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Ooni Koda 16 review: The best outdoor pizza oven

While expensive, the Ooni Koda 16 is the best outdoor pizza oven

Ooni Koda 16 in use with pizza
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Ooni)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Powerful and simple to use, the Ooni Koda 16 is the best outdoor pizza oven.

Pros

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    Minimal setup

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    Easy to use

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    Heats up quickly

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    Large cooking area

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    Simple temperature controls

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    L-shaped heat source cooks pizza in minutes

Cons

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    One of the more expensive pizza ovens

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    Accessories (like a peel) sold separately

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    No built-in thermometer

Ooni Koda 16: Specs

Type: Propane
Size: 25 x 23.2 x 14.7 inches
Weight: 40 pounds
Cooking Surface: 16 inches
Heating Capability: Up to 950 degrees F
Recipes: Booklet included
In the Box: Oven, pizza stone, gas regulator
Tools Needed: None

Ooni has seen booming business for its line of outdoor pizza ovens, some of which operate on gas, and others a combination of gas and wood. The Ooni Koda 16 is the larger of its two propane-powered Koda models — with a 16-inch cooking area vs. the Koda 12’s 12-inch cooking area — and for its ease of setup, relatively lightweight construction, no-fuss functionality, large cooking space, and powerful L-shaped flame, we felt it’s the most versatile, family-friendly model for cooks who might want to experiment with different pie sizes, as well as cooking other non-pizza items in the oven.

Because of the L-shaped heat source, we found during testing for this Ooni Koda 16 review that pizzas cooked near the back left corner of the oven took only a couple of minutes to come out perfectly charred and bubbly. And unlike other ovens with a singular flame or radiant heat, you really only need a turn or two of a pie to get an evenly cooked crust. It’s why it’s at the top of the list for the best pizza ovens.

Ooni Koda 16 review: Price and availability

The Ooni Koda 16 costs $599, and is available at Ooni.com. It first went on sale in March 2020. A smaller model, the Ooni Koda 12, costs $399. The main difference between the two is that the Koda 16 has a larger cooking surface.

When purchasing a pizza oven, we also recommend you buy a pizza peel so that you can slide the pizzas in and out of the oven. Ooni sells a 16-inch Peel for $40.

Ooni Koda 16 review: Ease of Setup

The Koda requires very little setup. Its three legs (two in the front, one in the back) fold out smoothly from under the oven and have slip-resistant material on the bottom to hold the oven securely in place. The only action required is to slide the pizza stone into the interior of the oven, which proved to be pretty effortless. 

Ooni Koda 16 with gas on

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Once set up and on a tabletop, all we had to do to get the oven running was to hook the gas regulator — already attached to the unit with a hose — up to a propane tank. Once it’s secured and tightened, the manual recommends that the gas connection should be tested with a soapy water solution to ensure there are no leaks. Upon testing, we found no leaks. 

The Koda’s manual recommends lighting the oven and running it on its highest temperature for 30 minutes. Igniting the oven is very easy: Just push in and turn the ignition button to the left and hold it in for a few seconds to get the oven running. It connected immediately with the gas and lit, igniting the L-shaped burners inside the oven. 

Ooni Koda 16 with cooked pizza

(Image credit: Ooni)

Ooni promises that the Koda 16 will take about 20 minutes to heat up to between 700 and 800 degrees Fahrenheit — the ideal temperature for cooking a pizza. In our testing, we found that to be accurate. The Koda 16 reached 700 degrees in just under 20 minutes.

Ooni Koda 16 review: Design and functionality

Overall, the Ooni Koda 16’s design is minimalist but pleasing to the eye. The shell of the Ooni Koda 16 is made from durable, insulated, powder-coated carbon steel, and only comes in black. Its roomy mouth made sliding a pizza peel in and out of the oven a breeze. As its name implies, the Koda 16 is designed to be large enough to cook a 16-inch pie, and we found it more than roomy enough to cook and turn the 12-inch pies we were testing. And while there aren’t many bells and whistles to the design, we did appreciate two mirrors placed just inside the opening of the oven, so that you can see your pizza from different angles as it cooks.

Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The only missing feature on the Ooni Koda 16 is a built-in thermometer, which would make tracking and maintaining the oven’s temperature easier. While Ooni does sell an infrared thermometer gun ($39.99) that’s both easy and fun to use (it can tell you the exact temp of the middle of the pizza stone, for instance), it would be ideal to not have to purchase the additional item to keep an eye on the temperature.

Ooni Koda 16 review: Cooking Performance

The Koda 16’s L-shaped flame makes the back left corner of the oven its hottest part and being close to it is the ideal place to cook a pizza quickly. In our tests, fresh dough made by hand and by a local pizzeria cooked in two to three minutes, leaving the dough nicely puffed and with the speckles of char known as “leoparding” with a couple of turns. The mozzarella cheese on top also bubbled and became speckled with brown spots from the high temperature. 

Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

As with other ovens, store-bought dough (both refrigerated and frozen/thawed) proved to be a challenge, as the outside of the crust charred easily but didn’t cook all the way through, leaving a cracker-y exterior and doughy interior. 

We also found that with smaller pies, if you’re close enough to the heat, you can probably get away with one turn of the pizza, but you may need two turns to get an even cook. Just keep an eye on your pies, because they do cook quickly and might burn if they’re too close to the (powerful!) heat.

Ooni Koda 16 in use with pizza

(Image credit: Ooni)

Overall, because the oven is so roomy, it’s especially nice for beginners who haven’t gotten their pizza-making footing yet and need some room to maneuver the peel (sold separately). Because the peel is lightweight, large, and specially designed for the oven, it was easy to both build pizzas on and slide them off into the oven.

Ooni Koda 16 review: Verdict

The Ooni Koda 16 lives up to its promise of cooking pizzas in a matter of minutes. It’s a great choice for beginners and anyone looking to make restaurant-quality thin-crust pizza at home. If you’re looking for something smaller or less expensive, check out the Ooni Koda 12, which is $200 less. Just keep in mind that whatever pizza oven you buy, you may have to spring from some extra add-ons to complete your pizza-making arsenal. 

Karen Palmer (opens in new tab) has been writing about food and dining for more than 15 years, covering everything from restaurants and chefs to recipes and, now, outdoor pizza ovens. Her obsession with all things pizza started when the New Jersey native lived in Milan, Italy for a few years as a child, and it continued well into adulthood. A self-described pizza connoisseur, Karen started a French bread pizza pop-up in Los Angeles called Pain Pizza. When the Boston College and culinary school grad isn’t writing about food, you’ll find her hopping a flight at LAX, taking a dance HIIT class, or enjoying a pie at one of her favorite local pizzerias.