The information below is information that I have gathered through experience and my own investigation. Feel free to contact specific manufacturers to confirm. Just be sure to get educated and not sold. Always understand your ventilation requirements from your local jurisdiction prior to purchasing an oven. There is a very good chance that local code will require you to place your oven under a type 1 hood system. If burning wood is your desire there may be more requirements on how your clean the flu system prior to the exhaust reaching the outside air.


The manufactures below represent what I consider the major players in the stone hearth oven game in North America. I have offered a brief description of each one but a conversation regarding your details would be recommended. Please feel free to contact me. pizzageometrics@gmail.com  This is probably the most expensive piece of equipment for your concept so let’s get it right.


Beech Ovens    http://www.beechovens.com.au/

    Beech is originally from Australia.  They still maintain and build

    ovens in Melbourne but now are under the Middleby Brands    

    http://www.middleby.com  Their main manufacturing takes place in Brea, Ca. at

    the Jade Range factory.  Beech is well known for their ability to customize an oven

    to just about any shape or size that you desire. They are also very flexible in fuel

    combinations of gas/wood/coal.  Today they have implemented the option of

    underfloor burners and thermostatically controlled ovens that offer almost hands

    free temperature management. They also offer a 4” thick single cast floor 

    and dome creating a very high production oven. Beech ovens are a great choice

    when needing to get through small spaces for installation. Even their largest ovens

    can be separated to move through a 36” door. Their business focus is on

    specified jobs, chain operators large and small, large independent restaurant

    operators. They also do a lot of custom work for celebrity chefs. Beech ovens are   

    sold through restaurant equipment dealers.


EarthStone Ovens   https://earthstoneovens.com/

    EarthStone is based out of Southern Ca.  They have been around for over 25 

    Years. They have completed thousands of commercial installations as well as

    residential installations. They have been part of a couple of recent chain concepts

    that include MOD Pizza and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza.  They are engineered

    with tiles over concrete. The concrete base adds to the weight of the oven but it

    really does not offer much in the terms of heat retention for efficiency. I have often

    considered the EarthStone Oven as a good choice if the oven is producing only a

    small part of your menu. EarthStone does offer a variety of sizes in their catalog

    but not many options when it comes to façades.  They pretty much all look

    the same.


Forno Bravo   https://www.fornobravo.com

    Relatively new in North America founded in 2003 as a DIY Home Oven. Since

    Then they have acquired a UL listing and gas options that has opened the doors

    For them in the commercial market. These are great ovens that fit the traditional

    Italian design and performance. Lower domes, small doorways, they are very

    Efficient and cook a great 90 second to 3minute pizza. You can pie these ovens

    Direct from the factory at a very reasonable price. They are limited in sizes and

    Shapes. When cooking traditional Neapolitan pizza it is not about a large oven, it

    is about more than one oven. This design creates a very fuel efficient oven.


Forza Forni    https://forzaforni.com/

    Forza Forni is the epitome of the traditional Italian brick oven. Proven by

    renowned pizza aioli Roberto Caporuscio of Keste Pizza NYNY. Available in

    wood, gas fuel options they also sell a rotating deck that is a single cast floor and 

    an electric brick oven. You purchase these ovens direct from their factory. Due to

    traditional design they are limited in size and shape but with custom tile work are

    beautiful ovens. The web-site is pretty real with the videos of how they build there

    ovens. Warning – do not attempt this yourself.


Marra Forni   https://marraforni.com/

   Marra Forni has become the leader in Italian traditional stone hearth ovens in

   North America. They have taken every opportunity to show up to get their product

   In front of the consumer. They build a great product as well and have supported it

   Through-out North America buy using a recognized chain of distribution. They have

   A pretty good size manufacturing plant in the Mid Atlantic region and have built

   test kitchen sites so that customers can experience their equipment.

   Marra Forni offers a variety of sized ovens in round shape. They offer a variety of

   Fuel options as well the include gas, wood and electric.


Proluxe Ovens    https://proluxe.com/stone-hearth-ovens

    Relatively new in the game with the Proluxe name, this manufacture focused on the

    fast casual space with the duplication of the Wood Stone FD 9660. They added

    heat under the floor and thermostatically controlled technology. They speak about

    burning less BTUs than their competitors but you need to consider that the

    underfloor heat source is electric. So, you pay for gas or electric or both. They also

    boast about twice as much thermal mass in the dome of the oven. My opinion is

    that it is unnecessary and really only increase the shipping cost due to extra

    weight. They have both rectangle and round style ovens but not a lot of choices in

    either shape. Proluxe sells other equipment including grill and prep equipment so

    ovens are only part of what they do. The oven design and performance


RemcoSPC    http://remcousa.com/

    Perhaps Remco was the first in North America with rotating deck ovens. You do not

    see them a lot any more since the Italian manufactures have stepped in. Remco has

    not had a great history with customer service or well-engineered ovens.


Valorani / Mugnaini  https://www.valoriani.us/  http://www.mugnaini.com

    Valorani / Mugnaini – can be confusing. Mugnaini is a distributor of Valorani

    Ovens out of Healdsburg, Ca.  This location has been around for many years and

    has had a great story to tell. Mostly focused on their cooking school that sells

    more residential ovens than commercial ovens. The Valorani side is focused more

    on selling commercial ovens. These are great Italian ovens. Here again, they have

    a variety of sizes that are offered as wood, gas, combo fuel options. They also

    offer an oven with a rotating deck.


Wood Stone Corporation   https://woodstone-corp.com/

   These are the big guys in North America. Celebrating 30 years of business that

   began with a single wood fired oven followed by 799 more wood fired ovens.

   They brought the gas fired oven to North America that really gained a lot of

   popularity with chain operators such as California Pizza Kitchen. They build

   amazingly great ovens that are supported with factory service 24/7 365 days a

   year. They have been the leaders in stone hearth cooking boasting over 17000

   installations over 80 countries in the world. They offer more shapes and sizes of

   standard ovens than any other manufacturer. Along with the number of size and

   shapes available each one of these has a number of variables. This is fantastic but it

   is extremely important to be sure you choose the right oven to do the job you want.

   Wood Stone also offers lots of options and accessories to their ovens to create

   different facades. Here again this is great but they can become very pricey, putting

   Wood Stone Ovens as probably one of the more expensive options available on

   the market. Fuel options include wood, gas, coal, combination. Wood Stone has

   built its reputation on its ceramic stone 4” floors and domes and an underfloor

   inferred burner system. Today there are many brands that offer both those options.

   Still recognized as great ovens Wood Stone has not done much to keep up with the

   technology of rotating deck ovens or thermostatically controlled ovens. Both these

   options could be vital to your concept for ease of use. Wood Stone has a great

   facility that you can visit in Bellingham, Wa. They also have numerous test

Stone Hearth Oven Choices & Opportunities Part I

This 3 Part series will speak about the choices of stone hearth ovens out there and what oven will work best for you. 


Thirty plus years ago there were not a lot of choices if you wanted a stone hearth oven as part of your concept. If you were able to find a good imported oven or brick layer to build one for you there was a very good chance that the life span of your oven was not greater than 5 years and your only fuel choice was wood.


Today there are a lot of choices when it comes to stone hearth ovens that are manufactured right here in the USA.  There are many traditional Italian brands such as Marra Forni that are built here in the United States.  As well as the number of brands offered, many brands have a variety of shapes, sizes, and fuel options (gas, wood, coal, combination). With all these options the question is, “what is the best oven for you”?


Too often an oven choice is made by a decision maker that does not truly have all the facts. Perhaps they visited Italy and they love the romance of a wood fired brick oven.  Maybe a designer has chosen a familiar brand or they were giving a recommendation for reasons that may not affect a positive outcome for your concept. Very often we use the same oven that we see in an already successful concept that we want to mimic. Ultimately we want a great baked pizza. My job is to use the best oven for the style of pizza you are looking for. Occasionally for one reason or another we can not use the oven we hope to use. At this point it is my job to adjust.

One thing that we can be sure of that more of these brands have improved their engineering and their service. You can pretty much assume that all ovens manufactured in the United States have met UL, ETL and NSF approval for commercial use in North America. 


Let’s begin with asking questions that may be deal breakers for a decision you have already made. Let’s also assume that you have a location.


-        If choosing wood or coal will local code allow for wood burning ovens and what will be the venting requirements?

-        Can the oven that you have chosen actually fit into the building. What will be the cost of rigging if you need that service or can the oven be disassembled or built in place?

-        If you are not using a leading manufacture confirm that the oven is UL, ETL, NSF approved for commercial use.

-        If you are leasing space will the landlord allow for holes in the roof or walls for ventilation.  (consider an electric oven option)


Never buy an oven that is too small!

I am a big proponent on building to scale but never purchase an oven that is too small. This is especially true in the fast-casual pizza segment. The cost of an oven 1 size larger than you may think you need is minimal compared to not having enough oven. The cost of having an oven that is too small may destroy your pizza program.


If you are planning on a Neapolitan wood fired concept stick with the Italian brands!

These ovens were designed for cooking this style of pizza. Smaller doorways, lower domes make all the difference in the world. For this style of cooking these ovens are extremely efficient when it comes to how much wood you will burn and heat retention. Acunto, Forno Bravo, Marra Forni, Forza Forni


Wood or gas, it will not change the texture or flavor of your pizza!

Perhaps there is a fine nuance, but comparison tastings that I have done have proven that 99% of the time, with a 50/50 chance of being correct, our taste buds can not tell the difference.  



To determine what oven is best for you let’s start with answering some questions.


1.    Describe your concept?

Pizzeria, Pub, Brewery, Full Service Dining, Institution Cafeteria, Food Hall…

2.    Number of seats?

0 – 20, 21 – 40, 41 – 65, 66 – 85, 86 – 130, 131 – 185,….Food Truck

3.    Will you have take-out, delivery, catering?

4.    Assuming the oven is for pizza, describe your pizza?

Neapolitan, East Coast, Gourmet, Chicago, Roman

5.    What size pizzas will you offer?

8”,10”, 12”, 14”, 16”, 18”,…Slices

6.    What other menu items might you cook in the oven?

Baked Pastas, Sandwiches/Calzones, Appetizers, Entrees

7.    Have you determined a fuel (gas, wood, coal, combination)?

Have you confirmed with building owners and local jurisdiction on using solid fuel, ventilation requirements, and will they allow for holes in roofs?

8.    Have you considered all the costs and set yourself a budget?

Consider cost of shipping, installation, ventilation. 

If you have gotten this far, it’s time to talk. We can make decisions. pizzageometrics@gmail.com

More to come about oven brand specifics Part II