Best Pizza Oven of 2021
$499 at Amazon
|$1,000 List||$250 List||$349 List||$300 List|
|Pros||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||Fantastic crust quality, high-fire temperatures, compact and portable||High-fire temperatures, amazing airflow, multi-fuel option|
|Cons||Expensive, heavy, wood-fire box is small||Extravagantly expensive, bulky footprint, pulls a significant amount of power||Bulky, heavy, slow to preheat||Steep learning curve related to control, prolonged cook times||Dangerous flame blowback, awkward attachment of the gas adaptor|
|Bottom Line||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||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|
|Rating Categories||Gozney Roccbox||Breville Smart Oven...||BakerStone Original||Ooni Koda 12||Bertello Outdoor|
|Cooking Performance (30%)|
|Output Power (30%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Gozney Roccbox||Breville Smart Oven...||BakerStone Original||Ooni Koda 12||Bertello Outdoor|
|Fuel Type||Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)||Electric||Gas||Gas||Gas, Wood (w/ conversion)|
|Power Output||14,330 BTU||1800 watts||25,000 BTU||13,648 BTU||Not listed|
|Size of Firebox||156 cu. in.||n/a||n/a||n/a||97.5 cu. in.|
|Average Stone Temperature||748°F||756°F (on "Wood Fired" setting)||732°F||733°F||777°F|
|Footprint||299 sq. in.||335 sq in.||345 sq. in.||368 sq. in.||301 sq. in.
441 sq. in. (w/ gas attachment)
|Maximum Pizza Diameter||12"||12"||13"||12"||12"|
Best Overall Pizza Oven
The Gozney Roccbox is a commercial-grade oven, just shrunken down to a more consumer-friendly size. It is the perfect portable representation of a true Neapolitan-style oven, easily taking home our top award. Whether in its gas-powered or wood-burning form, this multi-fuel oven is engineered to recreate key principles of traditional ovens related to airflow, insulation, and output power. Aside from all of the accolades the Roccbox deserves in terms of cooking performance, the best part about this oven is that its ease of use is approachable for professionals and novice pizza makers alike.
As is often the case, a high-value product carries a hefty price tag. The cost is certainly justified by its performance, but the Roccbox — including both the gas and wood burners — is nearly double the price of its direct competitors. Similarly hefty is the oven itself. The footprint is on the smaller end, but tipping the scales at 44 pounds, this is easily one of the heaviest ovens in this review. But that weight is the result of unparalleled insulation, which drives the superior performance of the Roccbox — a portable pizza oven to make a Pizzaiuolo proud.
Read review: Gozney Roccbox
Best Bang for Your Buck
On the other side of the same coin, the BakerStone Original offers top-of-its-class performance at a fraction of the cost. It may not be as quick to cook as some direct competitors, but the temperature control and efficient airflow through this unique oven chamber remove much of the time pressure related to baking classic Neapolitan-style pizza. The oven box itself is removable from the base burner unit, and can either be transformed into a grill or griddle, or the oven box can be used to transform a full-size gas or charcoal grill into a pizza oven. Now that's multi-functional, outdoor cooking!
While it may be versatile, the BakerStone is not the most easily transportable oven. Though it can be taken in sections to somewhat improve portability, this bulky, 48-pound oven is likely best as the focal point of an outdoor kitchen, rather than a companion for car camping. Though capable of reaching the types of temperatures necessary to cook Neapolitan-style pizza, the bulk and design of the firebox means that it takes a long time to preheat. But once up to temperature, you can be assured that this price-point oven will bake just as well, if not better than, other top ovens on the market.
Read review: BakerStone Original
Best Overall Value
NerdChef 3/8" Steel Stone
The NerdChef 3/8" Steel Stone presents an affordable alternative for at-home pizza making. We recognize that this is not technically a pizza oven in itself — instead, this accessory enhances the capability of the range already installed in your kitchen to produce a quality of pizza you likely never thought was possible. This heavy-duty steel slab is denser and more conductive than a typical ceramic stone, allowing it to efficiently and effectively transfer the intense heat needed for a quick dough rise. Working in conjunction with the broiler in your home oven, this pizza steel is capable of actually turning out nearly perfect Neapolitan pizzas in as little as three minutes.
Since this is not a standalone oven, the quality of the pizza produced is highly dependent on the heat profile and even distribution of your range oven. This makes quality control somewhat case-dependent — for instance, we're not sure how well this steel would work in an electric oven without the direct heat source of a gas broiler. The thickly-cut steel itself is also remarkably heavy and awkward to handle, especially if you need to reposition the steel stone after it comes up to temperature. But for those who want to bake Neapolitan-style pizzas at home and aren't necessarily interested in investing in a new specialty appliance, the NerdChef Steel Stone is an intriguing alternative to a pizza oven.
Read review: NerdChef 3/8" Steel Stone
Best Indoor Oven
Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo
The Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo is a marvel of engineering, clearly designed by a team dedicated to making the perfect pizza from the comfort of your own kitchen. This is the only electric option that is actually capable of achieving 700°F+ temperatures to replicate the magic of a traditional wood-fired oven. But unlike other ovens in this review, this versatile model isn't relegated to only baking Neapolitan-style pizzas. This smart oven uses a series of sensors to optimize oven conditions for some of your favorite pies, offering automated presets for a variety of styles: Neapolitan, thin & crispy Bar-Style, New York, and Chicago Deep-Dish.
However, all of this comes at an exorbitant cost. It isn't easy to justify the price tag of this oven, considering its relative cooking performance when directly compared to other ovens included in this review. Without a doubt, the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo bakes a beautiful pizza, but not one that is two-to-three times better to rationalize paying double or triple the price of other options. Considering the size and bulk of this well-insulated oven, it is the type of specialty appliance a pizza lover might design an entire kitchen around. And, for those who want to consistently churn out perfect pies with ease, this nearly automated smart oven is a technological innovation for the world of pizza making.
Read review: Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo
Best for Portability
Ooni Koda 12
If it weren't for Ooni, we may not be here at all — the company that first marketed the modern, portable pizza oven continues to build on an esteemed reputation with their flagship model, the Ooni Koda 12. This elegantly designed stainless steel oven only weighs 20 pounds, earning top marks for portability. The efficiently engineered Koda uses a rocket-booster of a gas burner at the back of the oven to crank out Neapolitan-style pizzas in a matter of minutes, making it a great choice if you plan on baking rounds of pizzas for a party. And when it's all over, the heat of the oven is all that's required to burn off any mess or residue, making cleanup a breeze.
But just like a traditional oven, the Koda requires some time and patience to learn how to operate. The reflective interior of the stainless steel frame is part of what makes this oven so efficient, but it can also quickly overcook pizzas, transforming them into a charred brick if you're not careful to monitor the burner output. Although this oven is plenty insulated for quality cooking, it doesn't seem to carry as much thermal inertia as other ovens. But this is first-and-foremost a pizza oven — with top-notch quality, performance, and portability, it's no wonder it's a popular option.
Read review: Ooni Koda 12
Best Multi-Fuel Oven
Can't decide between a gas- or wood-fired oven? The convertible Bertello Outdoor means you can have the best of both worlds — it even has the capability to use both fuels simultaneously. The Bertello is designed to mimic the superior airflow of a Tuscan-style barrel vault oven to create an attractive rolling flame to cook your pizza. In either form, this oven is capable of producing the intense temperatures needed to turn out a Neapolitan-style pizza in less than 90 seconds — however, the accessory gas attachment certainly makes it more convenient to reach such temperatures.
This is a relative newcomer to the scene, and as a result, has some flaws that seriously affect its control and ease of use. In its standard wood-fired format, it can be difficult — sometimes dangerously so — to control the blowback. When burning hot, it will literally shoot flames out of the back of the oven, making tasks like stoking the fire almost frightening. And, although the standard Bertello oven is compact and easily stored, the gas attachment sticks precariously out of the back, making it both less reasonable to transport and more awkward to store. But to the benefit of those new to cooking with natural fuels, a wood fire can be backed up by the gas burners while you're learning the art of fire tending.
Read review: Bertello Outdoor
Why You Should Trust Us
Review Editor Aaron Rice started his working career in a pizza shop, so it is only fitting that he now comes full-circle to test pizza ovens. Having worked in and around kitchens for the better part of a decade, Aaron has held an array of jobs in the industry: from working on the line for a James Beard-nominated chef, to growing and co-managing the market garden at a fine-dining restaurant with his wife. Jill Rice became enthralled with wood-fired ovens after organizing a bread and pizza workshop while working at the Dartmouth College organic farm. Since then she has baked pizza in everything from Dutch ovens over a coal fire while leading outdoor education trips in Alaska, to slinging personal pies from a homebuilt backyard cob oven in New Mexico. As professional gardeners and avid home chefs, this culinary couple brings their own flair and rich experiences to this review, all in the pursuit of making good food more accessible to everyone.
Before we ever mix dough or fire up an oven, we first perform our due diligence of market research. Our experts spend hours online investigating some of the most popular pizza ovens available. We then develop a set of criteria to narrow our selection to a comprehensive list that covers a range of performance, fuel types, and price points. We purchase all of these ovens at retail cost to ensure full objectivity throughout our rigorous testing process. Our team of expert reviewers design numerically-based tests that provide us with impartial data to help rank these ovens relative to one another. We then back up those statistics with real-world cooking experience so that we can relate on a personal level. An extended testing period allows us to spend significant time getting acquainted with the intricacies of each oven — for this review, we baked well over 60 pizzas over the course of many months. But at the end of the day, it is our side-by-side comparative testing that allows us to definitively break down the pros and cons of some of the highest quality ovens on the market.
Related: How We Tested Pizza Ovens
Analysis and Test Results
Before discussing the test results, it is important to mention that the ovens included in this review are the most popular options on the market. By focusing on only the best products, our side-by-side testing can tease out nuanced details that otherwise would not be obvious before you purchased and tried it out for yourself. Since our testing process is based on direct comparison, a low score does not mean that it is a bad product, it only means that it scored poorly relative to the other products in the review. A combination of standardized, "laboratory"-style tests and homegrown experience allows us to deliver a more thorough review. The ultimate goal is always to better inform your purchase decisions.
Related: Buying Advice for Pizza Ovens
Our team developed a set of comprehensive rating metrics to allow us to make direct comparisons across this collection of products. These mutually exclusive components that make up the overall score are weighted based on how they influence the pizza-making experience: Cooking Performance (30%); Output Power (30%); Control (25%); Ease of Use (15%).
As with all of our assessments, value should be considered as a relative metric. Rather than considering price point alone, we weigh how the price compares against a product's quality and performance. If something costs less but performs better than directly comparable products, then it holds a greater value. Similarly, if something is designed with longevity in mind, it is more valuable than something that is planned to become obsolete.
To develop a more complete picture of the marketplace, we then compare product values directly to one another. Sometimes the most expensive products are not the best in their class — but in this instance, that happens to hold true. The Gozney Roccbox carries an above-average price tag but also displays superior performance in nearly every aspect of pizza making. Similarly, the Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo is extraordinarily priced but is the only oven capable of producing restaurant-quality pies from the comfort of your kitchen. On the other side of that coin, the BakerStone offers a quality pizza on-par with higher performance ovens but costs nearly half as much. Although the NerdChef Steel Stone doesn't have the same allure as a dedicated pizza oven and largely depends on the capacity of an already existing range oven, it does offer an intriguing alternative at a much lower price point. Depending on where you — the consumer — place your value, we break down each of these ovens side-by-side based on each individual metric.
If you plan to invest in this specialty appliance — and these ovens are pricey — you want to be assured that it willexcel in its singular task: making pizza. While versatility is a nice bonus, we focus on the attributes of an oven that will allow you to make superb slices. The most popular ovens are designed to mimic traditional Neapolitan-style pizza ovens. As a result, temperature and time are the two critical components to churning out first-rate pizzas.
We will tackle temperature in more detail in the following section, so for now, we will focus on average cook time. This consists of preheating, baking, and reheating time, all of which determine how many pizzas — and how quickly — you can turn out of these relatively tiny ovens. Insulation is the most important factor here since these ovens can quickly build and then hold onto that critical heat. The BakerStone, Breville Pizzaiolo, Ooni Koda and Ooni Karu are some of the most insulated ovens we tested, but none so well as the Gozney Roccbox, which results in its exceptional cooking performance.
The fastest cook times tend to follow along the lines of the most efficient ovens, namely the ones whose portable design best approximates a commercial-grade oven. Both the Bertello and Roccbox are capable of turning out pizzas in less than 90 seconds, the amount of time established by the AVPN, the international regulatory committee that defines the rules of Neapolitan pizza making.
Each and every pizza lover has a particular style they claim to be best, and speed isn't always a factor. In fact, many pizzas require longer bake times to achieve the qualities of their signature style. The Breville Pizzaiolo is the only oven we tested that offers presets for four distinct styles of pizza, including Neapolitan, thin & crispy Tavern-style, New York, and Chicago-style Deep Dish. Regardless of your taste preferences, we can all agree that it only takes one bite to tell whether or not you're about to enjoy a good slice of pizza. Overall, pizza quality — though subjective in nature — is inextricably tied to cooking performance. The fastest and most insulated ovens mentioned before all are capable of producing beautiful Neapolitan-style pizzas. But those who appreciate a pizza with a crispier crust should consider the Mont Alpi Portable and Cuisinart Alfrescamore, as well as the stylistically versatile BakerStone oven.
Get Yourself an Infrared Thermometer
For the aspiring Pizzaiuolo, a modern upgrade to the traditional tool kit should be an infrared thermometer. This, dare we say, essential tool will help you monitor the temperature of the pizza stone — aim for an optimum baking temperature, in the center of the stone, of around 750°F.
A Neapolitan-style pizza oven is defined by its ability to quickly and efficiently cook at temperatures in excess of 800°F. Since the majority of these portable ovens are fashioned in that style, they are designed to operate in this same range of extreme temperatures. Using an infrared thermometer, we calculated average and maximum output temperatures. From cooking experience, we also took notes on optimum baking temperatures relative to pizza quality.
Oven insulation is where cooking performance and output power slightly overlap, simply because an oven cannot retain this level of heat output without a well-insulated oven chamber and pizza stone. We use an infrared thermometer to take temperature readings throughout the oven and across the pizza stone, averaging those numbers to calculate the mean temperatures of each individually, and then figure those two numbers together to estimate an overall average oven temperature. It should come as no surprise that the most well-insulated ovens are the ones with the highest operating temperatures at the pizza stone — the Roccbox and BakerStone stand out in this regard, with average stone temperatures of 748°F and 732°F, respectively. We are also impressed — and frankly quite surprised — by the stone temperatures of the NerdChef Steel Stone. The heavyweight steel regularly achieves average temperatures of 686°F using only the broiler of your standard range oven and is nearly as capable in turning out a quality Neapolitan-style pizza as any other standalone oven in this review.
Savvy readers will recognize that these are not quite the requisite temperatures of a true Neapolitan-style oven. But that is only because we make sure to test these outdoor ovens across a wide temperature range — from sub-freezing winter nights to early summer days — and the environment can greatly affect the ability of an oven to maintain peak efficiency. While our infrared thermometer tops out at 800°F, we know from an accurate integrated thermocouple that our top-performer, the Roccbox, regularly runs at temperatures closer to 860°F.
Propane is certainly a more convenient way to quickly achieve top-range temperatures, but it is less common knowledge that wood-fired ovens are actually the more powerful option — there has to be some reason besides regulation why all commercial Neapolitan-pizza bodegas opt for wood-fired ovens! While gas-powered models are capped by the BTU output of their burners, the limit of a wood fire is only the amount of fuel and oxygen available. To provide some perspective, pottery wood-kilns often fire at temperatures in excess of 2000°F. We're not saying these portable wood-fired ovens are able to reach temperatures that hot — they are limited by their petite fireboxes. But following the same classic principles of oven design, multi-fuel systems like the Ooni Karu, Bertello, and Roccbox are easily as capable as wood-fired ovens as they are gas-fired.
The main question related to managing pizza production comes down to fuel-type: do you want to work with a traditional wood-fired oven, the more convenient propane-powered models, or the indoor amenity of an electric oven? While we compared all three directly for the sake of ranking options in this review, there are trade-offs and compromises with each, and as such each type of oven is best regarded individually.
Adhering to traditional standards, a wood-fired oven is the only option. However, wood-fired cooking is truly an art form, and as such these ovens require a commitment to the learning curve and patience while firing. Like we have so plainly laid out already, insulation is a vital component to a quality pizza oven, but even more so when you are tasked with physically maintaining the heat source. An easy-to-load, ample firebox must be supported by adequate forward airflow that is going to circulate convective heat throughout the oven — this is going to be determined, in large part, by the size and design of the oven body. A wood-fired oven is best known for the "rolling" flame it produces, and no oven creates one quite like the Bertello. However, the Ooni Karu isn't far behind and is actually easier to control thanks to higher quality insulation and an easier-to-load firebox.
Gas-fired ovens, powered by propane, are the next best thing to a wood-fired oven. However, these tend to be the better choice for portable pizza ovens simply because it is difficult to achieve the necessary heat output of a wood fire when you are working with such a tiny firebox — such is the case with the Gozney Roccbox. Even though it is a multi-fuel system, the unique flame-injected, baffled design of the Roccbox delivers the same rolling flame as a traditional wood-burning oven. It is more convenient, and more efficient, to fire it as a gas oven. And ease of use is exactly the point: gas-fired ovens are easier to set up and fire by yourself, easier to control temperature (since it is not determined by a dynamic wood fire), and their consistent fuel source allows them to more easily recover heat in between pizzas. Despite its popularity, the Ooni Koda is more of an advanced-level gas oven, while the more adjustable, dual-burner system of the BakerStone is much more approachable for the novice pizza maker.
Indoor, electric ovens are the ultimate in simplicity and convenience. However, this benefit often comes at the detriment of pizza quality. Their ease of use derives from the fact that oftentimes they simply have no control — many are designed to just turn on and bake pizza. The notable exception to this less-than-exciting rule is the Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo, which makes truly delicious pizzas. For those willing to pay the price, this oven comes with a variety of presets that streamlines the pizza-making process. The less expensive and more versatile version, the Breville Smart Oven, also comes with a preset "pizza" function. Like the Pizzaiolo, this model has been engineered to bake at the optimal time and temperature for whatever type of pizza you are making, be it fresh or frozen. Best of all, the smart ovens will remember your preferences for the future — talk about plug-and-play.
Ease of Use
Though ease of use does not factor in as heavily to the equation as our other metrics, it is important to consider how we interact with these ovens. We say it time-and-again: a tool is only as useful as it is easy to use. Just as a charcoal grill is classically the focal point of any backyard setup, these portable pizza ovens are intended to bring together friends and family to share in the joy of pizza and to make your outdoor cooking experience more enjoyable.
It all starts with the setup. But when we say setup, we don't mean how difficult it is to put the parts together after taking these ovens out of the box — we're really interested in how much time it takes to get an oven ready each and every time you want to make pizza. Gas-powered options tend to be as simple as unfolding legs and attaching a propane tank; indoor electric ovens are even easier. The top performer here is the Breville Pizzaiolo. This expertly engineered indoor oven can be used almost fully automated or dialed in as you please with the manual settings — dealers' choice. The versatility of this impressive oven can meet you where you're at: whether you're new to the art of pizza-making or a seasoned pro, you're all but guaranteed to be able to turn out a truly delicious artisan pie. The smart Element iQ system, dual heating elements, and an overall thoughtful design make this our most user-friendly option. And, since this is an indoor oven, you also won't have to worry about moving in from the garage to the backyard whenever you want to get cooking.
The NerdChef Steel Stone is about as uncomplicated as they come: the steel stone simply slides into and helps enhance the baking capability of a standard range oven to turn out top-notch pies. Wood-fired ovens will require chopping and splitting wood, monitoring and stoking a fire to get the oven up to temperature, and more often than not, someone dedicated to fire tending while others prep and bake the pizzas. This makes gas-fired models — like the BakerStone and Mont Alpi ovens, in particular — more accessible for novice cooks. For those dedicated to learning the art of cooking with natural fuels, but who may not want to give up the ease of firing a gas oven, the multi-fuel systems of the Gozney Roccbox and Ooni Karu will allow you to seamlessly transition between these two worlds of pizza making.
Since these are intended to be portable, we also take into account how reasonable they are to actually move around. Weight and size — particularly bulk — make a huge difference in lugging one of these out to the park for a picnic, but footprint should also be considered, particularly by those who are working with less real estate. Our favorite is the gas-fired Ooni Koda: despite its larger footprint, this stainless steel oven weighs only 20 pounds and tucks foldable legs up under its turtle-like shell for easy transport and storage. In its wood-fired form, the Bertello is also conveniently sized but weighs closer to 35 pounds. Though the Roccbox has one of the smallest footprints, its heavily-insulated frame tips the scales at 44 pounds, and would be difficult to haul around if it weren't for the aid of a heavy-duty lifting strap.
However you go about it, pizza making is fun. These portable ovens offer the opportunity to pop up a pizzeria in your own backyard and encourage sharing joy and pizza with friends and family — the ever-important community component to the art of Neapolitan pizzaiuoli. We hope that this comprehensive review helps guide your purchase decision so that you can get off the internet, get outside, and get to making pizza. Buon appetito.
— Aaron Rice