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Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo Review

An indoor alternative to building your own authentic wood-fired brick oven outside, this specialty pizza oven is the type of appliance to incorporate into a kitchen re-design
Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo
Credit: Breville
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $1,000 List
Pros:  Exceptionally user-friendly, able to bake multiple types of pizza, stylish
Cons:  Extravagantly expensive, bulky footprint, pulls a significant amount of power
Manufacturer:   Breville
By Aaron Rice ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 12, 2021
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Cooking Performance - 30% 8
  • Output Power - 30% 8
  • Control - 25% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 10

Our Verdict

The Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo may replicate "brick oven performance at a fraction of the cost," but that is only relative to professionally installed pizza ovens — models not exactly in the same ballpark as the other portable, Neapolitan-style ovens featured in this review. Cost aside, we will be the first to admit that this electric, indoor alternative produces amazing pizzas and is the only model to feature preset baking options for fresh Neapolitan, Thin & Crispy (St. Louis or Chicago Bar-Style), New York, and Pan (Chicago-style Deep Dish) pizzas. Relative to its specialty purpose as strictly a pizza oven, the Pizzaiolo is versatile, incredibly user-friendly — practically to the point of being automatic — and stylish enough to design an entire kitchen around.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $1,000 List$499 List
$499 at Amazon
$250 List$349 List$110 List
$109.99 at Amazon
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Pros Exceptionally user-friendly, able to bake multiple types of pizza, stylishUnbelievable heat retention, quick baking time, accurate integrated thermometer, multi-fuel systemReasonably priced, large capacity, heavily insulated firebox, transformable design improves versatilityFantastic crust quality, high-fire temperatures, compact and portableAffordable, designed for a normal range oven, fast bake times
Cons Extravagantly expensive, bulky footprint, pulls a significant amount of powerExpensive, heavy, wood-fire box is smallBulky, heavy, slow to preheatSteep learning curve related to control, prolonged cook timesHeat profile depends on oven, heavyweight
Bottom Line An indoor alternative to building your own authentic wood-fired brick oven outside, this specialty pizza oven is the type of appliance to incorporate into a kitchen re-designSuperior design precedes superior performance in this professional-grade oven made for the common cookTop-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 heavy-duty carbon steel slab capable of serious heat transfer to make the best pizza you've ever experienced out of a normal oven
Rating Categories Breville Smart Oven... Gozney Roccbox BakerStone Original Ooni Koda 12 NerdChef 3/8" Steel...
Cooking Performance (30%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Output Power (30%)
8.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Control (25%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
10.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Breville Smart Oven... Gozney Roccbox BakerStone Original Ooni Koda 12 NerdChef 3/8" Steel...
Fuel Type Electric Gas, Wood (w/ conversion) Gas Gas n/a
Power Output 1800 watts 14,330 BTU 25,000 BTU 13,648 BTU n/a
Size of Firebox n/a 156 cu. in. n/a n/a n/a
Average Stone Temperature 756°F (on "Wood Fired" setting) 748°F 732°F 733°F 686°F
Footprint 335 sq in. 299 sq. in. 345 sq. in. 368 sq. in. 228 sq. in.
Maximum Pizza Diameter 12" 12" 13" 12" 14"

Our Analysis and Test Results

Similar to the less purpose-built Smart Oven (of the same product line), the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo utilizes Breville's patented Element iQ system for "smart cooking." The system presets have been specially designed to direct power to specific heating elements depending on the type of pizza you are baking. Additionally, the system employs temperature sensors, and a PID control unit inside the well-insulated oven to achieve the optimal baking environment based on the particular pizza variety you want to achieve.

Performance Comparison


Ever dreamt of making the perfect Neapolitan pizza from the comfort...
Ever dreamt of making the perfect Neapolitan pizza from the comfort of your own kitchen? The Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo is a highly engineered appliance that can make those dreams a reality.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Cooking Performance


The Smart Oven Pizzaiolo borrows its name from the UNESCO-protected art of pizza making in the Naples region of Italy. It refers to the chef who oversees the traditional production of pizza making: from the precise preparation of dough to specialized baking techniques of wood-fired ovens. This Pizzaiolo oven seeks to recreate the experience of Neapolitan-style pizza, adding the satisfaction of being able to bake these specialty pies from the comfort of your own kitchen. After a 20 minute preheat on the "Wood Fired" setting, this is the only electric model capable of reaching a measured average stone temperature of 756°F. After a preset 2 minute bake time, this oven turns out a practically perfect Neapolitan-style pizza — "soft and fragrant," with an impressively airy crust that is lightly singed but never burnt.


But the incredible capability of the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo does not stop at just Neapolitan-style pizzas. The brilliance of Breville's patented Element iQ design is that this cooking system can easily adjust to achieve optimum baking environments for multiple kinds of pizzas, including Bar-style (listed as "Thin & Crispy"), New York, and Pan pizzas (better known as Chicago-style Deep Dish. It even has a setting for take-away, Frozen pizzas if home-cooking isn't exactly your thing. These preset options span the spectrum of pizza varieties and are an important distinction in design because each type requires specific baking conditions to achieve its style particulars.

This is one of few at-home ovens that would make a master Pizzaiolo...
Oil-cupped pepperonis and evenly browned cheese are two signs of a...
Look closely: the laminated dough of a deep-dish pie offers a unique...

Depending on the setting, the top and bottom heating elements automatically adjust heat output and distribution with the ability to switch between internal and exterior coils according to the temperature control system; other sensors monitor internal air temperature and humidity and operate a fan to automatically control the oven environment. Instead of replicating the extremely hot, dry environment of a wood-fired oven, the New York preset heats the pizza stone to an ideal average of 520°F while maintaining a bit of humidity for the requisite foldability of the chewy crust. For a deep-dish pie, your purchase includes a carbon-steel pan to efficiently cook these skillet pies in only 18 minutes, producing a pizza with the key combination of a crunchy base, fluffy crust, and a thoroughly cooked filling.

This smart oven is unique thanks to presets that are engineered for...
This smart oven is unique thanks to presets that are engineered for optimal baking conditions for five distinctly different kinds of pizza.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Output Power


Every oven we tested that successfully reproduces a wood-fired pizza effectively translates the three pillars of a Neapolitan-style oven: intense direct heat from the source, the resulting ambient air temperature in the range of 800°F, and an insulated pizza stone capable of absorbing and transmitting a similarly extreme amount of heat. According to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), the organization that sets the international regulation for Neapolitan pizza, this combination of conductive, radiative, and convective heat are required to quickly bake perfectly puffed pies.


Indeed, the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo skillfully combines all three key components with the capable Element iQ system. Dual heating elements — one on the top of the oven and another tucked away underneath the pizza stone in the slide-out deck — each have an interior and exterior coil to evenly distribute heat throughout the oven. Even though this oven is electric and only puts out 1800 watts (equivalent to the standard Breville Smart Oven), thoughtful design points specifically direct heat to significantly improve baking quality.

The heat from the individual heating elements on the top of the oven...
The heat from the individual heating elements on the top of the oven is dispersed around the highly reflective oven chamber for optimum efficiency.
Credit: Aaron Rice

This oven uses a durable cordierite stone, which is thermally shock-resistant and therefore able to heat up quickly without cracking. This allows it to rest directly against the deck coils, providing an even conductive heat distribution that results in an ideal crust consistency, regardless of pizza type. We used an infrared thermometer to take temperature readings across the stone surface, averaged those numbers, and then used a standard deviation approach to directly compare pizza stones of different ovens. The Smart Oven Pizzaiolo has, by far, the evenest temperature profile across the stone of any oven we tested, with an optimal temperature of 756°F on the Neapolitan setting. Even though the average internal temperature of the oven is less-than-ideal on this setting — averaging only 663°F — it is still capable of producing beautiful pizzas in this style, thanks to key designs to control radiant and convective heat distribution.

The pizza stone is set into a sliding deck, putting it in direct...
The pizza stone is set into a sliding deck, putting it in direct contact with the underlying heating elements. The deck slides into place when the heavily insulated door is closed to put it closer to the upper elements.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Control


To achieve ideal upper and lower crust consistency-- timed perfectly with the finish time for toppings — the convective and radiant heat delivery relies not only on the automatically adjusting heat elements but also the highly reflective interior of a highly insulated oven body.


While regular gas- or wood-fired ovens require constant attention and regular turning to avoid burning a Neapolitan pie, the dual-coal heating elements in the Pizzaiolo deliver even radiant heat across the top of the pizza for consistent results. For settings other than "Wood Fired," the inner heating element switches on and off throughout the cooking process — this is how the oven achieves the characteristically browned cheese on the "New York" preset.

While it doesn't require direct action like other ovens, it is...
While it doesn't require direct action like other ovens, it is important to still monitor how a pizza is baking. An overly excited air bubble exploded from the middle of this deep-dish pie, which also highlights how the reflectors extend down from the heating coils.
Credit: Aaron Rice

This is enhanced by parabolic reflectors encircling the heating elements, which help enhance the precision of radiant heat delivery and improve efficiency. And that is how the oven can cook at sub-800°F air temperatures and yet still produce similar quality pies to a traditional Neapolitan wood-fired oven. The reflectors also are designed to direct radiant heat outward towards the crust to achieve the sought-after "leopard-spotted effect" — the browning of the crust instead of burning — rather than overcooking toppings or burning cheese. For those who might prefer their pizzas a little over- or under-crisped, there is even a knob to adjust for a lighter or darker crust.

Manual mode comes with an additional magnet to change the...
The darkness knob adds some level of control, even when using the...

Ease of Use


Much of the allure of the Pizzaiolo is around its user-friendliness. For those who want to turn out flawless pizzas each and every time but are a bit wary of their own cooking skills, this oven is all-but automatic. It offers all of the same convenience of other electric ovens but actually delivers high-quality pies. With the style presets and obvious alarm system for things like preheating and cooking times, you can focus on pizza preparation and leave the worry to this smart oven.


However, for those who do want to be more involved in the cooking process, this oven also offers a "manual" setting. This allows you to dial in the deck and oven temperatures and set whether the top heating element distributes heat evenly or directs it more towards the crust. Despite its purposeful design specific to pizza making, the Pizzaiolo delivers a full-value experience — from fully automatic to entirely manual operation. This is what makes this oven such a versatile option for such a wide array of cooking abilities.

The automated function of the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo allows you to...
The automated function of the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo allows you to focus on nailing pizza prep while pies cook. Here, we're putting together a deep-dish pie in the included carbon steel pan.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Value


It is the size and expense that limit the value of this oven, not its cooking performance or ease of use. There is no way around it: the Pizzaiolo is an expensive, single-purpose appliance that will likely only appeal to those designing a lavishly technical modern kitchen or to the truly pizza-obsessed.

It's amazing to be able to cook three different styles of pizza, all...
A New York pizza comes 2nd in-line, cooked between 500 and 550...
Finally we have the Neapolitan pizza (not yet topped with fresh...

Conclusion


For those seeking the ultimate at-home pizza maker to simplify the baking process, the fully automated design of the Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo should be incorporated into your kitchen. This extravagant oven is a remarkable feat of engineering by a design team that clearly loves pizza. It does, however, carry a price tag that will outshine its marvel for many.

A beautifully puffed, and perfectly singed "cornicione" (the...
A beautifully puffed, and perfectly singed "cornicione" (the distinctive crust of a Neapolitan pizza). This is a serious feat for an electric oven.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Aaron Rice