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Ooni Karu vs Koda: Is Multi-Fuel Worth It? Or, Go So Easy?

OONI KARU MULTI-FUEL

Ooni Karu 12G Multi fuel pizza oven
4.9/5

OONI KODA GAS

Ooni Koda 12
4.8/5

The Ooni Karu vs Koda… It’s a good problem to have.

You’re going to make great pizza in either of these ovens. But, the process of getting your pizza on the table will be a bit different depending on which oven you choose.

We’ve used both.

So, in this guide we’ll walk you through deciding which Ooni is best for you.

We’ll answer questions like, does using a different fuel change the taste of the pizza? How much more work is the Multi-Fuel Ooni? Which size is best? Plus more.

Basically, if you’re wondering it, the answer’s here.

Before you dive into the details, remember that the Karu is Ooni’s wood, charcoal, or propane gas (with separate adapter) pizza oven. The Koda is Ooni’s purely gas-powered pizza oven.

If that’s not the fuel type you’re after, check out our other Ooni reviews. We’ve used every model Ooni make, and you’ll find them both reviewed individually, and compared by following that link.

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A Quick Comparison of the Ooni Karu vs Koda

Table of Contents

Summary of the Ooni Karu vs Koda Compared

When you’re choosing an Ooni, you can’t go too wrong! They’ll all make incredible pizza.

High quality, well built, easy to use and, most importantly, great at making pizza, an Ooni is definitely a worthwhile investment when it comes to Friday night pizzas.

Whether you go for the Ooni Karu Multi-Fuel or gas-powered Ooni Koda, that’ll mainly depend on what fuel you want to use.

The Koda is ideal for people who want:

  • The fastest and easiest way to great pizza
  • Less mess with no ash or soot
  • A sleek design without a chimney
  • The option of propane tank gas or natural gas (larger Ooni Koda 16 model only)

Go for the Karu if you want:

  • Authentically wood-fired pizza (don’t expect super smoky though because the pizza’s not in there long enough to absorb too much in the way of taste)
  • The choice of fuels with pure hardwood, charcoal, a mix, or, gas along with the gas burner attachment (sold separately)
  • The built-in temperature gauge that only the Ooni Karu 16 has
  • A flame that won’t blow out in windy conditions

About the Ooni Koda

The gas-powered Ooni Koda is the most popular pizza oven in Ooni’s range.

Ooni Koda 12 Insulated Powder-Coated steel shell

You simply connect it to a standard sized propane gas bottle, turn it on and it’ll heat up in 15 minutes (or 20 minutes for the larger Koda 16) to an ultimate pizza cooking temperature of 950°F (500°C).

Launch your pizza in there, turn it as needed and it’ll be perfectly cooked in literally 60 seconds.

Ooni isn’t under-estimating how good this oven is! If you want INCREDIBLE but oh so easy pizza, the Ooni Koda is it.

Going the gas-powered, you’ve got a choice of two sizes, the medium, 12-inch pizza making Koda 12 or the larger 16-inch pizza making Koda 16.

The Koda 16 has an upgraded L-shaped burner instead of the regular burner that just gives heat to the rear of the pizza.

Ooni Koda 16 ready to cook

This means you’re cooking two sides of the pizza at a time and won’t have to turn your pizza as often as you will on the Koda 12. But, it’s still a 60 second cook time too.

You can also hook both models up to a smaller 1 pound propane bottle using the gas tank adapter (sold separately).

And, if you were hoping for a natural gas pizza oven, the Ooni Koda 16 can do that too. Simply chose the tank gas or natural gas option when you’re buying new. And, if you’ve already got a propane tank gas Ooni Koda 16, just grab a natural gas conversion kit and you can tap into that piped gas for lower running costs and even more convenience.

Specs for the Ooni Koda 12

Product type: Pizza oven

Fuel type: Propane

Interior: Stainless steel

Exterior: Powder-coated insulated steel

Capacity: 12 inch

Stone: 10mm cordierite

Heat range: Up to 950°F

Dimensions: 24.4 D x 15.5 W x 11.7 H

Weight: 20.2 lbs

Price guide: $$

Model: Koda 12

Warranty: 1 yr or 5 yrs with registration

Specs for the Ooni Koda 16

Product type: Pizza oven

Fuel type: Propane or natural

Interior: Stainless steel

Exterior: Powder-coated insulated steel

Capacity: 16 inch

Stone: 15mm cordierite

Heat range: Up to 950°F

Dimensions: 25 D x 23.2 W x 14.7 H

Weight: 39.2 lbs

Price guide: $$$

Model: Koda 16

Warranty: 1 yr or 5 yrs with registration

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ooni Koda

Pros
Cons

About the Ooni Karu

The Multi-Fuel Ooni Karu is the pizza oven that does it all… well, almost!

Designed to burn kindling sized hardwood for wood-fired pizza, the Karu gets up to the 950°F (500°C) you want for Neapolitan pizza in the same 15 minutes as the gas-powered Ooni Koda.

Ooni Karu 12

Again, launch your pizza into the Karu and it’s cooked to perfection and ready to eat in 60 seconds. Or, use lump charcoal to create a lower and slower burn that’s ideal for cooking deeper-dish pizzas, thicker crusts, bread, meat and so much more.

Then, for the times when you want instant ignition, you can get the Gas Burner insert that slots into your firebox allowing you to hook up a propane bottle.

The Ooni Karu is flexibility at it’s finest.

There’s actually 3 different Karu models available in a choice of two sizes; the 12-inch making Karu 12 or Karu 12G, or the larger 16-inch making Karu 16.

Ooni Karu 12, Karu 12G and Karu 16 side by side

The Karu 16 has a few handy upgrades over the Karu 12. This includes a glass door so you can see what’s going on, and a built-in digital temperature gauge so you don’t need an infrared thermometer. It’s basically a full multi-fuel outdoor oven. You can cook practically anything in it.

But, there’s also the newer Ooni Karu 12G which gives you the portability of the 12 inch model with the advantage of the full glass door, and built-in temperature gauge. While the Karu 16 has a digital gauge, the 12G’s is analog so it’s not quite as precise but is still an easy way to see how hot your oven is without having to buy an infrared thermometer.

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 Karu vs Koda

Design and Quality

Whether you go the Koda or the Karu, both of these Ooni pizza ovens are essentially made of the same, very high quality materials.

Ooni Karu 16 vs Koda 16

The sleek and minimalist black powder-coated carbon steel shell is fully insulated with ceramic fibers. Then, there’s a cordierite pizza stone sitting inside.

For those of you not familiar with different types of pizza stones, cordierite is a top of the line material used in pizza ovens around the world. It’s highly durable and is less likely to crack than you’re cheaper ceramic alternatives.

The Ooni Karu 12, Karu 12G, and Karu 16 both have a 0.6″ (15mm) pizza stone while the Koda 12 has a slightly thinner 0.4″ (10mm) stone and the Koda 16 is up the to the 0.6″ again.

I don’t actually know why some of the Ooni ovens have thicker stones than the others but, I’ve never noticed a difference in performance. The bases on any of the Koda and Karu models all turn out well cooked and perfectly crispy. Ooni have just done what needs to be done and it works.

Ooni-10mm-Cordierite-Pizza-Stone

The handles aren’t cheap plastic either. They’re actually glass-reinforced nylon. They’ve got a very solid, heavy and quality feel while being more durable in case they get a bit too close to the heat.

Basically, Ooni have used the best all-around in their line-up of pizza ovens. And it’s especially impressive when you consider what you’re getting what’s actually a really reasonable cost.

If you’re looking at the Ooni Karu 12, you’ll notice that it’s the only pizza oven in Ooni’s range that doesn’t have the black powder coating. Instead you’ve got full, brushed 430 stainless steel.

Ooni Karu 12 Review

It’s durable as well. Just a different look which we personally, do really like.

If you do prefer the powder-coated finish though, simply go for the Ooni Karu 12G which gives you a few other upgrades at a very reasonable cost as well.

To look at though, obviously the design of the Ooni Karu vs Koda is very different.

You’ve got no chimney or door on either of the Kodas.

Ooni-Koda-12-Pizza-Oven

The gas burner is strong enough to heat the whole oven without a door. And, you also don’t need the door on it to roll the flames over and up towards the chimney like you do with the real fire you’ve got inside the Karu.

So, the end result is a super sleek pizza oven that, because it doesn’t have chimney’s to remove, store and move, is the most easily portable oven in Ooni’s range.

In saying that, the chimney’s on the Karu’s are removable. You can just pop them out to store your oven away, or, for when you’re taking it on the go. You will get quite a bit of soot building up inside the chimney though. I like to keep a few paper towels on hand to wrap around the end if it’s dirty to keep my car clean.

Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven

In the Karu’s, the insulated door reduces heat loss and plays an important role in getting those flames rolling over your pizza to evenly cook them towards the center.

You’re meant to keep the door closed while you’re cooking on the any of the Karu models.

On the Karu 12G and Karu 16, the door is hinged. It’s just like opening an oven door and is very easy and quick to pop open to launch, turn, and remove your pizza.

The door on the regular Karu 12 though is not hinged and doesn’t have a hook to hang it on. You will need somewhere to safely pop the door down while you’re handling your pizzas. It’s perfectly fine on a timber table though and hasn’t done any damage to ours.

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

The other thing that’s worth mentioning about the Karu 12 is that the door is completely solid. There’s no peep hole to look through either so you’re completely reliant on counting the seconds and checking it pretty frequently to see when it’s time to turn your pizza.

The Karu 12G is a lot easier to use from that perspective. But, if you want the cheapest possible option, I wouldn’t rule out the Ooni Karu 12 out because of the solid door, don’t! With a bit of practice, it’s really not that hard to get your timings right. Read more about our experience with the Ooni Karu 12 for more info.

You’ll more than likely burn a couple of pizzas while you’re learning to use any pizza oven regardless of which oven you go for.

Having full view of your pizza inside the Koda’s, and Karu 12G and 16 is nice though. The door doesn’t smoke up and block the view, you’ve got a good visual of what’s going on in there at all times.

Double cheese pizza cooking inside the Ooni Karu 16

You might have also noticed that the Ooni Karu 16 and Karu 12G have a built-in temperature gauge.

On the Karu 16, it’s a digital gauge that does require batteries (one set last a really long time), and the Karu 12G’s is an analog one that doesn’t require power.

We do find the temperature gauge handy in that you’re getting that immediate feedback about how hot you’re running the oven. But, keep in mind that the temperature gauge is measuring the ambient temperature, it’s not the temperature of the stone itself which is what, in most cases, you’re really after.

Ooni do recommend and sell an infrared thermometer. That’s the only way you can accurate check exactly how hot the stone is. So, it’s an accessory you might want to get with both the Koda and the Karu’s. We honestly have not used it yet and just use how quickly the base is cooking as a guide to whether the stone is hot enough or not.

We do like the built in temperature gauge though and find it’s a useful guide to know when the oven’s ready to cook.

But, either way you go, all of the Koda or the Karu models all have folding legs.

Simply lift the unit and fold each leg inwards for storing or transporation.

Set up though, all of the Ooni ovens are really sturdy. We have absolutely no complaints in the build quality department. We’ve used all of the models very frequently over a long time period now and with a wipe down, they look almost new.

Capacity

Both the Ooni Karu and Ooni Koda are available in two size options; the 12 inch and the 16 inch.

And, you guessed it…

The 12 inch version can make up to 12 inch pizzas (like what you’d get as a medium sized pizza out), and the 16 inch version can make up to 16 inch pizzas (or a large).

So, which size Ooni is right for you?

For most people, couples and families, the 12 inch is going to be big enough. A 12 inch pizza fits better on a regular sized cutting board, you can throw it on a regular sized dinner plate, and, everyone can have fun choosing their own toppings or sharing all the different types.

5 Pizzas off the Ooni Karu 12

One batch of Ooni’s Quick Dough (our go-to recipe) makes 5 or 6 x 12 inch pizzas. And, those 5-6 pizzas have served 4 adults and 3 kids dinner for us many times over.

The 16 inch size obviously gets you more food per pizza.

But, Ooni’s same Quick Dough recipe will get you 4 x 16 inch pizza bases. So, from one batch of pizza dough, you’re still getting the same amount of pizza, you’ll just be cooking 4 x 16 inch pizzas instead of 5 or 6 x 12 inch pizzas.

If you want more food in total, you’ll still need to make more dough. You’ll just cook fewer pizzas which is appreicated if there’s a lot of people to cook for. We’d say, the 16 inch size is definitely a must-have if you’ve got a large family or are entertaining for a lot of people. It will save you a reasonable amount of time and is our go-to size choice.

Ooni 16 Inch Pizza on 16 Inch Pizza Peel

Keep in mind that you’ll need a cutting board (or Ooni Bamboo Serving Board) that’s large enough to cut and serve them on.

The Ooni Koda 16 also does take an extra 5 minutes to heat up, taking a total of 20 minutes to reach the ideal 950ºF (500ºC) versus 15 minutes on the smaller Koda 12.

But, the Ooni Karu 16 does take the same 15 minutes to heat up as the Karu 12, Karu 12G, and Koda 12 if you don’t want a longer wait.

Size and Weight

If you’re looking at the Ooni Karu 12 vs Koda 12, there’s not much difference in size.

Yes, there’s a chimney on the Karu. But, it simply twists to remove for storage or transportation.

Overall, the Karu 12 is about 7 inches longer than the Koda. That extra length is pretty much just the handles. But, if you’re really tight on space, the Koda 12 is that much smaller.

In terms of weight, the Koda 12 weights about 20 pounds while the Karu 12 sits at 26 so it’s not a major difference.

If the larger size is what you’re after, the Karu 16 is quite a bit longer sitting at 32 inches instead of the 25 inches of the Koda 16.

Like the Karu 12, the chimney on the Karu 16 is removable as well. So, you don’t need a huge amount of storage space for the extra height. But, the Karu 16 is a pretty big and bulky beast to be moving around.

They’re definitely not easily portable although you could pop one in the back of your car. We’d recommend having somewhere permanent to set up the larger models though. You don’t want to be moving them around all the time.

We keep ours outside but undercover, away from the rain and they’ve done just fine. But, using the cover will help to protect it from the elements so it lasts longer. It’s a cheap add-on with long-term benefits.

If you do want a larger Ooni that’s still portable, the Koda 16, while I still wouldn’t call it portable, is easier to move around than the Karu 16. It’s a considerable 23 pounds lighter than the Karu 16 which makes it’s bulky body easier to handle.

Portability

While the Ooni Karu 12 and Koda 12 will be easier than the larger models to take with you to a friends house, or store in an RV, you should also think about how much space your fuel’s going to take up in your trunk as well.

Yes, the Koda’s are the smallest and lightest Ooni’s and there’s no chimney to remove and take with you either. But, you will have a big propane tank to haul with you.

You can buy a gas tank adapter so you can hook your Koda 12 or Koda 16 up to a 1 pound propane bottle to save on space if you want to.

They’re a cheap little add-on that’s really handy when you’re camping. But, you’re not going to get a lot of cooking time out of a 1 pound bottle. With a burn rate of about 550g/hr of propane, the Koda 16 might get just under an hour on a 1 pound bottle.

It’s more than enough for you to cook up one night’s meal. But, you’re not having a weeks worth of pizza on it.

If you go the slightly larger and heavier Ooni Karu 12, you’ll probably be taking less in the way of fuel with you. Load up just enough wood or charcoal for exactly how many cooks you’ll be doing. You’ll most probably save a bit of space in the trunk and won’t have any left to take home with you.

Ooni make a specific carry cover with handles for the Karu 12 and the Koda 12. It’s also designed to protect your oven from the elements if you’re storing it outside. But, the carry case keeps things compact in your trunk and could save your oven from getting dinged up.

Just note that the carry cover for the Karu 12 is designed to be used with the chimney on. So, you’ll need that height if you’re using the carry case.

We’ve transported it without the carry case by just taking the chimney out and putting it underneath the oven with the legs up. Having the carry cover does make carrying it easier though.

If you do want to take the Koda 16 or Karu 16 on the road with you, the cover available for these models is a regular cover that protects it from the weather. It doesn’t have built in handles but would give some level of protection from scratches.

Fuel Choice

With the Ooni Koda 12 and Koda 16, you’re obviously committed to using gas. And, while the smaller Koda 12 is propane tank gas only, you’ve got the choice of buying the tank gas Koda 16 or natural gas Koda 16 when you first buy it.

If you’ve got the tank gas Koda 16, there is the natural gas converstion kit you can get for the Ooni Koda 16 if you want to change it later. But, either way, it’s some form of gas all-round.

Easy. Simple. Effective.

Except maybe in windy conditions when our flame’s always blowing out as the wind whips through the doorless cooking chamber.

Ooni-Koda-12-Pizza-Oven

The Multi-Fuel Ooni Karu 12, Karu 12G, and Ooni Karu 16 give you a whole heap of choice.

You can use hardwood or charcoal in either of these ovens out of the box. The hardwood is best for the high-heat needed for baking pizzas. Charcoal gives you a bit more stability with temperature. You can add it to your hardwood mix when you’re doing pizza.

But, using charcoal alone only is going to give you a lower temperature that’s best for the times when you’re cooking something other than pizza.

You’ve got options.

And, if you want the choice to do easy too, you can grab the gas burner adapter to connect up a propane bottle to either the Karu 12 or the Karu 16.

Gas Burner Attachment in the Ooni Karu 16

It’s ideal for a fast and easy mid-week pizza. But, is also just so convenient when you’re entertaining and don’t want to have to think about keeping the fire going as well.

To use the gas burner on the Karu, you’ll need to remove the two screws in the back that hold on the spacer. The firebox will also need to be slid out. Then, you simply place the gas burner attachment into the slot and replace the two screws, connect up your bottle and you’re good to go.

There’s even a natural gas adapter you can get for the Ooni Karu 16. So, the larger Karu works with literally any fuel except for the hardwood cooking pellets the Ooni Fyra runs on.

Starting the Ooni Koda and Fyra

Getting the Ooni Koda started is as simple as pressing and turning the knob, just like you’d do on a gas barbecue. Set the temperature to maximum, or somewhere close to it, and give it 15 minutes to heat up if it’s the Koda 12 or 20 minutes for the Koda 16.

Ooni Koda 12 Gas Knob

The process you’ll use to start the Ooni Karu will depend on what type of fuel you’re using.

For hardwood, you’ll use 3-6 pieces of kiln dried wood that’s about 6 inches (or 15cm) long, along with a natural firestarter to get it going. Lump charcoal will be 2-3 pieces plus a firestarter. And, you can use a mixture of both if you want the stability the charcoal will give you with the heat boost from the hardwood.

When I’m using a charcoal and hardwood mix, I always get the charcoal going first to create that more stable fire. Then, I add some pieces of hardwood to boost the temperature and smoky flavor.

The Ooni Karu 12, Karu 12G, and Ooni Karu 16 take about 15 minutes to reach the 950°F you’ll need for your Neopolitan style pizza.

You can also use an electric starter instead of a regular firestarter in the Ooni as well. Check out our favorite electric charcoal starters here.

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

If you’re using the propane or natural gas burner in one of the Karu’s, once you’ve got the insert in, lighting your oven will be exactly the same as on the Ooni Koda. Just turn that knob and you’ll have it flaming away, heating up in no time at all.

Do note that when you want to use hardwood and/or charcoal in the Karu again, you will have to unscrew the gas burner, take it out and replace the back cover again before popping the firebox back in there.

You can’t simply leave the gas burner attachment in the Karu while you’re using hardwood and charcoal to run your fire unfortunately.

Cooking on the Ooni Karu vs Koda

The actual cooking process will be pretty much the same on the Koda 12, Koda 16, Karu 12, Karu 12G and Karu 16.

It’s best practice to use Ooni’s infrared thermometer to check and adjust the temperature of both the Koda and the Karu before you start cooking.

This will help you make sure that the stone is hot enough to cook your base quickly but not so hot that the bottom of it just burns before the toppings and done.

And, while we do love the built-in temperature gauge on the Ooni Karu 16 and Karu 12G, we don’t own the Ooni infrared thermometer so have never used it to check the temperature of the Koda’s or Karu’s before cooking.

The thermometer would be a good piece of kit to give you that extra bit of feedback about how hot the stone is at any point in time. But, just saying you can make do without it if you want to keep the total cost low. Or, just buy it as an extra accessory later… it’s a good stocking filler!

But, how do you launch a pizza into the Ooni?

You’ll make your pizza on a peel with some semolina or flour underneath to prevent the base from sticking to the bench you’re making it on. Then, you insert the end of the peel slightly into the oven and push the peel forwards then backwards to fling the pizza onto the stone.

Sounds kind of tricky but really, it’s not too bad.

Watch the video below for some tips.

Launching your pizza is easier than it looks.

If you pizza gets stuck on your peel, just lift up the stuck section and sprinkle some more flour or semolina on there. I like to jiggle the whole base around before I try launching it just to check it’s all ready to move.

You will need at least one pizza peel to get your pizza in the Ooni properly. More than one peel is handy because you can create a bit of a production line. But, one will do.

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

If you’re using the Karu 12 or 16, you’ll pop the door back on while it cooks to help the flames roll over your pizza properly.

Watch as the side of your pizza closest to the flame starts to brown and bubble (or count 10-15 seconds for the solid doored Karu 12). Then, whip out your turning peel (another of our essential accessories) and rotate your pizza to cook another side.

We generally do 2-3 turns on all of the Ooni’s except for the 16 inch Koda where you can get away with 1-2 turns because of the larger and L-shaped burner.

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

Regardless of which model of Ooni you’re cooking on, your pizza should be done in about 60 seconds.

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

A note about cooking an Ooni with gas:

  • All Ooni gas burners (so that means the Koda 12, Koda 16, and Karu’s with the gas burner attachments) are fitted with a safety valve to shut off the gas if the flame goes out
  • When it’s windy, the flame does blow out pretty easily on the Koda 12 and Koda 16 simply because there’s no door to stop the wind from whipping through it
  • It’s great that it’s safe if this does happen. But, it’ll hold up your cook a lot because your stone will cool down without you realising it unless you’re keeping a very close eye on it. For this reason alone, I’d go the Karu over the Koda if you live somewhere that gets really windy.

The Results

I am absolutely in love with Ooni’s!

I’ve always loved a good pizza but been picky enough that I never get it as takeout because nowhere makes a pizza I really enjoy. But, not anymore! Pizza’s become a weekly tradition at my place. And, it’s our go-to meal when entertaining.

Ooni-Fyra-12-Pizzas-on-Table

Before I bought my first Ooni (read about my first-time experience with the Koda 12), I’d never made or stretched dough before. I’d bought bases and baked them in the oven but my pizza-making experience level was strictly limited to just that.

Yeah, it took me a few go’s to feel confident at it.

But, Ooni’s got so many guides and great recipes, you just follow along and you’ll be turning out incredible pizza in no time at all. And, great news, no matter which one you go for, the Ooni Karu or Koda, they both make insanely good pizza!

The first pizza below (or image to the left) was cooked in the Karu 12 and the second (or image to the right was baked in the Koda 12.

Pizza-Cooked-in-the-Ooni-Karu-12-on-the-12-Inch-Ooni-Peel
Ooni-Koda-12-Inch-Pizzas

Crispy but not crisp-bread bases, well-cooked but never over-done toppings and as much or as little melted cheese goodness as your heart desires, Ooni pizzas are the real deal!

It’s 1000% tastier than what you’d cook in your regular kitchen oven. Beats every takeout pizza place in my city (in my opinion). And, don’t even mention the good old frozen pizza! There’s just absolutely no comparison there.

Of course you can do the traditional Neopolitan pizza style you’ll see in most Ooni pictures.

But, a lot of people don’t realise, you can also cook deep-dish, Detroit-style, New York pizza, or try something a bit more unusual like Sourdough pizza in your Ooni too.

These ovens, and particularly the larger versions, are really versatile cookers. There’s no limit to what you can create.

A Note on Flavor...

It’s a fair assumption that the using the wood-fired Ooni Karu will have more of that real wood-fired flavor than pizza cooked on the gas powered Koda will. But, we have to say that there’s not that much difference in how the pizza tastes off the Ooni Karu vs Koda.

Ooni-Koda-12-Salmon-Pizza

If you think about it, the pizza’s only in there for about 60 seconds. It’s not really enough time for it to absorb that much of a woody taste.

Yes, there’s a slight difference.

But, I put a fresh out of the Ooni Karu and fresh out of the Ooni Koda pizza next to each other to taste with my extended family and most people couldn’t definitively pick which one was which. They definitely enjoyed both though!

And, while it’s so nice to have that woody smell in the air while you’re cooking with the Karu, don’t expect too much difference in terms of flavor.

Cooking Other Things on the Ooni Karu and Ooni Koda

Yep, if you’re like us, you’ll probably be using your Ooni for pizza most of the time. But, an Ooni is really an outdoor oven that can be used to grill or bake most things.

Steak? Definitely. Burgers? Can do. Sides like vegetables and breads? Of course… You can even do a dessert in your Ooni to top off pizza night.

If you plan on using your Ooni to cook other things regularly, the 16 inch Ooni Koda 16 and Ooni Karu 16 are easier to use for this than the 12 inch models.

Because they’re larger overall, there’s extra head height between the stone and the flame that makes it that much easier to control the temperature and reduce burning. But, by all means you can, and I have, cooked things other than pizza on the Koda 12 and Karu 12 as well. And, if I had to choose, the Karu 16 is that little bit easier for cooking other things on it as well.

The glass door holds the heat in well while letting you see what’s going on.

And, the built-in digital thermometer means it’s pretty much like an outdoor oven, taking any guess-work out of making sure the temperature is just right for whatever you’re cooking.

Ooni Karu 16 is like a wood-fired outdoor oven

Be aware that when you’re cooking anything other than bread in your Ooni, you’ll need a cast iron pan.

If you put meat, vegetables or anything with higher moisture content in it directly on the porous cordierite pizza stone, it’ll absorb some of that moisture and make it more likely to crack in the future.

Use can your own cast ironware. Or, Ooni make a quality range of cookware with longer handles that are properly suited to getting stuff in and out of their pizza ovens. But, if you want a recipe to try first, Ooni’s chocolate brownies are delish!

Cleaning

Being gas-powered the cleaner burning Ooni Koda is lower maintenance than the Ooni Karu, not that the Karu is exactly high maintenance anyway. But, there’s no firebox to clear ashes from and there’s no soot to build up in the chimney to need the occassional wiping.

On the Ooni Koda, your regular maintenance is going to be about keeping your pizza stone and the inside of your oven clean.

Ooni recommend running both the Koda and the Karu at high heat occassionally to burn off any excess flour or food remenents. Then, use the pizza oven brush (sold separately), or a scraper, to gently remove any really stuck on debris.

Cleaning the Ooni Volt 12 with Ooni Cleaning Brush

Once the oven is completely cool, you can wipe the inside and stone with a paper towel or cloth if needed.

To prolong the life of your pizza stone, simply flip it every now and then to help it wear evenly. The heat of cooking on the other side will naturally clean your stone too.

For the Karu, you’ll also need to empty any ash from the firebox when needed which might be every few cooks depending on how long your run it for. It’s actually suprising how little ash the Karu produces running on pure kiln dried hardwood.

It’s also a good idea to wipe out any built-up soot from the chimney with a dry paper towel or cloth occassionally as well. This will reduce the chance of you accidentally having a little chimney fire and is just the same thing you’d do by sweeping out the regular fireplace chimney in your home as well.

Cost Comparison

At the time of writing this, the Ooni Koda 12 and Karu 12G are a similar price while the Ooni Karu 12 sells for a reasonable amount less.

If you’re grabbing the Gas Burner for the Karu 12 as well, your total cost will be higher than buying the Koda 12. But, your decisions going to be based on fuel choice and flavor instead of price with the Koda.

If you want to step it up to one of the larger models, the Koda 16 isn’t that much more expensive than the Koda 12. You’re getting a larger oven to make bigger pizzas and the L-shaped burner which will cook two sides of your pizza at a time instead of just the one.

But, the price jumps quite a bit from the Karu 12 and even the Karu 12G to the second most expensive oven in Ooni’s range, the Karu 16.

Ooni Karu 12 vs Karu 16

Yes, you’re getting quite a bit more in terms of build, space, and the digital thermometer, but it is quite a jump. Again, adding on the Gas Burner for the Ooni Karu 16 so it can do everything will push the price up considerably higher than the Ooni Koda 16.

The table below will give you an idea of the latest prices on Amazon. Or, click the buttons below to see Ooni’s direct price to compare.

Photo Title Price Buy
Ooni Koda 16...image Ooni Koda 16 Gas Pizza Oven – 28mbar Propane Outdoor Pizza Oven, Portable Pizza Oven For Fire and Stonebaked 16 Inch Pizzas, With Gas Hose & Regulator, Countertop Pizza Maker, Outdoor Pizza Cooker $599.00 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 $639.20 buy3

Should I Buy the Ooni Koda or the Ooni Karu?

If you want to make fast and couldn’t be any easier pizza in your own backyard, there’s just no beating the Ooni Koda. Working just like a gas barbecue, simply turn it on, let it heat up and you’ll be making absolutely delicious pizza in just 60 seconds.

And, the Koda is lowest maintenance, and the cheapest Ooni oven when it comes to the larger 16 inch size.

But, if you like to do things the authentic way, there’s just something about wood-fired pizza that you can only get on the Karu.

Because you can also use charcoal to cook at a little bit of a lower temperature, plus grab the gas burner to hook up a propane tank, the Ooni Karu gives you the versatility and freedom to choose wood-fired tonight, charcoal baked the next and quick and easy the night after.

The Karu 12G and 16 are also the only ovens in Ooni’s range that have the handy built-in digital temperature gauge and full glass door to make the whole process that much easier as well.

Read our full review of the Ooni Karu 12 or Ooni Karu 16.

If you’re still on the fence about the Ooni Karu vs Koda, what fuel do you have for any other barbecues?

If you’ve already got a propane bottle lying around, it’s easy just to hook that up. Or, if you’ve got access to free hardwood, well, what’s better than $0 running cost?!?

FAQs About the Ooni Karu vs Koda

The Ooni Koda runs off of propane or natural gas (with the attachment that’s sold separately) while the Ooni Karu runs off of small hardwood logs, charcoal or propane or natural gas (with the attachment that’s sold separately).

So, while you’re committed to one particular fuel type with the Ooni Koda, you’ve got multiple options that you can choose from on any day with the Ooni Karu.

The gas-powered Koda is the easiest, fasted and cleanest of the Ooni ovens.

And, the multi-fuel Karu is great for people who want to cook more than just pizza. The charcoal option creates a lower, slower burn that makes it easier to hit the right kind of temperatures you need for a larger range of cooking.

There are a few other differences too.

The Ooni Karu 16 has a full glass door and built-in digital thermometer. The Karu models have a door on the front and a chimney. They’re also significantly heavier if portability is important to you.

But, the fuel type is essentially the biggest difference when it comes to the Ooni Karu vs Koda.

Your preference for which type of fuel you want to use should be the biggest deciding factor in whether you buy the Ooni Koda or the Ooni Karu.

In terms of how good the pizza is, you won’t notice the difference between an Ooni Koda pizza and an Ooni Karu pizza except maybe a slightly smokier flavor on the Karu.

But, both pizzas will taste absolutely incredible!

So, whether you think the Ooni Koda or the Ooni Karu is better will come down to your fuel preference and how this impacts the pizza making process.

You can’t beat the Ooni Koda if you want the easiest way to make incredible pizza at home.

But, if you like doing it the authentic way, or, want the flexibility of being able to use wood, charcoal and propane (with the gas burner that’s sold separately), the Ooni Karu is the right choice for you.

Remember, you do have a third choice of Ooni pizza oven fuel type too!

There’s the pellet-fired Ooni Fyra for real wood fired pizza that doesn’t require so much babysitting.

Read our full review of the Ooni Fyra 12. Or, check out our Ooni Fyra vs Karu comparison or Ooni Koda vs Fyra comparison.

The Ooni Koda 12 and Koda 16 are the bestselling pizza ovens in Ooni’s range because they’re so easy to use while still making pizza that’s as amazing as the you’d make on the Karu and Fyra.

With the same dough and same toppings, you’re not going to notice that much, if anything, in the way of the pizza tasting different when it’s cooked on the Ooni Karu vs Koda.

All of Ooni’s pizza ovens work the same way, using the hardwood or charcoal on the Karu or hardwood pellets on the Fyra will give the pizza a slightly more woody flavor, that’s it.

All Ooni ovens can perfectly crisp your dough while melting that cheese and cooking those toppings to perfection.

The wood-fired Ooni Karu makes authentically baked Neopolitan pizzas while also giving you the flexibility to cook other foods at lower temperatures with charcoal, or, hook up the gas burner attachment (sold separately) for a quick mid-week pizza.

A pizza cooked on the Ooni Karu does have a little bit of that wood-fired taste. But, the Karu also requires more work while cooking because you need to keep stoking the fire.

On the other hand, the gas-powered Ooni Koda is the simplist pizza oven in Ooni’s range.

There’s no needing to source the right sized hardwood pieces or fuel the fire. Simply turn it on and make yourself some great pizza.

The 12 inch Ooni’s are best if you’re cooking for yourself or just a few people. They’re also the better choice if you want a more easily portable pizza oven.

The 16 inch Ooni’s are best for large families or people who entertain a lot so want to be able to turn out large pizzas. And, because they’re more spacious, especially in height, they’re also that bit easier to cook food other than pizza in than their 12 inch counterparts.

After using all of the pizza ovens in Ooni’s line-up, we’re still using the Ooni Fyra 12 and the Ooni Karu 16.

The Ooni Fyra 12 is our quick and easy go-to. No, it’s not as easy as the Koda but it’s still pretty easy, we use pellets from the smoker, and, the gas flame doesn’t blow out (read our full review here).

The Karu 16 is great for when we’re entertaining and need those larger pizzas. The glass door and built-in temperature gauge are handy additions to have. And, there’s just something about cooking with actual hardwood that makes the whole process that much more satisfying.

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 commited 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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