Ooni Pizza Oven Review: Best Backyard Pizzas (2023)
Ooni offers more options than nearly all other competitors combined. Ooni makes pizza ovens for any preferred fuel source, including the new Ooni Karu 16 that works with charcoal, wood, or propane. Choosing a multi-fuel model provides flexibility to cook up authentic, wood-flavored homemade pizzas and the temperature control and convenience gas grilling provides.
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See our high-level takeaways below, or skip to our full review!Our Take:
- Quality and innovation
- Turning pizza is learned skill
- Multiple fuel sources
- Multiple sizes
- Reaches 950°F in 20 minutes
- Cooks pizza in just 60 seconds
- 1% For The Planet member
Jump to: Full Review
Make great pizza at home. It's a simple statement, but one that Ooni pizza ovens might make more profound than it initially sounds. Cheap take-out pizza just isn't as satisfying once you graduate from a dorm room, and the local spots serving authentic New York-style pizza get more expensive by the day.
After reading this Ooni pizza oven review, we are confident you will agree that nothing compares to stone-baked fresh pizza, especially in the convenience of your own home. Cooking pizza should be as fun as it is gratifying.
With an Ooni pizza oven, you will soon be making authentic Italian pizza. But not all outdoor pizza ovens are the same, so we will review the pros and cons of an Ooni pizza oven and discuss what you need to consider to cook pizzas well.
Ooni Pizza Oven Review
The Ooni brand offers a 60 Days Great Pizza Guarantee. The company believes it has dialed in the perfect combination for making great pizzas at home. Considering that the ovens heat up to 950 degrees with stone baking boards and a live flame, the result is a perfectly crisp crust, piping hot toppings, and excellent pizza.
It might take you a few attempts to get it right, but if you aren’t making pizza that you love within 60 days, the company will buy back the pizza oven.
Is Ooni Better Than Other Pizza Ovens?
While the Roccbox is a formidable alternative frequently utilized in restaurants, the Roccbox only comes in one size, and it doesn't get as hot as the Ooni pizza ovens. There are other brands introducing a new competition, like Solo Stove on the high-end, and Stoke on the more affordable end.
Still, Ooni has better options, and more options, than nearly all of its competitors, combined. What's the secret to great pizza?Cook 'em hot and fast.
It's this combination that creates delicious Neapolitan-style pizzas that are famous around the world. The trouble is, it's not easy to do this at home, and most people can't afford a built-in, wood-fired pizza oven. Ooni solves this problem.
All of Ooni's pizza ovens reach an incredible 950°, reducing cook type to a mere 60 seconds. Ingredients are essential, but so is methodology.
So start with one of Ooni's pizza dough recipes, add on quality ingredients, and fire up delicious pizzas on a piping hot stone baking board. But which Ooni pizza oven should you choose? Here is some additional information to help you decide. You'll be eating perfectly charred artisan pies in no time.
Ooni Karu - Multi-fuel Powered Pizza Oven
If there is one thing I appreciate in life, it is versatility, which is exactly what the Ooni Karu offers. Initially, the Ooni Karu was available only as a 12-inch model, and if you were in the market for a portable pizza oven, this was one of the best options. The Karu 12-inch weighs less than 27 lbs. and is designed to work with wood or charcoal.
While we appreciate the authentic flavoring wood and charcoal provide, we also realize cooking with wood and charcoal requires a lot more maintenance to reach and maintain the maximum cooking temperature of 950°.
Fortunately, the Ooni Karu is compatible with an Ooni gas burner attachment, allowing you to cook with wood or charcoal when you want authenticity, and connect with propane tanks when you need speed and ease.
The Ooni Karu 12 features a stainless steel body and a thick baking stone. Combined with higher cooking temperatures than the competitors, the result is a perfectly cooked crust that all pizza lovers appreciate. The Ooni Karu 16 features innovative insulation and a powder-coated finish that makes it more durable at high temperatures and more weather resistant.
Game-Changing Ooni Karu 16
We love the Ooni Karu 12, but the Ooni Karu 16 is an absolute game changer. The Ooni Karu 16 is also a multi-fuel pizza oven allowing for wood, charcoal, or propane, and the Karu 16 boasts several design options no other Ooni has to date. In fact, no other domestic-use pizza ovens have some of these features.
First, the Ooni Karu 16 features a hinged oven door with ViewFlame glass so that you can still see your pizza. The ability to close the door helps regulate even temperatures while you cook and in-between pies. Better yet, the Ooni Karu 16 also features a mounted digital thermometer that enables you to keep a constant eye on the temperature without needing to check it manually.
Add all of this with a 16-inch pizza stone that provides more cooking surface, and it's no wonder that the Ooni Karu 16 is the first and only pizza oven that the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana designates as Recommended for Domestic Use.
The bottom line is that the Ooni Karu 16 provides a level of control that you won't find in any other personal pizza oven, and the larger size makes it much more functional. In our opinion, the new features and versatility make the Ooni Karu 16 the best Ooni pizza oven, which is saying something.
Ooni Pro - Original Ooni Oven
The Ooni Karu 16 reigns as the brand's flagship pizza oven, but before the larger Ooni Karu was around, the multi-fuel Ooni Pro 26 was the flagship pizza oven. It shares several qualities with the Ooni Karu, including the multi-fuel source system, a door that traps heat inside the oven, and a tall cooking area big enough for meats and loaves of bread.
Will the brand continue making the Ooni Pro 16 indefinitely? We're not sure, but for now, they are still shipping units, and if you are looking to save a few dollars off the price of the Karu 16, the Ooni Pro 16 is an excellent option.
The Pro 16 was the brand's flagship for years, for many of the same reasons the Karu is now the flagship. Both ovens offer authentic tasting flavors provided by wood and charcoal, additional control when paired with a propane gas tank, and the flexibility to choose between the two.
Ooni Pro vs. Ooni Karu 16
So, what's the difference between the Ooni Karu 16 and the Ooni Pro 16? Great question. Remember, the Ooni Karu 16 has upgraded features, including a larger window on the hinged door, and built-in temperature gauge, and increased weather resistance. The Ooni Pro was already considered the pinnacle of outdoor cooking, and the Karu upped the game.
Still, the Ooni Pro also heats to 950° and pizza cooks in only 60 seconds 🔥, and the tall chimney is designed to carry any smoke away from the cook.
The Ooni Pro is an original masterpiece, so while the Karu 16 has upgraded features, we wouldn't blame you for saving a few bucks and sticking with the OG. If you spend much time in your outdoor spaces, Ooni makes your experience that much better.
The Ooni Pro and the Ooni Karu 16 act as wood-fired ovens when you have the time and want the authenticity, but these Ooni pizza ovens get the job done with gas burner attachments, too, when you need the convenience.
The Ooni Pro may not have the glass door that allows you to watch your pizza cook, but it gets the job done with both wood and gas. Whether you choose the Ooni Pro or the Ooni Karu, you can expect the best pizza you've ever made, backed up by the Ooni Good Pizza Guarantee.
Ooni Koda - Gas Oven
If you are unsure about managing your oven's temperature with wood or charcoal, or if you prefer convenience over the authenticity of the wood or charcoal flavoring, then the Ooni Koda is the best propane pizza oven on the market.
Moreso, the Ooni Koda 16 will be the best option for most families looking for an appliance they can use weekly or even nightly.
The ability to cook at a consistent temperature makes the Ooni Koda Pizza Oven one of the most straightforward pizza ovens to use. Pizza ovens with a gas supply are generally lower maintenance than managing wood or charcoal while you cook.
The Ooni Koda's unique L-shaped flame eliminates the need to rotate your pizza more than once. It is easy to manage the heat, but it is also easy to control your pizza. Everything about the Ooni Koda Pizza Oven is designed for ease and control.
Gas Oven Makes Cooking Easy
Like several other models in Ooni's growing line-up, the Koda comes as a 12-inch pizza oven or a 16-inch pizza oven. Ooni's competitors sell ovens near the smaller 12-inch size, so if you are only cooking for yourself or just want to save a few dollars, the Ooni Koda 12 is an excellent option.
Still, if you have friends and family over, you will have to make a bunch of pizzas because the Ooni Koda 12 works well for personal size pizzas. If you don't want to pump out a dozen pizzas, the Ooni Koda 16 is the better option.
It doesn't have the built-in thermometer that the new Ooni Karu 16 has (yet), but the Ooni Koda still represents one of the best-built ovens on the market, and it is sold at an affordable price because of the streamlined design.
It doesn't have the extra bells and whistles or multi-fuel capabilities, but it stone-bakes a near-perfect pizza. It just might be the best gas-powered pizza oven ever made. The Ooni Koda provides high heat, and even heat distribution. This will help your pizzas cook quickly, and result in the perfect crust when used correctly.
Ooni Fyra - Wood Pellet Pizza Oven
Start with classic pizza dough, add your favorite pizza toppings, and cook with a smokey wood-flavoring for an authentic piece of Neapolitan pizza heaven. That's possible with the Ooni Fyra. The wood-pellet Ooni Fyra is currently only available in a smaller model that is 12 inches wide, but that also means this is Ooni's most portable unit.
Since the Ooni Fyra operates as a wood-pellet oven only, you don't need a propane tank or gas attachment like you would for Ooni's other models. And while the tall chimney looks like it would be a pain to deal with, it detaches and neatly fits inside the Ooni Fyra Carry Case.
Don't be fooled by the close-up images, though. This is not a very big pizza oven. As discussed at length, the limited oven space might be inconvenient when you're cooking for more than one person, but it's more challenging to turn the pizza in the oven. There's just less room to work with, reducing the model's versatility.
You certainly won't be able to fit a cast-iron pan in the Ooni Fyra if you want to mix things up. Still, while the Ooni Fyra won't make the largest pizza, it stone bakes delicious wood-fired pizzas. The Ooni Fyra shouldn't be discounted entirely as an option. The portability alone might be reason enough for some of you to consider.
Wood Pellets Provide Flavor For Small Ovens
Wood pellets are an interesting choice as a heat source because they can be used in small ovens such as the Fyra. Most small ovens connect to a gas tank because there isn't enough room for wood logs.
This might be disappointing if you care about authentic Italian pizza but only have a small outdoor space. As you might imagine, this is one reason there is such high demand for the Ooni Fyra. It's also why the Ooni Frya is one of our favorite components of this Ooni pizza oven review.
While the Ooni Fyra works great for a small outdoor space, it is also a great option if you want to have a pizza party at the beach, or at the local park. The Fyra will reach high cooking temps, like the other Ooni pizza ovens, and enable you to perfect that golden-brown crust.
Good Pizza Oven Accessories
To make your cooking experience more manageable, you need to invest in a good pizza peel and infrared thermometer. Ooni has you covered. You might also consider one of Ooni's modular tables and a cover bag if you plan to keep your pizza oven in the backyard.
Since Ooni has established itself as the pizza oven company, it shouldn't surprise you how many options they have for accessories. For example, you can choose from a solid aluminum peel, a perforated peel, and a bamboo pizza peel.
Our biggest recommendation is to thoughtfully consider how you plan to use your Ooni because you could blow a fortune on the number of accessories Ooni has in its online store.
What Do You Need Besides A Pizza Peel?
Still, getting the basics like the pizza peel and IR thermometer are excellent investments. And adding on a well-designed pizza cutter and oven cover makes a lot of sense. The brand also offers a series of cookbooks that might help you get the most out of your oven if you can afford it.
For future reference, it’s also worth noting that the brand offers certain replacement parts like a pizza stone, should you ever need it. They claim to be the preeminent pizza oven brand because they are. About the only thing they don't sell is propane gas 😎. But, of course, they do sell the gas burner attachment. Ha!
Do You Have a Pizza Oven Table?
If you don't have a table for your pizza oven to sit on, there is no better table than the modular table sold by Ooni. The adjustable double shelves provide storage space and built-in hooks where you can hang your pizza peel.
If you have an outdoor kitchen, an existing countertop should be just fine. Just ensure the surface is large enough, and that it is heat resistant. Otherwise, you can search far and wide, but you are unlikely to find a better pizza oven table than one built specifically for holding Ooni pizza ovens.
So, in considering accessories, the pizza peel is the obvious place to start, but don't forget the importance of the turner peel, the fireproof gloves, the IR thermometer, and lastly, the pizza oven table which can double as a functional storage space.
Ooni Pizza Oven Alternatives
Ooni's closest competitor is the Gozney Roccbox, though the Bertello pizza oven that debuted on Shark Tank also has its share of fans. The Gozney Roccbox and Bertello Outdoor Pizza Oven each come in one size and make a personal-sized pizza. You may also hear some people mention Breville, but we think narrowing your search to Ooni and Roccbox is a good place to start.
Of the two, the Roccbox is the more portable oven because the legs fold, and it is built with more advanced technology, including an insulated body and thermocouple probe. The insulated body and outer silicone skin make the Roccbox family-friendly, reducing the chance of burn.
This is probably the main reason someone might choose a Roccbox over an Ooni. Nonetheless, the Roccbox only comes in one size (a smaller size), and has fewer fuel options than the Ooni. Still, if you don't want to buy an Ooni for some reason, the Roccbox would be our pick.
The Bertello Outdoor Oven is the most affordable brand, but it only takes glancing at a few product reviews to see it is also the least popular pizza oven. In our minds, this is for a good reason. The cooking space is comparable to the smaller Ooni pizza oven or the Roccbox, but the opening to get pies in and out is frustratingly small. It's also challenging to turn the pies, so they often burn.
The Gozney Roccbox is popular in some restaurant settings because it is safer in small spaces where many people are moving around, but for most people, Ooni is the best option.
Ooni's pizza ovens are made with premium materials, and their line-up of products offers more options than Roccbox, Bertello, and all other competitors combined.
Update! New Pizza Oven Options!
Since this article debuted, several new companies have thrown their pizza ovens into the ring. The most prominent brand is Solo Stove. Solo Stove is known for its high-quality, stainless steel fire pits.
Solo Stove fire pits are popular because they are smokeless. While the Solo Stove Pi isn't smokeless, it is made from the same stainless steel as the brand's fire pits.
The primary factor that distinguishes the Solo Stove Pi from Ooni pizza ovens is that the Solo Stove Pi is built to retain heat, which makes it easier to start cooking and keep cooking. We walked away impressed after completing our Solo Stove Pi pizza oven review. The advanced airflow, demi-dome construction, and ceramic insulation enable enough heat retention that no door is necessary. Instead, the pizza oven features a panoramic opening.
If you are looking for an affordable alternative to an Ooni pizza oven, Stoke is the way to go. It is similar to Bertello, but we prefer the Stoke over the Bertello because of the overall value. The Stoke features high-quality construction, and the primary accessories are included in the purchase price.
Tips, Tricks, & Favorite Recipes
Successfully using your Ooni takes a little getting used to, so here are some tips and tricks to help shorten your learning curve:
As long as you are patient with yourself, the great-tasting pizza will come. Plan on cooking a few extra pies on the front end as you learn the ropes. After all, that's why Ooni offers a 60-dayGreat Pizza Guarantee. It might take you a few tries, but soon your at-home pizza will taste better than pizza from your local pizza joint.
Not sure what to cook? That's ok. The Ooni team has developed plenty of delicious recipes that will work well with your new pizza oven. From pizza to meat and fish to various grilling recipes, there is plenty to try out. On a particular diet? There are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free recipes too.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. This is a pizza oven, after all. If you want positive reviews the next time you invite your friends over, you need to nail down your recipe. Ooni has recipes for quick pizza dough, sourdough pizza dough, and a classic pizza sauce. From there, the sky's the limit. Try everything from a traditional Margherita pizza to a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, all with help from Ooni's recipes.
And before we stray too far from pizza, it's worth noting the taller ovens work for wood-fired bread loaves too. Try garlic bread with rosemary, sourdough baguettes, or garlicky sourdough naan. Yum! To impress your friends, try serving on a bamboo pizza peel & serving board.
Meat & Fish
Once you start using your Ooni multiple times each week, you might want to mix things up a bit. Try Ooni's sizzling steak fajitas. You will need the dual-sided grizzler plate to get the best result here, but it's an excellent way to utilize your oven when you've stuffed down a few too many of the largest pizza you can make. You could also use the cast iron skillet to try Ooni's honey garlic salmon recipe!
The smaller, portable oven might not work as well for some of these recipes. A multi-fuel pizza oven will give you the most versatility and control. Still, if you plan on making pizza at the nearest campsite, we wouldn't rule out a portable oven completely. Regardless, there are plenty of ways to be creative with an Ooni oven, and Ooni offers way more versatility than any of its competitors.
Are Ooni Ovens Worth It?
Our Ooni pizza oven review shows that an Ooni pizza oven is worth the investment. Ooni offers more options than nearly all other competitors combined. Ooni makes pizza ovens for any preferred fuel source, including the new Ooni Karu 16 that works with charcoal, wood, or propane. Choosing a multi-fuel model provides flexibility to cook up authentic, wood-flavored homemade pizzas and the temperature control and convenience gas grilling provides.
Of course, none of these options would matter much if Ooni pizza ovens didn't create the perfect pizza, but they do. Cooking hot and fast is the key to delicious and authentic Neapolitan pizza. Ooni ovens reach a flaming hot 950°, allowing for a short 60-second cook time.
And by the way, 950° is the ideal temperature for perfectly cooked Neapolitan-style pizza, but that doesn't mean pizza is the only thing you can cook on your Ooni. You can sear a steak or use Ooni's cast iron skillet to get more creative.
Naturally, this will be easier on the 16-inch pizza oven models. A 12-inch pie is excellent as a personal pizza or perhaps for two to share, but a 16-inch pie works well for families, and the bigger ovens make it easier to try non-pizza recipes.
If you are still on the fence, read through some more of the Ooni pizza oven reviews below, but the bottom line is that if you are in the market for a personal pizza oven, Ooni stands tall above the competition, and is a worthy investment.
Don't forget that the Ooni Karu 16 is the first and only pizza oven that the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana designates as Recommended for Domestic Use.SUMMARY PROS
- Multiple fuel sources
- Turning pizza is learned skill
- Multiple sizes
- Reaches 950°F in 20 minutes
- Cooks pizza in just 60 seconds
- 1% For The Planet member
My Ooni Pizza Oven Experience
What about me? Well, as you might imagine, my experience aligns very closely with the experiences of others. My Ooni Pro arrived in the mail about a week after placing the order in a safely packaged box. The contents of the box were well organized and tightly boxed.
The body of the Ooni is good to go upon arrival, so you just have to slide the baking stones in, attach the chimney, and either add the propane burner or the ashtray for charcoal and wood. It was a simple process that took less than 15 minutes.
In my experience, there were two areas where there was a learning curve. The first was building a fire in a way that maintains consistent heat. When I used the door, the oven would quickly heat up but also quickly dissipate as I opened the door. What I learned is that the hot pizza stone will quickly cook your pizza, even when the air temp in the oven drops some. Each of the Ooni ovens is built with heat retention in mind, so practice is the key here to figuring out what works and what doesn't.
The second thing I learned is that when you cook at the recommended cooking temperatures, your pizza will go from raw to burnt in the blink of an eye. The two takeaways for me were that it is ok to cook at a lower temperature (still hot, but under 950 degrees) while you are learning, and you have to be vigilant. Don't abandon your pie!
With the learning curve understood, my Ooni Pro makes incredible homemade pizza! I use a mix of charcoal and wood while cooking. The charcoal is a little easier to get going and regulate, while the wood adds incredible flavoring.
This is the big difference for me. In the past, when we tried making homemade pizza in our indoor oven, the crust had a flavorless flour taste. Cooking on the hot baking stone and using hand-picked wood chunks for cooking changes the experience completely. The crust is transformed from a boring essential into the tasty star of the show. I use hickory wood chunks, and that beautiful smoky flavor is infused right into the crust.
Pizza is a weekly ritual in our house, and now we cook pizza at home rather than making best friends with the local takeout joints. Our pizza tastes better than most delivery brands and is on par with the more artisan shopped in our area. Of course, beyond the excellent taste, another big difference is that it is just plain fun to fire up your pies. It is an entire family experience that is enjoyable for the adult kids as it is for the actual kids.
So, do I recommend an Ooni pizza oven? Absolutely. Ooni sells the best outdoor pizza oven, offering more options and better versatility than any competitors. Ooni ovens are well built and cook restaurant-quality pizza. If you are considering a pizza oven for your backyard, jump off the fence and buy an Ooni. 🔥🔥🔥
Which Pizza Oven Is The Best?
Our research and Ooni pizza oven review show that the Ooni Karu 16 is the best outdoor pizza oven. Its newest features include a hinged oven door with ViewFlame technology that allows you to thoroughly watch your pie as it cooks. The mounted digital thermometer displays the internal oven temperature. There is a reason it is the only residential pizza oven recommended by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.
If you want to consider Ooni alternatives, the competition historically came down to considering Roccbox vs. Ooni, and Ooni has significantly more options than Roccbox.
More recently, brands like Solo Stove and Stoke have invested in new pizza ovens worth considering. Still, neither Stolo Stove nor Stoke has as many options for making pizzas as Ooni.
And an Ooni pizza oven is no regular oven. The brand has options for small pizzas or larger pizzas. If you choose a larger oven, an Ooni offers the versatility to roast meats, bake bread, or experiment with dessert pizzas. Learning to make other foods will enable you to get even more value out of your investment.
The Ooni Karu 16 includes a cooking surface large enough for a 16-inch pizza (as you might imagine based on the name, but the taller cabin design offers enhanced versatility to cook meats and loaves of bread as well. You can search far and wide, but you won't find a more advanced or versatile residential pizza oven. The Ooni Karu 16 is simply the best.
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