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8 Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens for 2024

I personally tested and wrote about every major outdoor pizza oven on the market. This isn’t one of those BS “review” websites that re-hash manufacturer specs. Seriously, just search for best pizza oven and you can see the Food Network and the Wire never even touched one of these ovens. I actually used these products and continue to do so on a weekly basis. These are my recommendations. Got questions about pizza ovens? Email me, I like to talk about them.

Gozney Dome best oven
Best Overall
Gozney Dome S1
Solo Pi pizza oven
Best Budget Oven
Solo Pi Prime
The best pizza oven
Most Versatile
Ooni Karu 16
roccbox
Best for Neapolitan
Gozney Roccbox

Until recently, if you wanted to make classic Neapolitan-style pizza at home, you needed to build your own brick oven or pay loads of money to have one delivered and installed.

But a new day is upon us. A warm, sunny day filled with cold beer as you cook outdoors and impress friends with authentic neapolitan pizza – WITHOUT emptying your bank account. This new breed of affordable outdoor pizza ovens allow any skill levels to make Ken Forkish-level pies that can go pound for pound with anything you can get in a restaurant. Additionally, many of the ovens in this article emphasize portability, so you can make the same great pizza whether you’re in your back yard or out camping.

So harness your inner pizza chef and join me on my journey as I break out the peel and hand-test every pizza oven.

Outdoor pizza oven preheat temperature times
Here are the preheat times of the best pizza ovens

The Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens

This content has been two years in the making. I wanted to individually review every major commercially available pizza oven before ever claiming one pizza oven as the best.

To date, I’ve personally tested over 20 portable pizza ovens. The following ovens are among my top rated, with the Ooni Karu 16 and Gozney Dome both obtaining a 5/5 rating.

I honestly think I can get equally perfect pizzas out of both of these ovens, but the Karu is a lot cheaper. So if your goal is the best pizza for the best price, I’d go with the Karu. But the Dome is more of a statement piece for patios (one of the sexiest ovens ever made) while also offering a much bigger cooking area.

Gozney Dome S1

  • Weight – 107lbs
  • Max pizza size – 17 inches
  • Max heat – 950° F
  • MSRP – $1500.00 (see current price)
  • Preheat time – 30 minutes
  • Pizza cook time – 55 seconds
  • Warranty – 5 years (if you register the product) otherwise it’s one year.
REAL images from review.
/5
Final rating. Get it here.

Absolute perfection. This pizza oven is a BEAST. If I’m not currently cooking a pizza, you’ll often find me outside just staring at the Dome. Everything on this oven is made from high-end materials and done in an exquisitely-designed way. While it’s not entirely “portable” – weighing in over 100lbs – it has the same performance as 1,000lb custom-built ovens. The thick insulation in the Dome retains heat exceptionally well and the gas insert blows flames up and over the pizza for a really impressive cooking experience.

The multi-fuel option lets you switch between gas and wood-fired instantly, and an awesome built-in digital thermometer lets you know when the oven is pre-heated. I also absolutely love the accessory port they created which allows you to expand cooking methods, including cold smoking! Gozney also hinted that they have a lot more planned for this feature. 

If you’re looking for the best pizza oven, this is it. However, the cost is obviously a hurdle. So this is for those who know they are pizza-making fanatics and live to cook outdoors. If you’re knew to pizza making and want more of an entry-level pizza oven, keep reading below. 

Ooni Karu 16 (with gas burner)

  • Weight – 62.6lbs
  • Max pizza size – 16 inches
  • Max heat – 950° F
  • MSRP – $918.00 (see current price)
  • Preheat time – 15 minutes
  • Pizza cook time – 60 seconds
  • Warranty – Free returns within 60 days (conditions apply), up to 3-year warranty (if you register the product) otherwise it’s one year.
REAL images from review.
0 /5
Final rating. Get it here.

Ooni completely reinvented the Karu oven. The Karu 12 had too small of a cooking area and the door was essentially useless during cooking because you couldn’t see if it was burning, making the door only useful during preheat. The new Karu 16 has a huge cooking area for larger pizzas and easier baking, along with an AWESOME glass door. You can hold in the heat between pizza turns which really helps maintain the stone temperature for back-to-back pizzas. 

Ooni also reworked the design for more fuel-efficient air flow and improved the insulation for heat retention. These improvements results in a 15 minute preheat time, the shortest of any oven we reviewed (however, I still recommend a longer preheat to ensure the stone reaches 900F before launching a pizza). Thankfully, Ooni also included a built-in digital thermometer, something we’re starting to see a lot more of with modern outdoor pizza ovens. 

Finally, it wouldn’t be a Karu without choice in fuel. Out of the box, the Ooni Karu 16 comes equipped for wood or charcoal use. You’ll need to buy the Karu Gas Adapter if you want full flexibility. I don’t know anyone who purchased the Karu without also buying this – gas is just too convenient for a quick week-night pizza, and it’s super easy to swap between fuel types.

The Ooni Karu 16 is the best pizza oven for all skill types.

Solo Pi Prime Pizza Oven

  • Weight – 30lbs
  • Max pizza size – 12 inches
  • Max heat – 950° F
  • MSRP – $299 (coupon code PALAPIZZA10)
  • Preheat time – 20 minutes
  • Pizza cook time – 90 seconds
  • Warranty – Lifetime on manufacturer defects.
REAL images from review.
0 /5
Final rating. Get it here.

If you want to break with convention and go for something a bit unusual, consider the Solo Pi Prime pizza oven. Created by Solo Stove, the leading manufacturer of smokeless fire pits, this squat, compact little pizza oven has a futuristic look and an innovative design. It throws away many of the pizza oven conventions and goes its own way with a round body with a wide opening. These things should detract from a traditional pizza oven’s efficiency, but thanks to creative engineering, a signature airflow system, and optimized heat retention, this quirky oven can bake pizzas with the best of them. 

But the best part? This oven costs under $300, yet it performs like a $600+ oven. During my tests, I was honestly shocked at how well it performed for every pizza style. 

It reaches optimal temperature in around 25 minutes and cooks a Neapolitan-style pizza in under 2 minutes. It retains heat well from one pizza to the next, so cooking one after another is no problem. 

I think this is a game changing pizza oven that will result in competitors looking to create an equally well-performing oven at the sub-$300 price point.

Gozney Roccbox

  • Weight – 44lbs
  • Max pizza size – 12 inches
  • Max heat – 950° F
  • MSRP – $499.00 (see current price)
  • Preheat time – 20 minutes
  • Pizza cook time – 60 seconds
  • Warranty – 5 years (if you register the product) otherwise it’s one year.
REAL images from review.
0 /5
Final rating. Get it here.

The Gozney Roccbox pizza oven is way sexier than the Bertello, looking more like a rocket ship than an oven – especially when that torch-style burner is on full blast. It’s manufactured by Gozney, which began in 2010 as The Stone Bake Oven Company. Founder Tom Gozney got his start hand-building brick pizza ovens for restaurants. Within two years they launched a pre-cast stone oven which became Gozney Professional Ovens in 2012, making commercial-grade wood and gas stone ovens.

One aspect this oven has over the Ooni is that the outside features a “Safetouch” silicone jacket, which means it is super-insulated. The coating not only locks in the heat but prevents the outside of the oven from getting hot, so it’s safer, especially for families with young children or pets. On the flip side, the Ooni ovens can get pretty hot to the touch. It appears this is a large reason why the Ooni is so lightweight and portable, while the Roccbox is heavier.

It comes with a gas burner but offers an optional, detachable wood hopper. Burners can be easily removed to change between gas or wood and cleaning. It’s available in a really unique bright green or standard black, features fold-out legs, and a built-in thermometer. As a bonus, the Roccbox comes with a pizza peel and bottle opener. I particularly like where their heads are at for the latter – nothing better than having a beer while cooking pizza, and they know it!

Overall the decision between the Roccbox and the Ooni Koda was tough, and at a similar price-point either is a solid choice. In the end, it came down to preferring the larger cooking surface, the portability, and the look and feel of both the inside and outside of the Koda.

We love the design and portability of this oven. Very fast preheat times from a crazy-hot torch burner. However, with the limited cooking space, be ready to turn your pizza often!

Ooni Karu 12G

  • Weight – 34.2lbs
  • Max pizza size – 12 inches
  • Max heat – 950°+ F 
  • MSRP – $429.00 (see current price)
  • Preheat time – 20 minutes
  • Pizza cook time – 75 – 90 seconds
  • Warranty – Free returns within 60 days (conditions apply), up to 3-year warranty (if you register the product) otherwise it’s one year.
REAL images from review.
0 /5
Final rating.

Ooni completely revamped the OG Karu 12, transforming it from a clunky experience to a completely polished gem. By now you probably know how much I love the big-sister Karu 16. Well this new Karu 12G is a mini-me clone of that oven. And with the smaller size, comes a bigger price cut – nearly half! 

Ooni also claims that the gas burner uses 36% less fuel than the previous model, and gets up to optimal cooking temperature up to 29% faster. In my tests, it reached 900 in 25 minutes on a 68 degree day.

The price point for the Ooni Karu 12G brings tremendous value and makes this one of the best 12” pizza ovens you can buy. It has no problem reaching 900F+, even in windy conditions thanks to the door, so Neapolitans come out amazing. The burner also gets low enough to bake a 5 minute 600F New York style with super crispy bottoms. 

This is the most versatile oven on the market. Able to cook with wood, charcoal, or gas; it’s lightweight and the cover has carry handles, making it super portable; and the door allows cooking a wide variety of foods outside of pizza. This is a great one.

Everdure KILN 2

  • Weight – 63lbs
  • Max pizza size – 16 inches
  • Max heat – 850° F
  • MSRP – $799.00 (see current price)
  • Preheat time – 30 minutes
  • Pizza cook time – 90 seconds
  • Warranty – Free returns within 14 days. 1 year warranty.
REAL images from review.
0 /5
Final rating.

Cru is one of the newer pizza oven manufacturers that’s really making a name for themselves with hand-made 304 stainless steel ovens. With three models to pick from, depending on your budget, you honestly can’t go wrong with any of them – but the Model 32 G2 stood out the most in our testing.

What sets the Cru 32 G2 apart from the cheaper 30 is better thermodynamics thanks to the adjustable and removable half-door, a built-in thermometer, and (what I REALLY like) a removable dome. The whole top dome of the oven comes off the base, making cleaning really easy. This is a gamechanger for wood-fired ovens!

The tall height offers a lot of cooking space for tons of food besides pizza when used with their grill grid – breads, roasts, fish – the list goes on. I love the simplicity and attention to detail on this product. It can take longer to preheat, but it’s still falls on our list of the best wood burning pizza ovens.

Ooni Koda 16

  • Weight – 40.1lbs (18.2kg)
  • Max pizza size – 16 inches
  • Max heat – 950° F
  • MSRP – $499.00 (see current price)
  • Preheat time – 20 minutes
  • Pizza cook time – 60 seconds
  • Warranty – Free returns within 60 days (conditions apply), up to 3-year warranty (if you register the product) otherwise it’s one year.
"2 Year Update" Review
0 /5
Final rating. Get it here.

The best propane pizza oven is the Ooni Koda 16, manufactured by Ooni. The company started its journey with a successful Kickstarter campaign for the world’s first outdoor wood pellet pizza oven and has since gone on to become one of the most beloved pizza oven manufacturers, bringing backyard ovens to just about anyone, anywhere, thanks to the portability.

The Koda 16 is their largest model, so named because you can make up to 16-inch pizzas in it. It is ready to go out of the box, no assembly required and features folding legs for easy transport and storage. What’s truly incredible about this oven, is that even with it being larger and able to accommodate 16″ pizzas, it weighs less and is much easier to transport than the Roccbox.

But portability isn’t the only reason this oven tops our list. The Koda has been designed to maximize heat circulation in a very different way than any other oven on the market. Its pipe-style burners are in a unique L-shape that allows for single-turn, even cooking. Most pizza ovens have a single super hot flame in the back of the oven, which means you have to turn the pizza regularly – sometimes 3 times to get even cooking.

It runs on propane gas, with a built-in gas ignition. And because gas burns clean, there’s no ash or residue to clean. Gas also gives you much greater control over the heat, so you can lower the temperature for things like turkey or big briskets. The Koda 16 is also compatible with natural gas using the Ooni natural gas conversion kit, which is sold separately for $49.99.

Because it’s larger, it does take a bit longer to warm up. Ooni recommends 20 minutes, but if you don’t have an infrared thermometer I recommend bumping that up closer to 25 minutes.

Overall the Ooni Koda 16 is an impressive pizza oven that’s as beautiful as it is useful, and is my clear favorite.

Halo Versa 16

  • Weight – 43.21 lbs
  • Max pizza size – 16 inches
  • Max heat – 800° F
  • Price – $549.99 (coupon available below)
  • Preheat time – 25 minutes
  • Pizza cook time – 3-5 minutes
  • Warranty – 5 years
REAL images from review.
0 /5
Final rating. Get it here.

The Halo Versa 16 blew away my expectations. Without any previous experience in the pizza industry, Halo introduced a completely unique design with a ton of innovative features. More importantly – they all work. Nothing gimmicky here about it.

The auto-rotating stone works with the push of a button, allowing you to fine-tune the bake and removes the need for manually turning your pizza. The dual burner system has a gas flame in the back to provide the top-down heat, while an infrared heater below the stone keeps the base hot between bakes. 

I never used an oven that cooks New York style pizzas this well and this effortlessly. The top heat is the perfect amount for a 4-5 minute bake.

However, the max heat is a bit low for true Neapolitan. In my tests, the Halo Versa 16 struggled to get much past 800F, but more importantly, the top flame just isn’t strong enough to get the quick rise that 00 flour requires. 

But the performance of the NY style was so good, that this oven remains as a top pick – with an asterisk (much like the Gozney Roccbox). If you only want to make New York styles (and/or pan pizzas), then get this Halo Versa. If you only want to make Neapolitans, get the Roccbox. If you want to make both, get the Ooni Karu 16.

Pizza Ovens That Didn’t Make The Cut

The outdoor pizza ovens listed above are what I personally recommend after countless hours researching, hands-on testing, and eating a lot of really good pizza. Now you may be wondering: what about X? (where X is any other pizza oven you heard of). Let’s talk about a few of them.

Carbon

One of the first dual-burner pizza ovens that actually has two dials to control the heat separately. Between the power of the top burner and the addition of the bottom burner, I thought this oven would preheat crazy fast, but it was pretty comparable with the average. 

For Neapolitans, I found myself preferring to use both burners on high. The performance is solid for this style of pizza; the top flame is capable of producing good leoparding on the crust but it didn’t quite match that of Ooni or Gozney ovens. Once I started making New York styles, the separate burner controls came in handy, allowing me to keep the stone temperature a bit lower to prevent burning the bottom on a longer bake. 

The overall build materials remind me a bit of the Bertello ovens – black sheet metal, lots of rivets, and without many refined edges. Considering this is a gas-only oven, only 14″ max pizzas, and some basic metal exterior, I find the price a bit high.

Bertello

The original Bertello is another oven that traces its founding to a Kickstarter launch (formerly named Napoli in 2017), and then later featured on the TV show Shark Tank. At $299, it is one of the most affordable choices on the market that also happens to be one of the most versatile.

It works with wood, charcoal, or wood pellets out of the box, with a gas add-on sold separately for about $100. This flexibility matched with the price is the main selling point. In our test, we found this oven was very lackluster overall in terms of performance for a variety of styles. You can get ok pizzas out of it, but not quite the level of the ovens listed above.

It’s also not quite as sleek as the Koda or Roccbox, both in looks and physical quality, but it still reaches the high temperatures necessary to cook Neopolitan-style pizza. All in all the Bertello is a budget-friendly oven matched with budget-quality parts. 

Bertello Grande 16″

Bertello completely revamped their new larger 16″ pizza oven, the most innovative of these features is the dual burner system. The Bertello grande has two gas burners, one at the back of the oven as usual and a second U-shaped burner that sits under the pizza stone. This second burner is a genius addition that ensures your pizza stone heats up rapidly and – crucially – stays hot for multiple bakes. 

It’s also a dual fuel oven and can be used with the gas burners, a wood burner, or a combination of the two. With both gas burners going and a bit of wood added to the back, this oven – and the pizza stone – reach a temperature of 950°F in 15 minutes and can cook a pizza in less than 2 minutes. 

You read that right. 950F in 15 minutes. And that’s not manufacturer spec, that was one my own temperature readings (which continued to exceed over 1,000F). This pizza oven gets crazy hot. Too hot.

Combining fuels is the best option since you get the rapid preheating and hot pizza stone from the gas, plus the wood-fired smoky flavor from the wood burner. But more importantly, the heat generated from adding wood helps even out the temperature and provide for a better cook; for example, if you use gas only, the stone can get hotter than the ambient temperature above, meaning your base will finish before the toppings do. 

The result is a difficult-to-use pizza oven that has widely varying temperature swings. Sure, I could get some good pizzas out of it, but it feels like a chore to use compared to the better ovens mentioned above.

Ooni Fyra

The Ooni Fyra is a continuation of their original Kickstarter model, which uses wood pellets as the fuel source. It’s less expensive than the Koda or Roccbox, and comparable to the Bertello. It’s limited to wood pellets as a fuel source, but with folding legs and just 22 pounds, it is the most portable outdoor pizza oven

This can be a dream come true for campers or anyone looking for the most portability. But for every day use, it’s cumbersome to use.

Ooni Pro 

[UPDATE – The Ooni Pro is now a discontinued model by Ooni, being replaced by the superior Karu 16]: This used to be Ooni’s most expensive oven product, clocking in at $600 – and that’s before you buy the $100 gas add-on. You would think this was the Cadillac of portable pizza ovens since it makes 16″ pizzas and has hybrid fuel options. However, what we found during testing is that the Ooni Pro appears to have an undersized burner for the size of the oven, at least when comparing it to other models. Check out our full Ooni Pro review.

Ooni Karu 12

Similar to Ooni Pro, the Karu offers multiple types of fuel but is only a 12″ model, resulting in cheaper prices around $350. The original Karu 12 pizza oven is a very solid product, but doesn’t exceed the performance of the above ovens. The door is a cool addition for improving heat retention, but the lack of a viewing window makes baking with it difficult. Moreover, the insulation in this oven is a bit lacking compared to their newer models. Check out our full Ooni Karu 12 review.

Pizzacraft Pizzeria Pronto

When you look at this product, you would not expect the price to be what it is. It’s an outdated product design compared to the top picks above, only reaches temperatures of 700F, and costs over $350. Due to the low temperatures, Neapolitan pizza is out of question for this oven, but it can still make some great NY styles. Check out our full Pizzeria Pronto review.

Benefits: Outdoor Pizza Ovens vs Kitchen Ovens

When it comes to flavor and consistency, there’s no comparing pizzas that are cooked in a traditional oven to ones cooked at the high temperatures of outdoor pizza ovens. Whether powered by gas, charcoal, or wood, the high temperatures in the ovens below mimic the conditions of the brick ovens of Italy.

Conventional ovens usually have a maximum temperature of 500 degrees. The ovens in this article are meant to reach much higher temperatures, more than 900º Fahrenheit. These ovens can reach the proper cooking temperature for pizza in 15 – 20 minutes, and once they’ve properly warmed up they can cook a pizza in just 60 seconds. This high heat and quick cooking impart an unmistakable flavor to the pizza, as anyone who’s had a traditional brick, wood-fired pizza can tell you.

Because of the new portable ovens, you no longer need a huge, expensive, permanent outdoor brick oven. While a brick oven can be aesthetically beautiful and cook great pizza, high costs and large size make them impractical for many.

Outdoor pizza ovens are becoming more popular every day for a variety of reasons mentioned above, in addition to:

  • Fun – These ovens are a great conversation starter, perfect for outdoor parties. You can create your own fantastic pizza that just about everyone will enjoy.
  • Family-friendly – Your whole family can take part in creating your pizza styles and toppings and watching pizza cook in a minute makes for a lot of fun.
  • Affordable – Compared to making your brick oven, these are a fraction of the costs. While some top-of-the-line ovens cost several hundred dollars, some alternatives make Neapolitan-style pizza available to just about any budget.
  • Easy – These ovens are designed with the user in mind and can be set up and cooking pizza in no time.
  • Flexible – These ovens aren’t just good for pizza. Anything that cooks at high heat will taste great on one of these ovens, including seared steaks, roasted chicken, bread, and cookies.
  • Delicious! – Of course for many, the most important reason to use an oven is the unrivaled taste of a pizza cooked at high heat. Once you’ve had a pizza cooked at high temperatures you’ll know why many see them as entirely different food than what’s cooked in a regular oven.

What makes a good outdoor pizza oven?

There are several factors to keep in mind when determining the best pizza oven for your specific skill level, budget, and location/space. Here are the most important criteria we used when putting these rankings together.

Pizza Oven Fuel Sources

Pizza oven fuel types

When it comes to the fuel used to heat your oven, there are a few options. The primary choices for fuel are gas, wood, charcoal, or wood pellets. Some of these ovens allow for more than one fuel type, although it often requires an additional component. The ovens that work with wood will also use charcoal. A combination of wood and charcoal often works best. It allows the charcoal to burn evenly and provides a base on which you can place the wood for a burst of heat and wood flavoring.

Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about fuel sources.

Gas Pizza Ovens

These ovens run on the same propane gas tanks used by most outdoor barbecue grills. Gas is often the easiest to start, stop and control your oven. It provides a convenient fuel source and because you have much greater control over the temperature, it makes it easier to cook food that requires a lower temperature than wood or charcoal.

One thing to keep in mind is that if portability is important to you, don’t forget about having to transport the gas tank, although some of these models allow a smaller tank to be used.

And make sure you have enough fuel. Nothing is worse than running out of gas when you are hosting a party and have hungry guests. Ensuring you don’t run out of gas is key to getting the full use from the oven.

The other potential drawback of gas is that you’ll miss out on the woody, smoky flavor that you’ll get when using wood and charcoal. But while you might lose a bit of the authentic brick-oven taste, for many the convenience makes up for it

Wood and Charcoal Pizza Ovens

Using wood and charcoal is the closest you’ll get to the authentic Neopolitan, wood-fired brick oven taste.

wood fired scaled jpg
Testing the wood burning feature

When using wood as a fuel source, you’ll need small pieces of wood cut up to pieces not much larger than six inches. Dense, slow-burning wood like oak, ash, or beech works best. If you have access to a wooded area, you can likely scavenge for free wood.

You can use the same lump charcoal popular for BBQ grills. It burns evenly and imparts a bit of a smoky flavor. When you want to cook something at a lower temperature, charcoal can burn much more slowly and if you limit the charcoal amount can result in lower temperatures.

Cooking with a combination of wood and charcoal is recommended by several users. In this scenario, you start by lighting the charcoal and allow it to catch and burn until the briquettes have fully caught. At this point, you add the wood. The wood will burn much quicker and at a higher temperature, so you can use it to add a burst of heat.

Wood Pellet Pizza Ovens

Somewhere in between the authenticity of wood as a fuel source and the convenience of gas are wood pellets. Wood pellets are made of highly-compressed sawdust and other waste material that comes from milling lumber. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to store and use. And because they are used from waste material, they are the least impactful on the environment.

Think about the potential benefits and drawbacks of each fuel source as you think about what oven is right for you.

Size Matters

Obviously, the bigger the oven, the more food you can cook in it at once. Because the pizzas cook in just minutes, you’ll likely never feel the need to cook two at once. But if you plan on cooking meats, vegetables, or other side-dishes, you might want to cook them at the same time (and want a bigger oven). A bigger size will also result in a longer warm-up time and require more fuel.

But perhaps the most important factor when thinking about size is the amount of space between the flame and the pizza as it cooks. Pizzas baked in a traditional Neapolitan oven are typically placed about 6″ away from the fire. This buffer area allows the pizza to bake at really hot temperatures without burning in one spot too quickly. Because of this, even if you order a 12″ pizza oven, realistically you are better off cooking 10 – 11″ pizzas (13″ pizzas for the 16″ ovens).

Pizza Oven Burner type

The type of burner played a big role in determining our favorite pizza oven. From the diagram below, you can see two types of common burners found in portable outdoor pizza ovens today: Pipe burners (on the left) and torch burners (on the right). At a glance you might not notice much difference, since both will get your oven mighty hot. But the HUGE benefit with pipe burners is that you have more space outside of the “danger zone”, which is the red hot area that is more likely to burn quickly. 

Moreover, it flawlessly bakes an entire half of the pizza thanks to the L shape, so you only have to turn your pizza once or twice as it cooks. With the torch style burners, you have to keep an eye out for that danger zone that is likely to burn crust and toppings, and turn more frequently to get an even bake around the pie.

Difference in gas burner styles in popular pizza ovens

 

The diagram on the left represents how an Ooni Koda distributes heat from the pipe burners.

Insulation and Air Circulation

The best ovens have been designed to maximize, distribute and maintain internal temperature evenly throughout the oven. Because you don’t want to put the pizza directly into the fire, these ovens are designed to pull the heat from the fire and circulate it throughout the cooking chamber. The high heat cooks the dough and ingredients and makes sure everything cooks evenly.

Most of these ovens have been designed to maximize airflow from the fire, through the oven, and out the exhaust. Some of the manufacturers even claim patented design and technology that maximizes airflow.

Insulation is key. Regardless of what fuels the oven, the oven must be properly insulated so that the heat is captured and evenly distributed throughout the oven. It will determine the max temperature, and affect how quickly your oven warms up and cooks.

Keep In mind that these ovens are dealing with extremely high temperatures, which is even more important if you have young children. If that is the case, you might want to prioritize an oven that limits how hot the exterior of the oven gets to minimize the chance of any accidents.

Cooking surface

The cooking surface also has a big impact on the final product. The right cooking surface ensures that the base of the pizza cooks, not just the top. This is one reason why it’s important to make sure your oven’s internal temperature is reached before adding your pizza.

You want the cooking surface to be able to reach and retain the high temperatures a Neapolitan-style pizza requires. Most, but not all, of the ovens covered here, have a cordierite stone cooking surface. Cordierite is an iron-rich mineral that can reach and retain high temperatures.

ooni karu12G temp test edited scaled

Ease of Use

You don’t want firing up the oven to be a chore. If you struggle to get the oven lit, keep the proper temperature, or with maintenance overall, it will decrease how much you enjoy the pizza-cooking experience. If this is the case, I strongly encourage you to go with a gas pizza oven. They are incredibly easy to light up and essentially maintenance free.

Affordability

Price is always an important factor when making purchasing decisions. While these ovens are certainly less expensive than building a whole brick oven, they are still several hundred dollars. You’ll need to balance affordability with the features that are important to you. 

And if you want the flexibility of multiple types of fuels, some of these ovens require additional components you’ll need to buy. And it’s not just the up-front cost of the oven. Keep in mind the cost of fueling the oven over time. You can’t expect a budget product from Amazon that cost $200 to end up being one of the best pizza ovens (such as the Gozney Dome or Ooni Karu 16). Ooni and Gozney are not known for being cheap, but they perfectly bridge that gap between affordability and performance, giving you real pizza oven heat while remaining under a thousand bucks. 

Maintenance

Nobody likes cleaning up, and the easier the oven makes it the better. Because of the high heat these ovens reach, most if not all the food product should be burned off while the oven is in use, meaning cleanup should be minimal. Nevertheless, maintenance and long term care should be a factor when finding the perfect oven. A thorough cleaning of your pizza oven should be done periodically, especially if you have a wood-burning model with a chimney.

Frequently Asked Questions

Outdoor pizza ovens are absolutely worth it if you are even remotely interested in making restaurant-quality pizza at home. The advancement in design and technology allow both beginners and pros to make incredible pizza at a fraction of the cost pizza ovens used to be. Just because the ovens are smaller does not mean you will end up with a lackluster pizza bake. The AVPN (The True Neapolitan Pizza Association) requires authentic Neapolitan pizza to be cooked within 60-90 seconds. Since most portable outdoor pizza ovens reach over 900F, it’s possible to be certified by the AVPN while using one of these products. In fact, the Ooni Karu 16 recently became the first and only pizza oven to be ‘Recommended for Domestic Use’ by the AVPN.

Since most outdoor pizza ovens reach temperatures of 900+ degrees fahrenheit, it typically takes a pizza around 90 seconds to cook. The first ~30 seconds are typically baked without moving it, as you need to wait for the dough to “set” – or firm up. Once the dough sets, rotate the pizza to get an even bake. The high heat and fast bake time results in a crispy exterior but incredibly airy center.

The best outdoor pizza ovens typically cost between $500-$800. There are cheaper models around the $300 mark but these are typically more limiting in capability, fuel choices, and the quality of materials. Higher end pizza ovens fall around the $2,000 mark. The products I most often recommend (where I compare performance to cost) are the Ooni Koda 16 (~$600), Gozney Roccbox (~$500), and Ooni Karu 16 (~$800).

Setting up and firing up outdoor ovens is very easy to do. Many products these days require no setup apart from setting the pizza stone inside the oven, unfolding the legs, and connecting a propane tank (or adding wood, depending on fuel type). However, making pizzas in outdoor pizza ovens takes some practice and has a pretty large learning curve. Most beginners tend to burn their first few pizzas since they are not used to cooking with such high heat. In addition, problems with dough sticking to the peel or not proofing enough are also common. So again, the product itself is very easy to use, but the pizza-making part of it (especially relating to dough) takes some practice when using these ovens.

Yes, portable pizza ovens can be placed on your deck or porch as long as you place it on a proper table/surface, there is no structure directly overhead, and the weight limit is sufficient (most portable ovens are under 100lbs which should be more than acceptable). A great surface for most pizza ovens to be placed on is a 316 stainless steel table. 316 stainless has better corrosion resistance for being used outdoors.

Most pizza oven manufacturers recommend their products to be placed at least 3 feet away from the house. Personally, if I’m using a wood-fired oven, I’ll pull it away even further. If I’m using a gas oven, I feel comfortable with that 3 foot rule, however I always put my hand between the oven and house after heating it for 5 minutes to ensure nothing feels warm. If the only place you can put your pizza oven is against the house, I recommend looking for a 316 stainless steel table with caster wheels, that way you can wheel out your whole prep table a few feet from the house while you cook, then wheel it back in place after you’re all done (ensuring you let it cool down first).

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