What do you get when you spend more on a pizza oven?

 

Since outdoor pizza ovens range in price considerably, people often ask exactly what are they are getting when they spend $2,000 on a backyard pizza oven vs $500.  Can they make authentic, high temperature Neapolitan pizzas in both? The answer is yes.  So exactly what are the differences?   This blog will highlight the benefits you gain as the price goes up.  Use this a general guide as there are always exceptions but the following seems to apply to outdoor pizza ovens in general.

 

Entry Level ovens (less than $ 700 )

  • All of our ovens will cook a much better Neapolitan style pizza than you can in your home oven.  Period.
    • You need reach at least 800 - 900 degrees F to cook a Neapolitan pizza. Home ovens can’t do that.
    • You’ll achieve the nice puffy crust, the char or ‘leopard spotting’ on the outer crust, and crisp, well browned crust underneath.
    • The pizza will cook in between 60 seconds to 2 minutes
  • All can cook all other pizza types well, i.e., those requiring lower temperatures like Roman, New York, Chicago, and Detroit style pizzas.
  • All can also roast meats, fish, chicken, and vegetables. All with varying degrees of efficiency depending on the type and quality of the temperature control within the particular oven.
  • Most of these ovens have some, but not a lot of insulating material on the dome. So what?
    • These will likely be very hot to the touch.
    • It will may be harder to maintain the higher 800 -900 degree temps
  • Many have thinner ceramic plates, like cordierite. Which is totally fine, it browns the undercrust nicely, but the thinner the material, the less heat it retains.  So what?
    • The rebound time in these ovens is longer. You’ll need to wait and get the floor heated up again before making the next pizza.  It will take some time to cook many pizzas on after another.
  • Typically, a lower gauge and grade of stainless steel is used. Again, less insulating qualities, hotter to the touch, not retain the heat as long.
  • These ovens will be light and portable making them easy to transport.
  • They heat up to the required temperatures more quickly

 

Where the differences start ($700 to $2000)  - Premium ovens

  • These premium ovens will typically be made from better quality materials and have better insulation
    • Thicker gauge stainless steel is used, many may have a powdered steel coating on the exterior surface So what?
      • They will last longer and look better than the entry level ovens.
    • The will have more insulation (both ceramic fiber and refractory cement.  So what?
      • They will retain heat much longer which will make it easier to bake.  With entry level ovens, you often need to adjust the flame to maintain a consistent temperature when baking to maintain temperatures. Insulation in the premium ovens improve the consistency of the heat distribution, retain the heat longer,  and reduce the amount of fuel ( gas or wood) required to maintain the high temperatures needed to cook pizza.
  • The exterior will be much cooler to the touch.
  • They will have somewhat larger and thicker cooking surfaces. So what?
    • Faster cooking times. The cooking surface stays hotter longer and the rebound time is shorter
    • The higher end models typically can cook more than 1 pizza at a time.
      • This is really important if you are cooking for large parties or gatherings. Even at 2 minutes per pizza, if you are cooking for 10 people, feeding everyone takes a long time.
  • They will have better heating elements and more advanced temperature controls
    • Enabling you to maintain consistent temperatures throughout the cooking process,. Critical for achieving the perfect pizza crust, slow roasting meats,  and baking breads.
  • These ovens will be heavy and far less portable
    • Will typically weigh in from  150 to 350 lbs

 

Top of the line ovens ($2,000 to $3,000 and up)  - Professional

  • Larger ovens capable of cooking 2 to 4 pizzas at a time
  • Sophisticated heating elements, superior insulation, and more advanced temperature controls
  • Can easily be used to cook for crowds, large gatherings, or professionally. These are real work horses that will make perfect pizza after perfect pizza.
  • Much longer heat retention. Less fuel consumption. Very quick temperature rebound.
  • Outstanding construction often replacing the stainless steel with refractory bricks and mortar.
  • These ovens are works of art in themselves.  Their classic, timeless designs make these ovens the focal point of any outdoor entertaining area
  • Much heavier than other ovens, typically weighing in at  350 to over 500 lbs.
  • Typically need to be permanently set up on a counter or stand.

 

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