The Best Pizza Ovens for the Budding Backyard Pizzaiolo (2019 Edition)

When you’re building your ultimate patio and outdoor kitchen, one item you must make room for is a dedicated pizza oven. Leave some space between the Kegerator and the kitchen sink.

Yes, pizza delivery is somewhat of an event looked forward to by many, but you’re selling yourself short on flavor, variety, and satisfaction.

Home proved dough, homemade sauces, fresh cheeses, spices, herbs and toppings in any combination your imagination will allow – the carb and fat fests from most commercial pizza deliveries can never match up to a decent home fired pizza.

And if you think a dedicated pizza oven wouldn’t get enough use to justify the price, know that with some of the best pizza ovens, you can make your own artisan bread, roast meats, vegetables and more. They aren’t just for pizza.

A pizza being cooked in a large wood fired oven

But picking the best pizza oven for you can be a challenge. There are numerous things you’ll need to consider to help narrow down your choice.

What kind of fuel do you plan to use? How much space do you have on your patio? Will you want to cook anything else besides pizza? What capacity do you need?

In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know so you can confidently make the right buying decision. And we will offer a few suggestions for the best pizza oven to match your budget and cooking requirements.

Hopefully, this guide will be all you need to make the right purchase and begin to enjoy delicious homemade pizzas.

At a Glance: Top 4 From 7 We’ve Chosen as Contenders for Best Pizza Oven

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.com, BBQGuys.com or Roccbox.com.

What is a Pizza Oven?

Traditionally they are a large wood-fired oven made of brick and clay. Their design and the wood fire allow it to reach temperatures of over 900°F and enable us to cook pizza very quickly, sometimes in as little as 90 seconds!

While it certainly would be cool to have a behemoth wood-fired pizza oven on your patio, it isn’t realistic for many of us simply because we don’t have space. Furthermore, many home cooks just don’t want to have to manage a wood fire.

Luckily there are lots of manufacturers out there that make different types of awesome pizza ovens for the home pizzaiolo, from small to huge, and from traditionally wood-fired to far more easily managed gas fired.

Difference Between a Pizza Oven and a Wood Fired Oven

A wood-fired oven is just as the name implies: an oven that uses a wood fire to generate heat and cook food inside of it. This is how the first pizzas were cooked in Italy hundreds of years ago, and how many pizzerias and home cooks still bake their pies.

Sometimes people will use the two terms interchangeably, but that would be incorrect. A wood-fired oven can be a pizza oven, but not all pizza ovens are wood-fired ovens.

In today’s modern pizzeria, many run on either electricity or are gas powered. While for the home cook you have the same options available to you too.

You can go traditional with a large WFO, or you can take a more straightforward route and go with a propane fired oven that can reach high temps with the turn of a knob. There are even some home modelss that fueled by wood pellets.

How Do Pizza Ovens Work?

Even though there are lots of different styles as well as many kinds of fuel, they all use the same basic principles.

The Basics

Most pizza ovens are domed, and the base made from either brick or a stone-like substance.

A heat source, either burning wood or propane is lit inside directly on the base to heat the oven. The fire will burn until the oven is pre-heated to a very high temp. Depending on the size and the temperature from the fire, this can take anywhere from a few minutes to many hours.

If using a wood fire, you need to control your temp by either opening/closing the vent on the flue, or by opening/closing the door. Like managing a charcoal grill or smoker, more oxygen = higher temp. If using a gas model, you simply turn the knob to increase or decrease the temperature.

Convection

The idea behind convection is that air circulates the oven and passes over the food. This is great for a food like pizza where you want the crust to be crispy, your toppings cooked, and for nothing in the middle to be doughy or undercooked.

Air is sucked into the oven from the open door; it’s then heated quickly from the super-hot fire as it passes over your food. Once it reaches the back wall of the oven, it begins to rise as it gets hotter and passes over the food a second time on its way to the flue.

What Temperature to Cook?

The key to a great pizza is to have the crust and the toppings finish cooking at the same time. If you cook at too low of a temperature, the crust will be done but the toppings will be undercooked. Likewise, if you cook it too hot, the toppings will be burned before the bottom finishes cooking.

This is why a wood-fired oven is almost necessary for making excellent pizza at home. While the oven in your kitchen can cook at maximum 500°F, a WFO can easily reach temps of over 1000°F.

Now, before you go reaching for kindling to start your fire, keep in mind that just because you can cook in excess of 1000°F, it doesn’t mean you should. Further to that, many home pizza ovens just can’t get that hot.

Good benchmark temps to reach for are a floor temperature anywhere from 700°F – 900°F, and a dome temperature of 1000°F to 1200°F. At these temps, you will be able to quickly cook your pizza to have your toppings and crust cooked perfectly ready at the same time.

How Long Does it Take to Cook Pizza in the Oven

Given the higher temperature, your pizza is going to cook at a much faster rate than in your home oven. There is also a little skill involved with cooking in an oven that reaches these extreme temperatures.

You’re not going to want to walk away or leave your pizza unattended while it’s cooking. After about 30 – 40 seconds, use your peel to take a peek at the bottom of your crust. It should be starting to brown.

Rotate your pizza 180° and let it cook for another 30 – 40 seconds. Use your peel to look at the bottom again. If it is cooked on the bottom and the top is looking like it can need a little longer, you can always use your peel to lift the pizza up off the stone and bring it near the top of the oven. This is called “doming,” and because it is hotter near the top, the toppings will quickly finish cooking.

In total, it should only take 1 – 2 minutes to cook your pie in a super-hot oven.

How to Use a Wood Fired Oven

 

In the above video, Paul Pitcher from The Woodhouse Restaurant in Australia does a great job of explaining how to make a pizza in a wood-fired oven.

First, you’ll need to light your fire. Start with some very well dried wood and stack it in the center of your oven. As the fire burns and reaches temps of 700°F the soot inside the oven will begin to vaporize, and the inside walls will turn white. When all the soot is burned off, you’re ready to cook.

Depending on the size and shape of your oven, be prepared for anywhere from 60 minutes to 3 hours to preheat it thoroughly.

When the oven is hot, push the burning coals and embers to one side and brush any ash from the floor where the fire was first lit. Do not place a pizza in right away, the brick that is underneath where the fire was initially is still very hot and will burn anything you put there. You should be able to cook within a half hour.

You’re now ready to make your pies in your pre-heated oven. Adding a good medium sized piece of well-seasoned hardwood every 10 minutes or so will keep your temperature up while you’re cooking.

Once you’re done cooking, you can close down the top flu and place the door in the oven to eliminate oxygen and snuff out the fire. After 24 – 48 hours the ashes inside will be stone cold, and you can safely sweep out the ash.

Different Types of Pizza Ovens

We’ve already discussed how all wood fired ovens can be pizza ovens but the reverse isn’t true.

Now, let’s talk about the many different types of pizza ovens on the market, and how while they can all make an excellent pie, they do have their differences.

Permanent Fixtures/Built-in

If you are a hardcore pizza enthusiast and money is no object, you may want the best and to make a statement. If so then a permanent, built-in WFO is the one for you! There will be no denying you love your pizza and you will spare no expense to prove it.

These behemoths can weigh hundreds of pounds of brick, clay, and metal. They are typically fueled by wood, or possibly wood with a propane assisted burner and can easily get near 900°F.

Pros

Simply put, these things are made to last. You will find high-quality brick that will not crack under high temperature. They’re also large and can be used to cook several pizzas at once.

Needless to say, but the coolness factor is going to be through the roof with one of these things on your patio too!

Given their large size, you’ll be able to cook 3-4 pies at a time comfortably, meaning you can cook for both intimate gatherings or very large parties, with the potential to turn out over 100 pizzas per hour.

Most importantly, with the ability to cook at such a high temp you’re going to be able to cook authentic Naples style pizza: thin crispy crust, with perfectly cooked toppings.

But also with such great size, comes flexibility. You can cook many breads, or an entire Sunday roast including all meats and vegetables in the cooling oven, something not possible in many smaller models.

Cons

As the name implies, these are permanent fixtures once they are installed. If you decide in two years’ time, you would like it on the other side of the patio, too bad. It’s not portable, so you won’t be able to make the same pizza at a friend’s house, either.

Lastly, these are very expensive and would not be recommended for anyone outside hardcore pizza lovers and experienced home cooks.

Standalone, Semi-Permanent

The little brother to the Permanent Oven would be a Standalone, Semi-permanent oven. These bad boys can still cook at the same high temps as their bigger sibling, but they can do it while taking up a lot less space and without becoming permanent fixtures on your patio.

Pros

Much like permanent standalone models, semi-permanent ovens are made with quality materials that are guaranteed to last for years.

Given their smaller footprint, they won’t hog up half the patio, and depending on the weight, they can be somewhat quickly packed up and taken to other locations. Pizza on the beach anyone?

They are still also big enough to bake breads and roast dinners in the cooling oven after pie making.

Cons

Even though they’re smaller than a permanently fixed oven, they can still be costly and quite large. If you have space, you may be able to take it apart and place it in your garage or shed when not in use.

Portable Ovens

With the recent increase in cooking pizzeria-quality pizza at home, there have been some recent advances in small portable ovens that you can either leave on your patio 24/7 or still take with you when you want to cook at another location.

Pros

Bar none, the best way to test the water with a dedicated pizza oven. They take up less space than the others, they’re cheaper, and they’re typically easier to learn on and manage the fire.

Cons

While they are cheaper than the others, they can still be in excess of $500. While that’s not necessarily a problem, you may be tempted to quickly upgrade from a portable model to a large wood fired oven.

Also, given their small size, you’re only going to be able to cook one pizza at a time. Not a problem if you only plan to cook for 4 – 6 guests at a time, but if you’re planning on having a large party you’re going to be busy churning out pies one at a time.

Also, their small size and minimal heat retention don’t lend well to baking bread and roasting meats and vegetables. Portable models are more for just cooking pizzas.

Different Materials Used in Construction

No matter which style of oven you go with, you’re going to want to know the materials it’s built from.

Is it designed for outdoor use? Or should you store it in your shed when you’re not using it? Is any material better than others? Or are they all mostly the same?

We’re going to answer these questions now.

Fire Brick

The original pizza ovens were built with brick used to make both the floor and the dome. Some are still built that way today, but things have improved tenfold over the bricks first available when such cookers were invented.

The firebrick will retain heat well, and slowly release it during the cook, resulting in an even heat distribution throughout the cooking space.

Unlike clay bricks, fire bricks are designed to withstand high temps and aren’t likely to crack or break due to the environment.

Stainless Steel

Probably the most commonly used material to build the exterior of wood fired / pizza ovens. It’s great because it won’t rust, and will hold up well to being stored outdoors.

You need to be cautious once your oven is lit, as stainless steel will get very hot, very quickly.

Stone

If yours is not a brick oven, it will be made with a type of stone floor. This is done to mimic as closely as possible the brick found in the original pizza ovens. This thick stone floor would heat up as the oven heats up and will radiate heat up through the bottom of the crust as it cooks.

When buying a pizza oven with a stone base, it’s important to consider if it’s a refractory stone or a stone that will hold up well to the high heats required. Of course nearly all are, but you must check to be sure. Otherwise cracks will soon start to appear.

Insulation

If you’re considering an oven with a stainless steel body, it would be wise to consider if it has any form of insulation between the pieces of stainless steel.

This is a necessity to keep the heat from escaping, making the oven both more fuel efficient, but also more flexible in use.

After cooking pizzas, a well insulated oven can hold heat for anything from 8 to 12 hours, and in this time you can use the heat to bake bread overnight, or roast some meat low n slow for tomorrows lunch. Not possible in a thinly insulated model that doesn’t hold it’s heat.

Fuel Types Used In Different Pizza Ovens

In most commercial pizzerias their ovens are powered by electricity because it’s easier and cheaper to cook mass quantities with an electricity as fuel.

However, it would be unsafe and difficult to make pizza on your home patio using electricity, so most manufacturers use either a wood fire or propane. Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each.

Wood fire

Originally, all pizzas were cooked in wood-fired ovens, and for many aficionado’s it’s still the only way to cook.

You heat your oven with by lighting large sticks of wood on the fire and letting them burn down to embers, then sweep them to one side, clearing floor space to cook on. You maintain your temp by adding a fresh log every 10 minutes or so while you’re cooking.

Pros

A wood fire can get really, very hot which is crucial for making good pizza. It also adds a somewhat smoky flavor to the food.

Possibly the most crucial factor of a wood-fired oven is the coolness factor. Your guests will definitely remember the night you made delicious pizza inside your WFO on your patio.

Cons

If you’ve never built a campfire before, you will have to learn how to build your fire inside your oven, as well as learn how to keep it lit.

Depending on the size of your oven, it can take 1 to 3+ hours for it to be preheated enough to bake your pies.

Once you’re done cooking your pies, it can take a long time for the oven to cool down. Even after it’s cooled down, you’ll need to clean out the ash inside it.

Propane

If you’d rather not have to deal with managing a large wood fire on your patio, don’t panic. There’s another option available to you.

Propane gas pizza ovens are becoming more popular, can reach the high temps needed to cook a pie properly, don’t require as much time to warm up, are easier to manage, and have less mess to clean up after cooking.

The only downside is that while they still bake excellent pies, they will not give them a smoky flavor as you get from a wood fire.

Buying Guide and Advice to Find the Right One for You

After reading all that you’re probably starting to form an idea of what it is you want in a pizza oven for your backyard.

Just to hammer the points home, here’s a list of things you’ll need to keep in mind when you start looking at options and before we present you with a list to the best pizza ovens on the market for home use.

Decide on Your Budget

First things first, you need to determine your budget. You know how much you have to spend, so don’t waste your time looking at $2000 models when you can only afford a $500 one.

If you are really on the fence about buying one in the first place, you can always consider buying one of the cheaper ones and upgrade later; they tend to keep their value quite value for the second hand market if you do this.

On the flip side, if you know you’re going to like having a top model and will use it often, it’s totally fine to splurge and buy a more expensive one knowing it will last decades on your patio.

Fuel Type – Which Would You Prefer? And Why?

Do you want to manage a wood fire and have an authentic Neapolitan pizza? Or would you prefer the ease of propane gas?

To answer this you need to consider the time and energy that is involved in starting the fire, managing it, and cleaning up the ash afterward all in the name of authenticity and the wood fire taste.

If you love cooking with charcoal, it’s probably safe to assume you’ll be happy with a real wood fire. On the other hand, if you’d rather not have to deal with everything that comes with a wood fire, propane is probably the way to go; just turn on the burner, preheat your oven, and you’re ready to cook.

Build Quality

When looking at different pizza ovens, you’ll notice their build quality will vary greatly. Some units will come with thick insulation, while others will be thin. The thicker the insulation is, the easier it will be to reach high temps and keep them there.

This is a device you are possibly going to leave on your patio 24/7/365. The higher the quality, the longer it’s going to last when facing the extremes of seasonal weather outside.

If you’re only testing the waters to see if you enjoy making pizza at home, or if you have a limited budget, it is understandable to sacrifice build quality in the first instance, and upgrade later when you know if it’s worth it or not.

Size – Space taken up in Your Garden, Plus Cooking Capacity

Pizza ovens come in all shapes and sizes so you’ll need to consider which size is right for you. Will you be baking one 12” pie at a time, or do you want to be able to bake larger 20” pies? Maybe you’d like to bake three 12” pies at a time?

You also have to consider if you want to do more than just cook pizzas. If you’re going to bake bread or use a Dutch oven, you will need an oven that has enough clearance to cook these things.

Just keep in mind that the larger the oven, typically the more expensive it will be.

Fuel Efficiency

You want your oven to run efficiently, and by that we mean we want to be able to cook at a consistently high temperature over the period of the cook without going through a lot of fuel.

If your oven is made with inferior quality materials, or if you’re unable to open or close the flu or put a door on the front to keep heat in, it allows heat to escape and results in poor fuel efficiency.

So look for models that have a door to retain heat when needed.

Manufacturer Support

When spending money on a big ticket item like a pizza oven, it’s good to have the peace of mind knowing the manufacturer is going to be there for you if something goes wrong.

Research the manufacturer you’re considering buying from, do they have an easily accessible parts stocking? Does their website have lots of how-to articles and videos showcasing how to use their product? Do they have an active presence in social media? More importantly, do they answer customer’s questions when they have them?

Future Upgrades and Available Accessories

Some pizza ovens are pretty plane, but the manufacturer may have a host of available accessories you can purchase down the road when you’re ready to take things to the next level.

Some things to consider for future purchases would be stands, or the ability to build your oven into your patio permanently. And of course, peels, brushes, Dutch ovens and other items to allow you to roast and bake other ingredients and whole meals.

Best Pizza Oven for Home Use – A Detailed Look at our Top Recommendations

In the rest of this article, we’ve rounded up 7 of the best pizza ovens, of different sizes, fuel types, and designs, from the very high end to the smallest portable versions – a little something for everyone’s needs and every budget.

Alfa Forno 4 Wood Burning Pizza Oven with Cart

Alfa Forn04 / 4 pizze pizza oven isolated on white

Over 40 years ago two young cousins began making high-quality wood-fired ovens in Italy. In the time that has passed, they’ve practically reinvented the wood-fired pizza oven as we know it.

The Alfa Forno 4 outdoor pizza oven is made with quality in mind, featuring a stainless steel body with ceramic insulation. This means it can come up to temperature much quicker than many conventional ovens. The added insulation also means it can easily maintain temperatures.

Simply put, this oven is one of the best on the market, meant to be used and enjoyed by the most serious home pizza cook.

What’s in the Box

  • Large pizza oven dome with flue
  • Large door
  • Oven floor consisting of interchangeable refractory tiles
  • Stand with built-in prep tables and peel holder

Features

As mentioned, this oven is made of a substantial stainless steel body with ceramic insulation that will heat up quickly and keep heat throughout the cook. The heavy stainless steel also means it can stand up to the ravages of winter on your patio.

The oven floor is made of several refractory tiles. This is good for a couple of reasons: since there is more than one tile, it allows for them to expand and contract due to the extreme heat and not break. Also, they’re very thick and allow heat to travel up through the dough as the pizza bakes, giving you a delicious crispy crust.

Given the vast space inside the oven, you will easily be able to bake several pizzas at one time. Also, the large door means it will be easy to both launch, turn, and retrieve a pizza while several others are baking.

The added side tables will be great for organizing everything you will need to cook. The integrated tool holder gives you a great place to store your peel and other tools while baking your pies. You’re not going to have to worry about them falling on the ground and rushing to clean them mid-cook.

Ease of Use

Like all wood-fired ovens, you’re going to have a learning curve ahead of you the first few times you try to this. You will have to build a fire from scratch, then learn how to manage it so you can achieve the consistent high temps you need to bake your pizzas.

Unlike some of the other models we’re going to look at, the Alfa Forno 4 has the advantage of the insulated stainless steel dome that will allow you to reach and maintain the high temps you need more easily.

Also, the refractory tile inside the oven will allow you to bake pie after pie after pie easily.

Specs

  • Type of Oven: Semi-Permanent
  • Overall dimensions: 155cm L x 88cm W x 202cm H
  • Weight: 140 kg
  • Fuel type: Wood
  • Cooking capacity: 4 pizzas
  • Preheat time: 20 minutes
  • Max temp: 900°F
  • Pizza cook time: 60 seconds
  • Can be used to cook other foods (roasting meat, baking bread): Yes

Fuel Efficiency

Given the large size of this oven, you would expect it to burn through a lot of hardwood compared to smaller options available. However, given the insulated stainless steel dome, it will be very fuel efficient.

Aftermarket Support & Accessories

You have little worries with a company that has been around for over 40 years. Alfa Forno stands behind their products with satisfied customers all over the world, and they have a very active following on social media with thousands of fans following them on Instagram and Facebook.

While this unit contains almost everything you would need out of the box, Alfa Forno does make an accessory set of pizza peels, ember scrapers, and ash brush that’s designed to pair with the built-in tool holder in the table.

Who is this Model Best Suited to?

With its hefty price tag, large footprint, and ample cooking capacity this oven is designed for the hardcore home pizza cook who is willing and able to shell out top dollar for a quality made piece of craftsmanship.

Given the large size and cooking capacity, this oven is great for someone who wants to be able to cook 10+ pizzas in an hour, or cook entire wood fired roast dinners, or meat with all sides, or batches of loaves of bread.

Who Should Consider Other Options?

If you aren’t interested in learning how to cook with a wood fire, you may want to pass on this oven and instead consider a gas-fueled unit.

If you do not have a lot of real estate on your patio, or if you want to be able to take your oven to other locations to cook, this unit is not meant for you.

Given it’s large size, and the ability to hold high constant temps, the Alfa Forno is excellent at feeding crowds, but if you just want to be able to bake one or two pizzas for your small family, this oven is slight overkill.

What We Like

  • Made from quality materials that are going to stand up well to being outdoors 24/7
  • With an oven floor that is 31” x 24,” you can easily bake up to 4 pizza’s at one time
  • Minimal assembly upon arrival, merely install the flue and side tables
  • Convenient peel holder to easily store your peel and other tools
  • Can easily hit temps of 900°, meaning you can bake pizzas in about 70 seconds

What We Didn’t Like

  • Bar none, this is the most expensive model on our list. This is not to say we think it’s overpriced, but it is worth pointing out.
  • While it is impressive that the Alfa Forno comes complete with built-in prep tables, they are a little small. Depending on the size of the pizza you’re making, it may be difficult to stretch the dough on these tables. Not a deal breaker. If you need more space, simply use another table on your patio.
  • Lastly, this oven is a beast! You’re going to need a dedicated area on your patio to use this bad boy.

 

Click to Learn More at BBQGuys.com

 

Ilfornino Professional Series Wood Fired Pizza Oven

ilFornino Professional Series Wood Fired Pizza Oven - Thicker Gauge Stainless Steel- One-Flat-Cooking-Surface- Double Insulation

Ilfornino is a company that specializes in making wood-fired ovens in New York State. They make everything from modest single pie ovens to large trailer mounted models meant to be used by caterers.

This unit is one of their larger units for the diehard home pizza chef.

What’s in the Box

  • Large oven dome with flue
  • Cart / Stand with Wheels
  • 1 Ash Drawer
  • 1 Brush/Scraper
  • 1 Pizza Peel
  • User Manual

Features

Similar to the Alfa Forno above, this oven is built with stainless steel body and ceramic insulation, and just like the Alfa Forno, this means it can quickly come up to temp and maintain temp quicker and easier than most other wood-fired ovens. In other words, you’ll likely be baking pies within an hour of lighting your fire.

The floor of the oven is also made from several pieces of refractory tile that are locally sourced by Ilfornino in New York. Meaning even if you do break it you can easily replace it.

One nice touch that the manufacturer thought about is an ash drawer in the back of the oven. After you’re done cooking your pies, simply use the brush to push any ash/embers into the back of the oven where they fall into the drawer for easy cleanup.

Ease of Use

Similar to the Alfa Forno above, and like all WFOs, you’re going to have to be comfortable building and managing a fire inside this oven.

Specs

  • Type of Oven: Semi-Permanent
  • Overall dimensions: 47”L x 31”W x 82.75”H
  • Weight: 280 lbs (without stand)
  • Fuel type: Wood
  • Cooking capacity: 4 pizzas
  • Preheat time: 30 minutes
  • Max temp: 900°F
  • Pizza cook time: 70 seconds
  • Can be used to cook other foods (roasting meat, baking bread): Yes

Fuel Efficiency

Like the Alfa Forno above, this large oven will likely require more wood than smaller pizza models. However, the insulation will make it fuel efficient for its size.

Aftermarket Support & Accessories

Like most brands nowadays, Ilfornino has a very active presence on social media, particularly on their Facebook page.

This particular unit contains most everything you would want out of the box; Ilfornino does have several accessories for purchase that allow you to do things like grill meat on your grill. As well as several styles of peel and other accessories.

Who is this Model Best Suited to?

If you want to be able to feed a small army, have ample space on your patio, and aren’t concerned with a high price tag, the Ilfornino is a great option for you.

Who Should Consider Other Options?

If you aren’t interested in learning how to cook with a wood fire, you may want to pass on this oven and instead consider a gas-fueled unit.

Also, if your primary goal is to only bake 1 – 2 pies for your immediate family and friends, you will want to consider a smaller model.

What We Like

  • Made from quality materials that are going to stand up well to being outdoors 24/7
  • You can easily bake more than one pizza at one time
  • Minimal assembly upon arrival, merely install the flue and base
  • Convenient ash drawer
  • Includes peel and brush/scrapper
  • Is somewhat portable, but you’ll need a pickup truck
  • Complete with the flu that has a damper and an oven door so you can increase or decrease air flow
  • Can easily hit temps of 900°, meaning you can cook pizzas in about 70 seconds

What We Didn’t Like

  • There isn’t a whole lot to not like about this unit. While it is a top-notch oven, it does come with the high price tag associated with owning a quality item.
  • In addition to the high price tag, this is a significant unit that will take up a lot of space on your patio. It is semi-portable, but you’ll need a pickup truck if you want to be able to take this to another location to bake some pies.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Roccbox

Grey Roccbox portable pizza oven isolated on white

Founded in 2012, Roccbox is a UK company that is manufacturing a genuinely portable pizza oven that’s able to reach temps of over 900°.

What’s in the Box

  • Roccbox portable oven
  • Pizza peel
  • Gas burner
  • Wood burner
  • Hopper tool
  • Carrying strap
  • Instruction manual

Features

Ever simple in its design, Roccbox features an insulated body with a protective silicon outer shell and a cordierite stone that is great for making crispy pizza right on the stone.

What makes this unit unique is how it’s fueled. It comes with both a wood hopper and a propane burner. This means you can choose between using wood fire or propane gas to bake.

When using either, flame comes up from the bottom of the Roccbox and flows across the top of the oven, sending radiant heat to the stone below.

Plenty of pizza lovers are falling in love with the Roccbox. Even professional pizzaiolos are using it to create pop-up pizzerias.

Ease of Use

Depending on if you want to use the wood hopper or the propane burner will be the deciding factor on how easy this is to use.

If you use propane, it is very straightforward. Just turn the valve, and the more you open it, the hotter it will get.

If you want to use the optional wood hopper, you will have to learn how to feed the fire to keep it from burning out. You won’t have as much to learn as with a larger more traditional wood-fired oven, due to the design where the wood is fed from the outside rear of the unit.

Specs

  • Type of Oven: Portable
  • Overall dimensions: 531mm L x 413mm W x 473mm H
  • Weight: 44.1 lbs
  • Fuel type: Wood or propane
  • Cooking capacity: 1 pizza
  • Preheat time: 15 minutes
  • Max temp: 900°F
  • Pizza cook time: 90 seconds
  • Can be used to cook other foods (roasting meat, baking bread): Yes, but with the small design it will be difficult to fit a whole lot inside the oven

Fuel Efficiency

Considering the high temperature this oven can reach, it is very fuel efficient.

According to Roccbox, if you’re using the wood burner, you can expect to go through a small bag of kindling in an hour.

If you’re using propane, you can expect a 5 kg tank to last 20 hours with the burner on full blast.

Aftermarket Support & Accessories

Like most brands nowadays, Roccbox has a very active presence on social media, particularly on their Facebook page.

This unit is very well designed, and quite honestly, we can’t think of any accessories that Roccbox would have to include or offer.

Who is this Model Best Suited to?

If you like the idea of a mobile wood fired oven that is easy to use, is moderately affordable and can bake a pie in under 2 minutes, this is the model for you.

Who Should Consider Other Options?

If you’d like the option to bake several pizzas at one time or to roast joints of meat or bake bread, this is not the model for you.

Also, if you want the experience – and somewhat fun – of managing a large fire inside a large oven, this may not be the best option for you.

What We Like

  • Reach temps of over 900° in less than 15 minutes
  • Excellent value for the high temps you can achieve
  • Can bake a pizza in approx. 90 seconds
  • Choice between wood fire or propane
  • Propane option allows for 20 hours of use with a single 5-pound propane canister
  • Carry strap and peel included

What We Didn’t Like

  • You can only bake one pizza at a time, and even then it would be max 11 inches
  • Wood option will only allow for small pieces of wood
  • While it is portable, it does weigh in at 45 pounds; making it a bit of a chore to carry long distances
  • While it’s nowhere near as expensive as some of the other units on this list, it’s an expensive unit given its size

 

Click to Learn More at gozney.com

 

Ooni 3

Ooni 3 Outdoor Pizza Oven, Pizza Maker, Portable Oven, Outdoor Cooking, Award Winning Pizza Oven

 

The Ooni 3 is an entry-level unit that will allow you to make wood-fired pizza at home no matter what your budget is.

What’s in the Box

  • Ooni 3 wood-fired oven
  • Wood Pellet Burner
  • Cordierite stone baking board
  • Pizza peel
  • Manual and safety instructions

Features

Small and compact like the Roccbox, the Ooni 3 uses the same type of wood pellets that would go into a pellet smoker. The stainless steel box has a stone floor and a pellet wood hopper in the back.

To fuel your oven light your first load of pellets, and then fill the hopper. As the fire consumes more pellets, the hopper will continuously feed the fire via gravity. The fire is then drawn over the stone and out of a chimney located at the front..

Since the Ooni is so compact, it can preheat and be ready to cook on in as little as 15 minutes.

Because of its size, you need to use the provided door to keep temps high. Since the Ooni 3 is so small, it’s best used for pizzas or small dishes you can cook on an 8” skillet or small baking sheet.

Ooni provides a small peel that is custom made to fit the oven. It’s not so much a peel as it is a small piece of thin metal that fits the width of the oven. It should also be noted that the height of this unit is also small and you will need to be careful when both launching and removing your pizza.

Because the Ooni 3 is made out of thin stainless steel and doesn’t have any insulation, it does not hold temp as steady as some of the other options on this list we’ve spoken about.

Ease of Use

There is no other product quite like the Ooni series, so it will take some practice to understand how to manage the fire while you are baking, as well as knowing when to rotate your pizza.

Specs

  • Type of Oven: Portable
  • Overall dimensions: 25.2”L x 14.1”W x 8.6”H
  • Weight: 29.5 lbs
  • Fuel type: Wood pellets
  • Cooking capacity: 1 pizza
  • Preheat time: 10 minutes
  • Max temp: 900°F
  • Pizza cook time: 60 seconds
  • Can be used to cook other foods (roasting meat, baking bread): Yes, but it would be difficult with its compact size.

Fuel Efficiency

Unlike the other ovens on our list, the Ooni 3 will use wood pellets instead of hardwood or propane gas. Wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust and are readily available and affordable.

Aftermarket Support & Accessories

With a solid website full of tutorials and recipes, Ooni can help anyone go from novice to pro with their products. On top of that Ooni have a substantial social media presence and a YouTube channel that has lots of how-tos and other great info.

There is even a great user group on Facebook with over 8000 members, all willing to share their cooks, tips, and tricks.

Who is this Model Best Suited to?

This is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an affordable, portable, wood-fired oven. Also, this unit is excellent for someone who is just trying to dip their toe into the world of pizza making.

Who Should Consider Other Options?

If you want the challenge of a building and managing a wood fire, or if you may want to bake more than one pizza at a time, or just want to make bigger pies, this is not going to be the model for you.

What We Like

  • Very affordable
  • Compact design that is light and transportable
  • Real wood fire oven without the larger footprint
  • Wood pellets are a cheap fuel source
  • Can preheat in 15 minutes and reach temps of 900°

What We Didn’t Like

  • The provided instructions contain no words, only pictures. Can make for a confusing time during assembly
  • Many users note that even though it uses wood pellets and is thus wood fired, it does not produce much of a wood-fired taste like traditional WFOs
  • If you suffer a change in air flow, you starve your fire for oxygen, resulting in a thick dark smoke that can give an unpleasant taste

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Ilfornino Basic Wood Fired Oven

ilFornino Basic Wood Fired Pizza Oven- High Grade Stainless Steel, New York

This basic Ilfornino outdoor pizza oven is a step down of the Professional Series discussed above, but don’t let that make you think this unit is any less of a beast!

What’s in the Box

  • 1 Oven with Chimney
  • 1 Cart / Stand with Wheels
  • 1 Ash Drawer
  • 1 Brush/Scraper
  • 1 Pizza Peel
  • User Manual

Features

Similar to the professional, the basic model includes a stainless steel body, but instead of ceramic insulation, it has a refractory insulation blanket. It will still heat up quickly and hold temps pretty well, just not as quick or as steady as the professional model.

Unlike the Professional Series, this model is made with a firebrick floor that’s not as durable as refractory tile.

Luckily, this unit still has the ash drawer for easy cleanup and includes the peel and ash brush/scrapper.

Ease of Use

Like all WFOs, you’re going to have a learning curve ahead of you the first few times you try to use this oven.

You will have to build a fire from scratch, then learn how to manage it so that you can achieve the consistent high temps you need to bake your pizzas.

Specs

  • Type of Oven: Semi-Permanent
  • Overall dimensions: 47”L x 30.5”W x 82.75”H
  • Weight: 250 lbs (without stand)
  • Fuel type: Wood
  • Cooking capacity: 4 pizzas
  • Preheat time: 35 minutes
  • Max temp: 700°F
  • Pizza cook time: Less than 2 minutes
  • Can be used to cook other foods (roasting meat, baking bread): Yes

Fuel Efficiency

Being large like the Professional Model above, this model will need more wood than smaller models. However, the insulation in the oven will make it relatively fuel efficient for its size.

Aftermarket Support & Accessories

Like most brands nowadays, Ilfornino has a very active presence on social media, particularly on their Facebook page.

This particular unit contains most everything you would want out of the box; Ilfornino does have several accessories for purchase, things that enable you to grill meat or roast foods in your oven, as well as the compulsory selection of peels and other tools and accessories.

Who is this Model Best Suited to?

This is for the person who wants to be able to do everything the Professional model can (bake several pies at once on a high-end wood-fired oven), without spending as much money.

Who Should Consider Other Options?

If you aren’t keen on learning the building and management of wood fires, you may want to pass on this oven and instead consider a relatively more straightforward model that runs on gas.

Also, if your primary goal is to only cook the odd pizza here and there for yourself or a small family, you may want to consider a smaller option.

What We Like

  • Made of excellent materials that will last you a long time even if exposed to the elements
  • Can easily bake two pizzas at one time
  • Very little assembly required upon arrival, merely install the flue and base
  • Convenient ash drawer
  • Includes peel and brush/scrapper
  • Is somewhat portable, but you’ll need a pickup truck
  • Complete with a flue that has a damper and a door so you can increase or decrease air flow
  • Can easily hit temps of 700°, meaning you can bake pizzas in about two minutes

What We Didn’t Like

  • While it is a top-notch oven, it does come with the high price tag indicative of it’s quality. It may not be as high as the Professional Model though it is still one of the more expensive units on our list.
  • In addition to the high price tag, this is a big oven that will take up a lot of space on your patio. It is semi-portable, but you’ll need a pickup truck if you want to be able to move this to another location.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Blackstone Pizza Oven

Blackstone Outdoor Pizza Oven for Outdoor Cooking - Electric Ignition - 2x Faster Than Other Pizza Ovens

The Blackstone is probably the most unique oven on our list.

Rather than using a wood or gas fire to try and heat up the entire oven, a single large gas flame heats up a rotating stone. Half the flame hits the base, and the second half hits the top of the oven and is deflected over the stone.

What’s in the Box

  • Propane fuelled oven
  • Stand with side tables

Features

The Blackstone comes with a wheeled cart and two small side tables. It’s also cumbersome and would not be considered readily portable.

The large gas flame preheats the oven in about 15 minutes and can cook pizzas in as little as 90 seconds, but since they are cooked on a rotating stone, it would be difficult to make anything outside of pizza.

While the Blackstone is simple to operate and can quickly and efficiently make pizzas, it’s not the prettiest thing to look at with a lot of plastic and sheet metal.

Ease of Use

Like the Roccbox, this oven is relatively easy to use. Simply turn on the propane gas, turn on the rotating stone, and you’re in business.

Specs

  • Type of Oven: Semi-Permanent
  • Overall dimensions: 43.2”L x 19”W x 54”H
  • Weight: 110 lbs
  • Fuel type: Propane
  • Cooking capacity: 1 pizza
  • Preheat time: 10 minutes
  • Max temp: 700°F
  • Pizza cook time: Less than 2 minutes
  • Can be used to cook other foods (roasting meat, baking bread): No

Fuel Efficiency

Like many propane fueled models, the Blackstone is very fuel efficient. A 15-pound tank will last 15 hours with the burner on full blast.

Aftermarket Support & Accessories

Blackstone has an active presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, but they make more than just the pizza oven, so it’s not dedicated content to that product. However, there is an active Facebook group for Blackstone oven users that many may find useful.

Who is this Model Best Suited to?

This is an excellent choice if you are looking for an affordable, portable, easy to use the oven. In addition, this unit is great for someone who is just trying to dip their toes into the scene.

Who Should Consider Other Options?

If you would like to experience the task of building and managing an authentic wood fire, or if you’d like to bake larger or more than a single pizza at a time, this is not going to be the model for you.

What We Like

  • Very affordable
  • Can preheat in 15 minutes and reach temps of 900°
  • Able to hold temperature steady
  • Easy to manage the fire, just turn the gas up or down

What We Didn’t Like

  • Out of all the permanent/semi-permanent models we looked at, this is possibly the ugliest
  • Not great at cooking other foods
  • Since the flame is 50% on the bottom of the pizza stone, sometimes the crust is finished cooking before the toppings
  • Whereas most of the other options in this list do not have many parts that can easily break, the same cannot be said for the Blackstone. Many users report upgrading the motor for the stone and other repairs

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

PizzaCraft Pronto

Black pizzeria pronto pizza oven isolated on white

This simple oven will not get much hotter or perform much better than your kitchen oven, but it’s a fun option for someone who wants to bring the experience outside.

What’s in the Box

  • Propane fuelled oven
  • Cordierite stone
  • Folding peel
  • Steel brush
  • Recipe ebook

Features

Featuring a simple design with a propane burner under two stones designed to heat evenly and eliminates hot spots. The compact design allows the heat to curl around the stone and on top thanks to a metal reflector.

Designed to be no-frills, it doesn’t get as hot as the other gas ovens, and it can take up to an hour to preheat.

It’s weatherproof and can be kept outside, but since it’s so small and portable, it would be easy to store in the shed or garage, only to come out to cook.

Ease of Use

This unit is another simple to use propane model. Merely turn the burner on, let it preheat, and you’re in business.

Specs

  • Type of Oven: Portable
  • Overall dimensions: 18.6”L x 18”W x 15.5”H
  • Weight: 27.5 lbs
  • Fuel type: Propane
  • Cooking capacity: 1 pizza
  • Preheat time: 10 minutes
  • Max temp: 700°F
  • Pizza cook time: Less than 5 minutes
  • Can be used to cook other foods (roasting meat, baking bread): No

Fuel Efficiency

Like most of the propane pizza ovens on this list, this unit is pretty fuel efficient. A 2 lbs bottle of portable propane can easily last 2 hours with the Pizza Pronto.

Aftermarket Support & Accessories

Like most brands, Pizzacraft is very active on social media, particularly on Facebook. They also have a pretty active blog on their website with lots of recipes and how-to articles.

There are also some great accessories available to make your cooking experience all the better, like a set of legs that will raise the Pronto to make it easier to launch and retrieve the pizza.

Who is this Model Best Suited to?

This is designed for someone who is looking for a no-frills, easy to use pizza oven that is very affordable.

This unit would be a great first buy for someone who is just learning how to make pizza at home before they upgrade to a larger WFO.

Who Should Consider Other Options?

If you want to be able to make several pies at one time, or if you want the ability to bake quickly, this is not the unit for you.

Also, if you desire the taste and authenticity of a real wood fire, this unit is not for you.

What We Like

  • The most affordable model on our list
  • A great option if you’re unsure about purchasing a dedicated pizza oven
  • Is portable and is easy to move and store inside a shed to keep it out of the elements
  • Simple to use, turn on the gas and within an hour you’re ready to cook

What We Didn’t Like

  • Does not get much hotter than kitchen oven
  • While the marketing literature tells us it only takes 10 minutes to preheat, some users have taken up to an hour to preheat
  • Not much room to cook other foods
  • Small size means it restricts the size of pizza you can cook

 

Click to Learn More at BBQGuys.com

 

Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and hope that we’ve been able to help guide you toward buying the best pizza oven for your particular needs and budget.

If you have any questions or feedback on the article, please do leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Finally, if you do make a purchase and go on to make your own pizza at home, please leave us a comment down below showing us pictures of your oven, and more importantly – photos of your delicious creations!

Happy cooking!

 

Product image credits: © Amazon.com, BBQGuys.com, ilfornio.com and Roccbox.com

Mark Jenner

Hi. I'm Mark Jenner, owner and creator of FoodFireFriends.com. I grill and smoke food outdoors at least three days a week on a wide range of equipment, have done so for years, and love nothing more than cooking good food, over live fire, enjoying it with friends. The aim of this site is to educate and help others to do the same.

2 thoughts on “The Best Pizza Ovens for the Budding Backyard Pizzaiolo (2019 Edition)”

  1. I’m a big Pizza fan and very particular about it also. I only prefer wood fired cooked pizza and due to this reason I bought a Wood fire pizza oven to keep it in my backyard and have the smokey flavored pizza whenever I want. I bought the ilFornino oven, the second wood fired oven amongst which you have discussed above. My family is very happy with my this purchase because they all are pizza fans as well. This oven is my best purchase till date.

    • Hi Felix,

      I agree. I love the wood fired flavor and use my oven for more than just pizzas, making breads and even entire roast dinners in mine, including roasting the meat and most vegetables. They’re quite versatile and a ton of fun once you get used to them.

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