Temperature calibration is near perfect
Nine preset functions
Center rack pulls out automatically
Comes with broil rack, baking pan, and pizza pan
Can handle a standard 12-inch pizza
Only one wire cooking rack
Needs circulation space on both sides
"Smart” functionality is limited
The Breville Smart Oven straddles the line between a toaster oven and countertop convection oven, so we tested it for both applications. We made toast in various quantities and prepared bagels every morning for breakfast. With the basics out of the way, we moved on to baking brownies, cookies, cakes, and even a few casseroles. We tried out frozen pizza and from-scratch pizzas. We used the re-heat function for all of our leftovers and scoured our local grocer for ready-made pot pies, canned biscuits, and apple turnovers. We baked chicken breasts and even broiled a steak. Then, we decided to give it the ultimate baking test: a dozen dinner rolls followed by a loaf of bread. Basically, we let the oven feed us day in and out for a week, using it to prepare everything except coffee and salad. Keep reading to see if the Breville Smart Oven is the appliance your kitchen is missing.
Design: Sleek and modern
At first glance, the oven seemed smaller than its description led us to believe, and we were honestly skeptical that a standard 12-inch pizza would fit, despite the fact that it comes with a pizza pan. Alas, the pan slid into the 18.5 x 15.7 x 11-inch oven with room to spare.
The Smart Oven’s brushed stainless steel exterior looks attractive, and while the 22-pound appliance isn’t small, the low profile makes it look sleek and less bulky. It fit neatly under our upper kitchen cabinets, but we pulled it forward while cooking so the sides had room to vent. Breville notes that the oven needs at least 4 inches of free space on both sides—so keep that in mind before placing it.
The crumb tray, which covers the entire bottom of the oven, pulls out easily from the front of the unit. We’ll be honest—when we first looked at the crumb tray, we couldn’t figure out how to use it since it integrates so well with the look of the oven.
The oven has three rack positions and labels on the glass remind users what each position is for. The top is meant for broiling; the center is for toast, cookies, bagels, and pizza; and the bottom is for baking, roasting, reheating, and warming. At first, we were a little disappointed that this oven comes with just one wire rack (a nonstick pizza pan, nonstick broiler rack, and baking pan are also included), but since this oven isn’t very tall, cooking on two racks would have given us uneven cooking.
Features: It does everything—and it does it well
Anyone who’s used a Breville appliance will be familiar with the way the controls work. When any dial or button is used, the small screen lights up, displaying the cooking options. A function dial, temperature/darkness dial, and time/pizza size/slice count dial let us set up the oven easily.
The function dial is used to cycle through the Smart Oven’s nine preset functions: toast, bagel, bake, roast, broil, pizza, cookies, reheat, and warm. Small buttons toggle the convection option and frozen food options, and another button let us switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius. While it’s unlikely we’ll be using the Celsius option often, it could come in handy if we were to use a British recipe. The final button starts or cancels the cooking process.
.There was one smart feature we particularly liked: being able to alter the presets and then save our own
Most of the presets were spot-on—especially for things like bagels and toast. If preheating is needed, the oven beeps when it reaches its intended temperature, and the timer starts counting down. Because this oven is small, it takes much less time to preheat than a standard oven.
As far as ‘smart’ features go, there aren’t a ton to speak of; the designation seems to apply more to Breville’s advanced design. That said, there was one smart feature we particularly liked: being able to alter the presets and then save our own. The oven comes with a cookie setting, but our preferred recipe called for a different cooking time and temperature, so we changed the defaults and then saved our new setting so we could automatically use it again on our second batch. Reverting the setting is easy, as well; if you decide you want to go back to the original defaults you can unplug and replug the machine.
Performance: It’s a beast
Breville has a reputation for making quality appliances, so we had high expectations for the Smart Oven. Lucky for us, it performed even better than we’d hoped. What surprised us most was how well-calibrated the temperature was. After using the oven to bake a variety of premade products (using the manufacturer’s suggested time and temperature), every one of them was done on time.
We had the same result when we used reliable, from-scratch recipes, too. Our baked goods, casseroles, and roasted foods finished in the expected time. And cookies—which can overbake in the blink of an eye due to their high sugar content and short cooking time—were another success.
Breville has a reputation for making quality appliances, so we had high expectations for the Smart Oven. Lucky for us, it performed even better than we’d hoped.
Our cookie recipe called for nine to 11 minutes at 375 degrees. At the nine-minute mark, we had golden brown cookies with a soft center; perfect for people who like their cookies a little chewy. At 11 minutes, they were fully cooked and a darker brown, but not at all burned. Next up, we tried a casserole, baking it for an hour at 325 degrees. When the timer sounded, it was bubbly all the way through and had a perfectly a golden top, as expected.
When it came to store-bought frozen pizzas and homemade pizzas, we got a nicely browned bottom and bubbly melted cheese on top. The secret here was that we didn’t have to guess what time or temperature to use. When you use the Smart Oven’s pizza setting, it will ask you how large the pizza is (much like the toast setting asks how many slices you’re making), then it will adjust your cooking time. After a few perfect pizzas, we were so confident in the oven’s abilities that we stopped reading the baking instructions and just let the Breville do its job. Pot pies emerged with a proper golden crust as did our homemade cherry pie with a lattice crust. We also baked store-bought refrigerated biscuits and cinnamon rolls that came in a tube and they came out as expected—nicely browned on top and bottom.
Our package of apple turnovers warned that they shouldn’t be baked in a toaster oven, but we ignored that to see how the Smart Oven would do. The instructions were to preheat the oven to 475 degrees, then immediately turn the temperature down to 400 degrees at the start of baking. The Breville’s temperature topped out at 450 degrees (it has a range of 120 to 450 degrees), so we used that for preheating. With all of our other successes, we weren’t surprised when the turnovers came out impressively puffed and browned.
Pot pies emerged with a proper golden crust as did our homemade cherry pie with a lattice crust.
Since the oven was performing so flawlessly, we whipped up a batch of dough and made a dozen dinner rolls using our own quarter-sheet pan. They were just as good as those we normally bake in our large oven. Next up was a loaf of homemade bread. One concern was the height of the bread in the oven, but with the rack on the bottom level and the bread made in an oval shape on a quarter-sheet pan, it fit perfectly and baked to a lovely golden brown. Bread in a loaf pan also fit, but as it rose rather enthusiastically, it got perilously close to the top heating elements.
Throwing caution to the wind, we decided to broil a steak. While the steak was fine, we also learned that our smoke detector was working. It’s good to know the oven can broil a steak, but if you do so, we’d recommend placing the oven near your stove with the vent on. We’re pretty sure we’ll save the broiler function for less intense cooking, like the shrimp we broiled on another day.
Cleaning: Easy enough
Cleaning this oven was relatively simple, as the crumb tray catches most crumbs and spills. Even when we cooked a steak that spattered the top and sides of the oven, it was easy enough to wipe the mess clean with a sponge. The oven shouldn’t be scrubbed with abrasives or harsh chemicals, and care should be taken when cleaning the heating elements.
Price: Expensive for a toaster but cheap for an oven
There’s no doubt about it, at $300, this isn’t a cheap purchase. If you’re looking for something to make occasional toast, it’s certainly overkill. But if you’re looking for an appliance that can function just like your home oven, it’s worth the cost. While the Thanksgiving turkey won’t fit, the pumpkin pie definitely will.
Breville Smart Oven vs. Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Air Fryer
The Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Air Fryer caught our attention for a few reasons: Cuisinart has a reputation for quality products; it offers air fryer capability; and it costs less than the Breville at $200. The Cuisinart is taller and skinnier than the Breville but it still has room for six slices of bread, 3 pounds of chicken wings, or a 12-inch pizza. It also has seven preset functions: air fry, convection bake, convection broil, bake, broil, warm, and toast.
Two oven mitts up.
We have to be honest, we fell in love with this oven from the first pizza. After using it to make bread, steak, casserole, turnovers, and more, we were amazed with its prowess. While it does get warm, it doesn’t heat up the kitchen the way our large oven does, and it also preheats much faster, so a cookie craving can be satisfied in a cinch.
- Product Name The Smart Oven
- Product Brand Breville
- MPN BOV800XL
- Price $299.95
- Weight 22.5 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 18.5 x 15.7 x 11 in.
- Construction Materials Brushed stainless steel
- Preset Functions Toast, bagel, bake, roast, broil, pizza, cookies, reheat, warm
- Capacity 6-slices of bread or 13-in pizza
- Warranty 1-year limited
- What’s Included This includes a 12-inch pizza pan and a small baking pan with broiler rack.