Calphalon Quartz Heat Review
Pros: Good baking performance, good toast, easy to use, even convection mode is silent
Cons: Expensive, consistently runs cold, less than ideal for frozen foods
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Calphalon Quartz Heat offers good all-around performance with a premium list of features. If temperature accuracy or getting crispy results out of frozen tater tots are high on your priority list, it probably isn't' the machine for you. Otherwise, we feel it earns its premium price tag.
This oven was right in the mix with the top models in our baking tests, turning out tasty results no matter what we threw at it.
In our testing the Quartz Heat managed to keep a baking tray full of drumsticks incredibly moist while still crisping the skin on the top. It handled cookies with similar aplomb, perfectly browning the outsides while keeping the insides perfectly gooey and chewy. All the cakes we baked came out fluffy and moist with no hot or cold spots to speak of. Bottom line, we don't think anyone will be disappointed by this oven's baking prowess.
Ease of Use
We feel the Quartz Heat provide san exceptional user experience, offeringing small and thoughtful design touches that make cooking and the requisite cleaning feel quite easy.
The machine anchors its user friendliness with a clear interface. A large LCD screen tells you what settings have been selecting, while dedicated knobs allow you to quickly scroll through all of the cooking functions and the cooking temperature/time.
One nice thing about the Quartz Heat is the fact that it doesn't automatically start the timer once it's done preheating. Many other models start the timer the second preheating is finished, necessitating that you either pay close attention to the oven and shove your food in right when it beeps, or readjust the timer after you've put your food in. The Quartz Heat asks that you press the start button again once preheating is finished to actually start the timer.
The Quartz Heat also goes against the trend when it comes to the design of its crumb tray. Most ovens utilize drawer-style crumb trays that slide in and out. While convenient, we've found that the space needed to accommodate such a tray tends to collect some crumbs, requiring that you do some deeper cleaning from time to time. The Quartz Heat uses a tray that just sits on the bottom of the oven and simply liftst out. While this means you can't empty the crumb tray when the oven is still hot, there are no gaps for crumbs to fall into, and the tray itself is quite light and easy to move.
Really the only thing we dislike about the Quartz Heat's user experience is that the beeps that let you know cooking has been completed are fairly quiet. This makes it relatively easy to miss the fact that your cake is done and leave it sitting a bit too long in a still hot oven.
This is the main weakness that separates the Quartz Heat from other top-tier countertop ovens. While its temperature is consistent, we found it to be far short of accurate.
No matter what temperature we set the Quartz Heat on, our multiple testing thermometers told us that is was running colder than the set temperature. The good news is that, once we gave it ample time to heat up, it consistently ran about 15˚ cold. Therefore, we believe you'll generally get good results by adjusting the temperature to 15˚ hotter than a recipe calls for. However, this situation still feels less than ideal for food items that require a very specific temperature, and is a workaround we wouldn't expect to need in an oven of this caliber.
In general, we found that the Quartz Heat cooks larger frozen items (pizza) quite well and evenly, but fails to get great results from smaller items (tater tots).
One of the nice things about the Quartz Heat is that it can accommodate a full-sized, 12-inch frozen pizza. We made many such pizzas with this oven, and found it was able to easily produce an even level of cooking throughout every single pizza pie. Possibly because of its propensity to run a bit cold, we did had to leave the pizzas in an extra couple of minutes beyond the recommended time in order to get a nice browning on the lower crust.
Cooking frozen tater tots was a slightly different story. In our tests we ended up cooking tater tots for twice as long as recommended just to get them fully cooked, and even then the outsides were only slightly crispy.
Most of the toast we prepared with this oven came out quite even without any inconsistencies between the tops and bottoms of the slices, and no cold spots near the crusts. This is about all you can ask for from a toaster oven.
The only thing that prevented this oven from earning a perfect score in this metric was its toast map. When we filled the oven wall-to-wall with toast, the center slices were clearly more even and a bit darker in shade. Slices on the edges, in contrast, were a bit lighter and had some cold spots near the extreme edges of the oven.
The Calphalon Quartz Heat's list price puts it into the premium end of the spectrum, but it lacks the temperature accuracy of most of the other premium ovens. However, it offers a dehydrating function that is lacking in some of its main competitors, and offers darker aesthetics that will please many people that don't want stainless steel to be a theme in their kitchen. If those two things check boxes for you, and you don't mind constantly having to adjust the temperature up or cook things a bit longer than expected, this oven may represent a good value. Otherwise, if you're willing to pay a premium for top-shelf performance, we think there are better ovens ou there.
The Calphalon Quartz Heat bakes well, is easy to use, and offers an interesting aesthetic. It's not the best of the high-end ovens we've tested, mostly because it tends to run a bit cold, but it definitely carves out enough of a niche for itself that it would be a great addition in many kitchens.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell