Alfa Nano: Specs
Size: 29 x 22 x 19 inches
Weight: 110 pounds
Fuel source: gas or wood
Opening size: 15 inches
Oven floor size: 19.7 x 15.7 inches
From the outside, the Alfa Nano oven is the Platonic ideal of a pizza oven; its clean lines and dark copper finish evoke the classic wood-fired domed ovens that you might find tucked in the courtyard of a palazzo in Trastevere, visible only in glimpses through a locked wrought-iron gate.
Fortunately for you, the Nano is more accessible, and can bake pizzas worthy of any pizzaiolo who knows how to properly throw a pie. But, for the same price of the Alfa Nano — $2,399 for the gas-powered version — you can get a pretty nice vacation to Italy, so you’ll have to think hard about whether to spring for the Nano, or to go for one of the less expensive options on our list of the best pizza ovens. Hopefully, the rest of our Alfa Nano review will help you decide.
Alfa Nano review: Price and availability
The Alfa Nano is the smallest of the company’s pizza ovens. It’s sold in two configurations: A wood-fired version costs $1,499, and a gas-powered model, which can run off propane or natural gas, costs $2,399.
While a few of Alfa’s pizza ovens are available online at Amazon, the company recommends searching for a dealer through its website. I found one for sale at several Ace Hardware stores.
Alfa also sent along a stand, which elevates the oven to about 4 feet off the ground, and provides a convenient storage area for a propane tank. The stand costs an additional $679.
The Alfa Nano comes with a small stainless steel pizza peel, though it has a pretty short handle; I would suggest picking up one with a longer reach.
Alfa Nano review: Design
There’s no doubt that this is one great-looking pizza oven. It also looks more like a classic pizza oven than all of the models we’ve tested, but with a minimalist twist. Its domed exterior has a pebbled copper finish set off by the stainless steel vent and door cover. A temperature gauge sits to the right of the opening, while a control knob (for the gas version) is on the left.
Like the Gozney Dome, the Alfa Nano is one heavy oven, coming in at 110 pounds. It came shipped on a pallet, and unless you’re in training for a weightlifting competition, you’ll need help getting it on a table.
The mouth of the oven is 15 inches wide — an inch smaller than the Ooni Karu 16, but similar in size to the Gozney Dome. Inside, there’s a lot more room; I had no trouble using my turning peel to get in and move pizzas around the chamber.
Unlike the Gozney Dome, which allows you to use wood in a gas-powered model, you can’t really do that with the Alfa Nano; its gas burner takes up too much space on the left side of the oven to allow you sufficient room for wood.
Alfa Nano review: Setup
The Alfa Nano comes almost fully assembled, but does take a little more effort if you purchase the gas model. First, you have to attach the flue, insert the battery for the starter, and attach the burner knob. Then, you have to screw on the gas regulator and hose to connect it to your propane tank; this step requires gas line sealant tape, which is provided. While it’s easy to do, the fact that you’re dealing with a gas line means it may be worth calling a professional to help if you’re unsure of what to do.
The optional base was also fairly easy to assemble (and the requisite tools are included), and has four beefy casters on the bottom, so you can wheel the oven where you want it. Given the Nano’s weight, you’ll need someone to help you put the oven on top.
Underneath its metal housing, the Nano has two layers of ceramic fiber insulation, which not only helps the oven retain heat, but also helps keep the outside from getting too hot. While you won’t want to rest your hand on the oven, you won’t burn yourself if you accidentally touch it.
Alfa Nano review: Performance
While Alfa advertises that the Nano can be ready for action in as little as 15 minutes, I found it was best to give it about 20 minutes or more for the fire bricks to truly heat up; otherwise, the bottom of the pies were a bit too underdone for my liking, with little to no charring.
In all my tests, the Alfa Nano performed well, turning out nicely leopard crusts in mere minutes. I liked that it was very easy to peer into the oven and get my turning peel in there to move the pies around, so that it was evenly cooked on all sides.
The Forni’s gas controls were a cinch to use, and, because of its wide opening, it was very easy to look inside and adjust the flames to the amount I wanted. Often, I would crank the heat to high to get the bricks nice and toasty, then dial down the temperature a bit while the pizza was cooking. This sort of control makes it easy to adapt the oven to different pizza styles. However, I did find that the control knob became very warm to the touch after extended use.
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Like some pricier pizza ovens, the Nano has a built-in thermometer, but its accuracy was a bit dubious. While it would read temperatures of around 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, my laser thermometer registered temperatures of around 700 degrees.
Alfa Nano review: Bottom Line
Not only does the Alfa Nano turn out great-looking pizzas, but it looks great doing it, too. I liked the oven’s spacious cooking area, as well as the ease with which I could adjust its temperature. However, at $2,399 for the gas model, this is one very expensive pizza oven — and that’s not including the optional stand. Among the best pizza ovens, you can get similar results from models for a fraction of the price; our top pick, the Ooni Koda 16, for example, costs $600. But if you’re looking for a pizza oven that makes a statement in your backyard, and you have money to burn, then the Alfa Nano is worth your consideration.
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