What is the best countertop convection oven
The Best Counter Top Convection Oven
Essential and Green
A countertop convection oven is becoming an essential kitchen tool. They save energy and provide convenience. A typical home built in oven draws anywhere from 3000 to 9000 watts in use while a countertop oven will use 1500 watts max. The additional savings is in cooling the home; a smaller oven drawing less current, will heat the house less, calling for less air conditioning and lower overall electric bills. When you have a small amount of food to cook, a built in oven is an energy hog, heating up the kitchen and gobbling up energy. Energy prices are rising all the time and these ovens are one “green” alternative.
Why a Countertop Oven?
The reason for people using a countertop convection oven can vary depending on the personal needs. You might just want to warm up some leftovers or defrost some frozen food or you might be like me and use it to do some serious cooking. Many of the countertop convections ovens on the market are little more than over-sized toaster ovens and you can expect little from those ovens. The truth is, if all you want to do is heat some frozen pizza, this may be overkill. If you are a little more serious and you want to save a little bit of energy to boot, this oven cannot be beat! There is also another new type of oven on the market with a see through cylinder top, these just seem too gimmicky for a serious cook, there is no room in the kitchen for an oven just for a roast chicken, expect your next oven to do a multitude of chores.
There are lots of companies vying for your money with a multitude of designs and applications. Over the past 20 years, I’ve personally used 4 different countertop convections in my own home and I finally have a decision. The best countertop convection by far is the Waring, High Capacity Oven, specifically the 1.5 cubic foot oven.
Waring Pro co1500b
This countertop convection oven has a 1 1/2' cu. Interior, this is the largest available, allowing you to cook a 12-lb. whole chicken or a 13" pizza. It accommodates an 18" x 13" half sheet pan for cooking a large batch of cookies and has a rotisserie spit that automatically rotates roasts as they cook. The oven roasts, broils, and bakes, or it can be set to convection bake using its efficient, powerful fan that circulates air throughout the unit to eliminate hot and cold spots and accelerate cooking. Its internal thermostat automatically maintains a consistent temperature up to 500º F and the oven has two wire racks that adjust to four different positions. With a 120-minute timer, drip tray, stainless steel housing, and a tempered glass door. 14 1/4" H x 23 1/2" W x 21 1/4" D. (58 lbs.)
How much have you budgeted for your countertop convection oven? You can find some countertop ovens for less than $200.00. You definitely get what you pay for, when I’ve purchased cheaper ovens; they have broken down in less than a year and have done an inferior job of cooking while I had them
Baking Dixie Dumplings
These were all baked in a Waring Pro co1500b
· The first feature of this oven which makes it stand out above the rest is the accuracy of the temperature setting. If you have used other countertop convections you almost certainly found that the stated cooking time in a recipe didn’t work out. Of the ovens that I have had the temperature was off by as much as 50 degrees. That makes a big difference in what you are cooking and in some cases it may cause a total failure of a recipe. I’ve measured the temperature with a couple of commercial oven thermometers and both show an accurate temperature when the oven is fully heated
· The second feature is the oven size, big enough for a small turkey or one of the monstrosities called chickens nowadays; bake a layer cake or a 13 inch pizza or 2 trays of cookies on ½ size commercial sheet pans. This oven comes with 2 racks and 4 positions so you can bake 2, 8” layers or 3- 8” loaves of bread, or a bundt cake, use 2 shelves and you can bake 2 -9” layers.
· Third, the rotisserie (skewers and spit included) allows you to rotate a roast as it cooks and better yet the roast setting provides a little extra top heat and a roast will come out properly browned with a delicious crisp skin. Remember to switch the setting to bake when you want to bake a loaf of bread, otherwise the bread or cake etc will brown before it is cooked through!
· There are settings for convection bake or bake, bake turns the convection fan off and the oven behaves just like a regular oven, turn the convection bake feature and the fan runs (very quietly) to distribute the hot air in the oven. When using the convection bake feature the rule of thumb (for small amounts to be baked) is to reduce the temperature called for in a recipe by 25 degrees, for an oven full, use the stated temperature and just cook in less time.
· There is also a Broil setting which uses the top side elements to brown food from the top. This is always the weakest part of any oven, including built in full size ovens but it is adequate for a small amount, set the temperature to 500 degrees and leave the door open by an inch or two and use the top rack position.
· The oven also has low temperature settings and these are useful for proofing bread and holding food warm until ready to serve. In the photos at the right is one of 3 loaves of bread, the kitchen was cool when I made those loaves but I used the low temperature setting to raise the bread, I didn’t have to heat the whole house and I didn’t have to wait all day for the bread to rise, a very useful feature indeed! All of the photos of baked goods are from my own kitchen and cooked in the Waring Pro,
· Finally and perhaps most important is the warranty, I had to use it! After using this oven for a couple of months the timer started to malfunction, I was no longer able to turn the oven on full time, it would only work on a timer. I found a local repair shop and brought the oven to them, well, it took 3 weeks for the factory to receive the oven but as soon as they did I was sent a new oven, no questions asked and not too much hassle, they do stand behind their work.
It's now the end of July, 2013, over 2 years since I wrote this review. The oven continues to work as well as new. The only current problem I am having is the gasket on the door is beginning to fail. That is simple enough to replace and should be reasonable in price if I do it myself, it just clips into place. So... I stand by my original opinion!
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