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Jan 24, 2010 11:26 AM


Has anyone had any experience with the Breville Smart Toaster/Convection oven? It seems to get favourable reviews. I want to finally ditch the microwave as I only use it rarely for reheating and don't think they are that safe health wise. I have a small kitchen and would love to mount the Breville under the cabinets, but don't think it can be done due to it getting to the oven getting too hot. I'd appreciate any information from other Chowhounders.

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    1. I think it is wise to ask yourself what you'd like to do with the toaster oven. Personally, I use my toaster oven all the time, and I really prefer something small and very simple. I use it to toast sandwiches, bagels, and maybe cook some small single-serving vegetables or potatoes. To me, the Brevilles over-complicate what should be a very simple appliance. For example, I personally see no need for a toaster oven with a 60 minute timer, as anything that I would be cooking for that long would go into the regular oven. In my opinion, convection, digital readouts, etc. are all unnecessary for this sort of appliance. For me, simpler is better.

      1. Our old Black & Decker toaster oven just died (good riddance - never really liked the way it toasted anyway) and I decided it was time to replace it with something seriously high-end.

        I did a lot of research. I wanted something that could do a lot of small baking/roasting/reheating jobs impeccably (we're empty nesters) as well as toast effectively, with convection capability as a plus.

        I finally had it narrowed down to either the top-of-the-line Krups or Cuisinart, but in reading (and reading, and reading) the reviews, each one had some serious drawbacks - like on the Cuisinart, if you set it to bake something for X amount of time, when the timer hits zero it beeps to let you know, but the oven keeps on running until you manually turn it off! Astoundingly bad design choice. And the Krups (German brand with a good reputation, but now made in China) has a somewhat cramped interior and heats unevenly, with reports of a lot of out-of-the-box failures, with lengthy and awkward customer service. And both of them have front panels that get hot enough to give a serious burn.

        Then I stumbled - almost accidentally - across the Breville, a brand I'd never even heard of. And started looking into it. And kept looking. And started smiling. The only negative I found was someone who was upset that you can't bake on foil or use glass pans in it. And I looked further and found that even that is not true - you shouldn't let foil touch the heating elements, or use oven-proof glass at very high heats, but that's true in general, not specific to the Breville.

        So I just ordered one, at a whopping $245 (the best price I could find, on Amazon). Even though the Krups and Cuisinart, with comparable or higher list prices, are discounted widely to $150 - $200, I decided for a long-term purchase the Breville just looks like it offers better value.

        It is due to arrive Wednesday. I'll post back later once I've had some experience with it.

        Oh, and about installing it under cabinets - I would not do this with any toaster oven, they all get hot on the top and/or sides. This one will be sitting on a counter with at least 8" clearance above it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: BobB

          Initial impression is positive. I've only used it for toast, broiling, and reheating so far, but it cooks quickly and evenly and the reheat cycle warmed up a dish of leftover pasta nicely without overheating or scorching the top. The convection fan is audible but quiet, much quieter than the fan in our full-sized oven.

          It looks impressive, though as others have noted the knobs feel flimsy for such an otherwise solid machine. And it definitely has enough interior room to cook a good-sized chicken!

          So far, so good.

          1. re: BobB

            Just found my first quibble: although you can set the Breville to broil at 500°, you can't set it to roast above 450°. I did a couple of racks of lamb in it last night and usually do these at the higher heat to get a good exterior browning while keeping the interior nicely pink. They cooked OK at 450° but not quite as well as I'm used to. I don't understand why 500° roasting isn't an option when the thermostat obviously goes that high.

        2. The Krups top-of-the-line FBC4 toaster oven is very similar to the Breville, on paper at least. I've been using the similar FBC2 for three years now and am very pleased with most of what it does. Toasting bread isn't as even as with a proper toaster, but I don't mind. And for broiling and baking, with or without convection, to feed 1-2 people, it's gotten more use than the full-size gas oven right next to it.

          The Krups ventilates through a row of slits at the front right corner of the top, so it needs clearance there. Not much space behind it where I've put it, but plenty on either side and of course in front. The outside of the oven doesn't get what I'd call really hot, but the users guide advises touching only the knobs and the handle, and wearing oven gloves if necessary.

          The guide is here:

          2 Replies
          1. re: armagnac

            Similar but as best I can tell from the limited information on the Krups spec sheet, slightly smaller, at least in terms of interior height. The Breville has room to convection-roast a 4 - 5 lb chicken. It does not look like the Krups can do that but I couldn't find clear evidence one way or the other. Can you confirm?

            1. re: armagnac

              FWIW, I have the Krups FBC2 and the "Toast" button broke after about 1 year of use. Since then, we've had to use the oven set to 450 to toast, which is seriously annoying (requires several button pushes and settings). I also don't understand why it has to beep several times every time it does anything - I just pushed "off," I KNOW you're turning off, you don't have to give me three high-volume beeps to let me know that you're turning off. (This is important in a house with a small child who might be napping in the next room; I end up avoiding using the toaster during these times because the dang beep is SO LOUD.)

              Otherwise it works pretty well, but for a $200 toaster I expected better. Gonna try the Breville next, since the broken "Toast" button is pretty much a deal-killer.

            2. How do people find cleaning the Breville or the Krupps? I don't own one but from what I've seen of both these ovens in the stores they look like a pain to clean, what with all those elements, rods and covers on the ceiling. How do you get at, in between, and around those things?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Seitan

                On the Breville the sides have a non-stick coating and wipe down easily, and the bottom slides out for cleaning so the lower burners are a non-issue. The top I pretty much ignore and it hasn't been a problem. As I recall I never cleaned the interior top of my last toaster oven the whole time I owned it and that was no problem either. I suspect the proximity of the heating elements keeps the top more or less self-cleaning.