This Ooni Karu 16 vs Ooni Karu 12 comparison is about two of the best pizza ovens from the company.
When the Ooni Karu 16 first came out the only question in my mind was if it was as good as the Ooni Karu 12?
Ooni is a company known for its powerful and portable pizza ovens and it does not disappoint.
They have released multiple models that you can choose from, and they are all guaranteed to cook the best pizzas.
These pizza ovens are light and compact, so that means that you can bring them anywhere which was my favorite aspect about these pizza ovens.
They are perfect for your next tailgating or camping trip as you can bring them in the car.
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It was not that long ago when the company first released larger versions of the pizza ovens that it produces.
These larger versions simply mean that you can cook large pizzas at home.
There are not many differences between the larger models and the original ones in terms of power, functionality, and features.
However, there are some noticeable differences in detail.
That is why we will be comparing the main products from the original portable series of pizza ovens and the larger versions with the help of this Ooni Karu 16 vs Ooni Karu 12 comparison.
Set Up And Assemble
When you buy large grills or pizza ovens online, it is most likely that you will need a lot of assembling to do.
That is not the case with portable pizza ovens as they arrive assembled.
Apart from the chimney and door of the pizza ovens, you do not need to assemble the main body or the cooking chamber.
Within 15 minutes, they are ready to cook the best pizzas.
The Karu 12 is one of the smallest pizza ovens on the market, and it is very easy to assemble.
You just need to twist and lock the chimney on top of it and start cooking right away.
The burner grate or wood and charcoal tray are simply inserted into the back of the pizza oven if you want to use wood or charcoal as fuel.
From there, you can fire it up and cook your pizzas.
The same goes with the Karu 16, as you will need to install the chimney on top.
The burner grate is separate from the main body, so you will need to install that as well as the pizza stone.
The door and the thermometer are pretty easy to install, and both go in the front.
Although a bit heavier and larger, the Karu 16 is pretty easy and can be done by one person.
The heavier Karu 16 only weighs around 62 pounds, meaning that you can carry it yourself and is not too heavy for a table. However, you do need a pretty durable table for this pizza oven.
The Karu 12 is a lighter pizza oven at only 44 pounds, and so you can easily transfer it wherever you want to cook.
Just make sure to keep them on a sturdy surface when you are cooking.
Build Quality And Materials
The materials used for making the pizza ovens are important since they dictate how long the pizza ovens will last after being exposed to extreme weather conditions and temperatures.
The Karu 12, just like the earlier pizza oven models, is made with a stainless steel body.
It is a durable material that hence works in any setting for its high resistance to any weather.
You can be sure that the pizza oven will stay durable even when exposed to rain and sunlight.
You do need to clean and wipe it dry so rust will not develop on the oven.
The build quality of the Karu 12 also makes a lot of sense in terms of retaining heat.
It does have an open door, but you hardly need it when cooking because of the amazing design.
The dropping and thicker front part of the pizza oven make it possible to keep the heat inside the cooking chamber even without closing the oven door. That is the Flamekeeper technology.
The Karu 16, on the other hand, is made from carbon steel which is a much more durable material.
This material can withstand high temperatures and rough weather conditions.
You can leave the pizza oven outdoors, and you will not have to worry about too much damage.
You do need to have a cover, but you do not have to worry about the oven’s performance.
Both of these pizza ovens are ceramic fiber-insulated, which means that even if they cook under rainy conditions or windy outside, the temperature inside them will stay the same.
Since these pizza ovens are made from steel, they do not weigh that much.
They can be carried by one person from a short distance and transferred somewhere that you want to cook on.
The larger Karu 16 is only 33 inches long, which is pretty big, but it is still small enough to fit in the trunk of your car.
You can also easily put it on the back of your truck when tailgating.
The smaller Karu 12 is a much better pizza oven in terms of portability.
It is only 28 inches long, including the door handle and the whole body, which means it takes up less space in the car.
It is also very light so you can carry it anywhere you want to.
Both of these pizza ovens have the patented, foldable legs that are a very well-known feature from Ooni, so they can be even smaller.
The pizza ovens can also be disassembled easily with simple twists and turns.
From there, you can place the chimney and other parts of the oven inside the oven itself for more portability.
What Fuel Can I Use?
These pizza ovens are pretty unique when you compare them to other models from other companies.
Not only can they cook authentic pizzas, but they can also switch to multiple fuels.
There are three fuels available for both of these pizza ovens.
First, you can use them right out of the box by firing them up using wood or charcoal to get some of that smoke flavor in your pizza.
The grate that originally comes with these pizza ovens works with wood and charcoal.
So you do not even have to switch to another burner if you go from charcoal to wood and vice versa.
You can buy separately the Ooni Gas Burner Attachment, which allows you to switch from charcoal/ wood to propane gas with a simple gas burner attachment.
The New Features
Many features make these two pizza ovens alike. The name itself is already obvious that the newer model is an extension of the original Karu 12.
Since the Karu 16 is a larger version of the original and, essentially, an upgraded version, there are some features that you can find only on the new Karu 16 model.
First is the thermometer, which is a big help, especially when controlling the temperature.
The thermometer of the Karu 16 is digital and is very easy to see and read.
The thermometer is placed at the front of the pizza oven to see the temperature even if you do not duck down.
You get to know whether the temperature has reached the goal or not.
The door is also a great improvement on the Karu 16. Just like the original Karu, the door still covers the entire opening, but the difference is that it now allows you to look into the pizza oven.
There is a large glass on the door that gives you a view of the inside of the pizza oven, it is the ViewFlame technology, and it is there to manage the pizza inside.
That means that you do not have to disturb the heat inside the pizza oven if you need to look at the pizza. This gives you more control in case you see the pizza getting burnt.
The new chimney also has a new feature to control the temperature by using two adjustments.
This newly-engineered chimney is one of the easiest to use on any oven.
Cooking In The Ovens
I remember the first time I used the Karu 12, and I was so amazed by how easy it was to cook with it.
The numbers that on how fast it cooks were real, and the pizza came out as perfect.
Ooni Karu 12 pizza oven can reach a maximum temperature of 950 degrees Fahrenheit.
That means that I only had to measure the time and see if it can cook within 90 seconds, and it did.
With the help of the cordierite pizza stone, the Karu 12 made a great pizza with a crispy crust.
The amazing pizza I cooked in it had its toppings cooked evenly with no signs of burnt areas.
The Ooni Karu 16 gave the same impression as it also reached a maximum temperature of 950 degrees Fahrenheit.
It was very easy to use and perhaps the most consistent pizza oven ever.
I did not have to worry about temperature fluctuations as the pizza oven door is useful in checking on the pizzas without opening it. At the same time, I was able to see the pizza inside it.
I loved that there was more space with the Ooni Karu 16, which made me fall in love with the pizza oven instantly.
It was a great addition to the pizza oven as it allowed me to look inside and see if the pizza is burning on one side or if it is finished already without disturbing the heat inside it.
Ooni has yet again proven that changing its approach to the portable oven industry is not wrong. Although the new version is large, it is still portable enough to bring it anywhere.
If I were to choose, it is obvious that I would go with the Karu 16 because of the larger cooking space, same maximum temperature, easier to use, and many more reasons.
==> Check out the Ooni Karu 16
However, I cannot deny how good the Karu 12 is since it is one of the pioneers of portable pizza ovens from Ooni. It is the perfect choice if you want to cook for a small number of people.
==> Check out the Ooni Karu 12
But if you have the budget then definitely go with the Karu 16 as it is a much better oven and you are going to find it so much easier to use.
Which one do you like better? The Karu 16 or Ooni Karu 12? Let us know in the comments below!
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John C says
I have the karu 12 and absolutely love it. I have the gas burner attachment but i mostly cook.with a lump charcoal/wood combination
Love it! I mean Ooni has the best pizza ovens!