The all new Solo Pi Prime – a new budget-friendly gas-fired pizza oven – could be a complete game changer. This more affordable 12″ pizza oven by the makers of the infamous smokeless fire pits comes two years after the release of their flagship pizza oven (which I reviewed and ranked highly).
Most of the cheaper pizza ovens I reviewed lately (Blackstone Portable, Camp Chef Italia, Expert Grill) have had poor performance, so I’m really excited to find one that performs like a $500+ product. Yet this oven retails for only $349 (before discounts, and Solo Stove frequently discounts all of their products).
In this review, I’ll quickly unbox, test the preheat times while comparing to competitors, and make a variety of pizzas to test the performance. Let’s get right into it.
Solo Pi PRIME Coupon Code
Get the Solo Pi Prime pizza oven for 10% OFF with coupon code PALAPIZZA10. You’ll also get free shipping.
Unboxing & Design
Solo Stove’s packaging has great branding and heavy duty protection, putting it on par with Ooni and Gozney.
The Pi Prime comes ready-to-go right out of the box – just insert the pizza stone and connect a propane tank. The majority of pizza ovens require screwing on handles and legs at a minimum. But the entire oven body of this model is completely intact.
I love how simple this oven is. Minimal gas lines means less chances of having a leak and there are barely any screws or metal rivets to rust out.
The overall design is nearly identical to their flagship pizza oven, but with some black components rather than all stainless steel, which I believe cuts down on both the weight and cost. And since this is a gas-only model, the burner is built within the oven instead of being detachable from the back.
The dome design is rather unique in the industry – with the only other being the Gozney Dome which is a premium (and very expensive) product. From my review of the original Solo Pi oven, I really liked how well the dome retained heat while also offering a very wide opening to maneuver pizza.
Since I really liked their original model, my biggest question is where they cut costs and if that would affect the performance of this new lite model, particularly with the strength of the burner.
The blue flames are tough to see at first, but as the oven gets hotter, taller orange flames will appear that really improves the baking performance.
Here is a preheat chart that compares it to some of my top-ranked ovens. You can see it definitely doesn’t get as hot as some of the higher end ovens, especially considering I tested this one a warmer day than all the others (78F vs 64F). But I soon realized that the flame intensity and stone temperature are balanced perfectly for a great bake.
I started prepping the first Neapolitan using my poolish dough recipe – the same one I use for every pizza oven I test.
By the way, this awesome prep board is one of a few new accessories Solo Stove will start selling by the end of the month. I absolutely love this thing. The removable prep containers hang over the edge of the counter, and there are size guides for stretching your dough.
I launched my first Neapolitan at 831 degrees… and in 85 seconds… the result was seriously impressive. An absolute killer pizza. An airy crust that puffed up nicely and with the perfect amount of leoparding for my taste, not to mention a great cheese melt. But the bottom needed just a tad more heat.
So next time, I let the oven climb up to 870 degrees. I also decided to save the basil until after the bake, since the flames scorched it a bit on the first one. I pulled the pizza after 85 seconds, and once again, amazing results.
This oven is seriously impressive for Neapolitan pizza – and not only because of the price. The preheat time and flame strength were nothing extraordinary, but what makes a pizza oven design really good is creating a perfect balance between stone heat and the heat of the direct flame. The Solo Pi Prime performs just like the more expensive model. The only major difference is you can’t cook with wood.
New York Style Performance
For New York style, I dropped the temperature to 680 and baked my first pie for 3 minutes and 15 seconds before it was time to pull it. A bit too quick for this style, but still a delicious result.
Next time I dropped it a lot further – right around 570 degrees. And the result was great. A better cheese melt without burning, a nicely browned crust, and cupped pepperoni.
Steaks and More
Their soon-to-be-released cast iron kit is awesome too. The bundle includes a reversible searing and grilling plate, a traditional cast iron pan, detachable handles, and a cooling tray. The round pan is a perfect fit inside the oven, contouring to the shape of the stone. But my favorite is using the searing plate for steaks. The oven handles the grease really well and doesn’t ignite the steaks, even with the burner on high.
I have nothing bad to say about this one. As of right now, it’s definitely the best budget pizza oven that I’ve tested. You can do everything in it – and at a pro level. What more can you ask for for 300 bucks?
The Solo Pi Prime releases on August 18th at the link in the description below.