1. Make sure the oven you are looking at has enough space inside to fit everything you might be thinking about cooking. For example: it may only have enough room to cook a single pizza, but in the future, you might like to cook a turkey, small goat, or several dishes at one time. It’s important to consider what you might want to use your oven for, before buying. This way, you’ll have a better idea on the size you need.
2. Make sure the flue you are supplied with is stainless steel and not galvanised, or tin. These days, in Australia, all ovens should come with stainless steel metal components, which will last a lot longer than galv or worst still, tin. Stainless looks better as well. When you are paying for a quality oven, you should have a quality flue, whether it’s undercover or out in the elements. Also, usually the longer the flue, the better the performance. 1m is good. 300mm is not good.
3. Beware of unsubstantiated, catchy marketing slogans such as: “voted the most efficient wood fired oven on the market”. This example raises several questions, such as; (1) Who voted?, (2) Define ‘efficient’, and (3) Which market? Unproven statements like these can mean absolutely nothing, so don’t be fooled by them. The best thing to do when reading outlandish claims like this, is ask how this conclusion had been reached, and what information or research is it based on.
4. Have a look at the internal height of the oven. The lower (without compromising balance), the more efficient the oven will be. However, it will need to consist of high quality refractory, due to flame impingement. When the refractory dome is lower – the heat is closer to the food you are cooking. Generally, anything above 450mm in a residential oven is much too high and won’t be as efficient as some other ovens.
5. Bigger is not always better. If you are simply planning on using your oven for the occasional meal and mostly pizza – then chances are you don’t need a big oven. Once you reach approx. 380’C – you can cook pizza in around 90 seconds flat, so you wont need space to cook more than one or two at a time. I struggle with managing 2 pizzas at any one time when they cook so fast! Also, remember, the bigger the oven, the longer it will take to heat up. Ideally, you want to cook with the heat radiating from your refractory – not from the fire.
If you'd like to learn more about DIY pizza ovens and all things wood fired ovens. You can get my Buyer's Guide for free here.
I hope it helps and all the best with your search and purchase.
If you think I could help more, please get in touch with me.
Travis - ABC ovens