Portable Pizza Ovens are growing in popularity. Because of this, WIRED magazine published an article "The 6 Best Pizza Ovens for Every Occasion (and Budget)". While I agree that the Ooni pizza ovens belong at #1 and #2 of this list, I disagree as to the order.
The author, Adrienne So, ranked the Ooni Pro as the #1 portable pizza oven on the list. I understand that the top reasons for the top ranking is that the Ooni Pro can use 4 different fuels for cooking - wood, charcoal, propane, or wood pellets - while the #2 Ooni Koda only uses propane. The second reason is that the Ooni Pro is larger than the Ooni Koda - making it better for cooking other foods than the Koda is.
I first learned to use the Ooni Pro before the Ooni Koda was released. Now, I have both ovens and my kids and I almost exclusively use the Ooni Koda. Here are 4 points of comparison to help you understand why:
1. I'm lazy! The Ooni Koda is easier to start. Use the built in knob and starter to light it up and wait for the Koda to get up to the correct heat. It's not that the Ooni Pro difficult to start. It is easy enough to get lit if you use proper food grade fire-starters and good hardwood, lump charcoal, or both together. I couldn't get the pellet burner to crank up the Pro above 600 degrees, so it is probably good for other foods - but not pizza.
2. The Ooni Koda makes me look good! Because the Koda can maintain its high temperature for a sustained period of time - the bonus side-effect is that it makes me look good! What I mean by that is I can cook pizza after pizza with a brown, unburned crust - and make it look pretty easy. With 4 kids, we never make less than 3 pizzas, and often 6 or more when we have friends over. The propane burner of the Koda keeps the temperature consistent without having to add more fuel between pizzas. Surprisingly, the hardest part is for the rest of the crew to add toppings fast enough to keep up with how fast I can cook the pizzas. I struggled to be as consistent with the Pro - likely because it takes more patience and skill on the pro to keep the temperature even at cooking levels.
3. Cobbler is the Koda's kryptonite! The Ooni Pro is better at making dishes other than pizza. Because of its size and the insulation of the door, I have been able to cook other dishes, such as shrimp and apple crisp, in a cast iron skillet. I've tried do the same in the Koda and only the front end gets fully cooked without putting the skillet in handle first - making it difficult to turn and cook thoroughly.
4. The Koda is a road warrior! I mean, what else is there to say for a pizza oven who's cover doubles as a duffel bag? The Ooni Koda is easier to transport and cleanup. This is especially important when I take the oven with me to gatherings away from home. And since there is no ash to cleanup afterwards, it is easier to cart it home with you. Imagine how much easier it would be to take the Koda tailgating if you don't have to dispose of the ashes before going into the game. Just fold the legs up, pack it away, and go!
Why do Adrienne and I disagree as to which oven should be listed as the #1 portable pizza oven? This just goes to show that finding the right portable pizza oven is more about what you are trying to accomplish and what kind of experience you are looking for. Both the Ooni Pro and the Koda are excellent ovens that are very transportable and great at cooking pizza. You just have to decide what you want out of your pizza oven.
If you are new at the pizza oven game, worried about whether or not you will be successful, or just want to use your oven to cook pizza - then I would say that the Ooni Koda is the right pizza oven for you.
On the other hand, if you want an oven that will cook all kinds of dishes besides pizza, you are more experience at cooking with wood or charcoal, or you are a wood fired purist that wouldn't be caught dead cooking with propane - then the Ooni Pro is the right choice for you.
No matter which oven you choose, the good guys at Good Life Pizza Ovens are here to take care of you before and after your purchase. We've had numerous customers call back after their first attempt at making pizzas to ask advice on how to cook their pizzas better - just to help them get over the learning curve. Give us a call - we'll be happy to help!Tim Palmer
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