Gozney Roccbox Review
Pros: Unbelievable heat retention, quick baking time, accurate integrated thermometer, multi-fuel system
Cons: Expensive, heavy, wood-fire box is small
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|Pros||Unbelievable heat retention, quick baking time, accurate integrated thermometer, multi-fuel system||Reasonably priced, large capacity, heavily insulated firebox, transformable design improves versatility||Fantastic crust quality, high-fire temperatures, compact and portable||High-fire temperatures, amazing airflow, multi-fuel option||Well-insulated, easily broken down for transport, easily converted multi-fuel system|
|Cons||Expensive, heavy, wood-fire box is small||Bulky, heavy, slow to preheat||Steep learning curve related to control, prolonged cook times||Dangerous flame blowback, awkward attachment of the gas adaptor||Heat-resistive stone takes long to preheat, soot buildup in oven chamber reduces efficiency|
|Bottom Line||Superior design precedes superior performance in this professional-grade oven made for the common cook||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 powerful pizza oven with the special capability to cook with gas and wood simultaneously||A beautiful, portable option that offers the best of both the gas- and wood-fired worlds|
|Rating Categories||Gozney Roccbox||BakerStone Original||Ooni Koda 12||Bertello Outdoor||Ooni Karu 12|
|Cooking Performance (30%)|
|Output Power (30%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Gozney Roccbox||BakerStone Original||Ooni Koda 12||Bertello Outdoor||Ooni Karu 12|
|Fuel Type||Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)||Gas||Gas||Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)||Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)|
|Power Output||14,330 BTU||25,000 BTU||13,648 BTU||Not listed||15,350 BTU|
|Size of Firebox||156 cu. in.||n/a||n/a||97.5 cu. in.||135 cu. in.|
|Average Oven Temperature||772°F||756°F||756°F||723°F||741°F|
|Footprint||299 sq. in.||345 sq. in.||368 sq. in.||301 sq. in.
441 sq. in. (w/ gas attachment)
|368 sq. in.|
|Maximum Pizza Diameter||12"||13"||12"||12"||12"|
Our Analysis and Test Results
In its gas-powered form, the Gozney Roccbox is lit by a single 14,330 BTU propane injector that snaps into the "quick-fit gasket" on the bottom of the oven and is easily interchangeable with their Wood Burner 2.0 accessory attachment for those "looking to master the art of wood-fired cooking." Whether fired with gas or wood, the innovative baffle plate design above the flame injector sends a rolling flame out over the 12" stone to cook pizzas with an unmatched efficiency that truly holds to the 90 seconds-or-less tradition of Neapolitan-style pizza ovens.
Gozney is a British company with a relatively short, but substantial history of developing exceptional professional-grade pizza ovens for both commercial and residential use. From the outside, this portable version has the appearance of a 1960's avant-garde design à la the Jetsons. While it may look futuristic, the Roccbox draws upon design foundations intended to mimic the insulation, heat retention, and forward-drawing airflow of a traditional Neapolitan-style pizza oven — and it does so beautifully.
After a standard preheating period of approximately 20 minutes, this oven pushes temperatures that tested the 800°F limits of our infrared thermometer. The internal air temperature of the oven chamber hovers near 795°F, with an average reading of 748°F across the pizza stone. Using those two temperatures to determine the mean cooking temperature, the Roccbox secures itself squarely as the hottest oven in our review. With the notable exception of being a gas-fired oven, this is one of the few that genuinely matches the standards set forth by the AVPN for a Neapolitan pizza oven: capable of baking pizzas at a minimum temperature of 806°F in just 60-90 seconds.
Based on the insulated construction — which combines a thick 19mm cordierite pizza stone at the base with a calcium silicate backed dome — this result is none-too-surprising. What is truly remarkable is the relative ease with which one is able to turn out gracefully singed, delicately fluffed crusts of a near-perfect Neapolitan pizza the very first time firing this oven. While other ovens took a little while to feel out, the Roccbox was approachable from the get-go, immediately churning out superb pizzas.
The savvy reader may notice that our average temperature readings don't quite make the AVPN cut. But those numbers were taken just after the preheat period — in fact, both the temperature of the oven and pizza stone continue to rise during use. The Roccbox is outfitted with a thermometer built into the pizza stone. As a thermocouple probe, it can be trusted to be incredibly accurate, and routinely recorded temperatures in the range of 860°F after a half-hour of firing pizzas.
While the secret behind the intensity of this oven is the insulation, perhaps the most distinguishing design feature is the burner — or rather, propane injector. Unlike other gas ovens where a standard burner commonly produces a series of small flames, the single burner of the Roccbox forces propane through a 1.1mm injector, generating the flamethrower-like torch emanating from the back of the oven. Positive airflow from the open-front draws this flame forward, simulating the convective heat transfer of a traditional wood-fired oven that is so effective at cooking Neapolitan-style pizzas.
Although this is a multi-fuel model, the capability of this as a gas-powered oven far outstrips its ability as a wood-fired oven. Since the flame injector is actually built into the oven chamber, a wood fire is still going to burn quite hot, generating that rolling "true wood flame" we expect from an all-natural fuel source. The issue is that — like all portable, wood-fired ovens we tested — the amount of fuel is limited by the size of the firebox. Even though the 156 cubic-inch box is the largest of any conversion we've come across, the unfortunate combination of limited size of the firebox and the efficiency with which it burns makes it difficult for even a dedicated fire-tender to keep up with stoking it.
For those with a basic understanding of how one should work a pizza in a high-fire oven, the Roccbox is surprisingly easy to fire, particularly in comparison to its direct competitors. Unlike some of those other models, the unique design of this oven produces the same type of flame regardless of whether it is being fired with propane or wood. A baffle plate just above the fuel injector blocks the flame as it rises, artificially creating turbulence that causes it to spread out, resulting in an even flame distribution over the extent of the oven chamber.
The baffled design is engineered to replicate the natural way that a wood-flame fans out and rolls over the ceiling of the oven chamber, carrying essential heat forward and ever-so-gently kissing the upper crust. This gives your pizzas that sought-after, "artisanal" look, with just the right amount of char so that your guests know these pizzas were made fresh. We know it is a long road to even understand the subtle skill of a master Pizzaiuolo, but this oven inspired us with the confidence to fully pursue the art of pizza making.
The Roccbox stands out among powerful, gas-fired options as an accessible oven that will likely appeal to novices as well as professionals. However, for all of the praise heaped onto this oven so far, it is not without its flaws. While the insulation is crucial to retaining vital heat, this oven is so insulated that it is actually difficult to dump when the moment calls for it. Even with the fuel output turned all the way down to the lowest setting, the oven chamber continues to gain heat, making it difficult to manage the temperature of the pizza stone in particular.
Ease of Use
While the continually rising temperature is certainly a control issue to be aware of, when viewed through the lens of functionality, the thermal inertia of this oven becomes more intriguing. Traditional pizza ovens were first fired into the same extreme temperature range we know the Roccbox is capable of. But after they were "shut off", chefs then pivoted to other cooking and baking tasks as the oven radiated away that heat over the next few hours. In a similar fashion, the well-insulated Roccbox takes hours to cool down, which makes it a compelling option for those also interested in baking bread.
Like other multi-fuel models, the Roccbox is both easier and more convenient to fire as a gas-powered oven. But unlike other models we tested, this is one where we actually prefer the gas-fired option over the more traditional — and often more satisfying — wood alternative. Its unique burner design produces an appealing and effective rolling flame regardless of the fuel source, so why not choose the more convenient option? In its gas-fired format, this oven can easily be operated solo, where you can prep and fire pizzas simultaneously, whenever the mood strikes.
A heavy-duty lifting strap makes this 44-pound oven a little more reasonable to transport — though based on the weight, we aren't planning on carrying it to a picnic anytime soon. When it comes to storage, the detachable burners are surprisingly more of a burden than a blessing. While the legs fold up to make storage of the oven body more convenient, without an included storage box for the gas burner we fear that the fuel injector could be accidentally damaged.
With all of these distinctions, it hopefully won't come as much surprise that the Roccbox falls at the top end of the price spectrum. But this is a professional-grade pizza oven, built with professional-grade materials that are designed to last. As such, Gozney backs this oven up with an unprecedented five-year warranty with product registration.
A restaurant-grade oven in a portable format, the Gozney Roccbox consistently delivers professional quality, Neapolitan-style pizzas from the comfort of your backyard — or wherever your cooking adventures may take you.
— Aaron Rice