Selecting the best Ooni pizza oven completely depends on several factors, including fuel type, available space, and budget. Ooni revolutionized home pizza making with its range of portable pizza ovens designed to deliver high temperatures and the blistered crusts of traditional wood-fired ovens.
The Engineers at Ooni are an impressive bunch, constantly churning out a new and improved oven. But with so many options, it leaves a lot of people wondering which Ooni is the best.
Well, I’ve used every single Ooni pizza oven for years now. So, luckily, I’m here to answer that question!
Ooni Pizza Oven Overview
In assessing the quality of pizza ovens, I find that Ooni pizza ovens offer an appealing blend of innovation, efficiency, and design. The build quality of each oven and their customer support leads the industry.
Why Choose Ooni? Convenience and versatility are the cornerstones of Ooni pizza ovens. These ovens heat up rapidly, achieving high temperatures (up to 950°F/500°C, meeting AVPN guidelines) for that perfect crust in as little as a minute. The compact design of Ooni ovens also makes them suitable for camping, tailgating, or just on your deck.
Range of Models
Ooni’s product line has evolved to include a variety of models, each designed to cater to different pizza-making needs and preferences.
- Ooni Karu: Offers a multi-fuel experience, allowing the use of wood, charcoal, or gas.
- Ooni Koda: Gas-powered for consistent and controllable heat, making it a practical choice for beginners.
- Ooni Fyra: Wood pellet-powered for an authentic wood-fired pizza flavor, while budget-friendly.
- Ooni Volt: The newest electric-powered indoor/outdoor unit that’s breaking new grounds.
The Best Ooni Pizza Oven Models
When considering the best Ooni pizza oven for your needs, I like to examine each model’s unique features such as fuel type, cooking space, and most importantly, cooking performance. After using each oven for over two years, here are my honest reviews of each one.
#1: Ooni Karu 16
As the larger sibling to the Karu 12, the Ooni Karu 16 ups the ante with more cooking space, suitable for baking 16-inch pizzas. It nails the best overall experience for those seeking a sizeable multi-fuel pizza oven, and is currently ranked as my #1 pizza oven. It seems like I always gravitate towards using the Karu 16. The huge cooking space matched with the glass door means you can cook a whole lot more than just pizza (salmon and steak are my go-to).
The gas burner produces a beautiful flame with a ton of top-down heat to get those sub-90 second bakes. It only takes 2 minutes to transform it into a wood-fired oven as well. There’s just nothing to hate about this pizza oven.
#2: Ooni Karu 12G
Look at the Karu 12G as a mini Karu 16. The performance is identical, but it’s a lot cheaper. The only drawback is that you can only cook 12″ pizzas. It’s super lightweight (12kg) which makes it very portable, yet doesn’t sacrifice performance at all. The Karu 12 allows you to use wood or charcoal, and with the addition of a gas burner (sold separately), you can convert it to utilize gas. However, I ONLY recommend buying a Karu if you plan on also buying the gas burner. This is the only way to get the most out of this oven.
The Karu 12G easily reaches over 900F and can bake beautiful Neapolitans or go low and slow for crispy New Yorks. The glass door and integrated ambient temp thermometer add a lot of usability.
#3: Ooni Volt
I know what you’re thinking, an electric pizza oven ranked #3?! When the Ooni Volt was first announced, I feared it would be a glorified toaster oven. But the team at Ooni packed a ton of insulation into this indoor unit, allowing temperatures approaching 900 degrees. With some practice, you can make real Neapolitans in an INDOOR pizza oven.
And not only that, the performance for New York style is even better than what the Ooni Koda (next on the list) can make, largely due to better controlled heat.
#4: Ooni Koda
The Ooni Koda is a solid pick for beginners who know they will only want to use gas. Performance-wise, it falls behind the Karu a bit due to the burner design. The Karu’s torch burner can cook a Neapolitan better than the Koda’s L burner; however, the Koda is much more beginner friendly and less chance of burning – especially if you go with the 16″ size.
The Koda models also weigh less, but the lack of door can make it difficult to use on windy days.
#5: Ooni Fyra
This model stands out as an efficient wood-fired pizza oven. It’s specifically designed with a pellet hopper for an authentic wood-fired experience. At only 10kg, it’s one of the most lightweight and portable Ooni ovens. The Fyra 12 is ideal for someone who favors the flavor profile that only a wood-fired oven can offer, matched with portability. To me, this is a campers dream. However, for every day use, I find the use of wood pellets to be more difficult to cook with than gas or traditional wood.
Fuel Types and Their Impact on Pizza Making
In my experience with Ooni pizza ovens, the choice of fuel has a significant bearing on the ease of use and flexibility. It really comes down to preference and ability to learn.
Wood and Charcoal: Authentic
Using wood in a pizza oven can impart a traditional smoky flavor, but with cooking times so short, I personally do not notice a flavor difference when cooking Neapolitan. The bigger benefit to me is the experience. It’s something I like to do on a summer weekend with a beer in hand.
My tests reveal that hardwoods like oak or maple burn hotter and longer than softwoods, which is crucial for achieving the perfect crust. Charcoal, on the other hand, offers a more consistent burn and can be easier to manage, although its flavor profile is less pronounced than wood.
Gas-powered Ooni ovens, which can run on either propane or natural gas, provide convenience and control. The advantage here is the ability to quickly adjust temperatures and achieve a uniform heat distribution, making it appealing for those who want to streamline the cooking process.
The multi-fuel Ooni pizza ovens are versatile, allowing the use of wood pellets, charcoal, or gas with the appropriate attachments. Wood pellets are convenient and easy to store, whereas gas offers speed and temperature control. Having a pizza oven capable of burning wood but able to quickly switch to gas is a big bonus for me.
Portability, Weight and Setup
When evaluating the best Ooni pizza oven, I primarily focus on its performance when baking pizza. However, the size, portability, and setup process are important to some folks so I wanted to point these out for each model.
The overall cooking space is important performance criteria. The difference
Size and Capacity
When considering an Ooni pizza oven, I find it important to assess the size and capacity to match my pizza-making needs. This includes the physical dimensions of the oven and the size of pizzas it can accommodate.
12″ ovens are a great size for cooking Neapolitan pizza. You can definitely make New York styles in this size oven as well, but if you’re like me, nothing beats a slice from a 16″ pie. My typical recommendation is to go for the 16″ if you prefer to cook NY styles.
Ease of Transportation
I find that most Ooni pizza ovens are designed with portability in mind. They are generally lightweight and portable, making them a breeze to transport. For instance:
- Ooni Koda: Weighs approximately 9.25kg (20.4lbs), embodying a compact design ideal for mobility.
- Ooni Fyra: Slightly heavier at around 10kg (22lbs), yet still manageable for most users.
Their compact nature ensures they fit in the trunk of a car without hassle, and the foldable legs enhance their portability.
Setup Process and Manual
Regarding setup, the ovens come with a detailed manual that simplifies the process. I meticulously examined the manuals provided and can confirm they are clear and comprehensive. The typical setup process involves:
- Unfolding the legs.
- Inserting the pizza stone.
- Connecting the fuel source, which varies by model:
- Gas tank for the Ooni Koda
- Wood pellets for the Ooni Fyra
Setting up these ovens usually takes mere minutes, with no tools necessary, which I appreciate as it means more time to enjoy cooking.
Cost and Value Comparison
Whether you’re on a tight budget or ready to invest in a top-tier model, you’ll find options that match your financial constraints and cooking desires.
The Ooni Fyra and Koda 12 are both wallet-friendly choices, typically priced below $400. The Karu 12G is just above that mark, but that’s not including the gas burner (adding that in, it brings the total just over $500 which is more mid-range).
Investing in Premium Models
For those who are serious about their pizza and seek the best wood-fired experience, the Ooni Karu 16 is my premium recommendation. While it is a significant investment with a price typically over $800, the versatility and features like its larger cooking surface justify the cost. The Karu 16 meets the stringent standards of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana and offers both wood and gas as fuel options, making it a versatile choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which features differentiate the Ooni Koda and the Ooni Karu models?
The Ooni Koda is a gas-powered oven known for its convenience and ease of use, featuring an instant gas ignition and requiring no assembly. The Ooni Karu, on the other hand, offers versatility as a multi-fuel oven, allowing you to use wood, charcoal, or gas with an additional attachment for a more traditional wood-fired pizza experience.
How does the performance of the Ooni Karu 12 compare with the Ooni Karu 16 for at-home pizza making?
The Ooni Karu 12 is compact and ideal for those with limited outdoor space, yet still delivers the authentic wood-fired pizza taste. The Ooni Karu 16 boasts a larger cooking area and advanced features like a mounted digital thermometer and an improved airflow system, which can enhance the consistency and quality of your pizzas.
Are there any notable improvements in the new Ooni pizza ovens over previous models?
Newer Ooni models feature advancements such as better heat retention, increased cooking surface area, and integrated ambient temperature thermometers. These refinements contribute to quicker heat-up times, more uniform heat distribution, and an improved cooking experience.
When considering an Ooni pizza oven, is the multi-fuel option better than gas-only models?
Choosing between a multi-fuel and a gas-only Ooni pizza oven hinges on your preferences. Multi-fuel ovens offer the authenticity of a wood-fired pizza and the flexibility to experiment with different fuel sources. Gas-only models provide the convenience of quick heat-up times and easy temperature control—ideal for those prioritizing ease of use and quick cooking. I personally love the multi-fuel option. It’s great to cook with wood on a weekend when you have more time to kill, but you can’t beat the convenience of gas for week-night pizzas.