Does A Pizza Oven Need A Chimney? Indoor and Outdoor Ovens

A wood-fired oven is an excellent addition to your cooking arsenal especially for anyone who wants to cook pizza from the comfort of their own home.

But can you have a pizza oven without a chimney?

In short, a pizza oven without a chimney will not have anywhere to let out the smoke – so it does need one!

In this post, we are going to be looking at why pizza ovens must have a chimney as well as a lot of useful facts to help you decide on the best design for your new wood-fired pizza oven.

Does A Pizza Oven Need To Be Vented?

There is no doubt about it that wood-fired pizza ovens need to be vented. There are several reasons for this, primarily that pizza ovens use solid fuel and this causes smoke – you have heard the saying ‘where there is smoke, there’s fire’ – and this is certainly true of your wood-fired oven.

If this smoke cannot go through the flue outlet then it must be able to escape from somewhere else and this means that it will come out of the front of the wood-fired oven, through the oven door. Not only will this send smoke in your direction and all over the patio where your pizza party guests are sitting, but it will also have an effect on the taste of your pizzas.

Furthermore, inside the oven needs good air movement as this will keep the flames going and ensure that the heat is evenly distributed around the oven chamber.

Let’s think about the science behind pizza ovens….

Once you light the fire in your wood oven, the heat starts to build and the difference in temperature between the outside of the brick oven and the inside creates a type of pressure imbalance. This needs to be regulated and when you vent your wood-fired oven, the heat will be sucked out of the top. What’s more, cool air will come through the door at the front and this provides a way to feed the flames and keep the wood burning.

Where Should The Chimney Be On A Pizza Oven?

Now that we understand that pizza ovens need a chimney, we must think about where these chimneys should be placed.

Of course, the top of the oven makes the most sense and you will usually see the chimney above the dome but there is a little more thought that goes into the flue placement on a pizza oven.

If you want to get technical – and if you’re running a pizza restaurant, then this is a must but using this type of appliance in the backyard also requires some technical knowledge. Pizza oven designers will tell you that the chimney must be between 60 and 70% of the height of the dome as this provides the best circumstances for air flow and heat retention. You can buy an oven ventilation system but if you are making your own from fire bricks or clay, you should think about the height and placement of the chimney.

In terms of where the chimney opening should go, the traditional design dictates that the vent should be placed above the door opening. However, another one of the most common types of chimney is the center vent design where a vent is placed above the door but runs over the top of the oven chamber to a chimney in the middle. Many people prefer this method since the heat going over the dome will help to avoid heat loss.

Why Does My Pizza Oven Smoke So Much?

The lack of a ventilation flue would be the most common cause for too much smoke, but there are other things that can cause this problem and leave your food with a nasty taste.

  • The type of wood you use can cause smoke – you should go for a harder wood as these will burn slowly, releasing less smoke from the wood-fired pizza oven.
  • Also, be sure that the wood is dry and that you don’t add too much at once. A couple of pieces at a time will help build a good fire.
  • Fire need oxygen to burn so also make sure that you leave enough space between the wood logs.


If you love cooking in a clay oven then you will have noticed the need for a chimney. This allows hot air to escape and cool air to come through the door of the oven to keep the fire burning consistently. Without a flue and proper ventilation, your wood oven will not function correctly. Furthermore, you will notice that you food comes out with a smoky taste – and not the good kind.

For a more expert result, be sure to include a ventilation system when building your oven and look forward to enjoying tasty pizzas with your friends and family.

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