Pizza oven vs regular oven – which is best?

They're so expensive that it's wise to debate pizza oven vs regular oven

A split panel image demonstratingpizza oven vs regular oven; a pizza on a peel in the foreground with a pizza oven out of focus in the back; a pizza cooked in a domestic oven. The oven door is open
(Image credit: Getty Images / Richard Drury / Svitlana Hulko)

As the hot weather returns, we're seeing lots of new domestic pizza ovens. Big brands and new, upstart players are all competing for a slice of the market, and I'm seeing new innovations every week.

However, even the best pizza ovens are very expensive. When a good oven costs more than $700, it's wise to mull over the merits of a pizza oven vs a regular oven. If you can make a decent pizza in your oven at home, why bother with a different appliance?

I'm a professional product tester and I worked on outdoor appliances for years. I've seen lots of pizza ovens up close, so I know all the benefits and drawbacks. Better yet, I chatted to a chef about whether or not a backyard pizza oven really makes a difference. 

Green pizza oven

(Image credit: Dobbies)

What's the point of a pizza oven?

The point of a domestic pizza oven is to replicate a traditional brick oven. Unlike a normal oven, a pizza oven reaches incredibly hot temperatures. This means that the pizzas cook incredibly quickly, usually under two minutes. 

Most pizza ovens use open flames, which gives the crust distinctive leopard spots of delicious, smoky char. It makes for a restaurant-quality pizza that tastes much better than a pizza from a normal kitchen oven. 

Which is cheaper to run?

A pizza cooked in an oven

(Image credit: Getty Images / Capelle.r)

A standard domestic oven is by far the cheaper option. You only need to pay your regular gas or electric bill. Cooking pizza won't make any more of a dent in your monthly payments than any other type of food. Unless you're buying a new oven, you don't need to spend any money to make homemade pizza in a domestic oven. 

This isn't the case for pizza ovens. These are expensive. Doing some back-of-a-napkin math, the average price for a pizza oven across the three biggest brands in the US (Ooni, Gozney, and Breville) is $795. 

That's a lot to spend on pizza, and worst of all, it doesn't even include essential accessories like a pizza peel or thermometer. Add in fuel on top of the extras and you're looking at around $1000 before you've even baked a pie. The running costs for years of use mount up too, because you need to buy replacement gas or wood pellets. 

Which is fastest?

Making a pizza in an Ooni Fyra 12

(Image credit: Ooni)

Pizza ovens are a lot faster than regular ovens. Chef Serge Krikorian told me that 'most home ovens max out at around 500°F', which is half the temperature a domestic pizza oven can reach. I've seen pizza ovens reach more than 950°F, and some claim to max out at 1100°F. That sort of heat will turn raw dough into a perfectly cooked pizza in less than a minute. 

A regular oven, on the other hand, will probably take around 12 minutes to cook a pizza. It's hardly a long wait, but a proper pizza oven is 12 times faster. This is what contributes to the delicious flavor of pizzas cooked in a pizza oven. 

Chef Krikorian told me that 'The shorter cooking time helps retain the freshness of the toppings and maintain a crisp crust.'  Where an oven will bake everything, losing some moisture from vegetables, a pizza oven will give them a delicious char while maintaining bright, light freshness. 

A headshot of chef Serge Krikorian
Serge Krikorian

Chef Serge Krikorian and his wife, Mary Krikorian, started their catering business in 2002 and have been in the family restaurant business since 1994. Having catered thousands of events over the years as Dinner’s Ready, they launched Vibrant Occasions Catering. Krikorian is an alumnus of Henderson State University where he studied business earning his Bachelor’s Degree. He earned his MBA from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Which is easiest to use?

Putting a pizza into a pizza oven.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

An oven is much easier to use than a pizza oven. You just switch it on and wait for it to heat up: that's it. The only type of pizza oven this is true for is an electric pizza oven, but to be honest there's very little difference between an electric pizza oven and a normal oven. I'm in the middle of testing Cuisinart's electric pizza oven, available at QVC, and while it's cheap and fun to use, it doesn't taste any different from a pizza cooked in a standard domestic oven.

A gas pizza oven is more straightforward because technically all you need to do is hook up a tank of propane. However, that then introduces all the issues of propane - how to store it safely, the errand of refilling the tank, and the ongoing cost of the gas. 

The hardest oven of all to use is a wood-fired pizza oven. These taste better than anything else, but you need to master setting fire to your pellets or kindling and then maintaining the temperature. Like propane, wood or pellets is an ongoing cost. 

Which is most versatile?

Ovens are more versatile than pizza ovens, but pizza ovens aren't one-trick ponies. We've used pizza ovens to cook chicken, peppers, lamb, and even sweet treats like brownies. Hypothetically, anything you cook in an oven can be cooked in a pizza oven, but the limiting factor is time and size. 

It would take a lot of kindling or pellets to keep the average pizza oven at roasting temperature for hours. What's more most pizza ovens have a small opening that won't fit a whole chicken or tenderloin. The smokiness is nice for some desserts, but too savory for some. On top of that, most pizza pizza ovens can only be used outside, so if you live somewhere cold, it will be out of action for a few months of the year. 

Buy a pizza oven if...

  • You want the best tasting pizza possible 
  • You love to host pizza parties

Stick to an oven if....

  • You're on a budget
  • You don't have room outdoors


What's the cheapest type of pizza oven?

The cheapest type of pizza oven is a wood-fired pizza oven, which usually cost between $200-400. 

I've tested a lot of pizza ovens over the years, and the team and I have put out plenty of coverage from how to light a pizza oven to the best wood for a pizza oven.

Alex David
Head of eCommerce

As Head of eCommerce, Alex makes sure our readers find the right information to help them make the best purchase. After graduating from Cambridge University, Alex got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute, testing a wide range of household products and appliances. He then moved to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, assessing gardening tools, machinery, and wildlife products. Helping people find true quality and genuine value is a real passion.