When it comes right down to it, the best pizza oven for home use is going to depend on your space, budget, interest in pulling out all the stops for an authentic finished product, and desire to cook more than just pizza in your new appliance.
I set out to build this comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about the full range of pizza ovens in several styles, for both indoor and outdoor use. This way you can compare the best models in each category to decide which gear is right for you.
Here is a preview of the top picks so that if you already know the style you are looking for, you can jump right to the best in that category:
Top Indoor Pizza Ovens:
Enclosed Style – Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker
Enclosed Budget Option – Betty Crocker BC-2958CR
Rotating style – – Presto Pizzazz Plus
Best Commercial Pizza Oven for Home – Wisco 421
Top Outdoor Pizza Ovens:
Compact Wood Fired Pizza Oven – Uuni Portable Wood Pellet Fired
Affordable Kettle Pizza Oven Kit – PizzaQue Deluxe
Premium Grade Outdoor Wood Fired – ilFornino Professional Series
Outdoor Gas – Stand Alone Style – Pizzacraft PizzaQue PC6500
For Use on Gas Grills – BakerStone Box
What to Know Before You Buy
Making restaurant quality pizza at home requires great recipes, a little know-how (practice helps), and the right gear. Whether you plan on making your pies from scratch, using prepared raw dough, or just want to get a great crust on a frozen za, this guide will help you make the right choice.
I recently did a full product review on these handy products that you can find here. They are a relatively inexpensive way to get the stable high-temperature baking surface required to get a good crunch on the bottom of your pie.
Pizza stones have several advantages:
- They are relatively cheap compared to most pizza ovens.
- They don’t take up much space for storage. (Some folks even keep them right in the oven which increases pre-heat times but decreases temperature instability for more even baking even when not using the stone.)
- They are porous which wicks moisture away from the dough when it cooks, leading to a more satisfying crunch on the crust.
- They stay hot even when you throw the dough on which allows the pie to cook all the way through for an even bake, even in the middle.
However, there are several downsides of using a stone including:
- They take a long time to get to temp in a standard oven, sometimes as much as 45 minutes running at full blast.
- Heating the whole oven for that long to cook something that takes less than 10 minutes to bake is extremely wasteful energy-wise, particularly in the summer when the excess heat will make your AC go into overdrive to keep up.
- They are brittle and require some extra TLC to season, properly heat and cool, and store without breaking.
- They are porous and can trap nasty odors from oil that seeps into the stone from regular use and then goes rancid.
- Standard home ovens just cannot produce the high temps needed to replicate the interior of commercial pizza ovens or truly season stones for the long haul.
While using a stone in your oven is definitely a step in the right direction in terms of making foodie-approved pizza at home, many home cooks eventually get frustrated with the considerable downsides and turn to a pizza oven for home use.
Indoor Pizza Ovens
Going with an appliance designed for the job has several advantages:
The compact nature of standalone pizza ovens for the home means that they are generally much more energy efficient than using your full-sized oven. This is a major bonus in terms of saving on your electric bill as well as saving you time since they usually preheat much faster as well.
Another advantage is that in most cases you can get much higher temperatures from a specialty appliance. This allows you to get closer to the ideal conditions to make the best use of pizza dough chemistry.
This dough is designed to perform at very high temperatures with leavening optimized to make large bubbles of air to give you that chew and bite that makes your za taste like it was cooked by a chef. If your oven only goes to 450°F, there is a limit to how close you can get.
There are lots of foods that benefit from the high heat and fast preheating of these appliances. Convenience foods are almost always better cooked high and fast. Frozen foods such as French fries, chicken tenders, burritos, pot pies, breakfast sandwiches, fish fillets, onion rings, and corn dogs are all better when baked at high temperatures to develop a crunchy exterior.
If you are more interested in baking from scratch, pizza ovens give you the high temps needed to make delicious flatbreads like naan and pita that are so much tastier when eaten fresh out of the oven. Plus, you can completely control the ingredients—a major plus for those looking to avoid processed foods.
Two Things You Can’t Get from Indoor Pizza Ovens
- Wood Fired Flavor – If one of your priorities is to make pizza that captures the smoky flavor of real wood fire typical of high-end pizzerias, then there is no way to get it without going for an outdoor model. This guide includes three great wood-fired options in a variety of budget ranges if you decide to go that route.
- Extreme Heat – Although indoor pizza ovens will get you higher temps than most standard ovens, you still won’t find any that get to the extreme temps you can achieve with outdoor gas, charcoal and wood.
Best Indoor Pizza Oven – Enclosed Style
If your idea of the perfect pizza is the ultra-thin and crispy crust that is the hallmark of the authentic Italian style, then this is an excellent choice. In order to get the crispest crust on your pie, you need two things: extreme heat and a stone. This machine has both.
The Cordierite stone preheats to a full 600°F in about 30 minutes, and once it is going you can just keep rotating zas through as quickly as they bake (in as fast as 6 minutes!). It’s a handy device to have if you plan on a pizza party.
You do need to use parchment paper with this model. Although, that also makes it easy to get your raw pizza from counter to the hot stone. After a few minutes of baking you just pull the paper out and your personal sized pie will finish baking directly on the stone. A viewing window lets you peek in to see when it is done.
One downside of this model is that it has a low clearance between the top and the bottom. If you like a thicker and chewier crust, or if you like to pile on the toppings, this probably isn’t the best choice for you.
- Delivers brick oven results on thin crust pizza in just 6-10 minutes
- Also excellent for flatbreads such as pita and naan
- Dual elements for top and bottom cooking
- Achieves very high temperatures up to 660°F
- Cordierite stone plate wicks away moisture and maintains stable temp for extra crispy thin crusts
- Small diameter—can handle 11” pies
- Pricey—a bit on the high side for this appliance
- Low clearance—there is about 1.5” between the top and bottom
- Stone requires preheating and use of parchment paper to prevent sticking
Best Budget Option
This product not only comes in at a very reasonable price, it is very efficient. Rather than making use of a pizza stone, this machine uses a nonstick coating on two metal plates. That means it preheats in just a few minutes and cleans up in a snap. It is way more efficient than preheating a stone in the oven and it doesn’t require any special techniques to use.
This model has been around for a while, thanks to being extremely popular. The 1440-Watt appliance has elements on both sides, which is really the secret to fast and even cooking that will make a superior pizza. This appliance can also be used to make flatbreads like pita, tortillas, and chapati. If you enjoy quesadillas this will become your go-to for that as well.
In addition, it has a nice indent and plenty of clearance between the top and bottom, making it ideal for thick crust pizzas that are generously topped. The 12” plate is perfect for most frozen pizzas on the market.
Try it to cook convenience foods that normally require a hot oven such as frozen French fries, fish sticks or chicken wings. Because it has a metal plate, you don’t have to worry about any residual smells seeping into a porous baking stone.
For a budget-friendly multitasker, this model gets very high marks!
- Very reasonable price point
- Quickly preheats for efficient use of electricity
- Can be used for a variety of convenience foods you would normally cook in the oven
- Burner on the top and the bottom for even and fast cooking
- Deep reservoir so it works for thin or thick crust even if loaded with toppings
- Nonstick coating makes cooking and cleaning easy
- Constant temperature is not adjustable
- Unit gets very hot so it must be placed on a heatproof surface
Best Countertop Pizza Oven – Open Rotating Style
Okay, this machine looks a little weird, but it does do a great job making pizza. It has a nonstick plate on the bottom that spins so that when you turn the machine on, it rotates around under the top heating element, cooking the top and bottom at the same time.
Since there is plenty of room between the plate and the top element, you can cook a wide variety of convenience foods on this little guy. The nonstick plate is simple to clean (although I would recommend cleaning gently by hand rather than running in the dishwasher to preserve the nonstick coating).
One of the prime features of the Presto Pizzazz, and definitely part of it’s popularity, is that the top and bottom burners can be used independently so that you can adjust the machine to be ideal for any job. With the bottom plate on, you can cook up pizza quickly with a perfect crust every time. Turn the bottom off for broiler applications such as heating the cheese on a tuna melt.
- Nonstick pan makes it great for cooking much more than pizza
- Dual burner on top and bottom are independently adjustable
- Fantastic for fast and crisp frozen pizzas
- Easy cleanup.
- Your pizza is fully visible while cooking so you can pull it off at the perfect moment
- Built-in timer with automatic shut off for safety
- Takes up considerable room on the counter or the cupboard
- Does not have an on/off switch so you have to plug/unplug every time you use it
Best Commercial Pizza Oven for Home
I have had a toaster oven for years and finally threw it away after I got frustrated with the fact that it took so long to preheat and seemed to lose most of the heat it generated due to thin walls and the glass door that never made a popper seal. The whole point was to cook hot, fast, and more efficiently than my full-sized oven. It just wasn’t passing muster.
This Wisco is a different story—it is designed to quickly come to temperature and make the most of the considerable heat within. Thick stainless-steel walls and a pro-grade build bring this countertop multitasker to a different level.
You can bake thin crust pizzas in just 10 minutes with this appliance. And, it has enough clearance for thick crust zas and plenty of other foods like chicken, burritos, fries or roasted veggies. The digital display is simple to use and much easier to read than the old dial models.
The biggest downside of this model is the considerable size. The dimensions are 18”W x 15”D x 7-3/4”H so measure your counter to be sure you have space for it before buying. The upshot is that it will easily accommodate standard frozen pizzas, even the rising crust kind, for a fast and easy meal the family will love.
- Pro-grade build for long-lasting, efficient operation
- Quickly comes to temperature, and holds it for fast cooking
- Plenty of space for thick crust pizzas and many other convenience foods
- Completely adjustable temperature that goes up to 500°F
- Rather bulky so think twice if you don’t have much counter space
- Not much on looks—the focus on this model is quality, pro-grade functionality
- Doesn’t come with a pizza pan—consider getting a 12” perforated pizza pan.
Best Outdoor Pizza Oven
To get the extreme temperatures you need to make the most exceptional zas from home, you really need to take the wole operation outside. Although indoor pizza ovens offer several improvements over regular ovens, and will vastly improve the texture of frozen zas, they fall a little short for many aficionados when it comes to primo homemade pizza.
This is particularly true if your true love is for the thin blistered crust typical of Neapolitan style pizza. The dough for this za is designed to cook in 1-2 minutes to really land the necessary elements: large air bubbles, crisp bottom, and blistered edges.
Wood, Charcoal or Gas?
The biggest decision you will have to make when deciding on the right outdoor pizza oven for you is to decide on fuel. If you already have a grill, then you can buy a conversion kit to make the most of it for achieving the super high but stable temps you will need to make the best za. (This review includes 3 such kits, so read on!)
If you are willing to invest a little bit more, then you can really get an amazing finished product if you go with a standalone model. Here are the main pros and cons for each type:
- Capable of extremely high temperatures needed for authentic pizza
- Smokey flavor that infuses your dough for real brick oven taste
- Creates a more social experience by bringing some of the age-old magic of real fire to your social gatherings
- Serious food snob? Go with wood-fired.
- Takes a little practice to develop the “feel” for getting the right temps and cooking conditions
- Makes ash as you burn wood so there is a little extra clean up
- Slower and more involved prep time than cooking with gas
- Easy to adjust the temperature for targeted baking of pizza, bread, pastries and roasted meats
- Clean up is generally a snap
- Fast preheating times and extra stable temperatures
- More portable than wood and charcoal fired systems
- Lacks the smoke needed to bring flavor to the next level (although you can supplement cooking with a smoker box)
- Harder to get the extremely high temps that real wood fire offers
Best Wood Fired Pizza Oven
This unit uses wood pellets which offer the most efficient way to get elevated temperatures fast while making sure your za gets that smoky flavor only wood fire can offer. For Neapolitan style zas, this is a great choice.
Quickly get this oven up to 930°F within about ten minutes for extremely efficient and fast cooking. You can cook homemade thin crust pizzas in as little as a minute, the way thin pizza dough is meant to be cooked! The end result is plenty of airy bubbles caused by blistering the dough from cooking at searing temps.
The entire floor of this unit is a Cordierite baking stone which will pull the excess steam from the bottom of your za while it cooks which is critical for the crisp bottom on thin crust pies. The internal dimensions are 13.2” x 13.2” with about 4.3” clearance top to bottom which means it will work nicely for pizza, flatbreads, Stromboli, and even small boules of handmade bread.
There have been several improvements on this wood-fired pizza oven since it first came out. The only thing it is still missing is an internal thermometer to really get tight regulated control on the temperature. I recommend a laser thermometer if you don’t already have one.
There is a little learning curve to using this oven just because you will be working with fire which takes a little practice to get the heat just right. However, once you get the hang of it, this outdoor pizza oven is hard to beat in terms of getting a perfect Neapolitan style pie.
- Quickly comes to extremely high temperatures exceeding 900°F
- 13” Cordierite stone bottom for extra crisp crust
- Comes with a pizza peel
- Uses inexpensive and efficient wood pellets for fast and consistent heat
- Cook thin crust Neapolitan style pizza in just 50-90 seconds
- Real wood smoke for that authentic brick-oven taste
- Does require some assembly, but no special tools and very straightforward
- No built-in thermometer—consider purchasing a laser thermometer to gauge internal temp
Kettle Pizza Oven Kit
Another way to create the authentic taste and texture of a wood-fired pie with a little less expense than a separate outdoor pizza oven is to convert the grill you already have. This kit by PizzaQue works with both 18” and 22.5” kettle grills and you can use either charcoal or a real wood fire to operate it.
You can achieve incredibly high temperatures with this kit. It includes a built-in thermometer so that you can monitor the heat and take the guesswork out of making homemade pizza outside. The generous 15” cordierite stone, once preheated, will help keep the temps stable while drawing the moisture out of your crust while it cooks.
One huge advantage of this setup is that there is a ton of vertical clearance. This means you are by no means limited to flatbreads and pizzas. You can use this system to make authentic artisan breads that have unbelievable flavor and toothsome crusts. Or, make stromboli or calzones to feed a crowd.
The kit comes with a peel but make sure you pick up some pans for serving. You will not want to serve on the piping hot stone.
- Inexpensive way to convert your kettle grill into an outdoor woodfired pizza oven
- Thick 15” cordierite stone to give you perfectly crisp crusts
- Adjustable from 18-22.5” grills
- Achieves temperatures up to 900°F
- Works with charcoal and wood or a combination
- Built-in thermometer for accurate temperatures
- Lots of vertical clearance to bake taller items like calzones or breads
- Some assembly is required
- The unit gets extremely hot so use caution when baking
If money is no object, and you are simply looking for the best in a professional outdoor pizza oven, don’t miss this selection by IlFornino. Even the most finicky foodie will be impressed with this serious investment in outdoor cooking.
One of the things that has made IlFornino a leader in outdoor pizza ovens is their commitment to the ongoing improvement of their equipment. This model includes several upgrades over previous iterations, each one incorporating feedback from customers into the design.
It doesn’t just look good—this is gear that will give your friends and neighbors a serious case of pizza envy.
Let’s take a closer look at the specs:
The construction is 430 stainless steel which is no joke. Furthermore, high-density ceramic insulation keeps the heat where you want it—inside the oven.
The baking surface is made from a single large refractory stone (it is 1.5” thick!). This is the quality used in the finest pizzerias offering designer wood-fired pies for outrageous prices. It offers a completely smooth surface that gives you a full 1007” square inches (46.5” x 30.75” interior dimensions) of room to cook multiple pizzas, stromboli, calzone, breads or chef quality roasted meats and veggies.
After starting your fire, give this monster about 30 minutes to come to temp. An industrial grade thermometer right on the front will let you know when it is time to get started with your baking. It can achieve temps up to 1000°F just like commercial-grade pizza ovens around the world. Thin crust pizzas bake in as little as 70 seconds, larger thicker crusts will, of course, take longer.
The oven and cart are assembled by craftsmen in Valley Cottage New York. There is some assembly required for the chimney. Store your wood right on the rack for convenience. Large handles on either side and pro-grade wheels make it easy to maneuver.
Let’s face it. This is a serious investment in your outdoor cooking arsenal, comparable in price to a fancy gas grill. However, if you are looking for the real deal that will consistently produce authentic baked goods like a commercial grade wood-fired oven, this is an excellent choice.
- Serious professional grade materials, design, and construction
- 5” thick solid baking stone with 1007 square inches of baking surface
- Well insulated steel and ceramic walls to make efficient use of wood
- Plenty of room and consistent heat to roast meats, fish, and veggies like a professional chef
- Make real wood-fired pizza, just like what you would find in Naples
- Excellent customer service from a small company invested in preserving their reputation
- Comes with a brush and peel on long handles
- Capable of temperatures up to 1000°F
- Serious investment in outdoor grilling gear with a price to match
Best Outdoor Gas Pizza Oven
One of the best portable outdoor pizza ovens is this selection by Pizzacraft. For those looking for a great way to serve up personalized zas while camping or tailgating, this is an excellent choice. It works with a 20lb propane tank and the size of the entire unit makes it easy to transport.
This unit features a 14” PIzzacraft stone which has a patented design to properly circulate heat and provide some additional stored heat at the center, ideal for cooking fully loaded zas with plenty of toppings. No more soggy centers!
It is constructed of steel and includes a thermometer, so you can know for sure when the time is right to get started with your baking. It preheats in as little as 15 minutes and will bake your pies to a golden brown in about 6 minutes depending on the type of crust and toppings you are using.
One advantage of going with a gas-fueled option is consistency. You have complete control over the temperature with just the turn of a knob. This is great news for those that like to bake a variety of dough types or bake breads. Once you get the hang of using this appliance, you will be able to reproduce the results time and time again.
- Fast preheating—Start baking in just 15 minutes
- Patented engineered 14” cordierite stone optimized to prevent soft centers
- Portable technology—great for tailgates, family reunions and camping
- Built-in thermometer and aluminum peel included
- Full instructions that include helpful tips to master this cooking technique
- Capable of stable, high temperatures up to 700°F
- Adjustable temperature control—use lower temps for slower cooking thicker crusts
- A bit of an investment in terms of price
- Use only on a heatproof surface as the entire unit gets extremely hot
For Use with Gas Grills
The Bakerstone Box is designed to work with 3-burner (or larger) gas grills. The surprisingly simple design is easy to use and mimics the environment of the brick ovens found at high-end pizzerias.
The interior is completely lined with stone for extremely stable temps using conductive, convective and radiant heat to cook thin crust pizza in just 2-3 minutes. Or, use a roasting tray for expertly roasted spiced meats, fish and veggies.
You can adjust the temperature by tweaking the gas using your grill knobs. This allows you to go lower for thick crusts or higher for the blistering heat you need for crunchy thin crust zas. There is a built-in thermometer so you can make sure you have the proper temperature before you bake. This unit preheats in about 20 minutes, depending on the BTU power of your grill.
You will need to purchase a pizza peel separately if you don’t already have one. I recommend this one which is narrow enough to use with the 13” interior size of the Bakerstone box.
- High-quality manufacturing for a very reasonable price
- Easy to use right out of the box
- Fully adjustable temperature with a built-in thermometer
- Works with most 3+ burner gas grills
- Fast preheating and cooking times
- Fully lined box creates stable, dry oven environment perfect for pizza and roasting meats and vegetables
- High temperatures of 600°F – 800°F (depending on BTU of your grill)
- The bottom stone is smooth and has a gap at the back for airflow—be careful you don’t push your za too far or it can go over the side in the back
If you want to make delicious pizza from home, you are going to need some special equipment. If you get a pizza oven, you will have one important box checked. Hopefully, this guide gave you plenty to think about and maybe even helped you decide on the right gear for your needs.
Do you have some tips on making the best dough or want to share some techniques you use to make delicious pies from home? Please leave your comments below!