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Ooni Fyra: Wood Pellet Pizza Oven in-depth review
Ooni Fyra Pizza Oven
The Ooni Fyra oven is the successor to the Ooni 3 which was one of the company’s most popular models. Unlike its predecessor, it uses only wood pellets as the fuel source and has also been updated with several performance improvements plus a more innovative design.
Some of the upgrades include a taller hopper to hold more fuel, a new viewing hole, and a robust shell that retains more heat than the Ooni 3. The pizzas we made with it were so good although it took a few tries to get them right.
Other things we liked were the modest cooking surface it offers, the compact and portable nature of it, and the fact that it’s easy to assemble and that you can use almost any type of wood pellets. We did find it slightly tricky to light and use at first though.
Ooni has produced amazing outdoor ovens over the years. We’ve tried and tested a couple of them and we found them often to get the balance right with regards to quality and performance. In this review, we’ll be discussing the Ooni Fyra Pizza Oven which is the 4th installment in the Ooni Series.
The Ooni Fyra still looks very familiar to its predecessors and the other new Ooni models. It has maintained the same classic dome shape that’s a trademark design of Ooni pizza ovens. It features a chimney much like the Ooni Karu and the Ooni 3 models.
The chimney is detachable and helps circulate air inside the oven. There’s also a second chimney at the backside, which is the pellet hopper. It’s taller, almost double the size of that of Ooni 3’s hopper.
What’s different in comparison to all the other Ooni Ovens is the vent on the back that equally helps suck air inside the oven – It’s quite handy considering that the pellet hopper can’t gather enough air because it remains always covered.
Like the Ooni 3 and the Ooni Karu, the Fyra has a door to help in retaining the heat inside the oven. Its handle is glass-reinforced which keeps it cool-to-touch even if the door gets hot. The door itself doesn’t get in the way once it’s opened – it can hang at the bottom of the opening to make way for you to slide the pizza inside.
Ooni has included an inch of opening right beside the handle which is another thing that lacks in their other models. It serves as a peephole, allowing you to keep an eye on pizzas without opening the door, but we could not get a clear view sometimes after cooking a couple of pizzas.
This Ooni Fyra model also features the trademark foldable legs found in every Ooni oven. One of our favorite things, however, as mentioned earlier, is its compact and portable nature. The unit measures 27.17 x 18.9 x 10.24 inches. It’s a fairly small pizza oven that can be set up almost anywhere, with minimal space required.
Moreover, the chimney detaches easily with just a twist and pull action. It consists of two parts that you can separate and simply fit inside the oven. The pellet hopper is detachable too and can as well fit inside the oven – the unit does get quite small with all these parts detached and the legs folded (Ooni Karu and Ooni 3 models have fixed chimneys).
You can even reverse the door such that the handle goes right inside the oven so that it doesn’t get in the way when you store it. The whole unit can easily fit inside a small cabinet without any problem.
Besides the compact design and collapsible legs, the Fyra is very lightweight. It weighs only 22 pounds (10 Kgs), so it can be carried easily into the garden by one person.
The compactness and portability make traveling with it easy, especially considering that the chimney and hopper are detachable and fit inside it – you can carry it with a car and take it to camp, beach, park, or any other outdoor activities. Ooni even offers an optional carry bag for easy packing and transporting in a car.
In terms of overall aesthetics, the Fyra features the sleek black and steel finishing Ooni has used on their Ooni Koda models. It gives it an attractive modern look than the plain steel finish of the Ooni Karu and the Ooni 3 models. It did blend nicely with our backyard.
Our Score: 9 out of 10
Overall Build Quality
From our observation and tests, we found the unit very well constructed. The shell’s material has been changed from the brushed stainless steel that’s ceramic-fiber insulated (Ooni 3 model) to an insulated, 430-grade powder-coated carbon steel.
This steel makes the Fyra’s shell stronger than that of the Ooni 3, plus its corrosion resistance and formability are pretty good which means it’s fit for use outdoors for long periods – it’s more durable and can withstand fair outdoor weather conditions such as rain and sunshine.
The baking stone is equally durable. It’s a 0.4-inch thick cordierite stone – it’s able to stand up well to high-heat cooking. The whole unit sits on three sturdy legs with non-slip fittings on the bottom. They keep the unit stable once it’s set up. It doesn’t move when loading or removing the pizza.
Our Score: 9 out of 10
The Fyra comes well packaged in a compact box. There was decent bubble packaging around the cordierite bake stone slab and other components – the rest of the box was recyclable and not excessive.
Once unveiled, the unit was very simple to put together. There are only a few components to attach which took a couple of minutes with no extra tools required. All it’s required is folding down the legs, sliding in the stone oven base, twisting the chimney and the hopper pipe into place on the top, and you’re ready to cook. The front door also sets into place easily. The instruction manual is clear and concise. Taking the unit apart is simple too.
The legs keep it high enough such that the heat from the oven doesn’t scorch the surface that it’s placed on. You can set the unit on wooden, stone, or steel tables. We, however, recommend a sturdy metal outdoor table, especially if you’re planning to light it up frequently.
The box includes the pizza oven, cordierite stone baking board, a chimney, a pellet hopper, the user manual, and the Essentials guide containing tips on how to properly use it as well as recipes which you can cook in the Fyra.
What’s not included are the hardwood pellets themselves and the pizza peel which is sold separately by Ooni on their website in 12-inches size. Other things you’ll need to get separately are a thermometer, the optional carrying bag, a fire starter, and a cover to protect the oven when it’s outside at home.
Our Score: 10 out of 10
Despite using wood pellets as the fuel source, the Ooni Fyra was able to heat up to high temperatures much like the gas-fueled Ooni Koda model that we tested. It was able to heat over 900°F (482°C) in our testing although it took slightly longer than the time specified by Ooni.
According to the specification, it can reach up to 950°F (510°C) in just 15 minutes, but it took us around 20 minutes to get it to 400°C (752°F). So, at first, the preheating may take longer depending on your desired cooking temperature – it can generally take 20 to 30 minutes to reach as high as 950°F.
The unit, however, seems to retain and diffuse the heat pretty well. The fire from the burning wood pellets goes all the way to the chimney, which allows the insulation to radiate the heat to the middle and front part of the oven’s interior.
The circulation of air within the interior of the oven is equally great thanks to the chimney and the vent on the back which helps suck air inside the oven. The air from the back gets sucked in and circulated inside the oven while at the same time, the chimney allows the heat from the pellets to go directly upwards.
The result of this is that the entire interior of the oven gets heated – its heating capability is not from direct heat like is the case with the Ooni 3 and most other pizza ovens that use wood pellets. The chimney can also be adjusted, meaning the airflow is controllable hence you can increase or limit the circulation of air inside the oven.
We also noted that the heat retention was great with this Ooni Fyra model. It has improved insulation due to the upgraded shell that’s made of insulated, 430-grade powder-coated carbon steel. It’s able to retain more heat compared to its predecessor.
The included thick cordierite baking stone also heats up quickly along with the oven and does retain the heat for quite a long time. Moreover, you can close the door once you slide the pizza in, which we found to also help the oven retain the heat even much better. The hopper itself doesn’t either have a diffuse tray that might let the heat out quickly.
However, similar to the Ooni 3, you must keep refilling the wood pellets after about every 15 to 20 minutes to maintain a consistent temperature through cooking. During our testing, though we noted that the oven takes about 5 minutes to get back up to the initial high temperature, so you can expect some delays if you want to prepare pizzas for a large group of people. Opening and closing the oven does as well cause it to lose some heat.
Adjusting the temperature is another issue that was tricky because there’s no thermostat. It takes adjusting the chimney vent and playing with the amount of wood pellets you feed into the hopper.
Our Score: 9 out of 10
The Cooking Results
The Fyra was incredible, to put it shortly. When we put it to the test it managed to cook the pizzas very fast, as promised. We averaged around 1 to 2 minutes which is truly impressive but the speed will depend on the crust thickness – the thinner the base the faster it cooks.
We cooked 7 pizzas during our tests and they came out great for the better part although it took us a few tries to get a hang of it, especially turning the pizzas as they cook. You have to turn/rotate them after about every 10 to 15 seconds to avoid burnt crusts.
Our first attempt was spicy chorizo pizza and it looked like a crisped pretzel even though we were at fault because of our late rotation and sticky dough. The cheese and some of the other toppings on our second-attempt pizza burnt badly too and the middle of the crust was raw.
By the third round, we were getting the hang of it, and our pizza was at least looking like a pizza. The toppings came out nicely cooked above the crust. The edges were only slightly singed and the center of the crust was also at least cooked pretty well, it wasn’t raw like in our second attempt.
Our final attempt was a cheesy salami and mushroom pizza which the Ooni Koda 12 model managed to cook so perfectly in a previous test. Our cheese distribution wasn’t good but the Fyra did manage to cook the topping beautifully. They came out evenly cooked almost like a restaurant-style pizza – basically the whole pizza was cooked well (from the center of the crust to the edges).
The baking stone heats up uniformly and did its job pretty well too with regards to retaining the heat. It cooked the pizzas’ bottom almost at an even rate after the second attempt when we finally got the hang of how to use the oven. The crust of our cheesy salami and mushroom pizza, in particular, was nicely crispy on the outside while the inside was quite chewy.
However, being so fast both to heat and cook, you’ll have to pay extra attention when making your pizzas with the Fyra because if left unattended even for just a few seconds, the pizzas can end completely burnt. Once you get a hang of it though, especially turning the pizza on time as it cooks, you’ll be able to have evenly-cooked pizzas every time.
Furthermore, one thing we discovered was that the use of charcoal pellets resulted in crisper pizzas than wood pellets because charcoal is pure carbon and there’s no water vapor produced when burned which leads to a drier environment inside the oven.
Some users in several forums also mentioned that the wood pellets aren’t that consistent enough over a cook – sometimes they roll the flame and other times they smolder.
We didn’t have such an experience during our testing. Plus, there are 4 small holes on the ceiling of the unit for holding the slot/catch for the flame keeper which can help direct the heat from the flame over the top of the pizza or whatever you’re cooking instead of letting it get straight up the chimney.
The oven space itself is relatively thin but it measures around 13.7 inches wide. You won’t be able to roast a whole chicken in there but it’s large enough to accommodate 12-inch pizzas.
Turning it around while it’s inside the oven might be a bit of a challenge though just like in the Ooni Koda model unless you take it out, turn it and then slide it again or you cook slightly smaller pizzas like 9-inch wide pizzas.
Our Score: 9 out of 10
Cleaning the Fyra doesn’t present much trouble. There’s very little mess or waste to deal with, and the high temperatures inside the oven pyrolyze the food bits that are left on it, do the largest part of the cleaning is done by the powerful heat within the oven.
The pellets burn cleanly and there’s little ash left behind on the pellet tray which you can easily remove entirely with just several brush-offs. The pizza stone, on the other hand, is removable and cleanable – it requires just a simple wipe down with a brush once it’s cool and then flipping it over in the oven for the next use. The exterior can also be cleaned easily with warm, soapy water after it cools.
Our Score: 10 out of 10
While most wood-fired pizza ovens tend to be difficult to use, the Fyra was actually pretty simple. You just fill up the hopper at the back with wood pellets, light them up and let the oven heat up to temperature – the pellet hopper doesn’t have any bend in it which makes it easy to load.
You have to top up the pellets occasionally based on how many pizzas you are making. One advantage is that the Fyra features a new, taller hopper (double the size of the Ooni 3’s hopper). It holds more pellets than its predecessor, so you get a slightly longer cooking time per fill.
Several users of Ooni 3 had complained about short burn time, that it burned through them very fast, so Ooni has addressed that issue in this Fyra model by making the hopper taller. You can get about 20 minutes of burn time after each refill.
The unit, however, uses only wood pellets for fuel – it’s a dedicated wood pellet oven not like the Ooni 3 or Ooni Karu models which are gas compatible. This is a feature that some will surely miss, but if you are a wood-only fanatic then the Ooni Fyra will just suit you right.
It uses the same wood pellets that a pellet grill uses and Ooni sells their very own type that they recommend using with their wood-fired ovens. You can use other wood pellets – it works with all types of wood pellets (like oak and cherry) which is essential, especially during camping time. They must be hardwood pellets though.
The included peephole proved quite helpful when it comes to reloading the pellets since you get to directly see when you need to add more without opening the oven’s door which is the case with the Ooni 3 model.
With regards to the consumption of the pellets, we found the Fyra relatively more efficient than its predecessor and most other portable pizza ovens available in the market.
We used a full 3Kg bag of pellets and we got through it in about 3 hours of cooking which was impressive. With 1 to 2 minutes of average pizza cooking time, you can make lots of pizzas without using a lot of pellets. We found roughly 5 cups of pellets sufficient to cook about six pizzas. Ooni sells their 20 pounds (9Kg) wood pellet bags for $24.99 which is fair too although other cheaper brands of pellets are available and will work fine.
What was challenging at first to us and many other users of the same model as we saw in several forums, was lighting the pellets once they are loaded in the oven. It was a little tricky because you have to use a firelighter to get them started.
You light the fire starter, put it on the pellets, insert the pellet tray, and then wait for the fire to start which can take long as the pellets are a bit resistant to catching fire. We got it going after a few attempts but with a bit of help from a newspaper.
There’s also no temperature gauge to tell the actual temperature when the oven is preheating. You have to get a thermometer separately to help you identify when the inside of the oven is heated up to the desired temperature (Ooni sells their own infrared thermometer).
One thing to note is that like the other Ooni ovens, this model is for outdoor use only. It’s way powerful such that cooking with it inside the house might cause some harm. It can also produce way too much soot if you use certain types of wood pellets or if they are slightly wet.
The outside of the oven as well as the adjuster meant for the chimney vent do get very hot too, so you want it somewhere that’s well clear of children and pets, which is outdoors.
You can use it to cook almost all manner of things. It does more than just cooking pizzas. You can use it to cook different types of food such as baking flatbreads, roasting meats, veggies, or any other thing you want to cook fast using high heat.
The Ooni Fyra is generally a suitable option if you want a wood-fired starter pizza oven. It’s able to diffuse and retain heat evenly which allows it to cook an entire pizza well. It equally heats and cooks fast, plus it’s compact and portable making it an ideal option for outdoor use and traveling with (for camping and beach parties).
It will take a bit of a learning curve though as far as heating is concerned as well as when to turn the pizzas and how many pellets to add to keep the temperature steady – we figured out all these in no time, so it won’t be much of a challenge. The unit comes backed by a 3-year warranty just like the other Ooni ovens.