As a Professional Chef and also a home cooking enthusiast, I have been enamored with the Breville line of cooking appliances for a very long time. Breville is well known both in professional circles and also among consumers as a consistent producer of incredibly high-quality cooking equipment. From mixers to ovens and beyond, if it comes with the Breville brand name, it is sure to be an awesome appliance.
Beyond just being a fan of Breville’s products, their line of countertop convection ovens has long been a bucket list purchase of mine. A very good friend and industry peer has a Breville Smart Oven on his countertop, and I have long joked that he shouldn’t leave me in the same room with it unattended or it might grow legs and head home with me. I’m obviously kidding, and I’m sure the joke has long lost its shine, but the fact remains, I am very envious of that oven.
So, when I had the chance to take a long look at Breville’s new Smart Oven Air, I was beside myself at my good fortune. Not only does the Breville Smart Oven Air function as a top of the line air fryer, but it is also a versatile convection oven and multi-purpose cooking tool. It can make yogurt, bake bread or cakes, air fry, dehydrate, and warm. At no point in my testing did I ever worry about running out of different things to cook with this appliance. Needless to say, I was excited.
The purpose of this review is to take a look at how the Smart Oven Air compares to other air fryers in its category and price range. By testing a multitude of features and recipes, I was able to take a deep dive into this oven’s performance, not just as an air fryer, but also as an all-purpose kitchen appliance.
Even though I took a very deep dive into the features of this oven, there was still a ton I didn’t have time to get into testing. The dehydrate function for example is something I am looking forward to spending a lot more time diving into. With the push of a button, you can dehydrate a wide range of healthy snack choices from apple/banana chips to fruit leather or beef jerky!
I also didn’t have a chance to get into many of the baking functions. Out of the box, this oven can reheat pizza or bake incredible pizza from scratch. It has a high powered fan and 6 independent quartz heating elements that provide a ton of heat to make delicious pizza or bread. This heating technology is proprietary to Breville and is called its “element IQ” technology.
If you are looking for the Tl;Dr version of this review, I can say without reservation that the Breville Smart Oven Air is an incredible appliance that is absolutely worth the investment. If you are in the market for a high-powered, oven and air fryer appliance that can do almost anything you could imagine using it for, then this is definitely the air fryer for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s in the Box?
- 2 How Does the Breville Smart Oven Air Look/Feel/Sit?
- 3 How Easy is it to Set Up?
- 4 Cooking Fries
- 5 Cooking a Roast Chicken
- 6 Cooking Rib Eye Steaks
- 7 How Easy Is It To Clean?
- 8 How Would I Improve the Breville Smart Oven Air?
- 9 What’s the Warranty?
- 10 Verdict
- 11 How does it Compare?
What’s in the Box?
As a full-function convection oven and muli-cooker, the Breville Smart Oven Air comes along with an array of racks and tools to help make your every culinary dream come true. In the box you’ll find:
- The Breville Smart Oven Air
- 2 wire oven racks
- 1 air fryer basket
- 1 nonstick pizza tray
- 1 enamel roasting rack
- 1 crumb tray
- A full users manual
Breville does offer a few accessories that aren’t included with the Smart Oven Air, these include:
- bamboo cutting board
- pizza crisper pan
- pizza stone
While none of these additional accessories are integral to the operation of the oven, they do help expand its capabilities and I am incredibly interested to see what I could do with the pizza stone.
How Does the Breville Smart Oven Air Look/Feel/Sit?
The Breville Smart Oven Air looks like a tricked out toaster oven. It has a front-loading oven style door, an elegant digital display with two large control knobs and two smaller knobs. The interface is inviting and straightforward to operate.
It has a muted, stainless steel finish and is of sturdy construction. The box it came in was quite heavy and difficult to maneuver. This was primarily because of the wealth of accessories included with the oven, once it was unpacked it was easy to handle. It is heavier than some other countertop, toaster oven style units I’ve tested, and felt like it was made of high-quality components.
All the buttons had satisfying clicks and the control knobs spun easily, with a tight fit and finish. One feature I absolutely love about this oven is the “auto-eject rack”. When the oven rack is set to the air fry height it will automatically eject part way when you open the door thanks to magnets in the door housing.
As I inspected the oven I was continually impressed by the small touches that made it easy to set up and operate. For instance, there is a small illustration along the left side of the door that explains which oven rack position is best suited to each cooking method. The placement of the vent along the side rather than the back made it easy to keep it snug to the wall, which is great when you have limited counter space.
One other touch that really stood out was the backlit digital display screen. It would move between colors depending on the oven’s status. When the oven is off, the backlight is a cool blue color, when it is in operation it is a warm orange hue. With one simple design element, Breville has made it incredibly easy to see if the oven is in operation even from across the room.
How Easy is it to Set Up?
Unpacking the oven took longer than I was used to. Because of the wealth of accessories included with the oven, there was a lot to remove before could get the actual oven unit out of the box. Once I got it unwrapped and placed on my counter it was pretty much ready to go.
The oven racks were self-explanatory and I loved that the air fry basket acts as its own oven rack, allowing it to hold even more food. It took me a moment to realize what the crumb collector was, but once I noticed the opening at the bottom of the oven, it clicked and I slid it in with ease. All the pieces felt well constructed, I didn’t struggle to insert any of the racks and they all felt secure when seated. Overall this oven is a really well-constructed appliance.
I took a look a the manual which included a “Before First Use” portion and I followed those instructions to the letter. I first washed the grates and crumb collector with warm soapy water. Then I rinsed the inside of the oven with a damp cloth. Finally, I set the oven to the “Pizza” setting and let it run for its preset 20-minute cycle. At that point, the oven was ready to use.
All told, it took me around 30 minutes to get the oven unpacked and ready to cook.
Cooking frozen french fries (even hand-cut sweet potato fries) with this oven felt almost comical. Given its range of cooking modes and possibilities, something as every day as a frozen fry just felt out of place. Luckily, not everything you cook needs to be earth-shattering, and frozen french fries are a great litmus test for air fryers or countertop convection ovens.
We all for the most part have sense memories of eating oven-baked, frozen french fries. Whether at school, or home, you’ve most likely eaten a frozen, oven-baked fry. Alternatively, we all know what a frozen fry, cooked in a deep fryer tastes like because, for the most part, all the fries we eat are prepared in this way.
If you’ve ever eaten a fast-food french fry then you have eaten a frozen, deep-fried, fry. This shared experience gives us the ability to gauge how well an air fryer can recreate a deep-fried product without the oil, and fries are definitely the most commonly eaten deep-fried food.
To begin, I loaded a small layer of frozen, crinkle-cut fries into the Breville Smart Oven Air and set the digital display to air fry. I set the timer to 15 minutes and set the temperature to 375°F.
Normally I would open the oven to shake the fries to ensure even cooking, but because of the oven’s dual heat sources and completely open fry basket, I didn’t need to worry about it.
This is because of the baskets design but also the super convection setting the oven uses when it’s in air fry mode. The super convection setting reduces cooking time and helps food achieve an incredible level of crispness.
These fries were delicious. Crispy, crunch, with a fluffy center, they were truly outstanding. They lacked the rich, fattiness that a deep-fat fried french fry has, but that loss is a huge calorie saving from the reduction in fat and grease.
Yes, this countertop oven can do a range of things, from baking bread to dehydrating apple chips, but it can also handle simple things too. Frozen fries and chicken nuggets have become a bigger part of our life than either my partner or I would like to admit.
With a toddler running around, there are definitely times when we turn to well-made frozen foods because it’s a time-saver, and it’s something that our child absolutely loves. Add some fresh apple and steamed corn and we’ve checked off the major food groups without a tantrum!
It is a really worthwhile convenience to be able to turn a dial on a countertop oven and have dinner on the table/high chair in under 20 minutes.
The fact that this oven can do so much more is honestly the icing on the cake. It can handle almost everything you would do in your traditional oven, with a smaller footprint and less cleanup. AND it makes a mean french fry!
Cooking a Roast Chicken
Roasting chicken is one of those dishes that always makes me wish I had a convection oven. Hot moving air makes skin crispy and allows the entire chicken to cook equally and evenly. By adding a gentle breeze to a traditional oven you almost eliminate the possibility of overcooked legs and undercooked breasts!
When I saw the picture on the Breville Smart Oven packaging, I knew that I had to test out a roast chicken in this oven as soon as I could.
To begin I set the Smart Oven Air to the roast setting, with the temperature set to 375°F and time set for 1 hour. Then I seasoned the outside of a 3-4 pound chicken with salt and pepper.
Next, I trussed the chicken with butcher’s twine. Trussing or tying your bird is a really important step when roasting a chicken or turkey. Regardless of the method, by tying your bird beforehand, you allow the chicken an even greater opportunity to roast evenly.
Finally, I placed the bird on the top rack of the enamel roasting rack pan and placed the pan in the oven at the “roast” rack position. I closed the door and settled in to wait for the chicken to be cooked.
The chicken I chose to roast in the Breville Smart Air oven was one of the best chickens I’ve cooked at home in a long time.
My usual method includes seasoning, tieing, roasting the bird in our dutch oven at 350°F, and serving. Process wise, cooking this chicken wasn’t much simpler, it was just easier to clean up afterward. It also tasted better overall.
Chicken skin when crisp is something all chefs can opine about. Something so simple is often a revelatory experience and I’ve definitely been guilty of getting a little overzealous with my “samples” as I wait for a chicken to rest before serving.
Because of the convection currents in the oven, while cooking, the skin on this chicken was crisp and delicious. Also, it had less fat than chicken skin normally has as the hot air helped the fat to render out more fully than with a traditional oven.
Finally, the chicken was absolutely more evenly cooked than many I have cooked at home. I normally like to use a dutch oven to help keep a roasting chicken in an even, radiant environment while cooking. This is because I’m cooking in a still oven that cooks from the bottom up. Thanks to the hot, moving air in the Breville Smart Oven Air, the legs and the breast finished at almost identical times, meaning the entire chicken was tender and juicy, instead of having unevenly cooked pieces.
Cooking Rib Eye Steaks
One of the more recent trends I’ve seen sweep the internet has been cooking steaks in an air fryer. Some cuts of steak are well suited to specific cooking methods and techniques. Steaks, like a ribeye, are well suited to quick, hot, dry cooking methods that preserve flavor and integrity while allowing the cook to specify the finished cooking temperature of the product. Other cuts like short rib or brisket are suited to long, slow cooking methods that allow the muscle fibers to relax and grow incredibly tender.
Steaks, by definition, need accuracy in cooking or at least the stopping of that cooking. Because steak will be palatable at several different finished cooking temperatures the ability to stop your cooking quickly is ideal. This is where an air fryer comes in handy. Its high-powered air currents and strong heat source create a dry cooking environment that allows you to roast ingredients at a high, even temperature. To stop the cooking all you need to do is remove the steak from the oven at the desired temperature, rest it for a few minutes, and slice.
From my research what people seem to be doing is treating their air fryers like a hot frying pan or grill. You preheat the air fryer to a very hot temperature, allow it to preheat for 10-15 minutes, and then place the seasoned steaks into the oven. Allow them to cook for the desired time and remove them to rest.
Even though the Breville Smart Oven Air can cook in several different modes, my thought was to use the air fryer setting to ensure the highest-powered fan and temperature. I preheated the oven to 450°F and seasoned steaks with salt and pepper.
I loaded the steaks into the oven on the roasting rack and set it at the air fryer oven rack level. I cooked them for 16 minutes and flipped the steaks halfway through the cooking process.
Overall, these rib eye steaks were very good. They were well cooked, I pulled them at a perfect medium-rare, and they had a nice sear. I can definitely understand why people are enjoying cooking steaks in their air fryers, especially given the almost non-existent clean up outside of the roasting pan.
That being said, I don’t personally think I’ll be continuing to cook my steaks in an air fryer for a few different reasons. Personally, I like to sear a steak in a pan and finished it in the oven, I think it gives it more flavor overall and allows for a better sear/crust. Even though I could see myself searing a steak and then using the roasting rack/air fryer setting to finish them, I don’t really think it’s worth the extra step.
It is nice to know that in a pinch I could use my air fryer to handle even my steak cookery. Though I don’t think it will be my primary method for cooking steaks and similar proteins (excluding pork chops, which work great in an air fryer), I’m sure it will come in very handy at some point.
How Easy Is It To Clean?
The Breville Smart Oven Air was fairly easy to clean. It is a front-loading oven style model, so that means there are only certain parts that are fully submersible in water or the dishwasher. The oven racks are stainless steel and were very easy to soak then wash. I chose to wash all the pieces by hand, you can wash the oven racks in the dishwasher but the manufacturer recommends handwashing to extend the useful life of the product.
The crumb tray was easy to remove and wipe off, this is pretty important as all of the sediment/crumbs from your cooking gather on this tray, and given the size of the oven, it can build up pretty quickly. I would make sure to empty it and wash it after every cooking project if possible.
The inside of the machine was easy to wipe down with a damp cloth, and as long as you do so every time it should be easy to keep up with the grease/stain build-up. Again because of the smaller size of this oven it’s going to build up stains/grease quickly, and it’s important to wipe it down regularly.
I made sure to use only soft sponges and avoided any abrasive cleaners or utensils when cleaning the oven. This was to avoid scratching or marring the finish, remember if a soap feels like it has sand or grit to it then avoid using it when cleaning this oven.
How Would I Improve the Breville Smart Oven Air?
There is not much I would change about this oven, it is incredibly well made and the user interface is quick and easy to operate. The accessories are of high-quality manufacture and the wealth of cooking modes and possibilities this machine offers are incredible. I do have one or two suggestions should the engineers at Breville be listening, but none of these line items are deal-breakers, at least in my opinion.
- Overall the digital display is great. It’s easy to read and interact with, the knobs are self-explanatory and the buttons are easy to navigate. It is, however, a little hard to read. The numbers and letters are large and clear, the contrast between them and the background however is a little too close for my comfort and I wish they had made the display characters just a shade more vibrant.
- The packaging was a bit excessive. The box was huge, especially for the size of the machine overall, and even though the accessories were well packed, it was definitely a lot of boxes to unpack. I am not a slight person by any means, and I struggled to get this into the house and out of the box by myself. I was grateful for the packaging, especially as it protected a very expensive appliance, I just wish it had been a bit easier to remove.
What’s the Warranty?
The Breville Smart Oven Air comes with a Limited 2 Year warranty that protects the oven from failure associated with normal wear and tears from use under normal conditions. To learn more about the warranty processor to begin a warranty claim head to the Breville Warranty Page for more information.
I love this toaster oven/air fryer. It is an awesome piece of kitchen equipment that anyone would be lucky to have in their kitchen. It can do so many different things, most of which I didn’t even get a chance to test! From sourdough bread to crispy cauliflower, roast chicken, steaks, or dehydrated apple chips, the Breville Smart Oven Air can truly do it all.
That being said it is important to recognize that this oven might not be for everyone. It has a larger than life price-tag, especially for a counter-top oven, and despite its high-quality build or wealth of cooking options, not everyone needs this sort of air fryer in their kitchen.
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to add an air fryer to your home kitchen then this is probably not the oven for you. But if you are looking to add a ton of new capabilities to your kitchen profile and also a machine that is well made, easy to use, and nice to look at, then the Breville Smart Oven Air is the choice for you.
How does it Compare?
Breville Smart Oven Air Vs Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer 360
Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer 360
|Dimensions||21.5''x 17.5''x 12.7'||19" x 15" x 9.5"|
|Check on Amazon|
On the outside, these ovens are widely similar appliances. They are both front loading, toaster oven style appliances. They have digital displays and 4 control knobs. Both come equipped with oven racks, crumb trays, and a roasting pan. The Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer 360 comes with an attachment to use the oven as a rotisserie, where the Breville Smart Oven Air only comes with an enameled roasting pan. Both machines are side vented and from reviews, it seems they have similar high-quality construction.
Function wise these machines are very similar, they can handle a multitude of cooking modes, with tons of preloaded settings for ease of use. The Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer has 12 pre-set functions while the Breville Smart Oven Air has 13 different cooking modes. They both have strong convection fans with multiple heat sources. The Breville’s Smart Oven Air has 6 independent quartz heating rods that provide an incredible level of accuracy of cooking temperature as well as strong consistent heat overall. The Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer has 5 individual cooking elements, but it isn’t clear what those elements are made from.
In terms of capacity, these fryers are similar, but the Breville Smart oven Air is larger. You might comfortably be able to fit a chicken into the Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer 360, but you can load a 14 lb turkey into the Breville Smart Oven Air with no issue!
While both of these ovens are similar in almost every way, they are very different price points with the Breville oven costing almost 1.5 times what the Emeril model costs. I would recommend these ovens to anyone who is looking to add an awesome multi-purpose countertop oven appliance to their home kitchen. I would definitely recommend the Emeril oven to anyone who is looking to save some money but still have access to many of the functions of the higher price Breville model or looking to upgrade from another air fryer without going all the way to the Breville price range. For folks who are looking to add a top of the line counter-top convection oven to their kitchen, the Breville Smart Oven Air is the obvious choice.
|Dimensions||21.5''x 17.5''x 12.7'||15. 5" x 16 "x 14 "|
|Check on Amazon|
The Cuisinart TOA-60 is an awesome counter-top toaster oven/air fryer that can handle several cooking options without breaking the bank. It has an easy to use, analog dial interface, and a medium/large capacity, offering users the ability to fit a larger amount of food inside. It has a sleek, stainless steel design and comes with a very strong, back vented convection fan.
With slightly smaller dimensions than the Breville Smart Oven Air you can fit a 12-inch pizza, 3 lbs of wings, or even a 4 lb chicken inside, but that is definitely stretching the capacity to the max. The Breville Smart Oven Air on the other hand can fit up to a 14 lb turkey which is pretty incredible.
Footprint wise, the smart oven air has a deeper profile and sits a bit wider than the Cuisinart TOA 60. The Cuisinart model on the other hand sits a bit higher on the countertop, while the Breville oven has more room between the oven itself and my cabinets. Power-wise, both these models run at 1800w, and while a lot more goes into overall heat production than pure wattage it’s nice to know you’re getting a nice strong oven regardless of your choice.
In terms of the display there’s little to compare between the two models, where the Cuisinart has analog control dials to select cooking mode, time, and temperature, the Breville oven has a full-function digital display and readout. This isn’t necessarily a mark in either’s favor, some people enjoy the analog look/function while others like me are more into a digital readout.
Overall both these products are well made and can handle a lot of different cooking applications. They both have the ability to rest an entire chicken, while the Breville’s added capacity means you can fit a ton more in it besides. While the Breville Smart Oven Air is definitely 1.5 times the price tag of the Cuisinart Model when you look at the difference in overall specs that gap makes sense.
I would recommend the Cuisinart TOA 60 to anyone who wants to add a toaster oven style air fryer to their kitchen counter and also likes the Cuisinart aesthetic or prefers analog knobs to a digital readout. On the other hand, I would recommend the Breville Smart Oven Air to anyone who is looking to add a top of the line air fryer/convection oven to their kitchen and for whom price is not their main concern.
KitchenAid Dual Convection Counter Top Toaster Oven
|Dimensions||21.5''x 17.5''x 12.7'||16.4" x 18.5" x 13"|
|Check on Amazon|
While the Breville Smart Oven Air and the Kitchen Aid Dual Convection Counter Top Toaster Oven do much the same thing, they look very different from one another. Both are square or rectangular style countertop convection ovens with front-loading door and digital displays. They both come with several preset functions and a plethora of cooking modes. That’s essentially where the comparison stops.
The Kitchen Aid Dual Convection Countertop Toaster Oven is a futuristic matt black oven with an opaque door that hides the food inside while it cooks. The digital display is located at the bottom of the unit and it only needs 1 knob and 4 buttons for operations as compared the Breville’s 4 knob display. The display on the Kitchenaid oven is much smaller than the Breville’s and that might make it harder to read/operate.
Overall the size of the cooking chamber is quite similar between both models despite the smaller dimensions of the Kitchenaid oven. this is because the Breville has a side-mounted display panel where the Kitchen aid panel is contained in the bottom of the machine assembly, meaning space savings without sacrificing cooking capacity.
The one feature included in the Kitchenaid oven that I wish Breville had included in the Smart Oven Air is the addition of an internal temperature probe. With this feature, you can monitor the internal temperature of your product, like a chicken for instance, and set the oven to stop cooking once it reaches a specific temperature, which is a nice feature when you have a hectic home life.
Overall both models are well-reviewed and consumers have a ton of great things to say about both the Breville Smart Oven Air and the KitchenAid Dual Convection Countertop Toaster Oven. Both models operate in several different modes and both have great air fryer options. The KitchenAid oven is the less expensive model and the Breville is about 1.5 times the price tag of the KitchenAid.
I would recommend the KitchenAid Dual Convection Countertop Toaster Oven to anyone who is looking to add a ton of functionality to their kitchen while saving space and money. Again I think the Breville is the better option and absolutely worth the investment if you can afford it.