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The best countertop ovens: Cook more with less space

What is the best countertop oven? Our number one pick is the Breville Air Fry Smart Oven with Convection! We analyzed oven capacity, features, usability, and design.
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Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on

Space is a luxury not everyone has in the kitchen. From college students living in dorm rooms and starter apartments to households with compact kitchens, it can be a struggle to efficiently and conveniently cook your favorite foods when you do not have room for all of the necessary appliances. And if you do have plenty of space but love to cook large or complex meals, adding a countertop oven enables you to cook more than one dish at a time at different temperatures or in a different style. This explains why countertop ovens have become more and more popular in recent years.

Space is far from the only benefit of having a countertop oven. It is also a great solution for households looking to limit their energy consumption and save money on their monthly bill. For families with young children, countertop ovens tend to be a safer solution than having the risk that machines like deep fryers bring to your little ones. 

Most importantly is the quality of your food. Your food just cooks better when it is made in a multi-functional machine custom-tuned for precise cooking. A countertop oven can bring far greater versatility and capability than other traditional kitchen appliances, like a toaster or even a conventional oven. However, with so many models available today, it can be overwhelming to find the countertop oven that is right for you.  Using our expert analysis combined with thousands of real consumer reviews, these are the best countertop ovens in 2021.

Breville Air Fry Smart Oven with Convection

The Breville Air Fry Smart Oven with Convection incorporates its signature Element iQ System to reduce your cooking time by up to 30% with more evenly-cooked food. With a super convection feature, it automatically distributes air based on what you are cooking. The incorporated Element iQ system uses six independent quartz elements to create smart algorithms, identifying undercooked areas that need greater attention, so your food comes out evenly cooked.

Overall, the Air Fry Smart Oven is capable of three modes: roast, air fry, and dehydrate. Together, they open the door to a wider range of dishes and foods that you can prepare with this product. Overall, there are 13 total cooking functions available, including toast, broil, and slow cook. It is built with an extra-large capacity to suit bigger households, holding up to nine slices of bread, a 12-cup muffin tray, or even a 14lbs turkey. The interior oven light is a convenient addition, allowing you to monitor progress. 

A two-year limited warranty is included.

Accessories

  • 13" Pizza Pan

  • 2x Oven Racks

  • 9"x13" Broil Rack and Enamel Roasting Pan

  • Mesh Basket Rack 

Pros & cons 

Pros

Cons

  • Multiple cooking functions

  • Extra-large capacity

  • Element iQ technology

  • Very pricey model

  • Requires a lot of space

  • Materials may not be dishwasher-safe

Cuisinart Chef's Convection Toaster Oven

Already a well-known name in the kitchen, Cuisinart delivers its impressive Chef's Convection Toaster Oven. Constructed of stainless steel with BPA-free materials, it is spacious enough to accommodate a 13-inch pizza, toast up to nine slices of bread, or roast a five-pound chicken. Operation is made simple by the incorporation of an auto-slideout rack and interior light, plus a large blue LED display with digit controls.  

Overall, there are 15 different cooking options Included to tackle your culinary wishlist, including speed convection and a +30 Option, where you can add 30 seconds automatically to cooking or toasting. If you are cooking for the family, Cuisinart's Dual Cook function Allows you to cook two entirely different dishes using different temperatures all at the same time. With four interior racks, cooking relies upon Chinsinart's five-quartz system that uses an exact heat sensor for optimum functionality.

Accessories

  • 13" pizza stone

  • 2x cooking racks

  • 9" x 13" baking pan and broiling pan

Pros & cons 

Pros

Cons

  • Fast heating time

  • 15 cooking functions

  • Extended warranty

  • Confusing single-dial control

  • No air fryer

  • Does not have a slow cook feature 

Cuisinart Steam and Convection Oven

If you are looking for a healthier diet, the Cuisinart Steam and Convection Oven includes a built-in steamer to make one of the healthiest cooking methods you can use. In a convenient countertop model, there are nine different single and combination functions, allowing for poaching and steaming, in addition to broiling and baking. Thanks to its signature Steam clean technology, its stainless steel construction is capable of producing up to 120 minutes of constant, uninterrupted steam. It means that your food will cook up to 40% faster than a conventional oven, significantly cutting down on the time you spend in the kitchen. 

The Steam and Convection oven especially excels in bakery products, incorporating Cuisinart's specialized bread-proofing technology to help bread bake faster and more evenly. It is designed to increase moisture retention, so dry, overcooked bread becomes a thing of the past. However, it is important to note that this model is slightly smaller than the average industry model. Its size permits a 4.5-pound chicken or a 12" pizza. Its Steam Clean technology also makes it easy to clean so you are not plagued by an extended cleanup process.

Accessories

  • Wire rack

  • Baking pan

  • Broiling rack

  • Crumb tray

  • Drip tray

Pros & cons 

Pros

Cons

  • Built-in convection capabilities

  • 9 cooking features

  • Cooks 40% faster

  • Higher-priced

  • No air fryer option

  • Poor customer support

KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven

With its large capacity, the KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven gives you the option of nine pre-set cooking functions. This includes several common features like bake, broil, and roast with additional item-specific settings like the bagel, pizza, roast, and cookie settings. 

Sleek in matte black with chrome accents, the oven's design is worthy of your countertop.  The addition of a digital display offers updates on how cooking is progressing, making this a very user-friendly model even for beginners. Cleaning is also simplified by the inclusion of a non-stick interior.  

Accessories

  • 9" x13" baking pan with grill rack

  • Removable metal drip and crumb tray

  • Removable metal rack

Pros & cons 

Pros

Cons

  • Larger capacity

  • User-friendly design

  • A more affordable pick

  • No air fryer

  • Missing convection oven

  • Single-year warranty

Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 XL Pro Air Fry Oven

Ninja is another popular name in the kitchen, and it especially excels with its Foodi 10-in-1 XL Pro Air Fry Oven. It is simple to operate, making it a fantastic choice for new users who are not familiar with countertop ovens. That does not mean it lacks muscle. Made of stainless steel, it houses a powerful convection oven that provides up to ten times the conventional power of traditional convection ovens.

With an air-fryer and air-roaster built right into the oven, there are a total of ten different functions available for your use. In addition to standard tasks like baking and toasting, there are also settings that include Whole Roast, Broil, Bagel, and Dehydrate. Only a 90-second preheat time is required before use for cooking times that are up to 30% faster than the traditional full-size convection oven. With an extra-large capacity, it is ready to take on your family's needs. There is the ability to cook an entire dinner in one cycle, leaving enough room for both a 5-pound chicken and an entire sheet pan of veggies. You can also cook two 12-inch pizzas at a time or roast a 12-pound turkey. Even better, you can cook on two levels and still enjoy even cooking without rotation. 

Accessories

  • 2x Sheet Pans

  • 2x Wire Racks

  • Air Fry Basket

  • Roast Tray

  • Crumb Tray

  • 15-Recipe Guide

Pros & cons 

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent for baking

  • Built-in dehydrator

  • Space-saving design

  • Pricier model

  • Limited capacity

  • One-year warranty 

Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven

Even with its stainless steel composition, the Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven is surprisingly lightweight compared to its competition. It takes up little room on your countertop, making it ideal when there is not a lot of space to be had.

Still, there is much to be gained from this compact model.  It can accommodate a 9" pizza or up to 4 slices of bread. No preheating is required, and operating it is simple enough for beginners to navigate without trouble. However, there are minimal settings with just six options that include toast, bake, defrost, and reheat. Dual infrared heating elements are incorporated in both the front and rear of the oven for even cooking. A prominent safety feature is the use of an interconnected design that attached the baking rack to the oven door. The automatic shut-off feature helps to prevent any burning, and you can skip any technical glitches with the use of manual temperature controls and a timer.

Accessories

  • Square baking tray

  • Removable crumb tray

Pros & cons 

Pros

Cons

  • Only six functions

  • No preheating necessary

  • Space-saving design

  • Only six cooking functions

  • Smaller interior

  • No convection or air fryer

How did we choose these products?

To find the best countertop ovens, there are several factors of consideration in our analysis.   

  • Features: Countertop ovens can carry a number of different features, including the more traditional options of toast, bake, and warm. However, there are many newer models that combine more modern technologies, like air-frying and air-roasting with smart temperature sensors. 

  • Size: Countertop ovens can range in size significantly, so it is important to consider which size is most appropriate for your home and how that will impact the features available. 

  • Diet: If you like to make 13" inch pizzas, it is important to find a countertop oven that accommodates your favorites. Accordingly, you want to find an oven with a roasting capability if you want to use your countertop oven for your Sunday night roast. Strong oven functionality is important if you are a budding pastry chef that loves making muffins and cakes. 

  • Serving size: While more compact models are suitable for individual use, they are not made to feed large groups quickly. We consider countertop ovens in a variety of different sizes to find the right countertop oven for all different kinds of users.  

  • Style: Because it is designed to remain on your countertop, it is important to find a countertop oven that is both suitable for daily use but is also not an eyesore in your kitchen. Most countertop ovens utilize stainless steel, but size and design can make a big difference when comparing the look of one countertop oven to another.

  • Cost: Price is always a concern, and rightfully so since pricing can run the gamut. Our picks for the best countertop ovens range from around $140 to $500, but you could pay more or less, depending on the model you choose. 

Before you choose the right countertop oven for you, consider the type of cooking you do and how that will translate to your new oven. 

Which is the right one for you?

It can feel overwhelming when it comes time to choose the best countertop oven for you, but these suggestions can help.

Choose this product...

When you ...

Breville Air Fry Smart Oven with Convection 

Want a high-performing convection oven and air fryer

Cuisinart Chef's Convection Toaster Oven

Have a little more money to spend

Cuisinart Steam and Convection

Want a steamer for healthy eating 

KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven

Want the option to bake and air fry

Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 XL Pro Air Fry Oven

Ease of use is a priority

Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven

A small, affordable toaster oven

FAQ

What is a countertop oven?

A countertop oven is a free-standing kitchen appliance that is used for cooking foods via a variety of different methods, such as baking, broiling, and air-frying. 

How much does a countertop oven cost?

Our picks range from over $100 to $500, but the price varies; you could pay more or less, depending on what you need and what you are looking for. 

Why do I need a countertop oven?

Countertop ovens are not only more portable and convenient than built-in ovens, but they also offer far greater functionality with built-in capabilities like a convection oven, steamer, or air fryer. 

Are there alternatives worth considering?

There were many countertop ovens that we considered in our search for 2021's best. These are some of the ovens that almost made our list. 

For other suggestions on how to stock your kitchen, consider our picks for 2021's best kitchen gifts!

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