Wood-fired pizza ovens have become synonymous with authentic, high quality pizza – especially when it comes to Neapolitan style. Thankfully, bringing those same smoky, delicious flavors from the pizzeria to your own backyard doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.
Most of the best wood-fired pizza ovens vary quite substantially in price, from hundreds to thousands of dollars. For a more sophisticated wood-fired pizza oven, like an Ooni, expect to pay between $350-$800. On the budget end of the spectrum, you can buy something like the Big Horn pizza oven for less than $250, but don’t expect any extra features or a high-quality build.
Bottom Line: If you’re concerned about budget, you can’t go wrong with the Ooni Fyra 12 and its amazing gravity-fed pellet burner for only $349. But if you want a larger wood-fired pizza oven, with all the bells and whistles, the Ooni Karu 16 ($799) and Gozney Dome ($1,799) are difficult to beat.
To give you a better idea of how much you can expect to pay for a wood-fired pizza oven, let’s take a look at a few standout options and what I like about them.
|Pizza Oven||Price||What I Like:||What I Don’t Like:|
|Ooni Fyra 12||$349.00||Great price, gravity-fed pellet burner, well-insulated, amazing customer support||Only available in 12 inches|
|Ooni Karu 16||$799.00||Flagship Ooni oven, multi-fuel support, 16 inch baking area, well-insulated, amazing customer support||Expensive, no pellet-burner|
|Gozney Roccbox||$599.00||Excellent insulation, improved wood burner, comes with all accessories needed||No chimney|
|Gozney Dome||$1,799.00||Huge, attractive showpiece, fits multiple pizzas, expansion ports, dome ceiling||Expensive, not portable|
|Big Horn||$249.00||Has a chimney, works well enough, very cheap||Lacks extra features, lower quality build, can cook unevenly without practice|
…or keep reading to learn more.
Save up to 30% off pizza ovens and up to 50% off accessories until Nov 28th.
What I look for in a wood-fired pizza oven
Before we get into cost, let’s go over what makes for a good quality wood-fired pizza oven.
A good wood-fired oven should have:
- Adequate air-flow to ensure an even cook.
- A chimney to improve air-flow and direct smoke away from the cooking area (and your face).
- Fuel-efficiency, made even better if the oven has a pellet burner.
- Ease of use and maintenance, making it easy to take apart and clean on a regular basis.
A simple list of wood-fired pizza ovens with their prices won’t necessarily tell you the value of what you’re purchasing. For that, it’s useful to know what features have a big impact on your ovens’ ease of use and effectiveness, and why.
Below is an in-depth breakdown of what I look for when buying a wood-fired pizza oven.
1. Good Air Flow
Good air flow is an often overlooked factor that has a big impact on the performance of any wood fired pizza oven. In this context, air flow refers to how well hot air is able to circulate in and around the baking chamber of the pizza oven.
When looking at any pizza oven that burns solid fuel, like charcoal or wood, good air flow is key. Air flow is what helps draw hot air from the fuel source over the pizza and then (most importantly) out of the oven so that fresh hot air can replace it. Ideally, this process happens constantly as long as the flame is still burning.
The best way to ensure good air flow in a pizza oven is with a chimney, especially one placed towards the front (or center) of the oven just above the opening. A chimney helps to draw hot air and smoke from the back of a pizza oven across the surface of the pizza and out again. This process is called “convection” and it’s a key component to a well cooked pizza in a wood-fired oven.
Another major benefit to a chimney, especially a long one, is that it leads smoke away from the food and away from your face as you cook.
In my opinion, a chimney is an absolute necessity when choosing a wood-fired pizza oven both for practical and safety reasons. Many budget pizza oven models that lack a chimney simply aren’t worth the price, however there are exceptions.
Related Post: Who Are Ooni’s Main Competitors?
2. Good Heat and fuel efficiency
Heat and fuel efficiency is another factor to consider when choosing a wood-fired pizza oven. Unlike propane, which has a fairly consistent burn rate, there are several variables at play when burning wood chips or wood pellets.
The moisture content of your fuel and the insulation of your oven all play an important role in determining how well your fuel will burn and how long that heat will last in your oven. For many pizza ovens, hardwood or softwood chips will be your only choice of fuel and each one has its own benefits.
Generally speaking, hardwood comes from trees with large, broad leaves while softwood comes from trees that produce needles like pine trees. Hardwood is usually the best choice for fuel in a wood-fired pizza oven because it lasts longer than softwood and burns cleanly.
That said, for the best fuel efficiency, I recommend looking for a pizza oven that uses wood-pellets for the cleanest and longest lasting burn. Wood-pellets burn more slowly and get hotter than traditional wood chips, which helps to cook your pizza better and even infuse it with a rich, smoky flavor.
Tip: A great example of a wood-fired pizza oven with a pellet burner is the Ooni Fyra 12.
In terms of heat efficiency, you’ll want to make sure that your wood-fired pizza oven is surrounded by a thick layer of insulation, preferably with an air-gap in between. Good air flow, like we discussed in the previous section, goes a long way towards improved heat efficiency as well.
A good way to judge heat insulation on a pizza oven that’s currently in use is to (carefully) touch the outside body of the oven. If it’s hot but not scalding, the oven likely has very good heat insulation.
Generally speaking, the thicker and higher quality material used to construct a pizza oven will determine how well that oven retains heat. Cheaper pizza oven manufacturers cut costs by using flimsy materials that get extremely hot as heat escapes.
3. Ease of use and maintenance
All wood-fired pizza ovens need to be cleaned and maintained regularly, but some ovens are easier to clean than others. This might not seem like a big deal but it can have a big impact on the effectiveness and longevity of your pizza oven.
Maintaining your oven mostly involves removing soot and debris from from the walls of the baking area and the baking stone. For the baking stone, you can use a wire brush or metal spatula to (carefully) scrape off any burned or baked-on debris stuck to it, then wipe it away with a slightly damp cloth. Next, take the same damp cloth and clean the sides of the oven from any ash or soot.
With this in mind, you should consider how easy it will be to clean any prospective pizza oven. That means looking for an oven with a removable stone and with a body big enough to reach your hand in without getting stuck on any sharp corners or hard to reach nooks and crannies. Be especially aware of these factors when looking at less expensive, budget pizza ovens as this is one of the ways they cut costs.
Remember, a clean pizza oven makes a clean tasting pizza. So, maintaining your pizza oven won’t just help it last longer, it will help make better pizza as well.
Note: Generally speaking, any pizza oven that produces smoke will be relatively difficult to keep clean year round. For this reason, many prefer to use a propane powered pizza oven instead of wood or charcoal. My favorite propane pizza oven is the Ooni Koda 16, which sells for $599. You can find my review of that oven here.
My picks for The Best wood-fired pizza ovens
There are so many wood-fired pizza oven models on the market today it can sometimes feel overwhelming trying to pick the right one. To make things a little easier for you, here are some of my favorites that are easily available online.
#1 Ooni Fyra 12
The Ooni Fyra 12 is truly one of my favorite pizza ovens out there. It’s compact, affordable and features a unique gravity-fed pellet hopper that (currently) no other wood-fired pizza oven offers.
The Ooni Fyra 12 is easy to maintain, has excellent air-flow, and an adjustable chimney with vents for the perfect cook every time. With a generous 13.2 inch baking stone, this oven is ideal for cooking 12 inch Neapolitan style pizza in just around 90 seconds.
Perhaps the best feature of the Ooni Fyra 12 is its unique gravity-fed wood pellet hopper, which allows for an easy to ignite and highly efficient flame. Unlike traditional pellet burners which require frequent tending and reloading, this gravity-fed system gradually pulls down fresh pellets from the hopper as needed.
This keeps the flame steady and strong throughout the cook and minimizes the number of times you need to reload the hopper with more pellets.
The only thing this oven is missing is a 16 inch counterpart for a slightly bigger pizza with the same ease of use and efficiency of a gravity-fed pellet hopper, but at only $349 the Ooni Fyra 12 is well worth the price.
Tip: For the best results, I recommend using these hardwood pellets with the Ooni Fyra 12.
#2 Ooni Karu 16
The Ooni Karu 16 is Ooni’s most versatile wood-fired pizza oven with the ability to use charcoal and propane in addition to wood. This oven features a chimney, a digital thermostat, an insulated viewing window, and a massive baking stone more than big enough for a 16 inch pizza.
When I mentioned the Ooni Fyra 12 previously, the Ooni Karu 16 oven is all that and more – but it comes with a much higher price as well. Pick up one of these pizza ovens if you want the ability to make larger, New York sized pizza and the versatility of multiple types of fuel besides wood.
In a perfect world, however, the Ooni Karu 16 would also feature a gravity-fed pellet hopper like the Ooni Fyra 12, but alas, you can’t have it all. Instead, you’ll have to rely on traditional wood chips which, while not as easy to manage as wood pellets, still work quite well and deliver a rich smoky flavor to the crust and toppings.
I recommend using these traditional hardwood chips with your Ooni Karu 16 for the best results.
The Gozney Roccbox is a very popular multi-fueled pizza oven that uses charcoal, gas and wood. This pizza oven retains heat extremely well due to a thick layer of insulation, which means you can cook one pizza after another without having to wait very long for the oven to hit its maximum temperature again.
This latest version of the Gozney Roccbox includes the “wood burner 2.0”, Gozney’s new and improved wood burner that’s more efficient and easy to use than ever. The biggest improvement on this new wood burner, in my opinion, is the increased air flow and ventilation throughout the unit, for all the reasons we discussed earlier in this post.
The Gozney Roccbox is ideal for cooking smaller, 12 inch Neapolitan style pizza and is best suited for large groups, or commercial settings, due to its amazing heat retention and fast turnaround between pizzas.
What sets the Gozney Roccbox apart from many of its competitors is its inclusion of several essential accessories along with the oven itself. This is a big advantage because a pizza oven is useless without a peel and a turning peel, and the weatherproof cover will help keep the oven in good condition for years to come. (Note: this offer may not be available at all times.)
If I could add one thing to this oven it would be a chimney. For an oven without a chimney, the air flow is generally pretty good, but it could still be much improved with one, and smoke could more easily be directed away from the cooking area. For this reason, the Roccbox is best suited for using propane.
Also, at risk of sounding like a broken record, I wish the Roccbox came in a 16 inch version to make larger pizza with. But if you’re interested in making smaller, personal sized Neapolitan pizza, this oven is a winner.
#4 Gozney Dome
The Gozney Dome is not like the other pizza ovens features on this list, and the price reflects that. For starters, this pizza oven is absolutely massive and is in no way designed to be portable.
The Gozney Dome is like having an authentic, domed Neapolitan pizza oven in your own backyard, similar to the kind of oven you might see in Naples or at a fancy pizzeria. Weighing in at 128 lbs and with a whopping 18.5 x 21.65 inches of baking surface, the Gozney Dome is capable of making as large of a pizza as you could want, or even multiple smaller pizzas at the same time.
With the ability to cook with propane, natural gas or traditional wood, the Gozney Dome is ideal for whatever kind of pizza strikes your fancy. The gas option and huge size is perfect for making New York style pizza, while the wood-fired option will easily make Neapolitan style pizza both large and small.
The Gozney Dome has all the features you could ever want in a wood-fired pizza oven built right in, and with its “quick connect” accessories port, you can easily upgrade your Dome with whatever new accessories Gozney comes up with in the future . I’m particularly looking forward to their upcoming automated wood pellet burner which, when available, will slot right into the port.
On top of all its great features, the Gozney Dome just looks fantastic, especially when you see it in person. This pizza oven makes for an awesome (and functional) showpiece for any backyard that’s sure to make your friends and neighbors jealous… especially when they see (or smell) the delicious pizza you’ll be making with it.
There really are no downsides to the Gozney Dome except for the obvious: price and portability. At $1,799, the Gozney Dome might be out of reach for anyone with an average budget, and at 128 lbs you won’t be taking it on camping trips any time soon either.
So, if you have the budget and want to invest in a lifestyle piece that makes amazing pizza, get the Gozney Dome. But if you’re just looking to make great pizza at a good price, stick to some of the lower priced options on this list.
The Big Horn pizza oven is cheapest, and least feature-packed, wood-fired pizza oven on this list, but it also has a lot of good things going for it as well, especially for the price.
At only $220, the Big Horn Pizza Oven is very cheap, even when compared to other similarly featured budget wood-fired ovens. But unlike some of those of those other options, the Big Horn has a chimney and uses wood-pellets. This means the Big Horn has relatively good air flow and decent fuel-efficiency.
However, be aware (like always) that you get what you pay for. The Big Horn’s airflow, while better than many of its cheap competitors, leaves a lot to be desired. For example, this oven is notorious for shooting flames out of its chimney once it get going, which isn’t safe and leads it to overcooking the toppings while the crust is still underdone.
The Big Horn also has very poor insulation, meaning it loses heat fast and takes longer to reach its maximum temperature (despite what its marketing tells you).
But with some tweaking (and patience) you can most likely get the hang of using the Big Horn and even find some workarounds to ensure a balanced cook, especially if you’re experienced with pizza ovens in general. Making excellent pizza is still entirely possible with this oven, despite its limitations.
And at only around $220 (or less), it’s not a massive risk if you don’t end up liking it.
That said, I would still recommend the Ooni Fyra 12 over the Big Horn even if your budget is small. The Ooni Fyra 12 is a nearly perfect wood-fired pizza oven that’s still very affordable at only $349 and not much more expensive than the Big Horn.
DIY Wood-Fired Pizza Oven
Cost: A DIY wood-fired pizza oven can cost anywhere from $200 for the most basic brick or clay structure and stone floor, all the way up to $2,000 or more for a complicated design built with higher quality materials.
If you’re not into buying a pre-built pizza oven, and have some DIY skills, you can always try your hand at making a pizza oven yourself.
It’s actually not such a bad idea. I’ve said this before, but a pizza oven is basically just an insulated box with a baking stone and a fire underneath. If you have any experience making pizza, you can no doubt make a delicious pizza inside a structure that’s little more than a concrete or brick dome right in your backyard. And all for the relatively low cost of building materials that should all be readily available at your local hardware store.
Of course, to make a proper pizza oven that will withstand inclement weather for years to come, you’ll need to follow a detailed set of building instructions. Those with building experience will have a big advantage here.
How To Build A DIY Wood-Fired Pizza Oven:
I’m not going to get into a step by step set of instructions for building a pizza oven here, but the following should give you an idea of what it will entail. Hopefully this will help you decide if building your own pizza oven is something you want to get involved with.
- Find a suitable location several feet away from your house, or according to your local bylaws.
- Determine if the area is level, and if not level it.
- Figure out what shape your want you pizza oven to be.
- Build the base with blocks (bricks, concrete, etc.) keeping in mind that the area of the base will determine the total baking area in the finished oven. Make sure it’s big (or small) enough for you.
- Based on the size of the base, calculate how many blocks you’ll need and at what size. You may need to cut some blocks into smaller shapes to get an exact fit around the edges.
- Once you have the first layer of blocks, apply adhesive and start building up. For a strong foundation, stagger the joints between blocks from one layer to the next.
- About halfway up, you’ll need to lay a large flat stone over your structure and layer it with clay bricks. This will be the floor of the oven, where the pizzas will bake.
- Establish the dome structure, if you’re building a domed pizza oven. This will involve using wood to create a support mold for the rest of the blocks. Make sure you know what you’re doing before getting started or the roof can collapse in on itself, which is (clearly) potentially very dangerous.
- When finished, remove any wooden molding.
- Arrange your wood and get a flame going then push it off to the side and clean any ash or soot from the middle of the baking area.
- When the oven hits your desired temperature, slide your dough onto a clean section of the baking area. Let it cook until the cheese is melted and just starting to bubble up.
The drawbacks to this method should be obvious: it’s labor intensive and won’t be portable. It’s also quite possible that your DIY pizza oven will be functional but ugly, so make sure you’re prepared to build it in a tucked away corner or have some way to cover it up when it’s not in use.
All that said, I think for most people the relatively low cost, and plethora of extra features (like portability and multi-fuel), will make a pre-built wood-fired pizza oven, like the Ooni Karu 16 or Gozney Dome, a much more desirable choice.
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- Gozney Roccbox Review
How Much Does An Authentic Pizza Oven Cost:
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay as little as $199 for a very basic pizza oven, or as much as $1,000-$2000 for a pizza oven with advanced features and multi-fuel support. Of course, there are lots of great options between these price points as well, like the Ooni Fyra 12 at $349 or the Ooni Karu 16 at $799.
Is Wood-Fired Pizza Better?
Wood-fired pizza cooks quickly and absorbs the smoky flavor of the wood into the crust. Ultimately everything is a matter of taste, but many of the most critically acclaimed pizzerias in the world use wood-fired ovens. So while wood-fired pizza isn’t necessarily “better” than other cooking methods, it’s certainly among the best available.
Why Are Pizza Ovens So Expensive?
Like anything else, you get what you pay for, and pizza ovens are no exception. The best pizza ovens need to be capable of withstanding (and retaining) extreme heat, which involves sourcing high-quality materials and manufacturing facilities. All of these things cost money, hence why the best pizza ovens cost the most.
How Much Does A Wood Fired Pizza Oven Cost?
A wood-fired pizza oven costs between $300-$1000 for a premium portable model with multi-fuel options such as Ooni. Cheaper models found on Amazon, such as the Big Horn pizza oven, cost as little as $199 but can suffer from build and design quality issues. Building your own pizza oven can vary substantially from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on size, material, and location.