Breville Smart Oven BOV800XL Review
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Breville Smart Oven BOV800XL
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|Bottom Line||Likely as good, if not better, than your conventional oven||A top-notch oven that adds air frying and dehydrating functions as well||Perfect for space constrained, discerning cooks||Its small size limits it to snacks, re-heating leftovers, or side dishes, but it's affordable and performs well||Lightning fast, small oven that practically replaces the convenience of a microwave|
|Rating Categories||Breville Smart Oven...||Ninja Foodi Digital...||Breville Mini Smart...||Hamilton Beach Easy...||Panasonic FlashXpress|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Temperature Accuracy (20%)|
|Frozen Food (15%)|
|Specs||Breville Smart Oven...||Ninja Foodi Digital...||Breville Mini Smart...||Hamilton Beach Easy...||Panasonic FlashXpress|
|Outer Dimensions||11.2" x 18.5" x 16.2"||19.7" x 7.6" x 15"||15.5" x 14" x 8.8"||11.9" x 16.1" x 9"||13" x 12" x 10.2"|
|Maximum Pizza Diameter||12"||13"||11"||9"||9"|
|Accessories||Baking pan, Broil rack, Pizza pan||Wire rack, air fry basket, sheet pan||Baking pan||Bake pan, oven rack, slide-out crumb tray||Baking pan|
|Power Consumption (W)||1800||1800||1800||1200||1300|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Breville Smart Oven BOV800XL is one of the best toaster ovens we've tested. It is a perfect choice for the vast majority of cooking tasks but does lack some of the features of the newer Breville Smart Oven Air.
The Breville scored highly in our baking test as one of the best-performing models in this metric.
It made a near-perfect cake, so good that we just got lost in its field of golden fluffiness. Cakes made in the Breville BOV800XL retained more moisture and were more evenly cooked than those made in the other models. We found the Breville tended just to crisp the outsides and leave the insides fairly gooey when making cookies. Now we know the crunchy vs. chewy cookie debate is incredibly contentious and can potentially turn friends into enemies. Still, most of our testers felt this result was better than any other oven. It also made the most delectable drumsticks in our test, with nice crunchy skin and juicy meat falling off the bone.
The only oven that outdid the Smart Oven in our tests was the updated Breville Smart Oven Air. This newer oven is right on par with the original Smart Oven for normal cooking tasks. Still, the added slow cooking, dehydrating, and air fryer capabilities make it a slightly more versatile machine.
Ease of Use
The Breville further separated itself from the rest of the field in our ease of use test, once again sharing the top score.
It has one of the sturdiest crumb trays we've encountered that easily removes and is deep enough to keep crumbs and food bits in place on the way to the trash can. The door features small magnets that automatically pull the rack out a few inches as you open the door. This is particularly handy for removing toast and bagels as you don't need to reach your hand into the hot oven to get them out. This feature only functions when the rack is in the center position, but that is probably the only situation in which this would be useful. Items made with the rack in the top position would most likely be broiled in a baking sheet or pan, and items made with the rack in the bottom position would most likely be pies or something else that requires browning on the bottom. Both of these situations would require oven mitts to remove the food, so the rack sliding out a bit wouldn't really provide any additional benefit. As with all Breville appliances, the power cord has a built-in finger loop, making it easy to unplug.
The Breville really shines in the design of its controls. It utilizes a large backlit LCD display that clearly shows which settings are selected and how much cooking time is remaining. The screen's backlight also changes from blue to orange when cooking commences, giving you a clear idea of whether the oven is cooking or not. Three dedicated knobs are used to select the cooking mode, temperature, and time. The LCD menu seamlessly changes as different options are selected. For example, if you select the toast function instead of the temperature and time, the menu changes to allow you to select the shade of the toast and the number of slices you are making. Its included functions are bake, toast, bagels, pizza, cookies, roast, broil, preheat, and warm. Three dedicated buttons allow you to start or cancel a cooking cycle, turn the convection fan on and off, and add a defrost cycle to any cooking function. All those functions make using the Breville sound complicated, but once you get your hands on it, you realize it's a breeze. No other model we tested felt so user-friendly.
Our temperature accuracy testing yielded wider-ranging scores than any other metric. The Smart Oven once again has one of the highest scores in this area.
When set to 400˚ and 450˚ in our testing, the Breville had settled into the set temperature by the 15-minute mark and never wandered by more than 5˚ all the way through to the 30-minute mark. When set to 350˚, it was slightly cool at the 15-minute mark, with our thermometers reading 330˚, but it quickly corrected and was at exactly 350˚ at the 30-minute mark. This is particularly impressive considering that there were models off by as much as 55˚ at the 30-minute mark. This superb temperature accuracy was likely a large contributing factor to the Breville performing well in our baking test.
Frozen foods are the only metric where the Smart Oven did not occupy the top spot. However, our frozen meal test produced a very small range of scores, meaning there wasn't a huge difference in performance between models, and the Breville scored right in the middle.
It satisfyingly cooked the dough of frozen pizzas, leaving maybe just a tad too much gooeyness at the center. The Breville often browned cheese and crisped pepperoni noticeably more towards the edges of the pizza than in the center. That isn't to say the Breville made bad pizza; it was still appetizing and adequately satisfied our noontime hunger pangs. Frozen pizza is just one of the few places where the Breville has some notable room for improvement.
The Smart Oven was also able to cook some pretty delectable frozen tater tots. They were nice and crunchy on the outside and cooked just enough that the insides remained soft and fluffy but weren't too soggy.
The Smart Oven also comes out on top in our toasting test. To get anything better, you'll need a traditional toaster, like those in our best toaster review.
This high score was largely due to its mastery of bagel toasting. We really can't say enough good things about the bagels produced by this oven in our testing. Their faces were an almost perfectly uniform shade of brown, and their backsides were pleasantly warm but untoasted. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better bagel.
The Smart Oven handles toasting bread better than most of the models we tested. It did have some clear cold spots adjacent to the oven walls, but its toasting sweet spot is big enough to accommodate at least four slices of bread. We recommend placing your bread as close to the center of the rack as possible when making toast in the Breville. Toast made in the sweet spot comes out very even on the top side and crispy on the underside, with the dark and light strips common amongst toast made in a toaster oven. The Panasonic FlashXpress is the only model we felt made better toast than the Breville, and it was just ever so slightly better. We would be surprised if anyone was unhappy with the Breville's toast.
Should You Buy the Smart Oven?
The Breville Smart Oven is the best choice on the market for exacting chefs. However, it is one of the more expensive models we tested. But, with top-notch performance, we think it is well worth the price for those trying to perfect tricky dishes or finicky baked goods.
What Other Toaster Oven Should You Consider?
If you want something of equal or better performance, then the Ninja Foodi Digital Oven is a good option with impressive performance for a lower price by about $70. This oven offers impressive cooking abilities as well as being a capable food dehydrator and air fryer. With better ability to cook frozen food than the Smart Oven, we believe it is the best toaster oven for those who don't want to sacrifice quality but need to save some money.