How Much Does A Wood Fired Pizza Oven Cost? (Full Guide)

If you’re interested in a wood fired oven, there are options for every budget. This article has some inspiration and price comparisons for each type. So how much does a pizza oven actually cost?

As for the prices, I’ve gone for US dollars for the majority of readers – but in the hope that even if it doesn’t apply to you, you can at least use it as a comparison for your own currency. So in a nutshell:

The estimated cost of a pizza oven based on the different methods:

  • Buying a portable oven: $300-$1000
  • Buying a premade oven: $1000-9000+
  • Building your own clay or cement oven: $275-350
  • Building your own brick oven: $950+

If you are thinking of building a wood fired oven, here are the estimated costs:

 ClayClay and insulationVermiculite ConcreteBrick
Dome$100$100$80$700
Dome support$15$15$15
Dome Insulation$5 (straw)$40 (vermiculite)$60 (fire blanket)
Hearth$75$75$75$75
Hearth Insulation$20 (vermiculite)$20 (vermiculite)$60 (calcium silicate)
Waterproofing$30$30$30
Chimney$50$50$50$50
Tunnel$25$25$25
TOTAL$275$355$295$970

I’ll break down the cost of the different methods, and you can pick the one which best suits your budget, willingness and skill.

As with most things in life, you can do it yourself and be resourceful with the materials if you are on a budget. Or you can splash out the cash and pay someone to make one or deliver right to your doorstep in a few days.

If you decide you want to buy, then check out my pizza oven buyers guide article I did which explains all the essential tips when buying.

So firstly…

Buying A Portable Oven

A portable pizza oven is literally that – you don’t have to fix it in one place in your garden, and you can pack it up and take it to your neighbour, the beach, go camping or store it away easily.

They usually aren’t made out of bricks, so they are smaller and light weight. As for fuel, they can burn wood, wood pellets, or gas and can heat up much faster than a traditional clay oven.

You might think that they wouldn’t be able to reach those high temperatures to rival a clay oven, but you would be incorrect. Infact, they can get right up to the highest temperatures and cook a pizza in 60-90 seconds.

The downsides? You don’t get that rustic brick oven that looks great in your backyard, as most are metal. But some have really great designs which you can see below. And they are also obviously smaller, so it’s always one pizza at a time.

The Ooni

One of the first portable pizza ovens was the Ooni. Ooni launched from the crowd funding website Kickstarter in 2012 and it has gone from success to success since – they are now on their third model.

The stainless steel oven burns wood pellets, and reaches 930ºF (500ºC) in just 10 minutes. This is hot enough to cook a 13” pizza in 60 seconds. It’s got a removable chimney and hinged legs making it the ultimate portable oven, especially with the add on bag available.

It’s a great buy, as it heats up so fast, looks fantastic and is very affordable.

It’s my absolute recommendation for a portable oven. Check the current price on Amazon.

The Roccbox

The Roccbox has a sleek design from stainless steel, stone and a rubber exterior. It’s a well insulated oven so retains heat well and will also reach temperatures of 930ºF (500ºC), with a slightly longer heat up time of around 30 minutes.

The Roccbox has a changeable burner allowing you to use wood or gas to heat the oven, so you can attach a propane tank and avoid buying firewood if that is more convenient for you.

The downsides? It is very sturdy and weighs a lot, so while you can move it around your garden, it isn’t one to carry to the beach. It also costs more than the Ooni, but is a slightly more sturdy piece of kit.

Check the current price on Amazon.

Buying A Premade Oven

Want to avoid the hassle and time of building your own? You can pay a bit more and have a ready made one brought to you. There are a few options here:

  1. You can buy a complete, fully assembled oven
  2. Buy an oven kit to assemble yourself
  3. Pay someone to build it for you

Buy A Fully Assembled Oven

The most convenient and fastest method is to buy an oven that is already built and assembled by a professional company. It comes at a price as it is also the most expensive option.

They are often built with high quality refractory and insulation materials to give efficient ovens that are well made and will last a long time. Because of the superior insulation, they will retain heat for long periods of time.

Designs range from authentic styled italian ovens, to more modern designs, and companies will offer bespoke designs if that is what you need.

Size

The estimated prices for the fully assembled and kits are for the smallest on offer – around 24”-26” which can cook a single 11” pizza. The prices then escalate rapidly with size to around 44” which can cook 4-5 pizzas at a time.

Some recommended retailers are US based Forno Bravo (www.fornobravo.com) which has a wide selection, lots of great information and a forum community of 26,000 members. Or the UK based The Stone Baked Oven Company (www.thestonebakeovencompany.co.uk) which has great prices and designs.

Expect to pay $1050-9250

Buying An Oven Kit

An oven kit is a pre built set of pieces which are put together yourself at home with an adhesive. They are a halfway stop for someone who wants to build an oven, but doesn’t want to build the entire thing from scratch.

They require some masonry skill to fix the parts together, and often come with an insulation layer to add yourself for the dome and the floor, as well as a stand to place it on. And as it isn’t waterproof –  a render or a brick layer for the exterior finish. You could get a local tradesman to finish this final step.

You might need some extra materials or tools to finish off the oven so that will add to the price. As the oven will be finished by you, it will have a more bespoke look and feel to it which is the trade off.

Again, like the fully built ovens, Forno Bravo (www.fornobravo.com) from the US have a great range, and also The Stone Baked Oven Company (www.thestonebakeovencompany.co.uk)  from the UK.

Expect to pay $1250-6000

Pay Someone To Build It For You

The last option is to pay a tradesman to build it for you. This is the most bespoke option as you will pay a professional who has experience, and you can also influence the design to fit you garden.

The pizza oven companies mentioned above, and others online, can create you a bespoke oven if you contact them, so that might be a first step to getting a quote – but you would still need to get it delivered.

You could go local and find a mason who can build it directly in your garden. Searching your area would be a first step. Remember that you need to pay for materials and workman’s time.

Expect to pay thousands of dollars.

Build Your Own From Scratch

Building your own can give you fantastic bespoke results. You can tailor your design to your garden, and also go as far as your budget will take you. This section should give you some direction on what you will need to build, and the resources and tools required to do so.

There is a section with some building plans and guides for you to use.

You can see from my estimation that the price difference varies drastically. This is down to the materials used, and how robust you make it. If you make a simple clay dome, it will work to a degree but won’t retain heat that well and will eventually crack. A brick oven with multiple layers and insulation will be hot and efficient, and last decades. Somewhere in between can build an affordable, efficient and long lasting oven.

The structure needs:

  • A hearth (the oven floor)
  • A dome
  • A chimney
  • An entrance
  • Insulation layer (optional but recommended)
  • Waterproof render layer (optional but recommended)

Size

For this section, a rough size of 26” (75cm) can be used as a comparison of materials. This is big enough to cook one 12” pizza at a time. You can build your oven around an inflated exercise ball as a guide, you can get one exactly this size.

Estimated Cost Comparison

 ClayClay and insulationVermiculite ConcreteBrick
Dome$100$100$80$700
Dome support$15$15$15
Dome Insulation$5 (straw)$40 (vermiculite)$60 (fire blanket)
Hearth$75$75$75$75
Hearth Insulation$20 (vermiculite)$20 (vermiculite)$60 (calcium silicate)
Waterproofing$30$30$30
Chimney$50$50$50$50
Tunnel$25$25$25
TOTAL$275$355$295$970


Dome Materials – The Biggest Cost Difference

The most contentious point is likely to be the material used to build the dome, which will affect the price a lot as its the largest piece.

  1. You can build this out of brick which is expensive but will be strong and long standing.
  2. Or you can create a dome over a support structure using lesser expensive materials such a clay and sand mix called cob, or a heat resistant concrete made from cement and refractory insulation such as vermiculite or perlite. As they are wet materials, they need to have a support structure to be built around, allowing them to then dry and harden.

I’ll take a closer look into these two approaches and the prices for each next.

Brick Dome

This is the most expensive part of building an oven. So if you are on a tight budget, then use another method. Bricks give a great appearance to your oven, and they are also waterproof so you won’t need to give the dome a waterproof coating. Generally speaking, a brick built oven should last you a very long time, and avoid weathering problems with clay

Fire bricks are specialist bricks to withstand high temperatures. If you use a regular brick, the intense heating and cooling of the brick can cause it to crack and crumble, as there are lots of different types of brick out there. The catch? Fire bricks are much more expensive, especially if you have access to some free common bricks.

Most sources will recommend using firebricks, as you want the oven to last years. Using normal bricks runs the risk of damage and then you might need to do repairs. No one wants to have to put the time, money and effort into building twice! Also, who wants brick crumbs on their pizza?

If the choice is normal bricks or no oven, just be sure they are high quality and not toxic to heat and cook with.

The size of the oven will dictate how many bricks you need. You might need up 200-250 bricks as seen in this poll of average used. Firebricks can vary in price, but you can buy them for ~$3 or cheaper if you buy in bulk such as here.

You will need to get refractory mortar to withstand high temperatures, and that is suitable for outdoor use to be rain and frost resistant.

Also, you are likely to have more substantial foundations, reinforcement materials and stand if you choose this route, as the structure on top needs it. So that will add to the cost also.

Estimated brick cost: $600
Estimated mortar cost: $100
Total: $700

Check out this video of a luxury brick build for inspiration:

Cheaper Dome Materials

You can make your dome out of cheaper materials, which can be mixed with cement or clay and then dried to form a solid dome for your first layer.

Vermiculite Concrete Dome

Vermiculite is a naturally occurring and inexpensive mineral that is a highly efficient insulator. It can withstand high temperatures and will expand and contract with heat, making it less likely to crack. It can be coarsely ground and mixed with refractory cement to form an insulating refractory concrete which can be a cheap way to create a dome, or add layers of insulation.

It is used in gardening for adding to soil as well as building, so it is a readily available material locally or online. You can buy a 4 cubic foot (113 litre) bag very cheaply and that should be enough for a 26” oven, as seen in the video below.

Is it safe to heat?
In short, yes. This article gives the history of one mine which had traces of asbestos with the vermiculite, but was shut in 1990. There is strict industry protocols which now ensure this isn’t present.

Estimated cost:
Vermiculite and Refractory Cement
Estimated Total: $80

Check out these videos to get some inspiration on the vermiculite build:

Clay Dome

This is another cheap option. You can make a mound out of damp sand as a support structure. Then make a clay-sand mixture known as cob and cover the sand mound, leaving it to dry slightly. Once it has firmed up, remove the sand, cut open a door and then you are left with a first layer.

The material alone won’t retain much heat so needs an insulating layer. Wood chippings or straw can be used as a budget insulation layer, or you can use vermiculite or fire blanket. It can be followed by more clay or a waterproof render.

It isn’t waterproof, so will get weathered if you don’t cover it with a tarp or build a roof. Over time this option will likely deteriorate and crack so you may need to do repairs. I would recommend using it as an interior layer unless you don’t mind making fixes over time.

Estimated cost: under $100

Check out this video for a guide:

Support Structure

The wet mix materials need some sort of base support structure to be applied on top of so that a dome can be formed and the mix can be firmed up. Once it is stable, the support structure can be removed, and more layers can be applied to the dome. Some ideas can be an inflated exercise ball held in some plywood, or a mound of damp sand.

Estimated cost: $15

The Other Parts Of Build

Insulation

Want your oven to stay hot, and use less fuel? This is where insulation comes in. There is two places you need to add insulation: beneath the hearth and between the outer and inner layers of your dome. It just needs to be able to withstand the high heat that comes from a pizza oven. This can match various budgets; for the dome – (in descending cost order) you can use a fibre insulation blanket held down by chicken wire, vermiculite concrete, or natural materials such as straw or wood chippings.

You should have an insulating layer beneath the hearth to retain heat on your oven floor used for cooking, and also to prevent your standing materials to receive too high temperatures. This can be made of a calcium silicate board which is premade but more expensive insulating board, or the cheaper option of more vermiculite concrete.

Estimated cost for Dome: $40-60
Estimated cost for Hearth: $20-60

Waterproof layer

With vermiculite or cob domes you need a waterproofing layer to finish as these materials aren’t weatherproof. You can buy a waterproof render or mix your own.

Estimated $30 for a waterproofing render.

Hearth

Use fire bricks as they are designed to withstand high heat, and will do the same job as a pizza stone in drawing moisture from the dough as it cooks for extra crispiness. Use bricks as thick as you can afford as these will retain more heat and give you a higher floor temperature. Arrange in a herringbone shape to stop your peel catching on a straight edge when pushing in and out.

You will need about 24 bricks for a 26” oven described here. You can get firebricks for $3 each.

Estimated cost: $75

Chimney

You need a chimney to remove smoke, and allow the fire to draw air through the main tunnel entrance to burn efficiently. This usually goes at the front of the oven, as a chimney in the main dome would cause you to lose too much heat. You can buy a stainless steel chimney for a pizza oven from ebay for around $50, or pay considerably more for larger ones.

Estimated cost: $50

Tunnel

The tunnel is a section to the oven away from the dome which allows you access. It can hold the chimney and can also have a door to allow you to slow roast. You can make this out of the same material as your dome – you will need some cardboard or wood for a support while you create it.

If its a non-brick dome, then a few bricks at the tunnel opening can give a nice visual appearance. To save money or for appearance, you can use regular bricks and mortar for this as they are in non direct heat of the fire.

Estimated: 16 bricks and mortar at $25

Summary

You can see from the price comparison table how the materials add up. For a non-brick I would go for the vermiculite as you get an easily insulated dome, that is less likely to crack than clay. The materials are also easier to mix, as you have to stomp clay together.

You can see how the price of brick adds a lot, but then it will stand the test of time. This doesn’t include the cost of the stand, which may need to be more bricks.

The information here should be able to allow you to see how to mix and match components for your budget. You can lower costs by using cheaper insulation, or make a more robust end product by using all the top quality materials.

Where To Get Building Plans

You can watch the Youtube videos that I have linked in each section to get instructions and a visual guide.

The following website has a good list of free plans.

Plans

Making A Decision

How Long Will They Last?

This all depends on the quality of the materials used and how well it has been built. A cob oven may last you 3-6 years with some likely repairs jobs for cracks as the clay shrinks and weathers.

A vermiculite and cement oven can last longer as the materials can expand and contract with the heat well. A good waterproof coating is essential for long life if you live in a wet area.

A brick oven will last the same amount of time you would expect any brick structure if it is built well with good materials and on a solid foundation. It will be waterproof and handle high heats well, and will only need minor repairs over the years.

Conclusion

When it comes to rounding up the options, here is my opinion. For a portable oven, I love the Ooni as its got the heat but also comes at a very affordable price tag. You can create neapolitan style pizzas in your own garden, and almost anyone can get one quickly online.

Premade ovens are the real deal so cannot really be beaten for quality and performance. And they also scale in size well so you can cook multiple pizzas at once for a party, and look fantastic in your garden. They are expensive, so inaccessibly for the average Joe.

As for building your own, I like the vermiculite dome as the materials are so inexpensive yet efficient. Some of the ones seen online look very professional so could be nice addition to your patio. A brick oven could also be a nice project if you are feeling ambitious.

Happy Shopping!

 

2 Comments

  1. Scott devries

    Currently I’m 70% through building a true italian wood fired oven ( igloo style)
    And I’ll say because I wanted this to stand out , I’m at about $ 2700 in materials for a 42″ oven
    Firebricks were the biggest cost , and where I am theres no Italians lol
    $4.25 each in London Canada
    But if I travel to Niagara falls ( about 2 hours) they are 1/2 the cost exactly cuz theres lots of Italians there 🙂
    I’ve got about 7 bags total in fire clay at $ 30 a bag and a ceramic wool insulation over the bricks which was $100
    The base are patio stone pavers and if bought are about $1000
    ( 176 in a circle to about 32 ” high) with a 2ft opening on one side
    Good luck and plan out your oven wisely but man do you get amazingly great pizzas from this ….
    24 hour neopolitan dough 🙂

    • Tom Hambly

      Thanks for sharing Scott. That’s a good size oven build there! And yes, a nice 24 dough works wonders in a wood fired oven.

      Good luck for the rest of your build.

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