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Manganese oxides are a family of inorganic compounds with the formula MnO. They are the most common source of manganese for both industrial and household purposes. They are dark gray to black in color and occur naturally in pyrolusite, the principal ore of manganese. They are also made synthetically by reacting manganous nitrate with potassium hydroxide or from the decomposition of manganese carbonate in oxygen. They are soluble in dilute acid and are inert to most non-metals. When exposed to hot water or hydrochloric acid chlorine is evolved. They are insoluble in ether but are soluble in alcohol and water.

Like other metal oxides, they are used as glaze stains to produce black or bluish-black hues. Their reactivity with silica produces browns as well. Manganese oxide gasses a great deal during firing and is best used when it will not be exposed to high temperatures (above 1080C) since it can blister the surface of a glaze.

Manganese exists in nature in a wide variety of oxidation states, although it is most stable in the +2 oxidation state in natural compounds such as its salts and the permanganates. It is highly electropositive and dissolves readily in dilute non-oxidizing acids, but is unreactive with most nonmetals at room temperature. It is capable of forming strong bonds with boron, carbon, sulfur, and silicon. When finely divided, it can combine explosively with a number of materials. It is relatively inert towards air at room temperature and is very reactive with oxygen at elevated temperatures.