Wood-fired vs gas: The best outdoor pizza oven for you
Now the weather’s starting to warm up, it’s time to turn your attention to cooking outdoors. And we’re not just talking about boring, bog-standard barbecues with burnt bangers and cremated burgers – we’re talking pizza. Home-made, flame-grilled, crowd-pleasing pizza. But where do you start when it comes to choosing a portable pizza oven?
Will you go wood-fired or gas-powered? Or even multi-fuel? Do you need a cover? How about accessories? Fear not. The Ooni range of outdoor pizza ovens and accessories has got all your pizzaiolo aspirations covered, and you can find out everything you need to know to choose the best Ooni pizza oven for you below.
We’ll be talking about the Ooni Fyra, the Ooni Koda, and the Ooni Karu. Plus all the accessories you’ll need to get the best out of them at your outdoor gatherings. Good pizza, no, great pizza, starts here.
Why are outdoor pizza ovens so popular?
Who doesn’t love pizza? Especially a Vesuvius-hot home-made one, ready in no time and served outdoors in the sunshine. You could make pizza in your kitchen oven, but the truth is, it just won’t get anywhere near the high temperatures needed for perfect pizza. And that’s where an Ooni outdoor oven wins out every time – they can be taken anywhere, they’re easy to set up, easy to use, heat up quickly (around 15-20 minutes), and turn out perfectly cooked pizza every 60 seconds. And is there anything better than gathering family and friends together to share slices and stories, and ponder the age-old question – should pineapple be allowed anywhere near a pizza? The answer is…?
Wood-fired vs gas: does it really make a difference?
Of course it’s all down to personal preference in the end, but there are differences between firing up your pizza oven with gas and burning wood pellets.
Wood-fired pizza ovens burn wood pellets at high temperatures to give you that authentically smoky artisan taste.
But if it’s simplicity and convenience that floats your pizza boat, it’s gas-powered all the way.
Why choose wood-fired?
First and foremost – taste. You just can’t beat that natural smoky, ‘campfire’ flavour that cooking pizza in a wood-fired oven imparts. Plus you can subtly change the flavour by choosing different kinds of wood. And you don’t have to lug a gas bottle around with you either.
Of course, there is a downside to cooking with wood. And that’s clearing up the ash afterwards. You’ll also have longer to wait before you can start cleaning too – the ash has to burn out and cool down first.
Happily, if you still want that authentically artisan flavour without so much mess, the Ooni Fyra 12 uses Ooni’s special hardwood pellets. Sustainably sourced, they maintain the consistent high temperatures needed for perfect 12” pizzas. They’re easy to light, burn efficiently and produce hardly any ash so you get a long, clean burn every time.
The other disadvantage of a wood-fired oven compared to a gas-powered oven is it is more difficult to maintain a consistent temperature over longer periods of time, plus there’s a little bit more setting up involved before you can tuck into that first slice. And a wood-fired oven needs a little bit more attention than gas to keep it burning.
Well, put simply, any wood that burns really hot without producing much ash. Like these Woodlets wood pellets. Made from FSC-certified wood from UK forests, they burn with a super-hot, clean flame and leave behind very little ash, so there’s hardly anything to clean up when you’re done cooking. Ooni also produce their own long-burning hardwood logs, which are free from any chemical additives. Basically, any dense, dried hardwood is suitable for your oven, including ash, beech, sycamore, birch and oak. And if you want to impart some subtle extra flavour to your cooking, you can mix in some fruitwood like apple or plum with your hardwood.
Why choose gas-powered?
Well, for a start, a gas-powered pizza oven is cleaner and easier to set up – you simply need to attach the gas burner to a gas bottle and you’re off – they tend to heat up a little bit quicker than wood-fired too.
There’s no need to go gathering wood before you can start cooking if you’re out and about and no ash to clear up afterwards. Plus you won’t have to make space for a wood store in your back garden to keep your oven fuelled.
Simple to light with piezo ignition, the heat is easier to control and keep consistent with a gas-powered oven too, which is useful if you’re cooking things other than pizza in your oven.
Gas-powered ovens do tend to be a bit more expensive up front, but if it is convenience you are looking for, then they are hard to beat.
How about a multi-fuel oven?
If you want keep your cooking options open, then multi-fuel is the way to go. Ooni’s multi-fuel Karu 12 and 16 can both be used with wood, propane gas or charcoal, giving you lots of flexibility and control over what you’re cooking. You can even combine charcoal and wood on some models.
Ultimately, it’s up to you which Ooni you choose – but thanks to their Flame Keeper technology, which keeps the heat in and maximises fuel use, you can rest assured that they will all turn out perfectly cooked pizza, time after time.
The best Ooni pizza oven for you
We’ve made it easy for you to choose the right pizza oven for you in our handy at-a-glance guide below – you’ll be cooking all different types of pizza and more in no time. Save us a slice.
The best Ooni for foodies – Ooni Fyra 12 Wood Pellet Pizza Oven
|Reasons to buy||
|Cons||Ash needs to be cleaned out after use|
|Specifications||Fully assembled 73 x 39 x 72cm H. 11kg.|
Why this Ooni?
If you’re looking for a great little pizza oven that’s easy to set up, easy to use, easy to carry, and gives you super-hot cooking conditions and authentically rustic wood-fired flavour, this is the one for you. And Ooni have engineered the Fyra so it gets really hot and stays really hot (thanks to Flame Keeper technology), so there’s less time lost waiting for it to get back up to a pizza-perfect heat. Because you know how it works – once one person’s got a pizza, everyone else wants one – now!
Easy to set up, ready to use in minutes
Simply unfold the legs, insert the fuel grate and pizza stone, add the chimney and lock into place, add the fuel hopper, flame keeper, door and chimney cap… written down that looks like quite a lot of steps, but they all only take seconds, and there’s a really clear step-by-step guide to help.
The easiest Ooni to use – Ooni Koda 12 Gas-Powered Pizza Oven
|Reasons to buy||
|Specifications||Fully assembled 62 x 40 x 31cm H. with legs extended. 9.3kg.|
Why this Ooni?
Ready right out of the box, Ooni Koda is good to go in seconds – simply flip open the foldable legs, insert the cordierite stone baking board, and connect to a propane gas bottle.
Because there’s no chimney and the legs fold neatly away, it’s really easy to take wherever you want – out to the back garden, round to a friend’s barbecue, or to the beach. And it’s so compact that it’s perfect for anyone whose outdoor space is restricted to a small backyard, or even a balcony.
One-touch ignition for fast, easy cooking
Just link up the integral gas burner to a bottle of gas – it takes standard UK propane gas bottles – and press the one-touch gas piezo ignition. It starts heating up immediately, getting up to a scorching 500°C in just fifteen minutes. The waterfall-effect flame distribution means it heats up evenly, while the built-in flame keeper maximises heat and directs the flame towards food for faster results. The gas regulator gives a constant flame that doesn’t need to be stoked or ‘fed’ to keep it going, and there’s no grate to clean when everything’s cooled down and the guests have gone home. If you want to cook bigger pizzas, try the Ooni Koda 16.
The best Ooni for entertaining – Ooni Karu 16 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven
|Reasons to buy||
|Cons||Heavy, so less portable than smaller models|
|Specifications||Fully assembled 50 x 81.5 x 84cm H. 28kg.|
Why this Ooni?
The answer to all your pizza prayers, the Ooni Karu 16 makes outdoor cooking even more versatile and brings advanced technology to your pizza party. Offering multiple fuel options, you can use wood or coal for a more purist pizza experience and subtle wood-fired flavour, or if you want your pizza making to be a bit a cleaner and lower maintenance, you can opt for an Ooni Gas Burner (sold separately).
With Ooni Karu 16’s enhanced design features, you can make 16-inch pizzas while enjoying better temperature control, more fuel-efficient air flow, increased oven insulation and better visibility. With just 15 minutes of preheating, you’ll be cooking at 500°C, making flame-cooked pizzas in 60 seconds, perfectly seared steaks, grilled veggies and more. If you prefer a smaller oven, try the Ooni Karu 12.
Ready to make pizza in 60 seconds?
By now you should have a good idea which Ooni pizza oven will work best for you, but to summarise: for simplicity, compact convenience and easy cleaning, the gas-powered Koda wins hands down. If an authentic wood-fired slice floats your boat, it’s the Fyra every time. But if it’s multi-fuel versatility you’re after, then the Karu ticks all the boxes.
Pizza oven accessories
So now you’ve chosen your shiny new Ooni outdoor pizza oven, you’re going to need some accessories to get the best out of it – our selection of bundles help make choosing easier and save you some money. Consider a long-handled pizza peel for getting your pizzas in and out of the oven, and for turning to ensure even cooking. An infrared thermometer to tell you when your oven is hot enough and pizza-ready. A carry cover to keep your oven protected when it’s not in use or for when you’re on the road. And if you really want to take things up a notch, a pizza topping station is perfect for outdoor entertaining when you’re making lots of pizzas with different toppings.
So roll out your pizza dough, spread your sauce, add your favourite toppings and make pizza.