I never thought a pizza stone was that essential of a kitchen item until someone gave me one as a gift, and well, let's just say my world was forever changed. With a pizza stone, crusts taste crispier, airier, just plain better — even with store-bought pizzas. What's more, the best pizza stones can be used for more than just pizzas (think calzones, croissants, and other baked goods) to achieve the perfect flakey crust.
But there are a lot of different kinds of pizza stones out there, both in terms of material and shape, so it's helpful to determine exactly how you'll be using the baking tool to find the best stone for you.
Ceramic vs. Steel Pizza Stones
If you want to cook just pizza, steel is most likely the way to go, especially if you like ultra-thin crust pies, like the Neapolitan-style. Because steel conducts heat better, it can cook pizzas more quickly than ceramic can, not to mention give your pies the nice browning you want on the bottom. If you're looking to use the pizza stone on the grill, heavy duty steel will handle the heat no problem (although most steel pizza rounds don't come with handles, so grill mitts will be a necessity.) Another note: Baking steels tend to be mighty heavy, so if you're not ready to be lifting and swinging 15 or more pounds, steel is out.
If you're looking for a versatile, lightweight pizza stone that you can use for pizza and beyond, then a stone option is a better bet. A ceramic stone distributes heat more moderately, and gives everything from pizza pies to regular pie crusts, just the right crispiness and flakiness, without burning. Cordierite clay in particular is great for pizza stones because it's extremely durable and heat tolerant, and can usually be used on the grill too.
Rectangular vs. Round Pizza Stones
It's recommended that you have at least a 1-inch gap between the stone and the oven to ensure proper airflow, so it's important you measure your oven or grill to see what shape will work best. If you have a large enough cooking space, a rectangular shape will provide the most surface space for various baking needs, from pizzas to baguettes and more. But, if you have a tiny oven, a round stone is the practical choice.
With all that in mind, it's time to shop for pizza stones. All of the ones below come highly rated on Amazon, and some come with hundreds of positive customer reviews.