Why you should always order large pizza, explained by an engineer

Most of us are likely to order a pizza based on the amount we plan to eat—and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that—but if you’re trying to make your penny worth as far as it can, your best bet is to just order the biggest one you can afford. Do you want to know why? The increase in size to cost always comes out in your favor. At NPR’s Planet Money blog, Quoctrung Bui explains the reason why:

Photo via VisualHunt.com

One day last month, an engineer and I went to a pizza parlor for lunch. The engineer told me he wasn’t too hungry, but he said he was going to get the 12-inch medium instead of the 8-inch small — because the medium size was more than twice as big as the small size, and it cost only a tiny bit more. This sort of caught me off guard.

The math of why bigger pizzas are such a good deal is simple: A pizza is a circle, and the area of a circle goes up with the square of the radius.

So, for example, a 16-inch pizza is actually four times as big as an 8-inch pizza.

And when you look at tons of pizza prices from all around the U.S., you will realize that you almost always get a much, much better deal when you buy a larger pizza.

They also prepared an interactive graph that compares average pizza prices varying from pizzerias and chains across the country. You can drag the bar at the end of their graph to see precisely how much bigger that bigger pizza is when compared to the smaller pizzas and at the average prices for each, how much you actually come out ahead. For example, One 18-inch pizza has about the same area as 1.7 14-inch pizzas or 5.1 8-inch pizza, To get the same amount of pizza you get in an $18.68 18-inch pizza, you’d have to spend an extra $5.29 on 14-inch pizzas, or an extra $23.09 on 8-inch pizzas. See how the numbers add up? It’s almost universally a better deal—mathematically, mind you—to just get the larger pizza.

Photo via Visual Hunt

Of course, this is a mathematical exercise—a rational, logical method of deciding how to get the most return on your pizza investment. Obviously it doesn’t make any sense to buy an ultra massive pizza if you can’t eat it all, don’t want to overeat, or have no way to store the leftovers. Hit the link below to see the original piece, and to play with the Pizza Calculator and do the math for yourself.

74,476 Reasons You Should Always Get The Bigger Pizza