2 Medium Pizzas vs. 1 Large—What’s Actually Better?

It sounds enticing to buy two medium pizzas at a discount, but you knead to know the math.

You’ve seen countless deals from the best pizza chains—like two medium pizzas for $5.99 each. If a large pizza is $11.99, the two medium pizzas definitely sound better. But have we been taken in by clever marketing when it comes to two medium pizzas vs. one large? This viral Reddit post has the internet convinced that one large pizza is better than two mediums, but it assumes that a large pizza is an 18-in. pie. That doesn’t sound right—so we researched standard pizza sizes and did the math.

See what your pizza delivery person isn’t telling you.

2 Medium Pizzas Vs. 1 Large Whats Actually Better Graphic taste of home

2 Mediums vs. 1 Large: Here’s the Math

The standard medium pizza is usually a 12-in. circle, whereas a standard large pizza is a 14-in. circle. It seems like you’ll have nearly twice as much pizza for roughly the same price if you order two mediums.

Let’s do the math before your next movie night to confirm.

A 12-in. medium pizza is traditionally cut into eight slices and serves two people. A 14-in. large pizza is cut into eight slices and will serve two or three people. You’re going to have way more pizza with two 12-in. mediums! But don’t take our word for it—let’s take a look at a standard equation from our grade school days.

The calculation to determine the area of a circle is πr², where ‘r’ represents the radius (half of the diameter).

To calculate the area of one large 14-in. pizza:

First, find the radius: 14-in. divided by 2 is 7.

Then, 7² is 49. 49 x π is 154-in². of pizza.

To calculate the area of two medium 12-in. pizzas:

First, find the radius: 12-in. divided by 2 is 6.

Then, 6² is 36. 36 x π is 113-in²., multiplied by two for a total of 226-in.² of pizza.

There’s no denying the numbers! The math proves that you get more overall surface area of pizza with two 12-in. mediums than one 14-in. large pie.

Does the Math Always Work?

The standard size for most pizza chains is a 12-in. medium and a 14-in large. But some chains may have a 16-in. or 18-in. large size. If you can order an 18-in. pizza for the price of two medium pizzas, that’s going to be a better deal. And keep in mind, if you’re ordering a rectangular regional pizza style, that might throw off the math.

Don’t miss our guide to the best pizza in every state!

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Laura Pucillo
A freelance writer focusing mainly in food, wine and travel.