Hot enough for Neapolitan pizza
Cooks pizza in one to three minutes
Good heat distribution and retention
Wood burning attachment is impractical
It is an excellent time to be a pizza lover. Never before in the history of all mankind has there existed so many consumer pizza ovens—especially not ones that cook at high enough heat to make authentic Neapolitan pies. And, if you ask the internet, the Roccbox Portable Wood and Gas Pizza Oven is one such model leading the pack. On paper, it sounds great—the oven is stylish, it runs super hot, and it distributes and retains heat well. But while the Roccbox gets enthusiastic nods for its performance, the oven’s $700 price tag drops jaws in a not-so-pleasant way. To see if the Roccbox comes even close to justifying its price, we picked one up and got to firing off Neapolitan pies.
Setup Process: Super simple
Once out of the box, set-up is simple. Deploy the folding legs, choose a fuel, attach the appropriate burner, and fire it up. If you’re using wood, you’ll feed kiln-dried, non-treated kindling into the hopper and use a natural fire lighter to get your fire started. If you’re using propane, you’ll connect the oven’s regulator to your gas canister (minimum is 9 pounds, maximum is 20 pounds), turn the gas supply on, and then turn the Roccbox on.
The Roccbox is only compatible with hard, non-treated wood. You can use ash, oak, beech, fruit trees (apple, pear, etc.), and compressed briquettes. You cannot use pine, fir, cedar, redwood, spruce, or any recycled wood used for pallets or furniture.
Performance: Propane excellent, wood less so
In the great debate of wood- vs. gas-fired pizza ovens, Gozney assumes a position of neutrality. The Roccbox comes with both a propane burner and a wood burner, either of which can be attached to the underside of the oven via a locking mechanism. The propane burner, by means of a standard gas ignition and control knob, easily sparks a powerful flame, heating the oven to minimum pizza temperature—572 degrees—in about 30 minutes.
Despite our sincerest efforts, we were unable to make any wood-fired pizza.
The wood burner, on the other hand, is much more challenging to manage. Despite our sincerest efforts, we were unable to make any wood-fired pizza. Two critical issues prevented us; the first being the size of the wood. Gozney recommends using hardwood kindling (ash, oak, or beech) up to five inches long and one inch thick. The reason for this is twofold; first, the wood must fit through the compact burner’s hopper, and second, the fuel must catch fire and burn at a reasonably consistent rate. Since we didn’t have a hatchet to cut our logs into tiny, pencil-sized kindling, and the only pre-cut wood we could find was oak chips, we were at a standstill. While not recommended, we still tried the wood chips just to see what would happen and it’s hardly worth explaining the futility of our endeavor. Suffice it to say, unless you chop wood to the exact dimensions Gozney provides, you won’t use the wood burner much.
Whichever route you take to get there, the oven performs admirably at the high temperatures Neapolitan pizza requires. To help the user know when the oven is ready, an analog thermometer is built into Roccbox’s left-hand side. The gauge moves in response to a thermocouple embedded under the stone hearth, and it proved accurate when checked against our hand-held infrared thermometer.
When cooking pies, we found the oven’s heat transfer to be well-balanced between the top and bottom. Crust and toppings baked in proper proportion with only the desirable amount of charring. When fired with propane, the heat retention—a combination of efficient heat replacement and insulation—is excellent. Pizzas took one to three minutes to cook and we rotated them every 30 seconds or so to ensure the crust didn’t burn.
When fired with propane, the heat retention—a combination of efficient heat replacement and insulation—is excellent.
The Roccbox is also capable of firing up non-pizza dishes. Since the oven can reach internal temperatures up to 932 degrees, you can sear steak, caramelize peach and onion tarts, or crisp up a whole fish. While we had fun experimenting with our dishes, Gozney offers recipes and video tutorials on their site if you need a little inspiration.
We weren’t crazy about the perforated peel the Roccbox shipped with, but it’s a minor quibble. The purpose of a perforated peel is to limit the amount of flour that ends up in the oven or stuck to the bottom of the pie. In practice, however, the perforations merely allowed more flour to fly all over our table.
Design: Mini yet massive
Gozney manufactures full-size pizza ovens as well, and it seems that the Roccbox is the result of an attempt to miniaturize a big brick model. If so, they’ve succeeded admirably as the relatively compact 16.2 x 20.9 x 18.6-inch oven weighs a hefty 44.1 pounds. And unfortunately for Gozney, competitors like Ooni have demonstrated that all that mass isn’t actually necessary to produce top-tier pizzas.
Roccbox’s appearance is fun, though—we’ll give it that. The oven is available in two colors: gray and bright green. We tested the latter and while it’s certainly bold, it is easily marred by soot and dust. Gozney’s other design choices come with similar caveats. The silicon jacket becomes too hot to touch during operation, but it won’t burn you as readily as a metal surface. The stainless steel cladding around the oven’s mouth is attractive, but quickly gets covered in soot buildup from the escaping flames, so without constant cleaning, the bright steel ends up hidden behind a layer of black carbon. Lastly, a heavy-duty Velcro strap with a handle is included, but, even though the strap is helpful for removing the Roccbox from its packaging, that’s about it. The strap ultimately can’t do much to mitigate the awkwardness of lugging a nearly 50-pound boulder-shaped object.
Roccbox’s appearance is fun, though—we’ll give it that.
Portability: Thanks but no thanks
As we’ve touched on more than once, the Roccbox isn’t easy to transport. Add a propane tank, pre-cut kindling, pizza peel, and ingredients to the list of things you have to carry and moving the oven is quite a burdensome task. If you’re a caterer or private chef, you may not mind, but the casual picnicker might want to think twice.
Care and Storage: Don’t leave it outside
The Roccbox really has only one storage rule: keep it dry. For this reason, it’s best kept in a garage or shed when not in use. As far as cleaning goes, you don’t have to do much with the interior as the high heat will rapidly incinerate any food scraps or debris. To ensure proper function, you just have to make sure the burners are kept clear of obstructions. If you’re firing it with wood, it’s also wise to empty the burner of any ash that collects as it poses a fire risk. No matter how long it’s been since your last use, you’ll want to wear protective gloves to make sure you don’t burn yourself.
On the cosmetic side, the stainless steel face is perpetually blackened by soot. That’s a bit of a shame, because when clean and polished, the steel looks great. While maintaining its brilliance is a constant chore, you may choose to forego it as it doesn’t affect the oven’s performance.
Price: More than double the cost of tough competitors
The FAQ on Gozney’s site blames the $700 price tag on tariffs slapped on Chinese imports. Politics and the complexities of international trade aside, Gozney’s competitors have seemed to find a way around this as the Roccbox remains the most expensive oven in its category. While it offers stellar performance, the cost is a hard pill to swallow—especially for the average consumer.
Competition: In a word, Ooni
Competition in the portable pizza oven market has lately become red hot and at the forefront is Ooni. The company offers a few different models but the Koda is our favorite and it costs less than half the price of the Roccbox at just $300. In fairness, the Roccbox does heat more consistently and evenly than the 21-pound Koda; the interior geometry allows for a more relaxed, less urgent pie rotation, lowering the incidence of excessive char. But even so, these advantages, and others such as the built-in thermometer, hardly merit an additional $400.
Difficult to recommend.
In spite of its virtues, we cannot recommend Roccbox—especially not at its current price. If you love the green color, or you insist on burning pencil-sized hardwood kindling, go ahead and splurge. The Roccbox, after all, can capably facilitate authentic Neapolitan pizza. In the face of stiff competition, however, the cons of ownership are, in our opinion, too heavy to bear.
- Product Name Roccbox Portable Wood and Gas Pizza Oven
- Product Brand Gozney
- Price $699.00
- Weight 44.1 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 20.4 x 14.9 x 18.6 in.
- Cooking Surface 12.4” x 13.4”
- Max Temperature 932 F
- Fuel Wood or propane
- What’s Included Roccbox oven, gas burner, wood burner, pizza peel, turning peel, hopper tool, user manual
- Warranty 1-year limited warranty protects against defects in workmanship