Main Content

Outdoor Pizza Oven Buying Guide

Outdoor pizza ovens have been around for hundreds of years, ever since their "pizza" iteration was created in Naples, Italy. There's no better way to make a pie than with an ultra-crispy crust, and these outdoor pizza ovens can reach those high heats that give you bubbling cheese and the perfect crunch in no time. Find out more about the perfect model for your outdoor space with our guide.
A Tabletop Ooni with a person's hand removing a cheese pizza on a dark night

Pizza Oven Fuel Types

When it comes to outdoor pizza ovens, a lot of how your pie turns out will be based on how you craft and cook it. Explore different options for fuel, like the classic wood-fired method, as well as charcoal, gas and even electricity. They all yield different results, so when you're buying, make sure you pick out the right model for your taste in cheesy bites.

Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens

This classic fiery fuel is where you'll find the most authentic taste, with smoky flavor that flows into the crust, sauce and toppings as you cook. The wood burns extremely hot for the perfect, bubbled goodness. That being said, backyard chefs will want to keep that pie evenly cooked and the burns to a minimum. In many models, that requires a pizza peel to turn pies to ensure an even cook. When it comes to maintenance, wood-fired models need to be taken care of, as well as particular fuels to run. Have fun experimenting with different types of hardwood, with sweet flavors that don't overpower like apple, oak and cherry. Make sure you have enough on hand to cook as many pizzas as you need: experts say to cut into pieces that are between 2-3" in diameter. Feed that fire throughout your cooking session for the perfect bite. Finally, clean off the floor of your outdoor pizza oven: ash, soot, and even burnt food may coat the bottom.
Best For: Those with backyards who are pizza-crafting purists who love infusing pies with smoky flavor. The traditional method makes every bite feel amazing.
Disadvantages: Getting that fire started can be pretty involved, and you'll need to have enough fuel to keep fires going even if you have multiple pies to make. Plus, you'll have to remove any ash after the evening's cooking session is over.

Charcoal Pizza Ovens

Charcoal models function very similarly, and can often reach higher temperatures than a wood model (hint: that means you need to be careful not to blacken your foods). This is the perfect fuel for someone who's looking for that smoky taste, wants to reach high temperatures, and hopes an ultra-crispy crust. You'll have to clean out any ash the same way you would with a wood model, though. These models are perfect for anyone with a charcoal grill too: you only need to buy and become familiar with one type of fuel.
Best For: Those who love the ultra-smoky taste of charcoal. If you have a charcoal grill, this is extra-convenient: you can use the same fuel for both outdoor cookers.
Disadvantages: Just like with wood-fired models, you'll need to clean away ash at the end of every cook.

Liquid Propane or Natural Gas Pizza Ovens

Outdoor pizza ovens fueled by gas are the solution many are searching for: a quick way to fire a pizza without any of the fuss of finding, splitting and firing up a complete wood fuel source. Instead, all you have to do is flip a switch for one of the easiest made meals ever. There's no ash to clean up, either. That being said, there are drawbacks to using gas as your fuel source. The main loss is flavor—you simply won't get as much of that fiery, smoky taste. But you do get a wonderful pie, made easily. That's just one of the reasons why these outdoor pizza ovens are becoming more and more popular.
Best For: Anyone who is looking to make a quick dinner fast, and those who care less about authenticity and more about getting things done quickly.
Disadvantages: That authentic smokiness can sometimes be lost on gas models. And you have to make sure you have enough liquid propane (or that your home is equipped with a natural gas line) before you buy.

Pellet Pizza Ovens

This newer fuel type walks hand in hand with wood pellet grills. Compressed sawdust lights quickly and brings a similar flavor to that of wood, while staying much more convenient. You'll get all of the smoke, and less of the hard work that comes with chopping wood and stoking a fire.
Best For: Those who love pellet grilling! You'll be familiar with the fuel source, and will know all about which types of pellets to choose to bring the perfect flavor to every meal.
Disadvantages: You'll have to make sure you have enough pellets on hand for every pizza-making session, just like with any fuel source. This is a relatively new way to make pies, so you're blazing a trail here.

Electric Pizza Ovens

Perfect for homes that don't have a natural gas line and those that are looking for the same level of ease, these are popular for indoor spaces. Great for making personal pizzas using infrared heat, an electric model can even sit on your kitchen countertop. When shopping for yours, make sure you know what you're buying: some are made for indoors, while others may be for outdoors.
Best For: Apartments and condos that don't allow traditional grilling, charcoal or smoke. The infrared heat won't produce any smoke. Some models can even be used inside: check to make sure before you buy one based on this.
Disadvantages: You'll be limited to staying near spaces you can plug in. And the infrared heat won't impart any of the smokiness people love pizzas for.

Multi-Fuel Pizza Ovens

Many models come with the ability to use different fuel types, and can switch between wood-fired flavor and the quick convenience of gas. Others allow you to choose between wood or charcoal—whatever the case, make sure you're able to use the perfect fuel source for your refined palete.
Two Women Finishing A Pizza Recipe Before Placing It In The Outdoor Pizza Oven

What Size Is Right For You? And Where Do You Put It?

When it comes to crafting your own pies, your meal can only be as large as the space in your outdoor pizza oven (or smaller—leave room for your fuel). If you live alone or prefer date nights with partners, you won't have to worry about a massive model or where it will sit. But if you have a large family or love hosting barbecue get-togethers, size is something you should definitely take into account. That might narrow down your options a bit when it comes to which fuel type you need: some models are small and portable: these are often powered by gas. Much larger ones are designed with wood in mind, and are made to hold massive pies. It's all about what best fits your space, taste and needs. Keep in mind that a lack of space doesn't mean a large family can't use an outdoor pizza oven: instead, have everyone make their own personal pizza and craft sides indoors while pies fire. And don't forget about the chimney. You'll need enough outdoor overhead space for smoke to escape.
You'll need to place your outdoor pizza oven on a stand or a countertop, too. These ovens get hot, so it's important to keep them in a safe place and to make sure that things around they stay away from fire. Some models have a designated stand made just for them to keep things safe. That being said, others are the perfect element to live on the countertop of a sturdy outdoor kitchen. Wherever you place it, make sure it's nowhere near flammable material, and several feet away from your home, toys, playhouses and anything that might catch fire.
Some outdoor pizza ovens are portable, too: these ones are generally relatively smaller and run on gas, allowing you to move around a cart, a liquid propane tank and the oven all in one portable, easy-to-move and easy to lock-in-place cart. Their portability makes them perfect for travel: bring just the oven to tailgate parties, summer lakehouses, grilling sessions down at the beach and just about anywhere you'd want to have a bite of that bubbly, cheesy crust.

More Versatile Than They Seem: What Else Can You Make In An Outdoor Pizza Oven?

While their name lends themselves to the Italian classic, outdoor pizza ovens can make more than just these perfect crusts. You can cook an entire meal within one of these, from appetizers and hors d'oeuvres to final desserts. That makes it the perfect pick for outdoor summer mealtime, putting them on par with the regular, popular grill (sorry, barbecue recipe night) when it comes to crafting exciting recipes. Craft foods like salmon or steaks in cast iron, grilled veggies on baking dishes, calzones, garlic bread, and even dessert pizzas topped with glazed fruits and chocolate.
The opportunities are endless: you can treat your outdoor pizza oven just like one in your home, but keep in mind that these backyard cookers fire at high temperatures. Unlike classic grills or smokers, your food will be done very quickly (most of the time). That means there's less time to wander around and mingle with family members and friends at a gathering: but that's a good thing. Prep time may take a bit when it comes to crafting dough, but firing these pies will only take a minute. If you're cooking something more complicated, like sourdough, that can take closer to 45 minutes to bake. Explore different recipes and food from different cultures: people have been using outdoor wood-fired ovens to make breads for thousands of years, and you'll have the chance to try all kinds of cuisines.

Which Should I Choose?

That's all up to you! It's about choosing the fuel type and size that fit your lifestyle and space, as well as what's perfect for the kinds of recipes you'll love to cook. If authenticity is the name of your game, it has to be wood fired. If you need speed over smokiness, then choose a gas model. Maybe you need to take your oven on-the-go to your next camping trip: it's time for a portable model. And if you can only use electricity as your fuel, then you have your answer. All that being said, you're going to need more than just the heater to make your food. Necessary pizza oven accessories include gear like the appropriate covers to keep them safe from the elements, as well as pizza peels and infrared thermometers that let you take temperatures while staying away from high heats. These tools and gadgets are must-haves, especially when you're just getting your feet wet.
If you're still having a hard time choosing an outdoor pizza oven, the experts are here. Abt's team of specialists has been helping people to find the right backyard cooking gear for years, whether they're on the hunt for gas grills, pellet smokers or outfitting their new outdoor kitchen with luxury gear like outdoor refrigerators and sinks. We're here to help: call us at 800-860-3577 to speak to our team of experts, or head into our Glenview store if you're in Chicagoland to see our products in person.

What Our Customers Say About Us

Awsome to deal with packaging was amazing and delivered on Sunday amazing.
Linda - Niles, IL
February 20, 2023