The Best Pizza Ovens for Every Type of Cook, According to Reviews
All the great food trends of the past few months have been something of a silver lining to the pandemic, as more people are honing their cooking skills while staying at home. Among the latest? Pizza ovens, which allow you to bring a taste of Italy to your own backyard (or kitchen) with high heat and a few simple ingredients. We scoured the Internet to find the best pizza ovens out there for every price point. Before diving into the details, though, let’s first talk why you might want one to begin with.
Why Do I Need a Pizza Oven?
You might think, I can make a pizza in my regular oven or on the grill anytime, so why would I need a special machine that only cooks pizza? Consider it an investment in quality. Sure, you can bake a pizza and have it turn out pretty nice (or even throw in a frozen pizza), but a typical oven won’t reach the temperature you need to get that extra-crispy crust that’s the hallmark of a true Neapolitan-style pizza. Not to mention, pizza ovens can help you get dinner on the table in a flash: We’re talking minutes of cooking time, rather than a half hour or more. And once you master a recipe for the perfect homemade pizza dough, you’ll be able to put together delicious pizzas for your family any time. Pizza party, anyone?
Best Pizza Ovens at a Glance
Best All-Around: Gozney Roccbox, $499.00
Best Indoor: Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo, $999.95
Best Budget Buy: Ooni Koda Outdoor Pizza Oven, $329.00
Best Professional Grade: Forno Bravo Home Pizza Oven Kit, from $2,595.00
Best Outdoor: Gozney Roccbox
Buy It: Amazon, $499
Part of the appeal of this pizza oven may be its space-age appearance (and, it even comes in bright green!), but it’s performance really steals the show. Neil Ballentine, a pizza enthusiast who works in IT in Chicago, says he bought one more than two years ago and has found it to be the most well-built, portable pizza oven with construction quality that’s “leaps and bounds” over its competitors. The temperature on the Roccbox gets up to a whopping 950 degrees (yet, it’s well insulated, with an outer silicone skin), giving you perfectly charred artisan crust in only 60 seconds. It comes standard with a gas burner and pizza peel, as well as the new option to buy a detachable wood burner.
- 16.3 x 21 x 18.6 inches
- Stainless steel, cordierite stone, calcium silicate insulation, commercial-grade silicone jacket
- Max temperature: 950℉
“This is a great pizza oven. The option to use wood or propane makes it very user friendly,” writes one reviewer. “The wood option is great for only one or two pizzas and the propane is great when you are cooking for a crowd. It is easy to set up, so we use ours all the time! Great for dinner parties!”
“I hesitated on the price of the oven, but I am glad I took the plunge,” reports another. “It is a very easy setup but is quite heavy. It cooks pizza amazingly fast with tremendous quality. The entire family has engaged in making their own pies. It is an awesome addition to our outdoor cooking plans for the summer.”
“This little oven has revolutionized my pizza making!” raves another reviewer. “I was producing really great pizza with a baking steel in my electric oven, but with the Roccbox I now produce a better looking pizza and better tasting! Even used it for a catering gig and it performed flawlessly to make 41 pizzas!”
Best Indoor: Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo
Buy It: Williams-Sonoma, $999.95
We get it: This gadget is an investment. But it’s such a sleek addition to your countertop, even for small spaces—and makes the best crispy, “leopard-spotted” pizza crust, thanks to a temperature range that goes up to 750 degrees—that it’s worth the price, reviewers say. You can make an authentic wood-fired-style pizza in two minutes because of the three-element heat system, which incorporates the same conductive, radiant and convective heat as an actual brick oven. Plus, you can control where you want the most heat to go (say, if you like your crust more charred than the toppings) by adjusting the elements.
“My travel budget has not been taking a hit with Covid, so when I heard about this oven I just HAD to try it out. I wasn't disappointed,” wrote one reviewer. “The size is nice and even when the Pizzaiolo is at its hottest, the exterior is still reasonably cool. I'd say that it is extremely well insulated. I would highly recommend buying a wooden pizza peel. We got one on Amazon and had to contour the sides a little to fit, but the wooden peel is SO much easier to use to place the pizza on the stone. SO MUCH EASIER!!! I kind of like the custom settings more than the programmed settings but all in all the oven is fantastic and the pizzas are amazing. You really can't get this with a regular oven!! Money well spent.”
“I’ve tried every trick in the book to replicate restaurant quality pizza in my kitchen,” said another. “I live in an apartment without the room for a huge brick oven or wood fired oven. When it comes to pizza, you can’t cheat when it comes to high temperature. This oven delivers the goods while taking up minimal room on the counter and serving as decor at the same time. Pizza lovers rejoice.”
“After trying and wasting money on 2 previous ovens, (the pellet burning & propane) this is a gift from Pizza-Heaven,” proclaimed another reviewer. “The temperature control is awesome. The hot Stone and door comes to you for easy transfer in and out of the oven. It is so easy to check the cooking pizzas and aerate the bottom while cooking. A perfect thin crisp pie, NOT possible with other ovens. This oven can crank out pie after pie. My son has a beautiful Italian wood fired oven, and cannot believe my pies...and I do not have to buy wood.”
- 18.1 x 18.5 x 10.6 inches
- Stainless steel
- Max temperature: 750℉
Best Budget Buy: Ooni Koda Outdoor Pizza Oven
Buy It: Williams-Sonoma, $329.00
All the cool kids have been scooping up trendy Oonis, not least for their affordable price point, compared to other pizza ovens on the market. Patricia Doherty, a writer in Hermosa Beach, California, first heard about Ooni in a magazine; she ordered one, and the first margarita pizza she and her husband made turned out great, she says. The no-assembly, no-fuss, no-mess quality is part of why Oonis are so popular: You simply open the foldable legs, insert the stone baking board and connect to a propane tank (not included). The oven takes about 20 minutes to heat up, then can cook a pizza in 60 seconds. Watch YouTube videos to master the technique, with one caveat: The oven is not very insulated, so be extremely careful taking your pie in and out.
“Happy to report...not a tinge of remorse with my Ooni Koda. This item is revelatory!” one reviewer proclaims. “Homemade pizza with ease—and rivaling most restaurants. And all within 60-90 seconds. Unfathomable. Yes: there is a slight learning curve to getting it all down—but that is part of the fun. And then being fully immersed in the plethora of all things pizza. Put succinctly: prepare to have your life changed by this oven.”
“Awesome pizza cooker at a really good price point,” says another. “I have 5 grills outside and not a single one does pizza well. I procrastinated long enough that when I heard about the Ooni Koda I had to try it. For under $300 it was worth taking a chance. I was not disappointed. This makes great thin crust Neapolitan pizza. Don’t kid yourself, It takes some work to get there. I watched a lot of You Tube videos and read the FB Forums on pizza making. So far so good. Even took it camping with me. Talk about folks turning their heads when they walked by my camp while I was busy spinning pizzas in the oven.”
“So we've had our Ooni for about 3 months now. Completely love the oven. Enough so that we purchased the peel and the rolling cart as well,” explained another reviewer. “It doesn't replace your cheap easy pizza 2 kids on a school night exhausted from work pizza. It gives you your fun Saturday afternoon make the dough spend time as a family gourmet pizza. Should absolutely consider doing this for your family if you have the resources.”
- 15.7 x 11.6 x 24.8 inches
- Carbon steel shell, cordierite stone baking board
- Max temperature: 932℉
WATCH: How to Grill Pizza
Best Professional Grade: Forno Bravo Home Pizza Oven Kit
Buy It: Fornobravo.com, from $2,595.00
If you’re serious about pizza, regularly cook for lots of people or even run your own catering business, you might consider investing in this top-of-the-line model. Albeit pricey, it’s made in the U.S. by a company that really knows its pizza. Ballentine says his quarantine project this year was building and installing this Casa90 pizza oven, and it’s been a gamechanger. “It’s hard to imagine going back to a portable,” he says. For the Casa series (available in four different sizes, with the Casa90 floor measuring 36 inches wide), you build it to stay in place, and it can cook up to three pizzas at once using natural gas or wood. “The quality is outstanding,” Ballentine adds—just be prepared to put in a lot of work to build it, and be sure you’ll be staying in your home for a while to enjoy it.
- Four sizes: 32-, 36-, 40- or 44-inch cooking surfaces
- Brick, ceramic, stainless steel
- Max temperature: 1,000℉