Accomplished as both a gas-fired and wood-fired oven, the Bertello Outdoor is our Top Pick for a multi-fuel pizza oven. It is one of the few models capable of generating the extreme temperatures necessary to turn out a Neapolitan-style pizza in less than 90 seconds in its gas-powered form. A portable version of the Tuscan-style vaulted barrel oven, the design of the Bertello promotes excellent airflow. This effect results in an attractive rolling flame that effectively cooks 12" pizzas and adds a certain level of charm to this compact powerhouse. Though it would benefit from some design tweaks to improve control, this oven offers serious capability at a reasonable price point that is an excellent supplement to a well-equipped kitchen.Editor's Note: The Bertello Outdoor review was updated on February 14th, 2022, with additional notes on which ovens we would buy and more help comparing products.
Bertello Outdoor Review
Pros: High-fire temperatures, amazing airflow, multi-fuel option
Cons: Dangerous flame blowback, awkward attachment of the gas adaptor
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|Pros||High-fire temperatures, amazing airflow, multi-fuel option||Reasonably priced, large capacity, heavily insulated firebox, transformable design improves versatility||Fantastic crust quality, high-fire temperatures, compact and portable||Affordable, designed for a normal range oven, fast bake times||Aesthetic, large and versatile, easy to operate|
|Cons||Dangerous flame blowback, awkward attachment of the gas adaptor||Bulky, heavy, slow to preheat||Steep learning curve related to control, prolonged cook times||Heat profile depends on oven, heavyweight||Lower average internal temperature, lack of insulation, long preheat times|
|Bottom Line||A powerful pizza oven with the special capability to cook with gas and wood simultaneously||Top-notch cooking performance, output power, and versatility, all at a fraction of the cost of direct competitors||The brand that put portable pizza ovens on the map lives up to its name with outstanding performance||A heavy-duty carbon steel slab capable of serious heat transfer to make the best pizza you've ever experienced out of a normal oven||A large-bodied, versatile option that flaunts the good looks of much more expensive pizza ovens|
|Rating Categories||Bertello Outdoor||BakerStone Original||Ooni Koda 12||NerdChef 3/8" Steel...||Mont Alpi Portable|
|Cooking Performance (30%)|
|Output Power (30%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Bertello Outdoor||BakerStone Original||Ooni Koda 12||NerdChef 3/8" Steel...||Mont Alpi Portable|
|Fuel Type||Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)||Gas||Gas||n/a||Gas|
|Power Output||Not listed||25,000 BTU||13,648 BTU||n/a||12,000 BTU|
|Size of Firebox||97.5 cu. in.||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Average Stone Temperature||777°F||732°F||733°F||686°F||623°F|
|Footprint||301 sq. in.
441 sq. in. (w/ gas attachment)
|345 sq. in.||368 sq. in.||228 sq. in.||306 sq. in.|
|Maximum Pizza Diameter||12"||13"||12"||14"||12"|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Like some other fantastic products we've tested here at GearLab, the Bertello Outdoor was launched with crowd-sourced funding, which tends to lend credence to the quality of a product. This multi-fuel oven comes standard as a wood-fired oven (you can also use charcoal and pellets) but can easily be converted with a gas burner attachment. The distinguishing feature of this conversion is that it still includes a wood-burning tray. This addition lets you preheat the oven and light the wood using the propane burner, and then bake 12" pizzas as a wood-fired oven.
The Bertello oven is perhaps the most convertible of any we tested. While it blurs the lines between wood- and gas-fired ovens, we thought it best to consider each fuel type individually for unbiased comparison. This model comes standard as a wood-fired oven, which is more forgiving but less convenient to fire.
Slower cook times in the range of five to seven minutes provide more time to learn how to cook pizzas properly and give you more time to prep in between firings. But with average stone temperatures of only 552°F, it is more appropriate to cook low- to medium-fired styles of pizza. Once you feel you have the necessary skills in place, the gas conversion unlocks the potential power of the Bertello oven. With this simple switch-over, average cook times drop down to just 90 seconds, as average pizza stone temperatures rise to an incredible 774°F.
The Bertollo is the hottest oven we tested when using the gas attachment, capable of producing perfect Neapolitan-style pizzas within as little as 60 seconds. Many companies market the power of a Neapolitan pizza oven, but Bertello is one of the few that truly delivers. While it is quite possible to achieve perfectly puffy, golden crusts when firing as a gas oven, the wood-fired style is more likely to produce browner, crisper — and sometimes ashier — crusts.
The Bertello is at the top of the charts concerning maximum pizza stone temperatures as a gas oven. It is surpassed by very few other ovens, one of which is the Gozney Roccbox. The pizza stone is made with cordierite — the same material used in kiln shelving — which is one of the few materials able to tolerate temperatures above 800°F.
Incidentally, cordierite is also incredibly heat-resistive, which may seem counterintuitive but is actually the reason behind its ability to transfer heat directly into cooking the pizza crust, producing a satisfying crunch when it is time to cut into your meal. Despite a matted exterior, the reflective, stainless steel interior does an excellent job of radiating heat to evenly cook pizzas on all sides — but again, only when the fire is burning.
As a result, it is more important to manage the heat output of the Bertello oven because if you let the fire die down, both pizza stone and internal oven temperatures will quickly follow suit. Surprisingly, even internal oven temperatures slump slightly in contrast to the pizza stone. The average operating temperature of the oven chamber hovers around 670°F.
While it may not be as hot as a conventional Neapolitan pizza oven, it can produce quality pies in that style, thanks to a few key factors. The incredibly hot pizza stone gives the crust a quick rise. At the same time, positive airflow directs flames to roll across the low ceiling of the oven chamber, evenly and efficiently cooking your prepared toppings.
Whether you are firing with wood or propane, this oven produces a rolling and rollicking flame. You are given the ability to overlap the two fuel types, which can be convenient, mainly because the gas burner can backup the wood fire. But the wood tray included with the adaptor is too shallow to build a fire large enough to sustain even cooking one pizza.
While we won't go so far as to say it's just for show, we'll deem that it may be more for that "wood-fired flavor." As a result, we suggest firing the Bertello as either a wood or gas-powered oven to avoid the type of multi-tasking where one doesn't end up doing either thing particularly well.
Ease of Use
As a wood-fired oven, the Bertello is one model that will almost certainly require the assistance of a dedicated fire-tender. We feel this is a necessity, at least until you can master the skills necessary to tend to the oven and prep dough and chop toppings simultaneously. Thus is the paradox of an efficient wood-burning oven: the fire can burn hot enough to reach the extreme temperatures you desire, but that level of heat means that it can also burn through fuel too quickly. Because of the conflicting performance, this oven earned an average score for ease of use.
While airflow moves in the right direction with the back cap on, whenever you remove this cap to load firewood, you experience a serious — and frankly, dangerous — amount of blowback that results in flames shooting out the back of the oven. Fortunately, both can be avoided by using the more convenient gas burner. Even though the gas-fired option is simplified in a sense, the proximity of the flame to the top of the pizza means you must closely monitor and regularly turn the pizza to avoid it from turning into a blackened lump of coal.
One last criticism is directly related to the size and shape — and thus portability — of the Bertello oven. A compact oven chamber, complemented nicely by folding legs, makes it easy to store and convenient to carry… in wood-fired form. However, the gas attachment adds 10 inches to the length of the oven, hangs awkwardly off the back of the back, and makes the whole package much more delicate to handle and move when compared to the tank-like durability of its original form.
Should You Buy the Bertello Outdoor?
The Bertello pizza oven could be considered a "value-added" product. We cannot recommend strongly enough the additional purchase of the gas burner attachment — this will allow you to unlock the true capability of this compact powerhouse. Assuming you purchase the conversion kit, this is a truly versatile pizza oven and is perfect for any chef who does not want to restrict themselves to only one fuel type. This oven presents an exceptional performance at a reasonable price, making it a valuable addition to any outdoor kitchen.
What Other Pizza Ovens Should You Consider?
As a relative newcomer to the pizza oven scene, the Bertello Outdoor is an award-winning kitchen appliance that has the potential for true greatness. With a few design tweaks, both control and ease of use could be enhanced to the benefit of the chef. However, the few drawbacks of this model may throw you off. If this is the case, the Gozney Roccbox is worth checking out as an alternative. It is one of our favorite models that can also run on multiple fuel types and needs virtually no tweaking to produce the perfect pizza.
— Aaron Rice
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