Hamilton Beach Countertop Oven Review
Pros: Inexpensive, decent cooking performance
Cons: Poor temperature accuracy, no preheat function
Manufacturer: Hamilton Beach
Our Analysis and Test Results
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 our user friendliness score sheet. Its interface has three knobs, one each for temperature, function, and time. We like this dedicated knob system, but this oven lost a considerable number of points 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 underdone. 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 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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