At a Glance:
Whether it’s with a brew or accompanied by a seasonal vino, a slice of pizza is a classic cuisine great for any occasion of celebration. But if your usual routine is heating up a frozen pizza or ordering one for takeout, you could be missing out on one of the greatest experiences by creating your very own inside an outdoor pizza oven.
Once exclusive to restaurants, pizza ovens are now available to homeowners and are becoming one of the hottest additions to outdoor kitchens. But before you go off investing in one of these appliances, there are a few things you should know, which is why we’ve put all the details together in this guide. First, we’ll give you the 101 on pizza ovens, then we’ll review four models to inspire you to become the master of your own pizzas from the comfort of your backyard.
Find Hot Deals on Pizza OvensPizza Ovens
It’s not a secret that these ovens are advertised for baking pizzas, but what makes a pizza oven different than a conventional oven or even a grill? In short, it comes down to heat output and design. For instance:
A regular oven is designed to reach a maximum of around 500 degrees, while pizza ovens go far beyond that with temperatures around 700–900 degrees. Additionally, items cooked inside a pizza hearth are placed directly on the floor of the interior, not on racks like a grill or oven. Of course, that means a pizza peel is required to get food in and out of one of these appliances.
Other than heat output, pizza ovens are designed with builds that are unique to ovens and grills. Most often, they are domed and made of brick or stone, but newer generations of pizza ovens favor stainless steel for its easy maintenance and sleek presentation.
The dome shape isn’t just aesthetics, though. It’s a purposeful design that encourages airflow for even heat distribution similar to the way a convection oven works. However, pizza ovens also use conduction and radiant heat, providing three heat methods that cook food faster.
In other words:
- Pizza ovens cook faster than grills and ovens
- Pizza ovens are hotter than grills and ovens
- Pizza ovens use multiple heating techniques for one-of-a-kind results
There are few greater pleasures than being able to bake up a pizza the authentic Italian way, but considering these appliances run at a high price point, buyers often wonder if a pizza oven is worth it. Budget aside, here are 4 reasons adding a pizza oven to your outdoor kitchen is worth it.
1. Food Taste Better
Make no mistake, there’s no other way to achieve the chewy, slightly charred, and golden deliciousness of a pie made in a pizza oven. Wood-fired pizza ovens especially are prized for the smokey aroma they impart on food, but even a gas-powered pizza oven is capable of achieving artisanal crusts you can only get from a restaurant.
2. Faster Cooking Times
It takes far less time to cook a pizza in one of these ovens than it does to order one from your local shop. There is a trade-off, though. Pizza ovens require more time to heat up, but in the time it takes to do that (about 45 minutes to 1-½ hours), you have plenty of time to prepare other dishes to go along with the main course.
3. You Can Expand Your Menu
Pizzas are just the beginning of what you can create inside one of these outdoor cooking appliances. The high-heat settings are also ideal to spatchcock a chicken or cook a cobbler to bubbly perfection.
4. Pizza Ovens Save Energy
Having a pizza oven is also a great excuse to cook outdoors, which can save on energy costs and keep the home from getting hot.
Even though pizza ovens are intended mainly for Neapolitan and Margherita pies, not all models are created equally. In order to select the right setup for your experience, learn about the different types of fuels sources, along with a few main considerations you should know before buying a pizza oven.
Type of Fuel Source
First, decide on which fuel source you prefer.
Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens
These are the prototypes most authentic to the traditional way pizza is made in Italy. Usually, these models are made of brick or stone and often feature the iconic domed top that has become synonymous with these ovens. Wood-fired pizza ovens are ideal for giving food a lovely charred flavor and can be used for fast, high-heat cooking methods or slow and low cooking.
✅ Extremely durable
✅ High heat output
✅ Better heat retention
✖ Require a little more learning and care
✖ Wood fuel requires more cleanup
Gas Pizza Ovens
If you’re looking for a more hands-off approach to cooking pizza outdoors, a gas pizza oven might be your best choice. These are easier to use than wood, however, they won’t produce the same flavor. On the other hand, the flame on these models is easier to control and ignition is instant. Most models are made of metal, but gas pizza ovens can also be found made of stone and brick if you prefer a more rustic look.
✅ Easier to maintain than wood-fired brick ovens
✅ Less of a learning curve
✅ Select models can be hooked up to home gas supplies
✅ Can be used where wood burning is prohibited
✖ Tend to be small
✖ Do not retain heat as well as brick ovens
✖ Less flavor
Dual Fuel Pizza Ovens
There are even dual fuel pizza ovens that can be used with either gas or wood. These are a convenient way to combine an easy user experience with the option for an authentic cooking experience. Depending on the build and material selected, any of these pizza ovens will come with the advantages and disadvantages mentioned above.
By asking these important questions, you should have all the basic info you need to select a pizza oven suited for your needs.
What Do You Want to Cook on a Pizza Oven?
If pizza is what you solely plan on using your pizza oven for, you have the option of just about any style. Overall, brick and wood-fired ovens produce the best flavor, but gas and metal models are still superior to baking a pizza in a conventional oven.
For menus that are more diverse, including entrées like slow-roasted turkey, baked cast iron cobblers, or other slow-cooking items, it’s best to stick to brick and stone materials over metal since they retain heat longer and require less maintenance to retain internal temperatures.
How Much Are You Cooking?
How much you plan to cook inside a pizza oven matters too. A single oven will have plenty of room to crisp up with the ambient heat of a pizza oven, but crowding can lead to uneven cooking. For occasional use, consider a smaller pizza oven. You’ll save money and it should be enough space for your needs. If you’re a truly avid outdoor cook, you’ll get more use out of a larger pizza grill.
Where Do You Plan to Install Your Pizza Oven?
It’s crucial to find the right place for your pizza oven regardless of whether you purchase a built-in model or a portable one. Remember: these run at high temperatures, so it’s important to install your oven in an area that is free from overhead obstructions or nearby fire hazards.
If you’re set on installing a pizza oven outdoor, we invite you to see our reviews of these four models. Each is what we consider one of the best in its category, and are ranked from most affordable to our splurge pick.
Best Portable Pizza Oven: Gozney Roccbox Olive Outdoor Portable Pizza Oven
This affordable starter pizza oven is great for first-time pie makers because it uses either gas or wood to produce heat settings at the level of professional pizzeria ovens. Up to 950 degrees overall that is easily monitored with a thermometer built right into it. Complete with an included peel, a portable design, and trendy green finish that steals the show, this is one of the best outdoor pizza oven models on the market today.
Best Compact Wood Fired Pizza Oven: Gozney° Dome 29" Bone Outdoor Oven
If you’re looking for something smaller that still has impact, consider this dual fuel pizza oven from Gozney. Whether you use this as an outdoor wood fired pizza oven or run it with gas, this setup also produces up to 950 degrees of firepower to quickly cook pizza and other food to golden perfection. Take this portable pizza oven to a tailgate, camping, or enjoy using it on your patio together with dual temperature probes, a steam injector option, and a digital thermometer for a complete cooking setup on a compact, 29” footprint.
Best Large Wood Fired Pizza Oven: Alfa Outdoor Copper 4 Pizze Oven
Outdoor chefs with champagne taste will love the professional look and performance of this Alfa pizza oven. The upgraded size and design makes it possible to cook up four different pizza flavors to feed a crowd with the lovely aroma of a wood fire. We also love the mobile casters on this model that allow the whole unit to be moved at will — no installation necessary.
Best Gas Pizza Oven: Alfa Outdoor Copper Stone Oven Large Top
Faithful to gas? Not a problem! This outdoor gas pizza oven from Alfa combines the convenience of a gas flame with high levels of heat — more than 930 degrees, to be precise, hot enough to cook a pizza in under 15 minutes. This stone oven is simple to use with a built-in temperature gauge, a heat setting knob, and a glass window door that provides a look into the oven without opening the door.
For homeowners who have the space for a pizza oven, including one in an outdoor kitchen is a fun and practical way to enjoy even more from your backyard cooking area. Looking for a little more inspiration? At Don’s Appliances, our resident chef Anthony Marino has created a step-by-step guide to cooking on a pizza oven, where you can get a closer look at one of these appliance in action before you purchase.
We have just a few more questions we want to address before you go off on your pizza oven buying journey. Take a look at what buyers are asking!
Can a pizza oven get too hot?
There is a precise art to cooking with a pizza oven, and under some circumstances, the interior can get too hot. A quick way to test the temperature is with a sample of dough or by tossing in some flour. If the flour ignites after 10 seconds or less, your oven is too hot.
Can I use a pizza oven in the winter?
Absolutely! In fact, these outdoor appliances are made of heavy-duty materials that resist the elements. Wood-fired pizza ovens are especially great for creating a cozy outdoor ambience while you wait for your pie to finish.
What can I cook in a pizza oven?
You’re not limited to just pizzas in one of these specialty ovens. The high-heat conditions are also great for searing thick steaks, baking up artisanal bread, giving veggies a roasted finish, and creating desserts.
Founded in 1971, Don’s Appliances is a family-owned, independent appliance retailer based out of Pittsburgh, PA. Don’s has since expanded to 10 locations selling, delivering, installing, and servicing all major appliance brands. Large enough to offer competitive pricing yet small enough to continue offering the “white glove” service we pride ourselves on, our focus is always on the customer experience — from the first step into a showroom to the purchase transaction to well after your new appliance has been installed.
When our customers are remodeling or building a new house, Don’s has all the expertise, product knowledge, inventory, brands, displays, and services to meet and exceed your needs. And in the event an appliance breaks, we are there, right on time and with the right product, delivery, installation, and service.
Shop Outdoor Pizza Ovens at Don’s
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, and shop outdoor kitchen appliances online at Don’s Appliance. Our friendly experts are always happy to help you explore delicious new recipes with an outdoor pizza oven — whether you call us at 866-544-1711, email us, or use our online chat feature. Better yet, stop by any of our Don’s Appliances Pittsburgh, PA warehouse locations. Visit us today!