When people think of pizza ovens, they usually picture a massive brick structure fueled by hand-chopped wood that produces perfectly crispy, delicious pies. However, it can be challenging for the average home cook to achieve that level of pizza perfection without access to a traditional brick oven. Fortunately, small electric pizza ovens offer many of the same benefits as their larger counterparts without the need for chopping wood.
While these countertop pizza ovens cannot fully replace a classic brick oven, modern technology allows them to produce comparable results in your own kitchen. With dozens of options available, electric pizza ovens are affordable, space-saving, and capable of creating mouth-watering, wood-fired-style pizzas. Therefore, if you are a pizza lover, a pizza oven can be an excellent, cost-effective alternative to a large, brick oven in your backyard. In this pizza oven buying guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to find the best pizza oven for your needs.
How Does A Pizza Oven Work?
Pizza ovens are designed to cook pizzas quickly and evenly. A typical pizza oven uses radiant heat to cook the pizza from both the top and bottom. The oven floor is usually made of a heat-retaining material, like stone or ceramic, which absorbs and evenly distributes heat. The oven also has a heating element at the top to provide additional heat to cook the toppings and melt the cheese.
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- Rotating tray turns continuously to assure even baking.
- Top and bottom heating elements bake foods from both sides. Heating elements are separately controlled, allowing you to select top, bottom, or both elements for perfect results every time.
- Timer signals end of cooking time and automatically turns off heating elements.
- Saves as much as 60% in energy compared to a conventional oven.
- Removable nonstick baking pan is easy to clean and store.
What to Consider Before Choosing A Pizza Oven?
- How much space do you have?
Measuring the space available for your pizza oven is important to ensure that it will fit comfortably in your home and meet your cooking and entertaining needs. This is especially important if you are considering a larger, heavier oven or a wood-fired oven that may require additional space for ventilation.
When measuring the space, consider not only the size of the oven itself but also any additional equipment or accessories you may need, such as a stand or prep table. You may also want to consider the location of the oven in relation to other areas of your home, such as your kitchen or outdoor entertaining space.
If you are considering a wood-fired oven, be aware that these ovens can produce smoke, so you will need to plan for adequate ventilation to ensure that the smoke does not interfere with your cooking or entertaining. This may include installing a long chimney or venting system to move the smoke out of the chef’s way.
Finally, if you are not planning to move anytime soon, you may want to consider building an oven into the existing structure of your home, either indoors or outdoors. This can be a great way to create a permanent, custom-designed oven that fits perfectly into your home and meets all of your cooking and entertaining needs.
- How much food do you want to cook?
When considering the capacity of the oven, think about the size of the pizzas or other foods you plan to cook, as well as the quantity. Some pizza ovens may be able to cook multiple small pizzas at once, while others may be better suited for larger pizzas or other dishes.
If you only plan to cook pizzas for a small family or a few guests, a smaller oven may be sufficient. However, if you plan to entertain large groups of people or frequently host parties, a larger oven may be necessary.
You also need to consider your future needs when selecting a pizza oven, as the best outdoor pizza ovens will last a lifetime. If you anticipate hosting larger gatherings or cooking more food in the future, it may be worth investing in a larger oven that can accommodate your future needs.
- What material is the pizza oven made from?
The materials used in the construction of the pizza oven can also affect the overall aesthetic of your outdoor living space. Some pizza ovens are designed to have a more traditional or rustic look, while others may be more modern or sleek in appearance.
Additionally, consider the type of fuel your pizza oven will use. Wood-fired pizza ovens can provide a unique flavor to your pizzas and other dishes, but they require a bit more maintenance and cleanup compared to gas or electric ovens.
Overall, when selecting a pizza oven, consider the design and materials used in its construction, as well as its fuel source, to ensure it meets your functional and aesthetic needs.
- What kind of fuel will you use for your pizza oven?
There are several fuel options available for pizza ovens, including:
Wood: Wood-fired pizza ovens are a popular choice for those who prefer the traditional flavors of wood-fired pizza. They use wood as the primary fuel source and require no electricity.
Gas: Gas pizza ovens are easy to operate and can heat up quickly. They are fueled by natural gas or propane, and they offer consistent heat for cooking pizzas.
Charcoal: Charcoal-fired pizza ovens are similar to wood-fired ovens in terms of flavor, but they are easier to manage and clean. They use charcoal as the primary fuel source and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Electric: Electric pizza ovens are convenient and easy to use. They are fueled by electricity and can be used both indoors and outdoors. They offer precise temperature control and consistent heat for cooking pizzas.
Hybrid: Some pizza ovens offer a hybrid option, which allows you to use multiple fuel sources, such as gas and wood. This gives you the flexibility to choose the fuel source that best fits your needs and preferences.
What to Look for In A Pizza Oven?
When shopping for the best pizza oven, there are several features to consider:
Pizza Oven Types
There are several types of pizza ovens, including:
If you have space and budget, a built-in pizza oven can be a great addition to your home. These ovens are designed to be permanently installed in your outdoor kitchen or patio area. They typically provide a large cooking surface and can reach high temperatures for restaurant-quality pizza.
These built-in pizza ovens are the traditional way of cooking pizza. They use wood as fuel and are usually made of brick or clay. The wood-fired oven heats up to a very high temperature, which cooks the pizza quickly and gives it a unique smoky flavor.
Gas pizza ovens use propane or natural gas as fuel sources. They are easier to operate and maintain than wood-fired ovens and can cook pizza at a consistent temperature. These ovens are commonly used in commercial settings.
Electric pizza ovens are powered by electricity and are typically smaller and less expensive than traditional pizza ovens, making them perfect for home kitchen use. They are easy to use and maintain and can cook pizza at a consistent temperature. Also, many models come with digital controls and timers.
Conveyor pizza ovens have a conveyor belt that moves the pizza through the oven. These ovens are commonly used in commercial settings, as they can cook many pizzas at once.
If you have limited space or a smaller budget, a small pizza oven might be the perfect solution. These ovens are typically portable and can be used both indoors and outdoors. They come in various sizes, from countertop models to tabletop models, and are ideal for cooking small pizzas or other baked goods.
Countertop pizza ovens are small electric ovens that are designed for home use. They are compact and can cook a small pizza or a few slices of pizza at a time.
Portable pizza ovens are an excellent choice for those who enjoy outdoor activities like camping, picnics, or tailgating. Portable pizza ovens are small, lightweight ovens. These ovens are typically small and lightweight and can be powered by propane, electricity, wood, or charcoal. They’re easy to set up and can cook delicious, authentic pizzas in just a few minutes.
Adjustable heat settings
Having adjustable heat settings is an important feature in pizza ovens, as it allows you to customize the cooking temperature to suit the type of pizza you are making. Different types of pizza crust require different cooking temperatures, so having the ability to adjust the heat setting can help ensure that your pizza turns out perfectly. Additionally, some pizza ovens may have specific settings for cooking other types of foods, such as bread, cookies, or even roasting meat, which can make them even more versatile in the kitchen.
A rotating pan helps to ensure even cooking and prevents any part of the pizza from getting burnt or undercooked. It can also help to make sure that the toppings are evenly distributed across the pizza. Having a removable and dishwasher-safe pan makes it easy to clean up after cooking, which is always a plus.
A timer is also a very useful feature in pizza ovens, as it allows you to set the cooking time and not worry about overcooking or burning your pizza. It gives you the freedom to do other tasks while your pizza cooks, without having to constantly check on it. This feature is especially helpful for busy families or individuals who want to save time in the kitchen.
Electric pizza ovens are generally more energy efficient and cost-effective than full-size kitchen ovens. They use less energy to heat up and cook the pizza, which can save on energy costs over time. Additionally, because they are smaller in size, they don’t take as long to heat up as a full-size oven, which can also save energy.
Using a countertop pizza oven instead of a conventional oven on hot days can also help keep your home cooler. A full-size oven generates a lot of heat when in use, which can make your home feel warmer and cause your air conditioning to work harder. A small pizza oven generates less heat and won’t have as much impact on the temperature of your home.
The exact cooking time will depend on the type of pizza being cooked, as well as the oven itself. A frozen pizza may only take a few minutes to cook in a pizza oven, while a fresh pizza with a thicker crust may take a bit longer.
A countertop pizza oven can cook pizza more quickly than a conventional oven. This is because of the dual-heating elements and the smaller size of the oven, which allows the heat to circulate more quickly and efficiently. As a result, pizzas can be cooked in a matter of minutes, which is great for busy families or individuals who want to save time in the kitchen.
While pizza ovens are designed primarily for cooking pizza, they can be surprisingly versatile appliances that can be used for a variety of different foods. As you mentioned, electric pizza ovens can be great for cooking flatbreads, nachos, cinnamon buns, and even desserts like s’mores. They are also ideal for cooking foods that require high heat and quick cooking times, such as chicken wings or roasted vegetables.
Additionally, some pizza ovens come with accessories that make them even more versatile. For example, some models come with grill plates or baking stones that can be used for cooking different types of foods. With these accessories, you can use your pizza oven for grilling meats, baking bread, or even making homemade panini sandwiches.
Which is Better, a Toaster oven VS a Round Cooker?
A toaster oven and a round cooker are two different types of pizza ovens with different features and advantages.
Toaster ovens are small electric ovens and are more versatile than round cookers, as they can be used for a variety of tasks beyond just cooking pizza, such as toasting bread, baking, and broiling.
They are also generally more affordable than round cookers and take up less space on the countertop. Some toaster ovens are specifically designed for making pizzas, and they may have a built-in pizza stone or a rotating tray for even cooking. However, toaster oven-style pizza ovens may not produce the same quality of pizza as a traditional pizza oven or a round cooker.
Round cookers are specifically designed for cooking pizza and generally produce better quality pizza than toaster ovens. It uses dual heating elements to cook the pizza from both the top and bottom, and some models even have a rotating pan for even cooking. Round cookers can cook pizzas evenly in just a few minutes, which is much faster than a toaster oven. And the nonstick coating makes cleanup easy. However, round cookers are less versatile than toaster ovens and take up more space on the countertop.
In summary, if you are looking for a dedicated pizza oven that can cook pizzas quickly and evenly, a round cooker is likely the better choice. However, if you are looking for a multi-purpose appliance that can also be used for other cooking tasks, a toaster oven may be a better option.
Is an Electric Or Wood-Fired Pizza Oven Better?
The choice between an electric or wood-fired pizza oven depends on personal preference and intended use. Wood-fired ovens offer a unique smoky flavor that is difficult to replicate with other types of fuel. They also reach high temperatures quickly, making them great for cooking pizzas and other dishes that require high heat. However, they require more maintenance and monitoring to ensure proper fuel and heat management.
On the other hand, electric pizza ovens are more convenient and easier to use, as they do not require fuel management and can be operated with the push of a button. They also do not produce smoke, making them ideal for indoor use. However, they may not reach the high temperatures that wood-fired ovens can achieve, which can affect the taste and texture of the pizza crust.
Ultimately, it depends on what you prioritize in a pizza oven. If you value the unique taste and experience of wood-fired pizza and are willing to put in the extra effort to manage the fuel and heat, a wood-fired oven may be the way to go. However, if you prioritize convenience and ease of use, an electric pizza oven may be the better choice.
Investing in the best pizza oven for your needs can take your homemade pizza game to the next level. Whether you opt for a built-in pizza oven for your outdoor kitchen, a small electric pizza oven for your countertop, or a portable pizza oven for your next outdoor adventure, there’s a pizza oven out there that’s perfect for you. Use this pizza oven buying guide to help you find the right one and start making delicious, restaurant-quality pizza at home.