If you’re cooking for one or space is tight, a benchtop oven may be a useful addition to your kitchen. We tested four compact ovens and two glass convection models.
Snapshot: The Homemaker Convection Oven AOT-F901 has a stated capacity of 12L. How well does it cook toast, pizza and roast chicken?
Snapshot: The Sunbeam NutriOven Convection Oven CO3000 has a stated capacity of 11L. How well does it cook toast, pizza and roast chicken?
Snapshot: The Sunbeam Pizza Bake & Grill BT5350 has a stated capacity of 19L. How well does it cook toast, pizza and roast chicken?
Snapshot: The Russell Hobbs RHTOV20 has a stated capacity of 20L. How well does it cook toast, pizza and roast chicken?
Snapshot: The Breville Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS has a stated capacity of 22L. How well does it cook toast, pizza and roast chicken?
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The compact oven looks like a mini full-sized oven, while the glass convection oven is a large heat-resistant glass bowl with a lid containing the heating element and fan. Both types bake, roast, grill and toast.
The Breville The Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS, Russell Hobbs RHTOV20, Breville The Toast & Roast BOV550 and Sunbeam NutriOven Convection Oven CO3000 did a very good job roasting a whole chicken. The Breville BOV550 has a “rotisserie” accessory for roasting meat.
The Sunbeam Pizza Bake & Grill BT5350 only did an OK job roasting a chicken. We had to increase the cooking time to make sure all parts of the chicken reached a safe temperature of 70°C.
As its name suggests, the Sunbeam Pizza Bake & Grill BT5350 did a good job cooking pizza. Both the glass convection ovens (the Homemaker Convection Oven AOT-F901 and Sunbeam NutriOven Convection Oven CO3000) did a poor job – the pizzas had no crispiness and the toppings were unevenly cooked.
But the two glass convection ovens performed considerably better when we grilled toast, both did a good job with all the bread evenly toasted. The compact models struggled toasting bread evenly. We think you’re better off using a toaster.
The compact ovens were easier to use than the glass convection models. The glass models have a glass bowl, which is heavy and awkward to wash in a domestic sink. It’s difficult to stir food in the glass models because the lid is heavy and gets very hot, although both models come with a lid stand to rest the hot lid.
It also pays to check the oven’s usable capacity. The Breville The Smart Oven Pro BOV845BSS had a stated capacity of 22L and the Russell Hobbs RHTOV20 was 20L, but when we measured them, their capacities were only 13L. Our height measurement is taken between the lowest shelf and the top element, and manufacturers often measure from the roof to the floor of the oven.
Benchtop ovens are small, so they heat up faster and use less energy than a full-sized oven for quick cooking jobs. But in dollar terms, the savings aren't likely to be huge.
For example, using a benchtop oven three times a week for one hour will cost you $17 to $34 a year depending on the model. In our recent test of single built-in ovens, the same amount of cooking sets you back $21 to $45 depending on the oven.
We measured the surface temperature of the external door, handle and controls while operating. There were no problems with the handles and controls – they all stayed cool enough to touch. However, the glass doors on the compact ovens and the glass bowls of the convection ovens can become very hot – between 75°C and 99°C – so be careful.
In previous tests, we’ve found the rear of the ovens was generally the hottest place so it’s important to allow plenty of clearance behind the oven. The top of the oven can also get hot so never place items there.
Check out more of our tests, articles, news and surveys in our Appliances section.
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