Pizza ovens continue to grow in popularity and it's no surprise - there's something wonderfully sociable about inviting friends and family around to make and cook pizza.
Launched in 2020, the Karu 12 joined the Ooni family and quickly proved to be an instant hit thanks to its multi-fuel ability, allowing the buyer to cook with wood, charcoal or gas, all while weighing just 12kg.
But is it as good as they say? Here's how we got on when we got our hands on the Ooni Karu 12.
Ooni Karu 12 overview
Multiple fuel options
Easy to transport and store
Cooks pizza in just 60 seconds.
Gas and accessories must be bought separately
Analysis of price
While a pizza oven is obviously a luxury, we thought the the price point of this pizza oven was fair and that goes for most of the Ooni range. There are much more expensive brands available and having tested pricier options, we can confidently say that the Karu 12 is much easier to use.
The Karu 12 can be fuelled with wood, charcoal or gas which provides complete versatility.
If you want to use gas, you need to purchase the Ooni gas burner separately and it would have been nice if this was included with the oven.
Easy transport and storage
The portability of the Ooni Karu 12 pizza oven is, without a doubt, one of its best features. The legs fold under with ease and if you purchase the Ooni carry cover alongside the oven, you can take it with you anywhere and keep it well protected when not in use. The Karu 12 only weighs 12kg so it is easy on the arm when being carried but don’t be fooled, this pizza oven packs just as much punch as some of the larger, heavier pizza ovens on the market.
Testing the Ooni Karu
Once it had arrived from Lakeland, the Ooni Karu was super easy to put together and simply required the chimney attaching, the legs unfolded and a few pieces installed, all of which took less than 10 minutes. Included in the box is a very comprehensive user manual and this tells you everything you need to know about cooking with an Ooni pizza oven which we found to be a really useful addition. It covers the different types of fuel and how to go about lighting your Karu 12 for the first time to get the best results.
When it was time to get cooking, we're pleased to report that the Karu 12 is incredibly easy to use and the results were - as you'd imagine - absolutely delicious.
The oven took roughly 25 minutes to heat up and has a hatch at the rear so you can easily add more fuel without having to reach through the front and risk a soot-covered arm.
The removable fuel tray also makes it very easy to arrange your wood or charcoal around your firelighters and this ensures optimal ignition. If you fancy cooking on gas, just unscrew the back plate and pop on your gas regulator which will then attach to your cylinder. Then it's just a case of removing the front 'door' and replacing the chimney with a stopper.
Once the Karu 12 had reached temperature, it was time to start cooking! The door opening of the oven is more than suitable enough as you attempt to slide your dough off the peel and into the oven and there is also plenty of room when it comes to turning your pizza a couple of times.
Every single pizza we produced was cooked beautifully and the Ooni stone base delivered great results. Sure, you do need to keep an eye on your pizza to turn it and ensure there are no burnt bits but when it cooks so quickly, this is no bother.
Between each pizza, you do need to keep the oven door on and refuel to bring the heat back up to temperature but again, this was easy to do thanks to the convenient hatch at the rear of the oven. The oven door which is included with the Karu 12 is lightweight and sits snuggly on the front to help keep the heat in and bring the temperature back up to pizza perfect levels.
How does the Ooni Karu compare to previous versions?
If you are an absolute beginner and want to make pizza with ease then this is absolutely the product for you. Ooni are a well known brand (especially after the surge of Lockdown buys) and offers a wide range of different oven types, with prices ranging from £299 (like the Karu 12) and all the way up to the £499 (the Ooni Pro 16). Whilst the Karu 12 can cook pizzas up to 12”, they do offer options for cooking pizzas up to 16” although we were personally more than happy with our 12-inch pizzas and didn't feel we'd require a bigger size.
How does the Ooni Karu 12 compare to rival products?
While much harder to get hold of during lockdown, pizza overns are now a lot easier to get your hands on and you don't have to look far to find choices available everywhere from Aldi to John Lewis. Really, it depends what you after.
If you're wanting to build a designated pizza oven kitchen in your garden, the DeliVita option is certainly attractive (albeit pricey) but if you like the idea of storing your pizza away when not in use and even taking it to friends and family's houses then you're bound to find a suitable Ooni pizza oven to fulfil your needs.
Multi-fuel pizza ovens are harder to come by, something that absolutely works in Ooni's favour because even if you stick to just using wood, knowing you have the option of charcoal and gas is a big selling point.
Final thoughts on the Ooni Karu 12
Overall, we were really happy with the final results when using the Ooni Karu 12. The pizzas were cooked to perfection and it was so easy to use, meaning everyone could get involved. This is the perfect product for beginners, ensuring the pizza-making process is simple and effective but will still satisfy those with more pizza making experience.
If you want to make the pizza cooking process effortless then we would definitely recommend adding the Ooni Karu 12 to your wish list and before you know it, you'll be comfortably churning out beautifully cooked pizzas for your friends and family.
Unboxed dimensions: 80 x 40 x 77cm (31.5 x 15.7 x 30.3″)
Unboxed weight: 12kg (25.6lbs)
Cooking surface: 33 cm (13″)
15mm (0.6″) cordierite stone baking board resistant
Brushed 430 stainless steel, glass-reinforced nylon
Folding legs for easy transport and storage