The most used kitchen appliance in my house is, by far, the toaster oven. I find that a good convection toaster oven can handle the vast majority of my toasting, baking, roasting and broiling tasks. I use my toaster oven to prepare everything from roasted red potatoes in the morning to baked salmon fillets in the evening. In fact, almost everything I cook that doesn’t hit the grill goes in the toaster oven.
I’ve been using a Cuisinart convection oven for a long, long time. When our old one died after many years of use I replaced it with another Cuisinart. Unfortunately the replacement oven was terrible. Frankly I’ve found most of Cuisinart’s products these days to be garbage, which is shame because back in the day I thought they made quality stuff. Not anymore, apparently.
The replacement Cuisinart convection oven didn’t even last 2 years. The convection fan stopped working (and became really loud before it died), and it also had a terrible design flaw: Cuisinart cheaped out and used plastic for the control panel, which is just below the oven door; over time heat from the oven caused the plastic to crack and come apart.
That oven now sits in a landfill somewhere.
Because I use a convection toaster oven daily, I did a lot of research before deciding on a replacement. I eventually settled on the Breville 1800 Watt Convection Smart Oven, and I am extremely pleased with it.
The Breville Smart Oven is very attractively designed, and is housed in 100% reinforced stainless steel–cracking won’t ever be an issue. It measures 18-1/2 by 16-1/4 by 11-1/4 inches.
The oven features a front-loading crumb tray, which makes cleaning the tray a snap. My old oven had the crumb tray in the back, so I had to turn the oven around to get to it. A simple, but welcome, feature.
The Breville Smart Oven comes with a wire rack that can be placed in three positions inside the oven: Low for baking, roasting, reheating and warming; Middle for toasting, cookies, bagels and pizza; High for Broiling. All of this is clearly marked on the front of the oven glass, so it’s easy to know exactly where the rack should go. Also, when in the middle position the rack automatically ejects as you open the door. This makes getting your food out much safer and easier.
You also get a 13-inch non-stick pizza pan, a 12×12 inch enamel baking pan and a 12×12 inch enamel broil rack.
The digital display is clear and easy to read, and the controls are so simple that anyone could use the oven with no prior instruction. Simply turn the Function dial until the task you want to perform is selected (Toast, Bagel, Bake, Roast, Broil, Pizza, Cookies, Reheat and Warm), turn the Temp dial to adjust the temperature, turn the Time dial to adjust the cooking time and then hit the Start button. There are three additional dedicated buttons: Convection Fan (on/off), Frozen Food (on/off) and a Fahrenheit/Celsius toggle.
When you change any of the default settings, the oven remembers those settings the next time you use it.
I love that the Breville oven clearly indicates on its backlit digital display when it is still preheating. Every toaster oven I’ve owned before this one beeped when preheating was complete (as does the Breville), but if I didn’t hear the beep there was no indication what state the oven was in. With the Breville, there’s no more guessing.
The oven preheats extremely fast. I preheat the oven to 450° (F) for my roasted red potatoes, and the Breville takes about 3 minutes to get there.
Another nice feature is that the timer is not just a simple count down: the oven actually stops cooking when the timer reaches zero, so no more burnt food if you happen to miss the beep.
Obviously the most important thing is how the oven cooks. I can sum that up in two words: Amazingly well. The Breville seems to maintain its temperature much better than my old oven, and also cooks much more evenly. My roasted red potatoes come out golden brown and crispy on the outside, and moist and fluffy on the inside. Also, the potatoes in the back of the oven come out the same as the potatoes in the front of the oven.
Toast takes half the time that it did in my old oven, and it comes out perfect every time. In fact, everything I’ve cooked in the oven has come out perfectly.
I can tell that a lot of thought went into the engineering of this oven, and also its user interface. There are so many little touches that improve on every oven I’ve used in the past, and features that make cooking faster and easier.
Healthy cooking is a passion of mine, and having a mid-sized oven for day-to-day cooking is very important. I am thrilled with the Breville 1800 Watt Convection Smart Oven, and I give it my highest recommendation. It’s locked down a well-deserved spot on my Favorite Things list.