How many of the best countertop convection ovens can actually replace your conventional oven? Not many of them, some would say. And it’s not because they can’t do it; it’s because they are generally seen as complementary appliances which let you cook fast dishes and prep ingredients.
That being said, there’s also a strong argument to be made that these ovens will quickly become the No. 1 choice for many home chefs. Considering how versatile some models can be, the small footprint, and fast cooking speeds are nothing short of helpful — not to mention how energy-efficient these can be in comparison to a conventional oven.
Will you ever know all there is to know about countertop convection ovens before you buy one? – Probably not. With that in mind, check the following reviews and buyer’s guide to get as many of the facts as you can, short of actually owning and using a convection oven.
|Breville BOV900BSS Convection and Air Fry Smart Oven Air, Brushed Stainless Steel||Buy Now|
|Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro 1800 W Convection Toaster Oven with Element IQ, Brushed Stainless Steel||Buy Now|
|Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven with Element IQ, Silver||Buy Now|
|Cuisinart TOB-260N1 Chef's Convection Toaster Oven, Stainless Steel||Buy Now|
|Oster Toaster Oven | Digital Convection Oven, Large 6-Slice Capacity, Black/Polished Stainless||Buy Now|
Countertop Convection Ovens Reviews
This Breville Smart Oven is a sleek-looking model. It has a small frame, a big window, a fancy and easy to use user interface, and a massive interior capacity that will allow you to cook meals for an entire dinner party.
Thanks to a wide range of features and top-of-the line technology, this 1,800W convection oven could complement or replace your conventional wall oven, as well as a few other cooking appliances. What’s all the more impressive is that the Breville Smart Oven Air only measures 16” from side to side and 12” in depth.
The interior capacity is similar to that of a 5-qt. Dutch oven. Of course, the interior of this oven can be compartmentalized to accommodate different cooking techniques and heat distribution.
Speaking of heat distribution, the 1,800W Smart Oven Air makes full use of Breville’s Element IQ technology. This precision cooking technology uses quartz heating elements to warm-up the inside of the oven and cook the food from all sides. The Element IQ’s strongest point is that it can adjust the heat of each quartz element to suit the dish and the chosen cooking setting.
The Smart Oven Air has six quartz heating elements. Now, there’s always a risk of getting a few hot spots. And, in the case of this oven, some cooking presets might be more overwhelming than others.
Super convection implies using a 2-speed convection fan as opposed to the classic single speed fan. This allows the oven to cook even faster than it otherwise would, while also giving you even more control over the process.
In regards to preset functions, this oven has everything you could need, and then some. There are 13 preset cooking functions and each one has adjustable timing, temperature, and fan speed.
With the Smart Oven Air you can select programs for toast, bagels, roasts, pizza, cookies, and baking, which are pretty much the most popular or standard programs found in convection toaster ovens. But, it’s the extra stuff that makes this toaster oven worth every penny.
This oven is capable of air frying, slow cooking, and dehydrating food. Can’t get enough of homemade crispy strips and French fries, but your body just doesn’t handle deep fried oily foods as good as it used to? No problem.
Do you want to make the perfect Thanksgiving turkey for your family? Slow cooking a 14-lb. bird is going to be one of the easiest things you can do with this convection toaster oven, even if you have minimum cooking experience.
But how easy is it to use overall, given that it has so many cooking functions and options? The Smart Oven Air toaster oven features a backlit LCD display. It shows the list of programs, the temperature reading, the fan speed, and the remaining time.
You then have three dials, one for browsing through programs, one to set the temperature, and one to alter the timer settings. You also have buttons for the oven light and fan speed adjustment.
In terms of accessories, the oven comes with a standard tray and an air frying basket. Owing to its dimensions and design the oven will also fit most 9”x13” pans. Just remember to get pans made for countertop ovens which don’t have handles.
The super convection technology is perhaps the main selling point of this oven. While there is a lot more to it than just that, the dual-speed convection fan enables air frying and dehydrating. It also speeds up the cooking process.
The air frying basket is not the best one out there and you might want to consider investing in an aftermarket model. It can still hold plenty of fries, but the spacing between the metal wires seems a bit too large.
- 2-speed convection fan
- 13 cooking presets
- Air frying and dehydrating programs
- Simple user interface
- Sleek design
- Great capacity
- Average quality air frying basket
- Could be sold with more accessories
To say that the Breville Smart Oven Pro is a complementary cooking appliance would be a major understatement. This tiny versatile convection oven is well-equipped with features and the performance to replace almost any conventional oven.
It may seem small on the outside but it has a roomy interior. The inside of the oven is .8 cubic feet which is big enough to cook some amazing roasts or bake a large pizza. Measuring just 15.75” x 18.5” x 11”, the Smart Oven Pro is also a big space-saver in the kitchen.
As all other toaster ovens in Breville’s Smart Oven line, the Smart Oven Pro uses convection and Element IQ precision cooking technology. The built-in convection fan is a single-speed model. Even though it isn’t the best one Breville has to offer, the air circulation is still great and helps get rid of any hot spots when baking or cooking delicate dishes.
There are five quartz heating elements which give out stable heat. The warm-up time of the oven is quite fast, especially also if you’re using the convection feature.
You can choose between 10 cooking presets to make enough food for up to six people. The classic toast, bagel, pizza, and cookies programs are there but the most interesting feature in this case is the slow cooking feature.
This setting enables you to cook an entire chicken or turkey, ribs, and very tough pieces of beef or wild game. What’s best about it, it doesn’t require you to turn or flip the meat around. The controlled air circulation and precision cooking technology takes care of that for you.
The Breville Smart Oven Pro also has the interior oven light. Due to the nature of convection cooking, it’s important to have a good visual on what’s happening inside at any given time. Especially if you’re not following recipes and instructions made specifically to account for increased air volume and air circulation.
The oven light turns on when you open the door. It will also turn on automatically when the cooking cycle is almost done. While that may not always be enough, there’s no need to worry because you can always turn it on via a button on the control panel.
Speaking of the user interface, as is the case with all other Breville Smart Ovens, the Smart Oven Pro has an intuitive control panel. The LCD display is bright and has good readability from almost any angle.
The left side of the display lists all the cooking presets as well as the one the oven’s running at the moment. Simple dials are used to control the temperature and the timer. There’s also a button to toggle the convection fan on or off. As great as convection is, it’s not always ideal to have it turned on.
Also worth noting is the fact that the Smart Oven Pro is a 1,800W convection toaster oven. It has the same power as other more advanced models in the series. In addition to all that, the oven also has a non-stick coating on the inside which makes cleaning it a lot easier.
The cooking efficiency for each program is off the charts. This is very impressive given the fact that it’s not the most advanced Breville Smart Oven model.
On the downside, the Breville Smart Oven Pro has a single-speed fan. Though certainly not a deal-breaker, it could use the two-speed variant found on more expensive Smart Oven models.
- 5 quartz heating elements
- 0.8 cubic feet capacity
- Can cook food for up to six people
- 10 cooking functions
- Oven light
- Easy to use user interface
The Breville BOV800XL is also known as the Breville Smart Oven. It carries the name of the series and does it justice too with its versatility, ease of use, and efficient cooking. If you’re looking for something affordable to replace a conventional oven, this model might be the one for you.
This model is a cross between the compact version and the Breville Smart Oven Pro. It has 9 cooking presets but it covers all your toasting, baking, and roasting needs, nonetheless. Included are two presets for reheating and keeping food warm after it is cooked.
The other presets serve as optimal starting points when making specific dishes such as pizza, roasted meat, cookies, toast, bruschetta, and more. Each preset cooking mode lights up specific heating elements.
Of course, you can easily alter the settings of each program to fit your recipe using the dials and buttons on the side. This is advised as convection cooking uses the concept of dynamic heating or cooking.
As the air is moved around by the fan, the food cooks more evenly but also faster. This means that sometimes, recipes and instructions that work in conventional ovens may need slight modifications in order to achieve the same result in a convection oven.
In any event, Breville is a reputable brand in the convection oven niche. The Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven is well-designed and fine-tuned to help you deal with almost any challenge that convection technology may pose before a home chef.
This convection oven heats up fast on the inside but also on the outside, much like many other countertop toaster ovens with the exception of microwave ovens. It is safe to say that this model heats up faster on the outside than others in the series.
Therefore, it’s best to exercise caution and allocate a bit more counter space to it, in order to avoid getting burns. The manufacturer recommends at least 4” of spacing on both sides between the Breville Smart Oven and other appliances.
What’s also surprising is that the Element IQ technology has five quartz heating elements at its disposal. Even though this is a cheaper and less feature-heavy convection toaster oven, it’s still only one heating element short from the premium model in the series.
Because of this and because of the convection fan, cooking fast and even is not an issue with the BOV800XL. The oven has the same wattage as most in the Smart Oven series — 1,800W. This seems to be Breville’s go-to wattage for their toaster oven program.
It’s not the epitome of energy-saving convection toaster ovens, but then again, few countertop ovens can be as energy efficient as microwave ovens. If you’re more impressed with performance and having control over every aspect of the cooking cycle, then this model might satisfy you.
Considering how many features it offers and considering the level of precision cooking, the Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven may have the best price-to-performance ratio among Breville’s convection ovens. In addition to that, it is easy to use and clean after cooking.
There’s really only one thing that most users are likely to miss in this budget-friendly convection oven and that’s the oven light. It makes cooking at night or checking on the food without opening the door a bit challenging.
- 5 heating elements
- One-year warranty
- 9 cooking preset modes
- Reaches up to 450°
- Heats up faster on the outside
- No oven light
This is a budget-friendly and high-performance countertop convection oven that might appeal to those looking to ditch their conventional ovens. It’s fast, sleek, has more than enough room inside, and is loaded with functions and cooking presets.
The TOB-260N1 convection oven benefits from two convection settings. There are two fan speeds, one of which can be used to cook without even preheating the oven. What’s even more important is that you can turn off the fan at any time and use the TOB-260N1 as a classic toaster oven. This might appeal more to those new to convection cooking.
When it comes to functions, this model is a preset galore. Cuisinart designed this countertop oven with over 15 cooking presets and a user panel that gives you total control over every program and cooking function.
There are preset modes for toast, bagels, waffles, baking, baking pizza, defrosting, broiling, and others. These cover the basics of all toaster ovens. To that, Cuisinart also added a slow cooking program. This program controls the heating elements in such a way that you can turn the oven into a slow cooker and keep it on for up to four hours.
Some types of meat just won’t be tasty if you don’t slow cook them. This means that the TOB-260N1 Convection Oven can help you diversify your menu and encourage you to learn and try new recipes. It can also save you money in the long run since you’ll be able to make the most out of cheap cuts, which can be difficult to cook without the right tools.
Another very interesting feature, which not many ovens have, is the dual cook function. When you select this program, the oven will automatically switch between two different temperature levels and fan speeds, as dictated by the timer.
What makes this feature very nice is that it helps you cook complex dishes. For example, anything that needs to be slow cooked but then blasted with high heat and roasted for a few minutes. Instead of making the adjustments yourself and constantly checking to see when you should readjust, the appliance does it for you. You can also keep the meal warm after it’s done. Just add warming as the second preset after baking or broiling.
Multiple accessories are also included. This oven comes with two oven racks, a drip pan, a broiling pan, a crumb tray, a small recipe book, and most importantly a pizza stone. This last accessory adds a lot of value to this model, considering that most countertop convection ovens barely offer a pizza pan, let alone something more.
And don’t worry about having to store too many accessories. They can all be stored inside the oven when it’s not in use. Keep in mind that this oven has a 9-slice capacity. It can fit 9” x 13” baking pans, two at a time. You can even use both at the same time if you want. The convection fan will ensure that both levels get even heat coverage.
Last but not least, it’s important to point out that the TOB-260N1 Chef's Convection Toaster Oven comes with a 3-year limited warranty. That’s two years more than the industry standard and what most manufacturers bother offering.
This toaster oven has so much going for it that it’s hard to put a finger on a single distinctive feature. Therefore, it’s the overall versatility and level of customization which gives it an edge over many other models by Cuisinart and other manufacturers.
Although the TOB-260N1 looks like a spaceship compared to most countertop convection toaster ovens, it might not have the highest performance rating in its class. That being said, it won’t take too long to get used to it.
- Dual cook function
- 15 cooking presets
- Oven light
- 0.95 cubic ft. capacity
- Multiple quality accessories included
- Limited 3-year warranty
- May be slightly hotter than other ovens
- Large footprint
Clearly not everyone is looking to replace their conventional ovens. Because of that, it makes sense to also include a budget-friendly countertop convection oven that can be used for its energy-efficiency and time-saving attributes when it comes to cooking smaller dishes and preparing ingredients.
The Oster Toaster Oven is a convection oven with a 6-slice capacity. It’s still rather big for this price range which makes it even better than advertised. The oven features a simple convection fan with a single speed setting, which increases the volume of air and adds a dynamic heating element to the cooking cycle.
Oster went with a 1,300W power unit as opposed to many other manufacturers which prefer a higher wattage. This is not exactly a bad thing, especially if you don’t want to make it your main oven.
There are seven preset modes to choose from: toast, bake, broil, defrost, pizza, warm, and convection bake. All the basic cooking modes a toaster oven should have are covered. Oster’s also included the highly popular pizza option.
The oven can cook at any temperature between 150° and 450°. This makes it ideal for baking pizza, whether you like a thin crust or a Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Convection baking will also come in handy when you want to brown pastries and improve their color and taste.
The control panel is positioned to the right of the oven door and has an intuitive layout. You can use the buttons to start or stop the cooking cycle, adjust the timer and the temperature, set a clock, and turn the oven light on and off. It’s somewhat surprising how this budget-friendly oven features an oven light when some models twice its price don’t have one.
Each preset, whether for cooking or prepping, has its own button. By not using dials and an LCD display, Oster manages to achieve two things: It made the oven a lot easier to monitor and clean. LCD displays are known to get cloudy over time and dials can often get sticky and hard to turn. You’ll have none of those problems with the Oster Toaster Oven.
Another cool feature is the 31.5” cord. Not all toaster ovens come with enough cord length to accommodate every kitchen so you would often have to improvise or rearrange your countertop.
The affordability of this oven is its main selling point. It may not be the most versatile or roomy oven out there. However, it is super affordable and can get the job done when it comes to making quick dishes and helping you with your prep work.
The oven lacks some special features, such as slow cooking, multiple fan speed settings, or advanced cooking programs.
- 7 cooking settings
- Digital controls
- Cooks at up to 450°
- Baking pan and crumb tray included
- Average build quality
- Limited cooking modes
Countertop Convection Ovens Buyer’s Guide
Build Quality and Safety
A heavy convection toaster oven could indicate many things. It can indicate that the oven has a larger capacity, more heating elements, better shielding, and that it has a sturdy build. Obviously, there’s no need to worry too much about how well the appliance will handle hits or impact falls since it’s not a portable unit.
That being said, the better it’s built the longer it will last. You can sometimes tell how good a convection oven is based on the warranty. Longer warranties, even limited warranties, might indicate that there’s little chance of the appliance breaking down on you before the warranty period is up.
In terms of safety, there are a few things you should look at. You should inspect the quality of door handles, preferably some that don’t warm-up like the rest of the oven’s exterior. You might also be interested in getting a toaster oven which has magnetic locks for racks and trays.
That will make it easier to pull out hot trays. It’s important since as opposed to regular conventional ovens, you don’t have a lot of room to work with. Getting burned is very easy, even if you’re wearing oven mitts.
You should also consider how hot the oven can get on the outside. It’s recommended to leave some room between the sides of the oven and other appliances. By doing so, you will prevent damaging them and allow enough air to be pulled in.
That being said, you don’t want an oven that gets as hot on the outside as it does on the inside since it could be a safety hazard for kids, pets, and even yourself.
Size and Capacity
Most countertop convection ovens are sized based on how many slices of toast they can fit. Some manufacturers may also list the capacity in cubic feet but the toast still remains the most commonly used measuring unit. Some manufacturers also include the size of the pizza you can bake in the oven.
Therefore, convection toaster ovens start as small as 4-toast slices capacity and can go up to 9 or even 12 slices. Obviously, larger and deeper convection ovens are better suited to replace conventional built-in ovens.
A 12-slice oven should have more than enough room to let you cook a large chicken or turkey. That’s great for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It’s also great if you only eat white meat and you prefer to do meal preps for a couple of days in advance.
Usually, countertop convection ovens get larger as they increase in capacity. That being said, there are exceptions to this rule. That’s because some manufacturers opt for bulkier builds. There are two potential reasons for this — to build a stronger casing or to reduce the amount of heat on the outside of the case.
If you have limited counter space you should also check to see the actual outside dimensions of the ovens you’re interested in, instead of just looking at what type of trays they can fit inside.
The majority of countertop convection toaster ovens will have at least four basic presets: reheat, toast, bagels, and pizza. As you start looking at more advanced models you will realize that these ovens can do a lot more.
Slow cooking is a highly sought after feature. So are dehydration, defrosting, and multiple baking features for cookies, pastries, pies, and so on. But what exactly do these preset modes do for you if you can already adjust the temperature and the timer manually?
For one, they give you a baseline to build from. They set the oven to a recommended temperature for that specific type of cooking. Secondly, they determine how the heat elements work. For example, when baking, more heat will be generated from the bottom elements as opposed to the top elements. The exact opposite happens when you use the broiling mode.
Keep in mind that the additional features can seriously add to the price. However, you can look for specific preset modes combinations that fit your cooking style. Do this and you might be able to avoid paying extra for things you won’t need.
The most basic convection toaster ovens will have at least two heating elements, one at the bottom and one at the top. The more complex the oven, the more heating elements it usually has.
For example, Breville’s flagship countertop convection oven has six quartz heating elements arranged in an optimal pattern to maximize both convection and conventional cooking cycles. The more heat elements there are, the quicker the warm-up time will be.
The number of heating elements will also affect how fast the food gets cooked. But, sometimes the quality and performance of the convection fan can have an even bigger impact on the cooking cycle.
The bottom line is that not all heating elements are created equal and not all manufacturers bother advertising which specific materials were used. You may have to dig through the instruction manual to find that information.
Cooking with convection technology is a bit different. It was developed and implemented in countertop toaster ovens to fast track the cooking cycle for certain dishes and to give you an alternative method of defrosting and reheating leftovers without having to fire up the conventional oven.
In most ovens today you will find either a one-speed or a two-speed fan. Sometimes the fan is installed with the rear heating element but it’s not uncommon to also find it at the side of the oven, somewhere around the middle of the interior wall.
Location does matter but the fan performance and adjustability matter more. Two-speed fans are ideal because they can open up more possibilities. Without two-speed convection fans it’s unlikely that a convection toaster oven could air fry or dehydrate food.
Also, the extra volume of air and circulation can also considerably speed up the preheating process or even kick-start the cooking cycle without the need to preheat the oven.
There are two types of control panels or user interfaces that manufacturers use for countertop convection ovens. There are non-digital panels and digital display panels. The former is an interesting choice which may not always look cool but it has some great quality of life features.
Being able to press a button for each individual preset cooking mode makes things very easy for first-time users. Cleaning buttons and such is not a difficult process, either. And yes, you better believe that there’s quite a bit of upkeep involved in owning a countertop convection oven, especially on the outside.
Digital display panels often use both buttons and dials. The LCD screens show readouts for temperature, clock, and remaining time. Usually, one side of the panel is reserved for the list of preset cooking modes.
One dial can be used to scroll through the list of programs. Other dials are reserved for temperature and timer control. The main issue with this type of control panel is that moisture often seeps into the display.
After a few months of regular use, it’s not uncommon to find yourself staring at a cloudy display. The same could be said about the dials. They’re not always easy to pull out and clean and they should be because they can get sticky.
One clear advantage of a countertop convection oven with an LCD display and dials is that it can offer you more info on the cooking process. . Ovens of this type also tend to have a wider range of built-in cooking presets.
This is an often overlooked feature in countertop convection ovens. Convection technology often requires certain recipe adjustments or temperature and timer adjustments. That’s because the air circulation dries the air faster and some dishes might burn when using the recommended temperature settings.
When the oven features a light, you can easily see how the dish is progressing and determine if you should make adjustments. With an oven light you can also see when the food is done and know when to switch to another cooking mode. For example, when you want to broil a roast or give your pie a nice brown crust.
Although convection toaster ovens are very good at maintaining heat and warming up fast, having to open the door to check on the food might be problematic in some cases. To let you check up on your meal, some models have oven light buttons included.
There are many accessories that could come with countertop convection ovens: trays, racks, pans, baskets, etc. There are others, of course, but they are rarely included. For example, you can get a pizza stone with some convection toaster ovens.
Nonetheless, very few manufacturers include it in the standard package. Instead they prefer to sell such accessories separately. Some toaster ovens may also come with a rotisserie function. In that case, a spit will almost definitely be included.
With that in mind, for the most part a toaster oven will come with a basic rack and baking pan. You might also get a pizza tray. Drip or crumb trays are almost always included so there’s no need to worry about them.
The more accessories you get with your oven, the more things you’ll be able to cook right out of the box. If you want to bake a pizza, a pizza tray will suffice for a while, until you’re ready to take your baking game to a new level and invest in a good pizza stone.
There’s one more accessory worth mentioning and that’s the air frying basket. Don’t buy one for your oven unless it has the air frying cooking mode. Besides, ovens that support air frying often come with their own baskets. Some will be better than others, of course.
Breville, Cuisinart, Panasonic, and Hamilton Beach are among the most popular manufacturers in this category. Buying a countertop convection toaster oven from any of them pretty much guarantees a certain level of performance.
Of course, going for a renowned brand name also implies paying a slightly larger price. It will be worth it if you plan on using the oven a lot. That being said, there are many manufacturers outside the mentioned quartet that make high-quality convection ovens, often with lower price tags.
Another thing you might want to check before buying a countertop toaster oven is the cable length. Not all power cables are long enough to accommodate your particular kitchen countertop arrangement.
Ideally you would want a cable long enough that you can place the oven so that the heat it generates doesn’t affect other appliances. The less you have to rearrange the stuff around each time you use the oven, the more convenient it will be to use.
By now you should probably have more than enough knowledge to make an informed decision with your first or your replacement countertop convection oven. You may already also have a favorite.
Our favorite is the Breville Smart Oven Air , as it is a strong candidate for the title of best of the best countertop convection ovens out there. A wide range of cooking features, the dual-speed fan, and its consistent heating performance, make it a tough contender to beat.