In the world of premium portable pizza ovens, Ooni is the uncrowned king—but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any viable competition. In this article, I’ll be comparing Ooni’s pizza oven lineup with the Solo Pi outdoor pizza oven made by Solo Stove.
First things first, Ooni is not a single pizza oven but rather a lineup of 7 different pizza ovens. There is some overlap in features between Ooni pizza ovens, but for the most part they’re quite different in terms of fuel choices and baking surface size.
On the other hand, the Solo Pi is a single pizza oven created by Solo Stove with options for wood and gas (burners sold separately).
So, for this review, I’ll be comparing the Solo Pi with all 7 Ooni pizza ovens in the lineup. For each pizza oven, I’ll give you the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the ideal user for each one. Hopefully this will give you the information you need to make a decision of which one to buy for yourself.
But if you’re looking for my general opinion, I’ll tell you right now: Ooni pizza ovens are a better value than the Solo Pi. Both Ooni and Solo Pi are premium quality pizza ovens that will make a fantastic pizza of any style, but in my opinion the Solo Pi is just too expensive for what it’s offering.
The Solo Pi is ideal for those who specifically want some of its unique features (like its smokeless wood burning design), but you should be aware that these features have no effect on the quality of the pizza it makes.
For those simply looking for a high-quality pizza oven to make high-quality pizza, Ooni pizza ovens offer more choice in features and will generally get the same job done for less.
Ooni is by far the most dominant player in the pizza oven market today. You literally can’t shop for a portable pizza oven without coming across one of Ooni’s several indoor and outdoor models.
There are lots of reasons for this, but in my opinion it’s because Ooni pizza ovens generally offer more features of a higher quality for less money than most of their competitors.
If you take a look at Ooni’s pizza oven lineup, you’ll notice some different choices in terms of fuel and size, but you should know that each of their pizza ovens are built with quality materials, perform well in making pizza, and are reasonably priced.
I say this to you as someone with first hand experience using every Ooni pizza oven in the lineup—they all work well and will make a great pizza. So, it’s not a matter of “is ooni worth it”, because it is. Rather, it’s just a matter of figuring out which model suits your pizza preferences best, or if you prefer a competitor instead.
Let’s take a look at each Ooni pizza oven so you can have an idea of what we’re dealing with before getting into comparisons with the Solo Pi.
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Ooni Pizza Ovens: What Makes Each Model Different
I’m not going to get into the tech specs for each oven, instead I’m just going to tell you what makes each one unique and how much it costs. In the next section, I’ll give you an overview of the Solo Pi for reference, then get into ideal use case scenarios for each one.
If you don’t feel like reading all this, just keep scrolling down to where I compare the Solo Pi to each Ooni oven.
- Ooni Karu 16: This is Ooni’s flagship pizza oven model, with a huge 16 inch baking surface. It can cook with wood, charcoal, propane, and natural gas. When it comes to full-featured pizza ovens with all the bells and whistles, the Ooni Karu 16 is the one to beat. It costs $799 for the base woor-fired model, or $920 with the propane burner included.
- Ooni Karu 12G: This is the smaller version of the Ooni Karu 16, as well as one of Ooni’s most recent pizza oven models (released in 2023). If you want all the features of a flagship pizza oven in a smaller size for less money, the Ooni Karu 12G is my go to recommendation for most people. It costs $429 for the base wood-fired model, or $530 with the propane burner included. (Foreshadowing: this is the pizza oven I recommend getting over the Solo Pi.)
- Ooni Karu 12: This is the older version of the Ooni Karu 12G mentioned above. It’s a 12 inch pizza oven without most of the extra features in the 12G version, like an insulated glass door or a built-in thermometer. That said, it’s still a great pizza oven, and since it’s being discontinued, you can grab one for only $299 for the wood-fired model or $399 with a propane burner included. As of now, the Ooni Karu 12 is the least expensive premium multi-fuel pizza oven you can buy.
- Ooni Koda 16: This is the only other 16 inch pizza oven in Ooni’s lineup, and it’s one of two that works exclusively on gas, so no wood-fired option. The benefit to this is that it’s much less expensive than the other 16 inch option (Ooni Karu 16), at only $599 all-inclusive. When you consider that the majority of home pizza makers prefer to use gas over wood because of the convenience factor (myself included), the Ooni Koda 16 is actually a great affordable option.
- Ooni Koda 12: This is the smaller 12 inch counterpart to the Ooni Koda 16 above, with all of the same features except the “L-Shaped” burner design which isn’t as useful in a smaller oven. The Ooni Koda 12 is the easiest to use and least expensive gas pizza oven in Ooni’s lineup. If you plan on using your pizza oven on a small balcony or patio, this is your best option. It works on propane exclusively and costs $399 all-inclusive. I love how light-weight and modern this pizza oven feels.
- Ooni Fyra 12: This one is a bit different from the rest—it’s a wood-fired exclusive oven that uses wood-pellets instead of traditional wood logs. I love the gravity-fed pellet design which takes a lot of the guesswork out of how much wood to add at any given time, etc. If you specifically want a wood-fired pizza oven but don’t have a lot of experience using one (or just want something easier), the Ooni Fyra 12 is my go-to recommendation. It costs $349 all-inclusive and is great at what it does.
- Ooni Volt 12: Released in 2023, this fully-electric pizza oven is the only indoor/outdoor model in Ooni’s lineup. In many ways, this is Ooni’s answer to the Breville Pizzaiolo, which has always been the top indoor pizza oven on the market. I like that it addresses some of Breville’s shortcomings, like a higher temperature (850F vs 750F) and a larger baking surface, for the same price. The Ooni Volt 12 costs $999 all-inclusive.
Solo Pi Overview
The Solo Pi is a relative newcomer to the pizza oven game, but the company that makes it (Solo Stove) has a long history of making fire pits and other outdoor patio accessories.
Solo Stove fire pits are known for their unique smokeless design achieved via “burn holes” on the top and bottom of the unit. Unsurprisingly, the Solo Pi incorporates the same technology into their pizza oven to get the same smokeless effect.
In my experience, I can’t say the Solo Pi is 100% “smoke-free”, but it does produce remarkably little smoke for a wood-fired pizza oven. If you purchase and use the propane attachment, then of course it’s totally smoke-free.
The Solo Pi is a 12 inch pizza oven, meaning its chamber is only big enough for a 12 inch pizza. This is similar to most of the pizza ovens in Ooni’s lineup (for comparison), and also pretty standard across most portable pizza ovens in general.
Another thing that sets the Solo Pi apart from other pizza ovens is its form factor. Most pizza ovens have a square baking surface and a rectangular body, so the Solo Pi’s round shape and shiny chrome exterior makes it stand out among its competitors. I really do love and appreciate the aesthetics of the Solo Pi.
As a result of its round shape, the Solo Pi also has a round baking surface. I generally do not like round baking stones because it reduces the overall baking area. Usually round baking stones are part of a gimmicky “rotation” mechanism that isn’t necessary or useful in my opinion.
That said, I think the Solo Pi gets a pass with its round baking surface because the whole thing is round, and I have to admit it looks really cool. My review team agrees as well.
In terms of pizza quality, it’s top notch. If you know how to make pizza in a pizza oven, you’re going to be able to make great pizza in the Solo Pi.
The Solo Pi costs $649 for the basic wood-fired bundle, or $879 for the basic wood & gas bundle. Each bundle includes everything you need to get started, including a pizza peel.
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Solo Pi vs Ooni
When it comes to comparing Ooni vs Solo Pi, it’s important to remind everyone that this isn’t a question of which pizza oven is higher quality or which oven makes the best pizza. Both the Solo Pi and Ooni (all models) are built with materials, thoughtfully engineered, and will make as good of a pizza as your recipe and pizza making skills will allow.
Instead, the question between Ooni and the Solo Pi is which pizza oven will fit your needs best within the budget you’ve set aside for it. Let’s break this down further and compare each pizza oven side by side.
|Pizza Oven||Fuel Choices||Pizza Stone Thickness||Baking Surface Size||Weight||Indoor/Outdoor||Price|
|Karu 16||Wood, Charcoal, Propane Gas & Natural Gas (with optional adaptors)||0.6″ cordierite stone||16.7 x 24.5″||62.6lbs||Outdoor use only||$799|
|Karu 12||Wood, Charcoal & Propane Gas (with optional adaptor)||0.6″ cordierite stone||13 x 13″||26.5lbs||Outdoor use only||$299|
|Karu 12G||Wood, Charcoal & Propane Gas (with optional adaptor)||0.6″ cordierite stone||13 x 13″||34.17lbs||Outdoor use only||$429|
|Koda 16||Propane Gas & Natural Gas (with optional conversion kit)||0.6″ cordierite stone||16 x 16″||40.1lbs||Outdoor use only||$599|
|Koda 12||Propane Gas||0.4″ cordierite stone||13 x 13″||20.4lbs||Outdoor use only||$399|
|Fyra 12||Wood Pellets||0.4″ cordierite stone||13 x 13″||22lbs||Outdoor use only||$349|
|Volt 12||Electric||0.4″ cordierite stone||13 x 13″||39.2lbs||Both Indoor and Outdoor Use||$999|
|Solo Pi||Wood & Gas (burners sold separately)||0.5″ cordierite stone||12″ (round)||30.5lbs||Outdoor use only||$649|
Ooni Karu 16 vs Solo Pi
Unless you find either one on sale, you’re basically paying about the same price for these two pizza ovens whether you choose wood or gas options.
However, the Ooni Karu 16 is a much bigger pizza oven with lots of features the Solo Pi doesn’t have, like an insulated glass door, a built-in thermometer, the ability to use charcoal, and a chimney—not to mention a huge 16 inch baking surface.
Unfortunately, the Solo Pi doesn’t really compete with the Ooni Karu 16 in terms of features or price. The winner between these two is clearly the Ooni Karu 16.
Price: $879 for the Solo Pi (wood and gas) vs $920 for the Ooni Karu 16 (wood, gas, charcoal)
Ooni Karu 12G vs Solo Pi
The Ooni Karu 12G and Solo Pi are both 12 inch multi-fuel pizza ovens. The Solo Pi only supports wood and gas, while the Ooni Karu 12G supports wood, gas, and charcoal.
The Ooni Karu 12G also has an insulated glass door, a chimney, and a built-in thermometer, while the Solo Pi has none of these extra features. Having a door to close the oven is a big deal in terms of heat retention and can make a big difference in how evenly your pizza cooks.
Between the smokeless design of the Solo Pi and the chimney on the Karu 12G, I prefer the chimney with smoke. A bit of smoke is part of the territory with wood-fired cooking, so I don’t mind it.
That said, the main reason I prefer a chimney is because it helps to direct hot air and gas away from the oven and whoever is using it. With the Solo Pi, this is all just wafting up from the top of the unit right where you’re using it. Not a deal breaker, but not my cup of tea either.
Granted, this is only a factor if you’re using the wood-fired options with either oven, so it’s not an issue with propane.
Considering how similar the Solo Pi and Ooni Karu 12G are in terms of core features, it’s a bit shocking to see that the Solo Pi is nearly $300 more expensive than the Karu 12G with less extra features and fewer fuel choices.
This is a huge price discrepancy, and ultimately it’s the reason why I will always recommend the Ooni Karu 12G over the Solo Pi. I just can’t justify the extra cost when another oven has more features, is built with the same quality, and works just as well at making pizza.
Price: $879 for the Solo Pi (wood and gas) vs $529 for the Ooni Karu 12G (wood, gas, and charcoal)
Ooni Karu 12 vs Solo Pi
Like I explained above, the Ooni Karu 12 is the stripped down version of the more feature-rich Ooni Karu 12G. It’s also a lot less expensive as well—$299 vs $429 for the base models.
Because the Ooni Karu 12 is such a (relatively) barebones pizza oven, it’s not really a direct competitor with the Solo Pi in my opinion.
You should get the Solo Pi if you want all of its extra features and unique look, while you should get the Ooni Karu 12 if you just want a good quality pizza oven that makes great pizza.
Price: $879 for the Solo Pi (wood and gas) vs $399 for the Ooni Karu 12 (wood, gas, and charcoal)
Ooni Koda 16 vs Solo Pi
The Ooni Koda 16 and Solo Pi are two very different pizza ovens that don’t directly compete with one another. That said, it’s important to understand the differences between the two so you don’t waste your money on something you don’t want.
The Ooni Koda 16 is propane only and has a 16 inch baking surface. In my opinion, this pizza oven is the best and least expensive option for those looking to make large New York style pizza under a low, easily adjustable propane flame.
On the other hand, the Solo Pi is a 12 inch multi-fuel pizza oven more designed for high-temperature Neapolitan style pizzas. Yes, you can switch to propane for a lower temperature flame and easier operation, but you’ll never be able to make any pizza larger than 12 inches.
Price: $879 for the Solo Pi (wood and gas) vs $599 for the Ooni Karu 12 (propane only)
Ooni Koda 12 vs Solo Pi
Both the Solo Pi and Ooni Koda 12 are 12 inch pizza ovens that can use gas, but the similarities end there.
The Ooni Koda 12 can’t use any other fuel besides propane and doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles of other Ooni models, or the Solo Pi itself.
What the Ooni Koda 12 has going for it is extreme simplicity and a great price. Propane is by far the most popular choice when it comes to portable pizza ovens because of how easy it is to use. The Koda 12 is also only $399, which is far cheaper than the Solo Pi.
If you’re looking for a small, affordable pizza oven that you can easily fire up on short notice, the Ooni Koda 12 is a great choice. But it doesn’t have the same aesthetic appeal or “wow factor” of the Solo Pi.
Price: $879 for the Solo Pi (wood and gas) vs $399 for the Koda 12 (propane only)
Ooni Fyra 12 vs Solo Pi
The Ooni Fyra 12 and Solo Pi are both 12 inch wood-fired pizza ovens, but they’re quite different in most other aspects.
With the Solo Pi, you can use gas if you need to, while the Ooni Fyra 12 uses wood exclusively. The Fyra 12 is ideal for those specifically looking for an easy to use wood-fired oven that doesn’t cost too much.
Compared to the Fyra 12, the Solo Pi wood burner is a bit more difficult to use. That’s not because there’s anything wrong with it, but I’m just generally not a huge fan of 12 inch wood-fired ovens that use traditional wood logs. The burners and fuel trays are too small and require frequent tending and re-filling to keep the oven at the right heat consistently.
So, get the Solo Pi if you want the choice of multiple fuels and appreciate the aesthetics and smokeless wood burner. Otherwise, in terms of wood-fired pizza ovens, the Ooni Fyra 12 is a much better value.
Price: $879 for the Solo Pi (wood and gas) vs $349 for the Ooni Karu 12 (propane only)
Ooni Volt 12 vs Solo Pi
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Ooni Volt 12 and Solo Pi are very different pizza ovens for very different users. But this time I mean it!
The Ooni Volt 12 is electric, which means you can use it right in your own kitchen, while the Solo Pi is outdoor only.
If you want an indoor pizza oven, the Ooni Volt 12 is one of the best choices on the market, with hotter maximum temperatures (850F) than any other indoor pizza oven sold in North America.
Unless you live in Europe (where there are more indoor pizza oven choices), the Ooni Volt 12 is as good as you’re going to get.
But only consider the Ooni Volt 12 if you specifically want or need to cook indoors because you’re paying a premium for that ability. It’s actually the most expensive Ooni oven in the lineup and it’s only big enough for a 12 inch pizza.
The Ooni Volt 12 is ideal for those who don’t have any outdoor space for cooking, or who live in a climate where outdoor cooking isn’t feasible.
Price: $879 for the Solo Pi (wood and gas) vs $999 for the Ooni Volt 12 (electric)
Which Pizza Oven Should You Buy? Ooni vs Solo Pi
I’m going to keep this section short because I’ve already covered most of the basics with these pizza ovens above.
Look for which one of these profiles seems the most like you and to help figure out which pizza oven is ideal.
- You want the best pizza oven possible to make all styles: get the Ooni Karu 16 16-inch multi-fuel oven.
- You want to cook exclusively with wood: get the Ooni Fyra 12 wood-pellet oven.
- You live in an apartment/condo with a small balcony: get the Ooni Koda 12 pizza oven.
- You primarily want to make New York style pizza: get the Ooni Koda 16 pizza oven.
- You want a fully featured oven at the lowest price: get the Ooni Karu 12G
- You want the cheapest multi-fuel possible: get the Ooni Karu 12
- You want a smokeless multi-fuel pizza oven with awesome aesthetics: get the Solo Pi
- You can only cook indoors: get the Ooni Volt 12
So, there you have—every Ooni pizza oven on the market compared and contrasted with the Solo Pi pizza oven by Solo Stove.
I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m being too harsh on the Solo Pi, because it’s actually a fantastic pizza oven. We had great results using it and the pizzas turned out fantastic.
The Solo Pi just has a tough time finding its spot within the current Ooni pizza oven lineup. In every case, its Ooni counterparts either have more features than the Solo Pi or are selling for a significantly lower price.
This makes the Solo Pi tough to recommend unless you’re specifically looking for a round, cool looking pizza oven with a smokeless burner design. Those are impressive features, but they don’t affect the quality of the pizza and they aren’t necessarily better than the features unique to Ooni.
Sale Price vs Regular Price
One final note on price. The Solo Pi seems to be one of these pizza ovens that’s listed at one price but is constantly on sale at a steep discount.
For the purposes of this review, I’m using the full price listed on the website and not the sale price. This means (realistically) you could be paying a much lower price for a Solo Pi than I’ve described here.
But that said, even with the discount, the Solo Pi is still more expensive than the Ooni ovens that most closely match it in terms of features. For example, the Ooni Karu 12G has a very similar feature set as the Solo Pi, but it costs $429 regularly while the Solo Pi is $499 on sale. For my money, I’m going with the Ooni Karu 12G for its more convenient design and lower price.
Key Facts Summarized
- Ooni is a dominant player in the pizza oven market with a lineup of 7 different pizza ovens, each with unique features and varying fuel choices.
- Solo Pi is a single pizza oven model by Solo Stove, known for its smokeless wood burning design, and supports both wood and gas fuels.
- The Solo Pi is more expensive than Ooni pizza ovens, despite both being of premium quality.
- Ooni pizza ovens offer more choice in features and are generally more cost-effective.
- The Solo Pi is ideal for those who want its unique features, but these features do not affect the quality of the pizza it makes.
- Ooni’s pizza oven lineup includes models like Ooni Karu 16, Ooni Karu 12G, Ooni Karu 12, Ooni Koda 16, Ooni Koda 12, Ooni Fyra 12, and Ooni Volt 12, each with unique features and price points.
- The Solo Pi costs $649 for the basic wood-fired bundle, or $879 for the basic wood & gas bundle.
- The Solo Pi has a round shape and shiny chrome exterior, making it aesthetically distinct from other pizza ovens.
- The Solo Pi struggles to compete with Ooni’s pizza ovens in terms of features or price.
- The Solo Pi is often on sale at a steep discount, but even with the discount, it is still more expensive than the Ooni ovens that most closely match it in terms of features.
What’s the warranty of the Solo Pi?
One of the best features of the Solo Pi is its super generous lifetime warranty. This beats out most other pizza oven brands. That said, if you follow basic maintenance procedures, any pizza oven should last for years without needing replacement.
Can I use charcoal in an Ooni?
Yes, all multi-fuel Ooni pizza ovens are capable of using charcoal as well as wood and propane.