Fuels, Explained: Wood Pellets 101
Wood pellets. If you’ve been around for a while, you know they have a special place in our hearts, and have played a big role as a fuel source for previous iterations of Ooni ovens.
These days, they continue to power our small but mighty Ooni Fyra 12. Why have we been so committed to wood pellets over the years? Because, just like our Fyra 12 oven, wood pellets are highly efficient — not to mention up-cycled and cost-effective.
Wood pellets are fuel efficient
It’s amazing how much energy they can produce for something so small.
They’re made by compressing wood byproducts and are usually grouped into two types: softwood and hardwood. In their raw form, hardwood pellets tend to burn longer and have a higher heat density than their softwood counterparts. Softwood pellets, on the other hand, typically have a higher energy output, which means they burn hotter, faster. Either type can work well as a fuel source, depending on the oven or stove you’re looking to power, but for Ooni ovens, we recommend sticking with hardwood pellets.
When thinking about how efficient these pellets are, we have to look at surface area. If you think about how much surface is exposed on a log versus an equivalent mass of wood pellets, the pellets have a much higher surface area available for combustion. The log may be bigger in size, but the low surface area means it’ll burn lower for a longer period of time. The wood pellets, on the other hand, will burn with a strong flame that combusts much quicker than the log.
In an optimised environment like an Ooni oven, wood pellets burn at extremely high temperatures while producing very little ash. They pull in oxygen and create an unusually efficient flame, which is why it’s so easy to reach that high, high heat when using hardwood pellets.
Burn times and temperatures vary based on factors like wood type and pellet diameter. In the United States, it’s more common to find oak pellets; in the UK, you’ll typically see more ash pellets. Each variety will burn differently, so it’s important to monitor the temperature of the baking stone in your oven to keep from scorching your pizza.
They’re also up-cycled
Instead of cutting down new trees, wood pellets are made from leftover wood that is gathered and processed. As long as they’re untreated, these scrap pieces can be sourced from pretty much anywhere: sticks, sawdust, wood chips, lumber mill discards, and more. Every scrap used is completely natural and food safe, and each pellet is held together without bonding agents or additives.
And finally, they’re cost-effective
When you want a fuel source that puts out a crazy amount of energy compared to the amount you pay for it, wood pellets are your answer. They cost much less than gas and other solid fuels for the amount of heat and length of burn time you get.
Cook with wood pellets
If wood pellets sound like something you’d like to try, look no further than the Ooni Fyra 12 Wood Pellet Pizza Oven.
This compact powerhouse runs on hardwood pellets that are automatically fed into the fuel tray for consistently high heat and a low-maintenance cooking experience. That means making 12″ pizzas from home (but with that incredible wood-fired pizzeria flavour) is easier than ever.
The Fyra 12 is ultra portable at just 10 kilograms. It breaks down easily and packs up into its carrying case — ideal for any pizza purist who wants to make authentic Neapolitan pizza on the go.