Is a pizza oven out of reach for you? Absolutely not. Thanks to rapid cooking, versatility, and ease, outdoor pizza ovens are a growing trend with a twist on the classic barbecue experience. Who doesn’t want their own private pizzeria? Little known fact, they can do much more: searing steaks, roasting chicken, even baking cookies. Our experts are borderline pizza addicts of discerning taste; here’s how their favorite ovens stacked up based upon quality, performance, and features.
Quality – The best pizza ovens include excellent insulation, hands down. The biggest factor for any pizza oven is the insulation material, which controls its ability to absorb and reradiate heat. Exterior materials play huge roles in freestanding or countertop designs — we like stainless steel, thanks to its superior weather resistance.
Performance – Expectations range from blazing hot temperatures to gentler heat. Full cooking versatility depends on how low they can go; meanwhile, the hotter the heat, the crunchier the crust. Great refractory floor can puff up a crust quite nicely — however, our dealbreaker is easy fire access (or effortless fire maintenance).
Features – Quality pizza ovens require highly accurate thermometers, as we find temperature management is key to pie perfection. Other unique or innovative bonuses include sliding doors, providing easy management of food into and out of the heat, and included quality-of-life accessories.
Our Top Picks:
Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Outdoor Pizza Oven: Ooni is one of the most popular names in pizza ovens, and the Karu 12 offers an excellent lineup of features for the price. The stainless steel oven comes ready-to-use with wood or charcoal and cooks pizza to perfection in about a minute, reaching an impressive maximum temperature of 950 degrees Fahrenheit. The outdoor pizza oven can also be converted to gas, with a burner attachment that’s sold separately, plus it’s ultra-portable at about 27 pounds, with legs that fold under.
Mont Alpi Propane Pizza Oven: For a bit more, this propane pizza oven is a step up from the BakerStone, with an attractive design and a gleaming stainless steel body. The included natural gas converter kit makes it an excellent value, plus it’s a lightweight 27 pounds for ultimate portability. The fire pit oven features a temperature gauge and wide door handle, and it can reach temperatures of up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. The only downside is its small capacity, as it only fits pizza stones up to 12 inches in diameter.
Ooni Koda Outdoor Pizza Oven: The Ooni Koda 12 is extremely easy to use, making it a top choice for anyone who’s new to baking pizza. This sleek oven can accommodate pies up to 13 inches, and it’s controlled by one simple dial on the back of the unit.The outdoor pizza oven is powered by propane, has an easy-to-use gas ignition, and it’s typically ready to start cooking after 15 minutes of preheating. Thanks to a max temperature of 950 degrees, the Ooni Koda 12 can cook a Neapolitan-style pizza in just 60 seconds, and it can also be used to cook meat or other roasted dishes.