Pizza Oven Buyer's Guide
When shopping for a new pizza oven, do you get the same feeling looking through an internet catalog as you do when navigating through a giant shopping mall? Overwhelming confusion? You don't need to feel lost or frustrated.
Are you looking for impartial, expert advice? To take away some of the pains that come from shopping for your new pizza oven, we've created this guide on how to choose the best pizza oven for you based on a few key questions.
As you read through this guide, think about how you'll use your new oven and answer each question to determine the best recommendations for you.
Questions To Answer When Buying a Pizza Oven
Just in case you don't want to read each question thoroughly (although you should), here are the links to the main questions you need to answer:
Now, let's get started finding the perfect oven for you!
1. What do you plan on cooking in your pizza oven?
Pizza ovens can be made of brick, stainless, or aluminum among other materials. While all of the ovens could work great in your backyard, your style of cooking may dictate which oven would work best for you.
The metal ovens take less time to heat so getting your oven up to cooking temperatures will be faster. However, metal ovens don't retain heat as well as a brick oven and will cool quicker when you let the fire die down. Metal ovens can still handle all cooking styles but if you are doing lots of slow cooking like roasting a turkey or baking breads, you'll need to maintain the fire a little more to keep the oven at the right temperature.
The benefit of a brick oven is that they hold heat for a longer amount of time. So, once they have been heated to a specific temperature, they will hold that heat for many hours.
On the flipside, brick ovens take longer to heat because the bricks are absorbing the heat (to use later when you're cooking!). So, you'll need a little more time, 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, to get the brick ovens to their cooking temperatures. Of course, that gives you plenty of time to prepare your food and have a drink while the fire is heating up!
2. How much do you plan on cooking in your pizza oven?
Pizza ovens are available in different sizes and configurations so you'll want to choose an oven that has the cooking space you desire depending on your needs. You may be thinking "ok, so how many pizzas can it cook at one time". Lots of people measure a pizza oven by its pizza oven size capacity so think about it like this:
Cooking space - let's assume you have an oven with a 32W" x 32"D cooking space
Wood space - let's assume your wood will take 6"W x 12"D inches of your cooking floor
How Many Pizzas? - You can push your wood to the left side so you'll have 26"W x 32"D on the right side for cooking. If you are making 12" pizzas, you can easily cook TWO (2) pizzas in that space. You can also add another pizza in front of the fire.
With that said, we tend to make much smaller pizzas because the fun of having a pizza party is making lots of different flavors of pizzas. We make 6" - 8" pizzas so everyone gets to experiment with several smaller personalized pizzas that we all get to sample. The pizzas cook quickly in a few minutes so it's easy to keep pizza coming!
For smaller meals
If you think you’re only going to be cooking one pizza or dish at a time, for example, as an occasional family meal or a cookout option, then a smaller oven is probably better for you. If you also want a faster heat up time, a metal oven may work best.
Options that would fit this kind of cooking include, but are certainly not limited to, the Alfa Ciao and the Maximus Arena. These are both smaller metal ovens that heat quickly and are capable of handling 1-2 pies at a time.
For avid entertainers
A smaller oven doesn’t always cut it, however, and you may want to look at a larger one to fit different dishes. For the party animals out there (or leaders of a large family pack) an oven with a little more capacity might be in order. A larger oven doesn’t sacrifice cooking time or quality either, so it’s a win-win for someone who is entertaining large groups.
If you're cooking for longer periods of time and enjoy the oven heating up time, a brick oven could be the best choice. Popular brick ovens we carry that boast higher capacity include the Lisboa Oven and Traditional Pizzaioli Oven capable of handling 2-3 pies at once, or for those who prefer stainless, the sleek brushed-metal Alfa Allegro oven may be your choice.
3. Where will you put your pizza oven?
The location of your oven is an important consideration for a few reasons. One is whether or not you’d like it indoors or outdoors, as well as how your oven will look compared to your home or yard’s current aesthetics. Finding the best pizza oven for sale means it needs to meet your needs and fit in the space where you’ll like it!
When looking for an indoor pizza oven, there are many considerations. You need to follow certain indoor pizza oven guidelines like making sure the oven is certified for your local residential regulations. Plan ahead and confirm your requirements; many ovens are not UL-Listed so they won't pass inspection. If that happens, you'll have no other choice but to install your new oven outdoors.
There are several brands that manufacture indoor wood and gas ovens depending on the style you want and whether you want to build in the oven or have it on the counter. Indoor ovens like the Earthstone Model 110 Gas Oven, or the dual outdoor-indoor certified wood-fired Chicago Brick Oven Countertop 500 oven might make excellent choices.
Just make sure your home pizza oven dimensions are such that they’ll fit inside your home; otherwise, you’ll have a rather sad-looking orphan pizza oven sitting at your front door.
The majority of pizza ovens are suited towards cooking outdoors! They’re an excellent addition to backyards and other outdoor areas and often serve as entertainment centerpieces.
When considering an outdoor oven, think about where you will put your oven. Will it be under a cover? If so, and the cover is a lower structure, you may need to consider venting the oven's chimney up through the structure or angling outside the covering.
If you are purchasing a heavy brick oven, can a forklift or engine hoist get into your backyard? There are lots of ingenious ways to move a brick oven but, if it's not possible for your layout, you may need to consider a lightweight oven or a pizza oven kit.
Occasionally, you might need to take the show on the road or just need a lightweight oven that can be easily moved. Portable pizza ovens are often made of stainless steel to make them lighter. But, there are brick ovens that come on a stand and carts made for brick ovens that allow you to have the baking power of a brick oven with the convenience of a portable oven.
One of the most portable stainless steel ovens is the Maximus Pizza Oven, which offers world-class portability without sacrificing wood-fired flavor and charm.
Another steel portable oven that is a bit bigger and comes on wheels is the Alfa 4 Pizze. You might like this oven is you want a more modern look.
The most popular brick oven for movability is the CBO-750 Wood Pizza Oven on a cart which not only gives you the ability to relocate the oven but also gives the option of using gas and wood depending on your desire.
4. What kind of cooking experience do you want?
Although purists insist that wood-fired ovens are the only way to cook a pizza, the fact is a traditional pizza oven works may not be the right fit for everyone. Choosing between wood or gas-fired choices may depend on your lifestyle and needs.
No pizza oven guide would be complete without some healthy swooning over wood-fired ovens. A wood oven imparts delicious flavors and unique cooked textures to your food. Wood burning ovens allow you to have the full traditional cooking experience where all family & friends join in the fun.
When cooking with wood, you'll add more wood to increase the oven's temperature and stop adding wood when you want the temperature to decrease.
If you want wood-fired flavor without the mess, check out a "white" pizza oven like the Tuscan Chef. “Black” wood-fired ovens, like the traditional brick ovens, house the fire right in the cooking chamber, where the food is cooking. “White” ovens, like the Tuscan Chef ovens, have two separate chambers, one for the fire and one for cooking.
Cooking with wood isn’t always feasible or an efficient choice, and that we understand wholeheartedly. In some areas or neighborhoods, burning might be prohibited or indoor options may exclude wood-fired ovens, so a gas oven would be a good choice.
Most people think that gas ovens heat quicker than wood ones but that's just not true. Wood actually burns hotter. What they really mean is that it's easier to light a fire when using gas. Also, you can maintain your heat by using gas rather than adding additional pieces of wood.
So gas may be a good choice if you want to maintain longer cooking times (ie, catering and big parties) as they can assist with quicker pre-heat times and lower wood maintenance which will prove advantageous when feeding crowds.
5. Do you want to build a pizza oven yourself?
A DIY project can be an invigorating way to spend a few weeks, especially when done in collaboration with friends or family. You’ll feel a grand sense of accomplishment when it’s all said and done, and your handiwork will last a lifetime.
On the other hand, a massive project can’t fit on everyone’s docket, and sometimes you just want to start cooking pizza. Fortunately, we have options for both ends of the manual labor spectrum!
If doing it yourself sounds like a good time, you’ll be thrilled to know we offer a large variety of DIY pizza oven kits that come with the necessary forms, and in some cases, other materials and instructions necessary to build your own master-class brick pizza oven. Even if you want to build an oven yourself, we highly recommend starting with a kit. Otherwise, you can spend tons of time and money to get a pretty pizza oven that can't hold heat or cook your food properly.
These projects offer the advantage of your own creative faculty, so the final product can match your home’s yard in aesthetics, and be modified to make cooking other food like barbeque an easier possibility. The world is your oyster!
Do It Yourself Pizza Oven Kits are usually less expensive than purchasing a pre-fabricated oven. They are also able to be carried onto your site in pieces so they are often necessary when you can't fit a full oven into your area.
Also, even if you aren’t sure you want to handle the construction yourself, a DIY kit might be a good candidate if you hire the help of a contractor so that you can still exercise some creative control over the final product.
One of the largest DIY wood-fired ovens is the commercially-oriented Chicago Brick Oven 1000 which could be the star of your backyard shenanigans.
If you are more interested in getting a ready-to-use oven so you can focus your efforts on baking the perfect pizza, a prefabricated oven would be the best choice.
When you purchase a prefabricated oven, you know it will arrive ready for you to place in its new home. You may also consider building around a prefabricated oven which will give you the built-in look with the assurance that you have a perfectly engineered oven within. This is very similar to using a DIY kit except much easier.
Our most popular prefabricated ovens are in the collection of handmade brick ovens from Portugal. They are not only gorgeous ovens but so well made they hold heat for hours! Can you say "Wood-Fired Thanksgiving Turkey" for this year's celebration?
Now You Know About Pizza Ovens
Using all the answers from above will help you determine whether you want a brick or metal, light or heavy, indoor or outdoor, wood-fired or gas-fired prefabricated oven. Luckily, we carry every combination of pizza oven so you'll be able to find the perfect one for you and your family.
Choose one of the categories below to start exploring your options!
You can also take the Pizza Oven Quiz to help you find the oven options that work best for you and your family.
Still have questions? Click below to visit our contact page to send an email or give us a call.