The Difference between Ceramic and Porcelain

What is Ceramic

Ceramic is the product of taking clay and hardening the material with heat. It is brittle but very hard and strong, while being unlikely to corrode, which can make it perfect for a number of uses.


There are actually three different types of traditional ceramic, named Earthenware, Stoneware, and Porcelain. While each has their own qualities, the most common types are earthenware (commonly referred to as simply “ceramic”) and porcelain, which we’ll discuss in more detail, below.


What Is Porcelain?

Porcelain takes the basic form of the ceramic but uses finer materials, taking kaolin clay and mixing this with glass, granite and feldspar minerals, before vitrifying the item. In other words, extreme heat is used to take away any porous aspect of the pottery, creating a more glass-like appearance and hardening the material, since there’s less chance of the item breaking if there are fewer pockets of air available in the clay.



Ceramic Vs Porcelain


The difference between pottery and porcelain lies mainly in the difference in raw material soil and the difference in temperature. The firing temperature of pottery is 800-1000 degrees, and the porcelain is made by firing kaolin at a temperature of 1300-1400 degrees. Add fire and heat on the basis of the temperature of pottery, and pottery will become porcelain. Here is a special note: most of the pottery products that are popular today are fired at high temperature, strictly speaking, they are porcelain products.


You would be forgiven for thinking, at this point, that porcelain is better than standard ceramic but that may not necessarily be the case! The best way to tell what you should buy depends entirely on what you intend to use it for. For example, in terms of porcelain vs ceramic mugs, you might find that standard ceramic works better in keeping your coffee warmer for longer- since the air pockets will actually hold in the heat, for longer.


The difference between ceramic and porcelain dinnerware, however, is really based more on your style and taste in crockery. If you prefer your plates and pots to have a smoother finish, you’ll pay a little more but will have a lovely looking piece of work. That said, many different ceramics as a whole can be various shapes with some basic designs inlaid into the pottery, then finished with a glaze, so there’s not a huge amount of difference here.


The real differences begin when you consider other uses. For example, a porcelain tile is much less likely to be damaged by water over an extended period of time, due to their refined nature. This can make them ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, although their pricing can create a steep increase in your overall budget.


How to tell the difference between ceramic and porcelain?

Still not sure about how to tell ceramic and porcelain apart? Take a look at this list and decide for yourself:

  • Ceramic (earthenware and stoneware) is generally heavier than porcelain.
  • Ceramics are easy to maintain. For the most part, they can go in the microwave and dishwasher (unless they have an inlaid design or similar which can become damaged in these conditions)
  • Porcelain will usually be thinner and have finer edges.
  • Porcelain is also usually much lighter, since the “bulk” of the material has been refined with lighter materials during creation.
  • Porcelain is non-porous and lends itself well to dining.
  • It is less likely to stain from recurrent use, do its non-porous nature.
  • Porcelain should have a translucent appearance- making it more aesthetically pleasing and great for formal dining.


What are the common indicators and problems in ceramic product evaluation?


  • Blank crack: cracks appearing on the blank.
  • Pinholes: Needle-like holes on the surface of the product.
  • Spots: heterochromatic stains on the surface of the product.
  • Interlayer: Lamellar cracks or small flaking occurs on the green body.
  • Color difference: The color on the front of the same piece or set of products is different.
  • Pocked noodles: pits on the front of the product.
  • Melt hole: the void formed by the melting of the fusible substance on the front of the product.
  • Missing polishing: part of the product should be polished dull.
  • Polishing marks: There are marks of abrasive scratches on the polished surface of the product.