I started my outdoor cooking feat with lots of terrible experiences because of subpar pizza ovens.I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a big device and it ended up being a mistake.
These ovens won’t stay lit. When they do, it’s not steady, which means I’d have to constantly spin the pizza every second to avoid burnt food. Another annoying issue is they rust quickly, even with covers.
So, I decided to purchase one of the Ooni pizza ovens – the Koda 16. That was the best decision I ever made for my baking career. This gas-powered model comes with a powerful gas burner for intense heat and will keep knocking out fantastic piping-hot pizzas.
If you don’t want to gamble with your hard-earned money, here are my top 5 Ooni pizza ovens. They are the most engineered models with unmatched performance, which make them stand out from the competition.
🥇Best Ooni Pizza Ovens of 2024
- BEST FOR CAPACITY: [Ooni Koda 16 Pizza Oven]
- Editor’s Pick: [ooni Fyra 12 Wood Fired Outdoor Pizza Oven]
- BEST FOR VALUE: [Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven]
- Best Hybrid: [Ooni Karu 12G Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven]
- Best Large Pizza oven: [ooni Karu 16 Multi-Fuel Outdoor Pizza Oven]
🧾Factors to Consider When Choosing an Ooni Pizza Oven
Size of Opening and Cooking Surface
Consider the opening size for ovens to ensure that launching and spinning your pie is seamless. This is essential as you must constantly give your heartily topped pizza a good spin for even browning and doneness.
With this in mind, a 16-inch pizza oven should have a larger opening than its 12-inch counterpart. Also, remember that the opening might be a different size than the interior cooking chamber.
The little difference doesn’t matter on paper until you need to maneuver whatever you are baking without the toppings falling off.
Ooni pizza ovens are not created equal. Some models feature a more compact structure to ensure they are a cinch to transport if need be. My pick for portability from this top-brand lineup is the Koda 12. It weighs about 20.4 lbs, slightly lighter than the 22 lbs Frya 12 and the 26.5 lbs Karu 12.
You want to avoid the Koda 16, which weighs about 40 lbs. While you can still transport this model, it is something other than portable, and it can be very awkward to move around. The heavyweight Karu 16 is 22 lbs heavier than the Koda 16. You’ll need an extra hand to transfer this particular oven, except you purchase an Ooni pizza oven stand.
Ooni pizza ovens fire up using charcoal, hardwood, wood pellets, or gas. However, some models use a combination of two or more fuel options. It’s crucial that you make an informed decision, as your choice of fuel directly affects your learning curve, usability, and overall experience.
Like the good ol’ gas grills, gas-powered pizza ovens are easy to ignite and bring to temperature quickly. Another main advantage of this pizza oven over other options is its consistency and even heating regardless of the outdoor condition.
On the downside, you might have to lug a 20 lbs propane tank alongside your pizza oven, which can be stressful.
From my experience, I love the pellet-burning models for their convenience when compared to other solid-fuel options. They light up faster and burn just as hot to get your pizza oven to temperature within 20 minutes.
On top of that, maintaining a steady cooking temperature with pellets is easier than with charcoal and hardwood. Thanks to their innovative auger system, you don’t have to spend much time tendering to the fire.
Disappointedly, I find these pellet-burning ovens responsive to windy and humid conditions.
One of the biggest perks of owning a charcoal pizza oven is the availability. You can quickly get your hands on lump charcoal at your hardware store without the stress of lighting a solid wood.
However, their fireboxes are not very sizable. This means you have to oversee the fire, which can be annoying if you make many pizzas for a big party. Plus, it really takes a while to come to temperature, and maintaining the heat is a serious challenge.
For making amazing restaurant-quality pizzas with irresistible smoky flavor, this is where wood-burning pizza ovens surpass the others. However, there are a couple of inconveniences with this model.
The firebox usually comes with less room, so you either find a supplier selling the right size of wood kindling that fits or stick with cutting the wood yourself. Regardless of your option, a hardwood-burning pizza oven often takes longer to fire up to temperature. You would also have to deal with the stress of igniting and building a fire.
Ooni pizza ovens cater to a wide range of budgets, with models available at various price points.
For folks not looking to break the bank, Ooni has the pellet-burning Frya 12 at the most affordable price. If you are willing to shell out more dough for a powerful gas pizza oven, then you can go wrong with the reasonably-priced Koda 12 and Karu 12.
However, larger models like the Koda 16 come at a steep price, which is justified by the amount of power and ample cooking space they offer.
Premium models like the top-selling Ooni Karu 16 come at a saltier price tag. These options include handy features like a glass door, built-in thermometer, etc., to improve users’ overall experience, especially with batch pizza making.
No one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on an outdoor oven only to struggle with it. Some Ooni pizza ovens come with chimneys for better heat management. However, this handy feature makes setting and covering it up a bit tasking.
Also, you want to consider other factors like its opening size and built-in features. Models integrated with thermometers, like the Karu 16, make keeping track of your cooking process a breeze.
🔍Which Ooni Pizza Oven Is Right For You?
There’s no arguing that most of the best ovens and chefs’ favorites are mostly Ooni pizza ovens. Yet, this does not mean you should buy any pizza oven from this market leader that comes your way.
The Ooni Koda 16 provides a remarkable propane cooking experience. It produces charred and firm-crust pizzas. Sadly, it requires ample backyard space. For folks who prefer hardwood pellet cooking, you can’t go wrong with the phenomenal Ooni Fray 12.
⭐Best Ooni Pizza Oven Review
1. Ooni Koda 16 Pizza Oven
The Koda 16 comes out top of my list among the dozens of Ooni’s products I tested. This unit required no assembly like the Frya 12 and the Karu series: simply unfold the legs and attach to a canister.
Portability is another strong suit of the Koda 16. Despite being a 16-inch pizza oven, it doesn’t carry the bulkiness of the Karu’s, making it convenient for activities like camping and tailgating. For those seeking something ultra-portable, the Koda 12, its smaller counterpart, is worth considering.
One standout feature of the Koda 16 is its ease and speed of cooking, thanks to its remarkable L-shaped burner system. In my testing, the pizza oven’s deck temperature reached up to 800°F in just 17 minutes, with the area closest to the burner hitting around 830°F.
While Ooni claims it can bake a 16-inch pizza, practically, the L-shaped burner reduces the usable cooking space, allowing only pizzas up to 14 inches on its 16 x 16-inch pizza stone.
This unit excels at baking pizzeria-grade pizzas, achieving delightful char marks on the crust and evenly melted cheese in just 1 minute and 10 seconds at 815°F. I observed that adjusting the cooking temperature between 750 – 820°F produced a perfectly crisp pizza.
After the initial cook, the Koda 16 demonstrated impressive heat preservation, with the stone temperature holding at 781°F even without a door, thanks to its low clearance opening.
The second test pizza emerged with bubbling cheese and leopard spots, comparable to the first bake. While it may lack the wood-fired taste of the Karu 16 and Frya 12, I appreciate the pizza quality and the convenience of not having to tend to the flame.
What I Like:
- Portable and easy to carry
- Quick heat-up
- Excellent heat preservation
What I Don’t Like:
- Not suitable for 16-inch pizza
2. ooni Fyra 12 Wood Fired Outdoor Pizza Oven
Another Ooni pizza oven that’s tough to ignore is the Frya 12 with its fantastic pellet-cooking performance.
This unit arrived well-packed but in parts. It takes about 10 – 15 minutes to unbox and put the parts together for first timers relying on the included manual.
However, this pizza oven does not come with everything you need to get started. You’ve to purchase the Ooni Premium Hardwood Pellets, a stainless steel pizza peel, an infrared thermometer and an all-natural fire starter (or just use your propane touch instead).
Cooking with the Frya 12 involves a learning curve, particularly for first-time users. Starting the fire is straightforward—add pellets to the fuel box and ignite them with a fire starter or a propane torch.
Throughout the cook, I recommend keeping the chimney open unless you’re adept at using a damper to control flame and smoke without putting off the fire.
Managing the flame is the tricky part. You have to keep adding pellets into the hopper to feed the flame gradually until the pizza oven comes to temperature. From my experience, maintaining the hopper at half full helps prevent smoldering the flame.
Getting the center of the pizza stone to 800°F took 20 minutes, though Ooni promised 950°F in 15 minutes. With pellet-fired pizza ovens, how fast they heat up depends on the outdoor condition that day and how effectively the flame is managed.
Equipped with a 13-inch pizza stone, the Frya 12 offers ample space to bake and maneuver a 12-inch pizza. At around 800°F, this oven baked a classic cheese pizza in a swift 1 minute and 55 seconds. During the test, I left the door open because closing the door, refueling the hopper and monitoring what’s cooking in the oven felt like a lot of work.
I’m impressed with the heat retention, considering that I left the door open. Checking the stone’s temperature with an infrared thermometer revealed a residual heat of 753°F, which flawlessly baked the second test pizza in 2 minutes 15 seconds with a crisp crust, soft and pillowy interior, and beautifully mottled edges.
When it came to the taste, I loved the flame-cooked flavor – it wasn’t overpowering, which improved its taste – better than what the Koda 16 offered.
What I Like:
- Gravity-fed hopper system
- Portable and easy to pack for camping
- Great wood-fired flavor
What I Don’t Like
- Learning curve required
3. Ooni Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven
For pizza enthusiasts lacking outdoor space or preferring to avoid the intricacies of propane or wood-fired ovens, the Volt 12 makes a great alternative.
Setting up this pizza oven is a breeze, thanks to its plug-and-play design. However, its size surprised me—it occupies more countertop space than my regular kitchen oven. If you have plenty of counter or storage space, the Volt 12 might be the best electric pizza oven for you.
This unit doesn’t come with the L-shaped burner of the Koda 16 or the wood-burning grate of the Karu 12G, but two heating elements below and above the 13-inch pizza stone. This design eliminates the need for refueling or adding wood, making it particularly suitable for indoor use.
According to the manufacturer, this oven can reach up to “850°F in just 20 mins,” and to my delight, it lives up to this claim.
Despite being an electric pizza oven, there was a small learning curve. When baking a neapolitan-style pizza at 850°F, you want to favor the top element, allowing the toppings to cook faster than base. My first cook got burnt, because the bottom element pumped out more heat.
In my test, the Volt 12 produced beautiful stone-baked pizza in a swift 1 minute and 12 seconds, without the need for rotation. For subsequent pizza, this unit has a “Boost” function to get the stone back to temperature under 2 minutes. The results were up to par with the Koda 16 – spotted, puffy edges, evenly melted cheese and crisp base.
However, opening the lid too frequently caused a significant temperature drop (60 – 80°F) in the pizza stone area near the door. I recommend throwing pizza far back to avoid this cold spot.
Nonetheless, this oven will stay lit throughout the cooking process, making it easier to watch the crust rise, see the cheese bubble, and determine if it needs a shuffle.
On the downside, the touchscreen on the control panel tends to get too hot to touch after prolonged cooking sessions. Also, this oven tends to produce a lot of smoke when cheese or any other toppings fall on the stone. So, you might want to be careful when launching and retrieving pizza to avoid triggering your smoke alarm.
What I Like:
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
- Boost function for quick temperature recovery
- Easy to set up and use
What I Don’t Like:
4. Ooni Karu 12G Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven
The Karu 16 is worth considering, if you’ve ample outdoor space and are interested in cooking with wood or pellets.
The Karu 16 is a hefty appliance that took 30 minutes to assemble. Ooni included an helpful instruction guide, allen key and a screwdriver to make assembling a cinch.
This model is quite similar to the Karu 12G, except for cooking capacity. This unit offers a generous cooking space to bake a 16-inch pizza, fit cast iron pans and skillets to cook beyond pizzas.
There’s an option to cook with gas, which is pretty straightforward. With wood, you have to ignite a couple of wood chunks or pellets in the rear component. To sustain the fire, open the chimney’s flue and add wood chunks or pellets. It’s crucial not to overdo it, as adding too much wood can lead to smoldering flames – a rookie mistake I made!
Unlike other pizza ovens, the digital thermometer on this model (battery not included) provides convenience in monitoring when the oven is ready. Preheating to 800°F takes approximately 30 – 35 minutes, likely due to its larger cooking space. While waiting, you can use this time to prepare your pizza from scratch, periodically checking on the flame and adding wood chunks or pellets.
Once the stone was at temperature, baking pizza was the easiest part – thanks to its large ViewFlame glass oven door. In 1 min 22 secs, a few rotations, I pulled out a stunning margherita pizza that tastes better than most takeouts.
I love the handle, glass and hinge design of the door. It’s easier to cook with the door closed and open to shuffle the pie compared to the stainless steel option on the Frya 12.
Also, I noticed cooking at lower temperature around 750°F means your pizza can cook longer, absorbing more of that smoke flavor for a better-tasting result.
While the Koda 16 was a snap to clean, Karu 16 requires emptying out the ashtray and wiping the glass door. Also, I found it easier to brush off the mess on the pizza while it’s still hot.
What I Like:
- In-built digital thermometer
- Impressive cooking versatility
- Large cooking space
What I Don’t Like:
5. ooni Karu 16 Multi-Fuel Outdoor Pizza Oven
I love how this model supports charcoal or wood-fired cooking to impart your food with the most authentic wood-fired flavor. This unit offers restaurant-grade performance that you’d be hard-pressed to find on any other pizza oven out there.
Multi-fuel versatility – this is one of the best things about the Karu 16 and why it’s heavily sought after. You can cook your pizza with either gas or solid fuels. This means you can bake faster and still enjoy the subtle smoky taste with the same machine.
Advanced features – unlike the Karu 12G, this model has a large-screen digital thermometer to ensure you are baking at the right temperature. It’s really the end to soggy or undone pizzas. Also, it features a new ViewFlame glass oven door that keeps the oven well-insulated for top-tier baking performance.
Insane heating performance – the Karu 16 is not a joke. In its propane form, this unit gets the oven floor’s temperature above 900 degrees F in 20 minutes. Thus, knocking out charred, crispy pizza in less than 60 seconds. Thanks to its minor incremental temperature regulator, you have total flame control.
If you’ve got a hungry crowd to feed and want to do it quickly with zero issues, Ooni Karu 16 is the most advanced pizza-making machine fit for this high-demand baking task as of now.
- This unit heats up to 900 degrees F with propane for mouthwatering results.
- It features sturdy build quality and advanced engineering, ensuring it doesn’t discolor or wear or tear due to prolonged exposure to harsh outdoor conditions.
- Every touch point features heat-safe material for extra safety
- Large opening to fit a 16-inch pizza peel with ample room to turn your pizzas
- I find the Karu 12 too heavy to move around and take up a dedicated space in my garden
Why Choose an Ooni Pizza Oven?
Are you still on the fence about going all in on one of the top-quality pizza ovens from the market-leading Ooni? Here are four compelling reasons to splurge on one:
Ooni pizza ovens, unlike grills or most of its competitors, are hassle-free to light, cook and clean.
When it comes to having a fun cooking experience, the Ooni pizza oven is your go-to. It requires less tendering. This frees up more time for you to prep your ingredients and enjoy small talks with your guests.
The Ooni pizza oven has a high temperature that makes it almost self-cleaning. This saves you from the painstaking task of brushing off stubborn food debris.
When it comes to versatility, only a few grills or pizza ovens match up. The Ooni models are the most engineered ovens for pizzas. They are also handy for whipping appetizers and cast-iron to side dishes.
Their unmatched cooking performance makes them ideal for various cooking options. You can make Keftedes Greek meatballs, sear steak with garlic butter, and more.
Ooni pizza ovens are not cheap. However, they offer durability, high performance, and many accessories. This makes them a good value for their cost.
Ooni pizza ovens use less fuel to reach high temperatures compared to other models. This makes them a cost-effective option. If you bake frequently, an Ooni pizza oven can help you save money on fuel costs.
Enhanced taste and quality of pizza
This is one of the reasons every homeowner wants to own an Ooni pizza oven. This oven is trustworthy. It heats up in less than 20 minutes. It can produce the crispiest and charred pizzas you have ever eaten.
This oven has a wood-fire burner. So, guests can launch their own personally-topped pizza dough into the rolling flame. The result is an authentic pizza with stunning “leoparding.”
🙋What Else Can You Cook In An Ooni Pizza Oven?
I loved my Karu 16, and it has successfully made some of the most amazing Neapolitan pizza I have ever had. However, that is not all I crank out of this best-in-class multi-fuel pizza oven.
Here are 10 other delectable foods aside from pizza you can make out of any Ooni pizza oven:
- Marinated Shrimp
- Salmon Filet
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Peach Cobbler
- Dinner Rolls
- Marinated Chicken Thighs
- Salsa Verde
- Cast Iron Skillet Cookies
🤔How to Use the Ooni Pizza Oven?
Ooni pizza ovens can easily achieve temperatures up to 900 degrees F, which can scare first-timers.
In this section, I’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to bake a crispy pizza without missing.
Step 1: clean out the oven if it has been used. If it’s a wood-fired oven, start the fire and allow it to come to a temperature. For gas-powered models, open the gas valve, and crank the temperature to the highest for about 15 – 20 minutes.
Step 2: sprinkle semolina or cornmeal flour on your peel before placing the dough to give it extra crispness for a successful launch. Apply your toppings and sauce sparingly on the evenly spread dough. (avoid letting the dough sit out for too long or pressing it to the peel)
Step 3: before launching your heartily-topped pizza into the oven, lower the temperature to prevent your toppings from burning. Keep the pizza a few inches away from the rolling flame. Also, give the pizza a good spin after every 10 – 15 seconds for even browning.
Note: It’s essential that the stone’s temperature is at most 800 degrees F before baking. Else, it might turn out soggy and unpalatable.
🎭Comparing the Ooni Pizza Oven to Other Pizza Ovens
The vast number of brands out there is overwhelming, which explains why most home chefs prefer to stick with familiar brands like the trustworthy Ooni. However, there’s another brand known for its innovative lines of outdoor ovens, Gozney.
Their top-selling Gozney Roccbox is similar to the Ooni Karu 12. This best alternative to the Ooni pizza oven is a super-sleek, propane-powered pizza oven that will surely churn out amazing culinary treats.
While it comes with many bells and whistles and one of the best gas-powered performances, its higher price can be a terrible deal breaker. For the same price, I could purchase the best-in-class Ooni Koda 16.
Furthermore, I noticed the Gozney Roccbox has a smaller opening, making it slightly tricky to rotate pizza for even cooking. Also, the wood-burner accessory is sold separately and still fails to get the oven floor hot enough to crisp the pizza base in 90 seconds, like Ooni’s.
What size Ooni pizza oven should I get?
It comes down to your cooking needs and backyard space. If you have ample outdoor space and are okay with dedicating space to a pizza oven, the 16-inch models are perfect.
However, for folk looking to bake right from their patio, a 12-inch model might be your best bet. For more information on making the right decision based on size, check out the buying section of this comprehensive Ooni pizza oven review.
Is an Ooni pizza oven worth it?
Suppose top-quality build materials, professional-grade baking performance, and a decent warranty are precisely what you look for in an oven.
In that case, purchasing an Ooni pizza oven will be a worthwhile investment.
What gas bottle do I need for the Ooni pizza oven?
Ooni gas-fueled ovens are compatible with the standard gas bottle of up to 30 lb. However, if you own a 1 lb camping gas tank, the Karu 12 and Koda 12 are the only compatible ovens from the Ooni’s beautiful lineups.
Can you use Traeger pellets in an Ooni pizza oven?
The only lineup with wood-pellet compatibility is the Frya 12, which fires up with any pellet. While I made puffy edge, crisp-crust pizza with pellets from other brands, I found the superior burning performance of the Ooni pellets enticing.
How long does it take for the Ooni pizza oven to heat up?
Depending on the fuel options and outdoor weather conditions, the Ooni pizza oven takes about 15 – 30 minutes to reach a searing temperature. The gas models heat up faster than the solid-fuel options.
How long does a propane tank last on an Ooni pizza oven?
From my experience, a 1 lb camping gas tank lasts nearly 2 hours. So, for a full 20 lb propane tank, you should get more than 20 hours of cooking on high heat.
Can you cook fish in the Ooni pizza oven?
Ooni pizza ovens pride themselves as a versatile cooking machine that can whip up anything from tasty pizzas to steak. They are great for a wide range of cooking options and can perfectly cook your fish.
Do Ooni pizza ovens rust?
Ooni pizza ovens feature cutting-edge stainless steel construction. Although they are powdered coated for protection against rust, wear, and tear, some parts are still susceptible. However, I find using a stainless steel polish and cleaner effective for restoring its shine.
If you made it all the way down here, it means you want to make the right investment. There are lots of models from Ooni, which can be confusing. However, these ovens feature best-in-class engineering, meaning they are super durable with unmatched baking performance.
Nonetheless, you should only consider a product that caters to your unique cooking need and fits into the available outdoor space without breaking the bank.
If you are still on the fence, I recommend my favorite, the Koda 16; it packs enough power and has a spacious cooking chamber to cook old and new recipes perfectly.
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