All hail to the Ooni’s sassy flagship pizza oven; Ooni Karu 16. It is the Ooni’s latest and premium model in the line-ups of outdoor pizza ovens. The Ooni Karu 16 is a solid multi-fuel outdoor pizza oven and is the successor of another Ooni’s trendy model i.e Ooni pro 16.
This is one of the Ooni’s ovens that I loved cooking in the most. But why? Let us dig deeper!
Ooni, delivering the best in outdoor pizza ovens category has gifted the pizza lovers with yet another exquisite and state of the art oven – Ooni Karu 16! Nobody comes near to this beauty in entire Ooni’s ovens range. Without any doubt, its price is higher than all other Ooni’s ovens. But, is it worth it? This article is all what you need to know.
Let’s first have a quick glance over this beast!
Front-Left View of Ooni Karu 16
Side View of Ooni Karu 16
Rear View of Ooni Karu 16
- Multiple Fuel Options (wood, charcoal, gas, natural gas)
- Can Reach 950 Fahrenheit in 15 minutes
- See-through hinged door design with View Flame technology
- Mounted digital thermometer to monitor temperature inside oven
- Spacious internal area that allows to cook 16 inch delicious pizzas
- Foldable legs
- Superb design
- ‘Recommended for Domestic Use’ by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana
- Perfect combo of powder coated carbon steel and stainless steel body
The only aspect where Ooni pro 16 competes with this cutie pie is the price factor. But, I would put the Ooni Karu 16 over theOoni Pro 16 because of the price to performance ratio of this oven.
If you’re considering buying this oven, here are a few things you should know about the oven. I can’t say the oven would be perfect for you, but for a pretty wide audience, it would be a great match.
OUR TAKE ON:OONI KARU 16
What We Like
- Cooks outstanding pizzas (if mastered)
- Large cooking surface
- See-through door gives more control
- Fabulous build
- Can cook with natural gas
What We Don’t Like
- Learning curve
- Less portable than others
- Slightly expensive
- Built-in digital thermometer is not that useful
Build Quality and Features
The oven is made of powder-coated carbon steel and stainless steel which makes it sturdy at the cost of it being bulky and heavy. The oven weighs 28 kg – which is acceptable.
Being the latest of all, the company has focused to maximize all important features vital for cooking delicious pizzas. Let us have a look on them.
Let me introduce you to the key technical features of Ooni Karu 16 in the video below. Watch and fall in love with this superb outdoor pizza oven!
By compromising a little on the weight, the company managed to keep the build quality of the oven at par with those of its competitors.
➊ Uniquely-styled drop-down door with handle that enhances both; accessibility and heat retention.
➋ Glass door with latest ViewFlame technology.
➌ A small digital front-mounted thermometer with accurate inside-oven temperature readings that too in both; Fahrenheit and Celsius.
➍ A large hatch for inserting wooden fuel.
➎ Ceiling vent to control the flame.
➏ Chimney for optimized air-flow.
➐ Fuel tray that is optimized to ensure maximum burning utility.
➑ Premium quality Cordierite baking stone that lets you cook 16″ pizzas easily.
➒ Foldable Legs with non-slip material at the bottom.
❿ Insulation layer to ensure max heat retention.
⓫ Shell designed exquisitely from carbon steel with powder-coated finish. This ensures maximum heat retention as well as resistance against tough weathers.
What’s Included in the Box?
When you buy the Ooni Karu 16, you’ll get the following things:
⓵ Oven Body
This is the actual oven. Maximum heat retention is ensured by fully insulated body of this oven. Foldable legs add more to the portability of the oven and making it capable to place the oven even on slippery surfaces due to its non-slip base material on its feet.
⓶ Glass Door
A fully insulated glass door comes from the company to help you see inside the oven without burning yourself. Moreover, the handle is designed such that it does not feel hot even when opened at the peak of cooking.
⓷ Cordierite Pizza Stones
As I will cover later, having pizza stones is quite helpful since they help with conduction. Having a good pizza stone means you’re heating your pizza quicker and better. This oven comes with cordierite pizza stones that help cook the pizza base thoroughly and ensure maximum heat retention.
⓸ Chimney Cap
Chimney cap is there to keep dust and other stuff (such as water) from getting inside when the oven is not in use and placed without its cover.
A chimney to draw heat and smoke when cooking with wood. It also lets you adjust the air-flow.
⓺ Burner Tray and Grate
The grate which is useful when firing with wood and charcoal. Holes in the grate ensure that excess ash drops down from them and maximum burning is achieved due to air-flow from holes.
⓻ Fuel Hatch
This is a cover for where the fuel is stored and it is fully insulated to retain heat.
⓼ Digital thermometer
To give you hassle free temperature indication, this oven comes with a digital thermometer that gives the readings in both scales i.e Fahrenheit and Celsius.
⓽ Essentials Guide
Last but not the least, a comprehensive guide of the product.
Does the Ooni Karu 16 Gas Burner Come with the Oven?
Unfortunately, this is a downside of all Ooni outdoor pizza ovens. A gas burner is not included in the package without which the oven cannot be operated on gas. However, you can buy the gas burner separately from Ooni’s official site by clicking here.
Ooni Karu 16 Unboxing
Are you just all up for buying this beauty? Let me add to your excitement by sharing the video Ooni karu 16 being unboxed. See the video below and wait no more to unbox your very own Ooni karu 16.
The unboxed dimensions of the Ooni Karu 16 are 33 x 32 x 20”. The cooking surface is 16.7 x 16.7” which makes the total cooking surface area 278.89 square inches.
Front dimensions of Ooni Karu 16
Side dimensions of Ooni Karu 16
Dimensions of Ooni karu 16 top
Dimensions of Ooni karu 16 back
The boxed weight of the whole oven (and accessories) is 39.3 kg (86.6 lbs) while the unboxed weight of the oven is 28.4 kg (62.6 lbs).
The fact that this is a multi-fuel pizza oven makes this a great oven. Being multi-fuel gives it an upper hand over its competitors. You can use wood, charcoal or gas to cook your pizzas.
You can either use wood logs lying around to cook your pizzas or Ooni’s hardwood pellets. I would suggest you go with the latter option unless you’re tight on your budget (though the pellets don’t cost that much).
The pellets are dense which means they last longer than normal wood does. They produce less ash, and the ash produced is easy to clean.
Using wood will produce some smoke, though. So be ready for that. With wood, you can get authentic and rich taste which you won’t be able to get with gas.
If you are not considering pellets and want to go for wood logs, I am sure you will love these Ooni premium hardwood 5″ oak logs.
If you prefer cooking your pizza with charcoal, you can go for it. Just add charcoal in the fuel hatch, and you’re good to go.
How long your charcoal supply will last depends on the quality of the charcoal you use. Of peat, lignite, bituminous and anthracite, anthracite is the best coal type for burning.
You’ll get a lot more hours of burning if you use it compared to others (especially lignite since it has high moisture content).
If you want to cook using a gas, you have two options with this oven. Either cook with propane gas using propane gas tank or you can cook with natural gas too. Yes, you heard it right. Besides Ooni Koda 16 that can cook with natural gas, Ooni has also made it possible for Ooni karu 16 to cook with natural gas too. But for this, you’ll have to buy the Ooni karu 16 natural gas burner.
If you want to use propane gas as a fuel, you’ll have to buy the Ooni karu 16 propane gas burner separately which is again, a bit ridiculous. If the oven is a multi-fuel, one shouldn’t have to pay to get something that will enable them to use gas for cooking.
In case of using propane gas for fuel, it is obvious that you will have to use propane gas tank for fuel source. You’ll also have to buy it separately.
It is worth mentioning that natural gas burner can’t be used with propane gas as fuel and vice versa. So, buy the right product according to your plan of use.
With gas, you have a lot more control over the temperature and fire. With the knob of the gas burner, you can control how much gas passes through it and thus controlling the temperature. If you’re a beginner, I strongly recommend you to get this.
Though the oven is larger compared to other models (like the Ooni Karu 12, Ooni Koda 12 and the Ooni Frya 12), it takes the same amount of time to pre-heat to the same temperature.
In keeping the pre-heat time low, the fuel consumption is increased a little. The Ooni Karu 16 takes 15 minutes to pre-heat to a temperature of 950 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius).
A 9-kg-hardwood pellet will last around 6-8 hours. With smaller models, however, the same amount can last around 8-12 hours.
Because the cooking surface area of the oven is large, more fuel is consumed.
Once the oven has been pre-heated to the recommended temperature, you can cook stoned pizzas in around a minute and a half which is pretty good.
After around 15-20 seconds, you’ll have to turn the pizza. For that, the Ooni 16” Pizza Peel works okay . You’ll have to buy a separate item if you want to flip your pizzas “perfectly” by clicking here.
Cordierite pizza stones are included in the package. Of all pizza stones, cordierite is the best one; they are durable, can withstand high temperatures, and retain heat for a pretty long time.
It’s quite generous of Ooni to include pizza stones in this price range. The cordierite stones are 0.6” inch (15mm) thick ones.
Since these pizza stones can retain a lot of heat, they help with the conduction in the process of cooking pizzas. Though conduction can take place even without these stones, it’s much better with them.
In-built Digital Thermometer
This is the only Ooni model that has an in-built digital thermometer attached to it. The scale of the thermometer is on the outer side.
With the thermometer, you can check whether the pre-heat temperature has been achieved or not. Other than that, you could (and should) also use it in your cooking as your cooking skills progress.
However, One thing worth mentioning here is that the thermometer only tells the ambient air temperature inside the oven and not the baking stone temperature. To check the temperature of the baking stone, you will still have to get a digital infrared thermometer. Annoying but true!
Iron Cast for Versatility
If you want to use the Ooni Karu 16 for cooking food products other than pizza, you’ll have to use the iron cast. Without the iron cast, you won’t be able to cook anything other than pizza.
You can use any iron cast – it need not be of Ooni. However, if you still want to get all your things from one place, you can get Ooni’s iron cast from here.
There are different iron casts for you to choose from. You can get the Ooni Cast Iron Sizzler Pan, Iron Grizzler Pan, Skillet Pan or Dual-Sided Grizzler Plate from Ooni’s website.
As the name suggests, you can cook up to 16-inch pizza easily in this oven. Technically, you can also cook pizzas greater than 16 inches. There is a workaround.
Cut pizzas larger than 16” in either two or four parts (according to the size) and cook the pizza pieces separately.
If you are confused on what size and how many pizzas to cook for your guests, do check my post related to pizza sizes.
Ooni also sells oven covers for its each pizza oven separately. I think, whoever owns an outdoor pizza oven must also buy the cover for it too. This lets the oven last longer and minimizes any wear and tear when the oven is not in use. Its a wise decision to spend a few bucks on cover for a precious item. You can buy the cover for Ooni karu 16 oven by clicking here.
A Few Downsides
Of course, this product isn’t perfect; it does have a few downsides. Here are some of the things that I don’t like about the Ooni Karu 16.
The oven is a bulky one and takes up quite some space. However, that’s to be expected since this is a sixteen-inch pizza oven.
The oven is large only if you compare it to thirteen-inch models. If you compare it to its competitors, the oven is decent in size – not too large.
The oven is quite bulky – if not large. If you’re looking for a small, compact pizza oven, I would not recommend this to you. The oven, though not as large as you might be expecting it to be, is bulky.
The oven has many parts, so do keep that in mind.
Here is something that I hate about the Ooni Karu 16. In order to use the gas option, you’ll have to buy a gas burner separately.
Another bad thing about gas burners is that you have to buy a separate gas burner for every model. For the Ooni Karu 16, you’ll have to buy the specific Ooni Karu 16 Gas Burner.
The gas burner is a good one, though. It gives you a lot of control over the temperature. You can get the Ooni Karu 16 propane Gas Burner from here for under a hundred dollars. If you want to cook with natural gas, you can buy Ooni karu 16 natural gas burner from here.
Iron Casting for Other Food Products
For other food products, you’ll have to use iron casting pans that are sold separately. Come to think of it, it does make sense. The Ooni Karu 16 is an outdoor pizza oven. Any extra feature is something extra.
Still, I believe they should’ve given at least one casting iron to use with the oven – especially considering the price point.
The Ooni Karu 16 is a solid multi-fuel outdoor pizza oven. A lot of accessories come with the oven which enhance the experience.
This beast can also be used for commercial purposes. With expert chefs handling this beat, it will cook perfect delicious pizzas in no time.
Once you get to know and learn more about handling this beast, you will be more than happy to host pizza parties and enjoy home made Neapolitan pizzas in your backyard.
The oven is multi-fuel, but it requires a separate gas burner to use gas. For $800, the oven is pretty good. Its price to performance ratio would be 9/10 as per my opinion, keeping in mind that I have tons of experience cooking pizzas in various outdoor pizza ovens.
Food products other than pizzas can also be cooked/prepared in this. However, they would require a separate casting iron pan which is sold separately.
Have you tried the Ooni Karu 16? If so, how was your experience with it? Let me know down in the comments.