Although pizza purists may scoff at the idea, they can’t deny that portable pizza ovens are taking over backyards all over the USA. Sure, they might not be authentic as a hand-constructed brick oven, but man are they convenient!
With models like the Ooni Koda letting you host your own pizza parties for only a few hundred dollars, we’re in the middle of a mini pizza revolution.
But which portable oven should you choose?
A quick Google will reveal that there’s models leading the market:
In this article, I’ve compared and contrasted between these three models – to figure out which oven’s the best, and why.
Now I don’t want to be that guy who wastes a ton of your time by putting the conclusion at the end. So let’s do a quick conclusion.
Here’s the breakdown between all 3 models. I’ve highlighted the key points in bold, which are: Ooni Koda’s massively cheaper than the others, watch out for Ardore’s shipping fee but see below on how to get a big discount, and bear in mind the warranties.
|Portable Pizza Ovens Comparison||Roccbox|
|Price (€) [July 2019]||€569||€269||€475 (€50 off)|
|Price ($) [July 2019]||$699||$299||$530 ($60 off)|
|Shipping||Free||Free||$170 to USA|
|Cooking Area||12.4 x 13.3"|
315mm x 340 mm
|13¼ x 13¼” |
(337 x 337mm)
| (15¾ x 15¾")
(400mm x 400mm)
|Max Temp||932F (500C)||932F (500C)||1000F (550C)|
|Stone Depth||0.75" (19mm)||0.4" (10mm)||1.2" (30mm)|
|Weight||44lb (20kg)||20.4lbs (9.25kg)||44lb (20kg)|
|Warranty||1 year||3 years||2 years|
After hours of researching and writing about these three ovens, here’s the conclusions I’ve drawn:
- It turns out the comparison shouldn’t be between all 3 models, but between the Roccbox and the Ardore. The Ooni is too different – it’s like comparing apples and oranges.
- If you’re simply after a way to make pizzas at home for a great price – go for the Ooni. It’s cheapest, has the longest warranty, and still does a great job.
- For more serious pizza lovers, the question is the Ardore against the Roccbox. In my opinion, the Ardore is the better option. Both models are the same price, but the Ardore cooks better (see video below), is easier to work with (larger area), and has a longer warranty.
- The Roccbox is still a great oven. It cooks almost as well, with an incredible design that’ll be the talking point of any pizza party. It’s more tried and tested, and the company is based in the USA for easier customer support.
With the above said, all three of these portable ovens are excellent options. They’re market leaders for a reason. All 3 are capable of cooking excellent pizza – it’s just about practicing with them and knowing your equipment. If you just love the design or story behind one of them, don’t be afraid to just go with your gut!
There’s a lot more to be said than just the above points – though. I’ve gone into much more detail in the sections below. First, I want to quickly run through the ovens individually. Let’s take a quick look at their pros, cons, and why they’re so highly rated among the pizza community.
The Top 3 Portable Pizza Ovens
First up is the Roccbox. Why first? Because these guys are the team that really kick-started the portable pizza oven movement.
Back in early 2016, this young team from the UK absolutely crushed their $100,000 fundraising target on IndieGoGo. All within 12 hours of launching!
Since then they’ve built their product into one of the most popular portable pizza ovens to date.
Let me show you. Here’s how many Google searches have been performed for ‘Roccbox’ in the last 5 years. The huge spike in 2016 is their kickstarter, and the trend since then shows how popular they’ve become.
So why are they so popular? Take an excellent idea with a ton of hype, make a product that functions as you say it well, and wrap that all in a fantastic design. Bam – you’ve got thousands of satisfied customers.
When it comes to pizza – the Roccbox is everything you need. While the opening isn’t huge, it’s more than enough to allow for easy peel access. The flame – fueled by either propane or wood chips – roars up from the back and up along the ceiling of the oven to guarantee proper cooking from the top.
Having the option of wood or propane is a huge selling point for anyone wanting to experiment with both. And the large, iconic temperature gauge on the side makes for easy operation.
|Tried & Tested - A Community Favorite||Only 1-Year Warranty|
|Fantastic Design||Not As Large As Ardore|
|Wood or Gas (Both Types Included)|
The Roccbox is a fantastic option for a backyard pizza oven with quality to match it’s popularity.
Inside a sleek design – which is always a talking point – there roars a hell of a flame that will do any pizza justice. It’s easy to use, cooks great, and is made by a lovely team of pizza enthusiasts.
The link below takes you to Amazon (our website is supported by small commissions). To see the Roccbox on their main site instead, click here.
Ooni’s Koda is a fully functioning pizza oven that looks like it belongs in a Star Wars movie. It’s such a sleek design with the powder-coat finish. No pizza oven has the right to look this cool.
The Koda gives you all the joy of hosting your own pizza party for an incredibly low price.
It’s not got the widest opening, and the cooking stone is thinner than the others (not holding heat so well) – but these aren’t their main selling points.
The reason this is such a popular oven is that the Koda can cook some amazing pizzas if you’re happy to give it some practice and getting used to it. Ooni also released the ‘3’ which uses wood pellets (they were the pioneers of these), and the ‘Pro’ – which can use either wood or gas.
|Over 50% Cheaper||Smallest Size|
|Fantastic Design||Not As Powerful (i.e. Thinnest Stone)|
In my view, Ooni’s Koda model is the hands-down best value portable pizza oven on the market.
For such a low price it can stand with the rest of them in terms of cooking ability. It does take a bit of getting used to – particularly because of the smaller opening – but if you’re just after making delicious home-made pizza, the Koda will get you there for half the price of the competition.
The link below takes you to Amazon (our website is supported by small commissions). To see the Ooni models on their main site instead, check out these links:
Lastly, we have the Ardore. This is the newest oven on the block – but man does it pack some heat.
Shipped straight from the heart of Italy – Pizza Party’s take on portable pizza ovens is just as you’d expect. Powerful, traditional, and capable.
It’ll take a while to ship to you. The company (and customer support) are fully Italian. And the price isn’t cheap. But if you’re after authenticity, you can’t beat these genuine Italian ovens.
In fact, you can even get the cooking stone – Saputo Biscotto – as an upgrade. They’re handmade in Naples and are sworn by for most pizzerias across Italy. It does cost an extra 60 euros or so, but if you’re after authenticity you can’t beat cooking on these stones.
Now while I’m not sponsored by any of these companies, here’s where I can provide you some value! If you’re after an oven like this, I know that Pizza Party offers a discount for any ‘true’ fans that ask nicely on their forum. Sign up with them via this link, and make a post to ask ‘Simone’ for the discount. He normally sends it quickly – just reply to a thread like this one.
|Best Functionality||Shipped from Italy|
|Widest Opening||Shipping Fees Apply ($170)|
|Largest Cooking Surface / Thickest Stone||Standard (Basic) Design|
|Saputo (Naples) Stones Available|
|Discount Available (€50/$60)|
I’ll go into more detail in the comparison section below, but when it comes to the overall best portable pizza oven, it’s hard to argue against the Ardore.
It’s made and shipped from Italy. You can include the original cooking stones handmade in Naples. The oven opening is wide enough to allow for easy peel access. The cooking stone is the thickest (30mm), and it’s got the highest maximum temperature.
The bottom line – this portable oven is the closest thing to a full-sized pizza oven you’ll get (while still being portable!). Although it’s pretty bulky and isn’t as ‘pretty’ as something like a Roccbox, it’s raw functionality and authenticity are unrivaled.
The link below takes you to Amazon (our website is supported by small commissions). To see the Ardore on their main site instead, click here.
Comparing the 3 Best Portable Pizza Ovens
Okay – so let’s compare between all three models.
First, we need to consider an important aspect – price. At the time of writing, the prices are:
Ooni: $299 (free shipping)
Roccbox: $699 (free shipping)
Ardore: $700 ($590-$60 discount+$170 shipping)
Now, when we take into the fact that all three models can cook great pizza – the Ooni just becomes the obvious choice. It’s 43% of the price of the other models, and still works great! Not to mention the amazing looks and 3 year warranty.
The first conclusion we can draw is:
If you’re just after home-cooking some delicious pizza in your backyard, and aren’t too fussed about all the ins-and-outs of the process, then choose the Ooni. It’s price is unbeatable, and it’s a fantastic product.
Now, let’s compare between the two bigger dogs – the $699 Roccbox and $700 Ardore.
|Portable Pizza Ovens Comparison||Roccbox|
|Price (€) [July 2019]||€569||€475 (€50 off)|
|Price ($) [July 2019]||$699||$530 ($60 off)|
|Shipping||Free||$170 to USA|
|Cooking Area||12.4 x 13.3"|
315mm x 340 mm
| (15¾ x 15¾")
(400mm x 400mm)
|Max Temp||932F (500C)||1000F (550C)|
|Stone Depth||0.75" (19mm)||1.2" (30mm)|
|Weight||44lb (20kg)||44lb (20kg)|
|Warranty||1 year||2 years|
Comparing on some of the major points above, we can see the the Ardore has:
- A larger cooking area (248sq. in vs 166sq.in)
- Thicker cooking stone (1.2″ vs 0.75″)
- Higher maximum temp (1000F vs 932F)
- Longer warranty (2 years vs 1 year)
- More authentic (Italian made with optional Saputo stones)
That being said, the Roccbox isn’t going down without a fight. It has:
- A more modern, sleek design
- Shipped and supported from within the US
- Gas and wood options
Each of the ‘winners’ above have different importances to everyone. For some, the Ardore’s better capability and authenticity might win them out. For others, the Roccbox might stand out if you’d prefer looks, ease of use, and customer support over cooking ability and authenticity.
Let’s take a look and see how both of these actually perform.
In the video, Gigio is cooking the same pizza for 90 seconds in the ovens at 400C (750F). Cooking starts at 2:35. Results at 4:15.
The first thing this video shows me? How much I want pizza right now! Damn, do those look delicious.
While this is only one comparison, Gigio’s done a really good job of keeping everything the same. It’s actually the second video – the first he let the Roccbox keep cooking until it was done (total cooking time of 2 minutes).
Let’s compare the results below.
First, even though both ovens are set to 400C, it’s clear the Ardore has cooked the pizza more thoroughly. We can see from the browning of the crust, and the way that cheese is much more melted. The Roccbox needed more time to do the same job.
Next, let’s look at what everyone knows is the real star of the show. The pizza base.
Again, we can see here that the Ardore has done a much better job of giving the pizza the heat it needs. Surprising when both ovens were set to the same temperature.
In my opinion, this is due to the better, thicker cooking stone that holds more heat. It means the stone doesn’t cool as much when the pizza is placed on it – making for better cooking.
Again, the Roccbox can match this type of charring – it just needs more time to do it. This is the real bottom line with three of these ovens: they can all do the same job if you have the time to practice and learn how to use them.
If the question is about which does it easiest, then the Ardore is the answer.
Just to state the discount again – the (amazing) guys at Pizza Party offer a $60 discount to users on their forums. Sign up here, and just make a post asking Simone for a code. They’re also super helpful and are always answering any questions people ask – if you have any.
Portable pizza ovens are such an amazing invention.
There’s no better food to bring people together than pizza, and there’s no better way to enjoy it than home-cooked in your own backyard.
The 3 pizza ovens I’ve compared here are all more than capable of letting you throw your own amazing pizza party. While the Ooni does it for an unbeatable price, the Roccbox and Ardore step up to give you another level of pizza-creating power.
If you’re still not sure what type of oven is best for you – don’t worry. I’ve written a huge, full, free guide to all the different kinds of pizza ovens. Check it out here for a ton of pizza-inspiration.