5 things experts want you to know before buying a pizza oven

Everything you need to become a pizza oven aficiona-dough

Garden with pizza oven and cooking station made from trellis
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Looking to grab a slice of the pizza oven action? We don’t blame you. We’re huge fans of pizza ovens at Ideal Home and would encourage everyone to add this garden gadget to their outside space. But we also know that there are many things experts want you to know before buying a pizza oven.

Yes, although the best pizza ovens offer the chance to cook restaurant-standard pizzas from the comfort of your own garden, the pizza oven world can be complicated. This outdoor kitchen appliance isn’t a one-size-fits-all product, which means it’s incredibly easy to buy the wrong one. This can leave you feeling underwhelmed - and nobody wants to be underwhelmed when pizza is involved, right?

To ensure you’re making the right decision and choosing the right pizza oven for your needs and requirements, we’ve put together everything you should know before buying a pizza oven. After all, it’s not an investment you should take lightly.

Things you should know before buying a pizza oven

While knowing how a pizza oven works can make owning one much easier, certain steps should be considered before buying one. Below, we’ve outlined five things experts want you to know before buying one of these nifty garden gadgets.

1. Certain pizza ovens suit certain people

There are so many different shapes, sizes, and styles of pizza ovens out there - from the rustic Gozney Arc to the classic Ooni Fyra and the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Oven. Because of this, it can be easy to lean towards buying the cheapest or the most stylish. But this could result in you purchasing the wrong pizza oven.

Rich Payne from Dough & Behold explains, ‘The most important point is working out what you want to do with your oven, and what kind of oven user you will be. Do you want a centrepiece oven that will stay fixed in your garden? Or would you prefer something more portable that will work well for family pizzas at home, but is also small enough to stow away in your car for family adventures and camping trips?’

Ooni pizza oven on stand.

(Image credit: Ooni)

If you’re looking for a statement piece, you can afford to opt for a bigger style that will bowl over your guests with its design. You could even go for a built-in pizza oven if you’re that way inclined.

But if you’re looking for something that’s practical, a smaller pizza oven would suit you better. This is supported by Dennis Littley, a fine dining chef and owner of askchefdennis.com.

He says, ‘While it's tempting to go for the biggest pizza oven you can find, consider your space and usage. A smaller oven heats up faster and is more efficient for cooking a few pizzas, while a larger one might be overkill for a casual pizza night.’

Because of this, it’s important to weigh up your needs before buying a pizza oven, and then compare the specs of your favourite models to see whether they’re compatible. And if you’re specifically looking for an Ooni pizza oven, our guide on which Ooni pizza oven you should buy can help, too.

2. Different fuel types = different flavours

A major perk of having your own pizza oven is that you can have professional-quality meals in the comfort of your own home (well, garden). But one thing you might not realise is that pizza ovens come in various different fuel types.

You can buy a wood-fired pizza oven, a gas-fired pizza oven, or an electric pizza oven, or you could get the perks of wood AND gas with a multi-fuel pizza oven. Of course, you may have your own preferences in terms of the fuel type, but it’s also important to note that this fuel type can actually affect the taste and the overall cooking of the pizza.

From his own experience, Rich has found his sweet spot in the gas-fired pizza oven category. He says, ‘If you intend on having lots of pizza parties for friends and family, I’d say gas is the best bet, you get a more consistent bake.’

However, gas-fired pizza ovens might not give you the taste that you so desire, which is why Dennis would lean more towards wood-fired pizza ovens. He explains, ‘Beyond convenience, the type of fuel you choose can significantly impact the taste of your pizza.’

‘Wood-fired ovens impart a smoky, authentic flavour, while gas ovens offer consistency and control. Electric ovens are efficient and easy to use, but some argue they lack the character of wood or gas.’

So, decide what's more important to you and then go from there.

Woody Pizza oven

(Image credit: Woody)

3. Brick is an option, but not very practical

When talking about the best pizza ovens, it’s easy to focus on portable pizza ovens you can buy from brands such as Ooni, Gozney, Ninja, Delvita, and more. But there is another alternative: a permanent brick pizza oven.

You can actually build a brick pizza oven yourself, and the end result can make your outdoor kitchen look extremely expensive. However, it’s important to note that most brick pizza ovens aren’t very practical, and most experts would advise against them.

‘Brick pizza ovens exude charm and tradition, but they require more space, maintenance, and expertise to operate,’ explains Dennis.

This sentiment is echoed by Rich, who finds that brick pizza ovens don’t suit most people’s busy lifestyles. He says, ‘If you want to go even more expensive with a brick oven, then go for it, but bear in mind, to heat these up properly, you need to light them 2-4 hours before making pizza.’

‘This sounds ok, but sometimes you want pizza in a hurry, and when all the Ooni pizza ovens (and Gozney’s) heat up to 400°c - 500°c in less than 30 minutes, you might just be tempted to get one of those instead!’

4. Maintenance is essential

When you buy a car, you commit to maintaining its MOT and service history. And while buying a pizza oven isn’t quite as intense as buying some new wheels, you still have to commit to the maintenance that comes with this outdoor accessory.

Dennis says, ‘Owning a pizza oven isn't all about making delicious pizza; it also involves regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity.’

‘From removing ash and debris to inspecting and repairing any cracks or wear, taking care of your oven is essential for consistent results. And it's so important you do this to make sure the oven lasts as long as possible!’

Of course, while cleaning the pizza oven itself is important, it’s also essential to keep on top of the smaller accessories. That’s why we’d always encourage cleaning your pizza baking stone. And if you have an Ooni pizza oven, we even have a specific guide on how to clean an Ooni baking stone.

Pizza oven

(Image credit: Ooni)

5. Don’t expect perfection the first time

When you buy a brand-new pizza oven, it can be hard to contain your excitement. While these pizza ovens do give you the chance to make your own restaurant-standard pizzas at home, it’s important to understand that using a pizza oven can be tricky.

Because of this, you may go through a difficult stage where you’re either undercooking or overcooking your pizzas and struggling to get to grips with the temperature. Thankfully, this is totally normal.

Rich explains, ‘Each oven comes with a learning curve, so don’t expect to master pizza making immediately. Take notes when you make pizza, learn your oven’s sweet spots, and you can make great pizzas in most portable ovens.’

This sentiment is echoed by Dennis, who suggests buying a few pizza oven accessories to help you out. ‘Achieving the perfect pizza requires precise temperature control. While traditional brick ovens can reach high temperatures quickly, portable ovens may require more time and effort to maintain consistent heat,’ he says.

‘Invest in tools like infrared thermometers to monitor temperature and ensure evenly cooked pizzas every time. And don't be disheartened; chances are the first 20 pizzas you cook will be rubbish! Stick at it, though.’

Of course, if you still can’t get on with your pizza oven, it may be a good idea to consider other variables, too - like your dough, for example.

Rich says, ‘You may have the greatest pizza oven in the world, but if your dough is bad, no oven can improve this! So be prepared to learn how to make your own dough!’

The best pizza ovens - our top picks

FAQs

Is it a good idea to invest in a pizza oven?

If you love the taste of restaurant-style pizzas or you just love to entertain and host family gatherings, a pizza oven is definitely worth the investment.

However, it’s important to note that using a pizza oven can be tricky, and the ongoing costs to fuel a pizza oven are something you need to consider. But if you believe that you’ll get a lot of use out of it, it’s easy to overlook these slight niggles.

Are cheap pizza ovens worth it?

Although many supermarkets and cheaper brands offer extremely affordable pizza ovens, you should take caution when buying a cheap pizza oven. After all, when you buy cheap, you often buy twice.

While we understand the need to keep costs down, we’d suggest investing in a big-name pizza oven brand when buying a pizza oven. This way, you know that you’re buying a high-quality product that will produce high-quality pizzas and last a long time.

Of course, if you just want to buy a pizza oven for one specific event, you could opt for a cheap pizza oven instead. Just be warned that it may not produce the results you’re after.

Now we’ve explained what you should know before buying a pizza oven, it’s time to make a delicious investment…

Lauren Bradbury
Contributor

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.