Convection ovens are unquestionably the future of baking. The evenness and consistency of the results they produce speak for themselves, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that they can fit on a countertop!
As with any popular new kitchen gadget, though, plenty of convection ovens miss the mark by miles! Since brands are so eager to jump on the band wagon, many crank out models which are designed and built quickly, cheaply, and just plain badly.
We’ve spent some time reviewing all manner of convection ovens. After weeding out the lemons and the let-downs, our team of reviewers came up with a few recommendations for this guide!
Below, we’ll give you the low-down on how to shop for a high-quality convection oven, and we’ll show you all our favorites!
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|Our Rating: 4.6
Best Convection Oven Reviews
- Oster TSSTTVPZDS Convection Oven with Dedicated Pizza Drawer
- KitchenAid KCO273SS 12″ Convection Bake Digital Countertop Oven
- Cuisinart Steam & Convection Oven
- Breville Smart Oven Air
1. Oster TSSTTVPZDS Convection Oven with Dedicated Pizza Drawer
“the most affordable convection oven we recommend”
If you’re on a budget, and can deal with a few limitations, this Oster is the most affordable convection oven we recommend. It’s the cheapest we’ve found that actually works well! We think it’s a good entry point for people who are interested in convection cookery, but don’t have much money to spend on it.
This is a real convection oven, albeit on a small scale. A lot of other cheap countertop appliances use the word convection, but they don’t deserve it! While most of the competition at this price just have a few extra heating elements, the Oster has a true convection fan system.
Unlike anything else this inexpensive, it’s not underpowered! The Oster has 1400W of cooking power under the hood, and while it might not be as speedy to hit temp, it heats up as well as our other picks. It has the same top temperature setting as most of our other recommendations, too: 450 degrees.
It’s fairly versatile, even if it’s a bit limited compared to more expensive models. There are four functions built in: warm, toast, bake, and broil. You can use the convection setting with all of them, and switch the turbo fans on and off as you like.
“gives you all the range you need for the basics”
That gives you all the range you need for the basics, despite the lack of presets. You can go conventional for baking things like muffins, then turn on convection when you want to do something less delicate!
Overall, we’re very impressed with the Oster’s performance–especially when you consider the price. The heating is quite even when you use the convection fans, and it maintains temperature well. There are certainly some limitations as to size, settings, and top temps, but it’s impressive within its range!
This is a compact oven by even countertop standards, but it still makes efficient use of its size. You get nearly the whole footprint to use, with a main baking compartment measuring 16.5”Wx12.5”Dx9.5”H. It’s very easy to fit on a counter, even in smaller living spaces.
“surprisingly convenient to use”
It’s surprisingly convenient to use, for something in the budget range. There aren’t a lot of frills, but there are some neat little design touches. For example, the timer will actually shut the oven off, so you don’t have to worry about burning things by accident. You can set anything up to 60 minutes.
It’s one of very few models with an extra feature that isn’t just a gimmick! The Oster has a separate, dedicated pizza drawer under the main baking compartment. You can use it to make frozen or small homemade pizzas.
The drawer slides in and out using a fold-out handle like a big pizza spatula. It’s not the most rugged thing in the world, but it’s more than serviceable.
All in all, the pizza drawer adds a lot of value. It works for things like quesadilla as well as pizza. Is it essential? No, and most of our more expensive picks don’t have something like this. But when you’re shopping on a budget, it’s nice to feel like you’re getting a lot for your money!
Unlike so many inexpensive appliances (including some from Oster), it looks great! The Oster has a stainless steel housing and glass front door. You could easily mistake it for something much more expensive.
Most importantly of all, it’s a safe long-term investment. Nearly all cheap convection ovens are disposable, but this is covered by a 1-year warranty. It’s got a better reputation for reliability than Oster’s other products, too!
You’re not going to fit a full-size pizza in the drawer. It’s fine for individual pies, up to 12”, as long as they’re not too thick with toppings. Still, that’s not really the point of this: it’s just an extra feature with limitations.
The main drawback with this model is the small size. You wouldn’t be able to fit a full chicken in here, unless it’s cornish hen size (and a small hen at that!). If you can afford something larger, you’ll find that your possibilities open up a lot wider.
It’s good on the convection bake setting, but some of the other functions don’t work very well. The toasting function is particularly hard to get right.
It’s fairly no-frills, as well as being quite small. There’s no light inside, and there are no digital controls. You don’t get any presets, and everything’s manual. Overall, there aren’t as many options as our more expensive picks.
One thing that can limit your versatility is the short timer on this one, though you can also use your phone. It won’t let you know when it’s at temp, though, which we’ve found can be annoying. You have to judge for yourself.
While it’s well-made for its price, it’s not as sturdy as anything else we’ve recommended. It feels a bit chintzy throughout, and despite the fact that it has a good track record, we wouldn’t anticipate this one lasting as long as our other choices.
This one has a good reputation for reliability but that’s not true of some of Oster’s other products. We’ve had bad experiences with their blenders in particular, so we recommend this with a grain of salt.
There’s not as much power behind the elements or fans, compared to our other recommendations. The Oster doesn’t get quite as hot as some of our pricier picks, either. Again, it’s good for the price, but you can get much better models if you’re willing to pay more.
2. KitchenAid KCO273SS 12” Convection Bake Digital Countertop Oven
“our recommendation to the average buyer.”
For about twice the price of the Oster, this KitchenAid oven offers some sizable advantages in convenience, versatility, and roominess.
It’s incredibly popular, and we think it’s a good midsize choice for people who want something better than the budget range, without spending a premium either. This is our recommendation to the average buyer.
It’s a bit roomier than the Oster, while still fitting easily on a countertop. The KitchenAid’s oven compartment is slightly higher, so you can fit a cornish hen or small chicken easily (anything up to 4 pounds). You could also use it for 2 pizzas, as long as they’re not larger than 12”.
The oven compartment measures 12 3/4”W, 7 1/2”H, and 12 1/2”D.
While it’s not wildly bigger, just this much extra space opens up a lot of possibilities. This is the least expensive model which we’d suggest using for whole chickens or for average-sized cakes. It’s certainly a lot less limiting than the Oster!
One of the KitchenAid’s best features isn’t visible from the outside, at least not with the door closed. Everything inside is non-stick, so you can clean it a lot more easily than other models. The non-stick coating isn’t sketchy, either. It’s PTFE/PFOA-free, and we haven’t run into any issues with flakes or scratches.
The KitchenAid is more powerful than the Oster, with 1800W of power under the bonnet. It has the same top temperature setting but it gets there faster. That’s always more convenient!
While it’s impossible to compare them without taking the ovens apart, we’d also say that the KitchenAid’s convection fans are significantly better.
“produces great results with all kinds of baking and cooking tasks.”
As you’d expect, the extra heat power and fan strength give the KitchenAid an edge over the Oster in the performance department. It has very even heat distribution, and the powerful convection produces great results with all kinds of baking and cooking tasks. You’ll get more versatility from the Cuisinart and Breville below, but no measurable improvement in performance!
The KitchenAid’s digital controls give you a lot more precision than the Oster. You’ll get a detailed temperature and time readout whenever you use the oven. The nicest upgrade over something analog is that the oven will tell you when it’s done pre-heating, so you don’t have to guess.
The digital control panel adds a lot of versatility, too. It’s not necessarily that you can make more foods than you could with the Oster, but the KitchenAid’s preset bank makes them a lot less work.
There are 9 pre-programmed options in total:
- Asado roast
- keep warm
Each is preset with temperature levels. The really nifty thing is that the presets will adjust conventional recipe temperatures to convection levels. So, you don’t have to round down by 25 degrees, which is normally what you’d have to do. Both the convection and frozen modes can be turned on or off as needed.
Probably the best feature is the fact that you can modify the presets and save your preferences! So, if you like your pizza particularly crusty, or your cookies chewy, you can tweak the presets and get repeatable results every time.
A longer 120-minute timer gives you some versatility for longer bake times, which can be a pain on the Oster.
Unlike the Oster, which isn’t all that good at toasting, all the functions work well on the KitchenAid.
The fit and finish on this one are comparable to our nicest picks. It looks even better than the Oster, and feels more solid. We think it’s very well-made, and while our review process is too short to tell you much about longevity, most buyer reviews indicate a long working life.
Everything’s covered by a 1-year warranty, and KitchenAid’s hassle-free policy applies. If you’re not familiar with the company, theirs is a rare case of true hassle-free service! They’ll even cover return shipping, and that’s huge these days.
While it’s a lot better than anything else for the price, it doesn’t have a perfect reliability record. We’ve heard of a small percentage of units conking out after 2 years or so, but most people don’t report any issues.
Rather than any design flaw, we’ve found that a small percentage of units are just lemons: some are glitchy, or have issues with the digital controls. Others simply conk out.
Our one word of advice: be careful to buy from a reputable vendor so that you don’t end up with a flawed older unit! Use the links in our review to get the most recent version of this oven from Amazon, which is an authorized reseller.
You can also grab some extra years of warranty service at the checkout, if you want to be protected more. In any case, be sure to test yours thoroughly within your return window!
It’s larger than the Oster, but still won’t fit a full baking sheet or most standard pans (handles are usually the issue).
There’s one annoying design quirk: you have to press start twice, otherwise press it again when the unit has finished preheating. Otherwise, the unit switches off once it reaches temperature. It’s just a matter of getting used to it.
It gets pretty hot, so you have to have 4 inches of clearance around it. That’s true of most countertop ovens, though.
Like the Oster, there’s no light inside.
The KitchenAid is versatile, but there are some downsides to this versus our premium picks. It doesn’t get quite as hot as the Breville, and doesn’t have the Cuisinart’s steam integration.
The Breville is larger, it can slow-cook and proof better, and it adds lots of deluxe and automatic features. If you don’t need those features, stick with this one for half the price!
3. Cuisinart Steam & Convection Oven
“our top recommendation for the bread bakers reading this guide!”
This Cuisinart is in many ways the odd one out in our recommendations. It’s not the absolute best of the bunch, even though it costs more than our Average Buyer pick, the KitchenAid. Put simply, it gives you all the functionality of a combination oven in a countertop package.
The combination of steam and convection is unique and effective, and worth considering if you’re looking at the higher-end options. While we know most people are just looking for straight convection ovens, the Cuisinart is a remarkable little oven which is definitely worth a look.
This one’s our top recommendation for the bread bakers reading this guide! The steam function is a good idea for people who want to bake bread, and we’re sure anyone who will come up with more uses for it.
The Cuisinart’s most distinctive feature isn’t actually convection. It’s the use of steam in addition to convection, which is unique on the market right now. You can select optional steam modes while you bake or broil, and the oven will do it all for you!
“absolutely ideal for folks who bake artisan-style bread”
This is absolutely ideal for folks who bake artisan-style bread at home, using a dish or tray of water in a traditional oven. The Cuisinart doles out steam more steadily than you can in a traditional oven, and the convection fans make sure it doesn’t settle more than it should.
We think this one’s perfect for folks who like their food on the moist side, whether you’re talking bread or roast chicken. You can get a succulent piece of meat without having to work about drying the outside or using lots of oil.
We’ve found that it’s excellent for leftovers as well. It’ll reheat without losing moisture–like a microwave, but more satisfying and it doesn’t make food go strange in the texture department.
The tank will give you up to 120 minutes of constant steam, and the reservoir comes off for easy refills.
Thanks to the steam, we think this is the best convection oven on the market for artisan-style breads and pastries. It’s a great all-purpose oven, but it’s in the baking department that it really excels.
The Cuisinart also has some impressive proofing features, too. There are dedicated settings for that, and steam is used to improve things further. It has stabler low heat settings than anything cheaper, so it’s actually really good for doughs.
It keeps all the key features of the KitchenAid, only it adds steam. You get nearly as much space to work with. The Cuisinart will hold a 4-pound chicken or 12” pizza easily. It also has the same 1800W of heating power, and has the same top temp setting.
The ordinary convection bake/broil/toast features work as well as the KitchenAid’s. You can use this for all the same things, and expect the same quality results from the fans and heating elements. The only noticeable difference is when you use the steam, and there the Cuisinart has the advantage!
There are more uses for the steam integration besides cooking! The Cuisinart can steam-clean itself, similar to the way you can clean the inside of a microwave by boiling off water in a bowl. The inside’s stainless, so you don’t have to worry about any damage or corrosion from the steam exposure.
“the ideal appliance for anyone who has a personal hatred for scrubbing out countertop ovens”
The steam-clean function seems like a gimmick, but only until you try it! After a cycle, everything wipes off easily, and we can’t see ever having to scrub this thing. This is the ideal appliance for anyone who has a personal hatred for scrubbing out countertop ovens (and who can blame you?).
For something with so many features, it’s quite simple to navigate. The Cuisinart has fully digital controls, like the KitchenAid. There are 9 presets, including steam combination modes. You can also make any manual adjustments you want.
One added convenience you don’t get on the KitchenAid: there’s an interior light, which you can switch on and off with a button. That makes it easy to keep an eye on things.
It’s as reliable as the KitchenAid, and definitely one of Cuisinart’s best appliances in the last few years. While the discontinued model had the occasional issue, we haven’t heard any complaints about this one at all! From the feel of the build quality, we think it ought to last for years.
Cuisinart also provide a 3-year warranty right out of the box! Compared to the annoyingly short warranties on most countertop ovens, that’s a welcome change.
It’s actually slightly smaller on the inside than the KitchenAid, despite the fact that it costs more money. There’s less than an inch of difference in any direction, though. You can still fit essentially the same things in it.
Like the KitchenAid and Oster, the Cuisinart can’t fit an entire 9×13 baking dish with handles. It can be tricky to use with a larger chicken, too. Stick to 4 pounds or less, despite the 4.5 pounds advertised capacity!
Aside from the recipes in the booklet, using the steam settings can involve a bit of a learning curve. There aren’t many good recipes for combination ovens like this, so you have to feel things out. It’s worth the effort, though–especially with baked goods!
The Cuisinart has essentially the same presets and settings as the KitchenAid, but there’s a crucial difference in the digital controls: you can’t save your preferred settings.
It costs a good 25% more than the KitchenAid, even though it’s basically the same in size and power. You’re paying for the extra steam feature, and not much else. So, weigh whether the steam is going to make enough of a practical difference for you to justify the cost.
4. Breville Smart Oven Air
“our favorite countertop convection oven–ever.”
Breville’s Smart Oven Air has been out for less than a year, but it’s quickly become our favorite countertop convection oven–ever. Sure, it’s expensive, but it ticks all our boxes for a premium product! It offers a level of versatility and precision that you can’t get on anything else.
We think it’s the ultimate countertop convection oven. In fact, we haven’t seen better performance from any wall model–the only advantage those ovens have is size. The Breville is by far the most versatile and precise appliance in this category and it’s our suggestion to buyers who want the best of the best, regardless of price!
This is ideal for the perfectionist. Of all the countertop convection ovens we’ve reviewed, the Breville has the most presets, modes, and setting options. In all, there are 13 features, as opposed to 9 on the KitchenAid or Cuisinart.
“ideal for the perfectionist.”
They each work quite differently, too, unlike a lot of cheaper countertop convection ovens. While many budget options have many modes without any real differences between them, the Breville offers distinct heat and convection settings that really do stand out from each other.
You can see it in action, since each mode uses the 6 heating elements to cook in different configurations. For instance, the pizza setting uses more heat from below to give you a solid crust, with a lower heat setting on the top, to make sure your cheese doesn’t burn.
There are also two different fan speeds for the convection feature. The modes have either the low or high fan speed preprogrammed for the best performance, so you don’t have to do any manual tinkering. The Breville will roast, air fry, and dehydrate with the top fan speed, while the other modes leave the fans on the normal setting.
The best feature for the ambitious home cook: the Smart Oven Air’s “phase cook” feature lets you use two presets back to back, and you can program the length of each phase. So, for instance, you could bake something for half an hour, then set a broil to finish it off in the last 5 minutes.
“fully adjustable, so you can get as precise as you like with each of your recipes!”
All the presets, modes and features are fully adjustable, so you can get as precise as you like with each of your recipes! You can tweak temperatures, fan speeds, and cook times to your heart’s content. There are on/off buttons for the convection and frozen food settings, too.
The Breville’s versatility is definitely overkill for the average person, but if this is going to be your primary oven, we think it makes it worth the price!
One of the big points that won us over with the Smart Oven Air is the fact that it’s truly capable of replacing several appliances at once:
This is the only one of our recommendations that you can use for air frying. It’s the only convection oven we’ve found that actually does as good a job as a dedicated air fryer! For those who haven’t tried it before, air frying uses high heat and super fast fan speeds to crate crispy outsides on things like fries, chips, etc.
You can use this as a dehydrator, too. This function also uses the super fast fan speeds, but with a low heat setting.
It’ll work to proof dough, like our other picks.
Since it has such precise, consistent heat, even at low levels, it’s actually a practical slow-cooker as well! You can set it to go for as long as 72 hours.
The best use we’ve found for the low heat set
While it’s expensive, the sheer amount of conveniences and automatic features on this one make it feel as premium as it costs: when you open the door in the middle of using the oven, the light will turn on and the timer will pause. Close the door again, and the timer starts/light turns off. It also reminds you to rotate your pans in the middle of a long bake or roast.
It also gives the closest experience to a full-size convection oven that we’ve found in a countertop appliance. Instead of the two or three rack positions you get on most ovens like this, the Breville has 8 different rack positions, so you can find exactly the right setting for your food.
“the closest experience to a full-size convection oven that we’ve found in a countertop appliance.”
And aside from 15 degrees F or so, it’ll get as hot as any full-size convection oven. It goes a full 85 degrees hotter than our other picks, up to 485 degrees F.
So, you don’t have to limit yourself to lower temps the way you do on most countertop models. Digital temperature control gives you the best consistency we’ve seen, at any setting.
It’s also the biggest countertop convection model we’ve come across. The Breville is the only one we’ve reviewed which will fit standard baking dishes easily! 9×13’s are no issue in the oven space, which measures 16”x13 1/2”x7”.
Anything under 16” in width or a cubic foot is fair game. That opens up your possibilities a lot more than other countertop appliances! Even an average turkey will fit.
As you’d hope for the price, the Smart Oven Air demonstrates really great build quality in a sleek design. It’s more like the KitchenAid than the Cuisinart, with a stainless steel housing and nonstick interior.
There are several nice design tweaks which solve problems we’ve run into with other countertop convection ovens:
A special fan cools the electronics, protecting them while you use the oven. You’d be surprised how many of these appliances don’t have that protective feature!
There’s also silicone all around the door, unlike the KitchenAid, for example, which just has a few nubs. Since it’s nicely airtight, the Breville doesn’t heat up your kitchen or lose as much energy as other models.
It’s a lot more reliable than some other Breville appliances we’ve reviewed. The company doesn’t have a great reputation for long-term performance, but we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from folks who have owned their Smart Oven Air’s for a while.
This model also includes a 2-year warranty, while most other Breville’s have just one year of coverage. You can easily extend it with add-on coverage, too–always a good idea with something this expensive. We’re linking to the Amazon listing, where you can tack on a Square Trade policy at the checkout.
While it’s pricey, it comes with lots of accessories:
- 2 oven racks
- pizza pan
- broil rack
- roasting pan
- air fry/dehydration basket
We think the Breville knocks the Cuisinart out of the park when it comes to baking, broiling, roasting, and all the other convection tasks. There’s just one thing it’s missing: there’s no steam function on the Smart Oven Air, for cleaning or cooking.
This is heavy enough and built well enough to mask most of the fan noise, but it’s fairly loud on the super convection settings. We definitely wouldn’t want to hang out in the same room while it’s dehydrating.
It’s the biggest of the bunch, which inevitably means it’ll take more space. Be sure to take a measuring tape into your kitchen before you decide to buy this one!
This is mighty expensive, too. It’s twice the price of our midrange recommendation, and definitely not a casual purchase for most people. Don’t spend this much if you’re not sure you’ll get your money’s worth and use all the features regularly. Most people will be fine with the KitchenAid or Cuisinart. This is for ambitious home cooks who like using countertop convection.
It can take some learning to get the hang of air frying, and there are fewer recipes in the instruction booklet than we’d like. It’s easy to find helpful tutorials on YouTube, though!
Now that we’ve had an in-depth look at a range of countertop convection ovens, which is the best one for you?
The Oster is the obvious choice if you’re on a tight budget. It’s half the price of our next pick, and does a very respectable job with convection tasks on a small scale. You also get some extra value with the pizza drawer. Don’t plan on doing anything big on this, though. You’ll also find that you get a lot more versatility out of something more expensive.
The KitchenAid is our recommendation to the average buyer. It’s a lot more versatile than the Oster, and gives you some more room to work with. Unless you think you’ll get a lot of use out of the Cuisinart’s steam functions or the Breville’s extra features, this is as nice a convection oven as most people need.
The Cuisinart is comparable to the KitchenAid in a lot of ways. It’s pretty much the same size, and it has the same temperature range and basic features. The key difference is that it integrates steam. You should think about whether that justifies the extra cost, and whether that makes this more appealing than the premium (but steam-free) Breville. We recommend this one mainly to bakers, especially people who do a lot of bread.
The Breville is our ultimate pick. It’s for those who want something that can perform like the best full-size convection ovens, only on a smaller scale. It reaches the highest temperatures, accepts the largest trays/dishes, and is by far the most versatile. We think it’s more than worth the high cost if you’ll use it daily and get a lot out of all the adjustments/features. If you’re not sure you will, stick with the KitchenAid or Cuisinart.
As you’ve seen from our reviews and recommendations, there’s a big range of countertop convection ovens on the market these days. This handy buying guide will help you figure out exactly what you’re shopping for, so you can choose the best model for you!
These are the key things to think about as your compare our picks:
How much cooking space do you need in your countertop oven? None of these models will give you as much space as a full-size oven, but there’s still quite a range. Some are smaller than 12” wide, while the largest can accept pans and trays up to 16”.
To figure out how large an oven you need, think about the largest things you’ll cook in it. Do you want to be able to roast a whole chicken? Bake a loaf of bread?
Thinking about your goals up front will help you avoid any disappointment when you actually get to using your new oven.
On the flip side, how much counter space can you give up? How much clearance above your countertop do you have? If you’ve got cabinets over your counters, make sure you take them into account.
Since these appliances can get quite hot when they’re in use, you should plan on leaving about 4” of clearance to either side.
Figure out how large an oven is actually practical for your space!
While most countertop convection ovens will top out around 400 degrees F, some do go higher. Figure out how high you need your appliance to go. Remember that most things should go in a convection oven about 15-25 degrees cooler than a conventional oven, since the heat is so much more efficient.
These are versatile appliances by nature. All of them can be used for baking, roasting, toasting and broiling (with or without convection). Some do more, and some do much more! So, think about which extra features and functions you’d use regularly.
Many models have dedicated modes and settings for things like pizza, or multiple fan speeds you can use for added finesse. Air fry features and steam integration, or settings for proofing and dehydration are available on the nicest models.
While all our recommendations have excellent track records for long-term performance, that’s not true of most of these appliances! There are also older models of some of our picks which are much spottier than the current generation.
So, be sure to use our links to get the latest models from reputable resellers. We’ve also chosen listings where you can easily get extended warranty coverage, since most of these appliances aren’t covered for long out of the box.
Thanks for reading this guide! We hope it’s been helpful, and that you’ve seen at least one or two convection ovens which could suit your needs. If so, the best thing to do is click on the links in our reviews. That’s the easiest way to check current prices and find all the pertinent details.
For more expert reviews and recommendation from our team, check out our homepage! We review all sorts of kitchen products, so let us be your source for guides to the best water filtration, induction cooktops, and more!