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May 22, 2012 07:30 AM

Countertop ovens: some advice, please!

I have been reading a lot lately about the Breville Smart Oven, approximately $250, shipping included, pizza stone $30 extra, shipping free.

There is also a comparable Waring Quarter size counter top oven, Heavy Duty, commercial, approximately $340 plus shipping. This oven has a stainless steel interior and exterior.

Both have convection, and come with rotisserie attachments. The Breville has a non-stick interior, something that I have no great regard for, but I am no expert about the durability or utility of such interiors for home use versus a stainless steel one. To my inexpert mind, Heavy Duty, from a restaurant supply company, implies a certain guarantee of durability and quality, i.e. fit for extended use in a restaurant situation. I might be mistaken in this assumption.

I should be most grateful to readers who have experience with either or both ovens to guide me in making a decision. Those who have experience in the restaurant industry, in heavy duty ovens, or with the Waring brand, are especially welcome to weigh in with their expertise. Issues of heat output on the countertop, venting and things I have overlooked will be gratefully entertained.

Thank you in advance.

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  1. I have the Breville Smart Oven (800XL if I remember correctly). I have used it a lot as my "only" oven for about 2 years. Steaks, Pizza's, Biscuits, ... it really works well.

    1 Reply
    1. Have a look at the Krups FBC2. Quartz heating, holds a 12 in pizza, convection. Looks good. We have an earlier version going on 3 years and no problems. The kids have a Breville Smart oven for a little over 1 year and no problems. Good luck.

      1. Thank you, friends, for your helpful suggestions. As you know, there are many sites that have scary stories about the Breville Smart Oven, about how it is poorly constructed, and breaks down right after the warranty expires (or even before ) and how service is poor. Apparently, you have not had these bad experiences!

        The Waring quarter size oven receives a vigorous thumbs down as well in Amazon reviews! [1.5 & 8/9 cu.ft sizes].

        There are folks on Chowhound who advise getting the very expensive CADCO, c.$600(!!), quarter size, which is not feasible for me; nor is the comparable STAR brand, professional catering oven,c.$550.

        I have no idea about the quality of the ADCRAFT quarter oven, catering, c.$250, and know nothing about ADCRAFT brand quality in general.

        4 Replies
        1. re: GTM

          Personally, I have never put too much faith in Amazon reviews. I have found some of them based upon a limited timeframe of ownership. Also, there seems to be a mix of old model and new model reviews pushed together (i.e. a model has been out for less than a year yet someone will say they have had theirs for a year or more and no trouble. How is that possible?) I do read them and when people say something died within the first month of ownership, it will raise a red flag. I prefer what I read on this site and on garden web. I also look at the consumer product safety commission website, and look for reviews in Cooks Magazine. Another source of reviews is HSN and QVC, but like Amazon, the reviews are somewhat short on longevity of use. Pretty emotional stuff.

          1. re: dcrb

            Thanks for the heads-up. However, re: Amazon reviews and emotion. let me add this about the single review I have submitted, about a Spanish brand of pressure cooker, stainless steel, 8 quart. I consider myself, along with most Indians, obsessed about pressure cookers. We use them constantly, and have done so since we were children, and employ them for a myriad uses not imagined in this country. In short, we are not afraid of the machines but delight in using them in every possible way every day. To bad-mouth a pressure cooker is tantamount to abusing a mother, an unthinkable act.

            So, the pressure cooker Amazon sold me has to be the most unsafe, most outrageous, horrific and absurd piece of equipment I have ever seen. Not only was it a 10-lb/psi instead of the usual 15lb/psi machine, which means that the quick-cooking, tenderizing power of the PC is essentially lost or brutally attenuated, there is no modality to allow the full pressure to remain on "cook"; e.g. US built Mirro-s often had a pressure gauge that jiggled gently at full pressure, Kuhn Rikon show their pressures on a gauge, Indian models whistle, etc. So, this deserved an emotive condemnation, for money wasted. I did not need to use it for many days to come to this conclusion. The worst piece of cooking equipment along with Steve Raichlen's Beer Can Chicken Roaster [poor design] sold from Amazon.

            1. re: GTM

              Thanks! When I mentioned emotion, I should have qualified it. Words of praise for something only a couple of weeks old. I did say a failure raises a red flag and those I do take seriously. We use the Kuhn Rikon PC regularly and for 30 years or so prior it was strictly Mirro. So, what did you replace yours with? And is it working out?

              1. re: dcrb

                I was very happy with Aluminum Mirro 6 qt, then made a foolish decision, based on the Aluminum scaremongering to move to SS 8qt. The Spanish thing was the horror story. I use it as a soup pot. The Mirros are fine, but their spare parts are quite expensive, gaskets and such, compared to how cheap the originals were! A bit like the Gilette razor deal!

                I would have purchased the excellent Indian stainless steel pressure cookers that are sold here at good prices, and have heavy sandwich bottoms, except for 1 fact: they are designed for the "Indian" way of pressure cooking. I find this concept absurd because it "times" the cooking process by releasing pressure through whistles, which diminishes the energy efficiency of the process. There is no useful way of keeping these machines on the quiet jiggle of the Mirro. The Kuhn Rikon is excellent but overpriced for my wallet.