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The Ultimate Ooni Pizza Oven Review: Is It Worth the Money?

With an Ooni pizza oven, you can cook restaurant-quality pies in your backyard in as little as 60 seconds.

The one major downside: they’re expensive.

So are Ooni pizza ovens worth it?

In this review, you’ll learn the pros and cons of Ooni pizza ovens. I also show you the differences between pizza cooked in an Ooni versus a regular oven (with and without a pizza stone).

Keep reading if you’re on the fence about buying an Ooni and need an in-depth and unbiased review to help you decide.


Use the links below to navigate the review:


Ooni Pizza Oven Review: Video Summary

If you’d rather watch than read, check out my video review of Ooni below. You can also watch it on YouTube.

Pros of Ooni Pizza Ovens

The benefits of owning an outdoor Ooni pizza oven are many. From rapid cooking to creating a restaurant-quality pie, these innovative ovens bring professional pizza-making to your home.

In this section, you’ll learn the upsides of owning an Ooni pizza oven.

Delicious Crust

Achieving that perfect crust is possible with the Ooni pizza oven — crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Holding pizza cooked in an Ooni

The high heat and cordierite stone on the surface of every Ooni work together to create the ideal environment for fast and even cooking.

From the bottom, the hot stone quickly cooks the dough on contact. The stone is porous, so it draws moisture out of the dough and makes the crust dry and crispy – just like you’d get with pizza cooked in a large brick pizza oven in a restaurant. The flame cooks the topping and top layer of pizza dough.

Crust of pizza cooked in an Ooni
Crust of pizza cooked in an Ooni

As a result, the dough puffs up on the exterior but remains soft and chewy in the middle. The cheese, meat, vegetables, or other toppings cook quickly and develop some char.

Fast Cook

Ooni claims its ovens can reach up to 950°F, comparable to or greater than the heat output of a commercial pizza oven or brick oven. Because of the high heat and the pizza stone, pizza cooks extremely fast.

Ooni pizza oven preheating

Ooni advertises that you can cook a pizza in as little as 60 seconds.

By comparison, some competitors claim to make pizza rapidly but not as fast as Ooni:

That said, Ooni’s biggest competitor, the Gozney Roccbox, advertises a 60-second cook time.

Most homemade pizza recipes with fresh dough require anywhere from 10-18 minutes in a 400-450°F standard oven. So the idea of having a fully-cooked, hot pizza in 60 seconds is appealing.

But even though the Ooni pizza oven can cook a pizza in 60 seconds, I found the sweet spot to be between 2 and 3 minutes. How long it takes will depend on several factors:

  • How long you preheated the stone
  • Dough ingredients and thickness
  • Your preference of char
  • Amount of toppings

Still, an outdoor Ooni pizza oven is a much quicker option than a conventional indoor oven.

Crispy Toppings

If you’re using gas or propane as the fuel source, you can easily adjust the flames and control how quickly or slowly the toppings cook by turning a dial.

Pizza cooked in an Ooni pizza oven

With wood or charcoal, you can increase the flames by adding more fuel and opening the hood or vents to allow more oxygen into the oven.

Regardless of the fuel source, lifting the pizza with a turning peel closer to the flames will result in crispier toppings (if that’s what you like).

Slice of pepperoni pizza cooked in an Ooni pizza oven
Slice of pepperoni pizza cooked in an Ooni pizza oven

Unlike a traditional oven, exposure to open flames in an Ooni produces browned cheese, crispy toppings, charred vegetables, and seared meats. If you reduce the heat, your toppings will still cook evenly but with less browning and char.

Great for Entertaining

The Ooni is an excellent option for a fun gathering if you have a large family or enjoy entertaining. Family or party guests can watch as you cook pizzas to order in your backyard.

Plus, you can encourage people to choose their own toppings or even assemble their own pies. It’s a great way to stay engaged with your guests instead of being stuck in a kitchen while everyone else spends time together.

Cook Pizza Like a Pro

If you are a home chef that enjoys a challenge, the Ooni is an excellent option.

With a standard oven, you place your pizza on a stone, baking sheet, or rack and wait for it to be done. The Ooni will require frequent attention while you cook. You’ll have to rotate and monitor the pizza throughout the process.

You’ll learn what it takes to cook like a professional. And if you already enjoy making pizza, learning how to create a restaurant-worthy pie can bring great joy and a sense of accomplishment.

Easy to Set Up

Ooni’s propane gas models are the simplest to set up. Since they come fully assembled, all you need to do is unfold the oven legs, insert the pizza stone, and securely connect the gas supply.

If it’s a multi-fuel model (propane gas, wood, or charcoal), you’ll also need to connect the included pipe to vent the smoke when burning wood, charcoal, or natural gas. (Natural gas is only an option on the Karu 16.)

Once your oven is set up, you’ll need to run it for 30 minutes before the first use. Then, let it cool completely and wipe the interior with dry paper towels. This step prepares the oven for use and burns off any excess oils leftover from the manufacturing process.

Multiple Fuel Sources

Ooni has three models that allow you to choose your fuel source:

Fuel SourceKaru 16Karu 12Koda 16
PropaneYesYesYes
Natural GasYesNoYes
WoodYesYesNo
CharcoalYesYesNo

Propane and gas are the easiest, but wood and charcoal add a nice smoky flavor that you can only get in a pizza oven.

Worth noting: To use gas or propane on any of the models that offer those options, you need to purchase a gas burner adaptor.

Ooni propane adapter
Ooni propane adapter

The Ooni Koda 12 only works with propane, and the only fuel source for the Ooni Fyra 12 is wood pellets.

Quality Construction

Ooni pizza ovens are well-built and made to last. The constructions include stainless steel, carbon steel, or both:

  • The Karu 16 is made of powder-coated carbon steel and brushed 304, 409, and 430 stainless steel.
  • The Karu 12 is made from brushed 430 stainless steel.
  • The Koda 12, Koda 16, and Fyra 12 are all made from powder-coated carbon steel.

The pizza stones are made from cordierite stone. It can handle very high temperatures, conducts heat efficiently, and is thermal shock-resistant.

Inside an Ooni pizza oven
Inside an Ooni pizza oven

Portable

Certain Ooni pizza ovens are highly portable. So, you can travel with them, unlike traditional indoor or built-in outdoor ovens. Ooni sells fabric carrying covers for the Karu 12 (26.5 lbs.), Koda 12 (20.4 lbs.), and Fyra 12 (22 lbs.). The other models (Karu 16 and Karu 16) are too heavy for a carrying case, weighing 40 pounds or more.

Cooks More Than Pizza

The Ooni pizza oven is versatile. Besides pizza, Ooni recommends several recipes, including fresh-baked bread and dishes featuring meat, fish, and vegetables. And if you have a multi-fuel model, you can experiment with different flavors that form when you use gas, charcoal, or wood.

Year-Round Use

You can use your Ooni oven in any season. These ovens are designed and tested in wintry conditions in Scotland, so they can handle the cold. They just take a little longer to heat when the temperatures are frigid.

Ooni recommends keeping it covered outdoors, especially during rainy or snowy seasons.

Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven with cover
Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven with cover

And, if conditions are harsh (blizzard, hail, torrential rain), it is best to store the oven indoors.

Solid Warranty

Ooni offers a one-year warranty, but if you register your product within 60 days, it extends an additional two years. For comparison, Breville’s Smart Oven Pizzaiolo requires you to pay for a three-year warranty. And a Cru wood-fired oven only offers a one-year warranty.

Cons of Ooni Pizza Ovens

There’s a lot to love about Ooni pizza ovens. But, like any product, there are negatives. Here are the downsides to consider before buying an Ooni.

Expensive

Ooni pizza ovens are expensive. The lowest cost model is $350. The higher-end, multi-fuel options like the Karu 16 will cost you around $800. You can compare the prices of all models on this page on Ooni.com.

But besides the oven, you also need to buy a pizza peel, a turning peel, and an infrared thermometer. You’ll also need a heat-resistant stand and an oven cover. If you have a portable model and plan to take the oven on the go, you’ll need a carrying case.

While it’s less expensive to buy an Ooni than to build and maintain a stationary outdoor pizza oven, it’s still a significant investment for most people.

Learning Curve

It will take time to learn how to use the oven properly. It’s normal to ruin a few pizzas before you get the hang of it.

Unlike a standard oven that allows you to set a timer and be done, you need to pay close attention, turning the pizza every 30 seconds or so. When cooking with such high heat, the margin for error is much smaller.

Turning a pizza in the Ooni pizza oven
Turning a pizza in the Ooni pizza oven

Here are a few beginner tips from Ooni:

  1. Use two peels — The pizza peel is a wide, flat tool that holds the pizza. Use a room-temperature peel to place the pizza in the oven because fresh pizza dough will stick to a hot peel. Keep a second peel by the oven to turn and remove the pizza.
  2. Keep flour handy — Sprinkle flour on the peel and flour your hands before touching the dough to avoid it sticking. I’ve found that semolina flour or cornmeal work the best.
  3. Inspect dough for holes — Eliminate holes before adding any toppings. You can pinch any holes you see together to keep the dough intact.
  4. Shake your peel — Once your stretched dough is on the peel, shake it to make sure it moves around freely before adding toppings. If it’s sticking, add more flour to your hands, pick up the dough and add more flour to the peel. If the dough is sticking, you won’t be able to launch (slide) your pizza into the oven.
  5. Don’t overdo toppings — Less is more. Light toppings make it easier to slide your pizza off the peel and into the oven because it’s not weighed down.
  6. Keep things moving — Have everything ready to go. If your pizza sits on the peel too long before putting it in the oven, it can stick and become gooey as the sauce penetrates the dough.
  7. Blow gently under the dough — With a floured hand, lift one edge of the pizza dough on the peel and gently blow under the dough to prevent sticking.

Pizza Sticks to the Peel

It’s common for pizza dough to stick to the peel as you’re sliding it into the oven, causing the toppings to spill and burn on the stone.

Pizza in an Ooni oven after sticking to peel

When pizza sticks, it’s often because there is not enough flour on the peel or you’re taking too long to build your pizza as it sits on the peel.

For best results, have your toppings ready so you can quickly assemble your pizza and put it in the oven.

Consider using a pan if you’re constantly having issues with sticking dough. However, a pan will deliver a different crust than baking the pizza directly on the stone.

Here are some tips from Ooni to reduce sticking:

  1. Use enough flour, semolina, or cornmeal on your peel and dough ball before flattening. After placing the flattened dough on your peel, shake it to ensure it moves freely.
  2. Keep your peel dry.
  3. Don’t use wet dough or wet toppings. Opt for low-moisture mozzarella and thick tomato sauce.

Long Preheat Time

It takes at least 15 minutes to preheat the Ooni – usually more like 25 or 30. So while it cooks the pizza in 1 to 3 minutes, expect the whole process to take around 30 to 35.

Difficult to Make Thin Crust

Due to the high temperatures, it’s challenging to make a thin-crust pizza in an Ooni. Once the dough hits the hot pizza stone and sits under the flames, it puffs up.

Although it’s possible to make a thin-crust pizza in an Ooni, you’ll have to roll the dough much thinner and experiment with the dough recipe and cooking temperatures.

Wind Blows Out Flame

You need plenty of patience if you’re using gas or propane as the fuel source and plan to cook on a breezy day. The wind can blow out the flame, impacting your pizza’s outcome. The sudden loss of heat can impact doneness and cooking time.

If you live in a windy area, you might need to play around with the position of the oven to block the wind.

Pizza Stone Can Crack

There are some complaints about cracked pizza stones. The Ooni pizza stone is made of cordierite. It can withstand high temperatures and resist thermal shock but can still crack. It can also break if you drop it or slam something heavy on top.

Use these tips to avoid cracking:

  • Preheat your stone before using it, and let it cool completely before storing it in a colder environment.
  • Never place a hot pizza stone in cold water.
  • Don’t allow your pizza stone to soak in water; it can weaken over time.

Not Ideal for Frozen Pizza

Because of the high temperature and quick cooking, I wouldnt recommend cooking a frozen pizza in the Ooni. The outer parts will cook faster than the interior, causing an uneven result.

If you prefer pre-made frozen pizzas, they are best cooked in a conventional indoor oven. But if you defrost the pizza first, the Ooni works fine.

Door Gets Stuck

The Ooni Karu 16 has a hinged oven door, which helps prevent heat loss. It opens easily when off but seems to lock up when the oven is hot, likely due to the steel expanding.

You have to tug on the handle hard to get it open. Make sure the table or stand you’re using is sturdy, so you don’t accidentally pull the oven off.

Adjusting the screws on the latch fixes this, but it’s something to be aware of the first few times you cook.

Ooni Pizza Oven Models

There are three Ooni pizza oven models: Karu, Koda, and Fyra. While they all cook pizzas, they have different features to cater to different needs.

In this section, I’ll share details about each model and highlight unique features.

Karu

There are two Karu models: Karu 12 and Karu 16. The number shows the maximum diameter of the pizza you can cook. For example, Karu 12 can cook pizzas up to 12 inches wide.

Both models are multi-fuel, allowing you to choose from wood, charcoal, or propane gas. But with an adapter, the Karu 16 can also run on natural gas.

The Karu 16 is the heaviest oven Ooni makes, weighing 62.6 lbs. It’s also the most expensive.

Koda

The Koda has two options: Koda 12 and Koda 16. The Koda 16 can cook pizzas up to 16 inches wide. Both use propane gas as fuel, but Koda 16 can run on natural gas with an optional converter kit.

At 20.4 lbs., the Koda 12 is the most lightweight oven Ooni makes. You can buy an optional carrying case to transport it safely.

Fyra

The Fyra 12 can cook pizzas up to 12 inches wide. It only burns wood pellets as fuel. At 22 lbs., you can also transport it with a carrying case if you want to throw a pizza party at a different location from your home.

Ooni Pizza Oven vs. Regular Oven (With and Without a Pizza Stone)

Ooni’s are known for cooking pizza much better than a regular oven.

But how much better is it?

To find out, I cooked three pizzas:

  • One in the Ooni
  • The second in a standard oven on a pizza stone
  • And the third in a standard oven on a sheet pan

For all three, I used the same store-bought dough and the same amount of sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. I stretched each dough using the same techniques to the same thickness.

Testing Ooni pizza oven pizza ingredients
Testing Ooni pizza oven_dough

The one difference between each pizza was the cooking technique.

For the first pizza, I preheated the Ooni for thirty minutes until the stone was at the ideal temperature. I used propane because it’s more convenient than wood or charcoal, and it’s easier to control the temperature.

Then, I quickly built the pizza on the peel and launched it into the oven. It took about 3 minutes to cook fully.

Cooking pizza in an Ooni pizza oven
Cooking pizza in an Ooni pizza oven

For the second pizza, I placed the pizza stone in the oven and preheated the oven to 450°F.

After 30 minutes, I removed the stone and quickly but carefully assembled the pizza on the stone before putting it back in the oven. This pizza took 12 minutes to cook.

Pizza cooked in a regular oven on a pizza stone 2
Pizza cooked in a regular oven on a pizza stone

For the third pizza, I preheated the oven to 450°F, assembled the pizza on a room-temperature sheet pan, and popped it in. This pizza took about 14 minutes to cook.

All three pizzas tasted great, but the flavor and texture were different.

The pizza cooked on a sheet pan in the oven was thin and flat with a crunchy bottom. There was almost no bounce or chewiness to the dough. If you like thin-crust pizza, cooking it in the oven on a sheet pan works.

Pizza cooked in the Ooni versus in a regular oven on a sheet pan
Pizza cooked in the Ooni (top) versus a regular oven on a sheet pan (bottom)

The pizza cooked in the oven on a pizza stone was a bit softer with more spring to the dough. It also had more flavor and was notifiable chewer than the pizza cooked on a sheet pan.

Crust of pizza cooked on a pizza stone
Crust of pizza cooked on a pizza stone

The pizza cooked in the Ooni was significantly thicker and fluffier than the others. It was much more charred on the bottom yet soft and chewy on the top and middle. The pepperonis browned nicely, forming delicious cups of flavor.

Pizza cooked in an Ooni pizza oven versus pizza cooked on a pizza stone
Pizza cooked in an Ooni (left) versus pizza cooked on a pizza stone (right)

While the other two pies were delicious, they tasted like a typical homemade pizza. The flavor of the pizza cooked in the Ooni was unmatched — it tasted like it was cooked in a brick oven.

Bottom of a slice of pizza cooked in an Ooni pizza oven
Bottom of a slice of pizza cooked in an Ooni pizza oven

Although the pizza cooked on the stone was a step up from the one cooked on a sheet pan, it was noticeably flatter and less flavorful than the slices cooked in the Ooni.

FAQs About Ooni Pizza Ovens

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about Ooni pizza ovens.

Can the Ooni pizza oven be used indoors?

No, Ooni pizza ovens are only for outdoor use.

Can the Ooni pizza oven get wet?

Yes, it’s built to stay outdoors and withstand the elements. Ooni recommends using a cover for extra protection. If you expect extreme weather (hurricane, blizzard, torrential rain), store the oven indoors.

How to clean the Ooni pizza oven?

Run your Ooni oven at the highest temperature for 30 minutes to burn off food debris. Once it fully cools, use the Ooni pizza oven brush to sweep away excess debris and ash. You can also use a dry, lint-free cloth to wipe the insides.

Why is my Ooni pizza oven not getting hot?

If you have a model with a vent pipe, make sure it is clear and free of blockage. Without airflow, wood, charcoal, and wood pellets can’t get the oxygen needed to burn efficiently. Also, keep the fuel nearby for refills as the fire dies down. If you’re using natural gas or propane, you might need to tighten the connection to get the full flame.

Does the Ooni pizza oven come with a peel?

No, but you can buy an oven bundle that includes a peel.

Can I cook other things in my Ooni pizza oven?

You can cook much more than pizza in an Ooni. You can bake bread and desserts and cook vegetables, seafood, and meat. Ooni provides suggestions for foods and recipes on its website.

Where can you purchase an Ooni pizza oven?

You can purchase Ooni pizza ovens at Ooni.com, Amazon, or Williams-Sonoma.

Where are Ooni pizza ovens made?

Ooni is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, but the pizza ovens are made in China.

What is the warranty for Ooni pizza ovens?

Ooni ovens have a one-year warranty. If you register within 60 days of purchase, you get an additional two years.

What is Ooni’s return policy?

You have 60 days from the date of receipt to request a return for an oven. The oven must be unused and in its original packaging. You’ll need to contact Ooni before returning the oven to get a return authorization.

Which Ooni pizza oven is the best?

Karu 16 is the premium model. It can cook pizzas up to 16 inches wide, has the most fuel options, and is made from the best materials (powder-coated carbon steel and brushed 304, 409, and 430 stainless steel).

What are the best Ooni alternatives?

Two of the best Ooni alternatives are Bertello and Gozney outdoor pizza ovens.

Bertello allows you to cook with wood and gas together, includes a cordierite pizza stone, and is comparably priced. It also offers a model that can cook pizzas up to 16 inches wide.

Gozney features two models: Roccbox and Dome. Gozney pizza ovens feature a temperature gauge, are multi-fuel, and come in different colors.

Do Ooni pizza ovens go on sale?

Not frequently, but we track the prices (along with dozens of other brands) and will email you when it goes on sale. Sign up for our free newsletter to get notified.

Bottom Line: Is an Ooni Pizza Oven Worth It?

Now that you know the facts about Ooni pizza ovens, it is time to decide if it’s worth it for your home.

Before you make a choice, let’s recap the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Ooni pizza ovens provide the high heat necessary to create a restaurant-quality crust — crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  • The max temperature is 950°F, and pizzas can cook in as little as 60 seconds.
  • It’s an excellent option for people who like to entertain and want to learn how to cook pizza and other recipes, from bread to charred vegetables, like a pro.
  • It requires minimal setup and is portable. Smaller models like Karu 12 and Koda 12 have carrying cases you can purchase for easy transport.
  • Many Ooni models offer multiple fuel sources, including wood, charcoal, and gas.
  • It’s built to last and offers up to a three-year warranty.
  • You can use it outdoors, year-round.

Cons:

  • Ooni pizza ovens are expensive. They are $350+. Plus, you’ll need to buy accessories and fuel.
  • It takes time to learn how to cook pizza like a pro. Expect to mess up at first and possibly waste ingredients.
  • Pizza dough sticks to the peel frequently, but there are many ways to troubleshoot the issue. Some people opt for baking the pizza on a pan instead of launching it directly on the stone.
  • You’ll need at least 15 minutes to preheat the pizza oven, so you can’t start cooking immediately. And if it’s cold outside, it could take a little longer.
  • If you prefer thin-crust pizza, Ooni’s aren’t ideal.
  • The flame can go out on a windy day, causing uneven cooking results.
  • It’s possible to crack the pizza stone, so you must handle and clean it carefully.

Bottom line — if your goal is to cook the best-tasting pizza possible, you enjoy making pizza, and you do it frequently, then yes, an Ooni is worth the investment. It’s one of the best portable pizza oven brands on the market.

But if you only make pizza occasionally and don’t want to fuss with the peel or all the accessories needed to make it all work smoothly, save some money and buy a quality pizza stone.

Although you can’t replicate pizza oven flavor completely, you’ll get better results than cooking on a sheet pan.

Read more reviews and check the current prices of each model on Ooni.com and Amazon.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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