Pizza Ovens 101: A Clear-Cut Guide to Finding the Best of the Best

Pizza Oven

Craving the perfect slice? With an outdoor pizza oven, you can experience the authentic, delicious taste of homemade pizza in the comfort of your own backyard. Whether the oven is built-in or freestanding, its cooking chamber can typically reach extremely high temperatures in a matter of minutes, giving you a one-way ticket to your personal pepperoni paradise.

 

If that doesn’t suit your fancy, forget the pizza. These incredible ovens are equipped with the right infrared heat to make a mean steak or roast, while the lower temperatures can shell out some delicious desserts.

 

From all of the different fuel types and configurations to the many sizes and accessories, there’s a lot to know about pizza ovens before purchasing your own, which can get overwhelming, to say the least. 

 

To make the process easier, we’ve spent 180 hours researching dozens of pizza ovens to give you all of the information you need to know to easily transform your outdoor space into the perfect pizzeria. 

Pizza Oven Buying Guide
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Gas or Wood Pizza Ovens: Which Is Better?

    Depositphotos 65056281 Xl Scaled E1645634082431
    Oonikaru Hero 3 E1645634112886

    When researching the best outdoor pizza ovens on the market, you’ll find that two of the most common fuel types available are wood-fired pizza ovens and gas pizza ovens. While both of these ovens can deliver crispy pies with sensational flavors, there are key differences between them in terms of cooking convenience. 

    Wood Pizza Ovens

    The woodfired pizza oven has been around since the very beginning of pizza, dating back to the mid-1800s. There’s a good reason why this pizza-making method is still so popular today, as wood pizza ovens produce crispy, authentic pizza with each and every use. If you’re committed to achieving that classic wood-fired taste right in the comfort of your own home, know that these ovens require a bit more elbow grease than gas-powered ovens. 

     

    Modern wood pizza ovens are typically available in two styles: one is built so the pizza sits right beside the fire, while the other contains the fire in a separate compartment below.

     

    The first style makes it so the pizza receives direct infrared heat that produces unbelievably-crispy crust, but you’ll need to maintain the fire and physically spin the pizza for even heating while it cooks. The other style requires less effort in comparison since heat vents from the compartment to the pizza, meaning it will cook evenly without your help. 

     

    Wood fired pizza ovens are powered by wood alone and produce an intense, open flame that requires your utmost attention in order to cook the perfect pie. We find that Oak is generally the best all-around wood, as it can be used alone or combined with small amounts of other wood for enhanced flavor. While this type of pizza oven may require some effort on your part, these age-old ovens give your pizza an authentic, smoked flavor that makes it all 100% worth it in the end.

    Gas Pizza Ovens

    If owning a wood-fired pizza oven sounds like way too much effort, a gas pizza oven might be your perfect match. Gas-powered pizza ovens are built for those who are all about convenience. With these ovens, there’s no need to chop wood, light a fire, or clean up the ash after all is said and done. All you have to do is simply twist the dial and wait. 

     

    Gas-powered pizza ovens tend to be more beginner-friendly than wood-powered ovens, as users gain more control over the cooking temperature. These ovens can be powered by natural gas or propane, and both preheat the oven freaky fast. The flame in gas-powered pizza ovens is stationary, and the top of the oven is first to receive heat before making its way down to the sides and then to the bottom.

     

    Gas pizza ovens offer a cleaner way to make pizza, as you can cook without the need for wood of the production of ash and soot to clean up at the end. While gas pizza ovens are typically the more convenient option, they should be installed by a professional to be safe.

    If you want to have a clean, efficient, and convenient way of cooking pizzas, a gas-powered pizza oven is the way to go. If you want to have an authentic, smoked pizza flavor with a show-stopping fire as a center-piece, choose wood.

    .

    Wood Pizza Ovens

    Gas Pizza Ovens

    Pizza Oven vs Standard Oven: What is the Difference?

    Depositphotos 172560378 Xl
    Depositphotos 194997968 Xl

    In order to access your perfect pizza paradise, it’s a good idea to understand the differences between a standard oven and a pizza oven. The core difference between the two is the maximum temperature reached by these ovens. For instance, a wood-fired pizza oven can heat up to 800F pretty quickly, while regular ovens typically heat up to 500F. 

    Pizza Oven vs Regular Oven Main Differences:

    • Pizza ovens typically heat up to around 700-800F, while standard ovens max out at around 500F. 
    • Pizza ovens heat up faster, sharply cutting pizza cooking time.
    • Pizza ovens provide more browning, giving a “leopard spotted” appearance.
    • Hotter temperatures give faster rise, leading to fluffier, larger crusts.
    • The flavor is improved depending on if you use a wood-fired pizza oven or not.

    Why Are Pizza Ovens Better?

    When it comes to making pizza, pizza ovens are equipped with all of the right features you need to make the perfect Italian pie. Compared to a standard oven, pizza ovens can heat up faster and are capable of being hot enough to give your pizza fluffy crust and crisp caramelization. Pizza ovens are better than standard ovens for cooking pizza. After all, it’s in the name!

    Pizza Ovens: What Else Do They Cook?

    81G77Nidfyl. Ac Sl1500 E1645718693891
    7158Nr3Vmhl. Ac Sl1500 E1645718704616

    Your portable pizza oven not only cooks delicious, perfectly-crusted pizza, but a surprisingly large amount of other things as well. These ovens are super versatile, making them the ultimate cooking accessory for satisfying almost any craving, any time. From roasting to grilling and baking, it’s safe to say backyard BBQs will never be the same.

    Things to Cook In a Pizza Oven:

    • Flatbreads and Dips 
    • Fresh Bread
    • Vegetables
    • Meats and Seafood
    • Casseroles and Pasta
    • Desserts

    Pizza Ovens: What Kinds Are There?

    There are four main types of pizza ovens available on the market, including: Brick Ovens, Convection Pizza Ovens, Deck Pizza Ovens, and Conveyor Pizza Ovens. Each of these ovens have their own set of features and advantages, which we’ll dive into below.

    Depositphotos 212547208 L E1645719823708
    The Breakdown
    • Size: 150 cubic feet to 400 cubic feet
    • Fuel Types: Wood or Gas
    • Price: $100-$5,000
    • Cook Time: 2-3 Minutes
    • Preheat Time: 45-60 Minutes
    • Best For: Traditional Pizzerias, Outdoor Dining, Large Backyard Spaces, Fine-Dining Restaurants
    • Suitable For: Flatbreads, Thin Crust Pizzas, Deep Dish Pizzas

    Brick Oven

    A brick-style pizza oven is perfect for those looking for an authentic pizza-making experience. These ovens have a rustic look and feel and give your food the wood-fired pizza taste you know and love. 

     

    The brick oven takes about 45 minutes to heat up to an incredibly high temperature of 1,000F and can last up to 8 hours. Once preheated, this oven can cook multiple pizzas in just a matter of minutes.

     

    Brick ovens function by lighting a fire, either via wood or gas insert, and then placing it onto the open-air deck where the heat finishes the job for you. 

     

    While these ovens are great for authenticity, it’s important to note that they do require more effort to maintain than gas-powered ovens.

     

    A brick oven’s fire can leave ash and soot, meaning you’ll be the one left with the cleanup. But, the effort is 100% worth it for the delicious pizza these ovens make.

    Pros
    Cons
    Capture 3
    The Breakdown
    • Size: 15 cubic feet to 60 cubic feet
    • Fuel Types: Gas or Electric
    • Price: $50-$1,000
    • Cook Time: 5-7 Minutes
    • Preheat Time: 15-20 Minutes
    • Best For: Small Cooking Spaces, Casual Restaurants, Bars, Cafeterias
    • Suitable For: Frozen or Fresh Flatbreads, Thin Crust Pizzas, Desserts, Meats, Casseroles, Dips

    Convection Pizza Oven

    If you’re looking for a pizza oven with a space-saving design, look no further than a convection pizza oven. These are a smaller version of a brick oven, but they are able to output a higher heat to cook multiple pizzas at a time. 

     

    Plus, convection ovens are a whole lot easier to clean and maintain, especially because they can make a fake wood fired flavor without an actual fire source needed. In the end, there are no ashes or soot left behind for you to clean.

     

    This machine is also multi-functional, as you make bread, casseroles, meats, pies, and more. Convection pizza ovens are likely to last longer without regular maintenance because there aren’t a lot of moving parts involved in comparison to traditional brick ovens.

     

    Countertop pizza ovens are perfect for those looking for an easy way to make delicious pizza without taking up a lot of space.

    Pros
    Cons
    Depositphotos 403462854 Xl
    The Breakdown
    • Size: 100 cubic feet to 200 cubic feet
    • Fuel Types: Gas or Electric
    • Price: $50-$30,000
    • Cook Time: 5-10 Minutes
    • Preheat Time: 1 Hour
    • Best For: Large establishments, Casual Dining Restaurants, Traditional Pizzerias, Large Spaces
    • Suitable For: Frozen or Fresh Thin Crust Pizzas or Deep Dish Pizzas, Breads, Rolls

    Deck Pizza Oven

    Deck pizza ovens are the largest oven of them all, so they’re often used for large restaurants and establishments that need to cook a ton of pizzas quickly. While these ovens may take up a lot of space, they sport a lot of impressive features that make them worth it.

     

    Deck pizza oven indoor machines allow users to control both sides at once, making them perfect for cooking pizzas with different toppings evenly.

     

    Plus, the oven does not involve moving parts like a brick oven, so it’s easy to maintain and more likely to last long-term, even after a lot of regular use.

     

    When cooking pizza in this oven, a stone or stainless steel surface must go under the pies to create more even heating and provide extra crispiness. With these ovens, you can make multiple delicious pizza pies at once and ensure fluffy, crispy crust each and every time.

    Pros
    Cons
    Pizza Oven Conveyor 500X500 1 E1645731430679
    The Breakdown
    • Size: 100 cubic feet to 180 cubic feet
    • Fuel Types: Gas, Electric, Conveyor Belt System
    • Price: $30-$50,000
    • Cook Time: 5-10 Minutes
    • Preheat Time: 10 Minutes Per Pie
    • Best For: Casual Dining Restaurants, Traditional Pizzerias, Small Businesses
    • Suitable For: Frozen or Fresh Thin Crust Pizzas 

    Conveyor Pizza Oven

    Conveyor Pizza Ovens provide a way to cook pizzas faster than other cooking methods. This is due to the moving parts in the oven that keep the pizza rolling and evenly cooked the entire time. 

     

    Plus, this kind of oven is a great way to ensure all of your pizzas will come out the exact same way, as there are no rotating trays involved or crust rotation. 

     

    Conveyor Pizza Ovens are available in an industrial-style countertop unit or full-sized freestanding unit. We recommend the full-size freestanding model, as they offer guaranteed even baking across all four walls while still being portable. 

     

    Conveyor ovens will take slightly longer than brick or deck ovens to make the pizza as the heat output isn’t as great, but the outcome will be just as delicious.

    Pros
    Cons

    Pizza Equipment You'll Need

    When it comes to making the perfect pizza pie, you’ll need some pizza oven accessories, including pizza stones, pizza peels, pizza cutting tools, digital scales, dough scraper, and dough mixer

    A pizza stone is a thick, flat surface that’s typically preheated for 30 minutes before you bake your pizza. As the stone rests in the oven, it begins to absorb the heat and retain it long-term up to 600F. As a result, the heat will rise uniformly and transfer directly to the bottom of your dough, finishing your pizza with a nicely browned, crispier crust.

     

    In order to find the best pizza stone for you, first make sure that the stone you’re buying will fit your oven. To achieve an evenly cooked and crispy crust, be sure to go for a thicker stone, about 3/4 to 1 inch think. When it comes to the shape of the stone, opt for rectangular stones, as they provide more surface area.

    Pizza peels are used to pick up pizza from your work surface and into the oven. Pizza peels typically come in a rectangular or circular shape. The rectangular shape is your safest option, as there is a larger surface area.  The round peel has an extended grip point that allows you to take the pizza even from the side and not just from the front.

     

    Pizza peels can be found in wooden, steel, and aluminum materials. Wooden pizza peels are more traditional, but they tend to be less durable as they’re difficult to keep clean. Steel pizza peels last longer as they’re smoother and stronger, but they’re the heaviest of the materials. Aluminum pizza peels are light and reduce the friction between the dough and peel head, but they tend to be more fragile than other types of peels.

    There are a few types of pizza cutters to choose from: a pizza cutting wheel, a rocking pizza cutter, and pizza scissors. A pizza cutting wheel is typically the most commonly chosen cutting tool, as it’s easy to use and effective. But, this tool can be hard to sharpen if it gets dull, which is why it’s important to invest in a high-quality pizza cutting wheel.

     

    A rocking pizza cutter, also known as a pizza blade, is designed to cut the pizza with a rocking motion. This tool is heavy, sharp, and expensive, which is why we recommend this tool for professional kitchens. Lastly, pizza scissors are a great option for you if you like to cut your pizza directly on the stone or in a pizza pan, because they don’t get dull during slicing. 

    Picking the perfect digital scale comes down to two main factors: capacity and resolution. The capacity of the scale is the heaviest weight it can measure, while the resolution is the smallest increments it can measure. Typically, this is 1, 0.1, or 0.01 grams. 

     

    When it comes to a digital scale for your pizza, the most convenient option is typically a dual platform scale. These scales feature a small platform that measure ingredients in 0.1g or 0.01g intervals which is perfect for yeast and salt, as well as a larger platform that’s great for flour and water.

    A dough scraper is a tool that makes scraping your bowl, retrieving your dough, and cutting your dough effortless. This tool typically comes in a rectangular shape and is made out of a combination of plastic and metal.

     

    The dough scraper is designed to scrape stuck dough without leaving scratches on your work surface, as well as clean your baking steel without damaging it.

    For pizza dough, we recommend using a spiral mixer, as it’s typically dedicated for pizza, bread, and other pastries. A spiral mixer provides better management of temperatures, easy creation of any dough structure you need, possibility to work with higher hydration, and an easy management of a higher amount of pizza dough.

    What to Look For When Buying a Pizza Oven

    When it comes to finding the right pizza oven for you, there are 4 main things to consider: your space available at home, the amount of food you plan to cook, the design and materials, and the fuel options.

    Space Available at Home

    Before anything else, it’s important to measure the space available for the installation of your pizza oven, so you know that it will fit comfortably in your home. Plus, it’s important that you know you’ll have enough space to move around while cooking and socializing. 

    The Amount of Food You Plan to Cook

    One of the easiest ways to determine the size of the oven you need is to think about how much food you plan to cook in your pizza oven. If you have a big family or plan on inviting guests to an at-home pizza party, chances are you’ll want to make more than one pizza at a time. In that case, you’ll want a bigger oven that will accommodate more food. 

    Design and Materials

    The design and materials used in your pizza oven are a lot more important than one would think. Different kinds of materials, such as brick, stone, or steel, directly affect the durability and efficiency of the oven and its price. A common mistake that you want to avoid is choosing a cheaper oven model, as they’re typically not built to last. 

    Fuel Options

    As mentioned previously, the type of fuel you use for your oven has a direct impact on the taste and quality of your pizza. If you prefer the bold, smoky flavor that wood-fired pizzas provide, choose a wood-burning pizza oven that requires wood for fuel. If you’re looking for a more convenient, fast pizza oven, you may want to consider a gas pizza oven. 

    Are Pizza Ovens Worth It?

    If you find yourself craving the bold, wood-fired taste of authentic pizza, you’re not alone. In fact, that’s one of the core reasons why at-home pizza ovens have recently risen in popularity. Pizza ovens help you make crispy, delicious pizza for birthday parties, dinner nights, game-day cuisine, or literally just because.

     

    Owning a pizza oven gives you access to your own personal pepperoni paradise whenever you please. Pizza ovens are surprisingly beginner-friendly, making it easy to embrace your inner pizzaiolo. All that being said, are pizza ovens really worth it? We say they’re worth every single penny.

    See Our Favorite Pizza Ovens of 2022

    Now that you’re a pizza oven expert, it’s time to find your perfect at-home pizzeria match. While you may know all the ins and outs of the world of pizza ovens, there’s still an overwhelming amount of pizza ovens to choose from on the market.

     

    To make things easier on you, we’ve sorted through the good, the bad, and the ugly pizza ovens to provide you with a list of the best of the best. When we found our top pick, it was love at first sight. With an attractive, minimal design and lightning-fast cook time, choosing our favorite came without a second thought. 

     

    To see our favorite pizza oven and more, check out our full list of the best pizza ovens on the market.