Woody Oven Pizza Oven Kit review: Ooni quality for less?
Get everything you need to make pizza in less than 20 minutes from lighting the flame with the affordable Woody Pizza Oven Kit
This affordable pizza oven kit means cheap, easy AND delicious pizza any night of the week. The gas attachment allows you to heat it in just 15 minutes, with a pizza taking barely a minute to cook. It has great heat retention, and though the industrial look may not be everyone's aesthetic, for under $400 you would be hard-pressed to find comparable quality for less.
Includes cover and peel
Perfect pizza in under a minute
Sturdy design that holds heat well
Easy to use
Some may find the build fiddly
A bit too heavy for carrying any distance
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The first Woody Pizza Oven Kit landed on the scene in the summer of 2021. Pizza-loving friends James and John saw the popularity of other well-known ovens while people were spending more time at home — but spotted a problem. A lot of the best home pizza ovens were very expensive. Even if you splashed the cash, you didn't get everything you needed to be able to make pizza right away, often having to add peels and more at checkout to be ready to cook.
Their aim was simple: offer a complete pizza oven kit at an affordable price point. When we tested the first Woody for our sister titles and were pleased with the results, but the team knew they could improve the product.
Since the first oven, they have tweaked it to have better heat retention in the body and door; a stone that sits flush with the oven floor offering more cooking height; and added a gas attachment option for those who find woodfired ovens hard to use.
When we were given the chance to re-test the oven, in its new, improved form, we were keen. Find out if this affordable pizza oven passes the much revered Homes & Gardens quality standards, and whether it is the right one for you.
When you purchase the Woody Pizza Oven Kit, all you need to buy is fuel to get started. The box contains the oven, a cover (which doubles as a carry case), and a peel for sliding your pizza in and out with ease. This is why they advertise themselves as a kit, because the peel and cover are not included with many other pizza oven brands.
There is an upgrade price to add a gas attachment to your oven, which makes it super versatile. You can also buy wood pellets, kindling and natural firelighters on the Woody site. They sent me these with my kit for review, as well as their handy digital thermometer — again, that can be picked up on their online store.
Everything you need comes in the oven kit box.
I have built this Woody's predecessors, so setup was pretty easy for me. Luckily, even if you aren't an old hand at building pizza ovens, there is a leaflet in the box with a QR code to scan to find the guides online. You will see a mix of written instructions and videos, so everything was really accessible. The kit also includes all of the tools you need (a small wrench and two hex keys), apart from a crosshead screwdriver which is required for securing the gas hose if you went for the gas option.
The Woody Pizza Oven comes part constructed. You just have to add the hopper, fire basket, stone and door
The instructions are thorough, but those using gas might be a bit confused when they have to follow the woodfired setup first. This is because the setup is the same, until you get to the point where you remove the hopper and fire tray to fit the gas attachment. This is still relatively straightforward, but I advise reading through the whole process to see where you need to remove the hopper from to attach a blanking plate for gas.
The rear of the oven has two holes. The lower one is for the fuel tray or gas attachment (depending on which you are using) and the upper one is for the hopper when using wood. In gas mode, you add a blanking plate to prevent flames escaping the oven
The basic build takes about 10 minutes, with the most time-consuming part being fitting handles to the door, hopper and peel, and screwing the thermometer into place. Other testers have remarked they found it a bit hard to work out some of the handle attachments, so approach with patience.
The pizza stone drops into a depression in the oven floor, the chimney is a simple drop-and-turn fitting and then the legs just need unfolding. Once this is set up, you just need a further five minutes to fit the gas attachment and blanking plate, or fit the hopper and fuel tray if using wood.
Before the first cook you have to cure the stone. We used the gas attachment to do this
Whether you are using the gas attachment or wood, you have to first cure the stone by lighting the oven and running it for 30 minutes. This is standard when cooking with a pizza oven and burns off any chemicals from the manufacturing process. It also makes the stone less likely to crack in the future. We did this using gas and let the oven cool fully before our first cook.
Cooking pizza with gas
The first time we cooked pizza in the oven was with the gas attachment. This is really easy to ignite. You simply open the valve on your gas canister, and operate the oven like you would a gas grill, using the ignition knob. The door must be open on ignition, but you can use it to help the oven reach temperature, as handily indicated by the on-door thermometer. We found we reached the required 750°F for cooking in around 10 minutes, and checked it with the heat gun aimed at the center of the stone which had a higher reading of over 840°F.
Our first attempt with gas was delicious, even if it was slightly burned as we had the gas on too high
With the oven ready to cook, we dashed inside to build a pizza, making sure we used plenty of semolina on the peel to help slide it onto the stone with ease. I put the pizza in the oven, turning it after 20 to 30 seconds for an even cook. It was ready in just under a minute, albeit slightly burned on one edge. That taught me to turn the gas down a little: you want to cook with a yellow flame as blue means incomplete combustion which is too hot for pizza cooking and generates soot (see my notes on cleaning).
I turned the gas down for my next pizza
The pizza Margherita we made was delicious, with a bubbly crust, though the cheese hadn't had a chance to catch before the crust burned.
I made four pizzas in total, replacing the door between each to maintain the temperature (though I didn't really need to do that and it probably contributed to the soot). Each was slightly better than the last as I honed my technique, tempering the flame and turning at the right moment. Overall it was really easy to use and would be my preferred method if catering for a group of people, or making speedy pizzas on a weeknight.
The kale, chard and blue cheese pizza stayed in the oven a tiny bit too long, but it still tasted great and had a really crispy base despite being loaded with toppings
Cooking with wood
Woody was originally launched as a wood-only option, hence the name (though you can use charcoal too in the fuel tray). Wood is my preferred fuel source for pizza ovens as you get the best taste, but it does take a little practice to keep the fire going. Luckily, Woody has a larger fuel tray so you can load up a mix of pellets and kindling to get a strong fire roaring (which is what I did).
After some practice I have learned to use a mix of kindling and wood pellets for a strong flame, then I top it up with pellets as I cook. Natural firelighters make sure the wood catches well
You need to use natural firelighters to make sure your fuel catches, then put the tray in the oven to bring it to cooking temperature. I have found this takes around 20 minutes to hit over 800°F but you can get a temperature ready for cooking in about 15. It is also more vulnerable to cross winds when cooking with wood, so do bear that in mind if you don't have a sheltered outdoor space to use it by.
On wood, it cooks your pizza in a little over a minute, though gas does offer a more furious flame that guarantees a quick cook. That said, the flame you get with wood gives what I think is a more even cook, giving you time to turn your pizza, brown the cheese and not burn the crust as easily. If you use the best wood for pizza ovens, you increase your chances of success.
I was a little too generous with the semolina which did create a bit of a burned mess to one side of the oven. However this doesn't impact your pizza's cook or taste
Wood is harder work — as is the case with any pizza oven. My method is to get a nice hot flame, then top up between pizzas with pellets via the hopper, meaning a little bit more reheat time between each. Because wood is more involved, gas is better suited to hosting. Though wood is more fun, and more authentic.
What really stands out about this pizza oven is how well it maintains heat between pizzas. Many competitors don't have a door, so you face losing a lot of heat when monitoring your flame.
I prefer the cook you get with wood as the flame rolls nicely over the crust and cheese for that perfect golden pizza
We also cooked potatoes in the oven. With wood this took around 15 minutes, having par-boiled them first. I think gas would be quicker, but we loved the smokey flavor from the wood. Other Woody owners have cooked meat, bread, and more in their ovens. Just note that you always have to use a skillet on the stone for any wet or greasy ingredients.
We made parmesan and green bean potatoes in the Woody Oven
The 13-inch cordierite Woody stone is really easy to remove. This was really useful when we had prepared to cook pizza, then got rained off. We simply removed the stone (before we had heated the oven of course) and used it in the oven in the house. The results weren't as good as in the oven with a wood flame, but we still got a delicious pizza at the end. As with the pizza oven, you must heat the stone with the oven to prevent cracking, should you choose to use it inside.
Cleaning is very similar to any other pizza oven. You simply blast the heat for 20 to 30 minutes, turning any food residue to ash. This can then be swept out of the oven once cool. I tend to do this at the end of my cook, then clean down before storage. That way, it is ready for my next use.
Any stubborn food residue can be scraped with a wire brush, and then the only other thing you have to do to clean the oven, is sweep out any soot. I found when I used it on gas and had the temperature too high, it did generate a lot of soot in the chimney and roof of the oven. This is normal with pizza ovens and can be remedied by reducing the temperature and allowing good air flow.
Before I learned how to control the flame with gas, I covered the oven (and myself) with soot. To avoid this, always cook with an yellow flame, rather than blue which indicates incomplete combustion
The stone should never be soaked. If it does get wet it needs drying thoroughly or water inside the porous material will expand and cause it to crack. You can buy spare stones on their website, so if you do use them frequently, you can have one clean and ready to go. The industrial-look exterior just needs a wipe-down with a damp cloth.
Woody comes with a protective carry case. In good weather, you can use this to keep the oven clean and dry. It will need storing in a shed or garage through fall and winter, when inclement weather is more common. Note that you may need to store some parts separately, but I find the fuel tray fits neatly inside of the oven and you just have to turn the door the other way round or remove the handle to make it fit.
The cover also doubles as a carry case, that clips over the oven for portability. It weighs nearly 30 lbs, so I wouldn't be able to carry it any distance, but it is easy to carry from home to car, and car to beach. If you love to camp or use a holiday home with outdoor space, it is easy to transport for days away.
The Woody Pizza Oven all packs away in this weatherproof carry case. The Chimney has its own bag on top and you can fit the door and fuel tray or gas attachment inside the oven for easy transportation
Woody has only just launched in the US but has been in the UK for around three years now. The brand has a good reputation, and though this version of the oven was only launched in June, it has a 4.4 star rating on Amazon and the company has a 4.6 star rating on Trust Pilot.
Reviewers agree it is good value for money, heats quickly and is fun to use. Those who had issues with delivery or parts found the customer service was prompt and sorted their issues with no fuss.
Other publications also gave Woody a minimum of four stars. The affordability, multifunctionality, and durability were all listed as good reasons to buy.
The door retains heat well, but has a small peephole so you can check on your pizza without opening the oven. The on door thermometer is a nice addition that other brands have started to add, but we used a heat gun to get the most accurate temperature reading in the middle of the stone
The well-known Ooni Karu 12G is the obvious competitor. It is also multifuel and features a fancy glass door that retains heat and allows you to keep an eye on your pizza. Therefore one advantage over the Woody is that you can see your pizza cook more easily than you can through Woody's peephole.
However, the Ooni Karu 12G is not a pizza oven kit. When you spend the $429 to buy it, all you get is the oven. The gas attachment is a further $99.99, the carry case £39.99 and the peel $49.99. The Woody includes all but the gas attachment, which is much better value.
The gas attachment has a clip that should fit regular patio gas bottles. You remove the fuel tray and hopper to use it
Affordability has been a major USP for Woody since it launched. They certainly are the cheapest pizza oven of this quality that we have tested. There are a few similar looking models on Amazon, for a similar pricepoint, but all seem to be either wood only, or don't have a door and the heat retention properties the Woody offers.
In terms of looks Ooni does have a certain finesse that people love. But, we're also fond of the pit master vibes of the Woody. It has a fun curved top that would make it look at home alongside your smoker or charcoal grill. If you like that cookout vibe, the Woody is certainly for you. Not to mention, it has a sturdiness that speaks to its durability.
If you like drinking a cool IPA with friends round a fire pit, you will probably love the Woody Pizza Oven's aesthetic
I would definitely recommend the Woody Pizza Oven Kit for anyone who wants to create a backyard pizzeria without the price tag. You get everything you need with it, apart from fuel, so with that sorted you can be cooking homemade pizza in less time than it takes to pick, order and receive takeout on a busy Saturday night. Because you get the cover included, once you've had your fun, it is easy to store away for the next pizza party.
Upgrading to the gas attachment for even easier at-home pizza is a small additional cost for lots of additional flexibility — we advise you do this to get even more use from your oven.
The hopper can get hot so it has a wooden handle (though make sure you avoid the small metal rivets!)
This oven was sent to me, free of charge, for testing in early May. This means I have been able to use it (weather permitting) for over four months. With all our pizza ovens, we make sure we cook a classic cheese pizza, before trying out a variety of toppings. Then, if the pizza oven is designed for other uses, we cook further recipes like roast meats and vegetables. I am vegetarian so kept my testing meat-free, but if the opportunity arises to cook for others, I will try roasting a joint and update the review with my results.
Of course, we also test multifuel ovens with as many fuel options as we can. I am yet to try this oven with charcoal, but have used a mix of wood and pellets, and used it with gas. Each time, I have made a note of how long it took to heat, how long it took to cook and how easy it was to clean afterwards.
I have been allowed to keep the oven, meaning I can put it through its paces in different situations. For the first week of the review I was house sitting for my sister, so got to put the oven's portability to the test. Then, back home, I have used it in both good and bad weather, so I really gave its durability a run for its money.
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Lindsey Davis has been writing about homes for most of the last decade. After a brief stint in children's publishing, she cut her teeth working on the website for UK brand Homebuilding & Renovating, writing about unique self build homes. She has since worked on the websites of other Future homes brands including Real Homes, Livingetc, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home where she helps readers find the best products for their properties. She lives in a British Victorian cottage which lacks in space, but makes up for it with period features aplenty. And, if she isn't busy redecorating her own home, she loves using the inspiration she finds in her working day to help her friends and family with their own projects.
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