A homemade wood-fired pizza is a thing of beauty, but not all of us have the space to build a full-sized authentic Italian pizza oven in our backyard.
The good news is, countertop pizza ovens have come in leaps and bounds over the last few years and today we’ll be comparing two of the best on the market.
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Ooni VS Roccbox Company Overview
Before we get into comparing products, let’s take a closer look at the manufacturers.
Ooni, who has also confusingly traded under the name Uuni, was founded in Birmingham, UK, by Kristian Tapaninaho and Darina Garland in 2012 to sell Tapaninaho’s idea of a portable and affordable wood-fired pizza oven.
The company is a crowdfunding success story, having accrued the funding for their first model, the original Ooni oven from Kickstarter.
The larger Ooni Pro model was launched on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo and was the first countertop oven to be able to cook a 16-inch pizza with wood, charcoal, gas or wood pellets as fuel.
Interestingly, the Gozney Group, manufacturer of the Roccbox, has a similar origin story to Ooni. Both companies were founded in the UK and both made liberal use of crowdfunding to get their products off the ground.
Tom Gozney, CEO and founder of the Gozney Group, set up the Stone Bake Oven Company in 2010 to supply high-end pizza ovens to restaurants and hotel chains.
The first Roccbox took four years to develop using a grant from Virgin’s Pitch to Rich initiative, and construction was funded by backers from the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.
Now that we know a little more about the companies, let’s take a look at their ovens.
The main selling points of the Ooni Pro are its size and the fact that it can run on four different fuels – charcoal, wood chunks, wood pellets, and a gas burner.
It should be noted that the wood pellet and gas burners are sold separately and the base models run on charcoal or wood chunks.
Made from 430 stainless steel, the Pro is 31.1 x 19.29 x 29.13 inches (790 x 490 x 740mm) and weighs in at 57lbs (26kg).
That 31-inch width means that you can comfortably cook a 16-inch pizza without it scraping the sides.
Lined with ceramic fiber, the Pro gets up to temperature in 15 – 20 minutes and can reach the super high temperatures, around 932°F (500 °C) that you need to get a good crisp base on a Neapolitan style pizza.
- The oven is able to use four different types of fuel.
- The front doors include a glass window and a thermometer.
- The ceramic fiber lining means the Pro quickly comes up to a high cooking temperature.
- Made of durable doubled-walled 430 stainless steel for better temperature control.
- While it is technically portable and does come with a handle, the Pro is a little too wide and heavy to be easily moved.
- The gas burner and pellet oven attachments are sold separately and are currently only available in the UK and Germany.
Roccbox Gas Fired Portable Outdoor Pizza Oven
The Roccbox might only have two fuel options – gas and wood – but both are included in the base model, so right out of the gate, it has a little more versatility than the Ooni Pro.
Made of high-grade 304 stainless steel, the Roccbox weighs in at 44lbs (20kg) and measures 16.2 x 20.9 x 18.6 inches (413mm x 531mm x 473mm).
Its high-domed design means you can’t cook as large a pizza as you might in the Ooni Pro, but it does make the Roccbox more portable, as do its folding tripod legs.
Lined with calcium silicate, the Roccbox comes up to temperature quickly and reaches a maximum of 932ºF / 500ºC in around 60 seconds.
The outside of the Roccbox is covered with safe-touch, commercial-grade silicone to offset some of the danger of that hugely high temperature. This also allows it to come in different colors, although only green and grey are available at the moment.
- The lighter weight, smaller size, and folding legs of the Roccbox make it easily portable.
- Under ideal conditions, the Roccbox can reach 932ºF / 500ºC in around 60 seconds.
- If you’re looking for a splash of color, rather than bare steel, the Roccbox comes in a nice bright green.
- The Roccbox comes with its own specifically designed pizza peel that fits exactly into the oven.
- There’s a side-mounted thermometer that comes as standard, to help you know when the oven is up to temperature.
- One of the big selling points of the Roccbox is that it can come up to temperature in around 60 seconds. However, some reviewers have found that this only happens in perfect circumstances, and it normally takes quite a bit longer.
- The Roccbox can only really accommodate a 12-inch pizza, but given how fast it comes up to temp, there’s nothing to stop you cooking more than one.
Ooni VS Roccbox head to head comparison
Now that we know the basic specs of each oven, let’s put them up against each other on the four key aspects of pizza oven design – overall design, fuel, size of pizza, and portability.
The designs of the Roccbox and Ooni Pro are quite different and make for a nice contrast. The Pro is low and sleek with a bare metal finish and short legs. The wider firebox means you can get in a larger pizza but it cuts down on portability.
The Roccbox, by comparison, has a higher dome and longer legs. Because of the silicone outer cladding, the Roccbox also comes in two colors, grey and green.
Both ovens come with a built-in thermometer, although we would suggest investing in a quality infrared thermometer for a more accurate reading.
Choosing between designs is at least a little subjective, but we preferred the look of the colored Roccbox and that fact that it had folding legs, stood a little higher for a better working height, and had that touch-safe silicone cladding.
One of the main selling points of the Ooni Pro is that it can run on four different fuels – charcoal, wood chunks, wood pellets, and a gas burner.
However, the wood pellet firebox and gas burner are sold separately and aren’t available in the US at the moment. This means that right out of the box, the Roccbox, which runs on wood or gas, is actually more versatile.
So, unless you’re really invested in the idea of cooking your pizza using wood pellets and are happy to wait, we think the Roccbox wins this round too.
It’s worth noting that both ovens have excellent insulation, temperature control, and built-in pizza stones.
Size of pizza
In terms of the size of the pizza you can cook, the Ooni Pro’s wider design lets you cook a 16-inch pizza compared to the 12-inch pizza you can cook in Roccbox.
There is a proviso to that, however, as the fact that both ovens reach a super high cooking temperature in around 15 minutes and can, therefore, cook a pizza in 60 seconds, means you can just as easily cook two pizzas.
However, if you’re looking for a countertop pizza oven that can accommodate a family size 16-inch pizza, then the Ooni Pro is the oven for you.
The larger size of the Pro also means you can use it for cooking a larger range of other foods like roast meat or vegetables.
While both the Roccbox and Ooni Pro are billed as portable, the Roccbox really commits to this idea in a way that the design of the Pro just doesn’t.
The Roccbox is smaller, lighter, and its legs fold up underneath it. Those legs are also fairly long, meaning you can put this on the ground and still have a reasonable amount of working height.
By comparison, the Ooni Pro is heavier, wider, lower and has a giant, hard to remove, chimney that means it’s just nowhere near as portable as the Roccbox.
That one standout feature
We’ve broken the Roccbox and the Ooni Pro down by their design, fuel, size of pizza, and portability, but what is it about these ovens that really makes them stand out from the rest of the competition?
The Roccbox – ease of use
What really stands out about the Roccbox is just how well designed and easy to use this oven is. It’s portable, the folding legs make it easy to set up, the gas burner attaches with one fitting and a hose, and it’s easy to clean.
Add in the fact that this oven can come up to cooking temperature in around a minute and you’ve got a pizza oven that can go from car trunk to cooking food with very little hassle.
The Ooni Pro – greater utility
If you’re looking for a pizza oven that does more than just pizza and you don’t plan on taking it on any road trips, then the Ooni Pro is an excellent choice.
The Pro works best as a permanent feature, acting as a brick outdoor oven without any of the expense or bother of actually building one.
The extra cooking space provided by its width and the fine temperature control of the additional chimney and baffles means you can roast meat, char veggies, and still have time to cook a pizza at, literally, the last minute.
Wrapping it all up
Both the Ooni Pro and Roccbox are excellent outdoor pizza ovens with a well-justified reputation for quality. If you’re looking for a backyard installation that gives you all the benefits of a traditional pizza oven at a fraction of the size, then go for the Ooni Pro.
If you can see yourself bringing your pizza oven with you and dishing out amazing pizza to your friends at cookouts and campsites, then go for the Roccbox every time.
Have you used either of these ovens? If you have some tips on how to get the best out of them or a recipe for the perfect pizza Napoletana, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.