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One of the first small appliances I ever invested a lot of my own money in was a toaster oven. At this point in my life, I still hadn’t learned that I should skip the cheap food processors and blenders and invest in something sturdy, so this purchase was a very big deal to me.
My husband, who was still my boyfriend at the time, and I really wanted a toaster oven because we liked the way it reheated food better than a microwave. And I knew if we got the right one, it could serve as a multipurpose tool in the kitchen.
He had visions of crispy leftover pizza with bubbling cheese, and I saw a second oven to roast veggies in while the main course was cooking in the big oven.
I started out with the Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven.
This is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made for my kitchen and it’s still in working order some six years later. For someone who cooks as much as I do but works in a small kitchen, this appliance was life changing.
Not only did it perfectly toast my bagels in the morning, but I could even bake cookies in it. I added a second oven that sits right on my countertop when I made this purchase. I even included it on my wedding registry guide because I think it’s a great tool for other home cooks with little space to spare.
Despite my original models’s longevity, I just upgraded to the Breville Smart Oven Air for a variety of reasons.
The Breville Smart Oven comes is four different sizes, which means there’s a model for you that will easily fit into your kitchen.
I recommend the largest option if you can squeeze it in, as it is very versatile and makes a fabulous addition around the holidays, especially if you do any sort of hosting or usually plan to help out with food prep for the big meal.
Let’s take a closer look at the various models:
The Breville BOV900BSS Smart Oven Air
This machine may replace your conventional oven (as well as your dehydrator and air fryer) for all of your baking requirements.
After six weeks of testing this model, I’m truly impressed. And it will be permanently replacing its sibling, the Pro, as my go-to toasting and baking appliance in my kitchen.
Although it may look diminutive on your countertop, the interior size is truly impressive for an appliance in this category. You get a full 16 inches of side to side capacity that also goes 12 inches deep, and 7 inches wide.
This is big enough to cook a smaller turkey, up to 14 pounds according to Breville. And this cavernous interior allows you to bake your artisan or quick breads without fear of hitting the top elements.
Speaking of heating elements, the Air has one more on top compared to its brother, the Pro, for a total of six.
The rack is also much more adjustable than any other competitor. There are 8 separate notches, permitting you to place your food in the perfect spot, and it also allows for enough clearance to accommodate larger pots and Dutch ovens for braising.
The Pro also offers 13 modes of operation – three more than its little brother, the Pro.
And these extra modes are actually pretty dang useful. Dough proofing, air frying, and dehydrating foods are all on the table with this versatile model.
The other modes include:
- Toast (up to 9 slices)
- Slow Cook
The Older BOV800XL Smart Oven Pro
This is the second largest in the group, the former “flagship” model, and it is the older version that I’ve had for years. Considering everything that this small appliance does, it’s incredible that it also fits so easily on my countertop.
This toaster oven can hold a 13-inch pizza or 6 slices of toast, and the baking tray is more than big enough to hold veggies to roast for dinner. You can even roast a whole chicken in this little countertop appliance!
In terms of how much space it’s going to take up, it’s a little bigger than your average toaster oven at 11.2 inches high, 18.5 inches long, and 16.2 inches wide.
I have very limited counter space in my tiny apartment’s kitchen, but this small appliance has a permanent home out on the counter, and it’s not an issue.
Not to mention, I use it often enough to make the space it does take up well worth it.
Breville Smart Oven Air vs. Pro: Which Is Right for You?
Benefits of the Air over the Pro
|Smart Oven Air||Smart Oven Pro|
|1 cubic foot interior volume||0.8 cubic foot interior volume|
|6 heating elements (3 upper, 3 lower)||5 heating elements (3 lower, 2 upper)|
|Toasts up to 9 slices of bread||Toasts up to 6 slices of bread|
|Capacity for 1/4-sized baking sheet and casserole dishes up to 16" wide||Capacity up to 14" wide|
|Features 8 rack positions with 2 racks||Features 3 rack positions with 1 rack|
|Ceiling and crumb tray polished to a mirror-like surface that improves heat deflection||Not polished|
|Light automatically turns on when door is opened||Manual light|
|Door can be opened 1-4 inches without slamming shut||Door cannot be propped open|
|Timer pauses when door is opened||Function unavailable|
|Available rotation reminder that beeps halfway through cooking cycle to remind you to turn pans||Function unavailable|
|Additional fan added to cool electronic front display||Electronic display suffers occasional failures due to overheating|
|Improved redesign of convection fan for better, more even air flow||Lower quality convection heating|
|Features 8 rack positions with 2 racks||Features 3 rack positions with 1 rack|
|Signal beep volume can be adjusted or muted||One default signal beep option|
|3 new cycles: dehydration, dough proofing, and air frying (plus air frying basket included)||Additional cooking cycles unavailable|
|Includes Super Convection fan setting to boost air flow for excellent crisping||Function unavailable|
|Includes Phase Cook feature to cycle cooking modes in sequence||Function unavailable|
|Silicone seal around door to keep heat and moisture inside||Function unavailable|
|2-year warranty||1-year warranty|
There are two areas where the Pro may be preferable to the air:
The fans on the Pro are quieter, and at the the time of this writing the Pro was selling for $50-75 less than the Air, depending on the retailer.
Keep in mind the fact that when it comes to home appliances like these, you get what you pay for. Both offer longevity and excellent cooking results, and some home chefs may not require the extra cooking features. But for my money, I prefer the versatility, added convenience, and functionality of the Air model.
These appliances are constructed entirely from stainless steel – you won’t find any plastic here. The material used is incredibly sturdy, so you can be sure that any of the available models will last you a long time.
I can attest to this:
My old Breville Smart Oven went through four moves with no breaks or dents, and I’m not exactly careful when moving.
The stainless steel construction not only provides sturdiness, Breville’s offerings in this category also make for very pretty small appliances to display on your counter. The outside of each is a brushed stainless steel, and the knobs are shiny, providing a clean, modern look.
Inside, you’ll find the rack, which can be adjusted to four different heights depending on your cooking needs. When you open the front, the rack automatically partially ejects to make it easier to get food in and out.
Below the rack is the crumb tray to catch any falling food. The appliance doesn’t need to be opened in order to remove the crumb tray, which has a grip on the front to make sliding it out very easy.
Convection and Heating
These are 1800-watt convection toaster ovens, so they really can do a lot of different tasks, nearly as many as your regular home oven, more in the case of the Air. These countertop options from Breville will likely perform better as well, thanks to the convection heating.
If you haven’t cooked with a convection unit before, keep in mind that food will cook a bit faster.
Set your timer a little earlier than you would for your traditional oven until you get used to the way these Breville models work. And remember that it’s easy to keep an eye on things, with an interior light and viewing window on the front.
A wonderful feature of this series of appliances is that they distribute heat evenly and differently depending on your cooking needs according to the available settings, offering control that you won’t find in other toaster ovens.
They use quartz heating elements to get the job done. Quartz is much more sensitive to changes in heat than traditional metal toaster ovens, which means it will heat up and change temperature more quickly. You can even adjust the wattage for your most sensitive cooking jobs.
All models have a temperature range of 120-450°F and can cook for up to two hours at a time. Broiling is set at 500°F.
The top of these ovens gets warm while the appliance is in use, and although this is marketed as a plate warmer and can be useful as one, make sure to be careful and not set anything on top of it that can melt.
While the preheating cycle is occurring, the display will glow orange instead of the usual blue. Once it’s preheated, it will beep three times before the timer automatically begins to count down, so make sure you’re nearby to get your food in!
The Breville Smart Oven Pro features nine preset cooking functions: bake, broil, roast, cookies, reheat, pizza, bagel, toast, and warm. It also comes with a defrost function for those days when you forget to pull chicken breasts out of the freezer ahead of time, as I so often do.
In addition to these options, the Air features three additional settings for dehydrating, dough proofing, and air frying.
In fact, you can even indicate that you’re just going to cook a frozen item without defrosting by pressing a little snowflake on the panel. Once you’ve selected which setting you’d like to use, you’ll either select a temperature, like “425°F,” or a number setting, like “4,” for how well done you like your toast or bagel. Switching from Celsius to Fahrenheit is also an available option, at the push of a button.
Depending on the setting you’ve chosen, the device adjusts how it distributes heat. For example, if you set it to broil, it’ll kick out 1500 watts of heat from the heating elements arranged along the top.
For toast, it’ll use 1800 watts from above and below for even toasting. When baking, the appliance uses its convection capabilities to evenly blow the hot air throughout the interior space to ensure that all of your cookies are baked to the same level of doneness.
Although it comes with preset recommendations for cooking time and temperature based on what you’re cooking, you can customize each of these settings. Both models will remember the settings you’ve chosen until you unplug it from the wall, making it even faster and easier to use according to your own preferences!
The Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven Pro comes with three accessories: a pizza pan, a baking pan, and a broiling rack. The BOV900BSS Air also includes an additional rack, and an air frying pan.
For your basic toaster oven functions, you’ll likely just slide food directly onto the wire rack in the toaster oven, but these accessories are perfect for all of the oven’s other functions.
The pizza pan is a great tool for prepping frozen pizzas (no judgment here – we all need a late night snack or a quick meal occasionally!) or for cooking a homemade pie.
I recommend precooking your homemade crust just a bit before filling it and continuing to bake, since you won’t be able to bake it at a temperature higher than 450°F. Use the baking pan for everything from baking cookies or brownies to roasting drumsticks.
The broil rack is designed for broiling chicken breasts and hamburger patties, or to create a browned crust on mac and cheese. I’ve been known to stack the broiling rack inside the baking pan and use it as a roasting pan.
In addition to the standard accessories, bamboo cutting boards are available as a separate purchase. These boards are sized perfectly to go on top of the two largest ovens, and complement the styling of the Breville.
Breville BOV900ACB Bamboo Cutting Board available on Amazon
Breville BOV800CB Bamboo Cutting Board available on Wayfair
The interior of the appliance and the removable crumb tray are nonstick enamel, making them incredibly easy to wipe down.
Don’t use oven cleaner to get the inside clean. This can damage the finish, and it shouldn’t need such a heavy duty cleaning with regular care anyway. The top of the oven and the bottom of the crumb tray are mirror-finished on the Air for even heat distribution, with the same enamel as the rest of the unit in the Pro model.
Day to day, I typically just pour the contents of the crumb tray into the garbage can. Every week or so I scrub it with soap and water to really get it clean.
The accessories are not nonstick, but they are easy enough to clean up. Just scrub them with warm water and soap. To wipe up the outside, use a wet cloth. Make sure to never submerge the toaster oven in water and always keep the power cord dry.
The Breville Pro comes with a one-year limited warranty. Although this is fairly standard for the industry, many users feel that it’s somewhat short, considering that this is such an investment piece and a less typical, specialty small appliance. The Air has an upgraded two-year warranty (likely due to the inclusion of an extra cooling fan to keep the electronic control panel cooler, so it doesn’t fry itself).
One of the things I really like about this countertop appliance is that you can be an absolute novice in the kitchen and still produce great results when you use it.
I love my fiancé very much, but he has no idea what he’s doing in the kitchen. Since this toaster oven has pre-programmed settings for many of the things he cooks, and it remembers settings I programmed from the last use, I can trust that he’ll be able to cook himself a good meal on nights when I have to work late.
For those looking to save money on their electric bill each month or who are energy-conscious, this appliance is a great choice. First of all, it uses less energy than a standard oven simply because of its size. Since it’s so much smaller, less energy is required to heat it. Since the food is being cooked in a smaller overall space, up to 30% less energy is used while cooking.
Do You Need a Smaller Model?
Besides these two extra-large models, Breville also offers traditionally sized smaller models in the form of the BOV650XL Compact, and the BOV450XL Mini.
Breville BOV650XL Compact
This model can hold a 12-inch pizza or 4 slices of toast, and the baking tray is more than big enough to hold several servings of veggies to roast for dinner.
Breville BOV650XL Compact Smart Oven available on Wayfair
Unlike the larger ovens, the BOV650XL Compact does not include a pizza pan. It does includes a broiling rack and a baking pan.
Breville BOV650CB Bamboo Cutting Board available on Amazon
This model also has an available cutting board like its larger siblings. The BOV650CB is the model that you want to look for.
Breville BOV450XL Mini
At a diminutive 16 x 13 x 9 inches, the BOV450XL Mini can still fit an 11-inch pizza or 4 slices of toast.
This model ships with only the baking pan.
Foodal’s Rating of the BOV900BSS Smart Oven Air
- Baking Performance
- Broiling Performance
- Toasting Performance
The Breville BOV900BSS Smart Oven Air is our favorite convection countertop toaster oven that we've reviewed. With superb construction, a two-year warranty, and interior capacity to hold standard 1/4-sheet sized baking pans and large casseroles, this model can easily replace a conventional oven in a small apartment, or make for a heck of a supplemental appliance for holiday gatherings. It comes with our highest recommendation.
Where to buy? It's available from:
Versatile Cooking Options on the Countertop
With a wide selection of offerings in this category from Breville, the Air is my top toaster oven pick. It bakes, it broils, and it even air fries. Bakers can proof dough, gardeners can dehydrate their harvest, and you can make just about anything you crave without running up the electric bill, or overheating your kitchen.
I’ve had the older model for over six years, we used it almost every day, and it’s still working great. This is something to take into consideration when making your purchase as well, and the Pro provides a variety of options for the countertop cook, with the Compact and Mini versions being excellent contenders for those who are short on available kitchen space as well.
Being able to utilize two ovens in my tiny kitchen (three if I wanted to go crazy and plug in both countertop models!), or opt for just using my Breville when I only need to complete smaller jobs, has made my home cooking experience so much easier.
Not to mention, in its simplest state in terms of functionality, this thing makes a great piece of toast.
Still trying to figure which model is best for you? Take a look at all of our suggestions in our toaster oven buying guide now!
Photos by Mike Quinn, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Additional photos courtesy of Breville. Originally published on October 13, 2014. Last updated May 1, 2019. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
About Chelsea Miller
Chelsea Miller, born and raised in Portland, Oregon, graduated from the University of Oregon where she discovered both her love of football and cooking great food. She's the founder of the food blog "A Duck's Oven" and began writing for Foodal in 2014.