We're putting an end to the pizza ordering debate once and for all!
overhead shot of Ratatouille Pizza
Credit: Meredith

Choosing what to order from your favorite pizza restaurant is an extremely important decision. You want the best bang for your buck, but you may want the most amount of pizza too. So when you see a pizza deal where two medium pizzas are the same price, or cheaper, than one large pizza, you're probably more inclined to get the two mediums. But is that actually a better deal, or is the marketing too good to be true? We're breaking down everything you need to know about ordering two medium pizzas versus ordering one large pizza and why one really is better than the other.

What's the Better Pizza Deal? 2 Mediums or 1 Large?

First and foremost, we need to agree on the size difference between a medium and large pizza. Because according to a viral Reddit post, one large pizza is more pizza than two mediums; however, that user was comparing one 18-inch large pizza to two 12-inch medium pizzas. So while an 18-inch pizza is a better deal than two 12-inch pizzas, that's not the standard size of a large pizza.

At most pizza chain restaurants, like Papa John's, Domino's, and Pizza Hut, the standard medium pizza is 12 inches and the standard large pizza is 14 inches. If offered, a standard extra-large pizza is 16 inches — so while an 18-inch large pizza is more pizza than two 12-inch medium pizzas, it's also a harder option to find.

Based on the standard sizes, two medium 12-inch pizzas will give you more pizza than one 14-inch large pizza. Therefore, ordering two medium 12-inch pizzas is the better deal and it all comes down to simple math.

To find the area of the pizzas, we'll use the equation πr², where r is the radius of the pizzas (or half the diameter, which is just its size). Break out your calculator with us:

How to Find the Area of 2 Medium Pizzas

First find the radius, which is 12 inches divided by 2, so 6.

Then multiply 3.14, or π, by 6², which gives you 113 square inches. Now, because there are two pizzas, multiply that number by 2 for 226 square inches.

Meaning two mediums gives you 226 square inches of pizza.

How to Find the Area of 1 Large Pizza

First find the radius, which is 14 inches divided by 2, so 7.

Then multiply 3.14, or π, by 7², which gives you 154 square inches.

Meaning one large gives you 154 square inches of pizza.

Consider the Number of Slices

If the math isn't enough, we can also break down the amount of pizza you'll get based on the number of slices. At most pizza chain restaurants, the medium and large pizzas both have eight slices. The large pizza slices will be slightly bigger than the medium pizza slices, but if you get one large pizza you'll only have eight slices, whereas, if you get two medium pizzas, you'll have 16 slices. So basically double the pizza as long as you serve everyone their slices as is.

Is It Always Better to Get 2 Medium Pizzas?

If you're choosing between two 12-inch pizzas and one 14-inch pizza, go for two mediums. But if the large pizza is 16 inches or 18 inches and you can order it for the same price as two medium pizzas, then get the large.

Also, this math only works for round pizzas, so if you're choosing between rectangular pizzas you won't be able to use the same formula for area. To find the area of a rectangular pizza, you'll want to multiply the length by the width. If you're choosing between a rectangular pizza and a round pizza, don't just assume the rectangular is bigger either — you can do the math to compare the area, or look at the number of slices offered to determine which will be the better deal.