Breville Smart Oven Air Review
Pros: Good cooking performance, multitude of cooking functions, may replace your conventional oven
Cons: Expensive, poor air frying temperature accuracy
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Breville Smart Oven Air is the very best of the air fryer + dehydrator + toaster oven combos we've tested, making it our top recommendation for those looking for a workhorse countertop appliance that can expand their cooking options in many different directions.
In this review we focused on the Smart Oven Air's attributes strictly as an air fryer, and it did quite well in that capacity. If you want to hear our thoughts on its abilities as a toaster oven, you can read them here.
While not the best performer in our cooking testing, the Smart Oven Air stayed right in the mix of things. Though it does have some minor drawbacks when compared to the absolute best of the dedicated air frying models, we think the extra versatility gained is more than worth those small shortcomings.
The Smart Oven Air absolutely nailed some foods in our air frying testing. Its tater tots came out near perfect with nice crispiness on the outside and some good fluff on the inside. In prepping chicken breast it kept things tasting juicy while producing a bit of a crispy skin. It also excelled in making doughnuts with a nice crunch on the outside giving way to a delightful cakiness.
Where the Smart Oven Air fell slightly behind its single-function counterparts was in onion rings and sweet potato fries. Its onion rings came out crispy but tasting a bit on the dry side, and its sweet potato fries (the bain of many an air fryer) really only had slight hints of crispiness. In both of these cases you can get slightly better results from the best dedicated devices.
When you switch from a dedicated air fryer to a more versatile device you automatically leave behind a few conveniences, but overall we think the Breville Smart Oven handles the air frying process with aplomb.
Like pretty much all of the Breville products we've gotten our hands on, the Smart Oven Airs controls are incredibly well designed and a pleasure to use. Despite offering more features and cooking options than any other appliance we've tested, it manages to make selecting your desired cooking mode, temperature, and time downright intuitive. The oven door also has helpful markers showing the ideal rack heights for every cooking style, so you'll never be left wondering which slot is the best placement for the air frying tray.
Since the Smart Oven Air is, well, an oven, you must slot a special air frying tray into it in order to air fry foods. This is quite easy and actually provides a greater capacity than most dedicated air fryers. However, you do sacrifice the handle present on most other models, necessitating that you instead use a pot holder to remove the tray or to shake your food around. The Smart Oven Air's opening is large enough that it is still quite easy to do this with one hand, but it certainly is a little less convenient than the experience offered by most of the single-function devices.
Ease of Cleaning
Overall the Smart Oven Air's cleaning process is quite easy. The air frying tray wipes down without too much effort and doesn't tend to hold on to a lot of grease and grime. It is also top-rack dishwasher safe and has a profile that fits much more easily into a dishwasher than most other air fryers.
Where cleaning can get a bit more difficult is if anything from your air fried foods drips down onto the oven's heating elements. In that case, you have to wait for the whole thing to cool down and reach in there with a rag, which can feel a bit cumbersome. However, most air fryer-friendly foods don't have drippy batters, so this isn't an issue we ran into all that often.
We were quite surprised that the Smart Oven Air's air frying function proved to be one of the least temperature-accurate of all the models we tested, as we found its temperature accuracy to be spot-on when we tested its toaster oven attributes. We think this is likely due to the oven's much larger size when compared to a dedicated air fryer, which may allow for more temperature fluctuation when used in a super convection capacity. Overall, we didn't find this lack of accuracy to have much of an effect on the quality of the food produced.
In our tests, the Smart Oven Air often ran as much as 25˚ hot, though it did always course correct and come back down to the set temperature during the course of cooking.
The Breville Smart Oven Air is a very pricey piece of technology. If you're going to regularly take advantage of all its advanced cooking, air frying, and dehydrating functions, however, we think it is a worthwhile investment. If you have any doubts about how much you'll use its non-air frying functions, there are many other quality, dedicated air fryers that cost just a fraction of the price.
The Breville Smart Oven Air is a great device if you're looking for the most versatile countertop appliance around and are willing to make a bit of an investment in expanding your kitchen's cooking capabilities.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell