BETA
This is a BETA experience. You may opt-out by clicking here
Edit Story
We independently select all products and services. If you click through links we provide, we may earn a commission. Learn more

We Made 150 Pizzas To Find The Best Pizza Ovens

If you’re a true fan of expertly baked dough, sauce and cheese, going to the neighborhood pizzeria may not be enough. Instead, you might want to make your own truly stellar pies at home. For that, you need something like our winner for the best pizza oven overall, the Ooni Koda 16—one of the best pizza ovens you can buy thanks to its ease of use, compact footprint and simple propane burner. In the course of my testing, I also chose the affordable Solo Stove Pi Pizza Oven as the best value pizza oven, and the Gozney Roccbox as the best portable pizza oven. If money is no object, my favorite premium choice was the breathtaking Gozney Dome. And I didn’t neglect folks who would rather bake indoors. For the best indoor pizza oven, the prize goes to the Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven, an electric model that can reach the same 900 degrees as the outdoor ovens.

The following is a list of all the winners from my testing process:

Of course, not everyone needs a dedicated pizza oven, but true pizza aficionados—folks who relentlessly search for the best pizzeria in town and make a pilgrimage to Joe’s on Carmine Street every time they visit New York City—know that owning a dedicated pizza oven can be a life-changing experience. That’s why I tested 12 of the most popular pizza ovens available today and found the best options to recommend to you. Over the course of my long-term testing, I have baked and eaten over 150 pies to identify the best pizza ovens and the ones you may want to skip. Want to know even more? You can read my in-depth reviews of the winning Ooni Koda 16 and Solo Stove Pi Piza ovens.


Best Pizza Oven Overall

A Versatile Oven With An Innovative L-Shaped Flame

MOST POPULAR

Ooni Koda 16 Gas Pizza Oven

Our score: 8.5/10 | Fuel: Propane or natural gas | Temperature: Up to 950 degrees | Mouth width: 20.5 inches | Weight: 39 pounds | Dimensions: 23.2 x 25 x 14.7 inches | Warranty: 5 years | Features: Folding legs, L-shaped flame trench

Best for:

  • Simple and fast propane-powered fires
  • Light and portable pizza-making
  • Even baking with minimal turning

Skip if:

  • You must have wood-fired pizza

The Ooni Koda 16 sits right in the sweet spot among pizza ovens: It’s easy to use and relatively affordable when compared with other pizza ovens. It comes fully assembled, so you only need to take it out of the box and attach it to a propane tank (or gas line). Plus, the Koda 16 is spacious enough for pretty much any pizza you might need to make at home, with a 20.5-inch mouth that can easily accommodate 16-inch pies. It also swallowed my 14-inch cast-iron skillet with ease, which allowed me to try my hand at making steak and veggies. Don’t need this much baking real estate? A more affordable Koda 12 is also available (which, as the name suggests, is a few inches smaller).

The igniter reliably started the fire every time I tested it, and it reached a Neapolitan-friendly temperature of about 750 degrees in less than 20 minutes—right about average for most pizza ovens. I also loved the fact that the stone is removable, making cleanup a snap after each pizza party. Because it comes out easily, you can store the stone inside your home even if you relegate the Koda to a shelf in the garage.

The Koda has a unique design feature. While most ovens have a single flame port or wall of fire, the Koda has an L-shaped burner that distributes heat across both the back and side. In theory, this means you can spin the pizza fewer times to bake it evenly. Ooni says it allows for “one-turn cooking,” but I still found it necessary to spin the pizza to avoid burning one side.

There are definitely more stylish pizza ovens out there (check out the Gozney Dome or even the Gozney Roccbox). The Koda isn’t unattractive, but it’s finished in a simple black shell of carbon steel that—watch out—gets very hot. It’s also missing a thermometer, but I highly recommend getting an infrared thermometer (Ooni offers one for $40) regardless of whether your pizza oven has a temperature display or not. After all, the thermometer tells you the ambient temperature in the oven, not the temperature on the pizza stone (which can vary by as much as 100 degrees depending on whether you’re measuring near the flame or the mouth), making the infrared gun essential in my book anyway.

Ooni offers some other handy accessories, including a weatherproof cover for $50 (you’ll want that if you plan to leave it outdoors all the time) and a folding table ($250).

Long-term testing notes: I’ve relied on the Koda 16 for pizza parties where I’ve had to make pizzas one after the other, assembly-line-style. It’s earned my trust by always being fast, efficient and reliable. However, over the course of a year, there were two occasions when the propane igniter initially refused to light. I’m not sure exactly what the issue was, but the fix was simple: I disconnected the propane tank for a minute or so, then reconnected it, akin to “turning it off and then back on again.” After that, it fired up like a charm.


The 2024 Forbes Vetted Best Product Awards are here: Explore our 150 top-recommended items across categories after extensive research and testing.


Best Value Pizza Oven

Easy-To-Operate, Yet Delivers Pies Quickly

Solo Stove Pi Pizza Oven

Our score: 8/10 | Fuel: Wood (propane optional) | Temperature: Up to 850 degrees for wood and up to 900 degrees for gas | Mouth width: 13 inches | Weight: 30.5 pounds | Dimensions: 20.5 x 15.1 inches | Warranty: Lifetime | Features: Easy-to-clean hopper and ash bin

Best for:

  • Easily and conveniently starting the wood fire (plus an optional propane adapter)
  • Getting up to temperature in as little as 15 minutes
  • Easy ash cleanup

Skip if:

  • You want a cavernous floor to bake large pies or other dishes

I wasn’t sure what to make of the Solo Stove Pi Pizza Oven at first—a stand-alone pizza oven from a company that specializes in smokeless firepits. I had also tried the similarly (and confusingly) named Pi Fire pizza oven, which is an attachment for the Bonfire, Yukon and Ranger pits (see below for more info). I didn’t expect a lot from the Pi Pizza Oven, but I was very wrong.

Available as a wood-only oven or with an optional propane-fueled gas burner, the Pi is a compact little pizza oven shaped like a squat stainless steel cylinder. It comes fully assembled (just insert the pizza stone and set up the hopper or gas burner), and it sits comfortably on a table or on its own optional, custom wheeled stand with side wing shelves sold for $250. It won’t make huge pizzas—the mouth is just 13 inches wide—but the floor is a generous 19 inches in diameter, giving you a lot of room to make your pie and other dishes in a cast-iron pan.

Starting the fire is a snap. For each bake, I used a pair of starters (which Solo Stove sells, or you can use any third-party starter if you prefer) and a mix of large and small kindling. Every time, the fire erupted and blazed quickly. The hopper itself is accessed from a door in the back, and the fire (along with its associated ash and embers) stays clear of the pizza stone. I found that I had to tend the fire every 10 minutes or so to keep it hearty and healthy, which is a fair bit of babysitting while simultaneously trying to prepare pizzas, but honestly it was also kind of fun to nurture the flames.

At the end of the meal, cleanup is a breeze—just pop out the ash tray and dump it. Of course, if you burn wood, the front of the oven tends to collect a lot of soot—seriously, it builds up quickly, especially above the mouth—but it wipes away easily thanks to the stainless steel surface.

Because the Pi reaches up to 900 degrees, I found it made superb pizzas with delectably crisp and chewy crusts. The pizzas that come out of the Pi are just as good as what you’ll get from much pricier ovens, and there are few compromises here: The oven heats quickly, it accommodates 13-inch pizzas and you can even turn it into a propane-powered oven with an inexpensive upgrade. There’s no built-in temperature gauge, but as I’ve already mentioned, you’ll get better results with an infrared thermometer anyway.

Long-term testing notes: More than any other outdoor pizza oven, the Pi has been my go-to for weeknight (and the occasional lunchtime) pizza. That might seem counterintuitive since propane is easier to work with than wood, but starting a fire in the Pi with a few starters is a snap, and it always reaches temperature quickly. I also really enjoy throwing wood in the back to keep the fire going for a second pie, and cleanup remains a snap. Bottom line: Don’t underestimate the fun factor.


Best Indoor Pizza Oven

Consistently Perfect Pies Without A Pizza Turner

Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven

Our score: 8.5/10 | Fuel: Electric | Temperature: Up to 850 degrees | Mouth width: 13 inches | Weight: 39 pounds | Dimensions: 22.2 x 20.8 x 10.9 inches | Warranty: 2 years | Features: Adjustable top and bottom heating elements, automatic shut-off timer

Best for:

  • Perfect Neapolitan pizzas in your kitchen
  • Worry-free baking with automatic shut-off
  • Easy, consistent results even if you’re a novice

Skip if:

  • You don’t have a generous amount of counter space for this oven
  • You’re on a budget

Not everyone has a spacious backyard to house a pizza oven, which is why you can find any number of indoor electric pizza ovens that sit right on your kitchen counter. Ooni’s Volt 12 is without a doubt the best of the bunch—in fact, if all you care about is the end product (a perfectly baked Neapolitan pizza with a crisp and chewy bottom, melted cheese and delectable bubbles of charred crust on top) then the Volt 12 is the best indoor pizza oven you can buy, hands-down.

The Volt 12 is ready to go right out of the box, no assembly required. To use it, plug it in and spin the temperature dial (up to 850 degrees). There’s a dial that lets you choose the balance between the lower heating element (which fires up the pizza stone) and the upper element that rains down heat on the top of the pizza. If you’re interested in Neapolitan, you never need to mess with the balance, but the user guide gives recommendations for tweaking it if you want to try your hand at other kinds of pizzas.

What most impressed me about the Volt was that I got perfect pizzas from the very first pie. There is essentially no learning curve, and because the heating elements are symmetric around the pie (impossible with an outdoor wood or gas oven), you don’t even need to spin the pizza with a turner. Starting with the first pizza I ever made in the Volt, I got perfect pies in under 2 minutes. That’s due in part to the electric heating element’s precision and consistency—my IR temperature gun reported that the stone was reliably 850 degrees every time, and the entire stone was about the same temperature from edge to edge. The Volt 12 leaves little to chance adding up to consistent results.

The mouth of the oven is 13 inches wide, and the pizza stone is 13 inches square (and it pops out easily for cleaning). The door of the oven is finished in glossy black and overall, looks like a luxury countertop appliance. Unfortunately, it’s pretty big. About 24 inches deep and 20 inches wide, plan to dedicate some serious counter space to this beast. And while you can get a great outdoor pizza oven for just a few hundred dollars, the Volt 12 is quite the investment at almost $1,000.

Long-term testing notes: Living in Michigan where the winters are cold and snowy means that it isn’t always fun to make pizza in the backyard, so I have gotten a lot more use out of the Volt than I expected–I’ve made many dozens of of pizzas in this oven, and it’s no-turning-required even heating delivers the most consistently excellent pies of any oven I’ve ever tested, bar none. Its large size gets in the way, though. Because it gets so much use, there’s no point in storing it away in a closet, so the only practical place to put it is on my stove. That means I’m always playing musical chairs with it when I need a burner for actual cooking–I wish I had a bigger kitchen with extra counter space I could dedicate to the Volt.


Best Portable Pizza Oven

Light Enough To Carry Yet Makes Superb Pies

Roccbox Pizza Oven

Our score: 8/10 | Fuel: Wood or propane | Temperature: Up to 950 degrees | Mouth width: 12.5 inches | Weight: 45 pounds | Dimensions: 15 x 20 x 15 inches | Warranty: 5 years | Features: Integrated temperature gauge, optional gas adapter, optional carrying case

Best for:

  • Taking pizza production on the road (especially with the optional cover)
  • Switching it up between wood and gas with optional burner
  • Making pizza in style

Skip if:

  • You need a mouth that’s wider than 12 inches

Gozney’s Roccbox came within a hair’s breadth of taking the best overall award away from Ooni’s Koda 16, so consider it a runner-up for the best pizza oven title. But the Roccbox is also a great pizza oven to throw in your car and take on the road; it’s small and lightweight enough to be portable, but versatile enough to make pizza in a friend’s backyard, when camping or even tailgating. The legs fold up and the gas burner unscrews from the bottom to increase portability, and a rugged handle lets you cart it around one-handed.

Perhaps second only to the Gozney Dome, this is a snazzy looking pizza oven. It’s available in three colors (gray, olive or black) and almost everything about this oven screams deluxe, including the user guide that’s packed with color illustrations and the snazzy aluminum pizza peel that’s included in the box (it’s the lone outdoor pizza oven I tested that came with its own peel).

There’s an integrated thermometer on the side that can tell you the ambient temperature inside, but as with any oven, you should really get an infrared thermometer so you know the temperature of the baking floor. It comes configured for propane by default, but you can add a wood burner option for $100 more. In my testing, the pizza stone reached Neapolitan baking temperature after about 20 minutes, and produced excellent pies in about two minutes—though I do recommend dialing down the heat so the toppings don’t burn before the crust is finished.

If there’s any downside here, it’s the space you have to work with. The mouth measures just 12 inches across, with a floor that’s a scant 12.4 x 13.4 inches. Even so, you can slide a cast iron pan in there if you want more than just pizza.


Best Upgrade Pizza Oven

Gozney’s Flagship Oven That Looks And Feels Like A Million Bucks

Gozney Premium Outdoor Oven

Our score: 8/10 | Fuel: Wood, propane or natural gas | Temperature: Up to 950 degrees | Mouth width: 16.1 inches | Weight: 128 pounds | Dimensions: 26 x 24.8 x 28.8.7 inches | Warranty: 5 years | Features: Digital thermometer and cooking probes, integrated wood storage, detachable flue and cap

Best for:

  • Elevating your backyard with a stylish, premium look and high-end features 
  • Digital thermometer with dual temperature probes for monitoring non-pizza dishes
  • Spacious floor for big pizzas and large non-pizza dishes like chicken, fish and beef recipes

Skip if:

  • You can’t dedicate space for the rather sizable oven and stand
  • Don’t want to spend close to $2,000 on a pizza oven

For most of us, the Gozney Dome is the closest we’re likely to get to building a dedicated brick pizza oven in our backyard. Frankly, it looks stunning. The squat, dome-shaped oven (hence the name) is available in two colors, Bone and Olive, and is accented in black. It has a small chimney and a spacious mouth, with an attractive storage bay for kindling right in front. There’s a gorgeous digital thermometer built in along with ports for two wired temperature probes (handy for cooking dishes like beef or chicken).

You can set this beast on an ordinary outdoor table, but that would be a travesty. If you’re going to spend $2,000 on the Dome, you owe it to yourself to set it on the $299 dome stand, a large wheeled accessory with multiple central shelves and a pair of wing shelves on the sides. Another good reason to put the Dome on its official stand is that it weighs an insane 128 pounds. Even taking it out of its packaging is a two-person job, and you are not going to want to move it around unless it’s on wheels. Speaking of unboxing it, the packaging is elegant, and the initial setup is easy. There’s very little assembly required, and the oven comes with temporary single-use straps to lift it out of the box and set it on its intended resting spot.

It’s available as one of two dual-fuel options: propane and wood, or natural gas and wood. Switching between gas and wood is as simple as rearranging some plugs on the inside of the stove.

The Dome has a big stone and a lot of internal volume, so it takes longer to heat up than the Ooni or Solo Stove models in this story; in fact, it took nearly 50 minutes to reach 750 degrees. But once at temperature, the results were great. There’s a lot of room inside to maneuver pies and cast-iron skillets, and it made some great Neapolitan pizzas in 2 minutes or so. Just be careful to keep turning those pizzas—I left one too close to the flame for too long, and unsurprisingly, it burned the crust.

Gozney makes some classy-looking accessories for the Dome, including a rugged weatherproof cover ($99), which you will absolutely want if you keep your oven outdoors—I’ve used it to keep the Dome out of Michigan winter snow, and it has protected the oven superbly. There’s also an elegant rope-sealed door ($125) to block the mouth for baking non-pizza cuisine, a steam injector ($35) for bread baking and more. Indeed, this family of accessories is one of the things that makes investing in a Dome so compelling.

Long-term testing notes: The Dome isn’t just a remarkably good pizza oven that I’ve used to bake pies as well as to finish steaks that I had previously soaked in a sous vide bath; it’s also a conversation piece. Anytime people assembled in my backyard, the Dome elicited “oohs” and “ahhs” from everyone there. Unfortunately, using the Dome requires more planning. I found I needed to start heating it about an hour before I needed to slide in the first pizza, which is a lot more lead time than I needed for any other oven. But the results are still great, and the aesthetics are hard to argue with. I’ll be honest, though: In more than a year of testing, I really haven’t taken advantage of accessories like the rope door or steam injector, though depending on your baking preferences, your mileage may vary.


Other Products Tested

I tested 12 pizza ovens in all, but seven didn’t make the final cut. Read more on my findings below.

Ooni Karu 16: I gave the best overall award to the Karu 16’s little brother, the Koda 16, because it’s almost as versatile but a lot less expensive. That said, the Karu comes almost fully assembled and includes a thermometer to monitor the ambient temp inside the oven. Right out of the box it’s a wood-fired oven, but you can add a $120 gas accessory to have it run off propane, making it a handy multi-fuel oven. But the Karu is heavy—almost 63 pounds—and the tall chimney makes it a bit clumsy to handle. Between the chimney baffle and air vent, there was a learning curve to controlling the temperature, and while the glass door is a nice addition, especially for baking other dishes, it’s not important for pizza-making. There’s very, very little wrong with the Karu, but overall, it’s more oven than most people need at home. Anytime I tested the Karu and Koda side by side, I preferred the Koda; it was simply easier to use.

Cuisinart 3-In-1 Pizza Oven Plus: Cuisinart is a respected name in small kitchen appliances, so you might be inclined to try the Cuisinart 3-in-1, which packs a pizza oven, cast-iron griddle plate and cast-iron grill grate into a single gadget. It’s fueled by propane only and weighs a relatively modest 45 pounds—just barely light enough to be considered portable. There was a fairly substantial amount of assembly though, with lots of screw-mounted parts that needed to be attached before the first bake. In practice, it is designed to operate at around 500 degrees, which isn’t really hot enough to make a classic Neapolitan pizza. I could actually get it to about 550 degrees, but even that led to an underwhelming experience when paired with the modest 13-inch diameter stone. If you want to take it on a camping trip or to make pizza at a tailgate party, this 3-in-1 might be versatile enough for you (but keep in mind that you need to let it cool all the way down before switching modes, so you won’t be making pizza and steaks back-to-back). But if you just want it for your backyard, I advise you to skip it—you can get essentially the same experience using a pizza stone in your kitchen oven.

Alfa Moderno Portable: Serious pizza fans may know the Alfa name: This Italian brand manufactures its ovens near Rome, and they all bear the unmistakable aura of old-world Italian craftsmanship. The Moderno Portable is relatively affordable, priced at $1,300. It’s not huge—about the same size, give or take, as the Gozney Roccbox—but Alfa was being hilariously optimistic when it deemed this 77-pound monster to be portable. It comes with a carrying case that requires two people to lift, and even so, the propane hookup—not meant to be disassembled—sticks out and interferes with fully zippering the case, which is a serious inconvenience. Moreover, there’s a lot of initial assembly required, including applying thread seal tape to the gas line components, something I wasn’t super confident about doing on my own. The baking floor is made from heavy-duty silico-alumina refractory bricks, and the walls have perhaps the most substantial insulation of any of the other ovens in this roundup. But the 14-inch mouth is limited by a low arch that restricts the height of pans and skillets you can fit through the opening, and overall the oven is more trouble than it’s worth—especially compared to the many less-expensive alternatives.

Solo Stove Pi Prime: The Solo Stove Pi Fire is more fun than it has any right to be, and I wish I could give it its own award. Unfortunately, the category of “pizza oven that goes atop a firepit” is a very narrow category. Designed by Solo Stove for its Bonfire, Yukon and Ranger backyard firepits, this UFO-shaped gadget sits atop the pit while still giving you enough room to tend the fire underneath. Obviously, this model is wood-fired only, and it is strictly an accessory for your Solo Stove pit, so it won’t bake any pizzas on its own. Just set it on the Solo Stove and light the fire; it takes about 45 minutes to get up to temperature (about twice as long as most other ovens). It tops out around 500 to 600 degrees, so it’ll cook your pizza more slowly (plan on an 8-minute bake) and give your crust a decidedly different texture than what you get from a 2-minute Neapolitan. All that said, repurposing your Solo Stove firepit into a pizza oven is super fun and is probably the perfect option for anyone who already proudly burns their Solo Stove firepit each weekend anyway. Bonus: It comes with a weatherproof storage and carrying case as well as a set of heat-resistant gloves.

Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo Pizza Oven: The Breville Pizzaiolo is a surprisingly capable indoor electric pizza oven. It made very good Neapolitan pizzas, rivaling the larger and pricier Ooni Volt (though the crust was never as good as what you can get with the Volt, because the Breville doesn’t get quite as hot). It comes with its own peel as well as a pan for making deep dish pizza (which also came out delicious, incidentally). But operating the oven leaves a lot to be desired. Rather than dial the temperature directly, Breville tries to simplify the operation by making you choose the kind of pizza you want to make (wood fired, thin & crispy, New York and so on) which ultimately frustrated me and made everything harder. If you prefer, there’s a manual mode that changes the operation of all the buttons, complete with a magnetic label you can slap on the front that clarifies what the dials do. Honestly, it’s all a bit of a mess. Also, beware that the pizza stone is exactly 12 inches in diameter, which means it is easy to accidentally get dough and toppings on the hot metal frame when sliding it onto the stone.

Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker: Breville’s Crispy Crust Pizza Maker is the pizza oven equivalent of those close-and-play record players that kids grew up with in the 70s. Plug it in and wait till it gets up to temperature, then open the hinged top and slide the pizza into position. Finally, lower the lid and let it bake. I love the concept, and the oven is quite compact, not taking up much counter space. But that’s where the good news ends. The circular pizza stone is a scant 11 inches across, making it super easy to accidentally create a mess as you slide the raw dough off the peel and onto the stone. And the oven only gets to about 650 degrees (there aren’t even any temperature markings, just vague “low,” “medium” and “high” zones), which means that it takes 10 minutes or more to make a pizza that comes out with unappealing, too-crispy crust.

Presto Pizzazz Plus: If you’re on a budget, you probably can’t find a less expensive indoor electric pizza oven than the Presto Pizzazz Plus, which is routinely on sale for about $75. The concept here is interesting: the pizza (or other foodstuffs, like wings or pizza rolls) rotates under a heating element. Unfortunately, though, it’s honestly not even a practical contender. Only able to reach about 375 degrees, the Pizzazz Plus doesn’t include a pizza stone—your foods sits on a thin aluminum platter that spins between upper and lower heating elements. My test pizza took 20 minutes to make and was... not delicious. The crust was as hard as the pizza you used to get from your high school cafeteria. I wouldn’t waste homemade dough on this thing; it’s better for baking frozen pizzas. But why bother? The rotating platter is a weird and pointless gimmick, and your ordinary kitchen oven is a better bet for baking pizza (and anything else) since it can get a lot hotter and you can use a pizza stone.


How I Tested The Best Pizza Ovens

When selecting the products for this roundup, I wanted to test the pizza ovens most consumers are buying, so I looked for the most popular and talked-about pizza ovens from well-known brands. If you’ve ever searched for “pizza ovens” on Google, you know that Ooni is far and away one of the biggest sellers of home ovens, but Gozney isn’t far behind. I also chose to include some other well-known brands, like Alfa (a notable high-end import that has the cachet of coming from pizza’s birthplace), Cuisinart and Solo Stove (makers of popular portable and backyard firepits). I finally settled on 12 ovens with a selection of both wood-fired and propane models.

I took note of how easy it was to get up and running the first time. Some ovens, for example, were incredibly heavy or required a substantial amount of assembly. But it was the pizza-making experience that was most important; what was the ignition and fuel story? How long did it take the oven to get up to temperature? Did the oven have cold and hot spots, and was there a way to measure the temp? I also kept a close eye on the size of the pizza floor, the oven’s internal configuration and whether the mouth of the oven was conveniently sized.

To test each oven, I made about a half-dozen pizzas in each, often over the course of several days, and saw what the cleanup process was like. All the pizzas I launched into the ovens were Neapolitan—to get the signature crust, you need to flash-bake it in about 2 minutes in intense 800-degree-or-so heat. That’s the kind of pie most pizza fanatics want to make at home, and it’s also the best way to test a pizza oven’s mettle. In addition to making my own dough for some of the pizzas (a simple Neapolitan dough recipe with 00 flour), I also bought premade dough balls from a local Italian grocery.

Since I can only eat so much pizza by myself, my neighbors got to join in the spoils of testing. I also got to see how each oven handled the cold and snowy Michigan winter, which was in full blast during testing.


How To Pick A Pizza Oven

Even the best pizza oven on the market might not suit your particular needs. To help you choose the right pizza oven for you, here are some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for the backyard pizzeria of your dreams.

Fuel Source

Pizza ovens can rely on a variety of fuel sources, and this is perhaps the single biggest differentiator among models. Most burn either wood or propane, though you can also find pizza ovens that chew on charcoal or a dedicated natural-gas line from your home.

Wood is the most traditional way to make pizza, but it requires a little more effort and attention. You’ll have to start and tend the fire, and wood tends to burn fast and hot, which means you’ll also need to learn how to control the temperature so it doesn’t burn too hot. Most wood-fired ovens house the fire to the side or behind the baking floor, though the occasional oven places the fire underneath. No matter how your fire is positioned, you’ll need fire-resistant gloves and tools to place tinder in the fire throughout the burn. And when it’s over, you’ll need to empty the ash tray—something you won’t have to worry about with gas.

Indeed, gas ovens are much simpler: Attach the propane tank to your grill, press the igniter and dial in the flames. Both kinds of ovens can be portable; can reach 1,000 degrees for fast, classic Neapolitan pies; and create essentially the same finished pizza. And you’re not losing out on flavor—pizzas don’t really inherit any sort of flavor from wood during a 2-minute bake. As Coudreaut says, “The pizza bakes in that oven so fast, and because of the aerodynamics of the oven, smoke goes right up the flue and never actually touches the pizza. So wood is really just fuel.”

Likewise, Coniglio believes that it’s good to have both options, but says, “I usually just go with propane because I think it’s easier to control. But I know a lot of people who cook on the beach with those ovens or they go camping, so they usually do wood chips.”

Maximum Temperature

With rare exception, most outdoor pizza ovens are designed to reach temperatures well north of 700 degrees, and often near 1,000 degrees, though in my experience you’ll probably end up around 750 to 800 degrees in everyday operation (especially in colder weather). And that’s fine, because that’s the sweet spot for making a Neapolitan pizza. Want to make your own version of a New York pizza or a deep-dish Chicago pie? You won’t even need that much. Says Coniglio, “If you’re trying to do New York style, you really only need 550 to 600 degrees. And I’ve also made Detroit-style pizza that doesn’t have to be as hot, because it just cooks longer in the pan.” So the kind of pizza you want to make can inform the max temperature you need.

Versatility

Pizza is great, but there might be times when you want to bake other dishes in your pizza oven—breads, veggies, chicken, fish and beef, for example. Krikorian told me some of his favorite pizza-oven dishes: “I’ve done breadsticks. I’ve done meatballs. As a matter of fact, we do one of our favorite things—bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese and a little bit of tomato sauce—and actually finish it in the pizza oven.”

And many pizza ovens are versatile enough to let you do that, with one important caveat: Make sure the baking floor and the mouth itself are big enough to accommodate whatever cookware you plan to slide in. You might also want to invest in a pizza oven that has a closable door. You won’t need the door for pizza, but it can come in handy for other dishes. Some ovens offer doors as options, like the rope-sealed door you can get for the Gozney Dome.

Setup And Portability

Initial setup happens only once, obviously, so it’s probably not that big of a deal. But if you don’t like to screw stuff together, it’s a consideration—some pizza ovens, like the Alfa Moderno Portable and Cuisinart 3-in-1, require as much assembly as an IKEA sofa. And after it’s assembled, consider where it will live and whether you need to move it around. A very heavy oven is best left permanently in one place, especially if the stone or bricks can’t be removed to make it lighter.

And if that’s the case, you’ll probably want to mount it on a dedicated stand or table—so consider whether the brand offers something designed expressly for it, like the Gozney Dome’s beefy stand. You should also be able to protect it with a custom cover, made expressly for that oven. Some ovens are also portable, but make sure you can easily move it around without getting a hernia or damaging it.

Cleanup

Consider cleanup. Wood-burning ovens have ash bins or trays that need to be emptied after each burn, and the outside of the oven can get covered in soot, which you’ll need to keep clean. As for the baking floor, some ovens let you remove the stone, which makes cleanup much simpler. If the stone (or brick) is a permanent part of the oven, it can be harder to scrape away burned-on pizza (a common occurrence when you’re first starting out) and brush out flour and debris.


My Expertise

Not only have I been a technology journalist since the 1990s, racking up hundreds (if not thousands) of published feature articles and hands-on product reviews at publications like CNET, PCWorld, TechHive and Insider, but I am an unapologetic pizza snob who has been honing my at-home pizza game for almost two decades. I started with a humble pizza stone in my kitchen oven before later stepping up to a dedicated countertop pizza oven. At the same time, I started making my own dough, sauce, mozzarella and ricotta weekly.

By this point, I have a ton of hands-on experience with pizza ovens and making my own Neapolitan pizzas. But for additional guidance, I reached out to a few unabashed experts for their advice as well. I spoke to Chef Dan Coudreaut, the former vice president of culinary innovation at McDonald’s, who currently owns Lantern Pizza Co. in Illinois. I also chatted with Shealyn Brand Coniglio, co-owner of New Jersey’s Coniglio’s (and a contestant on Hulu’s Best in Dough), as well as Serge Krikorian, who started as the co-owner of Sergio's Pizza in 1994, which eventually evolved into Arkansas’s Vibrant Occasions Catering. Vibrant Occasions also operates Our Mobile Kitchen, where Chef Serge continues to launch pizzas. I consulted with each of these expert pizzaiolos to learn the secrets they were willing to share about how to make great pizzas at home, as well as how to select and get the most out of your pizza oven.


Which Is A Better Pizza Oven, Ooni or Roccbox?

Both Ooni and Gozney (maker of the Roccbox) make excellent pizza ovens, as illustrated by the fact that both have won different awards in this very article. The Ooni Koda 16 earned the top award for Best Pizza Oven Overall, for example, while the Gozney Roccbox came close to winning the same award, but instead was named the Best Portable Pizza Oven.

Ooni offers a wider range of pizza ovens than Gozney, with an indoor model, outdoor models, large ovens and small ovens. Gozney doesn’t sell as many different pizza oven models, but all its models, the Roccbox included, have a high end premium feel (with a price tag to match).

Think of it this way: Both Ooni and Roccbox are superb pizza ovens that can reliably make pizzas and other meals as well as any old-school brick pizzeria oven. Ooni is a great choice for most people, while Gozney models like the Roccbox are more elegant showpieces that add a luxurious feel to your backyard pizza-making.

Are Gas Fired Pizza Ovens Any Good?

Absolutely. Gas-fired pizza ovens like the Ooni Koda 16 and Gozney Dome are popular because they have a lot of advantages over wood-burning pizza ovens. They are generally quick heating, deliver consistent and reliable heating throughout the bake, are easy to start and easy to clean. There’s no residue (like ash from burning wood, for example), so there’s not a lot of work involved at the end of a pizza-making session.

Since there’s generally not much of a difference in the taste between pizzas baked over wood or gas, it’s these logistical considerations that are most important when choosing a pizza oven.

Which Is The Best Pizza Oven On The Market Right Now?

Based on my research and testing, it appears that the Ooni Koda 16 is the single best pizza oven for most people today. That’s because the oven does so many things right—it’s lightweight, burns propane for easy baking, has a smart L-shaped burner that distributes heat across both the back and side of the oven and has a generous opening to slide in large pizzas or a cast iron pan.

Even so, all the winners in this article are excellent choices, and some of those other models might be better suited to your needs. If you want the most elegant outdoor pizza oven around, for example, consider my premium pick, the Gozney Dome. Or if you live in a colder climate and want to make all your pizzas indoors, the best model for you is probably the Ooni Volt.

What Accessories Should I Get For My Pizza Oven?

Like any hobby, you’ll find there are a slew of accessories you can invest in for your at-home pizzeria, but these are the most essential:

  • Pizza peel. Peels come in two main varieties–wood and metal–and which you prefer is largely a matter of taste. But a good peel is essential for launching the pie into the oven and getting it back out again.
  • Pizza turner. Some pizzaiolos use the peel for this task, but you might find that a turner can be indispensable to help you spin the pizza so it bakes evenly.
  • Pizza stone brush.A combination brush and scraper helps you clear debris like burned flour off the stone or brick after the oven has cooled, and you’ll need to do this to keep your oven in top shape for the long haul.
  • Pizza cutter. You probably already have a pizza cutting wheel, and that’s fine. But for straighter cuts and a more fun, authentic pizza making experience, get a rocker blade pizza cutter. With one fast motion you can slice through an entire pie from crust to opposing crust.
  • Dough cutter. If you make your own dough, you’ll find a cutter–sometimes called a scraper–lets you quickly and easily divide it for proofing, kneading and turning into a pizza.
  • Fire resistant gloves. If your pizza oven burns wood, you should invest in a heavy-duty pair of fire-resistant gloves to tend the tinder and keep it burning.

Of course, there are a slew of other things to consider. If you leave your pizza oven outdoors year-round, invest in a cover or enclosure to protect it–and especially the pizza stone–from the weather. Depending on your pizza oven, you might also want to get a permanent table or stand for it. And inside the house, as you get more interested in making your own dough and cheese, you’ll find there are a lot of accessories available to make that process easier and more elegant.

Follow me on TwitterCheck out my websiteSend me a secure tip
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news