Bertello Outdoor Review
Pros: High-fire temperatures, amazing airflow, multi-fuel option
Cons: Dangerous flame blowback, awkward attachment of the gas adaptor
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$300 List||$250 List||$349 List||$110 List||$349 List|
|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||Well-insulated, easily broken down for transport, easily converted multi-fuel system|
|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||Heat-resistive stone takes long to preheat, soot buildup in oven chamber reduces efficiency|
|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 beautiful, portable option that offers the best of both the gas- and wood-fired worlds|
|Rating Categories||Bertello Outdoor||BakerStone Original||Ooni Koda 12||NerdChef 3/8" Steel...||Ooni Karu 12|
|Cooking Performance (30%)|
|Output Power (30%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Bertello Outdoor||BakerStone Original||Ooni Koda 12||NerdChef 3/8" Steel...||Ooni Karu 12|
|Fuel Type||Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)||Gas||Gas||n/a||Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)|
|Power Output||Not listed||25,000 BTU||13,648 BTU||n/a||15,350 BTU|
|Size of Firebox||97.5 cu. in.||n/a||n/a||n/a||135 cu. in.|
|Average Stone Temperature||777°F||732°F||733°F||686°F||736°F|
|Footprint||301 sq. in.
441 sq. in. (w/ gas attachment)
|345 sq. in.||368 sq. in.||228 sq. in.||368 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 (charcoal and pellets can also be used), 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 allows you to 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 is able to blur the lines between wood- and gas-fired ovens, for the sake of discussing performance, it is still best to consider each fuel type individually. 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 properly cook pizzas, 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.
With the gas attachment, this is the hottest oven we tested, 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 actually 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.
As a gas oven, the Bertello is at the top of the charts with regard to maximum pizza stone temperatures. 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 in excess of 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, rather than absorbing that same heat. Despite a matted exterior, the reflective, stainless steel interior does a good 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 a bit 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, the Bertello is capable of producing quality pies in that style thanks to a few key factors. The incredibly hot pizza stone gives the crust a quick rise, while positive airflow directs flames to roll across the low ceiling of the oven chamber, evenly and efficiently cooking toppings.
Regardless of whether you are firing with wood or propane, this oven produces a rolling and rollicking flame that is as effective as it is charming. With a gas adapter — rather than a full conversion — it is nice to be able to overlap the two fuel types, particularly because the gas burner can backup the wood fire. But the wood tray included with the adaptor is actually 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; at least until you are able to master the skills necessary to tend to the oven and prep pizzas simultaneously. This 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.
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 of these can be avoided by using the more convenient gas burner. Even though the gas-fired option is simplified in a sense, the close 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 both 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.
The Bertello pizza oven could be considered as something of 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.
As a relative newcomer to the pizza oven scene, the Bertello Outdoor is an award-winning model 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. But even in its current form — whether gas-powered or wood-fired — this oven presents an exceptional performance at a reasonable price point, making it a valuable addition to any outdoor kitchen.
— Aaron Rice