Purchasing a pizza oven does not seem like a complicated task, but when you are trying to replicate a Neapolitan-style pizza from Italy in your own backyard, it is not so easy. The market is saturated with various kinds of pizza ovens and can overwhelm any first-time consumer, however, there is one for every skill level. One brand that ranks high in the pizza game is Ooni, and that’s why you’ll find it in many of our gift lists this holiday season. Ooni offers a wide range of portable ovens and prides itself on the following three core elements: ultra-high heat, extreme speed, and fire & stone-baked pizzas. With Ooni, whether you choose to go with a gas-powered oven or a wood-fired one, you will receive a ‘Great Pizza’ 60-day guarantee and have the option to return free of charge.
Ooni pizza ovens give other pizza oven brands a run for their money and is not one to be overlooked. Even though Ooni’s prices tend to run on the higher end, consumers still seem to gravitate towards them and are more likely to make the investment. But is it worth all the hype and attention? Let’s take a look at two award-winning pizza ovens that have taken the internet by storm: The Ooni Koda 16 vs. the Ooni Karu 16.
Ooni Koda 16
The Ooni Koda 16 is a top-of-the-line gas-powered pizza oven. With its aerodynamic look and large cooking surface, you can fire up 16-inch Neapolitan-style pizzas, steaks, fish, bread, and so much more. Its instant gas ignition will have your oven reach up to 950°F (500°C) in just 20 minutes. The heat-control knob allows you to adjust the flame height, a feature well suited for experienced cooks.
The L-shaped flame coupled with the patented Flame Keeper technology produces a robust cascading flame effect. This allows the oven to run efficiently and the heat to run consistently. Its carbon steel body makes for a durable shell and provides ceramic fiber insulation for heat retention as well as other weather-related protection.
Engineered to include safety protocols, the Ooni Koda 16 comes equipped with a built-in Flame Safety Device that shuts off the gas supply if the flame is extinguished while the gas is still on. The Ooni Koda 16 is compatible with propane and natural gas, however natural gas conversion kits are sold separately.
What makes the Ooni Koda 16 the ultimate outdoor experience? For starters, it’s ready for use right out the box as it requires no assembly. Its foldable legs and lightweight construct make it portable and convenient for any family outing. It is also easy to clean as this gas-powered oven leaves no residue behind after cooking. Known for cooking a world-class Neapolitan-style pizza in just 60 seconds, its grilling performance is unmatched. It comes with a thick cordierite baking stone that retains heat, resulting in the perfect crispy crust.
Versatile in its ability to cook a variety of dishes, the adjustable heat control can prove to be a bit of a learning curve. Even with a dish as effortless as pizza and the benefit of a baking stone, the timing and rotation are key to perfecting any pie.
Overall, the Ooni Koda 16 is a definite showstopper. Its innovative design is perfect for both seasoned cooks and novices. The convenience of not having to clean make for a great cooking experience and the control to adjust heat as you see fit make the cooking possibilities beyond pizza, endless.
Ooni Karu 16
The Ooni Karu 16 is a pizza oven in a class of its own and it is pulling all the stops. Manufactured to give the buyer multiple fuel options, this oven optimizes every cook’s capability when cooking with propane, wood, or charcoal. A gas burner is also compatible, however, sold separately. The Ooni Karu 16 offers a number of winning features. Its new oven door is designed with View Flame™ technology enhancing the user’s visibility.
The Italian-inspired 16-inch Neapolitan-style pizzas are a staple for the Ooni Karu 16 as it comes supplied with two Cordierite baking stones. Reaching temperatures of up to 950°F (500°C) in just 15 minutes, this oven comes equipped with an attached digital thermometer display (batteries included) to give the user more control. It is no surprise the Ooni Karu 16 oven was built to be resilient and sophisticated in its own style. Its carbon steel shell is powder coated with a high temperature-resistance finish.
The internal airflow technology provides enhanced insulation and weather endurance. Outside of all the technical advancements, visual aesthetics are hard to compete with. Its long chimney gives off a rustic ambiance while its powder-coated finish gives it a sleek and modern look.
The benefits of cooking with a multi-fuel oven are endless. As impressive as the aesthetic and design are, the real value lies in how the different fuel options make your food taste. Wood-fire-cooked meals tend to have a nostalgic feel to them, just ask any experienced grill master. Make no mistake, while the charcoal makes for tasty food, the wood-fired flavor is one that cannot be duplicated.
With the Ooni Karu 16, you never have to feel limited to a smoky/aromatic taste, you also have the flexibility to change your fuel depending on what your palate craves. Achieving the perfect 16-inch pie in just 60 seconds is a small feat for this oven as the ample room gives the user the space to also roast and bake burgers, stuffed calzones, seafood, vegetables, and more.
Cooking with precision goes a long way in perfecting any cuisine. The mounted thermometer and advanced insulation technology give the user more control, however achieving the right temperature may require practice and patience.
The Ooni Karu 16 has all the features and advanced technology any experienced cook would desire, however having the fuel choice to cook in style is something that appeals to all buyers. Adjusting for the right temperature can be discouraging for any beginner, however, the engineering behind its insulation is nothing short of genius.
It allows you to retain the necessary heat to thoroughly cook your meal and avoids wasting fuel. All things considered, while the Ooni Karu 16 is an investment in time and money, it certainly does not disappoint in the grilling arena.
Koda vs. Karu: Which is Right For You?
There is no doubt that both the Koda and the Karu bring distinct value to the table. Deciding which one is right for you will all depend on the weight placed on the following factors: Performance, Features, Value, and Quality.
The quality of the oven can be measured on its reliability and the materials used. Both the Koda and the Karu are constructed from high-grade materials. Both ovens have carbon steel shells with built-in insulation and weather protection. Unlike the Karu, the Koda has the patented Flame Keeper technology that allows the oven to run efficiently and the heat to run consistently.
The Karu on the other hand has the airflow technology and the insulation for heat retention. The technology invested into both ovens makes them highly marketable and desirable for any consumer. When used correctly, the technology proves to be a game-changer for any cook regardless of their skill level.
The Koda and the Karu easily outperform other ovens on the market, however, when compared to each other, there are some differences. The Koda comes with a heat-controlled dial that allows for flame height adjustments. Having a heat control knob at your fingertips has the potential to overcook and/or undercook food if not calculated correctly. Coupled with insulation for heat retention and a mounted digital thermometer, the Karu allows the user to cook with precision and the guarantee that food will cook more evenly.
The Koda and the Karu have several unique features. The Koda is propane gas-powered and has a built-in Flame Safety Device to shut off the gas supply if the flame goes out for any reason. The Karu has a multi-fuel feature that allows the buyer to use either charcoal, wood, or propane. Both however are compatible with the other fuel sources and can covert over to natural gas without the headache by purchasing a separate conversation kit.
While the Koda and the Karu allow you to see your food cooking, the Karu has a newly designed oven door, known as the View Flame™ technology, which gives the user a boost of visibility. The Koda and the Karu are both conveniently portable, however, the Koda weighs 40.1lbs. whereas the Karu weighs 62.6lbs., making it slightly heavier than its counterpart. Both ovens easily captivate the attention of anyone in the room as their aesthetic construct gives off a look of luxury.
The value of a pizza oven is defined differently by each consumer. Often the weight of that value can encompass all or some of the above-mentioned factors and analyze its overlaps. Ultimately, all factors combined correlate to how much it costs out of pocket. It is not just about which oven is the best, but it must also make every dollar count.
The Ooni Koda 16 has a retail price of $599 while the Ooni Karu 16 retails at $799. The difference in retail price may not seem significant to those willing to pay for such a high-end product, but it’s important to note that it makes a world of a difference in how you want your food to taste. Most would agree that food cooked over wood triumphs in taste. Because of this, consumers are much more inclined to side with the wood-fire flavored option even if it means paying more out of pocket.
Finding the right pizza oven has its challenges and can be intimidating for an inexperienced buyer. Cutting down on the clutter of all the listed product details can help a buyer narrow down what they want their cooking experience to look like. Affordability is a big one, but what features/perks are the buyer willing to sacrifice for a modest price difference? Regardless of the buyer’s final decision, both the Koda and the Karu are excellent choices and are the closest thing to experiencing Naples, Italy in their own backyard.