As extreme pizza enthusiasts, let us present you our credentials. Yes, we’ve eaten pizza in Naples, Italy, the very birthplace of pizza. And we’ve dined on New York’s finest thin crust, from one of the last coal-fired pizza ovens in the country. We’ve even tried our hand at working a wood fired pizza oven in Tuscany (the results weren’t pretty, however).
So when it came to researching outdoor pizza ovens, we feel rather confident in our source knowledge!
To find the candidates for best pizza oven, we first surveyed the pizza oven enthusiasts among our parent readers. We took their top suggestions and then got to work—we did several hours of additional research, comparing features and real-world tests.
If you decide to invest in an outdoor pizza oven, here are a few tips from pizza oven owners:
- An infrared thermometer is most helpful. These affordable gadgets can measure the temperature of the pizza stone. You want the stone itself to be hot enough to cook a pizza, not just the oven itself! An infrared or non-contact thermometer lets you do this safely—just be sure to get one that can measure temps up to 1000 degrees (some models stop at 600).
- Some ovens that are dual fuel require additional accessories to work. If you want to use propane with some ovens, you may have to separately buy an accessory burner.
- Pizza peels are sometimes included with the oven . . . and sometimes not.
- A small fan to circulate air into an outdoor pizza oven is helpful. Uneven cooking is one common complaint with these ovens—a small fan helps evenly disperse the heat.
For the best budget-friendly oven, we would recommend Bertello’s Outdoor Pizza Oven. Yes, this is the oven you might have seen on an episode of Shark Tank. As a result of that publicity, this oven has taken off in popularity. But is it worth the expense? Here are the pros and cons:
What We Liked
• Works with wood, wood pellets, charcoal and propane (although the gas burner is an additional accessory purchase).
• Fun for kids! Kids + pizza + outdoor oven = fun times!
• Works best with propane, in our opinion. Based on our review of real world testing of this oven, we think propane provides the most consistent cooking temperatures—and the best results.
• Great for camping.
• Cooks a pizza in just 90 seconds. Yes, that is seconds!
• Includes pizza stone.
• Heats up to 930 degrees!
What Needs Work
• Uneven cooking. This oven’s major drawback is uneven heating—where the pizza middle doesn’t get cooked, but the crust burns. Since the back of the oven is the heat source, you have to constantly rotate (every 15-20 seconds) the pizza for a good outcome.
• Learning curve! This oven works well, but it will take some trial and error to get it right.
• Doesn’t work as well with fuels other than propane (in our opinion). . . which requires another accessory purchase!
• Doesn’t include a pizza peel.