What to Buy

The Best Countertop Convection Ovens, According to Experts

Toast, roast, bake, broil, and more.

September 12, 2022
Photo by Julia Gartland

A countertop convection oven is a workhouse in the kitchen. It can quickly reheat a cheesy slice of leftover pizza. It can roast potatoes to get them nice and crispy. It can bake ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookies or toast a simple piece of bread to be spread with butter for breakfast.

Convection ovens use a fan to circulate hot air around whatever food is inside. This creates a consistent cooking temperature throughout the whole oven, meaning that your food will heat up evenly. And, because of their size, countertop convection ovens heat up pretty quickly. From toasting to broiling, a countertop convection oven can handle a variety of cooking functions making it a versatile addition to any kitchen appliance collection. While you certainly can live without it, if you have any counter space to spare, a countertop oven will make your life a lot easier.

That’s why we reached out to four countertop convection oven experts to share their favorites. As home cooks, recipe developers, and chefs, these pros know a thing or two about what makes a countertop oven worth it. Below, they share their thoughts.

Photo by Brava

1. Brava Oven, $1,295+

The Brava does not look like your average countertop oven, and that’s because it simply is not. The Brava is a smart oven, with six internal lamps that can get as hot as a pizza oven– and it can do it in seconds. Brava’s interior is split into three zones, each with two lamps, and you can program each zone to be heated at different temperatures. That way, you can make multiple different things in the oven at once. Did we mention how easy it is to use? The intuitive interface makes it easy to set it, and forget it.

“This is truly the iPhone of ovens!” says TV personality and chef George Duran, who also is a Brava brand ambassador. “As a father of two hungry boys, my Brava has transformed how I cook dinner at the speed of light, literally! I choose over thousands of recipe combinations, place the ingredients on the tray and push a button. The Brava does the rest!”

Photo by Julia Gartland

2. Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer, $349.95

With 11 different cooking functions in one appliance, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer can be used for whipping up just about anything from air frying chicken nuggets until they’re crispy to cooking casseroles low and slow. The oven features Breville’s Element IQ System, which uses temperature control to ensure precise, even cooking. The oven comes with some practical accessories like a nonstick pizza pan, roasting pan, airfry basket, wire rack, and broiling rack.

Connecticut-based home cook Jamie Berkowitz swears by the Breville. “We use the counter oven daily, multiple times a day- toast in the morning, a frozen pizza for lunch and air fried anything for dinner,” she shares. “We are lucky that we have a lot of counter space because the thing is big, but absolutely worth the kitchen real estate.”

The Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer also comes highly recommended by baker and Food52 resident Erin McDowell. “It works great as an oven. It’s a very even bake. You can bake cookies, scones, muffins– all sorts of things in this oven,” she shared with Food52. “But, what I love it for is all of the other settings it has.” Her favorite? The proof box setting, which turns your countertop oven into the perfect environment to proof dough and make sure your bread turns out just right.

Photo by Williams Sonoma

3. Wolf Gourmet Countertop Oven Elite, $749.95

Wolf is known for making luxury, high-performance oven ranges, so it should come as no surprise that their countertop option is just as good. This model is the brand’s most advanced countertop oven yet, with everything you’d get from a Wolf oven in a compact, countertop-friendly size. The appliance has seven different cooking modes—toast, bagel, proof, broil, bake, warm, roast—thanks to five heating elements.

TikTok personality and home cook Violet Witchel (also known as @violet.cooks) counts the Wolf as her favorite countertop option. “The Wolf Countertop Oven is a bit more intuitive and better suited to home chefs,” she shares, comparing it to some bigger ranges. “You can control it remotely which is great for if you’re paranoid about leaving the oven on or burning your food. It will cook a chicken or cookies perfectly. The convection is amazing and very even.”


FAQs

What’s The Difference Between A Convection Oven And A Toaster Oven?

You can use a convection oven to make toast, yes, but you can also use it for so much. Making cookies, crisping up a slice of pizza—pretty much anything you’d make in a real oven, you can make in a countertop convection oven. A convection oven has a fan which helps circulate hot air throughout the oven space. This helps the food cook evenly and quicker than conventional ovens too.

A toaster oven, on the other hand, is more akin to a conventional oven. While it’s smaller than a regular oven, it similarly radiates heat from the top and bottom walls of the appliance. Because of this, toaster ovens tend to heat things up a bit slower than a convection oven. The way each oven distributes heat is the main difference between toaster and convection ovens.

If you’re just in need of an appliance to toast, heat, and reheat, a toaster oven should do the trick. They tend to be a bit smaller and cheaper than countertop convection ovens too. But, if you’re looking for something more versatile and have the counter space to spare, a convection oven is well worth the cost. These days, many convection ovens are even equipped with more extensive capabilities like air frying and slow cooking, which can be used for more serious cooking.

What's your favorite way to use your convection oven? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sonomamama
    Sonomamama
  • Critter
    Critter
  • Anny99
    Anny99
  • Drew
    Drew
  • Kim Hanson
    Kim Hanson
Remi Rosmarin

Written by: Remi Rosmarin

Freelance writing about things I eat, wear, and do

8 Comments

Sonomamama September 23, 2022
I am in the market for one now, but none of these feel right for me. I love my food 52 community and so appreciate thoughtful comments. Keep them coming; one of you will know what’s just right!
 
Critter September 22, 2022
I've used the Breville convection/toaster/air fryer, etc for two years. My initial reason to get it was because I don't like reaching down and into an oven to manage hot food, nor did I like getting on my knees to clean the oven. Very happy with Breville model and would get it again. Take the old one up to the cottage. 😉
 
Anny99 September 21, 2022
One thing to think about with these ovens is the nonstick coating that lines the oven box, especially ones with an air fryer option. I get the easy to clean part, but the off-gassing at oven temps in a small, enclosed space with food? No, thanks. I found a Black and Decker countertop oven with a stainless steel interior, but I don’t think it’s made any more. I so wish the manufacturers would think about food safety and avoid weird chemicals.
 
Drew September 20, 2022
I wish countertop oven/air fryer reviews would always specifically cover toasting. In my small kitchen, I can have a basket air fryer and a toaster, or I can have a countertop oven with air fry capability, but not all three. Therefore, if it doesn't toast well to allow me to get rid of the toaster, I'm not interested. Almost all countertop ovens/air fryers will get the job done for those purposes, but finding one that also makes decent toast appears to be a fool's errand - they all seem to only make dried-out bread instead of toast.
 
Kim H. September 19, 2022
I’m disappointed you used a brand ambassador to comment on the Brava oven. I went out to other websites and they actually tested the Brava. I expect more from Food 52. I love you guys, but this is a disappointment.
 
Claire September 19, 2022
Does anyone know how are these ovens compared to the regular built in ones in terms of energy consumption?
 
jt4201 September 17, 2022
Just a note for anyone considering the Breville oven because of the 'proof box' comment. The 11-function version being sold by food52 doesn't include that function, you need the 13-function model (BOV900/950).
 
Smaug September 12, 2022
I've been doing all my baking in a DeLonghi countertop convection oven for a while now, and have been very happy with it. When I was researching these ovens, it seemed like a lot of complaints were about durability; one hopes for the best; they all have heat sensitive electronic controls that are always a worry, and some types of heating element have a tendency to give out, so you never know, but this one has had no problem so far. One caveat, which I would suppose applies to all of these; the small size of the interior puts anything, particularly anything at all thick, close to the heating element, and I've found I often have to cover things with foil for part of the cooking time to avoid over browning tops. The pans that come with the oven are a bit puzzling, as DeLonghi's strong suit is generally design. They are sturdy and well made, but somewhat impractical. For instance, the pizza pan is so deeply embossed that much of the dough is lifted off the pan and won't brown properly.. I prefer perforated oizza pans anyway, and the oven has a little bump out at the back that allows it to fit a 12" pan, so that's OK. The max temp is 450, though, and I've had to adjust my pizza style accordingly.
I have a friend who has been using an old Farberware countertop convection for a long time- several decades- with no problems, and it gets a lot of use, but that was before modern electronic controls.