I’m in love with pizza any way you give it to me so I’m probably a bit biased here! I’m definitely not a pizza snob, so while I LOVE authentic, outdoor, wood-fired pizzas, I’m okay with a non-wood-fired pie given the factors in the bigger picture! I’m even okay with indoor pizza ovens if they meet certain criteria. Let me explain.
There is no question that there is a certain aura surrounding an actual outdoor authentic Neopolitan wood-fired pizza oven. That reputation is well deserved since it is this kind of oven that has a history of thousands of years and spans a variety of cultures and nations. On a more practical level, it also delivers the best all-around flavor and texture in anything it bakes. But I did mention a “bigger picture” and here it is;
Outdoor wood-fired ovens, for all their advantages, are typically quite a bit more expensive, require a lot more space, can be intrusive to neighbors (especially when initially heating up since they can create a whole lot of smoke), and need to be outdoors (in most cases) – yes even in the middle of January during a blizzard at 5pm (dinner time) when it’s dark as midnight! All of these unpleasantries can be easily circumvented with a small, simple, inexpensive, attractive and VERY convenient indoor pizza oven model.
Enter The Indoor Pizza Ovens!
So, to answer the main question about whether indoor pizza ovens are worth buying, the answer is a resounding …. maybe. Okay, I know that sounds like a cop-out, but seriously, that’s the answer. You see, it really depends on your situation and your outlook/attitude towards pizza. For me, the answer is YES, they are worth it since they deliver what they promise (a baked pizza with a crispy crust), and it’s usually done very evenly and relatively quickly. They all claim to make a crispier crust than conventional ovens can offer, and that’s enough of a selling feature for many people. Of course, I wouldn’t buy just any indoor pizza oven unit since some cost less than $50 and have very poor reviews. I wouldn’t bother with those, but I would definitely consider models in the $200 – $300 range with maximum temperature ratings close to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make it Hot!
That brings me to the next big issue that would determine whether you might consider an indoor oven, and that is MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE capabilities! Yes, that’s a big one. Actually, that’s probably the single biggest issue. You see, authentic Italian pizza is baked very quickly in oven temperatures between 700 and 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Those are temperatures that most indoor pizza ovens cannot reach. If that issue alone is super important to you, then the answer of whether or not an indoor oven is worth it, is a resounding NO! Having said that, there are some indoor options (like units that fit on top of a gas stove) that will reach temperatures close to outdoor wood-fired. If you’re still in dark about why it’s such a big deal to have higher temperatures (you might be saying “hey, no big deal if it takes longer than a minute to make my pie?), I say “give your head a shake dude!” No, sorry about that, I just got carried away. The reason 700 – 900 degrees is so important is that anything less than that will mean that your crust is less crispy and authentic in texture. That’s a lesson from pizza ovens 101.
The Bottom Line – Gimme the Goods!
Okay, so really, if you appreciate good pizza, but you’re on a tight budget, you’ll have to stick to a regular oven. If you have a tiny bit of cash to spend on making your pizza indulgence a little more artisanal and gourmet, and if you’ve successfully justified buying a pizza oven because it will reduce your Pizza Hut delivery bill, then I’d go for a high-quality indoor model. If budget is less of a consideration for you since you’ve hit it big as a dentist, doctor, rock star or internet marketer, and your taste buds have grown in their sophistication for fine cuisine, then I would DEFINITELY go for an outdoor oven. As far as which outdoor oven, that’s another article where I deal with the specifics about the different types of outdoor ovens and their pros and cons. For now, I hope I’ve been of some help in your decision-making process about whether or not to spend your hard-earned dough (get it? DOUGH!) on a very affordable indoor oven, or whether you’d like to sacrifice a few more greenbacks on an authentic oven for outdoors.
A Final Thought on Indoor Pizza Ovens [Yes, it’s Important so Don’t Skip This!]
If you happen to find yourself possibly considering an outdoor oven instead of the indoor pizza oven alternative, I feel obligated to give you a brief overview of the options and some points you may not have considered, and that could change your decision drastically. I’ll deal with this issue in more detail in a different article, but for now, here’s what you need to know;
There’s very little downside to an indoor pizza oven other than the issue of storage/space (for some people) and potential safety pertaining to high heat and young children. However, regarding wood-fired outdoor ovens, please know that there are more consequential things to consider like the cost being up to FIFTY times higher than an indoor model, with a whole lot of assembly required (some models) and neighbor considerations like excessive smoke while coming to maximum temperature. There are considerations of wood supply, maintenance, space, cooking technique and learning curve, etc. All these issues are non-existent with an indoor model. Finally, there is a happy medium which offers you a compromise between those two options, and that is an outdoor pizza oven fueled by something other than wood or pellets (like propane) which is way smaller, more convenient, and less expensive than authentic wood-fired units. Yes, for everything there is a compromise like most things in life! As if I haven’t given you enough to think about, here’s one more deep thought; If your budget is restricted but you really want a more authentic pizza that a frozen or delivered one, you can use your home oven (did I just say that?) but use a hefty pizza stone and crank the heat to it’s maximum – no cheating! Check out more about using a regular oven as a pizza oven in our video below! Decisions, decisions!