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Should I buy a precast oven kit or an assembled refractory oven?

If you want a real refectory pizza oven, there are basically four ways get one. You can build a Pompeii oven or another type if DIY oven using raw materials, you can build an oven using a pizza oven kit (cast onsite, pre-cast or brick), you can pay a contractor to build your outdoor kitchen or pizza oven using a pizza oven kit, or you can buy an assembled pizza oven (precast or brick) in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Let analyze the various trade-offs.

Building a DIY is a low-cost, time and labor intensive way of owning a refractory pizza oven. In general, you’ll know you want to do this. If you have lots of questions or concerns, this option probably isn’t right for you.

Building a pizza oven kit ticks a lot of boxes. You get a lot of control over your oven’s size and shape, and over how the final pizza oven will look. Plus you eliminate a lot of the risk associated with doing it yourself. A pizza oven kit provide (or at least it should) provide all the materials you need to build the oven core, which means you don’t have to stress finding the right materials or accidentally using a wrong material, plus to oven shape is pre-defined. You won’t accidentally make your oven the wrong shape or size, too high or too low, or make the opening too big, too small or too low.

If you’re capable and available to do it yourself, you’ll save a lot of money. You’re basically paying yourself a very high hourly wage to do it.

What if you aren’t both capable and available? Does that close out the option of using a kit? Definitely not. Many pizza oven kits are installed by contractors, where either the contractor picks the oven for the customer, or the customer picks the oven and the contractor. In general, you should get more bang for your buck using a kit and a contractor, but even if you don’t, you will have the benefits of controlling and customizing your outdoor kitchen and pizza oven.

But what if you either don’t want to oversee the process, don’t have the time or skill to do it, or simply don’t enjoy having a project, contractors, dust and noise at your house? And you still want a real mid-size to full-size refractory oven. First off, you aren’t alone. Many of the mainstream precast oven suppliers provide fully assembled versions of their kits, made in their factories, in a wide array of shapes, sizes, colors and finish materials.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to buy a steel oven if you don’t want one!

There are a few things to be aware of, though. Assembled precast ovens are expensive for what they are, and while you have choices on finish designs and materials, you won’t be able to fully customize your oven enclosure. And finally, know that the full-size version of these ovens are very big and very heavy, so shipping is expensive (and a little fraught and nerve wracking), and you will need access for a forklift or crane on your end.

Hopefully we’ve helped you decide whether to buy a pizza oven kit or an assembled precast oven.