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Ooni Fyra vs Karu: Easy Pellet-Fired or Real Wood + Options?

OONI FYRA WOOD PELLET

Ooni-Fyra-12-with-Door-on
4.7/5

OONI KARU MULTI-FUEL

Ooni Karu 12G Multi fuel pizza oven
4.9/5

Yus!! You’re getting an Ooni! You’ve just got to choose which one to get…

It’s a good decision to have to make. Both of these Ooni pizza ovens are great purchases and make equally as incredible pizza. It just comes down to how you want to run it.

We’ve used both (and, in fact, we’ve used the whole Ooni range). So, in this comparison we’ll walk you through your decision on the Ooni Fyra vs Karu.

We’ll cover the technical differences. But, we’ll also talk about what they’re both like to actually use, how much time and work it takes to maintain the fire on both, who each oven is best suited to, and more.

If you’re wonerdering it, the answer is here.

So, here we go!

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A Quick Comparison of the Ooni Frya vs Karu

Table of Contents

Summary of the Oon Fyra vs Karu Compared

If you’re looking at the Ooni Fyra vs Karu because you simply want the best pizza, you can seriously choose either. Both of these ovens turn out real wood-fired pizza so amazing that you’ll never want to buy one out again (I’m not exaggerating).

And, they’re also both great quality, easy to use, and, are actually portable (because, your friends and family will ask you to bring your Ooni around to theirs).

So, your decision on the Ooni Karu or the Ooni Fyra really comes down to what fuel you want to use. And, you probably know that these models both use real wood for the fire. So, what’s the difference?

The 100% wood pellet-fired Ooni Fyra is ideal for people who want:

  • Something that requires less time and effort to run – The gravity fed hopper will maintain the fire for about 20 minutes before it needs to be refilled
  • An easy fuel to buy – It runs off of the same wood pellets you use for smoking (find our favorites here). There’s no size issues or need to cut kindling down
  • Is alright with being limited to the 12 inch size – There’s no larger version of the Fyra. And, although with a family of 6, we do prefer the larger Ooni’s, 12″ pizzas are easier to work with.

Buy the multi-fuel Ooni Karu if you:

  • Value that authentic wood-fired pizza experience – People can argue that wood pellets aren’t the same
  • Want more control over temperature – Using charcoal only or a charcoal/wood combo gives a lower temperature that’s better for cooking things other than pizza
  • Like having the option of easy and convenient gas-fired pizza – The extra gas attachment lets you hook up a propane bottle for the times you want fast and easy
  • Need the larger pizza size – There’s the 16″ Ooni Karu
  • Understand that you do need some hardwood to cook pizza – Charcoal alone doesn’t get hot enough

About the Ooni Fyra

The Ooni Fyra is real wood-fired pizza made a whole heap easier!

This pizza oven runs completely off of exactly the same type of wood pellets you use in your pellet smoker (see our favorite brands here).

But, the innovative design of the Fyra means that the hopper (chimney that holds the pellets) gravity feeds the pellets into the fire at the right rate to create that high-heat needed for fast and amazing pizza cooking.

So, even though it’s pellet-powered, you don’t need electricity to run the Ooni Fyra.

Simply load up the hopper, light the pellets with a firestarter, let it heat up for 15 minutes and away you go. You will need to refill the hopper every now an then (ours usually needs more every 20 minutes or so).

And, like all of the pizza ovens in the Ooni range, it takes about 60 seconds to wood-fire a pizza on the Fyra.

For the time being, you can only get the Ooni Fyra in the 12 inch model. There’s no 16 inch option like there is for the Ooni Karu or Ooni Koda.

Specs for the Ooni Fyra 12

Product type: Pizza oven

Fuel type: Pellets

Interior: Stainless steel

Exterior: Powder-coated insulated steel

Capacity: 12 inch

Stone: 10mm cordierite

Heat range: Up to 950°F

Dimensions: 29.1 D x 15.4 W x 28.5 H 

Weight: 22 lbs

Price guide: $$

Model: Fyra 12

Warranty: 1 yr or 5 yrs with registration

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ooni Fyra

Pros
Cons

About the Ooni Karu

The Karu is Ooni’s answer to just about everything.

This multi-fuel pizza oven burns kindling-sized hardwood for legit Neapolitan pizza. And, you can also burn charcoal or a combination of charcoal and hardwood for lower and slower temperatures.

This is perfect if you want to use your Ooni to sear a steak or throw on a dessert because you’ve got more control over the temperature.

But, just be aware that charcoal alone doesn’t get hot enough to cook a pizza in 60 seconds. To reach the high heat you need to cook pizza on the Ooni Karu, you do need to be burning at least some hardwood.

But, with the Ooni Karu, you also get a third fuel option…

Grab yourself the gas burner attachment (it’s sold separately) and you can hook up a propane bottle for the times you want easy pizza, or when you don’t have hardwood on hand.

Gas Burner Attachment for the Ooni Karu 16

There’s a lot of flexibility in how you cook on the Ooni Karu. And, it’s available in two sizes and 3 models; the 12-inch pizza making Karu 12 and Karu 12G, or the 16-inch pizza making Karu 16.

What’s the difference between the Karu 12 and 12G?

The Karu 12 is Ooni’s more basic multi-fuel oven. It’s got a solid door that you can’t see through and a stainless steel body that’s still insulated like the rest of Ooni’s range.

The Karu 12G has the same insulated, powder-coated carbon steel shell as the Fyra 12. And, there’s an upgraded glass door so you can see exactly what’s going on inside your oven at all times. Ooni has also added an analog temperature gauge on the side of the oven to give you that extra feedback while you’re cooking.

The Ooni Karu 12G isn’t much more expensive than the Karu 12. Unless you want to keep it really cheap, we feel the extra is money well spent.

Ooni Karu 12G with glass door and built-in temperature gauge

The larger Karu 16 is a bigger step up price-wise. Like the 12G, you’ve got a glass door for added visibility. But, there’s a built-in digital temperature gauge. Inside, the cooking space has more height than that on the 12 inch models. Basically, it’s an outdoor oven with a choice of 3 different fuel options.

For more information, check out our detailed Karu 16 review.

Ooni Karu 16 Review

Specs for the Ooni Karu 12

Product type: Pizza oven

Fuel type: Wood & charcoal

Interior: Stainless steel

Exterior: Powder-coated insulated steel

Capacity: 12 inch

Stone: 15mm cordierite

Heat range: Up to 950°F

Dimensions: 29.1 D x 15.4 W x 28.5 H

Weight: 22 lbs

Price guide: $

Model: Karu 12

Warranty: 1 yr or 5 yrs with registration

Specs for the Ooni Karu 12G

Product type: Pizza oven

Fuel type: Wood & charcoal

Interior: Stainless steel

Exterior: Powder-coated insulated steel

Capacity: 12 inch

Stone: 15mm cordierite

Heat range: Up to 950°F

Dimensions: 29.7 D x 28.7 H x 16.4 W

Weight: 45.9 lbs

Price guide: $$

Model: Karu 12G

Warranty: 1 yr or 5 yrs with registration

Specs for the Ooni Karu 16

Product type: Pizza oven

Fuel type: Wood & charcoal

Interior: Stainless steel

Exterior: Powder-coated insulated steel

Capacity: 16 inch

Stone: 15mm cordierite

Heat range: Up to 950°F

Dimensions: 32 D x 20 W x 33 H

Weight: 62.6 lbs

Price guide: $$$

Model: Karu 16

Warranty: 1 yr or 5 yrs with registration

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ooni Karu

Pros
Cons

An In-Depth Look at the Ooni Fyra vs Karu

Design and Quality

The Ooni Fyra and Ooni Karu are very well-made pizza ovens, especially for the price!

And, although they look quite a bit different, the construction materials are actually very similar.

Ooni Fyra 12 vs Ooni Karu 12 vs Ooni Karu 16

So, the Fyra 12, Karu 12G and Karu 16 have that sleek and minimalist black powder-coated carbon steel shell. And, the Ooni Karu 12 has a brushed 430 grade stainless steel shell instead.

While some people have a preference for one shell over another, both look good and have proven themselves to be durable in my experience.

But, whichever model you go for, underneath the shell you’ve got full ceramic fiber insulation. This helps to keep the heat where you want it while minimizing fuel usage.

Sitting inside your Ooni, there’s a cordierite pizza stone.

Ooni-10mm-Cordierite-Pizza-Stone

If you’re not familiar with different types of pizza stones, cordierite is one of the most durable and best quality choices. It’s super durable and less likely to crack than your basic and cheaper ceramic stones.

The only difference between the stones between these models is that the Karu 12, Karu 12G and Karu 16 both have a 0.6″ (15mm) thick one while the Fyra 12’s pizza stone is 0.4″ (10mm) thick.

And, before you jump to the conclusion that the Karu’s is superior, the gas-powered Ooni Koda 12 has the same 0.4″ thick stone.

I’m not sure of the exact reason for the thickness change. I’m assuming that the real wood-burning Karu just needs the extra thickness for better heat retention.

But, I have never noticed the difference in cooking on either stone. Both turn out well-cooked bases in the same amount of time as each other and I wouldn’t choose one oven over the other because of the pizza stone thickness.

Ooni haven’t gone cheap in any part of their construction. Instead of being plastic, the handles are actually glass-reinforced nylon.

Ooni Karu 12 Review

They feel very solid and durable and definitely don’t get hot to touch while you’re cooking.

To look at, the Karu 12 and Fyra 12 are very similar build-wise.

The Fyra 12 has the extra rear chimney which is actually a gravity-fed pellet hopper. The Karu 12 has the rear access door for you to add more wood while you’re cooking.

The other construction based thing worth mentioning between the 12″ models here is that the Fyra has the very small but still existent peep hole in the front door. This lets you look through to watch your pizza cooking while on the Karu 12 you will need to open the door to see what’s going on.

Ooni Fyra vs Karu

Some people are going to like that you can see in without opening the door.

I generally just count the seconds while I cook, open the door to turn and replace the door until it’s done. So, not having a visual all the time isn’t a make or break for me.

But, seeing inside is a must for you, the Karu 12G with it’s full glass door gives you exactly that at a similar price.

Ooni Karu 12G Sitting on Table with Door Closed

We will also point out that the Karu 12 is the only oven in Ooni’s range that doesn’t have a hook to hang the door on while it’s off.

It’s 100% okay to sit the door down on a timber or metal table while you’re turning your pizza. But, so that you know what you’re getting, the Karu 12 doesn’t have that extra feature.

Ooni-Fyra-12-Turning-Pizza-with-Peel

The larger Karu 16 also has a full glass door to give you that visual while you’re cooking.

In fact, with it’s built-in temperature gauge and extra large internal cooking space, the Karu 16 is pretty much a multi-fuel outdoor oven.

Ready to Cook Pizza In the Ooni Karu 16

It’s why you’ll see the price jump up significantly from the 12″ Karu to the 16″. And, is it worth it?

When it comes to cooking just pizza, the Karu 16  pizza tastes just the same as you’ll make on the Karu 12 or Karu 12G.

But, if you also want to use your Ooni to grill up a steak, bake a larger loaf of bread or even throwing a dessert in there (which you can do in all of the Ooni ovens), the extra temperature control, height of the larger cooking chamber, and, feedback without having to use a separate infrared thermometer do make cooking other things that much easier.

At the end of the day, whichever way you go, the Ooni Frya or the Ooni Karu, we’ve got absolutely no complaints in the build department.

They’re all solid and high quality pizza ovens that are durable enough to handle the weekly use you’ll be giving them.

Capacity

The Ooni Karu is available in two different sizes; the makes 12 inch pizzas, Karu 12 and Karu 12G, and, the larger 16 inch, Karu 16.

But, if you do want to go the pellet-fired option, the Ooni Fyra is only available in the 12-inch model.

As far as I know, there’s no plans to make a larger Fyra at this stage. Maybe the pellet fire simply isn’t powerful enough to run a larger oven…?

But, if you’re wondering what the 12-inch vs 16 inch pizzas are like, the 12 inch is about equal to a medium at Papa Johns. And, the 16-inch would be an extra-large.

With one batch of Ooni’s Quick Dough which makes 6 x 12-inch pizzas, I can feed up to 4 adults and 3 children. If I’m entertaining more than that, I’ll just do up extra dough and keep the pizzas coming.

5 Pizzas off the Ooni Karu 12

The 12-inch size is quite good for being able to make a lot of different toppings so everyone can have a slice or so of each. Or, let everyone do their own toppings and serve them up as personal pizzas.

We’re also a fan of the 12-inch Ooni’s because the pizza fits on a regular sized cutting board. They’ll also fit on most people’s dinner sized plates for serving so you don’t need to go out and buy serving platters specifically for the larger pizza.

Ooni Karu 12 Set Up

With the 16-inch size, one batch of Ooni’s Quick Dough will make 4 pizzas.

You will need a larger cutting board (or Ooni Bamboo Serving Board) and more than a regular plate to serve them on. But, the Karu 16 pizzas are great for large families or anyone who likes to entertain a crowd.

Simply make up extra batches of dough (or buy it) for more pizzas.

The cooking time on the Karu 16 is still around the minute mark (the same as the 12-inch size). So, you can make more food faster on the Karu 16 than you will on a smaller model.

Another useful bit of info for comparison, the Karu 16 takes the same 15 minutes to heat up that the Karu 12 and the Fyra 12 take as well. There’s no extra waiting even though you’re heating a larger oven.

Size and Weight

Looking at the Ooni Fyra 12 vs Karu 12, there’s not a lot of difference in size and weight. They’ve both got chimney’s that can be removed easily for storage or transporting.

For both ovens, you will need enough space around it to be able to add more pellets or wood logs on the rear side.

Also, the Fyra 12 does actually backfire when you open the door (flames literally shoot out the back vent and this is normal). So, you want to have a table to sit it on that’s not too close to a wall or anything that’s flammable.

Ooni Fyra 12 Backfire

The Fyra 12 is a little lighter than the Karu 12, weighing 22 lbs vs 26.4 lbs respectively or 10 kg vs 12 kg.

The upgraded Karu 12G ups the weight to 34.2lbs (15.5kg). And, then, the a lot larger Karu 16 ups the weight to a no longer really portable weight of 62.6 lbs or 28.4 kg. It’s just a lot more oven.

The other thing I like to mention about the whole Ooni range is that the pizza ovens are quite deep.

With a full depth of 28.5” (72cm) and 30.3” (77cm) for the Fyra 12 and Karu 12 respectively, they’ll only marginally sit on a standard kind of kitchen bench. The front handle and rear firebox will have to overhang each side as well.

Ooni Fyra 12 Dimensions
Ooni Karu 12 Dimensions

And, you’ll also need a slightly deeper table for the Karu 16 which measures 32” (81.5cm) long front to back.

Ooni Karu 16 Dimensions

Because these measurements are total length not leg to leg, you might be able to just squeeze the 12-inch versions on your outdoor kitchen table.

Alternatively, set them up on a regular table, turn them sideways on the edge of the bench, or, grab yourself a specifically built Ooni Modular Table in either the medium for the 12” or large for the 16” and you’ll be good to go.

Ooni Koda 16 on Ooni Table

Portability

So, all Ooni’s are technically portable.

The legs fold up to make the unit more compact and the chimney on both the Fyra and Karu are removable.

And, the Fyra 12, Karu 12 and 12G do well on the road. I’ve taken them on many adventures. The shell is durable enough to handle a few dings, the pizza stone is held nicely inside the oven so you don’t need to remove it, and, it really is easy to pick up and go.

Ooni Fyra 12 Carry Cover

But, I wouldn’t recommend going for the larger Karu 16 if portability is a must-have for you.

Yes, you can take the Karu 16 with you. But, even with the legs folded in and the chimney out, it’s pretty big and bulky, not to mention the 62.6 lbs (28.4 kg) of weight you’ll have to awkwardly move around. The digital temperature gauge also sits lower than the oven’s body when the legs are folded so it’s not easy to pack down. I’d even go as far as saying that the Karu 16 is best kept as a permanently set up backyard feature (with a bit of weather protection of course).

Ooni do sell a carry cover for both the Fyra 12 (pictured above) and the Karu 12’s (pictured below).

Ooni Karu 12 Carry Cover

When it comes to the Ooni Karu 16 though, it’s a cover that Ooni sell, not a carry cover.

There’s no handles. The waterproof cover is purely designed to protect the pizza oven from the elements. Backing my opinion that the Karu 16 is not the right choice if you want a pizza oven that’s portable.

One other thing to think about if you’re planning on taking your Ooni on the road is how much fuel you’ll need to take with you as well.

To start with, I’d say that you’re on the right track choosing between the Ooni Fyra vs Karu.

Neither of these ovens use that much fuel per session. So, you can easily take just a small container of pellets or a little bundle of wood with you without taking up half of the trunk.

If you want to hook up a propane gas tank to the Ooni Karu though, just make sure you’ve got enough space for the large bottle. Or, if you’re sharing one with the rest of your RV or camping cooking, it’s a smart option too.

Fuel Choice

Both the Ooni Fyra and the Ooni Karu are real wood burning pizza ovens.

The Ooni Fyra burns 100% wood pellets, exactly the same as you’d burn in a pellet smoker.

And, out of the box the Ooni Karu burns real wood pieces and/or charcoal, depending on how hot you want the oven.

You can also buy the optional gas burner adapter for the Ooni Karu 12’s and Ooni Karu 16. This will let you hook up a propane gas bottle for a third fuel option that’s not wood-fired, but, so so easy.

Remember that if you’re interested in the Karu for the gas-powered function, there is the gas only Ooni Koda.

It’s the most popular of Ooni’s pizza ovens because it’s so darn easy. And, if you’re only planning on using the propane, the Koda is a cheaper than buying the Karu with the attachment.

Read our full review of the Ooni Koda for more info. Or, check out our Ooni Karu vs Koda and Ooni Koda vs Fyra comparisons.

Which pellets do you need for the Ooni Fyra 12?

Ooni do sell their own Premium Hardood Pellets. And, while you definitely can use these (they are great), you don’t need to use Ooni branded wood pellets in the Fyra 12.

Any high quality, low ash producing pellet will work. Just be mindful that you do need really high heat to cook pizza well. This means that hardwoods that burn hotter like oak or oak blends will work best in your Ooni.

We regularly use Traeger pellets in our Fyra 12 and have had no problems getting the oven hot enough. But, for more suggestions on what to use, check out our favorite wood pellets for smoking. These are great for the Fyra too.

As for which logs to use in the Ooni Karu, Ooni recommend using kiln-dried hardood like beech or oak.

Again, Ooni do sell Premium Hardwood Logs for their Karu ovens. But, like the pellets, you don’t need to use the Ooni brand of logs in an Ooni oven.

You do, however, need to stick to the recommended piece size.

So, the ideal hardwood log size for the Karu 12 is about 5″ or 12cm long. The Karu 16 can handle pieces up to 8″ or 20cm long.

But, you’ll probably want a few smaller sized pieces to use at the start and the Ooni Premium Assorted Oak Pack comes with a mix to give you that flexibility.

For cooking pizzas on the Ooni Karu, you will need at least some hardwood.

Charcoal alone doesn’t get hot enough to create the high heat environment you’ll need for pizza.

But, cooking pizza with a charcoal and hardwood mix can give you extra stability in temperature while providing bursts of heat you need to crisp that base and melt that cheese.

But, when you’re using charcoal in the Karu, you’ll need lump.

Lump charcoal contains no additives and is literally just hardwood logs burnt down. So, you’ll know there’s no chemicals leaching into your food or your pizza stone.

Find our favorite lump charcoal brands here.

Ooni Karu 12 Fuel Recommendations

If you do want to use that third option of propane gas on the Ooni Karu, you will need to buy the right sized gas-burner as well.

Then you simply replace the metal spacer on the back of your Ooni with the gas adapter, hook up a propane bottle and away you go.

Propane is definitely the easiest Ooni fuel option.

And, it is nice to have the gas available for times when I want absolutely no fuss pizza.

Starting the Ooni Fyra and Karu

While the actual cooking process is the same on the Ooni Fyra and Ooni Karu, how you get them started will depend on what fuel type you’re using.

To light the Ooni Fyra 12, you fill the slide out firebox tray with some pellets and add a single firestarter (use something natural like these ones so you don’t get chemicals leaching into your stone).

Light it, wait a minute until it gets going and then replace the firebox in it’s slot.

Lighting the Ooni Fyra 12

Once the pellets in the tray are burning well, fill up the hopper (this is the thing that looks like a second chimney at the rear of the oven) with more pellets. Then, leave it to heat up for 15 minutes with the door shut.

Ooni-Fyra-Pellet-Scoop

One hopper full of pellets should give you about 20 minutes of burn time.

We usually only refill it once while we’re cooking a single batch of pizzas.

If you’re cooking with 100% hardwood on the Ooni Karu, you’ll start with 3-6 pieces of kiln dried wood. For charcoal, grab 2-3 pieces of lump.

Or, if you want to use a charocal/wood mix, I’d get the charcoal going first and add some wood once it’s lit.

Either way, just like with the Fyra 12, you’ll place your starter fuel in the firebox and use a natural firestarter to light it.

Ooni Karu 16 Firebox

Then, wait about 15 minutes for the oven to heat up, adding more fuel slowly to keep the flames rolling through the cooking chamber.

Getting the fire started in the Ooni Karu 16

To avoid using firestarters in your Ooni completely, you can also use an electric starter to get your pellets, hardwood or charcoal going.

Then, you 100% know you’re not adding anything unnatural to your oven and stone that might be harmful for your health. Check out our top choices for electric fire starters.

When you’re using the add-on gas burner in the Ooni Karu, simply hook up a propane bottle, turn the knob, the fire will start and you’ll leave it to heat up for 15 minutes as well.

Cooking on the Ooni Fyra vs Karu

Once you’ve got it lit, making a pizza on one Ooni vs another involves pretty much the same process.

If you’ve got the Karu 16, simply keep an eye on the temperature gauge and you’re ready to cook when the oven hits that 750°F (400°C) mark.

And, if you’re working on the Karu 12 or Fyra 12 which don’t have that built-in thermometer, it is best practice to check the temperature of the stone with a separate infrared unit.

In saying that, we’ve never used Ooni’s infrared thermometer.

Yes, it gives you the feedback you need to avoid a slower cooking first pizza or a slightly burnt crust. But, we’ve just waited the 15 minutes, thrown one in there and never had a huge problem.

How do you even get a pizza into the Ooni?

It looks more intimidating than it actually is. And, yes, some practice does make it easier. But, we feel that the supposed high learning curve that some reviewers talk about is a bit over the top.

It’s really not hard to make pizza on any Ooni oven.

So, when you’re stretching out your pizza dough, you’ll use semolina or flour under your dough to stop it from sticking to your bench or peel.

You want enough that you can easily move the pizza freely over your surface. But, not so much it’s raining down excess dust. That excess semolina or flour will come off onto the pizza stone in your oven and burn, making the underside of your crust a blackened mess.

Check out Ooni’s video for full instructions on how to stretch your dough below.

Then, once your dough is stretched and topped with whatever you can’t wait to get in your belly, you’ll push your pizza peel under the dough, place the end of the peel slightly into the oven and quickly push forwards then backwards, flinging the pizza onto the stone.

Sounds tricky but you just do it. Check out the video below or follow this link for some simple tips.

The only accessory you absolutely will need for your Ooni, whether it’s the Fyra or the Karu is a pizza peel.

Grab a 12” peel for the 12” ovens or a 16” for the larger Karu.

Having more than one pizza peel on hand does make cooking easier because you can get a bit of a production line going. But, one is enough and you can always add to your Ooni accessories once you get going too.

Once you’ve got your pizza in, don’t walk away – Ooni aren’t kidding when they say it’ll be done in 60 seconds.

Launching-a-pizza-into-the-Ooni-Karu-12-using-the-Ooni-peel

So, pop the door back on and wait about 15-20 seconds before opening it up and turning your pizza.

You do need to turn your pizza as it cooks on the Ooni, just like you do with real Neapolitan pizza. The firebox and flame is located at the very rear of the oven. And, without turning it, the back would cook while the front stays mainly raw.

To turn the pizza in your Ooni, use Ooni’s turning peel. It is a non-essential accessory but, after a regular peel, is the next thing you should get.

Turning-a-Pizza-with-the-Ooni-Turning-Peel-in-the-Karu-12

The turning peel is smaller than your regular peel (and is the same size for both the 12” and 16” ovens). You slip it under your dough and use it to pull the pizza around.

A turning peel really makes the whole process easier.

But, if you don’t have a peel, pull your whole pizza out with your regular peel and use your hands to inch it around. Then, launch the pizza in again.

Let your pizza cook for another 15-20 seconds and you’ll probably want to do 1 more turn to get the whole thing cooked evenly and perfectly.

We usually find that 3 turns at about 20 seconds each (1 minute all up) gives us a pizza that’s cooked just right.

Pizza-hot-off-the-Ooni-Karu-12

The Results

Every time it’s been a while since I cooked on an Ooni, I’m blown away how good the pizza is!

And, it’s absolutely not because I’m some amazing pizza pizzaiolo.

Before I bought my first Ooni, I’d never made pizza dough before, had no idea how to stretch dough, and, thought launching it seemed near impossible.

My oven pizzas are also totally average.

But now, there’s no way I’m getting takeout pizza. It just doesn’t compare.

Ooni-Fyra-12-Cooking-Pizzas-Like-a-Boss

Any time I’m entertaining, and, once a week regardless of who’s at mine, it is pizza night. I’ve also taken my Fyra 12 around to lots of peoples houses to take over cooking at theirs.

Ooni pizza is just seriously good!

I also haven’t noticed any taste difference between a pizza cooked on the Ooni Fyra vs the Ooni Karu (12 of 16).

Both are exceptionally delicious with perfectly crispy bases, well-cooked toppings and the cheese melted exactly how I like it.

The first pizza below (or image to the left) was cooked on the Fyra 12 and the second picture (or image to the right) was done in the Karu 12.

Pepperoni-Pizza-Cooked-on-Ooni-Fyra-12
Pizza-Cooked-in-the-Ooni-Karu-12-on-the-12-Inch-Ooni-Peel

Both wood-fired, both 1000% tastier than any home-made oven pizza.

Of course Ooni’s are great for cooking traditional Neapolitan pizzas like the ones above.

But, you can totally cook New York pizza, Detroit-style, deep-dish, or even go Sourdough.

A Note on Flavor...

Most people, me included, assume that cooking on both the wood-fired Ooni Fyra and Ooni Karu will make a smoky flavored pizza.

But, when you think about it, the pizza is only in there for about 60 seconds. It’s not a lot of time for it to absorb that woody flavor.

Hardwood-Fire-Going-Inside-the-Ooni-Karu-12

So, although you might notice a slight difference in taste between cooking on the Karu with the gas attachment and cooking on the Karu with real wood, there’s not a huge difference.

We do like the real wood fires because there’s no problem with the flame blowing out (as can happen with the gas-powered Ooni Koda). But, don’t expect a hugely wood-smoked flavor on your pizza.

That nice woody smell in the air while you cook though, you definitely still get that!

What Else Can You Cook On the Ooni Fyra vs Karu?

Most people cook on pizza on their Ooni’s more than 90% of the time. But, you can actually make some darn good food that’s not pizza on there too.

Steak, burgers, other types of breads, sides, and even desserts the Ooni is a perfectly good electricity-free outdoor oven.

If you are buying your Ooni to cook more than just pizza, I do recommend going the Karu 16.

It’s larger interior, full glass door, built-in thermometer, plus the ability to use charcoal for lower temperatures makes cooking other foods a lot easier than it is on the Fyra or the smaller Karu.

Ooni Karu 16 is like a wood-fired outdoor oven

Nevertheless, bring on some of Ooni’s chocolate brownies!

Just be aware that if you’re cooking anything apart from bread on your Ooni, you will need a cast iron pan to stop any moisture from meat, vegetables, etc from getting into your pizza stone, damaging it.

You might already have a cast iron pan that will fit. Or, Ooni make a great range of cookware that’s got longer handles so you don’t have to get too close to the heat when you’re getting your food in or out.

Cleaning

There’s not a lot you need to do to keep your Ooni clean.

For both the Fyra and the Karu, you’ll need to empty the firebox when needed. You can probably get away with every few cooks. Most of the time I’ll put the cold ashes in the bin before I start a new cook.

If you do get some melted cheese or other toppings stuck on your stone, simply fire up your oven to a high heat.

That’ll burn off any excess food. Then, you can use Ooni’s pizza oven brush (sold separately), or just a scraper, to gently brush off anything that’s really stuck on there.

Cleaning the Ooni Volt 12 with Ooni Cleaning Brush

Once the oven is completely cool, you can also wipe your stone down with a paper towel or cloth to remove any loose flour that’s hanging around in there.

And, to make your stone last longer, simply flip it every now and then.

The stone is the same on both sides so it’s like a 2 for 1 and means your stone will wear evenly.

Another thing I like to do to clean both the Fyra and the Karu is wipe out the chimney’s occassionally.

Ooni Fyra 12 Chimney before cleaning

Soot does build up in there. And, just like you’d clean your fireplace chimney, giving it a wipe out (when it’s completely cool as well) with a paper towel keeps things clean and reduces any chance you’ll have a small chimney fire.

Cost Comparison

The Ooni Fyra 12 is the cheapest of all of the Ooni pizza ovens. It’s not that much cheaper than the Ooni Karu 12. But, it’s the most affordable way to get an Ooni in your backyard.

Ooni-Fyra-Unboxing

And, although the Karu 12 doesn’t cost a lot more than the Fyra, if you do want to get the gas-burner attachment, the wood and propane burning oven will set you back that much more.

From there, the Karu 12G is just a little more expensive than the Karu 12. You do get the glass door and temperature gauge which we think is worth it.

But, the price jump from the Karu 12G to the Karu 16 is pretty steep!

Ooni Karu 12 vs Karu 16

Like we’re talking the Karu 16 is double the price of the Karu 12 even without the gas burner attachment.

And, because you’re probably asking why the sudden price jump, the Karu 16 does have more metal, more glass and more features than any other oven in the Ooni range. So, that’s why. You’re not only getting a larger oven with an extra piece of pizza stone, you’re also getting a fully glass door that opens and shuts like a regular oven and a built-in temperature gauge which no other Ooni has.

Unboxing the Ooni Karu 16

So, yes, it’s definitely a step up price-wise to the Ooni Karu 16. But, the larger size does give you more versatility than the rest of the Ooni ovens, even if you just compare it to the smaller Ooni Karu 12G.

When you’re looking at the price of the Ooni ovens, also remember that no accessories are included with the oven price. You do get the pizza stone. But, you’ll at least need a pizza peel and maybe a turning peel

Ooni have bundled together some pizza ovens with accessories, or, accessory only bundles for you to save a bit of cash by grabbing one of those.

For the latest Ooni on Amazon prices, check out the table below. Or, click any of the links below to see which retailer is currently the cheapest.

Photo Title Price Buy
Ooni Fyra 12...image Ooni Fyra 12 Wood Pellet Pizza Oven - Portable Outdoor Pizza Oven, Woodfired & Stonebaked Pizza Maker, Countertop Pizza Oven Grill, Cook 12 Inch Pizzas and More, Pizza Cooker For Outdoor Kitchen $259.99 buy3
Ooni Karu 12...image Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Outdoor Pizza Oven – Portable Wood and Gas Fired Pizza Oven with Pizza Stone, Outdoor Ooni Pizza Oven - Woodfired & Stonebaked Pizza Maker, Countertop Dual Fuel Pizza Oven $299.00 buy3
Ooni Karu 12G...image Ooni Karu 12G Multi-Fuel Outdoor Pizza Oven - Wood and Gas Outdoor Pizza Oven with Pizza Stone & Intergrated Thermometer, Pizza Oven Outdoor, Dual Fuel 12 Inch Pizza Maker, Outdoor Cooking Grill $399.00 buy3
Ooni Karu 16...image Ooni Karu 16 Multi-Fuel Outdoor Pizza Oven - Wood and Gas Fired Oven - Outdoor Cooking Pizza Oven - Fire and Stonebaked Pizza Oven for Authentic Homemade Pizzas - Dual Fuel Pizza Maker $799.00 buy3

Should I Buy the Ooni Fyra or the Ooni Karu?

The Ooni Fyra is a great pizza oven for people who:

  • Want legit wood-fired pizza without the logs
  • Are happy with the 12″ pizza size – There is no 16″ Fyra
  • Like the fact the gravity fed pellet hopper means minimal time spent stoking the fire

The Ooni Karu might be a better option if you:

  • Want the versatility of the Karu’s multi-fuel capabilities
  • Plan on cooking more than just pizza – The charcoal option lets you create lower and slower cooking temperatures more easily
  • Need the larger 16″ size
  • Like the extra feedback a built-in thermometer provides without having to use a separate infrared unit – Only on the Karu 16
  • Have access to free or cheap hardwood

FAQs About the Ooni Karu vs Fyra

The difference between the Ooni Fyra and Ooni Karu is mainly what type of fuel it runs off.

While they’re both real wood-burning, the Ooni Fyra uses 100% natural wood pellets (like you’d use for smoking) and the Ooni Karu burns real, but small, wood logs.

The Ooni Karu can also burn charcoal for cooking things that need a lower temperature. And, you can get the optional gas burner attachment to run the Karu off of an LPG gas bottle.

There are a few more differences between the Fyra and the upsized Karu 16. The Karu 16 is the only Ooni pizza oven with a full glass door and built-in digital thermometer.

Whether you like the Ooni Fyra or Ooni Karu better will depend on a few things.

The Ooni Fyra is less hands-on to run because the gravity fed hopper keeps the fire burning for about 20 minutes or so before you need to refill. Whereas, the Ooni Karu needs you to add wood every 2-4 minutes to keep the flames rolling through the cooking chamber nicely.

But, the Ooni Karu does have the advantage of being so flexible in terms of fuel choice.

Got free wood? You’re sorted. Want to use charcoal for a lower temperature to grill a steak? Can do. Want the easiest option of fuss-free propane? Grab yourself the gas-burner.

Because it can be run off of different fuels, it’s easier to cook things besides just pizza on the Ooni Karu (particularly the larger Karu 16 with the taller cooking chamber).

The Karu 16 also has the built-in digital thermometer which is a nice extra that does make cooking easier.

If you made the same dough, used the same sauce, the same cheese and the same toppings but cooked one pizza on the Ooni Fyra and one on the Ooni Karu, I doubt you’d be able to tell which pizza is from which oven.

Both a real wood-burning pizza ovens so you will get a very slight (but not strong) woody flavor.

But, both ovens work the same way. They use very high heat to quickly cook the toppings while the same type of pizza stone crisps up your base.

So, when it comes to choosing between the Ooni Fyra or Karu, choose based on fuel and what you want to cook on it, not which will make better pizza.

They’re both extremely so utterly delicious!

No, the Ooni Karu does not come with the gas adapter.

It’s an optional accessory that you can buy if you do want to hook up a propane tank and cook with gas.

But, you’ve still got the choice of real wood, charcoal or a mix of both if you just buy the Karu 12 or Karu 16 and don’t want to spend the extra on the gas-adapter.

If you want a pizza oven that is portable, you’re planning on taking it on the road with you or you just want to be able to pack it away after you’ve used it, the 12″ Ooni pizza ovens are a lot smaller and lighter to handle.

The 12″ pizzas fit on a regular cutting board, a regular large dinner plate and will be big enough for most people and families (everyone can make their own toppings).

But, if you entertain a lot or have a large family and want to cook fewer pizzas, the Ooni 16’s are that little bit extra.

The 16″ Ooni ovens are also a little easier to use for cooking foods other than pizza because you’ve got a little extra height inside the cooking chamber.

The larger Ooni’s also look great set up as a permanent pizza oven in your backyard. Just grab yourself a cover for a bit of weather protection.

After having the pleasure of using all of the pizza ovens in Ooni’s range (we did by them all, they weren’t freebies!), we haven’t been able to part with the Ooni Fyra 12 and the Ooni Karu 16.

We love being able to use the same wood pellets as we use in our smoker for an easier pizza-cooking session.

But, we do love the full glass door and built-in thermometer of the Karu 16.

We also do prefer using the larger Karu 16 for cooking anything that’s not pizza. It’s just a lot easier to have the built-in temperature gauge and the ability to use charcoal to create a not so pizza hot cooking environment.

Kate Brown, the founder and voice behind Burning Brisket, is not your typical pitmaster or restaurateur. Her expertise in barbecue grew from a humble desire to cook exceptional meals for her family. From overcoming burnt brisket mishaps to establishing her boutique cattle ranch, Kate shares her passion to help 'ordinary' individuals cook extraordinary barbecue, believing that simplicity often yields the best flavors. Kate is committed to making great barbecue accessible to all with the right resources and some tasty practice.

About Burning Brisket

Burning Brisket is one of the leading, independent authorities on all things barbecue. Family-owned and run, it's our mission uncomplicate the art of smoking to help you enjoy making incredible food at home for your family and friends to create memories over.

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