Charcoal Pizza Ovens: Your Ultimate Buying Guide in 2022

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Are you looking for a charcoal pizza oven?

Do you picture the dough kneaded by hand when you think of making your pizza? 

Maybe it’s the sauce being spread by fingers or the cheese and toppings carefully being placed in just the right places. 

While it’s certainly possible to do all these things with your hands, why would you limit yourself when there are so many kitchen gadgets out there that make cooking easier? 

When making pizza, using a charcoal pizza oven can be one of the best decisions you ever make.

Let’s find out why!

What is a Charcoal Pizza Oven? 

A charcoal pizza oven is an appliance often made from terracotta built around mostly baking purposes. The smoke and heat from burning charcoal create an excellent environment for baking food, especially pizza. 

These appliances come in different shapes and sizes and can cost anywhere from $100 to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on how luxurious you want.

Can You Use Charcoal in a Pizza Oven?

Yes!, you can use charcoal in a pizza oven. 

Many people have been using charcoal for years with great success. The key is to use a quality hardwood lump charcoal that burns hot and clean. 

Lump charcoal burns cleaner than briquettes, which contain binders and fillers. It also produces less ash than briquettes. 

This means it’s easier to keep your oven clean between pizzas! 

The higher heat from burning lump charcoal means it will take less time to preheat your oven than if you were using other types of fuel (like propane or natural gas).

What Kind of Charcoal Do You Use for a Pizza Oven?

Generally speaking, anthracite charcoal briquettes are your best bet for pizza oven cooking. 

These hardwood briquettes burn hot and clean and leave little ash behind. They’re also easy to light and produce a steady stream of heat that will cook your pizza evenly.

How Much Charcoal Do You Put in a Pizza Oven?

If you have a charcoal pizza oven, you know it needs a steady fuel supply to maintain an 800 degrees F for an extended period. 

So how much charcoal is adequate? 

Well, you should fill the charcoal drawer to half or three-quarters full. 

You will also need to add more as you cook, so always have some on hand.

What Does Charcoal Pizza Taste Like?

Adding vegetable charcoal to your pizza oven can add a distinctive smoky flavor to your pizza. The good news is that it’s not an overpowering taste but rather a subtle hint of woodsy goodness. 

Vegetable charcoal is entirely natural and won’t affect your food. 

However, if you don’t like a smoky flavor in your food, you might want to skip adding vegetable charcoal to your pizza oven.

Who Should Buy a Charcoal Pizza Oven? 

Charcoal pizza ovens are ideal for people who have a passion for cooking and love to be in their backyard. 

It’s also perfect for those who like entertaining friends and family, especially during the summer when you can enjoy your food outside. 

It is not ideal for those that want an easy setup or quick cook time, as charcoal takes longer than gas or electric ovens.

Why Do You Need a Charcoal Pizza Oven?

We don’t know about you, but we love cooking with charcoal! 

And if you can get over your fear of burning down your house and take advantage of what a charcoal oven can do for your pizzas, then you’ll be glad to know that these ovens offer plenty of things that gas and electric ones simply can’t. 

But let’s start with why you should even consider getting one first. Because here’s something most people don’t realize: 

Using a charcoal pizza oven is fun and can make your food taste better!

Benefits of Charcoal Pizza Ovens

 The benefits of charcoal pizza ovens are numerous. For one, they’re much more affordable than wood-fired brick ovens. Also, they’re easier to build and maintain than a brick oven. 

And finally, they produce a unique flavor that can’t be replicated by any other cooking method. 

Here are some of our favorite reasons for building your charcoal pizza oven:

  1. They’re fun!

It doesn’t get much better than cooking in an outdoor fire pit, especially when you have friends over to share in the experience.

  1. The food tastes great!

There is no substitute for real fire-cooked food.

  1. They keep you healthy!

While a traditional indoor gas or electric oven might heat an entire house during use, an outdoor pizza oven heats what it needs: you and your food.

  1. They’re easy to maintain!

You don’t need special tools or equipment to keep your pizza oven in good working order; just a shovel and some elbow grease will do it every time.

  1. They look great!

 A cast-iron pizza oven is a beautiful addition to any yard or patio.

Factors to consider when buying a charcoal pizza oven

When shopping around for a charcoal pizza oven, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Warranty

This is important because it protects you if anything goes wrong with your oven. Also, it shows that you’re getting something of quality and craftsmanship. 

It also shows that they stand behind their product and are confident in its ability to last.

  • Quality

Regarding charcoal pizza ovens, you’ll want to look for features that can help keep your product running in tip-top shape. 

This includes double-walled insulation and a stone floor. It also includes how easy it is to use and clean, how durable it is, and how long it will last.

  • Capacity

When looking at charcoal pizza oven capacity, you’ll want to consider how many pizzas it can hold at once. 

Most of these ovens can hold up to 4 personal pizzas. Some larger versions can hold up to 8 or 10 pies! If you plan on having big parties or hosting many people, a large capacity will be helpful.

  • Price Range

The price may be a significant concern if you’re on a budget or have limited resources. 

If that’s the case, it may be worth looking at some cheaper models and sacrificing some of their features or functions to save money. 

It’s always possible to upgrade later if you find that your needs require something better down the road.

  • Design

Before making your final decision, it’s wise to consider how your oven will look in your backyard. 

The design will be a significant factor if you’re trying to build a nice outdoor kitchen or entertaining area. 

You’ll want something that looks great and can work with your home decor. Size and shape can help you make a more informed decision when choosing an oven that fits well with your landscape.

  • Cooking Temperature and Time

The average cooking temperature should be about 500 degrees F. It would be better to get your oven even hotter, up to 800 degrees F. 

However, many variables are the most important thing to know about cooking temperature and time. 

To ensure your pizza cooks evenly, you must learn how to use your oven and adjust accordingly. 

The best way to do that is by taking temperature readings inside your oven while you cook. 

It might seem a little obsessive, but it becomes second nature once you get used to checking things out.

  • Assembly & Installation 

Charcoal pizza ovens are relatively easy to assemble and install. The average DIYer can put one together daily, while professional contractors can have them up and running in a few hours. 

Most models come with installation instructions, though you may want to hire an expert if you’re inexperienced or unsure of your abilities. You’ll also need to find a location for your oven-ideally, it should be placed where it won’t get too much sun or rain.

Common Product Features

Charcoal pizza ovens have the following features:

  1. Use charcoal

As the name goes, charcoal pizza ovens use charcoal to heat up and cook your pizzas. 

They’re an alternative to gas-powered models, which are more expensive and harder to maintain. 

Plus, they give you a smoky flavor that makes your pies taste like they were cooked in a brick oven.

  1. Cook pizzas in minutes

They can cook a pizza in just a few minutes, which is way faster than gas-powered models, which take up to an hour to heat up and cook your pies. 

This makes them perfect for parties or gatherings where you want to serve fresh pizzas quickly.

  1. Easy to clean and maintain

Most charcoal pizza ovens are easy to clean and maintain, with most requiring little more than a simple wipe-down with a damp cloth after each use. 

The best part is that most models even come with a carry bag, which makes it easy to store and move them around.

  1. Versatile

These ovens are a great option for chefs who want to cook more than just pizzas. Most products come with a grilling grate that allows you to cook other foods in addition to pizza-such as steaks, burgers, or vegetables.

  1. Convenient

Because they’re portable, most models quickly move around and store away when not in use. You can even take them with you on camping trips or set them up in your backyard for an impromptu pizza party. 

Some ovens even have extra features like venting systems that make it easier to cook outdoors.

  1. Durable and long-lasting

Most charcoal pizza ovens are made from high-quality materials that can withstand years of abuse without showing wear and tear. 

And because they’re so durable, many products come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects-which means that if anything goes wrong, you won’t have to worry about replacing it!

The Differences Between Cheap vs. Expensive Options

If you’re shopping for a new charcoal pizza oven, you may notice some significant price differences among different models. 

Price and quality are generally correlated (as with most things in life), but there are still good reasons to buy a less expensive model. 

Brand names also affect the pricing. You’ll find that most of these cheaper models are imported from overseas, as most pizza oven manufacturers in America focus on wood-fired ovens rather than charcoal options. 

While these imported models may look like their more expensive American counterparts, they often don’t have specific features you may need for your setup.

Pitfalls to watch out for

Setup: A charcoal pizza oven takes at least an hour to heat up and cool down to get it to a usable temperature. 

Timing: If you’re planning on serving pizza right away, you may find a room full of cranky, hungry guests while your oven slowly gets up to temperature.

Temperature: Sometimes, that heat can’t escape. You can dial up or down on a thermostat to control your oven temperature if you have an ordinary oven. 

You don’t have that option with a charcoal pizza oven because it doesn’t use electricity; you must manually adjust vents to regulate airflow and temperature. 

If you aren’t paying attention, your pizza will cook too fast (or worse: burn) without warning.

Some models are also challenging to clean. 

If you don’t want to spend hours scraping off charred bits of crust, you’ll need to invest in a pizza peel with a long handle and/or a special scraper. 

And if you do clean it, there’s no guarantee that your next pizza won’t leave blackened bits all over again.

Things to Avoid when Buying a Charcoal Pizza Oven

Knowing how pizza can be made in a charcoal oven makes you understand just how demanding it can be to get a perfect piece. 

However, there are still some things that you should avoid when buying a charcoal pizza oven. These include poor quality steel, poor ventilation, and inadequate insulation.

  1. Poor quality steel is an issue because it could make your oven rust quickly and conduct heat less efficiently.
  1. Poor ventilation means you won’t get as much heat from your charcoal as possible.
  1. Inadequate insulation means more fuel will be used by heating your oven rather than cooking your food!

Instead, avoid these pitfalls and use high-quality materials like stainless steel, solid wood doors, and thick walls for sound insulation.

Recommended Charcoal Pizza Ovens

  1. Ooni Karu 16 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven
  2. Ooni Karu 16 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven

    The first and only pizza oven to be ‘Recommended for Domestic Use’ by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the acclaimed international authority on true Neapolitan pizza.

    • Multiple fuel options for maximum cooking versatility
    • Cook with wood or charcoal out of the box, or use gas with the Ooni Karu 16 Gas Burner 
    • Reaches 950°F (500°C) in just 15 minutes
    Check it Out

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  3. Ooni Pro 16 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven
  4. Ooni Pro 16  Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven

    Flame-cook epic meals outdoors with wood, charcoal, or gas. Whatever you’re cooking, achieve the exceptional with Ooni Pro. Reach temperatures up to 500°C (932°F), adjusting the oven heat using Ooni Pro’s dual airflow control system. 

    Check it Out

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  5. Ooni Karu 12 Outdoor Pizza Oven
  6. Ooni Karu 12 Outdoor Pizza Oven

    Master the art of fire with Ooni Karu 12. Fueled by real wood or charcoal, cook authentic wood-fired, stone-baked pizza in any outdoor space in just 60 seconds.

    Ooni Karu’s custom-designed fuel tray maximizes airflow and delivers a powerful blast of searing flame - load it up with real wood or charcoal, with no excess ash to clean. Gas option with additional burner.

    Check it Out

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  7. WPPO Stand Alone Wood Fired Eco Oven with Pizza Stone
  8. WPPO Stand Alone Wood Fired Eco Oven with Pizza Stone

    Bake more than just pizza with the WPPO Eco outdoor wood-fired oven. The Eco outdoor oven features a dual-chamber design with separate doors for the upper cooking chamber and lower furnace chamber, as well as a pullout ash bin for easy cleanup.

    Cook with indirect heat using the included pizza stone or cooking directly on the grates. Includes a freestanding cart with a storage shelf and wheels. Enjoy authentic wood-fired oven baking in your own backyard

    • Powder-coated steel oven exterior with stainless steel doors
    • Stainless steel cooking grates
    • Move easily on the included cart with wheels and wood storage

    Check it Out

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  9. WPPO Le Peppe Portable Wood Fired Pizza Oven with Peel
  10. WPPO Le Peppe Portable Wood Fired Pizza Oven with Peel

    Portable wood-fired pizza oven that can use wood chunks, pellets, charcoal, and lump coal to fuel the oven.

    • Great for making pizza or other oven-baked dishes
    • The only portable pizza oven that uses a downdraft air system
    • Easily add fuel through a feeder as the oven cooks
    • The Interior of the grill is made with stainless steel, the exterior is made with powder-coated steel
    Check it Out

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  11. Made in USA Kettlepizza Pro 22 Kit
  12. Made in USA Kettlepizza Pro 22 Kit

    This kit offers the basic KettlePizza unit plus the popular ProGrate/Tombstone Combo. This kit has a Tombstone which is stone is 15.7 inches x 14.5 inches with a rounded edge.

    Since it is thicker, it retains more heat and makes pizza placement and removal easier. This combination allows higher dome temperatures for quicker bakes and side access openings for easier refueling.

    This kit includes a FREE Aluminum Pro Pizza peel

    Check it Out

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How to Choose the Best Charcoal Pizza Oven for You

When you’re looking for a charcoal pizza oven, you have a few considerations:

  1. Cooking style

One of your most significant considerations is the cooking style when choosing a charcoal pizza oven. 

If you’re only planning on making pizzas and other Italian dishes, then a smaller oven will do just fine. 

However, if you want to cook more than just pizza, it’s best to invest in a larger model.

  1. Next, you’ll want to consider the size.

A smaller oven will be fine if you’re only planning on cooking for yourself and your family. 

However, if you plan to cook for parties or larger groups of people, it’s best to invest in a larger model that can cook more pizzas.

  1. Your budget is a significant factor in choosing a charcoal pizza oven.

While you can find some models for under $500, most are over $1,000 and can go up to $10,000 or more. 

If you’re on a tight budget, choose an inexpensive model that still meets your needs rather than splurging on something expensive that won’t get used often enough to justify its cost.

  1. What is your cooking environment like?

Depending on your climate, you may want to invest in a model with a cover to protect it from rain and snow. Other considerations include accessibility and storage space. 

If you have limited space or mobility issues, it’s best to choose an oven that can be wheeled out for use when needed and then wheeled back into storage quickly.

  1. How often do you plan on using your pizza oven?

If you don’t plan to use your oven more than once or twice a month, it’s best to invest in a cheaper model that isn’t made of high-quality materials. 

On the other hand, if you plan to cook at least a few times per week and want something that will last for years, you should invest in a higher-end model.

Charcoal Pizza Oven FAQs

Does charcoal burn longer than wood?

The answer is yes; charcoal burns longer than wood, making it useful for specific applications. 

Several factors determine how long fuel will burn, including its chemical makeup. 

Regarding charcoal vs. wood, briquettes have more energy per pound than logs. 

This means they’ll burn hotter and longer when they’re burned in an oven or grill.

Can you mix charcoal and wood in a pizza oven?

Of course Yes!. 

When used together, charcoal and wood can produce a delicious smoky flavor for your food. 

The key is not to use too much wood in your oven; otherwise, you’ll just burn it up without achieving any of that lovely smokey flavor.

Tips for Using a Charcoal Pizza Oven

Using a charcoal pizza oven is easy! But, it can be a little intimidating if you’ve never cooked with charcoal. Follow these tips to get started.

  1. Use a pizza stone or steel to help cook your pizza evenly. You can also use a baking sheet, but it won’t give you that nice crisp crust you’re looking for in a wood-fired oven.
  2. Keep an eye on your coals! They will burn out quickly if you don’t keep an eye on them and add more as needed throughout cooking.
  3. Make sure your oven is fully heated before adding your pizza! Charcoal-fired ovens take a while to heat up, so be patient and wait until you see some flames before adding your pizza. 
  4. You don’t want to risk burning it!
  5. Don’t overload your oven with too many pizzas at once! It may seem like a good idea, but it will lower your cooking temperature and result in an unevenly cooked pizza.
  6. Have fun! Cooking with charcoal is a blast, and once you get used to using your oven, you’ll never want to go back to cooking on a regular stovetop again!

Here’s How to Set Up an Ooni Charcoal Pizza Oven

The Last Slice

Charcoal pizza ovens have developed a distinct culture surrounding them. They’re not just a way to cook pizzas. They’re an experience and one that you can share with friends and family. 

If you want to get involved in a charcoal pizza oven, then it’s essential to do your research before buying any. 

Hopefully, our ultimate guide helped you understand how they work, what features are essential when making your purchase, and the details you need to know about this equipment. 

Grab yours today and start enjoying those tasty pizzas!

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