Our reviewer was sent a sample of the Ooni Volt 12 to test in his kitchen. Keep reading for our product review.
The first time I tried out my Ooni Volt 12, I set off my smoke alarm. Four times. But the pizza was still amazing.
The latest innovation from cult-favorite pizza oven brand Ooni (whose gas-powered Koda came out on top in our pizza oven testing), the Volt brings professional-level pizza-making to an appliance that simply plugs into the wall. New York- or Neapolitan-style pizza—with thin, bubbly crust, browned cheese, and ever-so-slightly-burnt toppings—needs really powerful heat. But for most pizza ovens (including previous Ooni models), that means using wood, charcoal, or propane as fuel, which can only be done outdoors. The Volt’s big draw is that it puts proper pizza-making temperatures on your countertop, with easy controls and no need to feed a fire.
The Volt does indeed make unbelievable pizza: It’s the first dedicated pizza oven I’ve owned, and its results are head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever made in my standard oven. My best homemade pizza, by far. But it’s a big, heavy machine that takes up a lot of room, especially if you’re only going to use it once in a while.
And that price; oof.
Heats to well over 700 degrees but can be used indoors
Makes incredible pizza
Technique takes practice
Bulky and heavy
Setup and Operation: A Breeze
The Ooni Volt shows up basically ready to use in the box: You have to open the door and slide in the included pizza stone (which is sized to fit perfectly), and that’s it. Then plug it in, flip the power switch (it’s weirdly upside-down for some reason—you flip down for on), and you’re ready to go.
The controls are incredibly simple, especially compared to the delicate tending required to maintain the temperature on wood-burning models. The middle dial sets the temperature, the left dial sets the timer, and the right dial controls the balance of heat coming from above and below the stone. The balance dial sounds a little complicated, but there’s a chart in the manual with recommended settings for different types of pizza: 850 degrees, 100 percent from above, for super-thin Neapolitan; 750 and a 70/30 split for topping-packed New York-style; 500 degrees and 50/50 for frozen pizza.
The outside of the Volt stays surprisingly cool, even while it’s set to the highest temperature: It’s warm but not too hot to put your hand on it, and it hasn’t had any effect on the laminate countertop or wooden outdoor table I’ve set it on while in operation. (That said, I would not recommend trying to pick up and move the oven unless it’s completely cool.)
The Ooni Volt shows up basically ready to use in the box: You have to open the door and slide in the included pizza stone (which is sized to fit perfectly), and that’s it.
In theory, this oven is portable, with handles on the sides to lift and carry it. But it weighs almost 40 pounds and is rather awkward to move around thanks to the heavy and delicate stone. You’re definitely not going to bring this thing on a camping trip, but you could load it into the car and bring to a friend’s house for a pizza party.
Storage could be a problem, too, as it’s too big to fit in a cabinet and takes up a lot of space on the countertop. You can use the Volt outside, but you definitely can’t leave it outside, as any rain or other moisture could destroy its electronics. (Mine is currently taking up a big chunk of my countertop while I figure out where else it can live.)
Performance: Fantastic, Once You Get the Hang of It
Whether you’re using an Ooni, your grill, or a custom-made wood-fired oven imported direct from Italy, pizza-making is an art. Stretching the dough into just the right shape and thickness, adding just the right balance of sauce, cheese, and toppings, and cooking for the exact right amount of time—all of these things affect the final product and have little to do with what brand and model of oven you’re using.
What I’m saying is, my first few experiences using the Ooni Volt filled my kitchen with smoke, but I don’t think it’s the Ooni Volt’s fault. That four-alarm first attempt I mentioned above happened because I let the uncooked pizza sit on the peel too long before I “launched” it into the oven. The dough stuck a bit and tore, leaking sauce directly onto the stone, which burned. On my second attempt, I put too much grated cheese atop a pizza and some fell onto the stone and scorched as the pizza cooked. On yet another try, pepperoni grease that had dribbled onto the stone burst into flame as I pulled out the finished pizza. (It was in the back of the oven and didn’t cause any damage or burns; don’t worry!)
My first few experiences using the Ooni Volt filled my kitchen with smoke, but I don’t think it’s the Ooni Volt’s fault.
All these disasters, however, still produced delicious pies. The crusts were scorched but not burnt-tasting, the cheese melted and browned evenly, and the pizza came out hot and ready in 3 minutes or less. My kitchen might have smelled for a while, but honestly, it was worth it.
My advice is to use lots of flour or semolina under the crust and on the peel, and to apply less sauce, cheese, and toppings than you might assume so they don’t spill. Also, work quickly: If the dough sits on the flour-coated shaping surface or peel for more than a few seconds, it’ll start to absorb the flour and stick. Ooni offers lots and lots of text and video lessons on all parts of the process in the Learn section of its website, but the truth is, it just takes practice to get this stuff down.
On the technical front, the Ooni doesn’t quite live up to its high-temperature promises. After a full preheat at the maximum setting of 850 degrees, my Ooni’s stone didn’t register any higher than 763. That’s absolutely high enough for proper pizza, but not as high as advertised. The manual says Neapolitan pies should cook in 1 to 2 minutes; for me they took more like 2 to 3. (They still tasted great.)
When making four pizzas in a row, it only took the Volt a minute or two to heat back up to maximum temperature in between pies—basically the amount of time it takes to shape, sauce, and top the next ball of dough. It’s remarkably consistent from one pizza to the next, as long as you keep the door closed as much as possible.
All these disasters, however, still produced delicious pies. My kitchen might have smelled for a while, but honestly, it was worth it.
You can also use the Ooni for thick-crust, pan, and frozen pizza, or steaks, corn, and potatoes—really anything that you’d bake at temperatures in its range of 250 to 850 degrees. You can bake directly on the stone or in an oven-safe dish, provided it fits into the opening. I tested it with a frozen pepperoni pizza at the package-recommended 400 degrees, and it was…fine. The pizza came out as well as it would have in my regular oven. (It actually needed a few minutes more than the directions said, consistent with the oven running a bit cool.) The Ooni only shines above about 600 degrees, in the range standard household appliances can’t reach.
Cleanup: Basically Unnecessary
You’ll probably end up with flour-coated counters after kneading, proofing, and stretching out pizza dough, but you won’t have to worry about cleaning up the Ooni Volt itself. Anything that gets stuck to the stone will simply burn to ash in the scorching heat. In between uses, you can flip the stone over, and you can also take it out for a rinse and scrub if necessary. (Just be sure to let it dry completely before you put it back in the oven, as a wet stone can crack when heated.) When enough ash builds up to make it necessary, you can just remove the stone and brush out the inside of the oven—or use your vacuum’s crevice tool!
To clean the dials and outside of the unit, simply wipe them down with a sponge. I’ve had a bit of char build up around the corners of the window inside my Volt, but thus far it hasn’t interfered with being able to see inside, and it comes off with a bit of scrubbing.
And here’s where we come to the Ooni Volt’s biggest stumbling block: its astronomical price. At $999, it costs more than twice as much as any of the brand’s other 12-inch models, and hundreds more than even its 16-inch models. The increase in control and functionality over other Oonis is impressive, and the ability to use the oven indoors is a game-changer, but that’s a lot of money no matter how you look at it—it’s roughly equivalent to ordering pizza for delivery once a week for a year. And on top of that, you’ll probably need to buy some accessories: Ooni’s custom-sized pizza peel is a must, and the company also sells thermometers, brushes, dough mix, and even frozen dough balls.
All in all, you have to be someone truly devoted to home pizza-making for an Ooni Volt to be worthwhile. The pizza it puts out is incredible, but it’s so expensive (not to mention kitchen space–hogging) that it might not be worth it unless you’re going to use it several days a week.
Ooni Volt vs. Breville The Smart Oven Pizzaiolo
The Volt really only has one competitor in the high-end consumer-level indoor electric pizza oven space, and that’s Breville’s The Smart Oven Pizzaiolo. Both ovens look and work similarly, though the Ooni lets you directly choose the temperature and balance of heat while the Breville only lets you select a pizza style. Both machines are the exact same price, and we were impressed with both of their performance, but we’ll give the edge to the Ooni here as it’s from a company specializing in pizza.
Price at time of publish: $999
Buy it, but only if you’re a hardcore pizza fanatic.
This machine makes absolutely amazing pizza, but it costs a thousand dollars. It’s only for the serious pizza-making enthusiast with both money and kitchen space to spare. It’s usable indoors and has some other significant improvements over previous Ooni models, but it’s also significantly more expensive than they are.
Product Name: Volt 12 Electric Pizza Oven
Product Brand: Ooni
Weight: 39.2 pounds
Dimensions: 24.2 x 20.8 x 10.9 inches
Cooking surface: 13.3 x 13.3 inches
Power: 1,600 watts
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The Spruce Eats commerce writer Jason Horn spent a month putting the Ooni Volt through its paces for this review. He’s been writing about food and drinks for nearly two decades and cooking for nearly four, and he’s made pizza countless times—it’s his wife’s favorite food. His preferred toppings are sausage and black olives.