One thing about me: I’m a pizza person. I grew up in a pizza-loving family, I married a fellow pizza person, and I’m grooming my almost-one-year-old daughter to be a pizza pipsqueak. You get it.

My husband’s from Chicago, and I grew up in New York—and one of our favorite arguments, typically held over a melty slice or two, is who does pizza better. Over the years, we’ve hit many a parlor—nationally and internationally—to try to settle the debate, once and for all.

But since entering parenthood last year, dining out has become more of a novelty than a weekly routine. And while I’ve been investing time in cooking my faves at home, pizza was the last frontier I had to cross. As much as I love pizza night, an at-home oven always felt like a hefty investment (and a hefty piece of equipment) for limited use, and I was doubtful whether it could meet my *very high* standards. So when I heard about the Ninja Wood-Fired Pizza Oven—which offers eight different cooking settings and functions just like the internet-favorite Ooni Pizza Oven, at a fraction of the price—my interest piqued.

After reading up on the Ninja oven, I decided to seize the summer sale (psst: it’s $99 off right now) and give it a try. It arrived just in time for a holiday weekend spent with friends and family who hail from Miami to Paris—with global, gourmet palates to match. After a very seamless unbox, plug in, and preheat process, the reviews were unanimous: Forget New York or Chicago—this oven will transport you straight to Italy.

Ninja Woodfire 8-in-1 Outdoor Oven & Smoker with Pizza Peel & Cover — $300.00

Originally $399, now $300

  • Cooks restaurant-quality pizza in less than 10 minutes
  • Simple unboxing and requires zero assembly
  • Comes with a pizza stone, roast rack, smoke pellets and more
  • Has eight versatile settings for cooking everything from whole turkeys to baked goods
  • More affordable than other outdoor pizza ovens (and currently on sale)
  • Requires ample space (near an outlet) outdoors
  • Transferring dough in and out of the oven takes a bit of practice

The menu for our inaugural at-home pizza party was wide-ranging: pesto, veggies, and sausage; a seriously gooey pepperoni calzone; and a few on cauliflower crusts. Despite the different textures and ingredients, each one cooked evenly (and in less than seven minutes, once the oven had preheated). It took a bit of practice with the pizza peel to nail the transfer of dough into the oven—but after a few tries, we were firing up pies that were just the right combo of crispy, pillowy, and cheesy.

Beyond the straight-from-Italy flavors and its user-friendliness, the Ninja wood-fired oven became an instant summer staple when we realized all the heat we were keeping out of the kitchen. (Is there anything worse than sweating over a stovetop when it’s 100 degrees outside?) And it’s not just a warm-weather toy: The oven is made to withstand all the outdoor elements, all year long.

The Ninja wood-fired oven does a lot more than just pizza, too—the eight different cook settings make it more like an electric everything-maker. We haven’t tested prime ribs, casseroles, or baked desserts yet—remember, we’re pizza people—but the ease of use means we’ll be trying out all kinds of recipes this summer. Oh, and my husband’s already talking about assuming turkey duty for my extended family’s Thanksgiving this year. (He’s brave.)

So yes, it’s official: We are pizza people turned pizza chefs—and we’ve set aside our family feuds for nightly trips to Naples, at least in our dreams. If that sounds molto bene, well, it is.

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