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See our high-level takeaways below, or skip to our full review!Our Take:
- Signature Airflow
- Only One Size
- Demi-Dome Heat Retention
- Ceramic Insulation
- Gas Burner or Wood-Fired
- Stainless Steel Durability
Jump to: Full Review
Pizza is one of America’s favorite foods, and there’s nothing quite like the taste of a fresh, homemade pizza. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just love to cook, you’ll want to check out the Solo Stove Pi Pizza Oven.
This advanced oven is designed for baking perfect pizzas every time, using either propane or wood as fuel. It features a dual-fuel capacity that makes it convenient and versatile, and its heat distribution system ensures even baking. So is the Solo Stove Pi worth it? Let’s take a closer look!
Solo Stove Pizza Oven Review: Is The Pi Worth It?
The Solo Stove brand is known for itssmokeless fire pits, but it also added a grill in recent years. And now, with the brand’s move into pizza ovens, it’s pretty clear that they intend to own the backyard.
It’s fantastic that a brand that started with camp stoves has seen so much success, but a nice fire pit and cooking the perfect pizza in your own backyard is ideal for spending a Friday night with friends and family.
Solo Stove customers love the stainless steel look and the forward-thinking design of the smokeless fire pits. The Solo Stove portable pizza oven features more of the same.
The Pi oven is larger enough for a 12” inch pizza or a few personal-size pizzas. It’s not a commercial oven, but it serves its purpose quite well. The Pi oven is designed for heat retention, so you can quickly cook one pizza after another.
Pizza night with family and friends has never been so much fun.
Solo Stove Pi Pizza Oven Features
It would be easy for Solo Stove to build their own version of the same pizza oven that other brands are selling. Still, the Solo Stove team went above and beyond to develop an innovative pizza oven that will be the centerpiece for lasting memories in your backyard.
Most pizza ovens either burn wood or propane as a heating source. Gas pizza ovens are popular because they are quicker to heat up and easier to regulate while cooking your pizzas.
Wood pizza ovens are more popular with pizza enthusiasts because the wood flavoring adds some smoky authenticity that you just can’t match with a gas pizza oven. If you know that you will never use gas, Solo Stove offers a wood-only pizza oven that is a little cheaper than the dual-fuel oven.
The irony is that you might think the wood oven is for basic users because it is cheaper, but the reality is that individuals that want to learn how to make authentic tasting Neapolitan-style pizza may prefer the wood-only oven.
Wood-fired flavor is hard to beat, but the dual-fuel pizza oven makes too much sense for most of us. When you want to impress friends with wood-fired pizza made in your backyard, you can opt for cooking with wood.
And while wood-fired pizzas are impressive, they also require a little more time and practice to make. Propane-fueled flames will still cook a delicious pizza just fine, and you will still get the perfectly crispy crust.
If you have a big crowd or you are in a rush on a weeknight, the convenience of gas is nice to have.
We mentioned that the Solo Stove pizza oven design is innovative, and that is where the demi-dome construction comes into play. We’ve independently reviewed product that ranges from Ooni pizza ovens to the Stoke pizza oven, and one of the common hurdles you will find is homemade pizza is challenging to cook evenly in a backyard pizza oven.
If you are launching pizzas to friends on a Friday night, the last thing you want to worry about is the pizza oven needing to reheat repeatedly. The demi-dome construction captures heat and keeps it in the oven without a need for a door so that you keep cooking delicious pizzas without interruption.
Another problem commonly encountered with some pizza ovens is that the openings are too small to manage your pizza correctly. The Solo Stove team solves this problem with the panoramic opening, much wider than some of its competitors.
The wide opening makes it easier to slide pizzas into the oven, turn the pizzas to ensure an even bake, and retrieve the pizza so that you enjoy your handiwork.
Once your crust is fire-kissed, you can add ingredients and slide it back into the oven. This will also help ensure that your toppings don’t burn before the dough cooks.
Quality Stainless Steel Construction
Solo Stove’s fire pits are known for their handsome, stainless steel construction. The Solo Stove Pi Pizza Oven follows as the newest Solo Stove product to boast stainless steel.
But here’s the thing: Stainless steel is about more than just good looks. It is durable, too. The Solo Stove Pi has a lifetime warranty, which is just impressive. This is a purchase you can be confident will create countless memories.
Of course, the high-quality construction isn’t just limited to the stainless steel outer shell. The pizza oven also features ceramic insulation and a cordierite pizza stone.
The ceramic insulation helps the oven retain its cooking temperature, eliminating the need for a door on the stove and making it easier to cook multiple pizzas. The cordierite pizza stone helps absorb moisture from the dough so that the crust comes out perfectly crispy.
Pizza Oven Bundles
While accessory upsells sometimes seem unnecessary, with a backyard pizza oven, certain accessories are essential. You need a pizza peel to get the pizza in and out of the Pi pizza oven, and you need a pizza cutter (for obvious reasons).
It also makes sense to have an infrared thermometer (also called an IR thermometer) to know when your oven has heated enough to cook your pizza. This is especially true when burning wood. When using the gas burner, it is easier to regulate the temperature, but when you are burning wood, you need an IR thermometer to help you out because the temperature will likely fluctuate.
Sometimes bundles seem like rip-off upsell strategies, but here,it makes sense to go with a bundle. The Solo Stove Pi Pizza Oven Starter Bundle includes the cordierite pizza stone, an IR thermometer, a stainless steel peel, and a pizza cutter.
Starter Bundle vs. Essential Bundle
The Solo Stove Pi Pizza Oven Essential Bundle includes everything in the Starter Bundle, a stainless turner and a shelter for your oven. For most people, we recommend selecting the Essential Bundle.
The stainless turner will legitimately make it easier to cook your pizza. The peel is too wide to turn the pizza in the oven, which is essential to help ensure the side closest to the flame doesn’t burn. Additionally, you may want to move the pizza around on the pizza stone once you identify the perfect cooking spot. You can’t do that with the peel.
In the same way, the cover will extend the life of your Pi pizza oven, so the fact that the Essentials Bundle includes the stainless turner and the cover makes this a no-brainer.
In comparing the stainless peel to the bamboo peel, the bamboo peel is a little thicker and slightly more challenging to get in and out of the oven. We like the stainless steel peel, but that is truly a matter of preference.
Does the Pi Pizza Oven Go On Solo Stove Fire Pit?
The Pi pizza oven is a standalone device and is not intended to sit on a Solo Stove fire pit. It’s a reasonable question since Solo Stove is known for smokeless, wood-burning fire pits, but these are separate backyard accessories.
Solo Stove is often compared to Breeo fire pits, but in comparing Breeo vs. Solo Stove, the one clear difference is that Breeo fire pits are designed for cooking and grilling. Solo Stove fire pits are not.
Solo Stove developed a grill to further expand into backyard dominance, so while you might be able to cook hot dogs on skewers over the fire pit, you can throw burgers and steaks on the grill. You can pair the Pi pizza oven with a grill and smokeless fire pit to create unlimited good moments.
Is There a Wood Ash Pan on the Pi Oven?
The pi oven features a signature airflow that creates an enhanced convection bake, but the pizza oven isn’t designed to be smokeless in the same manner that Solo Stove’s fire pits are smokeless. With this in mind, there is a place to put the wood, but the ashes aren’t designed to drop out and reduce smoke like in the fire pits.
There is an ash pan, which can take as long as 3 hours to fill up when wood-firing a pizza. Once the ash pan is full, it will be time to move on to something us, but you turn out a ton of pizza in 3 hours.
Is It Really A Portable Pizza Oven?
The Pi pizza oven is more than 20” in diameter and weighs more than 30 lbs. We would say that the Pi pizza oven is portable-ish. One signal worth considering is that the Pi pizza oven can be paired with a shelter/cover but not a carrying case.
If you are really in the market for a portable device to take to the beach or mountains, you might consider an Ooni device or the Stoke pizza oven. Otherwise, the Solo Stove pizza oven can be moved on rare occasions, but it might be a better idea to find a place to keep your Solo Stove oven and then keep it covered with the shelter.
If you plan to celebrate Pi Day with the Solo Stove Pi, we suggest that you throw a nice little party in your backyard rather than at the local park. That said, the Pi is portable enough that if your backyard isn’t big enough, you can move it and make things work.
Solo Stove Pi Tips & Tricks
Buying your first pizza oven is not as simple as buying a microwave, so there are a few tips and tricks worth mentioning. Whether you get cooking with the gas burner or opt for wood-burning flavoring, there are a few things that you might need to know before getting started.
How Hot Does Solo Stove Pi Get?
The ambient air will get as hot as 900 degrees Fahrenheit when you cook with the gas burner and as hot as 850 degrees Fahrenheit if you cook with a wood fire. You might be surprised at the high temperatures if you aren’t familiar with pizza ovens, but that is part of the magic.
While the propane gets a little hotter than the wood, either is plenty hot for cooking the perfect pizza. When you cook a pizza low and slow in your indoor oven, you might notice that the pizza crust never gets quite as crispy as it might at the restaurant.
There are a few tricks to getting a crispy crust. First, add low moisture toppings. Secondly, cook on a cordierite pizza stone that absorbs moisture. And third, cook at a piping hot temperature.
With that said, the Pi oven might be a little too hot for some first-time users. Using a backyard pizza oven takes a little practice, and when you get the stove too hot, the pizza can quickly burn. That’s one reason keeping an infrared thermometer around is so important.
How Big Can Pizzas Be?
You can make pizzas as large as 12” in a Solo Stove pizza oven, which might just be the perfect size for a personal pizza. Fortunately, the Pi oven is designed with the demi-dome construction to retain heat, which will enable you to churn out pizza after the pizza.
If your neighbors don’t know you as a backyard artisan, they will soon. The real question is how many pizzas you can cook before running out of wood. Each pizza takes only two or three minutes to cook, so you cook and feed quite a few people in a short time
Can You Leave Your Solo Stove Outside?
Like other Solo Stove products, the Pi pizza oven is made of stainless steel and intended to be durable. Still, the elements will wear on the stove over time, so we recommend that you at least use the shelter to protect your pizza oven from the elements.
Where Should You Put the Pi Oven?
We recommend keeping the Pi oven about 10 feet away from your house or any other structures, the same as you would with a grill or a fire pit. And while the fire pit sits on the ground, the Pi pizza oven is intended to sit on a waist-level surface.
Just make sure it is a heat-resistant surface. Wood surfaces, brick, and tile are all examples of great surfaces where the Pi oven will fit well.
Alternative Backyard Pizza Oven Options
For years, there were only a few companies making pizza ovens, but those days have changed. The options are now abundant. So let’s consider how the Solo Stove product stacks up against the competition.
Ooni Pizza Ovens
Ooni is the most established brand in the pizza oven space, and they have the most options, too. For years, Ooni has been the gold standard in pizza ovens, but in comparing Ooni vs. Solo Stove, there are a few differences worth noting.
We love the Ooni Pro and Ooni Karu, but Solo Stove has one product, making the decision a little more straightforward. For one, the Solo Stove Pi is designed with enhanced airflow to create a better cooking experience. The other thing is that Ooni may have too many options for some people.
If you are looking for a truly portable device, Ooni is the best alternative.
Stoke Pizza Oven
The Stoke pizza oven is a no-frills device that sits at an entry-level lower than the Solo Stove. Stoke offers wood and gas-burner pizza oven options in multiple sizes, but it is meant to be accessible to the masses. Solo Stove customers will appreciate the more refined design and handsome looks.
Roccbox Pizza Oven
The best feature that the Roccbox has is the silicone skin, making it safer to be around. Beyond that, we think the Solo Stove Pi is an all-around improvement on what a backyard pizza oven should be.
The advanced airflow, demi-dome design, and wide opening create a pleasant experience. For a long time, pizza lovers had to compare Roccbox vs. Ooni, but Solo Stove’s entrance changed the game.
Solo Stove Pi Pizza Oven: First Impressions
Solo Stove customers will love the signature airflow design that works with the demi-dome construction to create a more even cooking experience. The Solo Stove Pi is an elevated pizza oven, different than anything else on the market.
Considering the lifetime warranty, theSolo Stove pizza oven is an easy choice.
A New Pizza Oven Contender
There may be no better meal than wood-fired pizza, and we are still impressed that Solo Stove evolved from a company focused on camp stoves into a brand delivering endless good moments for the backyard.
The Solo Stove Pi stacks up well against the entire playing field, including the Ooni, Roccbox, Bertello, and Stoke pizza ovens. If there is one downside, the Pi oven is only available in one size. Some options never hurt.
The Essentials Bundles include everything you need for great pizza, including that stainless turner peel, making the cooking experience much more manageable. Homemade pizza can be delicious and fun. Solo Stove’s Pi works well with the gas burner, but the wood-fired flavor can’t be beaten.
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