Does A Pizza Oven Need A Chimney?

So, you are probably deciding whether to buy a pizza oven or build one from scratch. In any case, what a fantastic idea, since a pizza oven contributes to such a terrific atmosphere, and, of course, delicious pizzas! However, the pricing difference may make you wonder if a chimney is really necessary.  

Having a chimney on a pizza oven is not necessary as the oven will still work without it. However, pizza ovens without a chimney lack the proper draw effect needed to produce really hot fires. Also, smoke will escape through the front entrance, making the cooking experience unpleasant.

Deciding whether to buy or build a pizza oven with a chimney can be confusing if you do not have the correct information. Below we have listed whether a chimney is necessary and how to reduce smoke.

Does A Pizza Oven Have To Have A Chimney?

While you certainly don’t ‘need’ a chimney, having one for your pizza oven will undoubtedly provide more benefits than drawbacks. Pizza ovens without a chimney will still work, but their efficiency and user-friendliness will be drastically reduced. 

Think of it this way, if your chimney does not have a designated outlet for the smoke to go, the smoke will find the nearest way out, which will, unfortunately, be through the front oven door.

This means that when you are cooking, you’ll be inundated by hoards of black smoke and hot air in your face – fun, right? In addition, this is not the sort of smoke that will impart a flavorful blended taste to your pizza. No. Rather, the smoke will give it a less than ideal taste and possibly leave your pizza blackened.

Furthermore, an oven without a chimney will likely develop black stains around the entrance. This is because the smoke has nowhere else to go but via the front door, as previously stated. However, buying or building an oven with a chimney will provide the oven with the necessary air circulation, reducing the possibility of staining.

An oven creates a pressure imbalance, of sorts, with the hot air inside of the oven and the cold air outside. A chimney allows the hot air to be pushed out the chimney, while cold air enters through the front of the oven, creating a drawing effect.

The cold air flowing into the oven adds oxygen to the fire. Furthermore, the chimney’s overall convection mechanism provides for a hotter fire.  In summation, it is definitely worth investing a little more for a chimney.

Where Should The Chimney Be On The Pizza Oven?

Fire and burn coals in stone ovens. Oven made of brick and clay on the wood. Oven for pizza. Brick oven.

Typically, there are two main types of venting methods: traditional and center. Within a traditional vent placement, the vent is located in front and above the opening of the oven. The chimney then resides on top of the vent, which runs vertically up.

The traditional ventilation placement allows for a strong draw which efficiently pushes the hot air out and draws the cold air in. In addition, the oven door can help to regulate or cut off the airflow if needed.

The center vent also creates a strong draw like its traditional vent counterpart. Additionally, this design is most commonly found in Naples-style pizza ovens, where the vent is frequently referred to as a hood or second dome.

Furthermore, it is claimed that the hot air that flows through the ventilation system over the dome helps to evenly distribute the heat in the oven and maintain a high temperature.

Both designs are excellent choices. So, deciding which venting method to use may be more about aesthetic and personal preferences rather than its functionality. So, choose whichever one best fits you.

How To Reduce Smoke From The Pizza Oven

So, what happens if your pizza oven is smoking too much? Smoke is an annoyance that can make your neighbors unhappy and make your cooking experience less enjoyable. Luckily, there are some tips and tricks that can help you cut down on excessive smoke.

  • The first step is to make sure that you’re burning the correct type of wood. Certain types of wood, known as resinous wood, produce much more soot and smoke a lot. Such examples of resinous wood are cedar and pine. Aim for hardwoods such as ash, maple, or beech to reduce smokiness.
  • Also, ensure that you build a proper fire. You may think, “Well, a fire is a fire,” and you’d be correct.  However, the combination and ratio of fuel (wood), oxygen, and air can determine how much smoke the fire can produce;  Have an incorrect balance between these three elements, and your pizza oven will be a smoke show.
  • Ensure the logs are stacked with enough space between them to allow air to circulate through them. The fire will be able to burn more efficiently as a result. Also, using too much wood with too little heat will cause lots of smoke. So, try to refrain from using too much wood in the beginning.
  • Also, the dryness of your wood affects smokiness. Put it bluntly, wet wood smokes. So it is critical to use dry wood. If the wood has gotten wet from the rain, consider giving it a miss and opt for dryer woods instead.
  • Also, if you’ve recently purchased a new pizza oven, you may notice that it produces a lot of smoke. It’s possible that the moisture within the oven is to blame. To get rid of this, we’ll need to cure our oven to remove the moisture.
  • Cure your oven with increasingly larger fires over five days until it reaches maximum temperatures. It’s quite normal to see a lot of smoke at first; once you achieve maximum temperature, the wood will be entirely burned, resulting in less smoke.

Our Favorite Pizza Oven

If you don’t want to take the time and money to build a pizza oven in, there are some great options.

We have the Ooni, and it has served us well. It heats up perfectly and makes a great pizza, steak, or even cookies.


Although having a pizza oven without a chimney may seem like the cheaper option, it is definitely worth investing a little extra for one. A chimney can help get your fire to the temperature you want and divert the smoke away from your face.

However, if you already have an oven without a chimney, ensuring your fire is built correctly can significantly impact the amount of smoke emitted. The type of wood, its dryness, and the ratio between fuel, oxygen, and heat can affect the amount of smoke produced. 

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