What To Consider Before Buying Outdoor Pizza Oven Kits

Thinking of upgrading from a portable pizza oven to something more substantial? Here's everything you need to know about outdoor pizza oven kits.

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Even before the pandemic prompted so many of us to stay home and discover (or rediscover) the joys of our backyards, outdoor pizza ovens were already growing in popularity.

Although we’re now free to rely exclusively on ready-made pizza, the pizza oven market isn’t slowing down. According to recent projections, pizza oven sales will grow by 5% a year, becoming a $3 billion industry by the next decade. That’s a lot of backyard pizza ovens!

A significant number of those sales will be outdoor pizza oven kits. We’ve installed a few for friends and clients; my Italian husband is a stonemason who knows his pizza. So we’ve learned about these kits, what they come with, and how tricky they are to install.

What Is a Pizza Oven Kit?

Think of a pizza oven kit as a hybrid between building a permanently installed pizza oven from a pile of bricks and purchasing a ready-made portable pizza oven.

The package you buy may not even be called a “kit.” It might just be marketed as a pizza oven or a modular pizza oven.

Whether it’s called a kit or not, it usually come with the following components:

  • The dome, in several pieces that fit together;
  • The cooking floor, in one or more pieces;
  • The oven mouth, in one or more pieces;
  • A steel or cast-iron door.

It may also include:

  • The chimney;
  • Hardware for bolting the pieces together;
  • Dome insulation;
  • Refractory cement;
  • Pizza-making accessories like a pizza peel, pizza wheel and thermometer

Types of Pizza Oven Kits

Pizza oven kits come in two shapes: domed (also called igloo) or barrel vaulted.

Domed pizza oven kits

These feature a hemispheric interior cooking area with a mouth or door. They come in two styles/forms:

Low-dome, or Neapolitan-style: These have a lower ceiling, allowing the oven to reach temperatures of 800 to 1,000 degrees, the optimal range for pizzas typical of Naples, Italy. Neapolitan pizzas are doughier and cook in 60 to 90 seconds. The downside? The smaller door and lower height may make it hard to insert roasting pans, whole turkeys or other items.

High-dome, or Tuscany-style: These come with a higher ceiling vault and a larger door. This makes them suitable for cooking roasts and other large items, but generally can’t reach as high a temperature. But the 550 to 800-degree range is ideal for baking the thinner-crust pizzas typical of Tuscany and Rome.

Barrel-vaulted pizza oven kits

Picture an old-style airplane hanger; that’s the shape of this type. One end of the oven is closed. The other can be:

  • Enclosed with a door or mouth that’s smaller than the dimensions of the barrel. Some come with a metal door.
  • Open, with the same dimensions as the barrel, but can be closed off with a metal door

Barrel-vaulted pizza ovens take about the same time to heat up as dome ovens. Depending on their size, they may have a larger capacity for cooking bread, since all the rectangular floor space can be used.

The choice between dome or barrel-vault style comes down to aesthetics — which you like better, and how you envision facing the assembled kit.

What To Consider When Buying a Pizza Oven Kit

Even when you start with a kit, building an outdoor pizza oven is a major undertaking. Ask these questions before you start shopping:

  • Do you have space for an outdoor pizza oven? The dimensions of the kit only tell half the story. You must allow for a poured concrete footing, a base, and the mass of whatever materials you use for the oven’s face (stone, brick, stucco, etc.). For safety and practicality, the oven can’t be too close to the house. Here are a few benefits of having an outdoor fireplace with a pizza oven.
  • Do you have the DIY chops, plus helpers? Take it from someone who’s provided manual labor on a pizza oven kit installation: It’s a sizable job that’s nearly impossible to do alone, and a big challenge for a novice DIYer. Assembly must to be precise, as does masonry, chimney and flue installation.
  • Will local zoning allow it? Make sure it’s OK with your municipal authority or neighborhood homeowner’s association (HOA) before you do anything. There will likely be rules requiring how far the oven must be set from structures, fences, property lines, sidewalks and roads.

Outdoor Pizza Oven Kits Pros and Cons

According to stonemason Paolo Marchetti, the trickiest part of building a pizza oven from scratch is constructing the dome. “Even for experienced masons,” says Marchetti, “building a dome or vault that’s airtight, stable, and uniform in shape and curve is a big challenge.”

By providing the ready-to-assemble dome, a kit solves that piece of the puzzle. Here are some of the other pros and cons of outdoor pizza oven kits:

Pizza oven kit pros

  • Ready-made dome and cooking surface;
  • Even with cost and materials, kits are still cheaper than professional pizza oven installations;
  • You can customize the finished oven to your taste and creativity;
  • The satisfaction of completing a major DIY project that will be the focal point of your backyard.

Pizza oven kit cons

  • Kits can run into the thousands of dollars, not including the cost of tools, materials and finishing materials;
  • Assembly is still a big job that requires moderate to advanced DIY skills;
  • For better or worse, the pizza oven becomes a permanent part of your backyard.

Three Great Pizza Oven Kits

We’re sold on these outdoor pizza oven kits, in a range of prices and project complexity:

Best value outdoor pizza oven kit

Brickwood Ovens Mattone Barile Packacge 1 Outdoor Pizza Oven Kit Ecommvia merchant

The most basic of DIY kits, the Brickwood Ovens Mattone Barile Package 1 includes the heavy-duty styrofoam base for a brick barrel-vault pizza oven, plus detailed instructions and a materials list. It sells for $289.99 on the Brickwood Ovens website.

Other kit options include many or all of the materials you need to complete the project. They cost up to $2,499.99 for the whole shebang.

Easiest-to-install outdoor pizza oven kit

Californo Garzoni 260 Single Piece Dome Pizza Kit Ecommvia merchant

This simple and efficient kit, the Californo Garzoni 260 Single Piece Dome, features a seamless dome. No joints to seal. The kit also includes the cooking surface, steel door, insulating blanket and refractory cement. It’s priced at $1,899 on the Californo website. Larger models cost up to $2,499.

Best splurge outdoor pizza oven kit

Medio 110 Masonry Pizza Oven Kit Ecommvia merchant

File this one under Go Big or Go Home. This Medio 110 Masonry Pizza Oven Kit from the high-end brand Mugniani can cook four pizzas or two large turkeys at one time, with enough room left over for a side of roasted potatoes or vegetables.

The kit includes a four-piece dome, a five-piece cooking surface and a decorative arch doorway. Its dimensions — and cost, at $4,250 — call for an elaborate installation project. Be sure to think this one through and choose materials that will enhance this already impressive oven.

Elizabeth Heath
Elizabeth Heath is a travel, lifestyle and home improvement writer based in rural Umbria, Italy. Her work appears in The Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, Reader's Digest, TripSavvy and many other publications, and she is the author of several guidebooks. Liz's husband is a stonemason and together, they are passionate about the great outdoors, endless home improvement projects, their tween daughter and their dogs. She covers a variety of topics for Family Handyman and is always ready to test out a new pizza oven or fire pit.