Choosing the right pizza oven is not a simple affair. This article lists the seven best wood fired pizza ovens of 2020. It provides a great description of each and lists the pros and cons of each model.
You might be the seasoned pit boss looking to expand your outdoor cooking skills with a new oven. You might be a pizza lover who wants to create a focal point for the family garden. You could also be a complete newbie to outdoor cooking. Whoever you are, deciding on the best oven is a difficult task. That is why we have done hours of research and reviewing for you. You will find answers here to enable you to choose the best oven for you.
Best Wood Fired Pizza Ovens for 2020
We have compiled a list of the top seven wood fired pizza ovens. All these ovens come from reputable companies that have been producing the finest ovens for years. Each oven on the list is designed for a specific purpose and we have tried to include an oven to suit everyone’s need and budget. When buying anything in life, remember that “you get what you pay for” and “buy cheap, buy twice”. This is particularly true with pizza ovens. All these ovens are designed to last a lifetime if properly cared for. That’s a lifetime of fun and laughter with friends and family whilst eating great authentic tasting pizza. And those times are priceless!
#1. Our Overall Top Pick
In 2006 three pizzaiolos (professional Italian pizza makers) got together in Chicago to design and produce the king of wood fired pizza ovens. Using age-old knowledge from medieval Italy, they designed a traditional low roofed Neapolitan style wood oven that incorporated the latest materials. Evolution of that first model has led to the famous CBO-750. It is one of the best-selling pizza ovens in the world today.
- Low dome design especially for cooking pizzas
- Super high temperatures over 1000 °F
- Retains heat for a long time
- Pre-assembled – just fit the chimney
- High-quality build
- Made in the USA
- Certified to UL and NSF4 standards for indoor and outdoor use
- Heavy and needs lifting equipment to place
- It needs a strong base or countertop
- Takes longer than others to heat up
- Expensive – but then you get what you pay for – real quality
#2. Runner Up
The Model 1000+ is the latest wood fired oven kit from Cuore Ovens. The kit comprises seven refractory prefabricated oven parts and a mouth section. It also includes a thermal insulation blanket. You build your base, slot the oven kit together and secure it with the brackets supplied. You can then use materials of your choice to finish the outside of the oven. It is great for adding your personal touches to make your oven unique.
- Each one looks unique, no one else will have one the same as you
- Traditional design
- Great for places hard to reach with lifting equipment
- Easy to assemble
- Affordable option
- Building the base and finishing require skill, time, and materials (or you hire the local handyman)
- Chimney not included – purchase separately
- Not portable
#3. Runner Up
The Forno Bravo Primavera 70 is the most popular igloo-shaped (higher dome than a Neapolitan oven) fully assembled oven freely available today. It is so good that the famous pizzaiolo Peter Reinhart has one in his home kitchen.
- Extremely fast heat-up time – 20 minutes
- Great heat retention
- High roof means more space to cook
- High-class refractory materials
- Easy to install (and uninstall if you move to a new house)
- Heavy so needs lifting gear to move (pallet truck)
- Smaller than some other ovens
#4. Runner Up
Italian designers have led the way in fashion, style, and design for over a century. With brands such as Ferrari, Versace, Louis Vuitton, and Alfa Romeo cornering the luxury goods market, it’s hardly a surprise that this Italian designed and built pizza oven is a modern design classic. This sleek and stylish oven from Alfa combines ultra-stylish looks with cutting edge materials to give us the sexiest looking high-performance oven on our list. And just like a Ferrari, it comes with wheels! It is a mobile oven designed to be moved to the center spot of any outdoor event. Forget about those brick build behemoths of old, get yourself the new sexy now!
- Ultra-stylish modern look
- Designed for performance
- Small size
- Easy to move
- Strong hard-wearing materials
- Fast heating
- Smaller than some ovens
- Lower heat retention time – needs more fuel
#5. Runner Up
This oven is the king of kings when talking about wood fired pizza ovens. It is the commercial version of our number one oven – the CBO-750. In addition to the specification of the great countertop domestic model, the CBO-750 Hybrid is duel fuel. It uses wood and gas. You can choose between natural methane gas and liquid petroleum gas (propane). It also includes an industrial strength stand to support it. It cannot be beaten for quality, versatility, and performance.
- Superb duel fuel performance
- Fast heat-up times
- Super high temperatures
- Commercial grade construction
- Traditional design using state of the art materials
- Made in the USA
- It is very heavy – lifting equipment is needed to install
- It is expensive (but then you get what you pay for)
- It cannot be easily moved once installed
#6. Runner Up
The Piccolino is a barrel-shaped oven designed to offer a large cooking space but with minimal size. The oven is designed to be moved and comes with legs, castors, and a handrail to move it with. It is a good entry-level oven that offers great flexibility. The shape gives a greater floor space inside the oven and has a larger capacity than most other mobile ovens.
- Designed to be mobile
- High-quality powder-coated stainless-steel construction
- Comes with its stand and chimney
- Fits in small spaces
- Easy to move
- Slightly lower maximum temperature than some ovens
- Barrel shape may lead to slightly uneven heating of the oven
- Needs assembly of the stand and chimney
#7. Runner Up
This oven makes the top seven list mainly because of its price tag. At less than 10% of the cost of most of the other on this list, the Grilife oven provides a value for money alternative that is within everyone’s budget. The pressed and riveted stainless-steel design means it heats up quickly. It is simple to install and has many uses. It is designed as a wood pellet oven that can also use charcoal and wood. It is not the best-looking oven, but it does cook pizzas and costs less than $200.
- Low cost
- Easy to install
- Easy to move (ideal for group picnics)
- Rapid heat up time
- Can use wood, charcoal, or wood pellets
- Low heat retention
- Looks “functional”
- Has lower maximum temperatures than some other ovens
Things to consider – 7 Best Wood Fired Pizza Ovens
Only wood fired ovens give pizzas the authentic wood fired taste. Go into any high-end pizza restaurant in Italy and you will find a wood fired oven. Not a gas one or an electric one but a wood oven. Some people choose a multifuel oven so you can heat the oven using gas and then add wood fire for the flavor.
To produce the authentic Italian pizza taste you need high temperatures. Your normal domestic oven comes nowhere near reaching the 1000 degrees Fahrenheit needed for producing authentic tasting pizzas. To reach these temperatures you need thermal mass and insulation. Thermal mass is mass that absorbs and holds heat. Insulation keeps that heat in the walls and ceiling of the oven so it can be used to cook your pizza and not escape into the night sky. Thermal mass sounds (and is) heavy. Insulation is bulky. A good hot oven is both large and heavy.
So, a good oven needs to be big? Traditionally yes. Nowadays no. Modern materials help a lot in reducing size and weight. Traditional refractory clay and firebricks are being replaced with stainless steel. The old air gap and vermiculite insulations are being replaced with space-age ceramic fibers These new materials are stronger, lighter, and smaller than the traditional ones. You can have a great oven that doesn’t weigh a ton and you can put in the buck of the pickup.
The outside shape of the oven is purely your choice. From the inbuilt brick finish of a permanent cooking range oven to the sexy copper finished dome of a modern Italian portable oven, the exterior is purely aesthetic.
The internal shape of ovens has been perfected over hundreds of years. And just like hunting rifles and fishing lures, each shape has its uses. For pizzas, you need a round oven with a low ceiling. The flames roll around the inside of the oven and heat the walls and the ceiling. The pizzas are placed in the oven and the walls and ceiling radiate the trapped heat into the pizza and cook it.
If the ceiling is too high, the top cooks slower than the edges resulting in burnt edges and a raw topping. Traditional pizza ovens are round and referred to a Neapolitan style oven.
There is a beehive or igloo round oven, and these are useful for cooking pizza and other baked food like bread. The higher ceiling gives you more room for other food types. Sometimes these ovens are named after the ancient ones found buried in Pompeii. Hence the “Pompeii Oven”.
The barrel oven is literally like a barrel cut lengthways. The base is rectangular. These ovens often have slightly different temperatures across the floor area. They are also larger and have a higher roof. They are useful for cooking all types of food including bread, roast meats, and any food you cook in an oven in the kitchen. Because of their shape, they don’t heat up as hot as a round oven.
You can save money and turn your oven not a unique feature of your cooking range by choosing an oven kit. Kits usually comprise the internal oven chamber and a varying number of ancillary parts such as the door, insulation blanket and chimney. The remaining parts you source yourself. You build the base and assemble the oven. You finish the oven exterior in the materials and design of your choice.
The kits require a certain ability with hand tools and DIY materials. Assembly takes time due to the mixing, placing and drying time of the materials used. The local handyman or building contractor may help you.
You can, of course, construct your oven from scratch. This requires a high level of skill, all the materials and a great deal of time. You can see Shawn building his Pompeii style wood fired pizza oven here. It takes him 20 days from start to finish and you can see the high level of skill required. Great work Shawn. I would still opt for buying a readymade one personally.
The desired location of the oven needs to be considered. Some of the pre-assembled units weigh close to 1 ton. Unloading and moving the oven into position needs lifting equipment. Any route needs to be solid enough to take the load. You don’t want your oven to be slowly sinking into your soft green lawn!
The ovens are also big. Remember the insulation and thermal mass required? These all take up space so make sure you have good access width and room to site the oven.
Some ovens are designed to be moved. These tend to be the smaller barrel-shaped ovens that use modern insulation materials. Often the maximum temperatures and internal space are lower than the static ovens.
Summary – 7 Best Wood Fired Pizza Ovens
You can see there are many great options to choose from in our list of the 7 best wood fired pizza ovens. We have tried to include something that suits everyone’s needs and budget. The modern wood fired pizza oven is a combination of centuries-old practical design and cutting-edge modern materials. As with any product in life, you get what you pay for.
Personally, I am in love with the Alfa 4. It is a compromise between mobility, performance, capacity, and it looks fantastic. I also like the CBO-750 as an awesome oven to build into the home outdoor cooking range.
Which wood fired pizza oven will you choose?