Despite the cool temperatures, everyday is pizza time in our book – and we don’t mean pre-made off-the-shelf guff you stick in your oven. No, we’re talking the real deal, the kind of pizza you make and bake yourself using a proper dedicated pizza oven – like this bunch of fine contenders.
Forget using you oven to bake a pizza from scratch because it will never get hot enough. You need upwards of 400˚C and a cordierite stone to properly bake a pizza base from scratch so it’s crispy and with the prerequisite dirty, dusty appearance. Your oven simply can’t handle that kind of thing. Believe us, when you taste the first pizza from your very own pizza oven, you'll wonder how you ever managed without one.
If you haven't used a pizza oven before, let this guide to how to cook pizza at home hit your eye like a big pizza pie. It’s got everything you need know, including the best suppliers of pre-made dough balls. At the bottom of this guide we've also got information on the differences between wood and gas units.
Pizza ovens are great garden companions, as too are the best barbecues and best smokers. Combined they deliver the ability to cook pretty much anything outdoors and achieve authentic results, just like the pros.
So, without further ado, we suggest you dip in here first and take a look at the best pizza ovens on the market today in 2022, with everything from budget bargains to premium pizza makers included.
The best pizza ovens you can buy today in 2022
It comes to something when the best home pizza oven turns out to be electric and for indoor use (or outdoors on a sunny day). But stay with me. I’ve been using this amazing piece of tech for the past two years and not once have I had a disaster – every pizza I’ve thrown into its maw has come out with miraculous results and I haven’t burned my hand once. Admittedly I have been using some top-quality pre-made dough balls – which you can read about in our How to cook pizza at home guide – but most of my successes have been down to this machine.
The sage runs on electricity instead of charcoal, wood, pellets or gas. Now I’m the first to admit that the most authentic pizzas are baked in a wood-fired oven but I’m also the first to admit that in a blind test I might not be able to tell the difference. All I know is that the Sage Pizzaiolo delivers the goods every time, and with an evenly browned light-as-a-feather crust and perfectly cooked ingredients.
The Pizzaiolo has a number of automatic settings – 160˚C, defrost, pan, thick crust, thin & crispy, wood fired and 400˚C – but I just bung it on the howlingly hot wood fired setting which bakes the pizza to perfection every time. You don’t even need to turn the pizza halfway through because the simple circular oven rings above and below the pizza stone do a sterling job of ensuring the entire top and bottom are properly cooked.
Granted, £700 or thereabouts is quite a hefty wedge to splash about on an item you may only use 20 times a year, but if you love high-end pizza with all the right characteristics, then the Sage Pizzaiolo is a complete no brainer.
For even more information on this stupendous pizza oven, read our Sage The Smart Oven Pizzaiolo review. And, to compare it to another top competitor be sure to check out T3's Sage The Smart Oven Pizzaiolo vs Ooni Koda 12 comparison feature.
This cracking newcomer from market leader Ooni is hot off the shelf and quite unique in the pantheon of pizza ovens because a) it’s larger than the majority of home pizza ovens, and b) it can be used with three types of fuel – untreated kindling, charcoal or propane gas. It’s also the first home pizza oven to be recommended by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the international authority on Neapolitan pizza. And boy do they know their pizzas.
The first thing you notice with the Ooni Karu 16 is how big it is. After all, not many home pizza ovens come with a 16-inch cordierite base. This is an especially good thing even if your pizzas are the average 12 inches in diameter because the key selling factor here is space, lots of space to accommodate any pizza up to 16 inches in diameter. It means that if, like me, you’re hopeless at gauging the size of the pizza base as you go though the stretching process and your bases sometimes exceed 12 inches, you won’t have to start all over again. For its size (81 x 50 x 83cm), the Karu 16 isn’t too heavy to carry. It also comes with three sturdy folding legs, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to store away when not in use.
Unlike previous Ooni models, this one comes with a hinged glass ViewFrame door which keeps the heat in while allowing you to see how the pizza’s going. However, wood smoke does tend to blacken the glass over time so use warm soapy water or a wood burner-specific glass cleaner from time to time.
The Ooni Karu 16 also features a new airflow system that allows the user to adjust temperatures for different types of pizza – simply slide the ceiling vent and fiddle with the chimney baffle. It’s also the first Ooni to ship with a built-in (or rather built on) thermometer.
Using the Karu 16 with lump wood charcoal is more straightforward than with wood simply because you don’t have to keep loading the hopper quite as frequently. If you wish to use the gas method, you’ll need to spend another £80 for the optional burner (£80). This writer performed a basic Neapolitan test using charcoal and it was a resounding success. Although the Karu 16 wasn’t as convenient to use as the winning Sage reviewed above, it nevertheless produced an excellent pizza with a tall, wide, airy crust, a dark crispy base and perfectly cooked toppings.
Ooni produces a wide range of great outdoor pizza ovens – plus a huge selection of pizza accessories – but this is the best model to choose if you like your pizzas on the large side. Granted, it’s not cheap – at £699 it’s the same price as the more practical Sage Pizzaiolo – but it’s exceedingly well made, relatively easy to use straight out of the box and it produces excellent results.
The Roccbox is a top choice for those who like the idea of being able to bake pizzas using either gas or wood kindling (Gozney provides two different clip-on assemblies). It’s a heavyweight beast, mind, so it’s not something you’d want to take on a picnic, despite the inclusion of a heavy-duty carrying strap.
This model is so well insulated you can place a whole hand on its rubberised outer surface and you won’t need to pay a visit to A&E; a handy innovation for those with inquisitive kids or cats that like to jump on things.
We tested it using both gas and wood and gas was definitely best because it allowed for easier temperature control and we didn’t have to keep filling the hopper with wood. That said, both methods produced excellent results even though we couldn’t taste any difference between the two power sources.
If you’re concerned about surface heat and fancy the choice of both gas and wood, then consider plonking this one on the patio table. Just don’t consider taking it on a picnic or your arm may fall off.
The smaller brother to the Ooni Karu 16 above, the Ooni Fyra 12 offers a single-fuel pizza oven that can reach 500 °C in just 15 minutes.
The Fyra is powered by a wood pellet system, with a hopper once filled with pellets automatically feeding the oven to maintain an optimal cooking temperature. At 500°C the Fyra can cook a pizza in just 60 seconds.
The thing that many will like this pizza oven for is its light weight (just 10kg) and ease of storage and transport. The oven has folding legs, meaning that it is easy to put in the car for a trip to the beach, for example.
To see how this top pizza oven compares to our number one choice, then be sure to check out T3's Ooni Fyra 12 vs Sage the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo comparison feature.
This homegrown model isn’t cheap but it’s arguably the closest thing on this page to an authentic restaurant-style wood fired oven, the heinously expensive Alfa model below notwithstanding. Constructed from clay and fibreglass, the igloo-shaped DeliVita is surprisingly light for its size though not enough for easy portability.
As with any wood-fired model, there’s a certain level of hassle involved in lighting and maintaining the flame. You will also need to brush the cinders aside to clear space for the pizza or the base will be a bit too ashy. But put in the time and attendance and this oven will produce top-rank results time after time.
Got six grand knocking about? How about this gargantuan but undeniably elegant wood-fired model from Italian pizza oven specialist Alfa? Clad in what looks like polished concrete, this gorgeous hand-made hunk of artistic pizza-baking splendour is constructed out of double-thick fireclay, swathes of heat-resistant stainless steel and sheets of iron, taking its combined weight of oven and optional stand to a mammoth 93kgs. Not something for the decking, then.
The Alfa Venere’s oven floor dimensions measure a substantial 120 x 70cm, and that means it’s cavernous enough to swallow up to six 10-12-inch pizzas in one go. Wood fired pizza ovens generally take longer to heat up than their gas-powered rivals and they’re a bit of a faff to light and maintain. Also, the cinders from the fire tend to end up all over the main cooking surface and that means constant brushing while setting your hand alight. Thankfully, this one comes with a fire grate to contain the cinders and prevent them from collapsing all over the main baking surface.
Perhaps you’d need to be a pizza-loving millionaire to opt for one of these but, hey, home-fired pizzas are the new cordon bleu banquets.
Best pizza ovens: gas or wood or even electric?
Wood is arguably the best bet if you want an authentic restaurant-type pizza. The downside is that wood-fired ovens take longer to heat up (sometimes hours) and require constant nurturing to keep the fire going. For that reason, many domestic oven manufacturers are now erring towards the use of propane gas as a fuel.
Some people may not even be able to tell the difference between a pizza cooked in the best wood-fired pizza oven and one cooked in the best gas-fired pizza oven. However, as with barbecues, one thing is for certain: gas pizza ovens heat up way more quickly – usually within 30 minutes or so – and the heat they emit is much more easily controlled.
And that leaves one more heat source to consider – electricity. An electric model like the excellent Sage The Smart Oven Pizzaiolo at number one in our list bakes exquisite pizzas with the least fuss of all. Naturally you can’t take it outside in inclement weather but being electric means it can be used indoors – and all year round.