Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic

Main Difference – Porcelain vs Ceramic

‘Ceramic’ can be broadly defined as a class of material which is essentially inorganic and non-metallic in nature. They consist of ionic and covalent bonds. The majority of ceramics are semi-crystalline material and their properties differ quite a lot depending on the quality of interactions between the raw materials used, during the phase of the formation of the ceramic. However, collectively all types of ceramics have high melting points, hardness and also poor electrical and thermal conductivity. Porcelain is considered as a type of ceramic, whereas materials such as fiberglass and Carbon Fibre are not considered as ceramics. The main difference between Porcelain and Ceramic is that Porcelain is completely vitrified and is impermeable even before glazing whereas Ceramics do not undergo a full vitrification process most of the time and remains porous if not glazed.

What is Ceramic

The word ‘ceramic’ is derived from a Greek word called ‘keramikos’ which stands for ‘tile’ or ‘pottery’. The earliest forms of ceramics made by humans were pottery objects using Clay mixed with Silica and then hardened in the fire. Later they were glazed in order to form smooth surfaces, to reduce its porosity by the use of glassy and amorphous ceramic coatings. Colours can be added for finishing touches. Today, ceramic is used for the production of domestic and as well as industrial products, and there is even a new branch where the ceramic material is being used in the production of semi-conductors.

As mentioned above, ceramic is a class of compounds which includes different types of building and crafting material under its umbrella. It is non-metallic and inorganic in nature and is mostly made of ionic and covalent bonds formed within its structure of the micro-composition. Ceramic is often made from the amorphous material. It means that these materials lack definite structure and are flexible in the position of the formation to a greater extent. Ceramic, however, has a higher water absorption rate than porcelain. The absorption of water is measured as follows: Tiles of ceramics and porcelain can be compared in this case. Fired tiles are weighed initially, then boiled for about 5 hours and then made to sit in water for about 24 hours, before taking the final weight. Ceramics also contain more impurities when compared to Porcelain and a less amount of Kaolin. It is also less dense.

Main Difference - Porcelain vs Ceramic

What is Porcelain

As mentioned above, porcelain is a type of ceramic and is made by fusing clay material such as kaolin, quartz, and feldspar to a temperature of about 1200°C- 1400°C. This process of making porcelain is called ‘vitrification’. Porcelain is often informally referred to as ‘china’ as China was the birthplace of porcelain. How the word ‘porcelain’ has its roots from the Italian word ‘porcellana’. The properties of porcelain make it more desirable. Its properties include; translucency, hardness, toughness, low permeability, chemical and thermal resistance, etc.

Porcelain is quite durable as its water absorption rate is low and it is quite strong. It has fewer impurities. However, porcelain can be difficult to cut especially when dealing with porcelain tiles, as the material itself is quite dense.

Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic

Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic


Ceramic is a class of material which is semi-crystalline, amorphous and inorganic in nature.

Porcelain is a type of ceramic made by the fusion of clays.

Vitrification Process

Ceramics do not undergo a full vitrification process most of the time and remains porous if not glazed.

Porcelain is completely vitrified and is impermeable even before glazing.

Kaolin Content

Ceramic has a lower level of kaolin in it.

Porcelain has a higher percentage of kaolin.

Ability to Absorb Water

Ceramic has a higher water absorption rate.

Porcelain has a lower water absorption rate.


Ceramic is less durable when compared to porcelain.

Porcelain has higher durability.


Ceramic is less expensive.

Porcelain is more expensive.


Ceramics is less dense when compared to porcelain and, therefore, ceramic tiles are easier to cut.

Porcelain is heavier than ceramics, and their tiles are more difficult to be cut.Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic - infographic

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