The huge Etna Fermo combines style with speedy cooking for an almost perfect pizza oven
- Gorgeous design
- Speedy heat up times
- Pizza in 60 seconds
- Huge footprint
- No built-in thermometer
- Fitted with a 21mm regulator
The Witt Etna Fermo is a gorgeous looking gas-only pizza oven with a huge 16in pizza capacity. While Witt might not yet have the brand recognition of Ooni or Gozney, the Etna Fermo produces traditional thin crust pizzas in under 60 seconds and reaches a scorching stone temperature of 500ºC in under 20 minutes.
What sets it apart from many of its competitors is the full, U-shaped flame that helps to produce amazingly even results, even if you’re a beginner. What’s more, you can expect a similar authentic flavour you’d get from wood cooking, despite being a gas-only model. If you’ve got the space, this is the best pizza oven you can buy right now.
Witt Etna Fermo Pizza Oven review: What do you get for the money?
The Etna Fermo is one of two gas-only pizza ovens from the lesser known Danish company Witt. This huge 16in model is available in four colours: Black, Grey, Off-White and Orange. It comes mostly pre-assembled, though the ignition starter requires you to fit a single AA battery. The legs are already attached and fold out for safe and easy placement on a heat proof surface of your choice and there’s a single ignition and gas knob at the side of the oven. The Fermo comes with a 21mm gas regulator hose attached as standard, and this initially restricts you to using Butane LPG. Witt does permit users to fit a 27mm regulator and use a Propane LPG tank if they prefer, however.
This is a monster of an oven. Weighing a hefty 32kg and measuring 66.3 x 76.1 x 43.6cm (WDH), it’s impossible for the average person to lift alone, so you’ll need a helping hand for setup. This also means you’ll need plenty of space outside to house it. It’s much wider than many of the ovens I’ve tested but this only works to its benefit. There’s plenty of internal space to move a 16in pizza around with ease and its ultra-wide opening at the front makes it easy to get pizzas in and out. This large opening also gives you an excellent view of the Fermo’s U-shaped gas burner, which not only looks good but is designed to create a more even cooking temperature the majority of the way around the oven.
Size isn’t the only reason the Fermo stands out, though. It’s evident that Witt has opted for more than just functionality – this oven is a real design statement. Alongside its choice of colours, the Fermo looks incredibly slick and the absence of a bulky chimney for wood smoke only accentuates this.
At £579, the Witt Fermo is more expensive than its most obvious competitor, the Ooni Koda 16 (£499). Almost identical in looks, the main difference between the two is the Koda has a L-shaped burner covering half the oven, whereas the Fermo has a fuller U-shaped version. The Ooni also comes with the more common 27mm gas regulator, whereas the Fermo has a 21mm version as standard. Unlike the Koda, though, the Witt Fermo gives you a choice of colour for your oven, which, depending on your style preferences, might be enough to sway you.
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Witt Etna Fermo Pizza Oven review: What’s it like to use?
Once you’ve managed to find a friend to help you lift the Etna Fermo to where you want it, it’s actually very easy to set up. All you need to do is unfold the rubber-bottom legs and insert a battery into the ignition box. The stone is already fitted inside and there’s no door or chimney to attach either. I always advise buying a pizza turner and pizza peel with your oven, as these typically don’t come in the box and they’re essential if you want to be able to cook and manage your pizza in an efficient way. You’ll also need to secure the right gas – I used a 5kg bottle of Calor LPG Butane – and then you’re ready to go.
Witt claims the oven’s pizza stone can reach 500ºC in 18 minutes in 20ºC temperatures – as long as there’s no wind. In our repeat tests using an infrared thermometer, we found that on a 20ºC day we only managed to get the pizza stone to 450ºC in the stated time. However, on warmer days – 24 to 25ºC – we were able to get to 500ºC in 18 minutes. It’s also worth noting that the internal temperature of the oven gets to 500ºC much more quickly, in around 10 minutes on average. So if you find yourself feeling impatient, you can still get a really good cook on your pizza in under 15 minutes.
Getting pizza off the peel and into the oven can be a tricky task even for seasoned users. However, the Witt Etna Fermo makes this easy and is an ideal oven for beginners due to its generously wide opening and internal space. When making 12in pizzas, I had absolutely no problem throwing the pizza into the oven, regularly turning it and removing it. Larger ones can prove a little more difficult to turn depending on how heavily topped your pizza is, so I’d always recommend starting smaller if you’re new to using an outdoor oven.
Despite the Witt website claiming pizza takes under 90 seconds to cook at full heat, I actually found that in most cases the pizzas were cooked to perfection in just 60 seconds. Especially those with a thinner base. What’s more, with the gas turned up high, heat loss is minimal and you can cook multiple pizzas without experiencing dramatic heat loss in the stone.
With the right cast iron cookware, you can also use the Witt to cook foods that require lower temperatures such as bread, steak and veggies. The Fermo’s control knob is also easy to use and if you want to invest in a thermometer, you can create and monitor your desired temperature range without too much trouble.
Witt Etna Fermo Pizza Oven review: What could be improved?
The only mild annoyance with the Fermo is that it comes with a 21mm clip-on regulator instead of the more standard 27mm version – 21mm is the connector standard used for butane LPG bottles, while 27mm is the more common standard used for the propane-based LPG bottles which routinely fuel BBQs and pizza ovens in the UK.
Butane isn’t as widely available as the other varieties of LPG but I was able to get a 5kg bottle from B&Q and was told they do regularly stock this alongside propane LPG. It’s also not recommended for use and storage in very low temperatures. Official guidance suggests storing it out of direct sunlight and that it should be kept at a temperature no lower than 0ºC or higher than 50ºC. This might mean you’ll have to store your gas indoors over winter when the oven isn’t in use, or in a suitable outdoor cupboard or shed.
The Etna Fermo also doesn’t come with any type of temperature thermometer, so you’ll either need to invest in a laser thermometer or trust in the pizza gods that your stone is up to temperature after 20 minutes of pre-heating. It’s not unusual for a mid-range pizza oven to come without a thermometer but it would be a nice addition, especially considering it’s more expensive than some of its competitors.
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Witt Etna Fermo Pizza Oven review: Should you buy it?
The supplied 21mm regulator is a mild annoyance, not least because butane LPG is trickier to get your hands on. But it’s not impossible to buy and doesn’t take away from the fact that the Etna Fermo is an outstanding pizza oven in almost every other way.
While its size might not appeal to everyone, the Witt Etna Fermo is a gorgeous-looking pizza oven that delivers an authentic pizza restaurant experience. Easy to use, fast to heat up and even faster to cook, it delivers consistently good results. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it looks absolutely incredible too.