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Want to make delicious pizza at home? We researched the most popular models on the market before choosing 12 of the best to test side-by-side. Our team of culinary experts designed tests to uncover the nuanced differences between each of these models. We then backed up that objective information with real-world cooking experience, from setting up to dinner time and everything in between. From propane powerhouses to more traditional wood-fired ovens — and even a few indoor options — our comprehensive review will help you find the best pizza oven to match your needs and budget.
Homemade pizza is a creative and delicious meal, made even better by a high-quality and high-heat oven. But an oven is only one part of the pizza-making process. Tools like a garlic press, pizza cutter, and rolling pin are essential. And, if you are interested in outfitting a complete outdoor kitchen, you may find a solid grill, iron cookware, and a host of other appliances will come in handy to round out your chef's paradise.
Editor's Note: This review was updated on February 14th, 2022, to share more detail on our extensive pizza oven testing and rating process. Additional updates to each individual gear review were made to flesh out product comparisons.
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, effortlessly taking home our top award. Whether in its gas-powered or wood-burning form, this multi-fuel oven is engineered to recreate key characteristics 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. You can justify the cost with its excellent performance, but the Roccbox — including both the gas and wood burners — is nearly double the price of its direct competitors. Similarly, the oven itself is quite hefty. 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.
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. Still, 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 and can transform into a grill or griddle, and you can use the oven box in conjunction with a full-size gas or charcoal grill to function as a makeshift pizza oven. Now that's multi-functional, outdoor cooking!
While it may be versatile, the BakerStone is not the most easily transportable oven. Though you can take it in sections to improve portability somewhat, 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 mean 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.
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. When used with the broiler in your home oven, this pizza steel can actuallyturn out nearly perfect Neapolitan pizzas in as little as three minutes.
Since this is not a standalone oven, the pizza's quality depends on your oven's heat profile and distribution. These variables make 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 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.
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. It is the only electric option 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 various 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.
If it weren't for Ooni, we might 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 oven's heat 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. Still, 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.
Capable of firing with gas and wood simultaneously
Amazing airflow for a "rolling" flame
REASONS TO AVOID
Dangerous flame blowback
Gas attachment is bulky and awkward
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 can 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 can produce 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.
The Bertello 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.
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 over 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. After organizing a bread and pizza workshop while working at the Dartmouth College organic farm, Jill Rice became enthralled with wood-fired ovens. 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 the dough or fire up an oven, we first perform our market research due diligence. 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 the retail cost to ensure complete objectivity throughout our rigorous testing process.
Our testing of pizza ovens is divided across four rating metrics:
Cooking Performance tests (30% of overall score weighting)
Output Power tests (30% weighting)
Control tests (25% weighting)
Ease of Use tests (15% weighting)
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 to 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.
Analysis and Test Results
Before discussing the test results, it is essential 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 subtle details that otherwise would not be obvious before you purchase and try it out for yourself. Since we base our testing process 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.
As with all our assessments, value is a relative metric. Rather than considering price 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, it holds a greater value. Similarly, if something is designed with longevity in mind, it is more valuable than something that will soon become obsolete. To develop a complete picture of the marketplace, we compare product values directly to one another. Sometimes the most expensive products are not the best in their class, but that happens to hold true in this instance.
The Gozney Roccbox carries an above-average price tag but displays superior performance in nearly every aspect of pizza making. Similarly, the Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo is high priced but is the only oven capable of producing restaurant-quality pies from the comfort of your kitchen. On the other hand, the BakerStone offers a quality pizza on-par with higher performance ovens but costs 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.
If you plan to invest in this specialty appliance — and these ovens are pricey — you want to be sure that it will excel in its singular task: making pizza. We give this metric a 30% weighting in the overall score. While versatility is a nice bonus (residual heat makes some ovens great for baking), we focus on the attributes of an oven that will allow you to make superb slices. The most popular models 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 evaluation consists of preheating, baking, and reheating time, all of which determine how quickly you can turn out pizza after pizza with these relatively tiny ovens. Insulation is the most critical factor since these ovens can quickly build and hold onto that essential heat. The BakerStone, Breville Pizzaiolo, Ooni Koda, and Ooni Karu are some of the most insulated ovens we tested. However, none of them come close to the Gozney Roccbox, which has exceptional cooking performance thanks to its extreme insulation.
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.
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. Though subjective in nature, pizza quality is inextricably tied to cooking performance. The fastest and most insulated ovens mentioned before can all produce 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. A good thermometer, dare we say, is an essential tool that will help you monitor the temperature of the pizza stone. You should aim for an optimum baking temperature of around 750°F in the center of the stone.
A Neapolitan-style pizza oven is defined by its ability to quickly and efficiently cook at temperatures in excess of 800°F. Since most 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 our cooking experience, we also took notes on optimum baking temperatures relative to pizza quality. This metric has a 30% influence on each product's overall score.
Oven insulation is where cooking performance and output power 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 also have 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. It is nearly as capable of 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 significantly 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 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 can 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 as capable as wood-fired ovens as they are gas-fired.
The main question about 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 methods 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. Your ability to control an oven's output will vary depending on the model and the fuel type, and we give this metric a 25% weighting in the overall score of each product.
A wood-fired oven is the only option if you adhere to traditional standards. 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. Often you may need a dedicated fire-stoker to keep the heat up while the chef prepares dough or chops toppings. 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 will 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 model 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 next best to a wood-fired option. 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 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 efficient to fire it as a gas oven, and ease of use is precisely the point. Gas-fired ovens are easier to set up and fire by yourself, and it is easier to control temperature since you aren't dealing with the dynamics of a wood fire. Their consistent fuel source allows them to recover heat in between pizzas quickly. 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 often they simply have no control — many are designed just to 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 various 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, whether 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 as our other metrics, it is essential to consider how we interact with these ovens. It has a 15% weighting in the overall score. 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 can bring together friends and family to share in the joy of pizza and make your outdoor cooking experience more enjoyable.
It all starts with the setup. But 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 prepped each time you want to make pizza. After you've put in all the work, chopping ingredients, mixing dough, and pressing garlic, the last thing you want is an oven that feels like a project. Gas-powered options tend to be as simple as unfolding legs and attaching a propane tank; indoor electric models are even more accessible. The top performer in this metric is the Breville Pizzaiolo, with a perfect 10 out of 10 score. Similar to its toaster oven counterpart, this expertly engineered indoor oven can operate 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 distinction 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 transition between these two worlds of pizza making seamlessly.
Since these are intended to be portable, we also consider how reasonable and practical they are to 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 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. The Bertello is also conveniently sized but weighs closer to 35 pounds in its wood-fired form. The Roccbox has one of the smallest footprints, but 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 pizzaiolo. 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.
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