The main difference between earthenware and stoneware is that earthenware is porous and soft, while stoneware is non-porous, hard, and more durable.
Earthenware and stoneware are two types of pottery that have a long history. Interestingly, both these types of wares have a more rustic appearance than other ceramics. However, there is quite a difference between earthenware and stoneware; especially, in terms of their production and durability.
Key Areas Covered
Ceramics, Clay, Earthenware, Stoneware
What is Earthenware
Earthenware is pottery made from coarsely-grained clay that is abundant in nature. It is one of the oldest types of ceramic ware in the world. Earthenware has been used for many purposes over thousands of years. Traditionally, earthenware is made from a type of clay known as red earthenware clay or red terracotta. But some earthenware clay also takes colors like white or grey. It’s typically easy to work with this clay. This is why it’s a popular choice for those beginning in pottery. Generally, earthenware is fired under low-range temperatures (below 2012° Fahrenheit). It is more porous and prone to chipping. Potters often glaze earthenware to make it waterproof. Such glazed earthenware is soft and tends to have bright colors. They also have an attractive, high sheen.
Earthenware has many uses. Building bricks, roof tiles, pots, and dinnerware are some objects we make with earthenware. Terracotta is also earthenware. Since earthenware is softer and less dense than stoneware and prone to chipping, it’s advisable to avoid earthenware in daily use. However, earthenware is less expensive than stoneware.
What is Stoneware
Stoneware is pottery that has been fired at relatively high temperatures (usually between 2150 – 2330° Fahrenheit). Since it undergoes high temperatures and has vitreous material added, it is more durable than earthenware. We call it stoneware because of its stone-like appearance and dense, stone-like quality. Unlike earthenware, it is non-porous. All in all, stoneware is stronger and more durable than earthenware.
Like other ceramics, we can glaze stoneware to give it a colorful matte or glossy finish. Before the glazing, stoneware will often have color patterns and variations similar to natural stone. Generally, stoneware has a rustic and earthy appearance.
Stoneware dinnerware is typically thicker and opaquer than porcelain. We can use stoneware items in ovens, microwaves, freezers, and dishwashers. However, it’s advisable to check the manufacturer’s information as well. Generally, stoneware retains and distributes heat more evenly than other types of ceramics.
Difference Between Earthenware and Stoneware
Earthenware is a type of porous pottery made from coarsely grained clay while stoneware is pottery that has been fired at relatively high temperatures.
Firing temperatures of earthenware is usually below 2012°Fahrenheit while firing temperatures of stoneware are usually between 2150 – 2330° Fahrenheit.
While earthenware is porous, stoneware is non-porous.
Stoneware is stronger and harder than earthenware, which is prone to chipping.
Stoneware is more durable than earthenware.
Earthenware tends to be less costly than stoneware.
The main difference between earthenware and stoneware is that earthenware is porous, soft, and more prone to chipping, while stoneware is non-porous, hard, and more durable. This difference basically comes from their firing temperatures, i.e., Firing temperatures of earthenware are usually low while firing temperatures of stoneware are high.