10 Best Convection Oven Reviews 2017 ( Definitive Guide )
Science and technology advancements have continued to improve every aspect of modern life, and that’s certainly true with the latest developments in cooking technology. Various kitchen appliances have been launched for modern homes, and none are as important for food preparation as having the best convection oven you can possibly get.
Of course, deciding to buy a convection oven is a fairly easy decision to make. If you’re not convinced yet, you will be soon once you read about these wonderful kitchen appliances. Determining which one is best for your needs may require a bit more research, but then we’ve done a lot on that score too. By the end of this guide, you should have a much better idea of which convection oven best suits your needs.
What is a Convection Oven? How Does It Work?
A regular oven works by using trapped heat with a confined space to cook the food inside. The heat inside the oven actually arms up the air surrounding the food. It works well enough, thou of course there are some potential problems due to the unmoving hot air. Since the air doesn’t really flow around the food, there may be some cooler pockets of air that can cause uneven results.
That’s the problem that a convection oven solves. The main difference in the design of the convection oven compared to a regular oven is the addition of a fan that’s usually located at the back. When this fan is turned on when you set it at the convection setting, it blows the hot air all around the confines of the oven. Thus, the air isn’t static so even if you do have cold pockets of air these are all e blown around and blown away.
Because the hot air keeps moving all around the food, the food is cooked more evenly. You won’t have to bother rotating the food, which is a common tactic to counter the risk of uneven browning. You’re also able to cook the food faster. If you’re not in a hurry, you can take the same time to cook the food but you can set the temperature lower than what’s set in the recipe by up to 25 degrees.
A convection oven also allows you to cook several food items at once. You just need to be mindful of overloading the oven so the hot air can still move around freely.
Nowadays you’re not limited to getting the huge convection ovens. Some are countertop models that resemble toasters and microwave ovens in size and dimensions. For many, these versions prove to be a much better option especially if they already have a regular oven in their homes.
Factors to Consider When You Buy a Convection Oven:
Here are some things to take into account before you settle on your final choice:
- Budget : It’s true that these things can really be affordable compared to built-in ovens. But while some can cost almost $300, others have price tags that are close to just $70.
- Size : You need to make sure that you have the storage and countertop space to accommodate the dimensions of the convection oven.
- Interior dimensions : Make sure you can fit in the type of food you want to cook inside.
- Number of preset cooking functions : These can help make cooking much simpler.
- Ease of use : It also helps if you have LCD screens, timers, a defrost button, and a glass door.
- Alarms : A beep would be nice so you know when the food is done.
- Instant heat : Some ovens don’t even need to be preheated at all. This can save a lot of time for busy households.
- Number of racks inside: More racks mean more items you can cook simultaneously.
- Ease of cleaning : It helps if the trays are removable so cleaning becomes easier.
- Reliability and durability : While you may find a clue about its durability by checking the length of the warranty, your best bet is to read numerous customer reviews so you can get a better idea about potential problems and breakdowns.
Best Countertop Convection Oven Reviews
Cuisinart CSO-300N Convection Steam Oven, Stainless Steel
This is a special type of countertop convection oven as it also comes with full steaming capability. The steam heat really works fast so you can reduce the cooking time by as much as 40%. In other words, what used to take an hour to cook will now take only 36 minutes. Steaming can go uninterrupted for up to 2 hours, as there’s a removable water reservoir that can hold up to 47 ounces.
The convection oven offers 9 functions, which can be a single or a combination of functions. This gives you a lot of versatility, so you can poach and steam rice, poultry, fish, and veggies. Use steam with bake and broil functions, and your roasts can be delightfully browned on the outside and juicy and moist on the inside. This can fit in a 12-inch pizza, or a whole 4.5-pound chicken.
You can also use this to bake breads, rolls, donuts, and pretzels, and the quality is good while the process doesn’t take all that long. The oven is easy to clean, as you can just set it to steam without any food inside. The steam will loosen up any food bits inside and you can just wipe the interior with a cloth.
Just make sure you have enough space around the convection oven. The steam is vented through the rear, while the top of the oven can get hot.
Cuisinart TOB-260N1 Chef's Convection Toaster Oven, Stainless Steel
Hopefully you have the countertop space for this excellent Cuisinart appliance, as it is 22.44 inches long and 18.5 inches wide. It does offer almost a cubic foot in capacity with its 9x13-inch pan. That can accommodate a 13-inch pizza or even a 5-pound chicken. The pan can also fit in a 7-pound turkey breast, 4 pounds of ribs, or 9 slices of bread. You can also use 2 racks simultaneously.
What’s more, you also get up to 15 distinct cooking functions. These include a setting for speed convection so things get cooking even faster. You also have another setting for bagels and sandwiches.
This comes with a large LCD display, and you can just press on the LED buttons to adjust your settings. There’s clear glass on the oven door and an oven light, so you don’t need to keep opening the oven door to check the food. Other features include 4 interior rack positions and a non-stick interior so it’s easy to clean inside.
This is very well-made, and the warranty is for 3 years. Just make sure you have enough space for its size, and you also need a lot of clearance for the vents. You may also want to pay attention to the cooking time, as the timer chime isn’t really very loud.
Cuisinart TOB-195 Exact Heat Toaster Oven Broiler, Stainless
If you don’t need a large convection oven, you can save some money and countertop space with this compact Cuisinart. This offers a 0.6-cubic foot capacity, and that’s good enough to fit in 6 slices of bread at once. Though Cuisinart seems to emphasize its toaster capacity, it’s really a full-fledged convection oven that can also toast bread. It’s that versatile.
This works very well in offering consistent results, as it’s very easy to use. It has shade control with heat sensor, so you can have the temperature precisely maintained. You can use the convection setting, or pick functions such as toast, broil, bake, or cook pizza. Other buttons are for bagels, reheating food, and defrosting.
This comes with electronic touchpad controls, and the display can show a clock and an oven timer. The interior is easy to clean just by wiping it off.
The build quality is also excellent, as it bears the Cuisinart brand. It comes with a 3-year warranty. The durability of this convection oven has been proven over time, as some users have had no complaints even after 6 years of regular use.
You will have to be careful, however, when you use this especially when you have kids in the kitchen. The top of the oven can get really hot. Also, the rack doesn’t slide out automatically when you open the oven door. Read the manual carefully, and the clear instructions should really help you out.
Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven with Element IQ
This is a “mini” oven, so there’s no point harping against it when you want to use it for large meals. The internal cooking area is just 11 by 10 inches with 0.45 cubic foot capacity, so it’s meant for singles and couples only. Still, that’s good enough to fit in 4 slices of 11-inch pizza.
This offers 8 different preset cooking functions, so you do have a lot of options. The 8 functions are bake, broil, roast, cookies, reheat, pizza, bagel, and toast, and they’re all preset with the recommended settings. However, you can adjust this setting as you see fit, depending on the recipe or your personal preferences. The new customized settings will stay in the oven’s memory until you change the setting or you unplug the oven.
The interior also offers 3 rack positions, along with a pullout crumb tray that’s accessible from the front for easier cleaning. The non-stick interior also lets you just wipe things down when you’re done.
The “smart” component of the convection oven refers to its automatic ability to adjust the power of the 4 individual heating elements. The system can monitor the heat throughout the interior, so it can distribute the heat inside where the food needs it most. Unlike other heating elements that you can either just turn on or off, here you can adjust the heating power like you would the dimmer on a light switch.
The oven automatically shuts off when you’re done—there’s no on/off button.
Panasonic PAN-NB-G110PW Flash Xpress Toaster Oven, White
Panasonic isn’t usually a brand you associate with kitchen appliances, but that can change with this toaster convection oven. What sets this apart is its use of the special “FlashXpress” heating technology. It’s not just 40% faster. It really cuts down on the food preparation time because you don’t need to preheat it at all.
Here you have 6 preset modes, which automatically sets the time and temperature need for various food items. The options are frozen pizza, quick reheat for meat, frozen hash brown, toast, frozen waffle, and roll reheat. So whether you’re making pizza or toast or reheating leftovers, you just need to pick the right mode to get perfectly consistent results. There are also 5 shades of browning to choose from. The oven beeps when everything’s done.
If you want to retain manual control, you can do that too. You can choose up to 8 different heat level settings, and then with the digital timer it will cook the food in the amount of time you set it. The controls are easy to use, and you have settings from 250 to 500 degrees F.
The door is conveniently see-through, and you can just touch a button to turn on the interior light to check on the state of the food inside. The accessories include a square inner tray that’s good for 4 slices of bread or 9-inch pizza, a baking tray, and a removable crumb tray.
Hamilton Beach 31104 Countertop Oven with Convection and Rotisserie, Silver
Have you ever complained about how some ovens just don’t have both the convection and rotisserie function? Hamilton has heard you, and what’s more they didn’t pile on the price to make it happen. In fact, this is one of the most affordable convection ovens on this list as you can get it for a 2-digit price tag.
It’s not as if it’s cheap because it’s small either. Actually, this can fit in a 12-inch pizza, and with a double rack design you can put in 2 pizzas at once. You can also out in a couple of cake pans or two casseroles in a 9 by 13-inch tray.
The rotisserie rotates the chicken inside, and it bastes itself while it turns. You also have enough space here to fit a 5-pound chicken.
So why is this so affordable? That’s because Hamilton just didn’t put in any automated features. You have dials instead of buttons, and there’s no LCD screen. You have to set the dials to the right temperature, the right function (there are 4 of them), and the amount of time you want for the timer.
This makes it seem a bit antiquated, though it does offer a certain retro appeal. It works very well, and you don’t have to worry about unpredictable electronic problems. Just keep the kids away from it when you’re using it, and you may want to be careful too. It can get hot around the appliance.
Oster 6-Slice Digital Convection Toaster Oven,TSSTTVMNDG
Oster seems a bit too overly enthusiastic in calling this a “large capacity” oven, especially when it can just fit in a single rack inside. Still, you can put in a 13 by 9-inch pan inside, and that’s a considerable amount of space. With 2 rack positions, you can choose the right level that’s best for your food.
With this you can broil your food at any temperature, ranging from lower temperatures for bruschetta to up to 500 degrees. You can also just simply press a button for a different cooking function, such as warm, defrost, pizza, toast, broil, bake, or convection bake. The timer can also be adjusted very easily.
It’s very easy to use, which is always a relief when some ovens seem terribly complicated. Other buttons include one for start and another for stopping the process. There’s also a button to turn on the interior light so you can check on the food easily. Just press on the touch buttons firmly as they aren’t all that sensitive.
It comes with a removable crumb tray, and the interior doesn’t pose any special difficulty for cleaning. A reliable baking pan also comes with the unit. It’s safe to use as the double walls can prevent burns, though the glass door can get really hot if you’re not careful.
Panasonic NB-G110P Flash Xpress Toaster Oven, Silver
Does a white toaster convection oven feel a bit boring for you? If that’s the case, then perhaps this silver color may be to your liking. Of course, compared to other convection ovens this Panasonic NB-G110P is more special and that’s not because of its looks.
For one, it’s different because of the special “FlashXpress” heating technology. It’s not just 40% faster, which isn’t smoothing you sneeze at. But what will really be a convenient bonus for busy households is that you don’t need to preheat it at all. This really cuts down on the food preparation time.
This gives you 6 preset modes, which automatically sets the time and temperature need for various food items. The presets are frozen pizza, quick reheat for meat, frozen hash brown, toast, frozen waffle, and roll reheat. This offers a lot of versatility, so you can make pizza, toast slices of bread, or even just reheat leftovers. All you need to do is to pick the right mode to get the results you want. You can even pick from 5 shades of browning. When it’s done cooking, you’ll hear to tell you it’s time to eat.
Manual control is also available if you want to set your own settings. You can choose up to 8 different heat level settings. Then you can set the digital timer so it will cook the food in the amount of time you set it. The controls are easy to use, and you have settings from 250 to 500 degrees F.
You don’t have to open the door to check on the food. It’s see-through, and you can just touch a button to turn on the interior light to check on the food inside. The oven comes with accessories such as a square inner tray that’s good for 4 slices of bread or 9-inch pizza, a baking tray, and a removable crumb tray.
Breville BOV650XL the Compact Smart Oven Stainless Steel
How come this is a “compact” model and yet it costs almost $200? The price is easy enough to understand when you realize that it comes with smart technology.
Here you have 8 preset options, and what’s really special here is that these options also control the different heating elements so they can adjust in power properly. These presets include toast, bagel, bake, roast, broil, cookies and reheat. What this means is that you can get consistently ideal results, as the food will undoubtedly cook evenly. The heat adjustments are great.
This also allows you to make your own personal adjustments to the temperature and timer. You can make changes based on what the recipe calls for or on your personal likes. When you do make changes, the oven even remembers these personal preferences so you don’t need to make these changes each time.
Also, despite the “compact designation its capacity is still enough for 0.6 cubic feet. It can fit in 4 pieces of toast, or an entire pizza that measures 12 inches.
Other bonus features include an orange light to indicate that it’s preheating, and a blue light to indicate that the cooking cycle is complete. You have 3 rack positions, a removable crumb tray accessible from the front, a 10 by 10-inch enamel baking pan, an enamel broil rack with similar 10-inch dimensions, and even a temperature conversion button if your recipe uses Celsius.
Oster TSSTTVFDDG Digital French Door Oven, Stainless Steel
This is another pricey model and it even looks elegantly expensive. You’ll notice that right away with the stylish double doors. But then many find the other features worth every penny.
You start off with the uniquely designed double-doors which you can open with a single pull. The touch controls offer buttons for toast, bake, broil, “turbo” convection, pizza, warm, defrost, and dehydrate. You can just press the up and down arrows to set the timer and the temperature. There’s a start button, as well as a separate stop button.
Inside it’s very large, and you can actually fit in a 16-inch pizza. Make that 2 pizzas, since you can use 2 racks at once. The timer can go up to 90 minutes, while it only uses 50% of the energy that you use for regular electric ovens. It also has a “preheat ready” feature so you know when it’s ready to start cooking. The glass doors let you see inside, and there’s an interior light too.
This also comes with a 1-year warranty. That may not be too long, and the customer support is a bit inconsistent.
Why Should You Use a Countertop Convection Oven?
While a convection oven can come in a large built-in unit, for many the countertop convection oven is a much better option. Here are some of the reasons you may want one.
- You can cook food faster. That’s a truly convenient benefit for many modern households where time is a prized commodity. When so many people are so busy that there’s not much time for leisurely food preparation.
- It takes less time to pre-heat the convection oven. This again hurries up the process, so you don’t waste time before you can start cooking your food.
- A smaller convection oven is generally more affordable than their bigger counterparts. Nowadays, budgetary concerns are always important for so many households.
- A countertop models are more compact, so you don’t need as much space to use. This makes it a very convenient appliance for cramped apartments where kitchens don’t have much space.
- Storage is also much easier. You can place it in a cupboard.
- Reheating food can be done as quickly as with a microwave oven. This makes it a very handy appliance for your leftover food.
- You can save on energy. You won’t have to spend too much money added to your electricity cooking with a countertop convection oven.
Guidelines for Using Your Countertop Convection Oven
Like most appliances, countertop convection ovens usually come with a manual specifying how you should use it. Your best bet is to follow these instructions so you can maximize the benefits without any hassle. Here are some other tips:
- Use it for roasted food. The convection oven doesn’t just cook more quickly and more evenly. The drier cooking environment can result in a crispy skin for your meats and the exterior can really caramelize.
- Cook with pastries and pies. The heat produced by the convection oven doesn’t take a lot of time to melt fat and create steam. These benefits result in better lifts in pastries like croissants and in pie dough.
- Use the oven to bake cookies. You can cook more than one tray of cookies at a time, and you won’t even have to rotate the cookies along the way.
- Use it to cook food that’s covered, such as casseroles and braises. The cover helps with moisture loss so you can really reap the benefits of the shorter cooking time.
- Use it to dehydrate or toast your food. It’s just more efficient with a convection oven since the goal is to eliminate the moisture as quickly as you can.
- Don’t use the convection oven on quickbreads, cakes, soufflés, custards, and flans. The blown air can lead to lopsided results.
- Don’t use the convection oven for breads either (though in this case it’s really up to you). The convection oven can dry up the bread interior.
- To follow most recipes, just lower the recipe’s recommended temperature setting by 25 degrees.
- After about ⅔ or ¾ of the recommended cooking time has passed, check on the food. Convection ovens can really cook food more quickly, so checking food earlier can help you make the adjustments you need. You’ll eventually learn to gauge the food by how it looks and smells, rather than how much time has passed.
- Don’t put in too much food in the convection oven. You have to make sure that you have enough space for the air inside to circulate properly. So baking with multiple racks is okay, but wall to wall food should be avoided.
- When you’re roasting veggies and baking cookies, use rimless baking sheets or low sided pans. This allows the heated air to run across the food more efficiently. Your crispy foods will become even crispier.
- Many of these countertop convection ovens aren’t meant for use under a cabinet, because it produces heat. So make sure you have enough clearance around the oven so you can use it properly.
Here are some answers to a few questions you may have:
- Is there a practical difference between a gas and an electric convection oven? The main difference for you is that with a gas oven, you need to make sure that you have an inch of space all around the roasting pans and baking sheets. You don’t need as much space around the baking sheet with an electric convection oven.
- Why should I lower the temperature? After all, I want to cook the food quickly. You still will cook the food quickly, but lowering the temperature is better for the browning process. It becomes more even.
- Do I really need special pans? Not really. Just make sure the pans have lower sides.
- How do I baste my roasts with a candied marinade? Use it only for the last hour of the process. You get a great sear, and you don’t burn the marinade.