There is nothing quite as tasty as an authentic Neapolitan style pizza with a beautiful crisp base.
Getting that crisp base, however, requires a little know-how and one very specific item, a pizza oven that can get up to around 930°F (500°C).
So, if you’re desperate for the perfect pizza and want something freestanding that you don’t have to install permanently, we’ve got some fantastic pizza ovens to introduce you to.
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Best outdoor pizza ovens to make a perfect pizza at home
1. Best Overall – Ooni Pro Multi-Fuel Outdoor Pizza Oven
You might also have seen this oven sold under the Uuni brand. Uuni changed their name to Ooni recently, so it’s the same company but with a different, yet bafflingly similar, name.
The oven itself is a masterpiece of excellent design that will allow you to cook amazing pizzas but is versatile enough to cook other food as well.
Weighing in at 57lbs (26kg) and measuring 31.1 x 19.29 x 29.13 inches (700 x 490 x 740 mm), the Pro is small enough to be a countertop model, if a little bulky to be truly portable. The low and wide design means you can cook a 16-inch family pizza in there without folding up the sides.
The Pro’s chimney, combined with a heat deflector and dual airflow controls, gives it excellent temperature control and prevents the pizza from tasting sooty, even when cooking with charcoal.
The Pro’s body has ceramic fiber insulation and a double-walled steel design that means it gets up to cooking temperature within 15-20 minutes.
One of the selling points of the Ooni Pro is that it can run on four different types of fuel – charcoal, wood chunks, wood pellets, and gas. However, the gas and pellet fireboxes are sold separately and are currently only available in the UK and Germany.
We’ve also featured the Ooni 3 and the Ooni Koda on this list. To quickly break down the differences, the Ooni Pro is almost twice the size of the Ooni 3 and the Koda and runs on four types of fuel where the Ooni 3 only uses wood pellets, and the Koda uses propane gas.
What we like:
- The larger size of the Ooni Pro means you can cook a large family-size 16-inch pizza and can also use it for cooking meat, veggies and even make bread.
- The added chimney, ceramic fiber insulation, and dual airflow controls give the Pro excellent temperature control.
- The multiple fuel sources the Pro can use means you can pick the one best suited to the dish you’re cooking or just whatever is most convenient.
- The Pro comes with a 15mm cordierite stone baking board.
What we don’t like:
- The Ooni Pro is not particularly portable, compared to the smaller Ooni 3, the Ooni Koda, and several of the other ovens on this list.
- The gas and pellet burners and sold separately and can be hard to find outside of the UK.
2. Best Value – Ooni 3 Portable Wood-Fired Outdoor Pizza Oven
If the Ooni Pro is the Ferrari of countertop pizza ovens, then the Ooni 3 is a reliable and affordable four-door saloon.
The Ooni 3 is smaller than the Pro, measuring 25.2 x 14.1 x 8.6 inches (640 x 360 x 220 mm) and weighing in at 24.2lbs (10.9kg). This does make it much more portable than the Pro, but the large chimney is still an issue.
The 13.2 x 13.2 inch (330.7 x 330.7 mm) cooking space combined with the 10mm cordierite stone baking board means you’ll only be able to cook a 12-inch pizza, but since the Ooni 3 is more than up to cooking multiple pizzas in a very short time, this shouldn’t be a massive problem.
The Ooni 3 runs on wood pellets, with a 20lb bag of pellets cooking around 50 pizzas. The Ooni 3 has the same ceramic fiber insulation and double-walled steel design of the Pro, letting it reach temperatures of Over 900°F (480°C) in around 15 to 20 minutes.
Overall, the Ooni 3 is a scaled-down, more portable version of the Pro, with the same excellent build quality and performance in a smaller package.
What we like:
- The smaller and lighter Ooni 3 is actually portable compared to the larger and heavier Pro.
- The oven comes up to temperature quickly and can cook a pizza in 60 seconds.
- Wood pellets are an easily obtainable and efficient fuel that you can use to subtly flavor your food.
- Has the same solid double-walled body and ceramic fiber insulation that the Pro model does.
What we don’t like:
- The pellet feed tube is gravity-fed, which means it needs to be jostled regularly to ensure the constant flow of pellets.
- The wood-fired Ooni 3 isn’t as consistent as gas-fired alternatives and, unlike the Pro, there is no gas burner option.
3. Best Kettle Grill Pizza Kit – KettlePizza Basic Pizza Oven Kit for 18.5 and 22.5 Inch Kettle Grills
If you’ve already got a charcoal grill and don’t want to go to all the trouble of getting a freestanding pizza oven as well, then the KettlePizza Basic Pizza Oven Kit can turn 18.5 or 22.5-inch kettle grills into a pizza oven.
The set itself consists of a stainless steel riser sleeve that sits between the base of the grill and the lid and creates a pizza oven style opening. Using a combination of charcoal and hardwood, the KettlePizza kit can achieve the high, 900°F, temperatures needed to properly cook a pizza.
The standard kit comes with a pizza peel, and the deluxe version comes with a hand-made cordierite baking stone.
If you’re looking for a way to turn your kettle grill into a pizza cooking machine, the KettlePizza kit is the way to do it.
What we like:
- If you’ve already got a kettle grill, this kit means you don’t have to splash out on a whole new pizza oven.
- The kit comes with everything you need and is quick and easy to install.
- When combined with an additional grill grate, the KettlePizza kit significantly increases the size of your kettle grill’s cooking space.
What we don’t like:
- Because of the lack of venting, the exact temperature of a kettle grill pizza oven can be hard to control and with the pizzas cooking in less than a minute, this can result in a ruined pizza, very quickly!
- Many reviewers have noted that to cook the toppings properly, you need to purchase a grilling steel to sit inside your kettle grill’s lid and reflect the heat, which adds to the cost.
4. Most Portable – ROCCBOX by Gozney Portable Outdoor Pizza Oven
The Roccbox combines an easily portable design with efficient cooking in an excellent little package.
Weighing in at 44lbs (20kg) and measuring 16.2 x 20.9 x 18.6 inches (413mm x 531mm x 473mm), the Roccbox is large enough to cook a 12-inch pizza while still being compact enough to easily carry around thanks to its fold-up legs.
The body is built of high-grade 304 stainless steel and lined with calcium silicate.
When fired up with wood or the optional gas burner, the oven comes up to a maximum of 932ºF / 500ºC in as little as 60 seconds.
To offset the obvious burning danger of this kind of heat, the Roccbox is covered with safe-touch commercial-grade silicone and comes in a bright funky green finish, or grey if you’d prefer something more muted.
Make sure to also check out our Ooni vs Roccbox comparison where we’ve put these popular pizza ovens against each other.
What we like:
- The smaller size, lighter weight, and folding legs make the Roccbox nice and portable.
- The Roccbox comes up to cooking temperatures very rapidly and recovered quickly between pizzas.
- Comes with both a specifically designed pizza peel and a side-mounted thermometer as a standard.
What we don’t like:
- The Roccbox can take a lot longer than 60 seconds to heat up is less than ideal conditions.
- While you can cook other food in the Roccbox, it’s not large enough to accommodate a roast like the Ooni Pro is.
If you like the idea of the multi-fuel Ooni Pro, but would prefer something a little more portable and a little less expensive, then the Napoli is the ideal pizza oven for you.
Smaller than the Pro at 22 x 14 x 10.5 inches (558.8 x 355.6 x 266.7 mm) and weighing 22lbs (9.9 kg), the Napoli is equally at home using wood chunks, wood pellets, and charcoal. You can also buy an optional gas burner to round out the fuel bonanza.
Made of solid stainless steel, the Napoli can quickly get up to temperatures of 900ºF / 500ºC and comes with a cordierite pizza stone to ensure you get the proper crispy base on your pizza.
So, if you’re looking for a multi-fuel pizza oven that doesn’t have many bells and whistles but gets the job done while still being portable, then the Napoli is a great choice.
What we like:
- The Napoli is capable of running on wood chunks, wood pellets, charcoal, and gas if you buy the separately sold gas burner.
- The oven has a durable stainless steel body, you won’t have to worry if it takes a few knocks during transport.
- Comes with its own cordierite pizza stone.
What we don’t like:
- For some reason, the Napoli does come with a pizza peel, which is a fairly vital piece of equipment.
- Because it lacks a chimney some users have reported that their pizza can get a little sooty when using charcoal.
The Ooni Koda is a slimline, lightweight pizza oven that rivals the Roccbox with its combination of portability and the ability to quickly and consistently come up to the high temperatures required to cook pizza properly.
Measuring 15.7 x 11.6 x 24.8″ (400 x 295 x 630mm) and weighing just 20.4 lbs (9.25kg) the Koda runs on gas and, for safety’s sake, comes with a built-in flame safety device that will automatically cut off the gas supply if the flame is extinguished.
To make it even more portable, the Koda has folding legs and can be used with a 1lb propane tank, although you will need an adaptor for this.
The Koda doesn’t have the double-walled build of the Ooni 3 or Pro, but it does have a cold-rolled carbon steel shell with a high-temperature resistant, powder-coated finish.
If you want consistent performance in a portable package, the Ooni Koda is an excellent choice.
Essential pizza accessories
While having the right oven is essential to pizza success, there are some accessories that are almost as important to the process.
The pizza peel
A good pizza oven will cook your pizza in around 60 seconds. To make sure you get consistent cooking, you’re going to need to turn that pizza about halfway through. The best way to do this without scrunching your pizza into a calzone is with a good pizza peel.
Essentially a large thin spade, the peel allows you to put the pizza into the oven without scorching yourself and pull it out to make adjustments without messing up its shape.
Most of the peels on the market are made of steel or aluminum. Still, if you want something more sustainable, we suggest the Pizza Royale ethically sourced premium natural bamboo pizza peel.
An infrared thermometer
Knowing when your pizza oven is up to cooking temperature is vital to getting the best results from it, and the best way to do that is with an infrared thermometer.
The benefits of an infrared thermometer are that they provide an instant reading, they are far more accurate than most conventional thermometers, and they can be used at a safe distance from your 900ºF oven.
Plus, having a good quality infrared thermometer is handy for checking your grill, and even your standard oven, are up to the proper cooking temperature.
Simply put, there is a vast range of woods you can choose from that will burn differently and provide a certain amount of extra flavor, but burning wood, whether than be chunks, pellets, or charcoal, is harder to regulate than gas.
If you want easy temperature regulation and constancy, choose gas. If you want authenticity and more control over your flavor and don’t mind working harder to achieve a consistent temperature, select wood, pellets, or charcoal.
A propane lighter
A propane light or torch is a great way to get your pellets, wood chunks, or charcoal lit and can also be used to light a gas oven. No need to mess around with lighter fluid or matches.
You don’t need anything fancy, just a high-quality, reliable lighter.
A pizza cutter
Last but not least, there’s no point in cooking the perfect Neapolitan pizza (or any other type of pizza) if you’ve then going to butcher it while trying to slice it up. Getting yourself a reliable pizza cutter is going to save you a lot of mess and mushed up pizza in the long run.
Now we’ve given you a look under the hood of some of the best pizza ovens on the market, let’s break down what you need to know to pick the right one for you.
Outdoor vs. indoor pizza ovens
All of the ovens we’ve listed above are solely for outdoor use, don’t let the term countertop fool you, they are not for use in your kitchen.
The reason for this is that wood-fired and gas pizza ovens have to come up to around 900ºF to properly cook a Neapolitan-style pizza and give you a crisp base with properly cooked toppings.
Most indoor pizza ovens that use electricity or natural gas to cook the pizza often max out at around 550°F, well below that 900ºF threshold.
If you’re cooking at that temperature, you’re going to find yourself with a soggy crust and sloppy toppings. So, if you want the proper pizza experience, it’s best to invest in an outdoor oven.
Types of pizza oven
As you can see from the list above, there are four standard fuels used by most pizza ovens – charcoal, wood chunks, wood pellets, and gas, some ovens, like the Ooni Pro can make use of all of them.
If you’re wondering what the difference between the types of fuel is, don’t fret, we’ll break it down for you.
Wood pizza ovens
Wood is the most traditional way of cooking pizza and can impart extra flavor to your pie, but it is also the most challenging when it comes to getting a consistent temperature. You can offset this by combining wood with a more stable fuel, like charcoal.
Charcoal pizza ovens
Charcoal burns more consistently than wood chunks, so it’s easier to keep a consistent temperature, and it is the most widely available of the fuels. Still, if you don’t have the right amount of ventilation, it can leave a sooty residue on your food.
Wood pellet ovens
Wood pellets are made out of compressed sawdust and burn hot and consistently while still imparting a little wood smoke flavor to your food. The downside of pellets is that the mechanisms for feeding them into the firebox are often fragile and prone to clogging.
Wood pellets are also the least common of the fuels on this list.
Propane gas pizza ovens
Gas ovens are easy to use, easy to regulate the temperature of, and easy to clean. What they lack in authenticity, they make up for in consistency, although you might miss that wood-smoked flavor.
Propane canisters are easy to find, and gas-burning models are often the most portable of pizza ovens you can buy.
What about using your grill to cook pizza?
If you’ve looked through the pizza oven above, you’ll have noticed that they have a distinct shape. The low roof of the pizza oven reflects the heat back down onto the topping, removing excess moisture as it cooks them to stop the sauce from preventing the base from crisping.
The specific design of the oven reflects the fact the cooking authentic Neapolitan-style pizza takes a very specific technique since the cooking only takes around a minute.
Most grills have a lot of space and a highly domed lid, ideal for cooking looks of barbeque treats, but less useful for cooking pizza. The chances are that putting your pizza in your grill will result in a sloppy mess or a burned crust and only partially cooked toppings.
If you’re serious about pizza, you’ll want to invest in a proper oven.
What to consider when buying a pizza oven
Most considerations when it comes to purchasing a pizza oven can be slimmed down to four crucial factors, size, durability and insulation, maximum temperature, and price.
If you’re looking to add a permanent installation to your backyard and you’ve got the space for it, models like the Ooni Pro offer a lot of utility in a slightly more bulky package. You can cook up to a 16-inch pizza, roast a joint of meat, sear a tray of vegetables, and even make bread.
If you’re looking from something portable, however, you’ll want to consider something more along the lines of the Ooni Koda or the Roccbox. Both are lightweight – around 20lbs – and have a compact body and folding legs that make them easy to transport.
Durability and insulation
Much like buying a grill, the materials your pizza oven is made out of can make a real difference. The double-walled stainless steel designed of the Ooni 3, combined with its ceramic fiber insulation, makes it that much easier to maintain a consistent temperature.
If you’re looking for something portable, you’ll also want it to be durable, so it can take a few knocks on the road.
The Roccbox, for instance, has a high-grade 304 stainless steel body. Giving it durability, lined with calcium silicate installation, and is covered with heat-resistant silicone from extra durability and safety.
As we’ve mentioned before, cooking a proper Neapolitan-style pizza takes a very high, 900ºF, and above, temperature. If the oven you’re considering has a max temperature below that, it’s probably not worth buying.
A lot of countertop pizza ovens are expensive, and while there is nothing wrong with paying for quality, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
We chose the Ooni Pro to be our best oven overall because, despite its not-insignificant price tag, it has the build quality, utility, and functionality to justify the cost you’re being asked to pay.
Wrapping it all up
Making glorious pizza doesn’t mean you have to build a brick monstrosity in your back garden.
By using our buyer’s guide to ascertain precisely what you need from a pizza oven and pursuing the fantastic selection of ovens we’ve selected, you’ll be sure to find a tremendous pizza cooking machine that’s just right for you.
If you’ve got some advice on how to get the best out of one of the ovens on our list, or a perfect pizza dough recipe you’re itching to share with the world, we’d love it if you’d let us know in the comments below.
Last update on 2020-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API