Our Top 5 Best Wood Fired Pizza Ovens along with a handy Buyer’s Guide to help you decide on the best features before making your purchase.
As summer passes and fall nudges its way back into our lives, it’s easy to sigh resignedly and pack the barbecue back into the shed or garage.
But are we forced back inside until winter? Heck no!
This is the perfect time for merino wool sweaters, fire pits, blankets, and you guessed it…Pizza Ovens!
Do all the prep work in the nice warm kitchen and sit outside in the crisp air with a warm drink while your pepperoni pizza blasts away in your new pet furnace.
The great news is that now a days having your own backyard pizza oven doesn’t need to involve an entire yard overhaul.
No more need to build huge brick enclosures from scratch. Nor do you have to sit around for an hour until the temperatures inside a portable oven reach Yellowstone Caldera levels.
We’ve found some of the BEST portable outdoor pizza ovens on the market today, and they will ALL heat up to 700°F in 15 minutes or less.
That means having each pizza ready within 3 minutes..tops!
Even if you’re entertaining a few people, those pizzas will keep coming with no starving lines of guests to worry about.
Following our list of favorites is a quick buyer’s guide, listing the oven features to look out for when deciding which option is best for you.
Finally, we’ve answered some commonly asked questions about the world of backyard pizza production.
So let’s fire it up, shall we?!
Before we jump in, check out this great video from The Barbecue Lab reviewing some of the Best Wood Fired Ovens from the past year:
Our TOP 5 Best Wood Fired Pizza Ovens
OUR TOP PICK
Naturally you would expect the stone and the pellet burner tray to be provided, but the additional pizza peel for scooping your creations into and out of this oven is a welcome accessory, and it is convenient that the door comes off entirely for easy cleaning.
This oven can handle 13-inch pizzas, cooked over the heat of wood pellets. You can also use wood chips for a smokier flavor, or you can cash in on the versatility of the oven and buy a grill insert and other accessories to use this oven for steaks, fish or burgers.
It’s cool enough beneath to sit on a table, which makes the constant attendance on the oven a little more manageable.
This oven has a lot of fans on Amazon because of how easy it is to use and disassemble again, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the accompanying documentation for initial assembly could’ve been clearer.
However, once up and running, this is a durable, reliable crowd-pleaser which can heat to 700°+ within a few minutes of being fired up.
- Great pizza peel (spade)
- Good consistency of heat at lower temperatures
- Easy to work around
- Good vent height for chef’s comfort
- Documentation could’ve been clearer (some accompanying parts were unaccounted for in the pictures)
There are wheels for maneuvering to your chosen spot, so there is no need to call a group of friends to help you move it (unless you want to make an event of it, of course).
This oven can handle 2-3 pizzas at once, or an XXL pizza up to the capacity of the door width (20.75” wide). This makes the Thor Store artisan oven one of the better options for feeding the masses.
Once assembled, it’s easy to use with its accurate, inbuilt temperature gauge.
The heat range runs from 100°F up to 800°F. You would hope, at the price point, that you’d get a few accessories, and Thor Store have certainly come out swinging.
Along with the oven and fire stone, you also get the large pizza peel, wire brush, a turner spatula, and a pizza cutter. These can be stored on the hooks alongside the base legs of the oven so you don’t constantly have to look around to see where they were last put down.
A few folks have reported that the fire brick cracked quickly, but these observations always lead to debate and advice from other purchasers.
The typical answer is that the fire brick works better when seasoned gently on first use, heating only as much as is necessary to cook the pizza before testing out the upper reaches of its heat capacity.
Overall, the feedback is very positive in terms of the capacity to consistently produce beautifully cooked, authentic pizzas, two or three at a time, in a beautiful, upscale oven.
- Easy to use once assembled properly
- Even heat distribution
- Can handle 2-3 pizzas at a time
- Holds its heat well
- Good insulation
- Easy to clean
- Set-up instructions could be clearer
- Not as portable as other options
This cute igloo-style oven is the budget option on this list, but it’s also great for fuel versatility.
There’s also the option of investing in the separate gas burner adaptor and tray if that’s your preferred manner of cooking.
Cooking with gas is certainly more predictable if you’re looking for an entry-level pizza oven which requires the least work.
The Napoli looks extremely basic, but it does come with the durable cordierite stone, the wood chip/pellet scoop and the pellet tray.
The combination of light and affordable does not mean that you’ll be limited to a hectic succession of tiny pizzas: the interior of this oven is 12.5″ wide by 13.5″ deep, so you’ll be keeping people happy with decent-sized slices as each pizza emerges fully cooked every few minutes.
The Napoli is popular among day-trippers because it is so light (29lb) and compact. There is no chimney to attach or pack away, for example.
It’s easy to light up and restock from the slot at the rear, and the wide fuel box (in comparison to It’s easy to clear out once you’re done and it’s cooled down, pack it up, and take it home again.
- Highly portable
- Versatile fuel options
- Easy to set up and use
- Easy to clean
- Wide fuel box (low chef maintenance)
- It could do with a little more vertical cooking space for easier manipulation of the pizza
It’s super easy to set up and heat to 932°F, in just fifteen minutes.
From there, it will cook each pizza in just over a minute, which makes it slightly less inconvenient that it will only fit one pizza at a time.
The Ooni runs only on hardwood pellets.
This is a limitation compared to the Fremont or Napoli, but pellets hold their heat extremely well and they’re great for even heat distribution. They also create very little ash, which is good news for the folks who like to clean that oven out every single time.
What makes this oven a little different is the introduction of a pellet hopper at the rear which will automatically dispense more pellets into the fuel tray as required.
If you’re the kind of chef who has guests who like to keep talking, even when you’re trying to focus on not burning their food to a blackened crisp, the design will cut you a little slack.
The Ooni is the lightest oven of this selection at just 22lb, making it beautifully portable.
You can also buy a carry cover, and perforated or bamboo 12” pizza peel as accessories.
If you’re a beginner, you can get a lot of community help from Facebook. There are at least three devoted and highly active Ooni Fan Clubs who swap recipe ideas and tips for maintenance daily.
There’s a friendly balance of US and European members, keeping the recipe discussions lively.
- Chimney vents hot air above and away from chef’s head
- Easy to get started
- Holds heat well
- Pellet-feeder makes the oven low-maintenance once started
- Can only be used with wood pellets
- As with the Napoli, limited vertical cooking space
This beauty of a table-top oven is a long-term investment, suitable for many kinds of outdoor cooking (beyond the humble pizza), and the highly durable exterior can shrug off most bad weather.
The Alfa One has the solid, sturdy permanence of the Thor Store burner with the cosy shape of the lighter, more portable pizza ovens, weighing in in the mid-range at 110lb.
The door seals nicely, the chimney vents away the heat, and you’ll have a Napolitana ready in a minute, in total comfort.
It roars into life from a deck temperature of 32°F to 750° in just 10 minutes and you can keep the heat going a long time woh just a couple of 8” logs.
The interior oven size is 23.6” x 15.7”, giving you room for a sizable pizza and side dish, or two moderate pizzas. Because it’s so well insulated, you don’t need to worry about downward heat, or the very modest height of the four supporting legs.
It holds its temperature well and the inbuilt gauge is worth its weight in gold if you’re looking to use the Alfa for more complex dishes, like baby back ribs or roast chicken.
One word of caution that we’d give regarding this oven is that it’s probably best for more experienced, confident cooks. Perhaps those who are ready to move to a semi-permanent option, having tried out the more portable wood-fired pizza ovens to get to grips with optimum temperature control.
- Easy to obtain full heat capacity in minutes
- Easy to control temperature
- Can be used for wood or charcoal
- Gives consistently excellent results
- Versatile cooking for many kinds of foods
- Sufficiently self-insulated to sit on all kinds of surfaces (perhaps barring glass)
- High price point does not include any accessories (including a cover)
Best Wood Fired Pizza Ovens – A Buyer’s Guide
There’s our swift gallop through some of the best standalone wood fire pizza ovens to be used in the comfort of your own backyard. Hopefully we’ve given you some ideas about which appeals the most, when you would use it, and who you would entertain.
If you want to look wider or investigate the possibilities of each oven a little more closely, we’ve pulled together a list of things for you to think about before hitting the ‘buy’ button.
If so, then opt for one of the ovens which accepts multiple fuel types.
In the selection above, this is all of them but the Ooni, which is fabulous—so long as you’re sticking to wood pellets.
Are you able to get hardwood cheaply and easily without an oppressive shipping cost? This is something to take into consideration for the long-term cost of your oven.
If you’re regularly cooking for two, then you can either invest with the Alfa, or others in the premium range, or you can keep it neat with one of the single-pizza ovens.
Neither of you will be waiting very long for the second pizza to emerge, and the first definitely won’t go cold while the second is cooking.
If you’re frequently entertaining large groups of people, it’s worth looking at an oven which can handle at least a couple medium pizzas at a time.
The internal dimensions of the oven are the ones you want to check out—particularly on those with sealable doors. Pay particular attention to the diameter of the interior and see if this fits with your cooking needs.
If there is a significant difference between the overall width of the oven and the width of the door or front aperture, this usually points to good levels of insulation, which you will welcome if you have little kids running around the yard on pizza night.
Are you happy to shop for accessories independently, or do you want to choose an option which comes with everything you need ready to go?
How much time (and space) will you usually be given to mind the oven? Is it easy to ease off the heat or to heat up?
Do you need this pizza oven to be portable? Is it easy to set up, or do you need to have other people around to lift it onto the surface where you intend for it to live?
Do you have an infrared thermometer already, or do you want to go for a model with a built-in gauge?
Easiness to Clean
The black models look younger for longer and hide the soot marks better, but if you prefer that timeless state of the art look, then go for a stainless-steel model.
You may want to get a wire brush to clean out the interior more easily, or make sure that the oven has an ash drawer which you can just clear out and wipe clean.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wood Fired Pizza Ovens
What else can you cook in an outdoor pizza oven?
If you have a foil tray and an infrared/laser thermometer, there are limitless possibilities. But some starter ideas are focaccia bread, roasted vegetables, sausages, and steaks. You can pack portobello mushrooms with thyme, oregano, and halloumi.
You might also want to experiment with making potato chips without all the deep-fat frying that’s usually involved in getting them beautifully crisp.
Do I have to pre-cook chicken which is going onto my pizza?
No matter whether you’re cooking in a standard oven, convection fan oven, or outdoor pizza oven.
Pizzas take very little time to bake, particularly when being loaded into a wood-fired furnace which can reach temperatures almost double those achievable in a standard indoor oven.
In those conditions, chicken will simply evaporate most of their juice and will not cook through. You end up with chicken strips which are both dry and inwardly raw. The same goes for bacon and sausage.
Your best bet is to marinade and cook them ahead of time.
Quick Tip: A marinade like red or green pesto also protects your cooked chicken from rapidly dehydrating in the minute or two it’s sitting in the wood-fired oven.
Can I use soft wood in my oven?
It’s not advisable.
Softwood releases resin, which can make an unholy mess and create problems with uneven heat distribution.
The sap can also be malodorous.
It’s always best to pick a seasoned hardwood which, if possible, has been kiln dried.
Aromatic woods are also lovely to use—maple, hickory and pecan carry a flavor payload all of their own as well as producing some divine scents.
It’s worth spending the time to summon your powers of Google Fu and find out which woods are the most plentiful in your region.