In this article I’m going to cover everything you need to know about Ooni pizza ovens. I’ve had hands-on experience with most of their ovens, so I feel like I’m in a good place to review the brand.
In fact, I’ve owned an Ooni pizza oven myself since they first came out many years ago.
For anyone that hasn’t visited MyPizzaCorner.com before, I’m Tom and I love pizza! I started this website to share everything I learnt about pizza making over the past few years of obsession! Feel free to check out my recipes here if you haven’t already.
I make mostly Neapolitan style pizza but I enjoy experimenting too. I’ve even cooked other foods in Oonis, not just pizza!
Now, let’s get back on topic! In this review, I’ll go over the pros and cons that I’ve found when using Ooni pizza ovens. And I’ll discuss who might like them, and ultimately whether you should buy one.
The main areas that I felt were of importance were the following:
I’ll go through each one of these in detail, sharing my thoughts along the way.
Before we dive into the review, it’s probably best to start with a bit of background on the company, and how it all started.
Ooni was founded in 2012 by the husband and wife team Kristian Tapaninaho and Darina Garland. Kristian had become obsessed with pizza making, chasing the perfect pizza (haven’t we all?!). But he soon realised that his home oven wasn’t up to the job, as it didn’t get nearly as hot as a pizza oven.
When he started looking for a pizza oven to buy, he realised that they were all incredibly expensive, bulky, and heavy. That’s when he started on his quest to build an affordable, compact, and lightweight pizza oven.
In November 2012, the first Ooni pizza oven was launched on Kickstarter. The prototype was the world’s first portable wood-fired oven by utilising wood pellets as fuel, just as many of the Oonis still are to this day. Although some of the Ooni models now use gas.
The oven was an instant hit, easily passing it’s funding goal whilst attracting a global audience. Ooni was born!
Having seen the early models myself, I think it’s fair to say they’ve come a long way since then! In the beginning the Oonis were very “boxy” but they worked. They made much better pizza than a regular oven.
It’s safe to say that Ooni has been on quite a journey in a short period of time. They’ve come from a crowdfunded prototype to a huge global brand with a range of pizza ovens and accessories, in less than a decade!
So, let’s get to it. I think the best place to start is with the build quality.
Ooni pizza ovens have a stainless steel construction with a ceramic stone for cooking the pizzas on.
The steel feels like it’s good quality, and the chrome parts (such as the chimney on the Ooni Fyra – pictured below) look fantastic.
I guess it would be fair to say that the Oonis don’t feel quite as robust as many other heavier pizza ovens. But this is because they are designed to be as light as possible. This allows them to be easily transported out of the garage for example. Or to take round to a friends house (or anywhere for that matter)!
And to be fair to Ooni, I’ve never felt like their ovens weren’t built solidly enough. It’s a clean and simple steel construction which doesn’t feel like there’s much to go wrong.
The stone cooks pizza really well too. I suppose the only downside is that it doesn’t retain heat as well as a thicker and heavier stone. This just means you need to make sure the stone is back up to temperature after cooking a pizza (assuming you’re cooking more than one, but who isn’t?!).
But the upside of this is that the Ooni is light. A thicker stone would add a great deal of weight to the oven, making it difficult to move. You’d probably have to remove the stone to move the oven. And to me that would defeat the purpose of a portable oven!
I guess the thinner stone also helps to keep costs down, allowing the Oonis to be more affordable. You could always upgrade the stone if you wanted. Although personally, I’ve never had a problem with the Ooni stone.
Ooni pizza ovens are designed in Scotland and made in China. This may put some people off, but don’t let it. Personally, I find Scotland to be a very beautiful country. (Sorry I couldn’t resist that joke!)
But seriously, I know that many people prefer to buy products made in the UK or USA for example. And China tends to get a bad rap, but in general I believe the quality to be very high. After all, I think it’s fair to say they are a manufacturing superpower. In 2019 for example, China accounted for 28.7 percent of global manufacturing.
The other plus to being made in China, is the price of course. I’m guessing Ooni pizza ovens would be twice the price if they weren’t made in China.
And to be fair to Ooni, to me there has been a noticeable increase in design and build quality over the last few years. Everything feels well thought out and the finishing seems on point.
One of the recent improvements in the design of Oonis is the introduction of insulation. This means that the air inside the oven stays hotter for longer, and keeps a more consistent temperature, ultimately leading to a better cooked pizza.
The addition of insulation also brings the Oonis more in line with more expensive pizza ovens, quite frankly. I think it’s something that many Ooni fans were hoping they’d implement soon, and they have!
The ovens now utilise a double wall construction with ceramic fibre insulation. It’s a very sleek design, and something that you probably wouldn’t even notice unless you were looking for it.
I’ve got one Ooni which was one of the first models ever made. It’s made hundreds, if not thousands, of pizzas and it works great to this day, after almost 10 years! I’ve even left it outside overnight many times (probably not recommended) and it still cooks beautiful pizza. I guess this shows just how durable they are.
I think it’s impossible to put a number on how long an Ooni pizza oven will last but I don’t see why it wouldn’t last 20 years if it’s well looked after. Also, you can buy replacement parts on the Ooni website if you need to.
I think that the Oonis offer excellent build quality, especially when considering the price. I have no complaints here.
To me, the build quality has also improved in recent years, especially with the addition of insulation. Also, the ovens seem to be made to tight tolerances, with elements such as the chimney slotting together nicely, for example. To me, the Ooni pizza ovens feel solid and sleek.
Next up, I’m looking at ease of use. I’ll be taking into account how easy they are to use for beginners, as well as how easy they are to use once you’ve mastered the art (if that’s even possible)!
The gas models, such as the Ooni Koda 12 and Ooni Koda 16, are very easy to use. You just have to light it with the built in ignitor, and turn the gas up! It’s a lot like cooking in a regular oven really.
You still have to let it heat up, but that doesn’t take long, even on the solid fuel options. I like to use a laser thermometer. They’re not expensive, and they instantly give you a reading of the stone, which is the most important part to get up to temperature.
With the gas Ooni models, you can easily adjust the temperature too, using the knob on the side. If the oven gets too hot (over 450C/900f!) then you can easily bring the heat down.
The only downside to the Ooni gas pizza ovens really, is the need for a gas bottle. They’re heavy and not very cheap. But they do last a long time.
Also, you can get smaller bottles which are easier to move, if that’s important to you. They are a little cheaper too but the downside is that it’ll need to be filled up more often. How much of a problem this is will depend on how much you use the oven, I guess.
The solid fuel models, such as the Ooni Fyra, the Ooni Koda 12, the Ooni Koda 16, or the Ooni Pro are a bit more tricky to use. But with practice, they offer an excellent cooking experience. And in my view, they provide more flavour, in the form of a subtle smokeyness in the crusts.
The other benefit to using solid fuel, such as wood pellets, is that the oven is very portable. There’s no heavy gas cyclinder to carry around. This makes solid fuel options such as the Ooni Fyra, as excellent options for those that want to make pizza wherever they like!
I personally really enjoy cooking with the pellet Oonis but I know it’s not for everyone. Controlling the temperature and topping the fire up can be a challenge, especially when you’re trying to shape and top pizza! If you have someone to help you then it becomes a whole lot easier.
They are easy to light though, and they do heat up quickly. But if they get too hot, there isn’t a quick way to cool the oven down like with the gas models. You just have to wait for the fire to die down a bit.
When it comes to using an Ooni pizza oven for the first time, I think the gas models such as the Koda are definitely easier. If you want to be able to get the pizza oven out the box and instantly be able to control the oven, then gas is the way to go.
As far as I’m concerened, anyone could use the gas Oonis right away. Of course, there may be some learning curve, such as figuring out the best temperature for you, and learning how to control it precisely. But if you’re someone that has made pizza before, I don’t think you’d have any problem cooking delicious pizzas in no time at all.
For people who have never used a pizza oven before, the biggest challenge will probably be getting used to cooking at such high temperatures (around 450C/900F!). And the pizzas cook in just 90 seconds so you have to get good at turning them!
But you’ll have that issue regardless of which Ooni you get as they all cook pizzas in 90 seconds or less when they’re up to temperature. Any good pizza oven does for that matter.
Ooni pizza ovens can be used any time of year, including during the winter. In fact, they offer an excellent experience in cold weather, with friends or family huddling around the fire (assuming you’re happy to share the pizza that is!).
I’ve used my own Ooni in freezing temperatures and I’ve even used it in the rain, although I wouldn’t recommend this!
But this is the case with any good pizza oven. The only type that can be used inside are the electric ones, and these are not true pizza ovens.
A true pizza oven needs an open flame, which cannot be replicated by an electric oven.
I think if you go for a gas Ooni then you’ll find it fairly easy to use, especially if you’re used to making pizza anyway. But even if you’re not, the oven itself is pretty straightforward. So the biggest challenge will be learning to shape and cook the pizza, not using the oven.
The other option when it comes to gas, is buying a gas attachment for one of the solid fuel models. This then gives you the best of both worlds, with the option to cook on either.
If you go for a solid fuel Ooni, such as the Ooni Fyra which uses pellets, then it will be a bit trickier to use. Ideally you want someone to help manage the fire for you and keep it topped up. Then it’s a breeze really. But if you’re planning on making several pizzas at a time, without any help, it could be a bit too much of a challenge.
Personally, I find cooking with a real fire to be more a bit more authentic, and you may find it adds a little extra flavour. At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference. You may find the ease of use with a gas model more appealing.
Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the performance of the Ooni pizza ovens. After all, if it doesn’t cook amazing pizza then what’s the point?!
All of the Ooni pizza ovens can cook pizza in 60-90 seconds! This is the recommended cooking time for traditional Neapolitan style pizza. It’s something that a regular oven cannot replicate, they can’t even come close.
Cooking pizza in such a short time in not only useful, it also makes much better pizza. It is the extreme heat that cooks the pizza so quickly, and it leads to a wonderfully light and airy crust with a crispy exterior.
The flames also help to get some nice spots of charring on the crust. And because the pizza is not sat on the hot stone for long, the base doesn’t get too crispy.
Every Ooni pizza oven heats up in 20 minutes or less. This is an improvement on older models, thanks to the introduction of insulation to the ovens.
Being able to fire the oven up and knowing that you can have a delicious pizza in less than half an hour is brilliant.
Apart form pizza, you can also cook other things in an Ooni. On their website they have plenty of recipes which you can try, as well as experimenting with your own.
You can buy a cast iron skillet which is great for cooking meat and vegetables in. Personally, I like cooking steak and chicken tikka in mine. The heat allows you to get a really nice crispy crust on meat which produces an excellent flavour and texture. Caramalised onions are great in it too.
Also, one of the favourite things many people like to cook in their Ooni is Naan bread. The extreme heat and open flames means you cook Naan in a very similar way to a traditional Tandoor oven.
And because they’re lightweight and compact, they’re easy to move around. I’ve got a bag for my wood pellet Ooni so I can take it wherever I like. The chimney is detachable, so everything fits nicely inside the bag, along with some pellets and anything else I need.
Many people who have the gas models have a stand for it. This can allow the oven to be wheeled around, or can be a more permanent solution.
I think the main downside to the Oonis is that you can only cook one pizza at a time. With a traditional brick/cement wood fired oven you could comfortably cook 2 or 3 at a time. Although that would be difficult, you’d practically have to be a pro! The large traditional wood fired ovens are also very expensive and bulky, so I don’t really think that’s a fair comparison.
I can’t see any issues with the performance of any of the models, aside from not being able to cook several pizzas at once. However, there are some larger models which can cook 16 inch pizzas! So if thats’s what you’re looking for, check out the Koda 16, Karu 16, and the Ooni Pro.
To be honest, I couldn’t chose a model that I think is best for performance. I think they’re all very different, and good at what they’re made for. The best model for you would come down to what you’re looking for in a pizza oven, and how much you’re willing to spend.
The final area of consideration in this review is the price. Of course, this is going to be a very important consideration for most people. Do Ooni pizza ovens offer good value for money?
Ooni pizza ovens range in price from around $350/£250 to $800/£700. This depends on whether you want a small pizza oven or one that’s quite a bit larger. The price also depends on whether you want one that uses wood pellets or a gas one.
Whilst this price is not cheap, I do think think you’re getting plenty of oven for the money. And the ovens at the lower price bracket don’t offer worse build quality either, they are just smaller with less features.
Of course, it’s up to you to decide whether paying extra is worth it to get a bigger oven or one that uses gas. But one thing I can vouch for is that all the Oonis cook excellent Neapolitan style pizza.
When you consider that the average brick/cement pizza oven cost is likely to be anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000, the price of an Ooni doesn’t seem so bad.
True, an Ooni is much smaller but I think for the average person, it’s probably more practical. A traditional pizza oven takes up a lot of space, and of course it can’t be moved. So unless you’re going to be cooking pizza for a living (or eating pizza every day), I’d say it’s overkill!
Personally, I think Ooni pizza ovens offer excellent value for money. I’ve used them for years, ever since I started cooking pizza. I cook all my pizza in an Ooni, which is why I’m so happy to recommend them.
Oonis also hold their value well. You only have to look on eBay to see how much second hand ones sell for. They regularly sell for around 75% of their original price in a well used condition! They’re highly sought after.
And when you compare the price of Oonis to other pizza ovens, they stack up well. Many of their competitors are almost twice the price.
So to conclude this review, I’ll just go over the main advantages and disadvantages to Ooni pizza ovens.
Are they the best portable pizza oven? Maybe, I’m not sure. But in my view they offer excellent value for money and I’ve never looked back after purchasing my first Ooni many years ago.
For me, Ooni pizza ovens offer some of the best value around when it comes to pizza ovens. They’re well made, easy to use, and they cook excellent pizza!
Absolutely! Well, only if you like eating incredible Neapolitan style pizza! But seriously, I think it depends on a few factors.
Whether you should buy an Ooni or not will likely depend on how much you like pizza and how much money you want to spend. One think I will say is that I think it’s definitely worth the investment for the quality of the pizza. You just cannot replicate what a pizza oven can achieve in a normal oven.
And in my view, Ooni offers some of the very best value when it comes to pizza ovens. There aren’t even many competitors in the same price range!
I would say that if you’re on a tigher budget, look at getting the wood pellet-fired Ooni Fyra 12. At the lower end of the price range, it offers incredible value for money in my opinion. It may not be quite as user friendly as a gas pizza oven but it’s arguably more authentic, using wood as fuel.
If you have a larger budget then it’s considering all the options since they vary quite a bit. For ease of use, you probably want to go for a gas model such as the Ooni Koda 12. If you want a larger oven, you can go for the Ooni Koda 16, which can cook 16 inch pizzas!
There’s also the multi-fuel options such as the Karu 12 and the new Karu 16, which allows you to use wood or charcoal. You could even buy an interchangeable gas burner from the Ooni website which allows you the ultimate freedom for experimentation.
More shops are starting to stock Oonis as they’re becoming more popular but the best place to get them is online. Feel free to check them out here, they have US, UK, and EU versions of the site, depending on where you’re located.
I’d just like to mention that I am a member of an Ooni affiliate programme which means that I get commisssion from sales when people click Ooni links on my site. But I’ve been a happy Ooni customer for a long time which is why I feel that I can vouch for the quality of pizza ovens. Almost every pizza on MyPizzaCorner.com has been cooked in an Ooni pizza oven.
I also appreciate anyone who uses my Ooni links for a purchase as it helps to keep the site going. When I started this website I just wanted to share everything I’d learnt about making pizza as I’d struggled to find good recipes and advice myself. I didn’t expect it to do as well as it has.
Thanks for reading this review, I hope you found it useful. If you haven’t checked out the rest of the site, feel to explore, and don’t miss my range of pizza recipes.
Now let’s go and make some delicious pizza!
I often get asked what type of oven I use for my pizzas. Well, I use a pizza oven made by a company called Ooni.
The range of pizza ovens that Ooni offers is just brilliant. They cover all bases, and all price points. There's affordable and portable models such as the Fyra 12 Pizza Oven and then there's state-of-the-art models such as the Karu 16 Pizza Oven pictured below.
In all honesty, I would say that the oven makes a huge difference. If you're looking to make authentic Italian pizza, a pizza oven is a must.
By clicking the link below and purchasing from Ooni, you would be supporting this website. I've been using their ovens for a long time now and I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't believe in their products.
Time to make some amazing pizza!