You’ve got the patio furniture. You’ve got the outdoor kitchen. What more do you need to complete your backyard oasis? A pizza oven. 

A pizza oven does more than cook pizza. It gathers families and friends. It channels your inner Italian. It creates an experience that constitutes many evenings of enjoyment with the people you love best.  

Come with us and discover what pizza ovens are all about and how to pick the one that will deliver food and fun for many years to come.  

Freestanding pizza oven on a patio by a pool.

What Makes a Great Pizza Oven

Pizza ovens are small wonders of science and art that allow you to produce restaurant-worthy pizza at home anytime you want it. Design and construction do make a difference so it’s important to know the key features that make up a great pizza oven.  

High Heat Capacity 

Temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit or more are what give the best pizza that crunchy exterior and chewy interior with perfectly melted cheese on top—something your kitchen oven cannot do as well as a pizza oven. 

A pizza oven that can reach temperatures of 800-1000 degrees F should be your starting point. The materials used in the construction of a pizza oven will dictate how fast it can heat up and cool down and how long it can hold heat. These features are more up to how you prefer to work. More on that in a moment.  


The pizza oven experienced a sort of renaissance around the turn of the 20th century when Italian designers took millennia-old brick ovens and fine tuned them for higher heat. There are three key elements to a well-designed pizza oven. 

  • Dome shape allows the fire to be built right in the oven on one side where the flames can curve over the top of the oven creating a convection effect. This makes pizza ovens hotter and have a more consistent temperature throughout. 
  • Materials that conduct heat and hold heat are key to getting the temperature up and keeping it up. Brick is traditional but metals and synthetics introduce additional properties for great pizza cooking. 
  • Insulation helps the pizza oven get up to temperature and maintain it. Without proper insulation, it takes a lot more work and fuel to cook pizza, especially if you are cooking more than one.  

Pizza ovens were born from ancient ovens used to cook all kinds of things. Reduce the heat and you have a rustic oven that is great for roasting or baking anything from meat and potatoes to blueberry pie. It’s the perfect addition to your outdoor kitchen, doing things that a grill alone could never do. 

Freestanding pizza oven on a concrete patio with pergola in the background. 

Types of Pizza Ovens 

Ready to add a pizza oven to your backyard line up? Start by narrowing it down by type. Fuel source and installation are the two major categories. Other details, features, and perks are available in either of these two categories.  

Wood, Gas, or Hybrid Fuel? 

All pizza ovens use live flame as the heat source, but you have a couple of options as to how you do that. Classic pizza ovens are wood fired. You build a fire with wood inside the pizza oven and continue to add wood to get it up to and maintain the temperature.  

Gas or propane pizza ovens, much like your gas grill, have burners that produce the flame. You simply turn them on then you can adjust them as needed with the turn of a knob. Gas pizza ovens are prized for greater control of the heat and how easy it is to adjust the heat. Wood fired pizza ovens are prized for the unequalled flavors and textures you simply can’t get any other way. 

Hybrid pizza ovens give you the option to use either gas or wood or both. When you employ both, you can use the gas to get the wood fire started and turn up the gas if you need to boost the heat. You get better control than with wood fired alone and the flavors you can’t get with just gas.  

Built-in, Freestanding, or Portable Installation? 

Brick pizza ovens were traditionally built in as permanent fixtures on the patio. Today’s pizza ovens offer better design and features than a simple brick structure. If you want that classic look, simply build a structure then add a pizza oven and you get the best of both worlds. Get the larger size pizza oven with all the perks for the full effect.  

A freestanding pizza oven is a self-contained unit that can be placed atop an outdoor kitchen countertop or on top of a stand, much like your grill. These give you the freedom to place your oven wherever it suits you and your kitchen design. Freestanding pizza ovens come in a range of sizes—some that are large enough to cook more than one pizza at a time. 

Portable pizza ovens are generally smaller and can be moved from place to place as needed. You can also purchase a separate rolling stand or cart for easier movement.  

Freestanding metal pizza oven beside a pool.

Configuration & Construction 

How your pizza oven is made and what it’s made of are key components to getting a good pizza oven. Some features are non-negotiable, like the dome design. Other things are more about your personal preferences.  

Brick, Metal, or Engineered Materials? 

Pizza ovens cook in three different ways: radiant heat, convection, and conduction. The materials on the inside of your oven directly affect the radiant and conductive properties of the oven. Radiant heat comes from the materials on the inside of the oven collecting and holding heat, which is then radiated into the interior of the oven keeping the temperature up. Brick or ceramic type materials are good at this while metals lose heat quickly. 

Conduction is the transfer of heat through contact. Placing your pizza directly on a hot surface like brick or ceramic type materials is the ideal way to cook classic wood fired pizza. Once again, metal transfers heat quickly then cools, leaving your pizza less than perfectly done.  

Brick is the favored material for the interior of your oven since it’s a champion of both radiant and conductive heat. Metal is perfect for the exterior of your oven because it cools quickly leaving the outside of the oven cooler to the touch. 

Cordierite is an engineered ceramic pizza stone made of clay. It is smoother than brick for a surface that’s easier to work with but still maintains the porousness of brick that absorbs moisture and creates a browned and crisp crust. 


Insulation is key to not only keeping heat in the oven so it can reach high temperatures, but also for keeping the temperature on the outside of the pizza oven cooler to the touch.  

A pizza oven should be fully insulated all the way around, not just on the top side. Temperatures on the exterior of the pizza oven will still be very hot and caution should be exercised, but proper insulation will help to decrease excessive temperatures.  


As we’ve already mentioned, a dome design is non-negotiable. It is standard for pizza ovens and key to how the pizza turns out. The science behind this is twofold.  

The dome shape encourages the flame to curve around the oven creating a convection effect that aids in the oven reaching high temperatures and even heating and cooking. The dome shape also creates a vacuum-like state inside the oven that concentrates the heat to temperatures upwards of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. 


The size of the oven is about more than its footprint. External measurements are important for planning your outdoor kitchen, but you should also consider the experience you want to have.  

Do you plan on hosting larger groups? A pizza oven that can cook only one 10-inch pizza at a time will put a wrench in your party vibes. Look for the size of the cooking surface and interior square footage to find the right sized pizza oven for you. 

Larger pizza ovens with a 38” x 28” cooking surface can cook larger quantities of food or multiple pizzas (depending on size).  

On the other hand, smaller pizza ovens are often portable making them easier to store and care for than their larger counterparts. Interior space may be as small as 13” x 13”, perfect for a party of one. 

Freestanding pizza oven on a concrete patio with mountains and trees in the background. 

Features & Accessories 

Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to turn your attention to some of the features and perks that make pizza cooking a snap. Look for these features sold with your pizza oven or pick them up separately. 


You cannot cook pizzas with success if you don’t carefully monitor your temperature. Most models come with a thermometer system, just like your grill. It doesn’t hurt to get an infrared thermometer gun to double check you’ve got the right temps (some come standard with the extra thermometer).  


Before you start mixing up your pizza dough, there are a few tools you can’t do without. A peel, for example, helps you move the uncooked pizza into the oven and out again once it’s finished. Other items like a separator for the fire, scraper, brush, and rocker cutter are all handy items to have around to help you enjoy your pizza and maintain your oven. 


If your pizza oven is going to live outside full time, it’s important to ensure it has some protection from the elements. Stainless steel, powder coating, and other features go a long way to keeping the outside of your oven looking good. When not in use, it is also a good idea to cover your pizza oven or put in under cover. 


Be sure to check out the warranty of your pizza oven. This will protect you against faulty construction and the damage that can result from it. Be sure to understand how to use and care for your pizza oven to ensure your warranty remains intact.  

All pizza ovens from Mantels Direct come with a one-year warranty. 

Metal pizza oven sitting on a wood patio with a garden in the background. 

Best Pizza Ovens 

Allow us to suggest some of our top picks for the best pizza ovens at Mantels Direct. 


Best Pizza Oven with Perks 

Pinnacolo Ibrido Hybrid Pizza Oven includes cart, electronic igniter, metal peel & wood peel, bristle broom, scraper, infrared thermometer, oven gloves, rocker pizza cutter, weatherproof cover, fire separator, and apron. 


Best Wood Fired Pizza Oven 

Forno Venetzia Pronto 500 Wood Fired Oven is an all-around winner. It’s everything you need for the full wood fired pizza experience. 

Close up of brick pizza oven that can be placed on an outdoor countertop. 

Best Gas/Hybrid Pizza Oven 

Chicago Brick Oven 750 Countertop Hybrid offers gas and wood firing options. 

Close up of a small metal pizza oven with wheels. 

Best Portable Pizza Oven 

WPPO Traditional 25 Hybrid Pizza Oven comes with wheeled cart for easy movement. 


Best Freestanding Pizza Oven 

Pinnacolo Premio Wood Fired Pizza Oven is fully stainless steel and stands free much like a gas grill. 


Best Large Pizza Oven 

Karma 55 Wood Fired Pizza Oven is a whopping 1,260 square inches on the inside, or 28” x 45”. It can cook up to 5 pizzas at once. 


 Best Pizza Oven for Outdoors 

Forno Venetzia Bellagio Wood Fired features fully powder coated exterior with UV resistant paint.