What’s the Best Portable Outdoor Pizza Oven in 2022?
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Love artisan pizza but hate the cost? If you’re an outdoor cooking enthusiast, as well as a pizza lover, you’re going to find this article right up your alley.
While a lot of outdoor cookers dream of the authentic and traditional brick or clay cooking oven, for a lot of us the cost of having those custom-made is a little out of our budget.
But after looking around, we found that there are many less expensive and very suitable options. They use different methods of fueling the fire and come in different sizes to fit your budget or lifestyle.
In this top-four review, we’re going to cover several different fuel types.
First, let’s cover the different types of outdoor pizza ovens that are available to you in terms of fuel type.
Then, we’ll follow up with some important questions that you need to ask when you’re trying to decide which unit you want to buy.
Electric Pizza Oven
The electric pizza oven is available in several styles. They’re relatively cheap on the low-end and can jump up in price quickly to well over $20,000. The upper end models have a brick or clay lining that mimics a traditional pizza oven. This helps keep temperatures high and results in nice, even cooking
On the lower end, they use the typical filament heating elements. One issue with the cheaper electrics is that they don’t get to the very high cooking temperatures desired for pizza. With temperatures of 600° and lower, your cooking times are longer. Another problem is that the cooking is sometimes uneven due to the placement of the filaments.
It’s a good option if you are on a budget or if you don’t plan to use it too often.
Gas Pizza Oven
Gas pizza ovens in the portable range run on propane. The gas ovens draw the flame and heated air up to the top of the oven via a front vent or chimney. These also come in a few style variations. Some models use an upper and lower ceramic tile, heated by the flame and hot air, for even cooking of the pie.
Other models directly draw the flame and heated air over the top of the pizza. This helps cook the toppings as well as the top of the crust. And you’ll get the artisanal burning of the top crust so many of us desire.
An advantage of a gas oven is easier heat regulation than the wood burning style.
It’s a good option if you don’t want to deal with the smoke and the heat regulation of wood burning.
Wood Pizza Oven
The wood burning style ovens are the most desirable to those who want to experience the smoky flavor that the burning wood can give the pie. The wood-burners can get the temperatures up into the 900° plus range which can rapidly cook a pizza – sometimes in less than a minute.
These ovens also draw the flame and heated air up to the top of the ceiling via a front vent or chimney. The heated air is reflected down to cook the top of the pizza.
It’s the most expansive option, but fortunately, they now make portable wood-fired oven which are affordable.
It’s the best option if budget is not an issue or if you want the best culinary experience.
What else should you know before you buy?
Before you buy any type of outdoor pizza oven, here are a few questions that you’re going to want to ask before you do purchase a unit.
Why Is a Brick Pizza Oven Thought to be Better?
The brick pizza oven or wood fired pizza oven is able to get the temperatures up quite a bit higher than you can with an electric model. These higher temperatures achieve a couple of things.
1. They cook the pizza faster because they can get to 900°+.
2. With the convection cooking that you get in a brick or wood fired oven, you get more even cooking. The electric models, unless they have an upper brick tile in the ceiling, use heating elements that don’t cook quite as evenly.
3. You get the wood smoke from the burning wood that helps add flavor and aroma to the pizza.
So then, you might ask if electric style ovens are any good. They are, if all you’re looking for is to cook the pizza and time isn’t a real question.
And also if you’re not really looking for the other advantage of getting the smoky flavor infused into the pizza. If you’re just looking to cook a pizza, an electric model would do just fine.
Are Outdoor Pizza Ovens Safe?
Yes, as long as you’re following all the safety requirements of the manufacturer and keeping in mind local regulations and fire safety standards. Remember that you’re cooking with flame just like a barbecue. So you want to follow the same safety precautions.
- Have a fire extinguisher handy.
- Make sure you’re aware of how to put a fire out.
- Pay attention to the kind of fuel that you’re using if you’re using logs.
- Be aware of any fire danger or hazards if you’re in an area that’s prone to fires or is extremely dry.
Are Pizza Ovens Worth It?
It depends on how often you eat pizza and whether you like eating outdoors.
If you’re a regular griller/BBQ’er, then these will fit right into your lifestyle.
They all appear to do a good job of cooking the pies and most users find they can use the ovens for other foods as well.
Cooking times and temperatures vary on model and size. Most will cook at 600°-700° and take 3-7 minutes. Some models can cook in as little as 60 seconds at 900°.
What to look for in a pizza oven
The most important thing is the heat. The manufacturer provides what temperature the oven can reach and how many minutes it takes.
You can then choose depending on your needs.
Then check if the dimensions work with the outside space you have available.
What Else Can be Cooked in an Outdoor Pizza Oven?
A pizza oven is very versatile and you can use it for grilling, roasting and baking.
Roasted vegetables, slow cooked meats, barbeque ribs, ribeye steak, smoked meats, baked bread, fish and seafood, desserts…
The only limit is your imagination.
With that, let’s dive into the reviews…
Ooni (previously named Uuni), has been making the world’s first portable pellet pizza oven and their products have been best-sellers since 2012.
The Ooni Fyra 12 Wood Pellet Pizza Oven is a very portable oven, weighing just 22lbs, (or 10kg). With its 3 attached legs, it’s meant for tabletop, benchtop or countertop use.
It can be carried easily to take the pizza party anywhere with its foldable legs and detachable chimney and hopper bag.
The best way to do that is to buy the Ooni Fyra bag, which also doubles as a waterproof cover.
It’s a very small investment if you want to prolong the life of your Ooni without carrying it back indoors after each use.
The Ooni Fyra 12 uses wood pellets and when the pellet chute is full, you can cook for approximately 15 minutes.
One very important note : use only 100% natural hardwood cooking grade pellets.
Don’t use any other kind of cheap wood pellets because of the different chemicals and binders that are used in them.
A 3kg bag of premium pellets will last for a good 2-3 hours of cooking.
To get the pellets burning, the manufacturer suggests using a natural fire starter.
Once you get the pellets burning, load the chute up and you’ll be ready to cook in 15 minutes.
Then the OOni Fyra can cook a 12 inch pizza in about a minute at 900°.
Bear in mind, because that’s so hot, it requires some speed and dexterity when working with it. But most users say they found that to be very acceptable once you get some practice in.
To extinguish the flames of your oven, simply leave the pellets to burn through completely. Once the flames have been extinguished, please wait one hour for the oven to be completely cool before touching or storing away. It may take more or less time depending on the ambient conditions.
The assembly is straightforward and easy. Just follow the 7 steps in the manual.
You can download the manual here :
This video will show the step by step :
In this unit, the heat source is in the back of the oven. The smoke, fire, and air are drawn forward by the chimney that’s attached to the top front of the roof.
This allows the heat and hot air to be drawn across the top of the roof and then reflected down via convection to cook the pizza toppings and the top crust.
The Ooni’s powder-coated carbon steel shell offers optimal heat retention, which combined with the natural efficiency of wood pellets results in an extraordinary cooking experience.
The Ooni comes with a pizza stone.
It doesn’t come with a bag of pellets or a pizza peel. You’ll need to buy those separately.
A carry case is also available.
Fire your empty Ooni Fyra 12 at a high temperature (750°F/400°C) for 30 minutes. Allow it to cool fully and wipe down the inside with a dry paper towel. After this ‘seasoning’ process, your oven will be ready to cook great pizza.
Ooni Fyra 12 is designed for outdoor use only. Burning solid fuels indoors can cause carbon monoxide to build up to dangerous levels.
You must also leave 3 feet/1 meter of clearance on all sides of your oven and 9 feet/3 meters of clearance above your oven. This means Ooni Fyra 12 will not be suitable for use on most balconies.
When your oven is not in use, use an Ooni Fyra 12 Carry Cover to keep it safe from the elements. For occasions where the weather is stronger than usual, such as periods of heavy snow, heavy rain, or extended exposure to sea breeze, bring your oven indoors to protect it.
Ooni Fyra 12 is not compatible with gas. It is designed to run on pellets only.
The Ooni Fyra is a pellet burning pizza oven only
Your oven will be hot to the touch, so please exercise some caution. The legs of your oven will not transfer this heat, which will keep your wooden, stone or metal surface safe. There are also cool touchpoints on the oven. Handles for the door, fuel hatch and pellet hopper will stay cool throughout the cooking process.
You can expect to see some smoke as you cook, especially as your oven is approaching top temperatures.
Once your oven has reached high temperatures, the smoke should lessen . If you see lots of smoke in the middle of your cook, you may have incomplete combustion or smoldering pellets. Top up a little until you see the pellets begin to burn again.
2.5 pounds/1.1 kilograms per 10 pizzas
Ooni isn’t the most popular brand of portable pizza ovens for no reason.
They are now available in 50 countries all over the world.
The Fyra 12 gets a rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 out of 290 ratings on Amazon and 4.7 out of 1660 Reviews on the OOni website.
We love that you can get an authentic wood-fired pizza in a small, portable and well-designed oven.
It’s a bit of an investment but the quality and efficiency of the product is well worth the price.
Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll do most of your outdoor cooking with it!
We also like that Ooni is a member of 1% for the planet, which means 25 trees are planted for every Fyra 12 sold.
If you love wood-fired cooking, it’s a no brainer.
Reviews from the Ooni website.
Outi Multi Fuel Portable Pizza Oven
Outi makes the best-value wood-fire outdoor pizza oven on the market.
Outi is a newer and lesser-known company from the UK. They’ve made it our #2 because we’ve been impressed by the reviews, the quality of their customer service and the incredible value you get for your money.
Weighing in at just 14kg (30.86lb), the Outi is a very portable oven.
It has foldable legs and a removable chimney, which combined with the included carry bag, makes it a suitable option for camping trips and outdoor festivals.
At approximately 23 x 14 x 12 inches, it’s a small unit despite its bulky appearance.
The assembly is very easy. You just need to unfold the legs, attach the handles and put the chimney in place.
It should take just a few minutes to do.
The best feature of the Outi is that it works with hardwood, wood pellets or charcoal.
It’s particularly useful if you are on a camping trip or if you want to use spare wood from your backyard.
The Outi outdoor pizza oven is very easy to start. Just use some natural fire lighter, the wood of your choice and you’ll be ready to cook your first pizza in about 15 mins.
Because the heat is constant and even, it’s easier to master than other models and you are less likely to burn the crust.
A 12” pizza takes about 90 seconds to cook.
It offers good versatility. From delicious wood-fired pizzas to succulent meats, seafood and vegetables, the Outi pizza oven can roast, bake or sear food.
It’s also very simple to clean. Just remove the fire tray when you’re done and let it cool for about one hour.
Unlike more expensive models, the Outi is just plain stainless steel and doesn’t have insulation, which means it’s a bit more hungry for fuel.
Since it heats up very quickly and cooks a pizza in 90 seconds, it’s not a major issue.
It could be a deal breaker if you wanted to cook large amounts of pizzas every week, but it’s acceptable for most of us.
The Outi pizza oven comes with a pizza peel and a carry bag that doubles as an outdoor cover. (value $40)
They make their own wood pellets, natural fire starters and harwood pieces but they are not available on Amazon USA at this stage.
You can order them on their website and get free delivery in the UK but the delivery to the US is about $135.
The Outi outdoor pizza oven is quickly becoming one of our favorite portable pizza ovens.
The value you get for the price is unmatched anywhere.
We really like to be able to use the spare wood from the backyard rather than wood pellets only.
The only minus we can see is that it doesn’t have the sexiest look on the market and is slightly less efficient in terms of wood consumption.
If you don’t mind these minor flaws, it’s a very good and cheaper alternative to the Ooni Fyra 12.
If they keep up the good work and make their whole game of products available in the US, they might soon become our top choice.
Bakebros by Foodparty
The Bakebros is a relatively cheap gas-fired portable pizza oven. Like the Big Horn, that we will review later, it’s a cheaper imitation of an Ooni oven.
You won’t be getting the same quality or durability but you’ll save a lot of cash.
If you just need to use it now and then, it’s an option that might fit better in your budget.
You need to be aware that this product has a non-return policy on Amazon.
At 29.8 pounds, it has good portability.
It has retractable legs and comes with a backpack-style carry bag, so it’s easy to take with you on trips.
The Bakebros is compatible with Propane or Butane gas.
It’s easy to start with the build-in instant ignition and reaches high temperatures of over 930ºF in 15 minutes.
You can then cook your 12” Neapolitan pizzas in just 60 seconds.
On paper it sounds pretty amazing, but several users have reported that it took them a lot longer to reach this temperature.
Users are also complaining that the heat is not even and they struggle to turn the pie around because of the small opening. This issue could be diminished by cooking smaller pizzas I suppose.
Even more worrying is the number of people who said the stone broke after only a few uses.
The Bakebros comes with a carry bag, an infrared thermometer, and a pizza peel.
This is what makes this oven a good value oven.
Although to be clear, the free products are not of the best quality.
I’m going to start by saying that if you can afford the Ooni Koda 12, buy it instead.
If you really can’t afford it, the Bakebros will do the job. At least for the occasional pizza now and then.
It might take some trial and error to get the hang of it, but with a little patience it’s not impossible.
Before you buy, keep in mind that the stone might break and the durability is not going to be much.
Also, remember that you won’t be able to return it and you probably won’t have the same customer service than with Ooni.
BIG HORN OUTDOORS Pizza Ovens
The Big Horn is the cheapest wood-fired pizza oven on the market.
It doesn’t have the fancy features nor the efficiency of the Ooni.
If you just want to do the occasional pizza or just have a tight budget, this could be a good option.
The Big Horn uses wood pellets only.
You will need 18 minutes to reach 860°F (460°C) and the pizza will be cooked in about 90 seconds.
Because the width of the oven is only 12”, you can expect to make a 10” pizza at the very most. And that’s if you’re an experienced pizza maker. If you’re starting out, 8” seems the most probable.
Because it’s made of cheap materials and doesn’t have insulation, it gets very hot and flames can get out of the chimney.
It also has a rough finish and users have reported cutting themselves with the metal edges.
You need to be particularly careful when using this oven. We wouldn’t recommend using it in a very windy area.
Assembly is easy but several users have indicated that the door didn’t quite fit.
There is also a recurring problem with the door handle that breaks very easily.
The Big Horn is made of plain stainless steel and doesn’t have insulation or a fancy airflow systel, like the Ooni ovens.
So obviously, this drops the efficiency tremendously.
It means that you will need a lot more pellets and that it will lose heat very quickly.
You can expect to make a couple of pizzas before you need to reheat it to make the next batch.
Don’t bother to use this oven if you’re planning a pizza party.
The Big Horn comes with a 12” pizza stone.
Be aware that many people said the stone broke so we would recommend buying a spare one at the same time.
You will need to buy a pizza peel and pellets separately.
Although many people have claimed that the Big Horn is an Ooni clone at a fraction of the price, this statement is simply inaccurate.
You are NOT getting the same quality, in terms of materials, insulation and design. The Ooni is way more efficient and durable.
To put it bluntly, the Big Horn will do the job as long as your needs and expectations are pretty low.
If you really can’t afford the extra $150 to get the Ooni or the extra $80 to get the Outi then by all means buy the Big Horn.
But don’t start blaming me when the handle breaks, if you burn yourself or when you can’t get to cook a crispy pizza.
So what’s the best portable outdoor pizza oven ?
For flavor, the best outdoor pizza oven is a wood fired one without a doubt.
We chose the Ooni over the Outi because they are a well established company and offer a wider range of products and accessories.
Outi is not so well established in the US and their longevity isn’t guaranteed yet. We’ve been very impressed by this newer company and they might become our top choice in the future.
If your budget is limited and you don’t mind the bulky design, go with the Outi.
If you have the budget, the Ooni is the safest choice.
If you want gas, the best-value option is the Bakebros or an Ooni model if budget isn’t an issue.
Additional Tricks, Tips and Recommendations
The first secret to make a perfect pizza is to get the right flour.
Choose good quality flour. The traditional flour used to make Neapolitan-style pizza is the 00 flour which is finely ground Italian flour and will give you the perfect balance between crisp and chew in the pizza crust.
You can also use high-quality bread flour if you like it more chewy.
It’s possible to use all-purpose flour if you have a gas oven, but we wouldn’t recommend it for a wood-fired pizza.
Note that gluten-free flours are becoming widely available, like almond flour.
You’ll find a recipe in the Healthy Recipes Blogs.
Making the dough is the trickiest part.
Make sure to use a scale and help you with this calculator to get the percentages right : https://www.pizzacreator.net/.
You can choose 7 types of pizza styles : Italian classic, Neapolitan, Sicilian, Focaccia, Metro, NY Style, Detroit Style.
For even more styles of pizza, you can check this article.
Ideally, you should knead the dough by hand but if you don’t feel ready, use an electric mixer.
Once the dough is ready, let it stand at room temperature for one hour before putting it in the fridge, where it should stay 24 hours for best results.
Then get it out of the fridge one hour before you start using it.
Go easy on the toppings to allow the crust to cook at the same time as the toppings. Too many toppings and the heat won’t make it through to the crust.
For vegetables, pre-cooked them or they will give off too much water.
Never use olive oil before cooking.
Keep the pie turning to allow even cooking.
Some pizza ovens do have temperature gauges on them, but they don’t measure the temperature of the pizza stone.
We recommend purchasing an infrared thermometer. These will help you keep the temperature where you want it.
The pizza stone should be over 500 F at all times. That’s because when the dough is heated to 500 F, it isn’t absorbing any moisture because the liquids are rapidly being converted into steam and evaporating, escaping through the tiny cracks and crevices of the porous pizza stone.
How to clean a pizza stone ?
- Use a pizza stone brush and hot water. (Don’t soak your stone by fully submerging it underwater and never use soap)
- Use a small stream of water to wet the surface followed by a thorough scrubbing with the brush.
- Air dry the stone. (Instead of baking it dry)
- Store it in your oven.
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