Okay, here is one slick oven that I can ramble on about for many paragraphs! (but I won’t, I promise – but get ready for a couple of paragraphs anyway). The Ooni 3 is one of the most well-known pizza ovens on the market now because of its unique look, good press, lots of advertising and of course – it’s Scandanavian! Anything from those Scandanavian countries seems to do quite well in the American market I’d say! Do you doubt me? Okay, can anyone say “IKEA”? Speaking of Ikea, the instructions on this little dude are much like anything from Ikea. No words, just drawings you have to decipher – like an archeologist! This is also one of the absolutely MOST reviewed pizza ovens out there (especially on YouTube). There’s no shortage of backyard broadcasters to take you through an entire afternoon of playing with this toy (I mean “tool”), so please indulge as you see fit.
Before we get into the goods and bads, specifications, etc., I feel I need to tell you that this oven WILL take a try or two before you figure out that you need to make about 10 more tries in order to get a decent pie. Because you’re using wood pellets that are fed manually to the oven, there are lots of variables that will affect the final quality, like how many pellets are you using? How often are you feeding them into the oven? How long are you heating the stone (and with how much of the pellet reservoir full …. or empty?). See where I’m going here? PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
- Good-looking Scandanavian designed piece of useful art (nice conversation piece on your back deck!)
- Heats up in about 10 minutes and can get to over 900˚F (insanity I say!)
- Uses wood pellets which are way easier to use than finessing your usage of various chunks of wood
- Cooks pizza in around 60 seconds (sheesh!)
- Responsibly sourced wood parts
- Fairly inexpensive for an authentic wood-fired (well, sort of wood-fired) oven
- Includes an aluminum pizza peel and cordierite pizza stone base
*NOTE: For those of you wondering what exactly wood pellets are – they’re wood, but compressed. They look a lot like rabbit food (pellets). The compressing of the pellets makes them energy-rich (dense) and relatively inexpensive.
- Takes a lot of practice to get the perfect result (many comments and videos complain of absolute, black scorching along the pizza edges, while the interior is a bit underdone – even with a fully-heated stone)
- The exterior is SUPER hot, not only during the cooking phase but for some time afterward – children (or careless big people with too much booze) beware!
- 13″ x 13″ cooking surface is not incredibly huge, but adequate for most
- Lots of fire and soot getting very close to the top of the pizza and causing potential contamination
- shows heat stains and signs of burning, etc. after just the first use (especially the chimney – it gets a tarnished patina and tone where it was very hot)
- Need to buy wood pellets separately and likely more often than propane
Just the Tech Specs
• Weight: 13.4 kg / 29.5 lbs. boxed
• Size: 22x36x64 cm / 8.6 x 14.1 x 25.2″ (HxWxL) with legs extended, excluding door handle. Height of Uuni 3 including chimney: 67cm / 25.2”.
• Stone baking board size: 33.7 x 33.7 cm / 13.2 x 13.2″
• Max pizza size: 13”
• Max clearance above stone: 11 cm / 4.3”
• Fuel: wood pellets – responsibly sourced and efficiently dense. Also, no chemicals, just WOOD!
• Materials: 439 stainless steel, stainless steel rivets, FSC certified wooden handles, cordierite stone baking board.
• Ooni 3 is compatible with the forthcoming Gas Burner (As too is Ooni 2S)
Is it Easy to Use?
Mmmm….not so much. Well, don’t get me wrong here; LOTS of people are thrilled with the unit and I could do worse than having one in my own backyard, but compared to some wood-fired ovens and ALL propane pizza ovens, this little finicky piece of steel takes a bit of yutzing around with in order to get what you’re looking for.
The general consensus (and I would agree) is that the price is pretty good for a wood-fired unit when compared to the several thousand dollar mark you can easily spend on a larger wood-fired (non-portable) oven. If I may be so bold as to interject here with my own opinion of price vs. value; I’d say that even though the price is fairly decent for what you get, I would probably spend the same amount of money on a different option, like a propane unit which not only costs the same as the Ooni, but the convenience factor increases ten times!
What’s Our Final Word?
Overall, the Ooni 3 Portable wood pellet pizza oven is a good, solid, “okay oven”. While one customer said it was the worst purchase EVER, most customers are very pleased. After spending many hours researching the Ooni (yes, I actually spent real, literal HOURS), I am convinced that you probably would be fairly happy with your purchase as long as you know what you’re buying – a slightly higher maintenance product than a gas-powered oven. For my money, I’d go with either the Blackstone for ease of use and value. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more authentic (ie. wood-fired), you’ll not find any other wood-fired (or pellet-fueled) oven in this price range. Most other wood ovens will start closer to $800 and go up very quickly and by a LOT.