If you are serious about your cooking we recommend you look at countertop convection ovens. These kitchen lifesavers can do almost anything that your conventional oven can while using less electricity and without generating extra heat in the kitchen. The list of considerations is pretty short, what size should you choose and what features are important for how you cook? If you aren’t sure what convection cooking is, click on the link below to learn more. If you are already on board with this efficient cooking technique, read on!
What Size Should You Get?
If you do a lot of cooking you may feel like bigger is better. It’s true that the larger ovens (33 liters or 1.15 cubic feet and up) can handle up to a 13lb turkey, but do you really need that much on a regular basis? There is a downside to the largest ovens beyond the actual “footprint” on your countertop. The larger the oven cavity, the longer it takes to come up to temperature. Countertop convection ovens run on a standard 110-volt electrical circuit which maxes out at 1800 watts. Your conventional oven is wired into a 220-volt circuit and has a lot more wattage. So, if you don’t really plan to use the extra cooking space very often, you could be better served by choosing a medium sized oven in the 20 liter (.7 cubic feet), to 26 liter (.91 cubic feet) range that will heat up more quickly for day in day out kitchen duty.
What Features Should You Consider?
There are quite a few additional features to be considered. Most common are rotisserie function, oven light, digital controls, non-stick interior, extra racks, “stay on” and a 2-hour timer (basic units typically have a 1-hour countdown timer). The stainless steel exterior is another common feature that does nothing functionally but sure looks nice. Expect to pay another $15 to $20 for stainless, but if you like it go for it! All of these features have a cost, so expect to pay a bit more for them. Must have features we recommend are non-stick interior for easy cleanup, digital controls for more accurate temperature control and the rotisserie feature. The other features are nice to have, but not necessary if the price is an issue.
A Note on Temperature Control
Here is a tip on thermostats in countertop ovens. They aren’t very accurate! All countertop ovens are fairly “low tech”. The plus or minus on the thermostat can be as much as 54 degrees for a manual control oven. That is a total variation of 108 degrees! Digitally controlled ovens are better, but still not great, plus or minus 27 degrees. For most needs, this is not a problem. But if you are doing some serious food prep or baking, we recommend getting an oven thermometer and experimenting with your oven to get a feel for the thermostat in your oven.