The SLMan Guide To… Pizza Ovens

The SLMan Guide To… Pizza Ovens


They might be the best way to enjoy a taste of Italy this summer, so we asked a couple of specialists for the lowdown on pizza ovens. They gave us six pointers, then we rounded up the best models out there right now...

There Are Different Types
The advice from outdoor pizza oven specialist Ooni is: “Consider what is going to be the best choice of fuel for you.” Wood-fired, charcoal, gas or multi-fuel? They use different fuels and deliver different cooks. The most popular option is a wood-fired oven, which lets you create authentic, stonebaked pizzas at home, and uses wood-pellets to create that smoky flavour. Iain Ellis, buyer for outdoor living products at John Lewis, recommends a wood-fired clay oven like the versatile DeliVita, which is “a mini version of what you would see at a pizzeria”.

Think About How Many You’re Cooking For
Size matters, advises Iain. Most portable ovens can hold a single 12-inch pizza, so consider a larger model if you’re planning to cook regularly for a big group. Wood-fired ovens are available as compact portable models and in larger dome styles, but need considerably more care than gas models – they should be cleaned out after each use.

They Don’t Have To Be Expensive…
“Pizza ovens don’t need to cost a fortune,” according to Ooni. “Most portable models – that is anything that isn’t a built-in or brick oven – cost a fraction of the price of a traditional, permanent wood-fired oven.” Somewhere between £200 and £400 can get you a durable, portable oven from a well-respected brand, whereas a traditional brick dome oven can cost thousands.

…But They Can Be Heavy
“Portable pizza ovens vary in weight from around 15kg up to 30kg, so you will need to ensure you have a sturdy table or surface to set yours up on”, says Iain. If you’re concerned about the reliability of the surface, you can buy specific pizza oven stands or tables, most of which also have storage and hooks for cooking utensils.

Keep A Close Eye On Cooking Times
“A pizza will take 60-90 seconds to cook in most ovens, which take 15-25 minutes to heat up”, says Iain. Pizza ovens work by getting to an extremely high temperature – roughly 500ºC – very quickly, which ensures you get a crispy base and crust. Be prepared to do a few trial runs before you nail the temperature and timing. You can also use wood-fired pizza ovens to cook fish and meat dishes, or even bake bread, points out Iain. These will take longer than a pizza – use a timer and thermometer to check everything is cooked through before serving.

Make Sure You’ve Got The Right Utensils.
Ooni recommends a pizza peel “to launch, turn and retrieve pizzas from your oven with ease”. Choose between aluminium and bamboo options, perforated or flat. If your oven doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, you’ll want one –  especially if you’re planning to smoke meat and fish. Iain’s advice: “Think about a protective cover, cooking tools, cleaning equipment and a pizza oven cookbook too.”

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Got all that? Now check out the SLMan pizza oven edit below...

Ooni Fyra Portable Outdoor Pizza Oven, £229

Delivering wood-fired pizzas in 60 seconds, this sleek number from Ooni is good for garden parties or quick weekday dinners. Fuelled by wood pellets, it has a detachable chimney, making it easy to store and transport. It can also cook meat, fish and veg.

The Firepod Pizza Oven, £399

This is one of the most compact pizza ovens out there. It’s 39cm tall and just over 50cm wide, meaning it works in small spaces, such as a balcony. It heats up in under 10 minutes and comes with two pizza stones, safety gloves and a pizza peel. Side handles make it easy to carry, if you’re taking it to a mate’s house or on a camping trip.

DeliVita Pizzaiolo Set, £1,495

More of an investment piece, DeliVita’s set comes with all the hardware you need to create restaurant-quality pizzas at home. Its outdoor wood-burning oven has a waterproof shell, a prodder for moving wood around, a cleaning brush and a protective covering. It heats up in around 25 minutes and cooks your pizza of choice in 90 seconds.


Igneus Bambino, £589

Price wise, the Bambino is a solid mid-range option. As well as pizzas, it can hold a large roasting tin or tray, so you can cook potatoes, veggies and joints. For ease of transportation, the chimney is detachable and can fit inside the oven.

Garden Leisure Portable Gourmet BBQ Pizza Oven, £89.99

Not ready to invest in a standalone oven? This BBQ-friendly model is the next best thing. Heat up your grill and place the steel oven on top, leaving your pizza to crisp up. This portable model includes a temperature gauge to keep your timings spot on.

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