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BakerStone Original Review

Top-notch cooking performance, output power, and versatility, all at a fraction of the cost of direct competitors
BakerStone Original
Credit: Amazon
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $250 List
Pros:  Reasonably priced, large capacity, heavily insulated firebox, transformable design improves versatility
Cons:  Bulky, heavy, slow to preheat
Manufacturer:   BakerStone
By Aaron Rice ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 3, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 12
  • Cooking Performance - 30% 9
  • Output Power - 30% 7
  • Control - 25% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9

Our Verdict

Sometimes, the most expensive products really are the best. Other times, as is the case with the Best Buy Award-winning BakerStone Original, you get 99% of the performance at a fraction of the price. While it may not turn out Neapolitan-style pizzas in the traditional 90 seconds or less, this incredibly powerful gas-powered oven still operates at the requisite temperatures pushing 800°F. Beautifully browned upper crusts complement the artisanal touch of a scorched base — a style that will certainly appeal to lovers of the New Haven-style apizza. Though it is not reasonably as portable as some, this easy-to-use oven is sure to appeal to novice pizza makers and professionals alike.

Compare to Similar Products

 
BakerStone Original
Awards Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $250 List$349 List$300 List
$299.99 at Amazon
$110 List
$109.99 at Amazon
$349 List
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Pros Reasonably priced, large capacity, heavily insulated firebox, transformable design improves versatilityFantastic crust quality, high-fire temperatures, compact and portableHigh-fire temperatures, amazing airflow, multi-fuel optionAffordable, designed for a normal range oven, fast bake timesWell-insulated, easily broken down for transport, easily converted multi-fuel system
Cons Bulky, heavy, slow to preheatSteep learning curve related to control, prolonged cook timesDangerous flame blowback, awkward attachment of the gas adaptorHeat profile depends on oven, heavyweightHeat-resistive stone takes long to preheat, soot buildup in oven chamber reduces efficiency
Bottom Line Top-notch cooking performance, output power, and versatility, all at a fraction of the cost of direct competitorsThe brand that put portable pizza ovens on the map lives up to its name with outstanding performanceA powerful pizza oven with the special capability to cook with gas and wood simultaneouslyA heavy-duty carbon steel slab capable of serious heat transfer to make the best pizza you've ever experienced out of a normal ovenA beautiful, portable option that offers the best of both the gas- and wood-fired worlds
Rating Categories BakerStone Original Ooni Koda 12 Bertello Outdoor NerdChef 3/8" Steel... Ooni Karu 12
Cooking Performance (30%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Output Power (30%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Control (25%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
9.0
7.0
5.0
8.0
6.0
Specs BakerStone Original Ooni Koda 12 Bertello Outdoor NerdChef 3/8" Steel... Ooni Karu 12
Fuel Type Gas Gas Gas, Wood (w/ conversion) n/a Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)
Power Output 25,000 BTU 13,648 BTU Not listed n/a 15,350 BTU
Size of Firebox n/a n/a 97.5 cu. in. n/a 135 cu. in.
Average Stone Temperature 732°F 733°F 777°F 686°F 736°F
Footprint 345 sq. in. 368 sq. in. 301 sq. in.
441 sq. in. (w/ gas attachment)
228 sq. in. 368 sq. in.
Maximum Pizza Diameter 13" 12" 12" 14" 12"

Our Analysis and Test Results

A company that made its name with the box oven that transforms an ordinary grill into a pizza oven, BakerStone improves on their original design with the Original Portable. This design, albeit bulky, splits the base unit and oven chamber for improved portability. Two powerful burners generate 25,000 BTUs to efficiently heat the oversized pizza box from below, churning out pizzas up to 13" quickly and with ease. The fact that the burner unit separates from the oven box allows for you to pivot from pizza oven to an on-the-go grill or griddle setup for multi-functional outdoor cooking. And the oven box can even still be placed on a full-size gas or charcoal grill for ultimate versatility.

Performance Comparison


The well-insulated BakerStone is a high-performance oven, churning...
The well-insulated BakerStone is a high-performance oven, churning out beautiful pizzas in minutes, even when outside temperatures dip well below freezing.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Cooking Performance


Though its general size may give away the following statement, the bulkier BakerStone oven takes much longer to preheat than other, comparably powerful ovens. The dual burners are more than capable of boosting internal oven temperatures in excess of 800°F, but it is going to take more like 30 minutes instead of the manufacturer-recommended preheat time of 15-20 minutes.


However, once it is up to temperature, it is the even heat retention of the firebox that translates to this pizza oven's superior cooking performance. The kiln-like fire bricks that comprise the five sides of the oven chamber are well-designed to deliver both conductive and radiative heat, much like a traditional wood oven. They also provide an amazing level of insulation, which all but eliminates any required reheat time in between pizzas, allowing you to turn out rounds of pies with ease.

Installing the firebricks that make-up the oven chamber. Notice the...
Installing the firebricks that make-up the oven chamber. Notice the air gaps between the box and the exterior frame that help further insulate, and drive heat circulation.
Credit: Aaron Rice

To the benefit of novice pizza makers, the BakerStone can deliver temperatures analogous to a Neapolitan-style pizza oven without the need to turn around pizzas in less than 90 seconds. Even at an average pizza stone temperature of 732°F, average bake times are on the order of three to four minutes, which offers new users ample margins to both make and learn from their mistakes without ruining pizzas in the process.

The extended bake times of this pizza oven benefit those who...
The extended bake times of this pizza oven benefit those who appreciate a crispier exterior crust, a texture and appearance that so often these days is accompanied by the descriptor "rustic".
Credit: Aaron Rice

Output Power


We discussed the ability of the oven housing to deliver both conductive heat to cook the bottom crust, and radiative heat to the upper crust, but that is really only two-thirds of the total equation. The open-front means that there are only five sides to the firebox. But what isn't immediately evident is that there is a gap between the pizza stone itself and the back wall, through which the back burner pumps convective heat to both drive airflow and maintain a consistent internal temperature averaging an impressive 780°F.


The position and design of the powerful burners play a major role in the remarkable heat output of the BakerStone oven. As mentioned above, the outer U-shaped burner drives the convective heat transfer through an opening in the back — a design concept that draws heavily on the heat transfer of a wood-fired oven: from the back, over the pizza, and out the open front. But since the firebox is inset from the exterior walls, a surrounding air gap is also heated by this same burner. The conductive heat is supported by a second burner located directly underneath the pizza stone.

Two sizable burners are the workhorses behind the BakerStone's...
Two sizable burners are the workhorses behind the BakerStone's impressive control related to output power.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Thanks to the combination of insulation and design, there is no other oven that operates quite as efficiently as the BakerStone, as evidenced by the lack of reheat time required in between pizzas. It is uncommon for the pizza stone — especially in an oven with an open front — to fire at a lower temperature than the internal air temperature of the oven. But this works to a huge benefit of the pizza maker, who can achieve a more blackened crust akin to a New Haven-style apizza without overcooking toppings.

Individual burner adjustments allow you to dial-in the conductive...
Individual burner adjustments allow you to dial-in the conductive heat of the pizza stone, and the convective heat across the top of the pizza.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Control


From the first firing, the BakerStone was an immediate favorite of our testers, thanks in large part to the control and consistency of the oven. This oven stands apart from the majority of gas-powered ovens in this review with the simple fact that it is powered by two separate burners — one lollipop covers the center of the pizza stone, and an oversized U-shaped burner extends the length of the sides and back. Each has its own knob for adjustment, which allows you to dial in the direction of the heat source if you experience any hot spots while baking.


This is unlikely, however, because the shape and design of the oven box create an incredibly stable environment when considering average internal temperature. The composite methods of heat transfer — convective, conductive, and radiative — come together nicely to evenly and equitably heat the five sides of the oven chamber. We used an infrared thermometer to gather an average internal temperature by measuring the temperature of each wall, and the BakerStone had one of the lowest standard deviations of any we tested, with an average difference of only 21°F.

Though very consistent, this oven is not without its own learning...
Though very consistent, this oven is not without its own learning curve; even though it is capable of cooking up to a 14" pizza, they will blacken towards the outside, where the crust comes closer to the U-shaped outer burner.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Learning how to turn a pizza in the oven is a requisite skill, but the difference in temperature between the back and front of the BakerStone makes it even more important to practice this technique to avoid overcooking one section of a pizza. The position of the burner and the opening in the pizza box directly above at the back of the oven brings that half of the pizza stone up past 800°F, while the open-air front tends to hover around 650°F.

Launching a pizza is easier with the extra work surface of a...
Launching a pizza is easier with the extra work surface of a standard 14" peel, and the BakerStone is the only oven with a wide enough fire box to accept this size of peel.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Ease of Use


Although this oven chamber is no larger overall than other comparable pizza ovens, it may feel that you have more room to work with simply based on the difference in width. With a 15-inch wide front, the BakerStone is the only oven that even accepts a standard 14" pizza peel. As such, it can reasonably accommodate a 13" pizza, thanks to an inch-or-so advantage along either axis of the square pizza stone. But this oversized oven chamber is heavy, tipping the scales at just under 50 pounds. Even though the firebox separates from the burner unit, and regardless of design features like foldable legs to improve portability, this bulky oven is likely best left in the backyard.


The full "firebox" design of the oven chamber takes more setup than most ovens — requiring you to build out the fire bricks almost like a lego-form of kiln shelving — but for reasons already stated, the little bit of extra effort is well worth the additional performance. One downside of this particular design is that the permanently installed pizza stone requires a bit more scrubbing (with a soft brush) to get clean, rather than being able to simply flip it over and allow the mess to burn off.

Instead of your standard thermometer, this versatile oven indicates...
Instead of your standard thermometer, this versatile oven indicates when its hot enough to fire pizzas (flame), consistent enough to bake other foods (oven), and cool enough to pack up and store (blue thermometer.)
Credit: Aaron Rice

In terms of accessibility, the forgiveness of a slightly slower cook rate combined with the overall ease of firing makes the BakerStone the most approachable option for novice cooks. While the reflective internal chambers of other stainless steel ovens can quickly lead to blackened crusts, one doesn't need to manage the output of these burners to avoid overcooking a pizza. That is, of course, not to say that these burners aren't powerful — it may be necessary to turn the burners down to manage the overall temperature of the oven. We simply mean that you won't have to fine-tune the burner level each time you launch a pizza into the oven.

Easily controlled oven temperatures offer the freedom to experiment...
Easily controlled oven temperatures offer the freedom to experiment beyond the traditional Neapolitan-style Margherita pizza. Here, we try out baking a breakfast pizza that has been pre-baked, and is now going back in to fry the eggs on top.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Value


Now, here's the kicker. The BakerStone pizza oven offers all of this performance at a sticker price that is significantly lower than other gas-fired models in this review. As such, it is an easy choice as our Best Buy Award winner. Toss in the flexibility of being able to remove the pizza oven and use the base burner unit as either a grill or griddle — or place the oven box on a full-size gas or charcoal grill to transform it into a pizza oven — and you have a multi-functional outdoor kitchen.

Success! The BakerStone is a versatile, and thus valuable addition...
Success! The BakerStone is a versatile, and thus valuable addition to any outdoor kitchen.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Conclusion


Beyond its amazing versatility, dynamic heat output, and nearly unparalleled insulation, the BakerStone Original is offered at an excellent price point. All of this, at a fraction of the cost of its competitors, and there is no reason you shouldn't add this impressive pizza oven to your outdoor kitchen.

The excitement of pulling out a fresh pizza, right outside your...
The excitement of pulling out a fresh pizza, right outside your doorstep, is something everyone should have the opportunity to experience.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Aaron Rice