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Hands-on Gear Review
Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven ReviewPrice: $90 List | $89.00 at Amazon
Pros: Inexpensive, decent cooking performance
Cons: Poor temperature accuracy, no preheat function
Bottom line: A decent oven if you want something inexpensive and aren't too picky about cooking performance
The Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven is a low priced oven that offers decent performance and a unique rotisserie function. It excels in preparing frozen foods and would be a perfect choice if you're looking for an inexpensive way to make frozen pizza. If you don't want to spend too much but want a bit more versatility, you'll get better all around performance from the Best Buy Award winning Black and Decker Countertop Convection Oven.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The chart below shows how the Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven's performance in our testing compares to that of the other models we tested.
Here we discuss its specific performance in each one of our testing metrics.
The Hamilton Beach performed admirably in our baking tests, scoring a 6 out of 10 in a metric where scores ranged from 4 to 9. It generally created a nice texture; drumsticks skins were crispy, cakes fluffy, and cookies crunchy. However, it tended to dry things out a bit. This was particularly true with smaller items like cookies, which ended up a little too dry and crumbly. The Hamilton Beach's main competitor, the Black and Decker Countertop Convection Oven, was just the opposite. It sometimes struggled to produce a great texture, but was a bit more adept at retaining moisture.
Ease of Use
The Hamilton Beach received a relatively poor score of 4 out of 10 in our ease of use testing, putting it towards the bottom of a metric that Its interface has three knobs, one each for temperature, function, and time. We like this dedicated knob system, but this oven lost a considerable amount of point due to its lack of a preheat function. Most ovens alert you when they reach your desired temperature, but the Hamilton Beach does not. You have to set the temperature and then assume the oven has reached temperature after a certain amount of time (the manual suggests setting a 10 minute timer after you turn the oven on). This required guesswork made using the oven feel quite clunky and unrefined.
The Hamilton Beach's inability to alert you when it reaches the set temperature may be largely due to its general temperatures inaccuracy. It was the worst performer on our temperature accuracy testing, earning the low score of 2 out of 10 in a metric that saw score as high as 9. It ran incredibly hot in our testing. At temperatures of 400Ëš or less it was consistently 50Ëš warmer hotter than the set temperature, and at one point was a full 65Ëš hotter. When we set the oven to 450Ëš this discrepancy dropped to around 20Ëš. All in all, these results made the Hamilton Beach's temperature knob seem more like an on/off switch.
The Hamilton Beach did quite well in our frozen food testing, scoring a 7 out of 10. This put it towards the top of a metric where scores fell from 5 to 8. It did a great job of making the outsides of tater tots and the crusts of pizza nice and crispy. However, it sometimes left the insides of these foods just a tad under done. This was no big deal for our testers that liked their pizza a little doughy, but disappointing for those that liked their pizza on the well done end of the spectrum.
The Hamilton Beach was a lackluster performer in our toasting testing. It scored a 5 out of 10 in a metric that had scores ranging from 4 to 8. It does not have a specific toast or bagel function, and thus struggled with consistency in preparing both of those items. It did manage to leave the backsides of bagels slightly less toasted than the front side, however, which salvaged its score a bit.
At a list price of $90 the Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven is fairly inexpensive and provides decent performance. However, if you're looking for a low priced option we think you get just a bit more value from the Best Buy Award winning Black and Decker Countertop Convection Oven.
The Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven offers acceptable performance at a low price, and is a decent option for those looking for an inexpensive toaster oven.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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