Compare to Similar Products
Solo Stove Pi
$709.99 at Amazon
$499.00 at Amazon
$799.95 at Amazon
$299.99 at Amazon
$109.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Incredible heat output, even heat distribution throughout the oven chamber, aesthetic appeal||Unbelievable heat retention, quick baking time, accurate integrated thermometer, multi-fuel system||Exceptionally user-friendly, able to bake multiple types of pizza, stylish||Reasonably priced, large capacity, heavily insulated firebox, transformable design improves versatility||Affordable, designed for a normal range oven, fast bake times|
|Cons||Very expensive, bulky and heavy, a tendency towards flair-ups||Expensive, heavy, wood-fire box is small||Extravagantly expensive, bulky footprint, pulls a significant amount of power||Bulky, heavy, slow to preheat||Heat profile depends on oven, heavyweight|
|Bottom Line||This beautiful, impressively powerful oven is designed to become the centerpiece of any backyard pizza party||Superior design precedes superior performance in this professional-grade oven made for the common cook||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||Top-notch cooking performance, output power, and versatility, all at a fraction of the cost of direct competitors||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|
|Rating Categories||Solo Stove Pi||Gozney Roccbox||Breville Smart Oven...||BakerStone Original||NerdChef 3/8" Steel...|
|Cooking Performance (30%)|
|Output Power (30%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Solo Stove Pi||Gozney Roccbox||Breville Smart Oven...||BakerStone Original||NerdChef 3/8" Steel...|
|Fuel Type||Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)||Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)||Electric||Gas||n/a|
|Power Output||15,000 BTU||14,330 BTU||1800 watts||25,000 BTU||n/a|
|Size of Firebox||128 cu. in.||156 cu. in.||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Average Stone Temperature||776°F||748°F||756°F (on "Wood Fired" setting)||732°F||686°F|
|Footprint||637 sq. in.||299 sq. in.||335 sq in.||345 sq. in.||228 sq. in.|
|Maximum Pizza Diameter||12"||12"||12"||13"||14"|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Solo Stove Pi is a multi-fuel oven: the standard version is a more affordable wood-burning option, while adding a gas burner pushes the price point up significantly. The gas burner cranks out an impressive 15,000 BTU per hour, capable of making 12" pizzas in just a few minutes. This oven maintains the classic round design of Solo's fire pits, offering a wide opening that makes it easier to observe the baking progress and turn pizzas. Like their fire pits, the oversized footprint of the Solo Stove Pi makes it more of a backyard fixture to gather around rather than a portable pizza oven to pull out at a tailgate.
Without a doubt, the Solo Stove Pi is one of the finest backyard pizza ovens we have tested to date. This oven is beautiful to behold and consistently turns out pretty pizzas. In its gas-powered form on its highest output setting, this powerful oven can turn out perfectly crisped Neapolitan-style pizzas in as little as two minutes. It boasts one of the highest pizza stone temperatures of any oven in our lineup, with an average temperature of a searing 776°F.
Unlike other barrel-style ovens, the Pi is one of the few unconventionally shaped backyard pizza ovens that is still capable of re-creating the heat and airflow necessary to produce a Neapolitan-style pie nearly per the standards set forth by the AVPN for a Neapolitan pizza oven. Although the opening appears wider than most other ovens we've tested –-which, indeed, does help with ease of operation –- the Pi can still only cook a 12" pizza.
Although the Pi comes as a wood-burning pizza oven in its original form, like most multi-fuel options we tested, this oven truly shines once you attach the gas burner. With the gas burner installed, it takes a mere 12 minutes to reach an ideal stone temperature of 750°F. By that point, the ambient air temperature within the oven chamber already exceeded the 800°F maximum of our infrared thermometer –- we would not be surprised if this heavily insulated dome is capable of oven chamber temperatures near 900°F, as the marketing material from Solo Stove suggests.
But with great power comes great responsibility. From our personal experience, the Pi produces more than enough heat to burn pizzas to a crisp within one minute (and we mean that literally!) Another point of concern is that this oven is so hot that it is prone to flair-ups when the super-heated flour and cornmeal erupt into a burst of flame after removing the pizza. To avoid this phenomenon and to produce more consistent pizzas, once this oven is up to temperature, it is recommended that you use the "optimum heat" range indicated on the burner control knob.
The design of this oven may appear deceptively simple. But we're certain that all the understated design features were thoughtfully conceived to produce a pizza oven that appeals to professionals and novices alike. Take, for example, the burner control knob we mentioned before: by highlighting the ideal mid-range cooking temperature in orange, you can literally dial in the flame to produce perfectly crisped pizzas consistently –- as long as your turning skills are equally dialed-in of course. Unlike other well-insulated, uber-powerful ovens that we tested that tended to continue to gain heat, the control knob on the Pi does a fantastic job of regulating the ambient oven and stone to an ideal baking temperature.
However, we did notice that flame from the gas burner tended to favor one side heavily. This inconsistency in fire output resulted in quicker browning –- or sometimes blackening –- on just one side. Again, nothing that can't be solved by brushing up your Pizzaiuolo skills. In its wood-fired form, the small size of the firebox requires fairly consistent loading to maintain cooking temperature. But this fact is fairly consistent across all of the wood-fired ovens we tested.
Ease of Use
The Pi is one of the quickest and easiest ovens to set up. Aside from exchanging the firebox for the gas burner, this oven was practically ready to fire straight out of the box. Like all multi-fuel systems we tested, we heavily prefer the user-friendliness of a gas-powered oven. As an oven that maintains temperature particularly well, it is easy to operate this oven solo (yes, there is a pun in there), offering your regular, at-home baker the ability to fire the oven and bake pizzas while simultaneously prepping without much fuss. The biggest knock against this model is simply the size and heft. With a footprint and volume nearly double that of other ovens in our review, we wouldn't exactly call the Pi a "portable" pizza oven. Instead –- much like their fire pits -– this beautiful, stainless steel oven seems to be designed as a backyard centerpiece to gather around for your next pizza party.
Should You Buy the Solo Stove Pi?
Unless you are looking for a portable pizza oven, in particular, there is very little not to love about the Pi. This pizza oven is impressively powerful, incredibly easy to use, and aesthetically pleasing enough to design a backyard kitchen around. If you buy this oven in its gas-powered form –- and we think you should –- then the price tag of this expensive oven makes it worthy of incorporating as a fixture appliance into some future home improvement project.
What Other Pizza Ovens Should You Consider?
The savvy reader will notice that the Solo Stove Pi scores on par with the award-winning Gozney Roccbox, a pizza oven that is just as capable of cranking out professional-grade Neapolitan-style pizzas for a fraction of the cost of this oven. It isn't easy to compare many other models to the quality of these two superb ovens. However, the cooking performance and user-friendliness of the BakerStone Original certainly come close to that of the Solo Stove Pi and is well worth your consideration.
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