What Is A Ceramic Pot Heater And How To Make Your Own

DIY Ceramic Pot Heater

When it’s cold and your neighborhood is experiencing a huge power outage after a bad storm, the last thing you want to do is freeze.

You don’t have to. By making a ceramic pot heater, you can stay warm.

What’s a ceramic pot heater?

Also known as a clay or terracotta pot heater, this is basically a heater that’s made out of a pot you’d use to grow herbs or flowers.

If that sounds like a DIY project you’d like to add to your survival prepper skills, read on to find out how to do it. We’ll also look at how effective the ceramic pot heater is at keeping you and your home warm. 

Can A Ceramic Pot Heater Really Work? 

Can A Ceramic Pot Heater Really Work?

Ceramic pot heaters have been around for a while, with many people making their own ones.

But some people claim that they don’t understand what the fuss is about because these heaters don’t work as effectively as, say, a space heater.

Here’s the thing to bear in mind: ceramic pot heaters are designed to be emergency heating solutions. While they might not be very powerful, they can still produce heat that you’ll be thankful for if you find yourself in a desperate situation. 

What Does A Ceramic Pot Heater Do?

A ceramic pot heater uses heat produced by a candle. It traps the heat inside a few ceramic pots that have been joined together.

Since terracotta heats up gradually and maintains heat effectively, it works well as a pot material to absorb the heat from the candle.

The hot air from the candle moves between the pots’ walls and through them so that it can heat up the surrounding room. 

How To Make Your Own Ceramic Pot Heater

Make Your Own Ceramic Pot Heater

Here are the tools and items you will need to make your own ceramic pot heater.

  • 3 plain terracotta pots that each have one drainage hole at the bottom. They should be of different sizes so that they can be placed over each other. If you want a larger heater, choose a pot that’s 12 inches in diameter, one that’s 10 inches in diameter, and one that’s eight inches. If you want a smaller one, choose pots with diameters of 10, 8, and 6 inches. 
  • 1 bolt that’s six inches long. These should be a bit smaller than the holes in the terracotta pots as the metal is going to expand from the heat. 
  • 6 nuts. These need to fit the bolts. 
  • 4 washers 
  • 1 metal loaf pan
  • 1 candle 
  • 2 bricks  


bolt trough largest pot first
  1. Put the bolt through the base of the largest pot. The long piece should stick out in the middle of the pot. 
  2. Put a washer on the bolt, then place the second pot over the bolt of the first one.
  3. Add a second washer, followed by two nuts. Fasten it to keep it secure, but not too much as it can cause the pot to crack. 
  4. Add a washer, then carefully place the third pot over the bolt that’s inside the first one. Add another washer and three or four nuts, before tightening them. This is to ensure that the metal will be a good conductor for the heat that’s going to be coming from the candle. 
  5. You should now have three pots that have been connected with bolts and air space between them. This is your ceramic heater! 
  6. Now, put your pots to the side and place a candle in the metal loaf pan. 
  7. Set this loaf pan between two bricks. 
  8. Take your three-pot heater and turn it upside down so that you can rest it over the candle. 
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So, How Well Does It Work? 

three types of diy pot heaters

The ceramic pot heater will produce quite a bit of heat.

When a similar setup was tested, the clay pot reached a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit in three minutes, 250 degrees in 10 minutes, and 300 degrees in 35 minutes, which might be close to its maximum heat.

This clay pot will be useful if you are within close proximity to it. You can also set up a few of these clay pots around a room to warm it up nicely.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that ensuring you avoid opening windows or doors too much will go a long way to making you feel warm. 

Important Safety Tips!

Now that you know how to make your own ceramic pot heater, you might want to tweak the instructions a bit to make it produce even more warmth, but be careful.

There are some important safety tips to bear in mind.

  • Avoid using larger candles. You might think that placing a larger candle – or candles – underneath the pots will be even better to create more heat, and you won’t have to replace the candles as often, but this is not a good idea. It could cause the pots to overheat and crack.
  • Avoid using lots of tea light candles. Again, you might think that using lots of smaller candles will help to produce more heat, but this is a bad idea because of the previous point.
  • Never place the candles too close to the pots otherwise they could crack or explode. This is a rule to follow no matter what kind of candle you’re using.
  • Always use unglazed and unpainted terracotta pots. If you choose glazed or painted ones, they will release fumes.
  • Before you make these ceramic pot heaters and store them for emergencies, it’s a good idea to test them out to be sure they work well and are safe.  

Related Questions 

Is it safe to use old terracotta pots?

old terracota pots decorated

You can use old terracotta pots, but make sure they don’t have any cracks, mold, algae growth, or chemicals on them. These can all be dangerous.

Is a lack of ventilation an issue?

While you should ensure you don’t have drafts entering the room that will destroy the warmth from the candle, you can risk carbon monoxide inhalation from candles. So, a bit of ventilation is always good.


If the power’s out and you need warmth, you will benefit from making a ceramic pot heater.

In this article, we’ve looked at how much heat you can gain from this setup and how to make it yourself. This is a valuable skill to have in your survival arsenal and you never know when you might need to use it.

Other good sources to read: 

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3 thoughts on “What Is A Ceramic Pot Heater And How To Make Your Own”

  1. I recently lived thru a tornado that hit my town in Kentucky. 12 people died.
    ​ Deadly Tornado Outbreak Leaves Bowling Green, Kentucky Unrecognizable

    It was like living in the aftermath of a war zone. Here is what I learned from this.

    Power: We have become so dependent on our little devices for news, communications, entertainment, etc.. My power was out for 3 days. 1 block over from me was out for 2-3 weeks. Cell towers were out for 1 ½ days. Internet out for 3 days. Charging my cell phone was a real challenge. Plugging it in to charge anywhere I was. Friends and Family homes, restaurants, anywhere… You will burn up your battery fast calling family, friends, etc. to check on them to see if they are alive or even still have a roof or a home.

    Since then, I have bought a Power Station. SmartTech 9in1 JSL-950 Power Station with Jump Starter and 150 PSI Air Compressor, one 120V power inventer outlet with USB outlets AC/DC outlets from Home Depot. I can now charge my phone and run small appliances (like nebulizer) for a short time if needed. Plus, I can take it camping, on road trips and it does not take up much space.

    Also, a Solar Power Bank Portable Charger for USB devices. This charges my phone much faster then my 12v car charger. It can re-charge via solar power but it takes all day. I like the concept. Will it last? Only time will tell.

    Lighting: I already had a dozen 80 hour religious candles, tea candles, battery flashlights stocked. Flashlights go fast. Candles are the way to go for any long term power outage! Tea candles last about 4 hours so they burn out by the time I’m ready for bed anyway.

    Staying Warm in General: Layer your clothing your wearing. I wear a quarintine cap lol! Extra blankets/sleeping bag on the bed. Cover your head with a blanket or beach towel to prevent heatloss at night. Old people use to call them Night Caps.

    Heat: A tornado in winter? Who knew! It got cold in the house. Fortunately, I had already prepped for that with 2 flower pot heaters w/tea candles due to the rising cost of natural gas to heat my home and to offset the thermostat running all the time. They wont heat your home to 75 degrees, but they will take the chill out of the air. Indoor temp gauge said it was 61 degrees so yes they did their job.

    The areas were the tornado hit had a funny weird smell to me.. I was telling my friend about the smell when I was driving thru and he was told me gas workers that lines all over the town were leaking natural gas either thru the damaged houses or up rooted.

    Food: I have plenty of dried and canned foods in my preps. Had to show my GF how to cook with Sterno. Had instant coffee ready in 20 minutes with powdered milk and sugar with a cigarette. It’s all about the little pleasures in life. Canned beef stew ready in 40 minutes. Some items in the fridge went bad after 3 days of of no power. If I had to go threw this power outage for 4 days? Every thing in the freezer would have been lost.

    If you have a large family and a lot of food in your freezer, I would suggest a small tailgater continuous output of 700watts gas generator. They use it sell them at Harbor Freight for less than $100 but they do not sell them anymore. I have found similar generators at Home Depot for a fair price. Every store we visited had larger generators for sale at nearly double the price a month ago.

    Shelter: My home was not damaged (thank god) but my neighbors were not as lucky. Always remember, Life can change on a dime.

    When the power did finally come back on. I filled up my indoor jacuzzi with HOT water and soaked for 45 minutes lol!

  2. I decided to experiment with this idea for my half enclose deck. The picture of the 3 clay pot heaters doesn’t make sense as the bottom pot serve only as a base and not for heat absorption. I’m looking for conduction – convection and heat radiation. Two candles don’t cut it. My second experiment used 4 – 25 hour candles in a can with a 12″ clay pot. It got to near 130 degrees F in less than an hour. Basically, 1500 btu. Next, I’m going to try 6 candles with the same pot and a 10″ pot on top of it with a small blower fan. I suspect I’ll get near 3K BTU and run 2 of them for something above 5K BTU. I don’t get the smaller pot first – over the larger as there’s no conduction there, just the warm air floating around it but will try it later in experiments.

  3. Ernst Richard Glad Myrbakk

    But… but why? You get the exact same amount of heat generated by the candle by just burning it without all the fuss with the ceramic pots? You can’t create heat or energy by heating ceramic pots – so the end result will always be the same. Enerty in – will always equal to – energy out…

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