the best decisions you make. After all, all these tools are useless if you can’t get any clay out to work with.
As we mentioned, scrapers are similar to ribs, but perform a different function. This clay sculpting tool is meant to remove clay with precision, rather than shape it as you would with a potter’s rib.
Scrapers are typically metal, but can be made sharp and from wood as well.
Scrapers are typically lighter weight than potter’s ribs as well. They’re a shaping tool for sure, but provide a bit more force when it comes to cutting down clay.
What to Look for in Pottery Tools
Not all pottery tools are the same. If you want quality tools you can depend on, here are a few characteristics you’ll want to look for as you look over all the tools below.
The truth is, with pottery tools (also called ceramic tools), and practically everything else, you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for pottery tools you can depend on for years to come, ensure the ones you purchase are quality, even if you have to end up paying a bit more.
Some of the best high-quality pottery tools take into account the environment in which the tool will be living. For instance, quality pottery tools are not made from materials that will rust or break if subjected to copious amounts of moisture.
Other factors include comfortability and versatility. Quality loop tools, for example, may include two different loops on the same base shaft.
Speaking of versatility, the best pottery tools are those that can be used in a variety of ways. For example, if you have a loop tool that you can also use to trim out greenware, that’s a versatile tool. Versatility isn’t always something that’s quantified within an item’s description, but it is a factor that will save you as much time as it does grief.
Having a variety of pottery tools can challenge you as a potter. With so many tools to choose from, your design possibilities are only as endless as your imagination. A variety of tools also allows you to attack issues that may arise in many different ways if necessary.
We spoke of this a bit in terms of versatility, the pottery tools with the best value are those that earn their keep. They may be double-sided, as we mentioned, or they could offer a dependable use that cuts out excessive time and/or effort from your pottery projects.
However you define value, make sure it’s part of your determining process when it comes to investing in pottery tools.
We hope you’ve found this article on the best pottery tools useful. Sometimes all you need to create a new project is the right tool to get started.