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Ooni Karu 12G Pizza Oven Review: Ooni’s Next Best-Seller

Ooni is always working hard to maintain their spot at the top of the pizza oven game. They’re known for their innovation and for staying one step ahead of the competition, and they recently proved themselves worthy of that reputation by releasing two new ovens simultaneously. We’ve already looked at the game-changing electric oven, the Ooni Volt. Now it’s the turn of the Ooni Karu 12G, a model that Ooni calls “The world’s most advanced portable pizza oven.”

The 12G is a remodel of their original Karu 12, a popular oven that blended great cooking ability with excellent portability – but also felt a bit unrefined and clunky. So why did Ooni think it needed a revamp? What changes have they made? And is it a success? Let’s take a look!

Note: This is a preliminary spec review. We are still waiting to test this product in person. Therefore, the performance section will be added in a few weeks after we’ve had a chance to use it.

Stock Status: Ooni Karu 12G

The Ooni Karu 12G has been selling quickly since the launch. Current shipping estimates are 8-10 WEEKS.


Heads up! Don’t forget to also purchase this required add-on for the Karu 12G. I call it required, because this is the only way to make it multi-fuel and truly get the most out of this oven.

Design and Features

ooni karu12g design 1024x683 jpg

What’s in the box

There’s quite a bit more in this box than most pizza ovens, which means there is a bit of setup. Since this is a multi-fuel oven, you’ll have to install the chimney, draft plate or gas burner (depending on fuel choice), and door.

  • Ooni Karu 12G oven main body 
  • Fuel tray 
  • Fuel grate 
  • Cordierite baking stone 
  • Oven door 
  • Fuel hatch door 
  • Draft defender plate 
  • Chimney 
  • Chimney cap 
  • Torx key 
  • Ooni Karu 12G Manual 
  • First Cook Guide 
  • Warranty card

Key Features

  • Dual fuel capabilities allow you to cook with wood, charcoal, or gas. 
  • Gas burner (sold separately) uses 36% less fuel than previous models. 
  • Cooks 12″ inch pizzas on a 15mm thick Cordierite baking stone.
  • Has a max temperature of 500 °C (950 °F) and can cook pizzas in just 60 seconds
  • Can reach the ideal cooking temperature of 450 °C (850 °F) in 15 minutes, 29% faster than older models
  • Soot and ash-resistant, hinged, borosilicate glass door, so you can keep an eye on your pizza while it’s cooking. 
  • Built-in thermometer calibrated to the center of the pizza oven. 
  • Powder-coated, heat-resistant outer shell and heat-resistant touch points, including door handle, fuel tray handle, and chimney baffle control.
  • Light (15.5kgs) with foldable legs and optional carry case for easy portability. 

Upgrades

The upgrade of the Karu 12 has effectively turned it into a smaller version of the Karu 16 multi-fuel oven. The Karu 16 is my top-rated pizza oven, and this new mini version has some great features that the original Karu 12 lacked. This update goes a long way to closing the gap between the two models. I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Karu 12 because using it seemed clunky – the solid door means you can’t see progress on cooking. Because of this, you had to cook with the door completely removed, allowing excess heat to escape. The door was also removable and not hinged, like the current models. So overall, I’m thrilled with this remodel and think it could turn into one of Ooni’s best sellers.

karu12 vs karu12G 1024x492 jpg

The Karu 12G has been given an Ooni makeover to bring it in line with the rest of the range. Instead of the old stainless steel finish, it now has the same sleek, powder-coated matt black shell as the 16. This doesn’t just look better but is more durable, scratch-proof, and weather resistant. Ooni also put a lot of thought into the usability of the oven and have made it as user-friendly as possible by adding heat-resistant handles everywhere you might need them, including on the oven door, the fuel tray, and the chimney baffle. 

The 12G also ditches the old removable steel door for a hinged door with a transparent panel. This door’s borosilicate glass panel is made with ClearView™ technology which prevents soot from building up and allows you to keep an eye on your pizza as it cooks. This means no more opening the door to check your bake and letting the heat out. 

Another great addition is the built-in thermometer which reviewers (me included) have been asking for for a long time. Unlike the 16″ model, which has a digital thermometer on its front, the 12G has an analog thermometer set into the side of the oven. The thermometer is calibrated to the center of the oven, which in theory should be a lot more accurate.

And last, but by no means least, Ooni improved this oven’s fuel efficiency and heat retention. It now gets hotter faster, retains heat better, uses 36% less fuel than the previous model, and gets up to optimal cooking temperature up to 29% faster. Sounds good to me! 

Heads up!

Don’t forget to also purchase this required add-on for the Karu 12G. I call it required, because this is the only way to make it multi-fuel and truly get the most out of this oven.

Size

Dimensions: 74.5 x 72.8 x 42.7 cm (29.7″ x 28.7″ x 16.4″)

Weight: 15.5 kg (34lbs)

While still light and extremely portable, the 12G does weigh quite a lot more than the original Karu 12 (26.4lb). It’s also a couple of centimeters wider, but they’ve shaved a couple of cm off the height and almost 5 cm off the depth of this new model.

Fuel

The Karu 12 G is a multi-fuel oven which I love because it gives you the flexibility to cook how you want, when you want. With the Karu 12G, you can cook with wood or charcoal for an authentic pizza cooking experience and that traditional smokey flavor. But you can attach the gas burner when you want a quick and easy, mess-free bake. However, it’s important to point out that you are required to purchase this burner in order to operate the oven with gas, as it does not come included.

ooni karu 12g multie fuel

There have also been a couple of upgrades to the fuel situation to help maximize your cooking experience. One is that Ooni has fitted the Karu 12G with an extra large fuel tray, so you can heat the oven up more easily and go longer without having to feed the fire. 

The second change is that they’ve made the gas burner more efficient so that it uses 36% less fuel than previous models.

Max Temperature and preheat time

With its improved insulation and optimized airflow, the Karu 12G can reach the optimal cooking temperature of 450 °C (850 °F) faster than previous models, preheating in – what Ooni claims – as little as 15 minutes. It can also reach a maximum temperature of 500 °C (950 °F).

Plus, thanks to its improved heat retention, Ooni claims that this oven can make multiple pizzas (up to 10) one after another without losing heat or bake quality. 

These preheat and bake times would put the Karu 12G firmly ahead of most, if not all, industry-leading portable ovens. However, I’ve noticed that just about every pizza oven manufacturer inflates the preheat times because they typically measure ambient air temp, whereas we want to know the temperature of the center of the pizza stone.

I’ll be sure to update this review when I get my hands on the oven to know the true temperature. But we like the sound of the improvements, and with the smaller cooking space, it definitely has an opportunity to become a fast-heating pizza oven.

ooni karu12g cooking edited

Price

The Karu 12G is currently for sale on the Ooni website at $429. However, if you want the dual fuel capabilities, you’ll need to buy the gas burner separately for an additional $99.99. 

But the good news is if you already had a Karu 12, the accessories are all compatible with the 12G, so you can use the same gas burner and carry case. 

Considering the quality of the upgrades made to this oven, it’s surprisingly close in price to the original Karu 12, which was listed at $399 (although that price has recently dropped to $299). 

And in comparison to other leading ovens, it’s better value than the Gozney Roccbox, which costs $499 for wood-fired only. And it’s substantially more affordable than the Solo Pi, which checks out at $894.99 for the multi-fuel option.

This price is absolutely solid and one of the main reasons I think this could become their best seller.

Is The Ooni Karu 12G Worth It?

I’m really impressed with this oven’s design and specs and the update to the original Karu 12. What’s evident from this upgrade is that Ooni has not only been working on technological innovations but also listening to their customers’ reviews and requests. Many of the Karu 12G’s upgrades are things that the customers have been asking for for a while – such as its appearance, glass door, better insulation, and the built-in thermometer – and we appreciate a company that listens and responds in this way.

We also like that this 12G update closes the gap between the Karu 16 and the original Karu 12. While we love the 16″ model and would always recommend it to pizza oven shoppers, that size doesn’t work for everyone (especially when factoring in the price). In which case, the 12G seems like an excellent, affordable alternative that cooks to the same high quality on a smaller, more portable scale. 

We’re excited to get our hands on this oven and test it out for ourselves. But if it lives up to its specs, it seems as though Ooni knocked it out of the park again by creating a good-looking, user-friendly, powerful, portable oven.

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