Woody Portable Pizza Oven Kit review - affordable, capable and improved in this new version

Using the Woody Pizza Oven might be hands-on, but it helped us make some of the best pizzas we have ever tasted

Woody Pizza oven
(Image credit: Woody)
Ideal Home Verdict

We loved the Woody Pizza Oven Kit when we tried it in the summer of 2022, crowning it as the oven to invest in where value for money is concerned. Now Woody has updated their offering for 2023 with changes to the aesthetic, details and overall finish of the oven. Thanks to those tweaks, we're confident that this is the perfect offering if you're seeking out a high-quality affordable pizza oven. It's easy to light and the extensive accessories, like the pizza peel and carry case, go such a long way for the price tag (RRP £249.99). The versatility of being able to add a gas attachment for £70 is also excellent if you want to give yourself more options.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Design with a door makes cooking easier

  • +

    Affordable - especially considering all of the accessories

  • +

    Integrated thermometer

  • +

    Makes delicious stonebaked pizza in 60 seconds

  • +

    Great for all sorts of other foods too

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Still some sharp edges which make carrying a bit trickier

  • -

    Paper instructions would be nice alongside web page

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The original Woody Portable Pizza Oven was released in 2021, when the pandemic forced a spike in at-home cooking like never seen before. The Woody, like so many of the best pizza ovens during the pandemic, was a sell-out success.

We reviewed the first iteration of the Woody in the summer of 2022 to see how it stacked up, awarding it 4 stars and commending its performance and excellent value for money. For 2023, Woody has made a range of improvements to the oven, perfecting the overall finish and tweaking smaller details, like the fit of the exterior door. This version of the Woody is now offered with an optional gas conversion kit, better insulation and a flush-fit pizza stone.

The Woody was a solid pizza oven to begin with - portable, with a short set up and heat up time, and with an array of accessories that mean you can actually get started straight away. The improvements mean that it performed even better in our tests the second time around, with higher quality in the build parts than before. 

As before, all you need to succeed with this oven is an outdoor space and a heatproof surface to set it down on, and a good pizza dough recipe. Everything contained in the Woody Kit can help with the rest, as we discovered when we took it for a spin for the second time.

Woody Pizza Oven Kit specs

Woody pizza oven cutoutproduct badge

(Image credit: Woody)
  • Type: multi-fuel (gas or wood)
  • Pizza size: 12in/30cm
  • Cooking surface: cordierite stone baking board
  • Size: H:50cm, W:41cm, D:54cm
  • Weight: 12.5kg
  • Temperature: 450–500ºC/842–932ºF
  • Cooking time: 60 seconds

Who tested this pizza oven?

Molly Cleary with Customer Advisor badge
Molly Cleary

Molly is the Ecommerce Editor for Ideal Home and covers all things appliance related, as well as pizza ovens and BBQs for your outdoor areas. 

She is a pizza (and pizza oven!) enthusiast and has previously tested the Gozney Roccbox multi oven. Woody offered to send her their new and updated oven in order to update this review, with the initial tests in 2022 being carried out by Lindsey Davis, who is the Director of Ecommerce for Ideal Home. Pictures and opinions in this review are informed by both Molly and Lindsey.

Unboxing, first impressions & set up

The Woody Pizza Oven Kit is extensive, coming with everything you need (save for the ingredients) to make pizzas as good as the ones from your favourite Italian restaurant. 

If you need them to light up, a 5kg bag of pellets can be bought from Woody for £16.99. These are made from virgin British wood, sustainably sourced and made from waste wood sources as a by-product of manufacturing. They aren't treated with any chemicals so you will get that clean wood-fired taste.

The Woody pizza oven kit includes:

  1. Powder coated oven body (with ceramic fibre insulation)
  2. Door with handle, peep hole and built-in thermometer
  3. Pizza stone made from cordierite
  4. Pellet box with burner grate to collect ashes
  5. Detachable chimney and vent with detachable chimney cap
  6. Charging hopper
  7. Pizza peel
  8. Carry bag with chimney bag
  9. Tools for building the Woody Pizza Oven

Testing the Woody Pizza Oven at home

(Image credit: Future)

To turn this into a multi-fuel oven, you can also add the gas attachment when you purchase your Woody online. This will set you back an additional £70, but this cost is likely worth it if you're planning on using your oven to cook for a crowd as using gas means you can get your oven up to temperature and keep it there with more ease.

Testing the Woody pizza oven

(Image credit: Future)

Setting up the Woody is mostly straightforward as the main body is assembled and has the legs attached, meaning you just need to flip them out to get the oven standing up. 

Next, you have to secure the hopper which is easily done with some small bolts and an Allen key (all included). The chimney slots into place, so no construction needed here and you only need to install the cap when out of use. Then you need to attach the handle and thermometer to the removable door, and build the pellet box and burner grate. Even a DIY novice can do this all in around 20 minutes by following the instructions that you receive once you've scanned the QR code. With the pizza stone in place, you're ready to go. 

I would've preferred a paper set of instructions to follow in the assembly process as I was setting up outside in the sun, and glare wasn't always in my favour but I realise that the virtual version is much more environmentally friendly. The accompanying video on the Woody website is also really handy when it comes to setting up. 

What is the Woody Pizza Oven like to use?

During the first round of testing in 2022, our Ecommerce Director Lindsey tried the Woody Oven. This time, both Lindsey and I tried the new and improved Woody out separately, meaning that while Lindsey recalibrated her thoughts, I was trying this oven for the first time. 

During my tests, I set up a two-man pizza-making operation with my sister. While I lit the oven she prepped the dough, using the skills we'd picked up from testing the Gozney Roccbox earlier in the year. 

Cooking pizza with wood pellets 

First I tried the oven using the traditional method, so that I'd get that wood-fired flavour. The instructions to do so were as follows:

  1. Make sure the door is on.
  2. Fill the grate with pellets and a natural firelighter
  3. Light the firelighter and slide the fire box into the oven
  4. Make sure the pellets are fully alight before feeding with more pellets via the hopper (John and James recommend a mug of pellets at a time)
  5. Maintain pellet level to bring the oven to approx 450ºC/850ºF
  6. You are ready to cook!

Following the instructions and using a natural firelighter, we were in action within minutes, and I watched the progress carefully, feeding in more pellets to keep the temperature building.  

Woody Pizza Oven testing

The fire basket has a wooden handle for easy removal. Above is the hopper so you can top the basket up without having to open the oven.

(Image credit: Future)

How to maintain temperature

Once your fire is lit you have to get it up to temperature and then keep it there for the duration of cooking. To do this, the instructions recommend refuelling when the 'pellets have burnt to embers, but before all visible flames have disappeared'. Doing this means you don't overload the grate which causes lots of smoke, but also means you have a few flames to help the next batch of pellets catch. Once the pizza oven reaches the desired temperature, it is a good idea to add a small cup of pellets, and let these burn a bit before putting food in.

The oven's chimney has a vent with a lever on the outside to adjust it. You can use this to help manage the draw on the chimney and control the burn. This does take some getting used to and can be hard to maintain over extended cooking periods, but after a couple of uses you will soon learn how often to feed the flame, and how to control the draw to get the best results. It is also worth noting that if there is a bit of a breeze, the way you place the oven can affect how the flame reacts. So try to pick a sheltered (yet well ventilated) spot, so you aren't playing with the elements too much.

During testing initially, Lindsey loved the built-in thermometer on the oven door, which is fantastic for knowing when to remove the door and insert the pizza. The addition of the door is also one of the best things about the Woody in my opinion, as it allows the heat to build up so much faster, even if there is a bit of a breeze. Woody also sent me their infrared temperature gun, which I had a lot of fun with. It's so handy for checking that the stone is the right temperature, so that a crispy base is achieved every time.

Using gas to make pizza 

With gas as your fuel, using the Woody pizza oven really could not be easier. I hooked up the gas just like I would with a BBQ, and thanks to the door that you can slot on, getting the stone up to temperature was over in a flash. 

Testing the Woody pizza oven

(Image credit: Future)

It's not such a gradual process as it is with the wood pellets, meaning that I did burn one of the sides of my pizza when cooking with gas, which I managed to avoid with the wood pellets. I think this is just a case of getting the knack and if you're catering to lots of people and need to keep your oven at a high temperature, investing in the gas attachment will be well worth it for you.

Making pizza with the Woody 

I've edited my fair share of pizza oven reviews this summer and tried one myself, so by this point I knew that semolina was an essential for using a pizza oven. Rather than using flour to ready surfaces I used semolina and it made transporting and removing the pizzas in the Woody so much easier. Don't skimp on it with your own pizza making!

Once my pizzas were ready and my oven was at 450ºC/850ºF, I opened the door and slid the first one in. Like Lindsey did the year before, I then left the pizza for about 40 seconds before checking on the progress through the very handy peep hole on the door. I then used the peel that comes with the oven to do a turn and left the pizza for 40 more seconds before removing. 

It might sound complicated but once you've got it sussed, you'll be able to assemble a line of pizzas and serve them up. 

Testing the Woody Pizza Oven

Lindsey's results using the new and improved Woody Pizza Oven.

(Image credit: Future)

When Lindsey tested the original oven she found that it was a little labour-intensive cooking for a group of six when cooking with wood, as she fought to keep the temperature up. This problem is pretty much eradicated with the gas attachment, which means that you can keep the oven burning while you cater to a group. It's the sort of versatility that's worth £70 if you love entertaining.

In her review, Lindsey also felt that heat retention could be improved to reduce heat loss, including with a few tweaks to the design of the door. I felt this was very much achieved with this new iteration, and I had no trouble using the Woody for a long period of time to cook up all sorts of BBQ food too. 

Woody Pizza Oven testing

Try not to open the door until you want to take your pizza out. Luckily the door has a peep hole to check cooking progress.

(Image credit: Future)

What else can you cook in the Woody pizza oven?

The Woody Pizza Oven can also be used for steak, cooked veggies and bread. In fact, you can cook almost anything in it as long as you use an oven proof dish or tray for wet ingredients. This is because cooking liquids directly on the pizza stone, could cause damage and the residues are very hard to clean off.

Lindsey used her Woody to cook a very quick aubergine parmigiana, as well as a delightful potato recipe in a cast iron dish. I tried a range of foods in my Woody including vegetable skewers, corn on the cob, chicken skewers and breasts. Small cuts of meat are best in pizza ovens, and everything I tried came out gloriously. 

Testing the Woody Pizza Oven at home

(Image credit: Future)

In conclusion, it might not be a complete replacement for the best BBQ if you are a big fan of a summer barbie, but it certainly has enough versatility that those who prefer pizza will want to buy this first to serve both purposes.

Portability

The Woody packs away into a strong carry bag with buckled straps. This can also be used to cover the Woody Pizza Oven if left outside in dry spells, though you do need to remove the door handle, or turn the door inside out to get it in the bag properly. The chimney also needs removing and this comes with its own carry bag that attaches to the top of the carrier with velcro.

I am quite short, but manage to carry it short distances fairly easily. It weighs 13 kilograms which is not too heavy, but because of the size I can't see myself carrying it anywhere other than to and from the car. Which really should be all you need.

Do take note that it takes a while to cool down, so you will need to wait before you can pack it away to take home.

Cleaning

Cleaning the Woody Pizza Oven is very easy. Pyrolytic cleaning comes into play. Just like some of the latest ovens, you simply have to run the oven at top temperatures for 30 minutes to burn off excess food. Do this at the end of each cook and you won't have to do more than give it a quick dust with dry paper towels once cooled.

You can hand wash the pizza stone too if preferred. If you do, you must use nothing but warm water, then dry it in a conventional oven at a very low temperature for at least two hours. The stones are slightly absorbent which is how they create such a crispy base, drawing water from the dough as the pizza cooks. This means that if the stone is not fully dry before cooking, you could damage it, or find the temperature is compromised.

The rest of the oven can be cleaned with a damp cloth as needed and any soot and smoke wiped away with dry kitchen roll. Note that the stainless steel parts of the oven do change colour after use – a reaction with the heat that creates an interesting patina that I think adds to the industrial look of the pizza oven.

Is the Woody Pizza Oven worth the money?

Just like Lindsey last year, I would highly recommend this pizza oven to those looking to create an outdoor kitchen on a budget. It heats up quickly so once you get the hang of maintaining the fire, you will get plenty of bang for your buck out of this pizza oven kit. And even if the British weather isn't conducive to pizza every night in summer, the kit is so affordable you will soon be saving big compared to spending at least £10 a pizza at a certain well-known pizza chain. We think the pizza we made in our Woody was much much tastier, too.

We also love that you get the cover and peel thrown in, making it much cheaper than the closest competitor, the Ooni Fyra – the other 12 inch portable wood-fired pizza oven that our team has tested. Granted, it is not a sleek in the looks department and is slightly heavier and bigger than the Ooni Fyra, but for the saving – and the benefit of an integrated thermometer – we will happily take the Woody's rustic charm.

It's also a fantastic option if you want an affordable multi-fuel model. I've tested the Gozney Roccbox, which is incredible, but at £499.99 for both burners, it is way steeper than the Woody.

The verdict: should you buy a Woody Pizza Oven?

If you love the process and theatre of making pizza and have enough outdoor (and indoor storage) space, then you should buy a Woody Pizza Oven. The modifications that have been made in this updated version make this oven even better than it was before, and considering that it was already our favourite budget option, that's saying a lot. 

The Woody really does tick all of the boxes with the multi-fuel capability, high-quality build and value for money, with the pizza peel and cover thrown in for the neat price of £249.99. So if all of that sounds good to you, then the Woody Pizza Oven Kit is the perfect offering and low commitment, price-wise.

Molly Cleary
Kitchen Appliances Editor

Molly is Ideal Home’s Kitchen Appliances Editor and an all-around baking and cooking enthusiast. She joined the team in September 2022 as an Ecommerce Editor after working across Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She's been reviewing products for 4 years and now specialises in weighing up kitchen essentials' pros and cons, from air fryers to bean-to-cup coffee machines. 

She's always been a keen reader, so after graduating from the University of Exeter in 2020 she was thrilled to find a way to write as a full-time job. Nowadays, she spends her days at home or the Ideal Home test facility trying out new kitchen innovations to see if they’re worth a space on your worktop. Her most beloved and hard-working appliance is her Sage coffee machine though she also takes the title of Ideal Home’s in-house air fryer expert after writing about them religiously over the past few years.

When she's not thinking or writing about kitchen appliances, she loves getting around London exploring new places, going for a dip at the Ladies’ Pond and consuming every bit of pop culture she can get her hands on. 

With contributions from