You might think that your regular oven is everything you need for preparing meals. So did I. And then I’ve tried to prepare a birthday party for one of my boys, and all of his friends from school and sports squads he participates in were invited.
Needless to say that I’ve struggled to save my sanity while baking 15 pizzas, and a bunch of pastry in a single oven. After that, I told myself that I will never put such enormous torments in front of me if there is an easier way out.
Fortunately, there is.
I’ve learned the hard way (so that you don’t have to), that a countertop convection oven can be a true life savior. It is small, so it doesn’t occupy a lot of space, and, at some tasks, it is just as efficient as the regular oven.
Still, there are some flukes on the market and some stuff out there isn’t as it should be. The oven you should have in occasions like this is the best countertop convection oven. To find such an oven, you’ll need to do some research. You’ll need to make a decision based on that research.
That’s what I did, and now I’m sharing this knowledge so you won’t have to worry about all that. But before, let’s discuss the factors that will impact your decision.
What Exactly Is Countertop Convection Oven and How Does It Work?
A countertop convection oven is a small-scale oven you can place on your countertop without it occupying a lot of space. It is equipped with a fan that circulates air and keeps the temperature inside steady, enabling the food to cook evenly.
Although every oven (even the one you currently own) has certain “convection currents” that circulate hot air, not all of them have a fan to help distribute that air.
Most countertop convection ovens bake or roast the food faster because of that fan. This might sound great, but the fan doesn’t have the same impact on all foods.
Meat products will be perfectly delicious and baked faster, while cookies and bread can lose their softness because the fan tends to dry out the air inside.
However, most convection ovens have the option of turning the fan off.
Advantages of Using a Countertop Convection Oven
One of the advantages I’ve already mentioned – it can bake or roast the food faster because of the fan. The other perks I’ve noticed are:
- The fan also allows the food to be baked evenly so that the bottom isn’t burnt to a crisp, while the top is raw.
- Everything that can be cooked in a regular oven can be cooked in the convection oven.
- The meat is juicier.
- Meat has a higher yield, which means it shrinks less during the cooking.
Finding the Right Size
The capacity and the size of your countertop convection oven will depend on how you are planning on using it and on the available space in your kitchen. There are three ways to calculate the capacity and size of a toaster oven, although not all of them are equally useful:
- Calculate the actual dimensions of the appliance: Use these measurements given by the manufacturer to decide if the toaster oven will fit in your available counter space.
- You can also determine whether the oven is sufficient for you based on the slice capacity: Most convection ovens have four to six-slice capacity. Still, this can be misleading, since one 6-slice toaster oven may be able to cook a whole chicken for family dinner, while another toaster oven of the same capacity can’t handle foods larger than a 12-inch pizza.
- The best way to determine the size and capacity is based on its cubic foot measurement: A convection oven with a 0.6-cubic foot capacity is usually large enough to cook a whole chicken.
Racks, Pans and Extras
Just like a regular oven, toaster ovens have extra racks, pans and trays, depending on what you want to toast, cook, or bake. All countertop convection ovens come with at least one wire rack, while many of the larger ones will have two.
The best mini oven will allow you to move these racks to cook more than one item or to brown foods perfectly.
Most of these ovens will include at least one baking pan you can use to cook foods that you don’t want to place directly on the wire racks. If you are planning to use your oven for more purposes choose the one with extra broiling, baking and roasting pans.
For me, the best additions you can find for a countertop oven are removable crumb tray and pizza stone.
Multiple Heating Options
Every conventional toaster convection oven will have three basic heating functions: baking, broiling and toasting. These three options are enough for making breakfast toast, baking dinners, broiling chicken/fish, or preparing snacks for guests.
However, these are not the only options available in these devices. More advanced appliances will include reheating, defrosting, roasting and preparing pizza and cookies options. Some of them come with brick inserts that are capable of replicating the authenticity and flavor of brick-oven cooking.
Additional Things to Consider
There are other things to think about when buying a countertop convection oven.
Here are some of the factors to take into account:
- Energy-efficiency: The best countertop convection oven runs a small wattage when compared to built-in or wall ovens.
- Gas or electrical model: Although gas is praised for its energy-efficiency, you will still need an electrical connection to run the fan.
- Installation requirements: Check your local codes and see if you have required fire suppression system.
- Cleaning: The ease of maintenance should be one of the first features you check.
- Rotisserie: Gourmets would appreciate the addition of rotisserie (the style of roasting where the meat is skewered on a long rod during roasting)
- The cost: Last, but not least, the price is an important factor, so try to check more than one product of similar characteristics before you make the final decision.
And now let’s take a look at five products that stand out at the market today and see how they meet these important requirements.
Best Countertop Convection Oven Reviews 2020: The Top Of The Market Offer
Let’s start with the most obvious benefit of Oster toaster oven – it can not only fit a 16-inch pizza but due to 2-level cooking feature, it can fit two 16-inch pizzas. I only wish I had one of these for my son’s birthday.
As for the toast, this large toaster oven can fit up to 14 slices of bread, which is great for a big family breakfast. The even-heating results in really tasty and well-baked meals, which means it performs its main function really well.
Another great capability of this oven is its defrosting function, which means that you can give your microwave a well-deserved rest. Besides defrosting, this oven also boasts bake, broil, toast and pizza options. The temperature range of 200-450° puts it shoulder to shoulder with many of the in-built ovens.
Although it is quite large (capacity: width: 15.75-inch, depth: 16.36-inch, lower rack to upper heater: 6.85-inch), Oster oven looks really elegant, which is probably the result of stainless finish. The digital controls are very easy to understand and manage.
Although I don’t have a problem with the space in my kitchen, I did find the short cord (about 2 feet long) of the Oster convection countertop oven to be quite annoying for my kitchen’s layout. The door that tends to slam down onto the counter if you are not extra careful is another obvious downside.
Overall, a very, very good oven that can be a lifesaver if you’re having big breakfasts.
What I Liked:
- Large capacity (great for family dinners or celebrations)
- Two racks included
- Even and fast cooking
- Defrost function
What I Didn’t Like:
- 90-minute timer which needs to be reset for some recipes
- Poorly constructed door
- Short cord
You know those days when you simply don’t feel like cooking and you would like someone to do it for you? Well, this Breville bov800xl oven does exactly that, at least according to the manufacturer. The Element IQ technology puts the oven in the range of smart products – it adjusts its heat distribution based on the food inside and it calculates the correct time and temperature.
The LCD is orange during the preheating and it becomes blue at the end of the cycle. In the end, the auto-eject rack ejects the wire rack halfway out for easy removal of hot items.
This Breville oven has nine functions: toast, bagel, bake, roast, broil, pizza, cookies, reheat and warm. However, after using the Oaster device, the capacity of 13″ pizza or 6-slice toast, doesn’t sound as fascinating.
When comparing to other products, there are two features where this oven truly excels, and that is the magnetic auto-eject rack and temperature and time dial with auto shut-off and sound alert.
At first glance, it seems as if there is nothing to complain about when it comes to this Breville convection oven, and if you thought that, you were almost right. I say almost because it comes with only one rack, and although great, the IQ technology had its failures when it comes to distributing heat for two different meals.
For its price, it does offer good functionality, but it might be too much for some people.
What I Liked:
- The smart technology that adjusts the cooking to the type of food
- The simple LCD screen
- 9 different functions
- The auto-eject rack
- The crumb tray that simplifies the cleaning
What I Didn’t Like:
- Compared to the previous entry, capacity is small
- There is only one rack included
- The results of cooking with two racks are sketchy
- No defrosting function
In its price range, this Black and Decker Convection Countertop Toaster Oven is a rather solid appliance. Just like many other kitchen appliances coming from this manufacturer, it is relatively more affordable than most of its major competitors with the same features.
For a reasonable price, this Black and Decker convection oven gives you the interior that can fit a whole chicken, automatic settings, and even heating.
The Black and Decker oven fits 12″ pizza (6 slices of bread) and reaches the maximum temperature of 400 degrees. It offers eight functions, including bake, broil, toast, bagel, pizza, frozen snacks, potatoes, and cookies.
Digital functions are a fantastic addition, especially for a low-range product, such as this. However, the fact that the LCD screen isn’t back-lit, renders them quite useful, since there is no way to see the readings clearly unless you have some sort of supervision.
It is expected that, for its price, it has to have some flaws. However, some, such as lack of door hinge, could be an unacceptable compromise. Some users have been complaining that the oven gets too hot on the outside, so careful use is advised.
CTO6335S is a good solution for tight budget situations, and it will help you handle more food processing in hectic mornings or afternoons.
What I Liked:
- Significantly cheaper than similar products
- 120-minute timer (which is enough for most of the dishes)
- Removable crumb tray
- 8 functions
What I Didn’t Like:
- The lack of door hinge
- Due to the heating of its exterior, it can be dangerous for use
- The LCD isn’t backlit, so it is difficult to read the settings.
Hamilton Beach countertop convection oven has one very obvious feature that sets it apart of the previously mentioned appliances – it has a rotisserie function, and truly, you’ve never eaten a whole chicken until you’ve eaten it roasted on a rotisserie.
The oven fits two 12″ pizzas, two 9″ x 13″ casseroles, or two cake pans and it has a 2-hour cooking timer with an audible tone and automatic shut-off.
This is obviously the most comprehensive package out of all the entries since it includes two oven racks, large enamel-coated baking pan, a small baking pan, and a broil rack. Furthermore, when you buy this countertop oven you even get cooking accessories – fork, lift and dip tray.
It is also easy to clean, which can really come in handy when one of its flows comes to the surface: the racks tend to fall when baking, so you need to make sure they’re attached pretty well.
When comparing it to the previous mentions, Hamilton beach countertop oven is lacking many useful functions, such as defrosting and reheating, although you can use it for reheating foods when you set a lower temperature.
However, considering its price, it could give a lot more.
What I Liked:
- Rotisserie function that results in perfectly roasted meat
- Simple-to grasp door handle
- Easy-access crumb tray
- Good-visibility inside the oven while cooking
What I Didn’t Like:
- Poor at broiling
- Accessories aren’t dishwasher safe
- The end-of-cooking alert is too silent
- Racks prone to falling
Another Breville’s product on the list is, just as the previous one, reserved for users who enjoy the high-end cooking experience and are willing to break the bank to get it.
The ten functions include the standard eight (bake, broil, toast, bagel, pizza, frozen snacks, potatoes, cookies) that you could get even with the low-range Black & Decker toaster oven, but with the addition of two great options: slow cook and defrost, the first one being a function that is rarely found on countertop ovens.
It also includes an interior light that enables great visibility inside the countertop convection oven.
Just as the previous device from this manufacturer, the BOV845BSS Smart Countertop Convection Oven fits 13″ pizza, 6 slices of bread and is equipped with Element IQ technology. It also has an auto-eject rack, temperature conversion button, and pull-out crumb tray.
One of the most common complaints on this small convection oven is that the exterior sides get really hot, so you should be careful where you’re placing. Considering that this is one of the most expensive convection ovens on the market, this problem should have been addressed with proper insulation.
What I Liked:
- Interior light
- Slow-cooking and defrosting settings
- Basically everything else as with the previous Breville’s model
What I Didn’t Like:
- The price seems too much for a countertop oven, regardless of its amazing features
- The sides get really hot
The Best Countertop Convection Oven You Can Get is…
In the end, I have to conclude that finding the real convection oven for you will depend on your priorities:
- Do you prefer a larger capacity?
- Are you a fan of smart features?
- Are you willing to pay more?
- Do you need more functions?
As for me, I find that the best all-around solution is the Breville BOV800XL countertop convection oven.
If you have enough room to squeeze it into your kitchen and if you can handle the build-flaws of the door, you can really accomplish wonders with this countertop convection oven, for a reasonable price.
Last update on 2020-09-29 at 14:53 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API