Interesting Countertop Convection Ovens of 2021 – A Buyer’s Guide
You may call it a countertop convection oven, countertop convection toaster oven, convection toaster oven, or portable convection oven. Regardless, all you want:
- is a convection oven
- in a portable form factor
- that you can set on your counter
- and would give you similar performance as your traditional full-sized [convection] oven
Seems simple enough—you want the best countertop convection oven currently available. But if you’re here, it probably wasn’t so simple for you to make a decision.
Your needs are different. Models come in various sizes, have varying features, and the price tag range has never been wider. The list of features on product pages and reviews help: but not that much.
Here, we go in-depth about the convection toaster oven. From a comparison chart to concise reviews of the countertop convection toaster ovens, to everything you’d want to know as a buyer before entering the market for a portable convection oven.
- Dimensions (in): W-18.5 x D-15.8 x H-11
- Max Fit: 6 slices, 13” pizza, a whole chicken
- Power: 1800W
- Cooking Presets: toast, bagel, bake, roast, broil, pizza, cookies, reheat, warm, slow cook
- Temperature Range: 120°F to 500 °F
- Number of Rack Slots: 3
- Accessories: baking pan, broil pan, pizza pan
- Warranty: 1 year
The Smart Oven PRO BOV845BSS is the successor to the Smart Oven BOV800XL—the first model of the popular Smart Oven series.
The original Smart Oven took the market by storm with its sleek build, innovative Element IQ technology, excellent performance, and exceptional usability. The Smart Oven PRO is a much-needed refresh with crucial upgrades—interior light, warm and slow cook functions, and a complete brushed stainless steel housing.
The Smart Oven was already the best all-round countertop convection oven in the market, and the Smart Oven PRO BOV845BSS simply took its place and reaffirmed its dominance.
Its design is sharp, refined, and sleek; yet ruggedly built for improved durability. Its 0.8 CFT (cubic feet) volume sits in the Goldilocks zone of portable convection oven sizes. As it can fit as much as SIX (6) toast or bagel slices, a 13” pizza, or a whole chicken.
It blows the competition out of the water with its outstanding performance—toasts are sufficiently and evenly brown on both sides, cupcakes have even yellow shade, and roasts are crispy and succulent. All thanks to, amongst other features, its
- Intelligent Element IQ tech (the ‘Smart’ part of its name isn’t a ruse),
- FIVE (5) heating elements,
- TEN (10) preset cooking functions,
- extensive120°F to 500 °F temperature range, and
- impressive 1800 watts power rating
Using it is effortless. It has a well-designed control panel with a clear, sizeable LCD; an intuitive visual guide for rack positioning; an interior light to check up on the cooking process; an auto-eject feature that pushes the rack out to you after you open the door; a temperature conversion button; and it supports 10-degree increments in temperature. And it has an auto-shutoff feature for safety reasons.
Maintaining it is even easier. As it has a safe, PFOA-free non-stick interior, a front pullout crumb tray (to empty out crumbs), and its accessories have non-stick coating as well.
Talking about accessories, you get a standard wire rack, broil pan (easily the best out-of-the-box broil pan), baking pan, and a pizza pan (exclusive to the high-end Breville Smart Oven models).
With a package this premium, it is no surprise then that the Smart Oven PRO is one of the top-selling and highest-rated convection toaster ovens. It is a well thought out, excellently designed, top-performance portable convection oven worth every cent of its price tag.
- Top-quality stainless steel design and build
- Outstanding performance
- Robust set of functionalities
- Spacious interior
- Intuitive to use and easy to maintain
- Warranty should be longer for the price
2. Oster Extra Large Countertop Oven [TSSTTVDGXL-SHP]
- Dimensions (in): W-21.65 x D-19.2 x H-12.91
- Max Fit: 14 slices, 16” pizza, a whole chicken
- Power: 1500W
- Cooking Presets: toast, bake, broil, convection, pizza, defrost, warm
- Temperature Range: 200°F to 500 °F
- Number of Rack Slots: 2
- Accessories: extra wire rack, baking pan, broil rack | Warranty: 1 year
Some of us may be overly critical of size because of limited counter space. However, others aren’t as mindful, and actually want the largest countertop convection oven available.
If you’re in the latter category, the Oster Extra Large TSSTTVDGXL-SHP checks all the right boxes. Its 1.3 CFT volume is as expansive as it gets for a portable convection oven. And it can fit up to 14 toast slices, two 16” slices (it has two rack slots), a whole chicken, or a 10 to 13 lb turkey.
But its size is not the only thing going for it. It’s got a premium all-round stainless steel build, a microwave-esque touchpad control panel with LCD we’ve come to love for smooth usability, an easy clean steel interior for seamless cleaning, and a decent range of cooking functions (including warm and defrost).
It’d get the job done whether it is toasting or roasting. And impressively, Oster manages to offer all of this with an extra wire rack, standard bake pan, and broil rack at an affordable price point.
- Premium and durable design
- Roomy interior with 1.3 CFT volume
- Satisfactory performance
- Intuitive to use and easy to clean
- Very reasonable price tag
- No interior oven light
- Cord is short
- Dimensions (in): W-19.25 x D-13.5 x H-11
- Max Fit: 6 slices, 12” pizza
- Power: 1500W
- Cooking Presets: toast, bagel, bake, broil, pizza, cookies, potato, frozen snacks (defrost)
- Temperature Range: 200°F to 450 °F
- Number of Rack Slots: 2 (4 hybrid rack positions)
- Accessories: baking pan | Warranty: 2 years
“Low-cost” and “quality” rarely, if ever, go together in the same sentence. But the Black+Decker brand somehow cracked the code. And consistently offer products that both adjectives loosely apply to.
The CTO6335S is one of its finest examples. And you don’t have to look hard to see why. It has the same quality stainless steel build, digital control panel, nonstick interior, and a decent range of cooking preset as convection toaster ovens that cost twice or triple as much.
Its counter footprint is small; its compact size means you don’t need much space for it. Performance is decent with its standard 120-minute timer and you can use its dual-level, reversible oven rack with its two rack slots to place your food in any of FOUR (4) rack positions.
It is a sub-$100 countertop convection oven after all; therefore, you’d have to temper your expectations. Still, there’s no denying that the Black+Decker CTO6335S is an impressive bang for buck portable convection oven. You even get TWO (2) years warranty.
- Dimensions (in): W-20 x D-15 x H-11
- Max Fit: 6 slices, 12” pizza, a whole chicken
- Power: 1800W
- Cooking Presets: toast, bake, broil, warm, steam, bake steam, broil steam, super steam, bread
- Temperature Range: 100°F to 500 °F
- Number of Rack Slots: 4
- Accessories: baking pan, broil/steam rack, drip tray | Warranty: 3 years
Steam oven technology is expensive. And if you’ve been intrigued by the many benefits of steaming and combi-steaming (steaming and convection), the CSO-300N1 is your chance to get an exclusive, high-end technology at a reasonable price.
The CSO-300N1 is the only countertop convection steam oven on the market. If you’re going to pay top dollar for a countertop convection oven, why not spend roughly the same amount (and we mean this literally) for a convection oven with steam cooking functions.
Granted, it may not be as large as comparatively priced convection-only toaster ovens (because it has to make room for a water reservoir), nor is its presets as expansive.
But it’s the only convection toaster oven in which you can:
- cook rice or steam vegetable
- rehydrate leftovers to bring them to just-made freshness
- proof and bake foods to have golden crusts and moist, juicy interiors without drying them out
It also offers all of the premium features, outstanding performance, and excellent usability we’ve come to expect from high-end portable convection ovens. It is easy to maintain and its THREE (3) years warranty wraps up an exciting package.
- High-end stainless steel build
- Exclusive combi steam technology
- Unrivalled performance
- Intuitive to use and maintain
- THREE years warranty
- Cuisinart could have included more presets
- Requires extra care (as all steam ovens do)
- Dimensions (in): W-19 x D-15 x H-13
- Max Fit: 6 slices, 12” pizza, a whole chicken
- Power: 1800W
- Cooking Presets: toast, bagel, bake, roast, broil, pizza, leftovers (reheat), keep warm, defrost, convection, rotisserie (chicken, duck, meat, custom presets)
- Temperature Range: 150°F to 500°F
- Number of Rack Slots: 4
- Accessories: baking pan, broil rack, rotisserie accessories
- Warranty: 3 years
All countertop convection ovens on this list will roast chicken satisfactorily. But nothing beats rotisserie chicken. Not even a tender combi-steamed chicken from a CSO-300N1.
Interestingly, the TOB-200N is as much a countertop convection oven as its competitors. It has all the premium functionalities, performance, and ease of use to boot. However, the rotisserie is its distinct feature.
In fact, it is a very much slightly less beefed-up version of the flagship Cuisinart Chef’s TOB-260N1. Since Cuisinart removed some features on the TOB-260N1, such as dual cook, +30 seconds, and pizza stone accessory, to make way for the Rotisserie feature.
However, whether you’re toasting, reheating leftovers, or using the rotisserie feature, you get exceptional performance every time. As it uses the same excellent Exact Heat and Always Even Toast Shade Control technologies, has the same 1800W power rating, same FOUR (4) rack slots, and same extensive 150°F to 500°F temperature range amongst other features.
Usage and maintenance is a breeze with its Cuisinart’s signature minimalist control panel, TWO (2) hours timer, BPA-/PTFE (Teflon)-free nonstick interior coating, and auto slide-out feature. And it has Cuisinart’s laudable THREE (3) years warranty.
- Premium stainless steel design and build
- Superb performance
- Versatile countertop rotisserie convection oven
- Pricing is competitive
- THREE (3) years warranty
- No interior light
Countertop Convection Toaster Oven Buyer’s Guide
What is a Countertop Convection Oven?
A countertop convection oven is a type of toaster oven with a convection feature. Toaster ovens are by nature portable or countertop ovens. And because of the popularity of the convection feature, most high-end toaster ovens (priced above $100) have convection as a standard feature.
How does it work?
There are three types of heat transfer—conduction, convection, and radiation.
In general, heat from the elements in a countertop convection oven get to the food through all three heat transfer modes. However, when the convection feature is enabled, a fan and exhaust system situated at the back or side of the oven comes on to circulate hot air. This enables faster and more even heat transfer mainly by convection.
In most portable convection ovens, you’d be able to turn off the fan. As convection is not always desirable. In low-end countertop convection ovens, however, the convection feature may be tied to a specific function (usually the bake function).
Thus, a portable convection oven will have all of the features of a regular toaster oven, but with a fan for convection cooking.
Who is it for?
Most families and individuals would find the countertop convection oven to be incredibly useful.
It can be inconvenient and inefficient to heat up your main, traditional oven for every cooking task that requires an oven. Many times, say when you just want to reheat leftovers, you’d need a portable oven that offers comparable performance.
The keyword is performance, as microwaves may be fast but with results that don’t measure up to what you’d get from even a standard, run-off-the-mill convection toaster oven.
Furthermore, there may be times, say during the holidays, get-togethers, or celebrations, when a convection toaster oven will come in handy.
That said, the countertop convection oven would be almost indispensable for individuals in a small living space without a traditional oven, such as vacation cabins, dorms, mini-flats, RVs, or trailers.
At this point, you already know there are plenty of synonyms for countertop convection ovens. Manufacturers sometimes muddle it up as well. The model name of the Black+Decker TO4313SSD is the rotisserie convection countertop toaster oven (note ‘convection’ coming before ‘countertop’).
Which is why you shouldn’t lose sleep about the naming scheme. If it is a toaster oven, it is a countertop oven. If it is a toaster oven and it has a fan, it is a countertop convection oven (or any of a dozen other synonyms formed from varying arrangements of the words ‘countertop or portable,’ ‘convection,’ ‘toaster,’ and ‘oven’).
Benefits and Advantages of a Countertop Convection Toaster Oven
- Faster cooking. Convection can raise temperature by up to 30% and cut cooking time by up to 25%.
- More even cooking. The even distribution of hot air eliminates the presence of hot spots typically located around a heating element.
Hot spots are responsible for uneven cooking (some areas will overcook, while other not as much, and other areas somewhere in between). The elimination of hot spots is partly responsible for better browning.
- Faster preheating. Traditional and toaster ovens typically require a set number of minutes for the oven to heat up. Convection mode can rapidly reduce this preheating time, partly thanks to the smaller form factor. This helps save energy.
- Convenient to use. Countertop convection ovens sit on your counter ready to serve you at a moment’s notice. They are incredibly easy to use, especially the digital models, and are a cinch to maintain.
You wouldn’t always have to bend down to get things in and out of your oven when it is so easily accessible on the counter.
And if you ever need more oven real estate, you’d be able to save time by using it simultaneously with your traditional oven.
- Versatile. Manufacturers didn’t seem content with making a countertop convection oven, a fancy oversized toaster oven with a fan.
Today, the more advanced portable convection ovens have several other functions baked in, from rotisserie to steam cleaning to proofing to even a dehydrator. And that’s besides their excellent ability to bake, roast, broil, warm as well as regular convection ovens.
The best countertop convection ovens currently would give traditional ovens a run for their money. Resigning them to only occasional uses when their larger size is needed. For most everyday cooking tasks, a premium convection toaster oven is often sufficient.
- Lower heat output. Firing up your main oven will increase the indoor temperature of your kitchen by a few degrees; making the kitchen hot. During the summer, that increase can tip the balance to make using it uncomfortable.
Portable convection ovens do not have this downside since their heat output is less.
- Tastier food. Microwaves may have shortly won the hearts of American households with its speed, but toaster ovens are making a comeback. And a big reason why is its unarguably better performance in terms of food result.
Everything from baked cookies to reheated leftovers taste better if they are done in a toaster oven than in a microwave.
Factors to Consider When Buying A Convection Toaster Oven
In no particular order, the two things to contemplate when figuring out what size of convection toaster oven you should get are:
- How much counter space is available for a new portable convection oven, and
- The oven capacity you need
If you don’t have much space (and can’t make out more space) your choice of oven capacity is made for you—a capacity closely matching the dimensions of available counter space.
However, if counter space isn’t a top concern for you, then you’d have to decide on capacity. Two ways to estimate the capacity you’d need are maximum fit and cubic foot measurement.
- Maximum fit. You’d have to decide if you need a 4-slice, 6-slice, or up to 14-slice toaster oven. Many models now have more than one rack slot, so you may be able to have more slices toasted at one time by using two racks simultaneously.
You should also consider the pizza fit. Two 6-slice toaster ovens may have different pizza fit—one may fit 12” or 13”. The extra one inch is important.
- Cubic foot measurement. This is a more systematic method to estimate capacity. The sizes of toaster ovens are mini (0.45 CFT), compact (0.6 CFT), standard (0.8 CFT), or large (above 1.0 CFT).
Aesthetics may not influence performance, but it can make or mar a purchase. You want a convection toaster oven that complements rather than detract from your kitchen aesthetics. And just as importantly, have a durable build.
Premium portable convection ovens have complete stainless steel build. But if you’re looking to save some cash (and do without some high-end features), you may go for those with little or no stainless steel.
A few other factors to pay attention to include:
- build quality of the control panel
- if the handle is padded
- build quality of the accessories
First, you want to note the wattage. Decent performing convection toaster ovens are rated 1300-1500 watts. The big guns hit 1800W and may require you to have a dedicated circuit. So keep that in mind.
But the power rating isn’t all you should check out. Note the number of elements (it’s usually 4, but the high-end models have up to 6).
All of it isn’t going to mean much if the temperature range is not extensive. Therefore, make sure the range covers all the cooking you’d be doing. For example, if you’d be doing some broiling, you want the range to hit 500°F.
These are the programmed presets to guide your cooking. They’re helpful. The usual in all countertop convection ovens are toast, bake, broil, roast, and convection.
In high-end premium ovens, there are a lot more, including bagel, pizzas, cookies, reheat or keep warm, and even defrost. They can also cut your cooking time by making the cooking process seamless.
The Breville Smart Oven PRO, for example, allows you to select the number of slices you intend to toast, the toast shade you prefer, and it’ll suggest the ideal temperature and time for exceptional results. And in the background, it’d use its innovative Element IQ technology to fire up specific heating elements for set periods of time.
Make sure the portable convection oven you’re interested in has the preset functions you want. And if you’re paying top dollar, it should have a convection function that you can toggle on or off.
Controls and usability
The things to look out for include:
- interior light
- backlit LCD
- type of control panel; is it knob-style or microwave-style touchpad. The one you go for is entirely up to you as it’s a subjective choice.
- number of rack slots or positions; the more the better
- does it have an auto-extending interior rack; not a big deal really, but it’s a nifty feature you wouldn’t mind having
The standard timer for most decent ovens maxes out at 120 minutes (two hours). Some go as low as 60 minutes though. While some like the ultra-premium Breville Smart Oven AIR has a slow cook function that can keep going for up to 72 hours (3 days).
Typically, if you’d be using the oven for more than two hours at a time, you’d have to be on hand to reset the timer after the first two hours is up. Some convection toaster ovens get around this by providing a “stay on” feature that suspends the timer. It can be useful, but equally dangerous. It is recommended you use the stay on feature while you’re in kitchen monitoring progress.
Furthermore, you want to check out the toast shade selector. Some allow you to choose between up to 7 shades (from very light to very dark). Some only provide a limited choice of as little as 2 shades. You also do not want selecting a shade be an art or rocket science.
The principal safety features to confirm are
- auto shut-off; to turn off the toaster oven after a specific period of inactivity
- audible alert; to let you know when your food is ready
- cool-to-touch handle.
That said, you should know that all countertop convection ovens get hot when in operation. Some don’t get as hot as others, and some models exploit this by making the top a plate warmer.
Bottom line: Avoid contact with the exterior while the oven is working. An important thing to note if you’ve got kids around. Also, allow the interior to cool before cleaning to avoid burns.
Non-stick interiors are easy to clean. Most current models use Teflon-free coating, which is safer. You may also want the accessories to be non-stick or at least be made with easy-to-clean steel.
Just what do you get when you buy a countertop convection oven? Well, it’s a standard to have a wire rack, a broil rack, and a baking pan.
The high-end models may have extra accessories to spice their offerings, such as a broil pan (instead of a broil rack), an extra oven rack, and/or a pizza stone or pan. You should be able to get well-sized additional accessories for cheap if you get a relatively inexpensive model with said accessories.
If the oven has extra features such as steam or rotisserie, you’ll get commensurate accessories out of the box.
Here’s where you go to town on fancy or really useful features you’d like to have. Do you want a smart oven that’s a pleasure to use? Are you up for a rotisserie convection oven? How about a slow cook, air fry, or even microwave feature?
The standard (average) warranty in the industry is 1 year. But some brands like Black+Decker offer up to 2 years, and Cuisinart takes the spot for the longest warranty of up to 3 years.
Your budget should depend on the capabilities you want in a countertop convection oven. If you want the barest of features and decent performance, you can stay under $100.
If you want the best with an exceptional array of functionalities and excellent performance, you’d be looking at above $200. With convection toaster ovens, you do get what you pay for.
Choosing Countertop Convection Oven
Yea, at first it may seem like a hassle to compile the features you need in a portable convection oven. But it’s well worth it.
For most people, the Breville Smart Oven PRO BOV845BSS is the countertop convection oven to beat. In fact, the Smart Oven series has a cult-like following. Over the years, and thanks to declining cost of production, Breville has shaved a couple tens off the price, making it even more of a bargain.
However, if the price is steep for you, the Black+Decker Convection Toaster Oven CTO6335S doesn’t disappoint.