From Cuisinart’s well-known line of home electronics, the Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven is a handy countertop appliance that provides plenty of power to handle its many cooking options.
The Chef’s Convection features a total of 15 different features, including convection cooking, turbo convection, and a clever Dual Cook function that combines features for perfect results with the push of a button.
Five heating elements, two on the bottom plus three on the top, and the Cuisinart Exact Heat™ sensors, produce precise temperatures that ensure complete and even cooking performance. Each setting delivers the ideal amount of heat with no hot or cold spots.
Cuisinart TOB-260N1 Stainless Steel Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven available on Wayfair
Individual cooking features include toast, bagel, waffle, bake, broil, roast, pizza, sandwich, keep warm, and leftover.
In addition to a standard convection fan, there’s also a speed convection setting that circulates hot air even faster. It can be used with most settings, and it saves energy as well, as no preheating is required.
Dual Cook is another smart feature that combines two temperature settings and times for delicious results. For example, when Bake and Broil are used together, a dish will bake for the desired time before finishing it off with a couple of minutes of broiling to brown the top.
The control panel features a large clock LCD display that’s backlit with a blue light. It shows the time, temperature, selected cooking function, and shade levels with a large, clear digital script. And there’s also a timer with a maximum 2-hour limit.
A large rotary dial is used to select functions, temperature, preset times, toast levels, and cooking function – and a simple turn of the dial will quickly scroll through all settings.
The convection button can be used at any time to add convection air circulation. And the speed convection button eliminates the need to preheat, cutting cooking times even more.
The bright interior light comes on when the door is opened, and there’s also a button to turn it on for two minutes with the door closed, to easily monitor progress.
A +30 button lets you increase cooking time by 30 second increments, for when you need just a bit more time in the oven.
Product Details and Features
This offering from Cuisinart features four rack positions to take full advantage of all of the settings. And the two upper positions have a built-in stop to halt the racks when they’re halfway out – a great idea that prevents tipping and spilling.
Plus, the top will pop out a couple of inches when the door is opened, making it easier to handle hot items.
A front loading crumb tray at the bottom of the unit is easily removed for cleanup, and the interior walls have a nonstick coating that can quickly be wiped down.
The back of the unit has a pair of cord cleats to take up any excess cord length, keeping your countertop clean, safe, and neat. These also act as a buffer to keep the device well away from the wall.
The Chef’s Convection has a handsome brushed stainless steel finish and a large bar handle that’s easy to grasp, even with mitts on. And all materials that may come into contact with your food are BPA free.
Accessories include two baking racks, a 9×13-inch enameled bake pan with broil pan, a 13-inch pizza stone, and a well-written manual and recipe book.
The generous interior measures 0.95 cubic feet and will hold 9 slices of toast, a 13-inch pizza, or a 9×13-inch baking pan – and it can even handle a 9-pound chicken.
The Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Oven measures approximately 22.5 x 18.5 x 13 inches, weighs 32 pounds, and uses 1875 watts of power. It comes with Cuisinart’s limited 3-year warranty.
Generally, this Cuisinart model is a solid buy – with a few caveats. It comes with more accessories than its main rival, the Breville Smart Oven. And it’s sold at a lower price point, too.
It stays relatively cool to the touch, with the hottest point of the exterior (other than the glass), reaching 136.7°F when the device was heated to 450°F in the interior.
The exterior sides and the top measured anywhere from 90 to 130°F, with the back of the device reaching 160°F. Rubber and steel stoppers (that double as a cord loop) prevent you from placing the device too close to the wall. Note that this oven is NOT for built in applications.
But there are a few areas of concern.
Compared to Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro Convection Toaster Oven, the Cuisinart takes ages to preheat. When we set the device to heat to 450°F, it took a staggering 16 minutes and 42 seconds for it to come up to heat. And this was without the pizza stone being inserted (which needs to be preheated to be used effectively for baking).
With the stone added, it took a a whopping 24 minutes and 16 seconds to reach 450°F. With an average pizza taking 15 minutes to bake fully, this would be a total of 39 minutes and some change – unacceptable for a quick lunch at home or for a quick attempt at feeding some “starving” kiddos.
In contrast, the Breville is capable of coming up to temperature in its preheat stage in just 5 minutes and 20 seconds – for a total 20 minutes of all-in cook time for a 12 or 13-inch pizza!
To get around this slow preheat, Cuisinart claims it has a feature that it calls “Turbo Convection.” Basically, this just involves throwing food into the device and letting it preheat and bake at the same time.
Although none of us at Foodal are rocket scientists, we’re sure that you can do that with pretty much any baking device, without a special setting. Seems kind of gimmicky to us.
And then there is the dial. Compared to the Breville, the Cuisinart’s control knob feels chintzy and cheaply built. It just gives you the feeling that it could easily snap off if it ever met a not-too-gentle house mover, or a college kid dumping his or her stuff at an apartment for the summer.
And then there’s the plug itself. We’ve never seen another appliance made in the modern age that is NOT grounded (i.e. one that has that third prong that’s common to modern cords and sockets – at least in the USA).
Although there may be some sort of electronic gizmotation (yes, we just made that word up) within the body of this appliance that provides a ground, we much prefer the dummy-proof method of a ground leading to the outside through the power cables. We don’t like electric shocks if things go horribly wrong.
Nonetheless, all in all, this is a good machine. And Cuisinart’s 3-year warranty is a huge plus. The Breville offers just a 1-year limited warranty.
The Cuisinart Chef receives top grades for its user-friendly design, simple operation, and efficient cooking performance.
- The control panel is easy to use, with self-explanatory settings and a clear display that makes operation simple and straightforward.
- The dual cook feature is great for saving time, as there’s no need to reset operations after one phase of cooking is complete.
- The Cuisinart Chef is well-insulated and releases very little heat into the environment. The exterior gets warm but not excessively hot, which keeps the kitchen cool – a great option for those hot summer days.
- The two included racks make for efficient operation that optimizes cooking capabilities.
- The oven light is bright, and makes it easy to check on foods without any heat loss.
- The Cuisinart chef is very quiet, even when it’s used in turbo mode.
- The instruction manual is well written and easy to follow.
- It’s also easy to clean, with a nonstick interior that wipes up quickly. And the crumb tray is easy to remove.
On the negative side, we have a few complaints.
- The first regards the light bulb being inaccessible – once it burns out, it can’t be replaced by the home handyperson.
- The large selector dial is a bit cheap, being made of plastic instead of metal.
- In our tests, preheating is molasses slow compared to the Breville Smart Oven Pro).
The Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Oven proves to be a versatile and efficient performer that provides convenience, easy operation, and an effective array of options.
Attractive and thoughtfully designed for intuitive use, the spacious interior handles double-rack duties without any loss of efficacy. And the 1875 watts provide plenty of power to the five heating elements for all cooking duties.
But the dismal preheat times may be a valid concern for some buyers.
- Baking Performance
- Broiling Performance
- Toasting Performance
The star ratings for baking and broiling performance were both negatively affected by the long preheat wait times. But the 3-year warranty is also a consideration, and it covers a period longer than most other competitors.
Where to buy? It's available from:
The Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Oven is a hardworking countertop appliance that delivers reliable operation – a smart option for small batch cooking, dinner parties and holiday meals, and keeping the kitchen cool in summertime.
Check prices and read customer reviews on Wayfair now!
Will this be the appliance for you? Visit our Toaster Oven category page to read more reviews of the best toaster, countertop oven, and convection models or check out our buying guide with our favorite models.
And tell us in the comments about your favorite way to use this handy small kitchen appliance at home.
Co-written by Lorna Kring and Mike Quinn. Credited photos by Mike Quinn, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos with isolated, white backgrounds via Cuisinart.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.
5 thoughts on “Cuisinart 260N1 Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven: A Top Contender for Small Space Cooking”
We have the Cuisinart TOB 260N1. After about a week the inside light did burn out. I noticed in your article it states that it can’t be replaced by a home handyperson. It is under warranty, and when I called the company they said that we could send it back and they would send another one, but we would have to pay the shipping and handling. Have you found a way that the lightbulb can be changed at home? Or do we have no other option, to either go dark or send it back? Thanks
Sorry Nancy, but from what I can tell, you still have to send it back to change a light bulb.
Did you check to see that the temperature really was 450?
My Breville never got that hot, and took even longer to get anywhere close to a baking temp.
Thanks for a thoughtful review.
However, I just bought one of these and found it to heat up much faster than the author found. Starting from room temp in my kitchen, it took just 8 min to reach its max temperature of 450 (compared to the author’s finding of 16 min) and less than 5 min on another occasion to reach 350. Also, I have found the speed convection feature to be more than a gimmick–it really does heat up faster, from my experience.
However, I agree with the author’s concerns about the main control knob feeling chintzy. I owned one of these units for 3 years previous to getting this one. After 3.5 years, that main control dial stopped working properly, and that is why I bought a new one.
But I feel I got my money’s worth. I do not have a regular oven and I used it a lot–every day for that 3.5 years I fired it up three times a day for 30-50 minutes of baking. That’s something like 3000 hours. I really liked its features, especially dual heat, where you can start at one temp and then it will switch to another, and then eventually shut off. Great for when you need to run out for a while and know you’ll be hungry on return and won’t want to wait for food to cook.
The light bulb inside did not burn out in those 3.5 years.
I like the new one–even quieter than the last. And the cord stays cool to slightly warm. With the other one, the cord would run quite warm sometimes.
Our Air Fryer Oven also lacks a third plug. Also, our new “Food-saver” has no ground plug.