Ooni, the portable pizza oven giant, has just unveiled their new pizza oven Kickstarter campaign. They are calling it “Karu,” which we are told is the Finnish word for “rugged.” The Ooni Karu is a smaller, lighter oven than its bigger wood and charcoal-burning sibling – the Ooni Pro. And, with about $80k pledged just hours into the campaign, the question posed in the title of this article seems to have an answer already.
So, to answer the question – does Ooni need another wood-fired pizza oven in their lineup – let’s talk about what their current big sellers are.
First up, is the Ooni 3. This little guy is about the same weight as the new Karu. It runs on wood pellets, so you definitely get that wood fire feel. It has an optional gas burner you can order if speed and convenience are important to you. You can not burn charcoal or wood in the Ooni 3.
So, while similar in size, the Karu definitely offers something different from the Ooni 3. It is not just a revamped version of it’s older sibling. We at WoodCookers LOVE the Ooni 3. It very much has been a part of changing the whole backyard pizza oven scene with its ability to cook with wood pellets. But there is something more primal and “rugged” about cooking with real chunks of wood and charcoal. And that is exactly what the new pizza oven offers.
Ooni also offers a bigger oven called the Ooni Pro. This oven is much larger than the Ooni 3. It also was groundbreaking because it allows you to cook with 4 different fuels – wood chunks, wood pellets, charcoal and propane. It weighs in at 48 and a half lbs and can cook 16 inch pizzas. So here we have a closer comparison to the Ooni Karu. They both cook with wood chunks and charcoal.
But the size… Yes, the Ooni Pro is portable. At less than 50 lbs, it’s extraordinary that you can bring a crazy hot pizza oven with you wherever you want. But let’s admit something – it’s still not nearly as portable as the Ooni 3. I am much more prone to grab the Ooni 3 over the Pro if I am going somewhere. Why? Because it’s smaller and lighter. In my family, I am the one who has to carry the cooker.
Enter the Ooni Karu. I like the idea of this because I can stick to cooking with what I like best – wood chunks and charcoal. Yes, no question wood pellets are great, the the Ooni Karu looks so streamlined (without a pellet feeder) and cooks with my preferred fuels! So it definitely is different enough from the Ooni Pro to warrant a place in my back yard.
Ooni’s other offering in the pizza oven lineup is the Ooni Koda. This sleek little beauty is solely fueled by propane. No wood-fired heat is coming from the Koda. That’s okay. It is meant to be ultra convenient and fast. Still reaching temperatures up to 932 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s no joke. You can achieve serious pizza cooking with super convenience.
The Ooni Karu is of course quite different. Oh, you still get the crazy high temps, but it’s a wood cooker (something that is quite near and dear to us around here).
To put it simply, we believe this is an awesome addition to Ooni’s lineup of amazing pizza ovens. Do they need another wood-fired pizza oven? Probably not. They could probably do quite well with what they currently offer. But companies like Ooni aren’t satisfied with leaving “well enough” alone. They look for ways to get people outdoors more. They want you to enjoy the ride – not just the destination. That’s what it’s like cooking with Ooni pizza ovens.
We have high hopes for the Ooni Karu. It looks to combine the great fuel options of the Ooni Pro with the portability and light weight convenience of the Ooni 3. Time will tell, but our guess is this little oven could quickly become a favorite.
Be sure to check out Ooni’s Kickstarter campaign by clicking here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tapaninaho/ooni-karu-a-game-changing-portable-wood-fired-pizza-oven
You can buy the Ooni 3 from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2NzFre7
Alternatively you can buy the Ooni Pro from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/32btDmD
Or you can buy the Ooni Koda from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/321cj3s