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Ooni is the first company that most people think of when it comes to pizza ovens. They have gas ovens, multi-fuel (gas, charcoal and wood) ovens, and a recently released electric oven that can also work indoors. We wanted to see if their pizza ovens lived up to the hype, so we bought an Ooni Koda 12 gas pizza oven to test out.
Features and Specs
- Retail price of $399 (check price)
- It reaches 950°F in about 15 minutes
- Runs off propane gas
- Made for cooking 12″ pizzas
- 10mm cordierite stone for heat retention
- Weighs just over 20 lbs
- Priced well
- Performs as advertised
- Quality product
- Ignitor doesn’t work well in cold and breezy conditions
Ooni Model Line-up
When we decided we wanted to test an Ooni pizza oven, the first question was which model should we test? The first thing to pick out was the fuel source. Ooni’s models are broken-up by fuel, as follows.
- Ooni Karu – This is multi-fuel pizza oven that can run on gas, wood, or charcoal. The gas burner is sold separately.
- Ooni Koda – This is a propane gas fired pizza oven
- Ooni Volt – This is their new electric pizza oven
- Ooni Frya – This is a pellet fueled pizza oven
For making pizzas we like propane the best as a fuel source. It heats up quicker and gets hotter. It also requires less work and clean-up than a wood fired oven.
We’re using the pizza oven primarily for pizzas. With how quickly those cook in a pizza oven, you won’t get much flavor from wood. Plus, we have grills for food we want to impart wood flavor into.
12 inch vs 16 inch
The next thing to pick when purchasing a pizza oven is the size. Ooni offers all their outdoor ovens in 12 inch and 16 inch. The 16 inch is better if you plan to cook a variety of food, or for just a little extra space to maneuver a pizza for beginners.
The 12 inch on the other hand is better on your budget. We mainly plan to cook pizzas and didn’t want to spend the extra money for more space, so we went with the Ooni Koda 12.
Packaging and Setup
The Ooni Koda can packed really well in the box. Most importantly, the pizza stone was packed flat with Styrofoam on both sides of it. We’ve had other pizza ovens arrived with cracked or chipped stones, but the Ooni’s was flawless.
Setup with the Ooni Koda is a breeze. It comes all put together in the box, you just fold out the three legs, and put the pizza stone in the oven. Then it’s ready to be connected to a propane tank and fired-up.
The Koda has a sleek and refined look to it. It looks well put together, and like a quality product overall.
The Ooni comes with a built-in ignitor. To start the oven, you push-in and slowly rotate the knob on the back of the oven. This will supply gas and fire the ignitor, to get it ready to use.
The ignitor is the one area that we wish the Ooni Koda was better. We’re based in Michigan, and one day the temperature was in the teens, with a little bit of a breeze, and we couldn’t get the pizza oven to start.
We tried over and over again for a solid 30-minutes, with no luck. We even tried different propane tanks, and everything else we could think of. When it’s that cold out, and you have hungry people wanting pizza, the last thing you want to do is mess with starting a pizza oven.
With cold hands, and on the verge of ordering pizza, we ended up manually lighting the oven with a match. A pizza oven has an enclosed dome, so it was a little scary manually lighting, even with waiting for the gas to dissipate.
Ooni is based in Scotland, so they have cold winters, and they claim their ovens are designed to work year-round. That wasn’t what we experienced, as our oven lighted just fine after that when it was a little more mild outside.
We’d still recommend the oven despite that, but it’s something to be aware of if you live somewhere cold and you plan to make pizza all year. It would be nice though if the oven came with an electric ignitor.
The Koda performed really well, with heating times and temperatures matching the claims by Ooni. More important than specs, it produces some fantastic tasting pizzas. We had no complaints there.
We had the best results with preheating the oven on max, then turning it down to low when we were going to load the pizza. This gave a nice crisp crust on the bottom, without burning the top.
Once the pizza is cooked and removed from the oven, turn the heat back to max. This lets the stone warm back up to get ready for the next pizza.
Groceries and Accessories
A mistake that’s really easy to make when you get a pizza oven is you take it out of the box and realize you don’t have a table to put it on. While two sawhorses and a piece of plywood works in a pinch, Ooni sells some nice tables for a better work surface.
Another great product that Ooni sells is frozen dough balls. These are a huge time saver. They ship frozen balls of dough for 12″ pizzas to your door, so you don’t have to make the dough. They’re dough is easy to thaw and tastes great. Even if you have a different pizza oven, we’d recommend getting these.
An accessory you’ll need to use the pizza oven is a pizza peel. Ooni sells various peels, but we tested out their cheapest one, and it worked just fine.
A nice to have accessory is an infrared thermometer. You point it at the pizza stone to know when the temperatures are where you want them. We like using the ThermoWorks Industrial IR Gun, because it’s a quality product. Admittedly, sometimes we’re lazy and don’t check the temperature of the oven, but still have great results.
Ooni has a great reputation and for good reason. The Ooni Koda 12 is affordable priced, while still looking and performing really well. We has trouble using it in the dead of winter, but the delicious pizzas it easily makes is reason enough to overlook that.