Bertello Pizza Oven Review
The versatility of Bertello’s fuel options offers customers choice and the ‘best of both worlds’ for taste and tech elements – but also perhaps makes the oven a ‘jack-of-all-fuels’ in the process. Its volcanic heat volumes make authentic crisp crusts and charring achievable – but also rapidly increases the chances of pizza incineration and pushes insulation capacities to the limit. And whilst Bertello’s compact design makes it a viable option for small interior spaces as well as outdoor events, the oven space and opening are smaller to compensate.
Following the revival in wood fired oven pizza preparation in the 1970s, a parade of portable pizza ovens soon appeared on the cooking appliance market – making the creation of authentic and affordable versions of the cheesy classic from the comfort of one’s own home possible for the first time.
Some pizza oven brands remain big names in the portable pizzeria experience today. One of those is the Bertello Pizza Oven – a ‘shark tank’ success story introduced in 2017. Today, we will be giving the honest lowdown on the Bertello Pizza Oven, based on the unbiased views of those who know it best: customers who have purchased and used the product.
- High Temperature Capabilities. The Bertello Pizza Oven is advertised as having the potential to reach temperatures of up to 930F (500C) with many who have used it confirming the ability to attain a heat threshold of at least 800F – pretty impressive for a portable oven under $500.
- Fast Warm Up. Perhaps in part due to its compact size, many consumers have attested to the speed at which the Bertello can warm to high heat, especially when gas is added. The general consensus is that the Bertello oven takes between 15-20 minutes to heat to a level between 700-800F – and that is in colder climates.
- Multi-Fuel Function. One of the most famous features of the Bertello Pizza Oven is its ability to run on gas, wood, or charcoal – or a combination of these fuel sources. With the options this offers and no requirement to compromise on either flavour or functionality (a common issue with single fuel ovens), this asset has been a big hit with many Bertello buyers.
- Compact & Portable. Another major plus point for the Bertello is its portable, lightweight design. It is compact enough to fit comfortably into small outdoor spaces such as patios, and also relatively easy to transport – making the oven also usable for activity outside the domestic arena such as camping and day trips.
- Food Versatility. A good proportion of those who have used the Bertello oven confirm its capability to cook a variety of foods in addition to pizza, including meat and fish. The cordelite baking stone is reportedly an excellent tool for retaining meat juices – with a steak ready to eat in under 10 minutes.
- Sturdy Build. Another big thumbs up for users of the Bertello is that despite its lightweight, compact design, the oven is observed as a rather solid and durable construction – with some even rating it above the Ooni in the sturdiness stakes.
- Attractive Design. The modern, sleek appearance of the Bertello has been a huge hit with customers, with many commenting on the stylish, unimposing design. Its black powder-coated finish does not show up soot residue and allows the oven to blend in effortlessly with most surroundings.
- Too small. The most frequently quoted issue with the oven is that the interior and/or oven opening are impractically small. The maximum pizza diameter that can feasibly be baked in it is believed by many to be between 10-11ins – short of the standard 12 inch/30cm pizza size. In addition, the oven space is believed to work comfortably with round pizzas only – plus, the compressed oven area can make turning the pizza whilst cooking very tricky.
- Heat source is too close. Another major sticking point with Bertello buyers is the uncomfortable closeness of the flames to the main cooking compartment, especially when using gas. Many pizza preppers have blamed the proximity of the intense heat source as the main cause of frequently burnt crusts – a situation worsened by difficulties in turning the pizzas.
- Temperature Inconsistencies. Users of the Bertello have frequently mentioned issues with obtaining either an even or a sufficient heat for cooking. The oven can be difficult to get heated up to the desired level, and a significant gap in temperature between the front and back parts of the oven appears to be a fairly common occurrence – regardless of the fuel choice.
- Practice Required. By most accounts the Bertello is not an oven that will deliver premier pizza the first time – successful results with this high-heating oven takes practice. There are tricks and techniques which can only be learned through trial and error – and willingness to do a little troubleshooting will go a long way.
- Baking stone cannot retain heat. Another thumbs down from users of the oven is the baking stone’s lack of ability to maintain enough heat to cook well. It is believed that the Bertello emits cooking heat chiefly from the roof of the oven, meaning that once the pizza is placed on top of the stone to cook, it creates a barrier between the baking stone and the heat – limiting the stone’s ability to retain warmth.
- Key accessories not included. Another major sticking point for Bertello buyers has been the fact useful tools such as the propane attachment, pizza peels, and paddle are not included in the purchase. The propane attachment costs an extra $80 rather than coming as a part of the package as it does with some other competitor models (though at a higher cost).
- Exterior can get very hot. Some users of the oven have also commented on its poor insulation ability. The Bertello can reportedly get extremely hot on the outside when in use – some consumers have quoted exterior heat levels in excess of 400C.
Appliances designed to maximize convenience or affordability will always come with compromise. As a product focussed on optimising both of these aspects, the Bertello Pizza is no different – so the question is whether the compromises are acceptable to the individual buyer in terms of their own personal pizza-related experience and expectations.
Securing homemade pizza heaven with the Bertello Pizza oven also clearly requires some practice and patience – which may make it better suited to those who already wield at least some experience in using portable pizza ovens. In addition frequent pizza turning, good quality cheese, and the investment in a couple of decent pizza prep tools such as a metal pizza peel and a thermometer – as well as a steady hand – has the potential to make a big difference to one’s success in achieving pizza perfection with the Bertello.