Difference Between Pottery and Porcelain

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Difference Between Pottery and Porcelain

As we discussed the definition of ceramic, pottery and porcelain in the last post, what’s the chemical and physical difference between pottery and porcelain?  And that’s our topic today.

Firing temperature

The firing temperature of pottery products are usually lower than porcelain. The firing temperature of pottery are always between 800 and 1100 centigrade, while the porcelain firing temperature is relatively high, mostly in 1200 centigrade above, and some even reached about 1400 centigrade .


As pottery firing temperature is low, the body is not completely sintered, the hardness of the biscuit is poor, and some even can leave groove marks when using steel knife to gently cut it.

However, Porcelain firing temperature is high, the basic sintered , percussion sounds crisp, it is difficult to draw groove marks on the biscuit surface with a general steel knife.

Raw material

The raw material for pottery is mainly clay, while the raw material for porcelain is kaolin, quartz, feldspar and clay. For bone china, the main raw material is bone ash from animal.

Glost material

Pottery and porcelain use different glost material and different glost firing temperature.

Pottery is not glazed or applied glaze in low temperature, while porcelain always glazed.


The biscuit of the pottery is not translucent even if it is relatively thin.However,porcelain biscuit, regardless of thickness, have a translucent characteristics.For bone china, is is more obvious, if you put a torch inside a bone china bowl and place it in dark environment, it totally translucent.

transparency of bone china bowl

                              Translucency of bone china products

Iron(Fe) content

Iron content is generally more than 3% in pottery, and below 3% in porcelain.

Water absorption

Pottery has a higher water absorption rate than porcelain.

Now, can you tell the difference between pottery and porcelain?