Creating pizza at home is a notoriously tricky endeavour – it’s nigh-on impossible to compete with restaurants that have trained dough slingers and powerful ovens. Unless, that is, you have your own pizza oven.
The home pizza oven market is thriving and a quick online search brings back multiple products of various shapes, sizes and functionality available for a range of costs, with some ovens costing upwards of £1,000.
With the right oven, you can create the blistered, quick-cooked, charred pizzas (and in some cases, many more recipes beyond) that hit the spot in the way that only a good pizza can. So how do you cut through the noise to find the pizza oven for you?
Which pizza oven should I buy?
Start by setting your budget – but know that more money does not always mean a better pizza. If you’re looking to spend a few £100, discount large, built-in stone ovens as these complex products are very expensive, usually costing at least £500.
If you have a small garden and don’t plan to cook pizza that often, a portable pizza oven would suit your needs. Brands like Gozney, Ooni and Firepod dominate this market and have some impressive ovens in their ranges.
These pint-sized pizza gadgets can often get up temperatures to rival larger ovens, they can be stored indoors or in a shed, offer excellent cooking results and are very easy to use.
If you think you’ll be making pizza regularly and have the garden to accomodate one, a larger pizza oven might be the best option for you. These large ovens don’t have to be built-in (this is where costs really start to mount up).
You can buy freestanding, large pizza ovens that can be moved around but have ample capacities to cook more than one pizza at a time. These usually have protective covers so you can leave them out all summer, although you’ll probably have to shell out for the cover separately.
Hybrid pizza ovens double up as a barbecue, or in some cases vice versa. Generally speaking, we found gadgets that are specifically designed for making pizzas alone produce the best cooking results for the task in hand.
On the subject of barbecues, one affordable way to make pizzas at home in your garden is to buy a barbecue accessory, like a pizza stone or box that sits on top of your gas or charcoal barbecue. They too can reach impressive temperatures to achieve the desired stone-baked flavour and finish.
These barbecue-top products win on the storage front but can’t always be classed as pizza ovens in the strictest sense. However, to demonstrate the range of DIY pizza tools available for a wide range of budgets, we’ve included our favourites in this list.
The best pizza ovens to buy
The BBC Good Food on-test team proved batches of our basic pizza dough and took to our gardens to test pizza ovens from a broad spectrum of brands. Read on to discover which pizza oven to buy.
Ooni Koda 16 pizza oven
Best portable pizza oven
Star rating: 4.5/5
Read our full Ooni Koda 16 pizza oven review
Ooni is a leading brand in the pizza oven market and for good reason. Their range includes wood-, coal- and gas-powered pizza ovens, available at a range of prices.
The gas-powered Ooni Koda 16 is designed to create authentic-tasting pizzas in just 60 seconds.
It’s a new design released in summer 2020, the original gas-powered Koda being slightly smaller than this new version which can cook a 16-inch pizza. This bigger version is one of the more expensive ovens in Ooni’s range.
The Koda has an innovative L-shaped flame that creates a waterfall effect on the heat transfer, you get a lovely flame-cooked flavour and great heat retention. The finished pizza was really impressive, with lovely charred bubbles in the dough around the crust, a crisp base and melted oozy mozzarella.
At £399, it’s good value for such a durable, top-quality pizza oven.
Delivita The Chilli Red pizza oven
Best investment pizza oven
Star rating: 4.5/5
If you want to keep costs low, cover your eyes now. If you’re looking to blow the budget, Delivita offers high-end outdoor cooking equipment that produces stunning results.
Its Chilli Red pizza oven is stylish, high-quality and, most importantly, makes incredible pizza. If you want an actual wood-fired oven rather than a barbecue add-on or pizza-only cooking contraption, this is hard to beat.
One of our favourite things about the Chilli Red is the ability to make tandoori chicken, sourdough bread, a side of salmon and naan, as well as pizza. All were beautifully charred, smoky and succulent.
It’s also technically portable, weighing under 30kg, which is staggering for an oven with such superlative cooking quality. A big outlay, but a purchase that should serve you well for years to come and take outdoor cooking to the next level.
La Hacienda stainless steel BBQ pizza oven
Best pizza oven for a barbecue
Star rating: 4.2/5
A reasonably-priced buy for those with limited space, this portable oven by Hacienda is 40 x 35 cm, which means you’ll need a reasonably sized barbecue to add it to.
We used a barrel-shaped charcoal model, but it would also fit square or oblong gas model, and a large round charcoal barbecue – be sure to check dimensions before you buy.
Thanks to the pizza stone, the results from this pint-sized oven are similar to those achieved by a much larger gadget. The housing channels the heat around the pizza so the top cooks as well as the base with impressive finished results.
Particularly user-friendly is the temperature dial – rather than having a numerical increments, it’s sectioned into ‘warm’, ‘ideal’ and ‘hot’. We found that cooking on the hot-side of ‘ideal’ achieved the best pizza.
Gozney Roccbox pizza oven
- Available from: Gozney (£399)
Best portable pizza oven for beginners
Star rating: 4.2/5
The Roccbox is an investment, but for the price you get a pizza oven with an impressive build quality and foolproof functionality.
Gozney is a premium brand and the structure of the Roccbox lives up to this. There are no flimsy or shoddy elements to this talking-point gadget.
The finished pizza is restaurant-grade, even if you are new to the art of dough-slinging. However, it is less portable than other small pizza ovens, like some of those by Ooni. It’ll involve a little effort to move it around since it weighs in at a not-exactly-featherlight 20kg.
But if you really like pizza and will use the oven regularly, invest in the protective cover and leave it out all summer so you can fire up the gas easily and have pizza within minutes.
Igneus Classico pizza oven
Best pizza oven for families
Star rating: 4.1/5
Yorkshire-based wood-fired oven brand, Igneus, shout about the fact they offer premium quality products at an affordable price.
We certainly found the design and manufacture of their wood-fired Classico oven to be impressive, although affordable should not be interpreted as ‘cheap’ – this oven is expensive but offers value for the investment.
Its big selling point is the fact it can cook two large pizza ovens at the same time – in fact, the oven cavity is so large it could fit an entire roast dinner.
When so many domestic pizza ovens only have space to cook one pizza at a time (meaning, of course, that you can only eat one at a time), the extra space makes life easier for families wanting to sit down to eat together.
The quality of the cooked pizza is excellent, scoring a near-perfect 9/10. If you’re looking for an oven to keep out in your garden (preferably under a cover) for summer pizza parties, this could be the purchase for you.
The Pizza Oven Shop (£689)
How we tested pizza ovens
We tested a range of portable, freestanding and barbecue-top pizza ovens. We included gas and wood fired pizza ovens, plus outdoor cooking gadgets that double up as pizza ovens, including wood burners and stoves.
We used our basic pizza dough recipe to test the ovens and used manufacturers instructions around fuel. We received boxed pizza ovens and built them using instruction manuals. We also tested ovens using different recipes where oven capacity allowed for this.
We used our test matrix to review the ovens, making notes on the following criteria:
Assembly and the instruction manual: we timed how long it took to build the oven and assessed the instruction manual.
Fuel source and ease of use: how easy is it to get cooking? Is the fuel source easy to add and efficient? We looked for ovens that were intuive to use, scoring accessories too.
Cooking results: the ultimate criteria – we scored the finished pizzas out of 10.
Storage and handling: how easy is it to move ovens claiming to be portable? How quickly do the ovens cool down and are they safe to handle?
We scored the pizza ovens out of five on the following qualities:
- Ease of assembly
- Overall build quality
- Ease of use
- Value for money
- Cooking results
- Ease of storage
To read in-depth reviews of each pizza oven, including ones that didn’t make our ‘best buys’ list, see the links below.
All our pizza oven reviews
Pizza oven recipes and tips
This review was last updated in June 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.