The Pizza Oven SIZE Guide!Hi and welcome to our learning-to-cook pizza journey! We compare both sized pizza ovens - the 12" pizza ovens and the 16" pizza ovens!
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Let’s start off with the benefits of a 12-inch pizza oven.
– Smaller pizza ovens are often easier to move and transport around. Some pizza ovens are lighter than others and are really useful for taking to outdoor events, like camping or picnics. And because they are compact and lightweight, it makes them more practical for transporting in a car or motorhome.
For example, the Fyra 12 which is fuelled using wood pellets is light and easy to carry about – and because it doesn’t need logs or a gas tank to carry with it you are able to travel quite light with just the oven, fire starters and a bag of pellet fuel.
With the Koda 12 and Roccbox, you’d need to take a gas tank with you. The Karu 12 or Karu 12G ovens can be used with lump wood and kindling so they are great portable pizza ovens for taking out on an adventure. I find these smaller ovens so much easier to carry around my pizza kitchen than the 16” ovens.
Faster Heating – Smaller ovens should typically heat up faster, which means you can start cooking your pizzas sooner. This applies to gas, wood and electric pizza ovens.
Space Efficiency – 12-inch pizza ovens are smaller and more compact, making them ideal for smaller kitchens or outdoor spaces with limited room. This also makes them easier to store. If you have a small space you will also need to consider where to store the peripherals, such as gas bottles, logs, kindling, pellets, tables, pizza peels, optional gas burners etc. All these things take up storage room so it’s not just the oven size you need to consider if you have a limited storage space.
Running costs – If you are looking for an energy-efficient pizza oven since these ovens are smaller, they generally should use less energy to heat up and maintain the desired temperature. Some gas pizza ovens have no door so heating them up may take longer than an oven with a door – this applies to both 12” and 16” ovens. Using an electric pizza oven may be more energy efficient for example, and so all of these different fuel type oven options as well as the pizza oven size need to be considered together.
Budget – the 12” ovens tend to be lower in price than the 16” pizza ovens and are great for those buying their first pizza oven to commence their pizza cooking journey.
Fuel Efficiency – smaller wood-fired pizza ovens tend to be more fuel-efficient than 16” pizza ovens because they have less interior space to heat and maintain. You would typically use less wood, maybe 20-25% less, to achieve and sustain the desired cooking temperature compared to a 16″ oven.
Smaller wood-fired ovens tend to heat up more quickly due to their reduced interior size. This can result in shorter preheating times.
However, there are some limitations to consider with a 12-inch pizza oven:
There May be Fewer Cooking Options – Due to the smaller size, there’s less space to cook other dishes besides pizza however, these 12” ovens will easily fit a cast iron pan. Generally, I find these ovens are lower in height than the 16” pizza ovens.
The capacity of these ovens is smaller. The limited space means you can only cook smaller pizzas but that’s perfect if you prefer pizzas under 12” in size. These ovens cook my favourite sized pizza really well, which is 9 to 10” pizza.
Now, let’s take a look at the benefits of a 16-inch pizza oven.
Compared to the 12” pizza ovens these have a larger cooking stone area and this gives you more space to cook larger and smaller pizzas. This can be more practical when cooking pizza for more people or for making a bigger pizza.
Versatility – With the larger size ovens you will have more cooking space to cook a wider variety of dishes, from multiple smaller pizzas to other types of dishes using wider and deeper cast iron pans. I find that some of these ovens are higher inside than the 12” pizza ovens.
More Cooking Space – Bigger pizza ovens will give you more room to manoeuvre and access the pizzas, which can make cooking easier and more enjoyable.
Suitable for Gatherings – And If you frequently host parties, a 16-inch oven can be a more practical choice for cooking pizza.
Let’s consider the wood-fired ovens specifically.
A larger pizza oven like the 16″ will generally require more fuel than a smaller one. The exact amount of wood needed depends on several factors, including the type of wood, the oven’s insulation, and the outside temperature.
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Due to its larger size, a 16″ oven might take slightly longer to heat up initially. Once it’s properly heated, cooking times for a 16″ pizza would be relatively consistent with the cooking times recommended for a 12″ pizza oven.
However, there are some issues to be aware of with a 16-inch pizza oven:
Budget – larger pizza ovens tend to be more expensive than smaller ovens so budget will be a key factor with these.
Space Requirements – They take up more room, so you’ll need a larger kitchen or outdoor area to accommodate them. Again, you will need a bit more storage space for these ovens as they are larger and also the peripherals that accompany these ovens need to be considered too.
Slower Heating Times – Larger ovens may take longer to heat up compared to smaller ones.
Higher Energy Consumption – They tend to consume more energy to reach and maintain the desired temperature.
Portability – Larger pizza ovens tend to be less portable than smaller ones. They are typically heavier and bulkier, making them less suitable for frequent movement. These ovens are often designed for semi-permanent installations in outdoor kitchens or patio areas.
Sometimes, the weight of these ovens prevents me from using them as a go-to oven. There are exceptions though as some 16” gas-fired ovens are lighter than others. My advice would be to check the technical features on the manufacturer’s website for the weight and size of the pizza ovens as they do vary.
For wood-fired pizza ovens, the main differences between a 16″ wood-fired pizza oven and a 12″ wood-fired pizza oven lie in fuel consumption and portability. The 16″ ovens require more fuel and may be less portable due to their larger size and weight.
Conversely, the 12″ oven should be more fuel-efficient and more portable, making it a better choice for those who value the ability to move the oven around, while the 16″ oven may be preferable for those who love cooking larger pizzas or multiple pizzas at once.
So, which oven is best for a beginner pizza cook?
From my experience of learning to cook in a 12” pizza oven, I think I would have benefited from more space to manoeuvre my pizza away from the flames when needed. Also, I would have benefitted from a brighter and slightly higher oven to see the flames cooking the crust.
However, when I bought the Ooni 3 pizza oven in 2017 I had a budget to consider and it was a great entry-level pizza oven for me to start cooking pizza. The 12-inch pizza ovens are a deal if you have limited space, a smaller budget are cooking for a small family, or want a portable option for outdoor adventures.
The 16-inch oven would be a better choice if you intend to cook for larger groups or prefer more versatility with your pizza oven and have a bigger budget.
In the end, the choice between a 12-inch and a 16-inch pizza oven will depend on your specific needs and circumstances, how much you want to invest in an oven, the weight, the storage space and how much you will use it and most importantly that it fits your budget with the running costs.
Consider factors like your available space, cooking preferences, and the number of people you typically cook for when making your decision and check the manufacturer’s technical specifications to compare their weight and size before you buy.
PIZZA OVENS – if you are looking to buy a pizza oven check out all my pizza oven review videos as there are a number to choose from such as the Ooni Volt 12, Ooni Karu 12G, Ooni Fyra 12, the Ooni Karu 16, the Ooni Koda 16, Ooni koda 12, Gozney Roccbox and the Ooni Karu 12!
I’ve created a Pizza for Beginners – Learning to Cook Pizza and How to Use Pizza Ovens YouTube playlist that gives some great tips to help you with your learning to cook pizza journey!
Check out our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/Got2EatPizza
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