Just a few years ago, the Ooni Pro 16 was one of Ooni’s most popular pizza oven models. In fact, many people considered the Ooni Pro 16 to be Ooni’s flagship model because of its large size and robust set of features. However, currently, the Ooni Pro 16 has been discontinued and replaced by the newer Ooni Karu 16.
While a bit more expensive ($799 vs $599 for the old Ooni Pro), the Ooni Karu 16 is superior in almost every way. Let’s get right into what made the Ooni Pro so popular, and why the Ooni Karu 16 is such a worthy successor.
But first, here’s a brief look at some of the key differences between the Ooni Pro and Ooni Karu 16:
- Faster Heat-Up Time: The Ooni Karu 16 heats up to 950°F (500°C) in 15 minutes, five minutes faster than the Ooni Pro.
- Improved Construction: The Ooni Karu 16 is made from carbon steel with a high temperature-resistant powder-coated finish, offering improved insulation and weather resistance compared to the Ooni Pro’s brushed stainless steel.
- Enhanced Visibility: The Ooni Karu 16 features a new full-glass oven door design with “ViewFlame” technology for better visibility.
- Integrated Temperature Monitoring: The Ooni Karu 16 comes with a mounted digital thermometer for precise temperature readings, whereas the Ooni Pro required a separate infrared thermometer.
- Advanced Airflow Control: The Ooni Karu 16 has added internal ceiling vent mechanisms for increased airflow control.
The Ooni Pro 16: A Look Back
The Ooni Pro was a significant product in the Ooni lineup, and one of the more innovative pizza ovens at the time of its release. As one of Ooni’s original flagship ovens, it holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many. In fact, I can say with certainty that the Ooni Pro is one of the pizza ovens I get asked about, even over a year since its discontinuation.
Its multi-fuel versatility, allowing users to cook with wood, charcoal, or gas, was a standout feature, especially back in 2017 when it was first released. The Ooni Pro 16 was easily the most advanced portable pizza oven of its day.
Related Posts: Who are Ooni’s Competitors?
Discontinued But Not Forgotten
In the ever-evolving world of outdoor pizza ovens, the Ooni Pro was eventually discontinued. Not immediately, though—you could still purchase it from Ooni’s website as of 2022.
This decision marked the end of an era but also signaled the beginning of a new one with the introduction of the Ooni Karu 16 in 2021-2022.
The Introduction of the Ooni Karu 16
The Ooni Karu 16 was introduced as the successor to the Ooni Pro, and for good reason. This new model was launched with the promise of advanced new features, and a special focus on addressing some of the nagging issues that faced the Ooni Pro, like the removable door that made using certain 16 inch peels impossible.
The Ooni Karu 16 offers the same multi-fuel versatility as the Ooni Pro, but with several enhancements. These improvements were designed to take the outdoor pizza cooking experience to a whole new level, and I think (in most respects) Ooni has succeeded in doing this.
The Ooni Karu 16: Definitely An Upgrade
The Ooni Karu 16 boasts several key features that, in my opinion, make it superior to the Ooni Pro. For starters, it heats up faster, reaching its maximum temperature of 950°F (500°C) in just 15 minutes, which is five minutes faster than the Ooni Pro.
This quicker heat-up time aligns better with the preparation time for stretching and topping a pizza, making the cooking process more efficient. This is actually a big deal if you’re making more than one pizza at a time.
In terms of size, the Ooni Karu 16 can fit a pizza up to 16 inches in diameter, just like the old Ooni Pro. But the Ooni Karu 16 features a single 16 inch baking stone, while the Ooni Pro required two half-size baking stones to be placed next to each other.
In theory, one stone or two doesn’t make much of a difference when it comes to making a pizza, but the cracks between the two stones were prone to breaking, as well as more difficult to clean. This is what makes the single piece baking stone featured on the Ooni Karu such a big upgrade.
The construction of the Ooni Karu 16 is another area where it outshines the Ooni Pro. Made from carbon steel with a high temperature-resistant powder-coated finish, the Ooni Karu 16 offers improved insulation and better weather resistance. This makes it more durable and capable of withstanding the elements when used outdoors, as well as reducing the likelihood of burning yourself by accidentally touching the exterior when it’s fired up.
Detailed Comparison: Ooni Pro vs Ooni Karu 16
A side-by-side comparison of the Ooni Pro and Ooni Karu 16 makes the upgrade from one to the other even more obvious. Both models offer multi-fuel versatility, but the Ooni Karu 16 has a wider fuel hatch for easier access and maintenance. It also heats up faster and can and stays hotter longer.
The Ooni Karu 16 also features a new full-glass oven door design with “ViewFlame” technology. This allows you to clearly see your pizza as it cooks without having to leave the door open and lose heat. The old Ooni Pro just had an open space in the door for you to look through.
The Ooni Karu 16 also features a digital thermometer that measures the temperature of the ambient air of the oven. Combined with an infrared thermometer, this gives you an ideal view of when the oven is ready to cook the next pizza. By contract, the Ooni Pro’s built-in thermometer just measured the temperature of the stone itself, making it difficult to tell how hot the air of the oven is at the same time.
|Feature||Ooni Pro||Ooni Karu 16|
|Fuel Options||Wood, Charcoal, Gas||Wood, Charcoal, Propane, Natural Gas|
|Heat-up Time||20 minutes||15 minutes|
|Maximum Pizza Size||16 inches||16 inches|
|Construction||Brushed Stainless Steel||Carbon Steel with High Temperature-Resistant Powder-Coated Finish|
|Visibility||Open door, or hole in removable door||Full-Glass Oven Door with “ViewFlame Technology”|
|Temperature Monitoring||Mounted Infrared Thermometer||Mounted Digital Thermometer|
|Airflow Control||Standard chimney||Reimagined Internal Ceiling Vent Mechanisms|
The transition from the Ooni Pro to the Ooni Karu 16 represents a significant evolution in Ooni’s product lineup. While the Ooni Pro was a game-changer in its time, the Ooni Karu 16 has taken the pizza oven experience to a whole new level.
Its advanced features, faster heat-up time, larger cooking area, and improved construction make it a worthy successor to the Ooni Pro. These improvements not only enhance the cooking experience but also align with Ooni’s commitment to giving the users of their ovens (us) exactly what we’re looking for.
However, it’s important to note that while the Ooni Karu 16 is superior in many respects, the old Ooni Pro 16 still works just fine. If you own one and love it, there’s really no need to upgrade until the day your Pro stops working (which should be a long time with proper care and maintenance).
The Ooni Pro has indeed been discontinued, but its spirit lives on in the Ooni Karu 16. This new model takes the best aspects of the Ooni Pro and enhances them, offering users an even better outdoor cooking experience.
As Ooni continues to innovate and evolve, we can look forward to even more advancements in the world of outdoor pizza ovens. In fact, just this year (2023), Ooni improved the design of the Karu series with better fuel efficiency and more features in their upgrade of the Ooni Karu 12 to the Ooni Karu 12G. If you like the Ooni Karu 16 but can’t afford it, you can save a lot of money and get most of the same features for just $429 with the Karu 12G.
Has the Ooni Pro 16 been discontinued?
Yes, as of 2022, the Ooni Pro 16 has been discontinued and is no longer available for purchase on Ooni’s website. That said, the Ooni Pro 16 has been replaced with the much newer (and slightly more expensive) Ooni Karu 16. The Ooni Karu 16 has all the features the Ooni Pro had and more, along with a better and more fuel efficient design.