Buying a pizza oven is an exciting investment that can improve your home cooking or expand your restaurant’s menu. With so many oven models available, it’s also a purchase that you’ll need to give some forethought. Before you make a final decision, consider the four key factors in our pizza oven buying guide.
Home vs. Commercial Grade
This choice should be more about your end goals than where the oven will be used. It’s important to choose a pizza oven that meets your needs without overshooting them.
Residential Backyard Pizza Ovens
A typical home pizza oven is designed for use by individuals and families seeking a new way to cook outdoors. With normal use, a home pizza oven can produce consistent quality dishes for years. Results are just as delicious as restaurant food, but a non-commercial design may not be best for heavy restaurant use.
A commercial pizza oven’s features are designed for much heavier repeated use. Our commercial Prometeo and Vulcano models are a prime example. Each oven’s interior is made from 310 S formula stainless steel, a strong type of stainless that is usually used for smelting and forging.
Because of features like these, commercial pizza oven models tend to cost more. However, these features make them more durable and capable of handling the demands of a busy pizza restaurant.
Which Is Right for Me?
If you plan to open a pizzeria or add an outdoor pizza ovento an existing business, a commercial model is appropriate. If you plan to make pizza occasionally as a family meal or party food, a residential model should be sufficient.
Some individuals may want to create a professional-quality pizza kitchen in their homes. A professional chef or event caterer, for example, might opt for a commercial grade oven for this purpose.
Wood Fired vs. Gas
Wood and gas are very different fuels. Each one has its own unique impact on your cooking experience. Consider these important differences between gas and wood-fired ovens.
The Value of Tradition
For many, one of the goals of purchasing a pizza oven is to achieve an authentic, traditional Italian result. While using a modern fuel like gas still results in delicious pizzas, it doesn’t fully embrace tradition. If you value traditional methods, a wood-fired oven is preferable.
With a wood-fired oven, gathering and splitting wood can add to prep time before preheating. A gas-fired oven is more convenient to light and preheat, as there’s no extra preparation required. On the other hand, setting up a gas-fired oven with a natural gas line usually requires the help of a certified technician. Once it’s set up, however, a gas oven tends to be more convenient to preheat to the right cooking temperature.
Gas and wood both produce beautiful fires for cooking, but they’re very different. They’re different types of matter, produce different byproducts, and have different costs, availability, and storage methods.
A gas fire can be started more quickly than a wood fire, and gas does not produce soot or ash. On the other hand, wood is a renewable resource that may be cheaper in the long run. Wooden pallets, woodworking scraps, and fallen branches make good free fuel.
A common assumption is that wood-burning smoke imparts a smoky flavor to the food, while gas ovens do not. This isn’t actually the case! Our wood-fired ovens vent the smoke in a way that minimizes contact with the food. In fact, our blind taste test of pizza cooked in each type of unit showed no significant taste difference.
The “rustic” flavor most people associate with smoke can be attributed more to the char flavor of the flame. This will be present no matter which type of fuel you choose, so this shouldn’t affect your choice.
Which Is Right for Me?
You may already have reasons why you prefer a particular fuel. Perhaps you don’t have the right storage for gas or don’t have a good source of wood. Regardless, consider your particular needs and goals. If you have little time to cook, the speed of a gas model can help you make pizzas quickly. If you have a strong desire to experience traditional Italian cuisine, wood is the way to go.
In addition to the typical stationary models, today’s marketplace offers convenient portable pizza ovens. With them, pizza chefs are able to explore new opportunities without the heavy lifting. Consider the following aspects of portability when deciding which kind of oven to choose.
Naturally, a stationary pizza oven is meant to stay in one primary location. These models may have wheeled carts for easy movement, but they aren’t necessarily intended for travel. A portable oven is designed to readily travel from place to place with minimal set-up and take-down. Consider how likely you are to travel with your oven, and how often.
If you’re not certain whether you’ll need to travel with your pizza oven, consider your goals. If you picture using it for home cooking or as a fixture in an established restaurant, you probably won’t need to travel with it. If you like the idea of being able to cook for others at gatherings or offsite locations, portability may be more important to you.
Which Is Right for Me?
If you’re a homeowner or hobbyist, you’re likely thinking about cooking pizza for family and friends. In this case, a stationary oven is an ideal choice for your backyard or outdoor kitchen. If you’re a caterer or restaurant owner making pizzas for local events and pop-up restaurants, a portable oven is a convenient solution.
Countertop vs. Freestanding
Another thing to consider is whether you prefer a freestanding or countertop oven. A freestanding model will have its own stand or cart, while a countertop model can be placed on an existing surface. Think about the following factors when making your choice.
A freestanding pizza oven is a standalone appliance, much like a grill. It’s ideal for casual backyard cooking and can be placed just about anywhere. A countertop model, on the other hand, fits well in a designated cooking space like an outdoor kitchen.
Even if you plan to use your pizza oven year-round, there will undoubtedly be a time it needs to be stored. A freestanding oven may fit in a shed or garage if you have the space, or it may simply stay outside with a protective cover. A countertop model is smaller, so it may fit more easily into limited storage space. If it’s part of a kitchen, it may also be sheltered by a roof or overhang.
Which Is Right for Me?
You may be looking for something that you can place in your yard as-is. If so, a freestanding model may be a good choice. On the other hand, you may prefer the idea of having an outdoor kitchen. In this case, a countertop model allows you to prep and cook in one place.
If you have minimal storage, a freestanding oven may need to be left outside with a cover. If that’s a concern for you, a countertop model could be a space-saving alternative. If it’s not a concern, you can choose a freestanding one without regret.
Fontana Forni: Authentic Italian Craftsmanship, Delicious Results
At Fontana Forni, we offer a pizza oven to suit every need. Our freestanding, portable, countertop, gas-fired, and wood-fired models have all been thoughtfully designed for the best possible cooking experience. Our authentic Italian-made pizza ovens are crafted from durable stainless steel, ensuring a long lifespan and easy cleaning.
Our ovens heat evenly and retain heat for a steady temperature, creating crispy crusts, uniformly melted cheese, and beautifully baked toppings. They’re also perfect for other dishes. Our ovens’ large baking chambers can hold everything from cast iron pans to trays of roast veggies.
Whatever your reasons for buying a pizza oven, you’ll find the right product at Fontana Forni. Browse our variety of pizza oven models online today to find the one that’s right for you.