REVIEW: We Tested Breville’s Smart Oven Air Fryer For Two Weeks
We made pizza, lechon kawali, brownies, and even bread.
Full disclosure: I've survived years without owning an oven. I've made cheesy baked salmon and baked chocolate chip cookies in a trusty and small oven toaster and I thought life was pretty good. Sure, I was jealous of those who can bake a cake and roast a whole chicken in their ovens but I always held off on buying my own oven. I wasn't sure if the cheaper ones (those under P10,000) would last and I wanted to get my money's worth. An oven always remained one of those appliances that I've decided I will buy "for later."
If you're looking to upgrade your kitchen appliances or thinking about finally making that big purchase like this Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer, here are my initial thoughts:
What makes this oven a "smart oven"? It has ten cooking functions which include the Air Fry function, and its smart algorithm system is supposed to automatically control temperature and eliminate cold spots for even and precise cooking. It also has a dual convection function which speeds up the cooking process.
I took my time reading the manual (I didn't want to break it!) but the knobs and dials were pretty self-explanatory. It had a "Start/ Cancel" button, a knob for your preferred cooking function (grill, toast, crumpet, bake, roast, pizza, reheat, warm, air fry, and slow cook), and a dial for the cooking time and temperature.
It also has an LCD screen that displays the chosen temperature and the cooking time. My favorite feature of all: there were buttons for temperature conversion. You can switch to Fahrenheit and Celsius: no need to compute if the recipe you're following uses one or the other!
Size And Aesthetic
It was bigger than I expected! The 22-liter oven measures 47 cm and has a height of 28.8 cm. It can hold a 9-cup muffin tray, fit a 30 cm-pizza, roast a whole chicken, and toast six pieces of bread.
Our counter space in our kitchen is pretty limited but I was able to place it on the buffet table, right next to the small toaster oven. It's sleek, shiny all-gray body will fit in with most kitchens' aesthetics.
It also came with a grilling rack, a wire rack (for letting baked goods cool or to drain oil cooked meat), a roasting pan, an air fryer basket, and a non-stick pizza pan.
Planning on what to cook was half the fun; I made sure to try most of the cooking functions. Air fried lechon kawali, chicken nuggets and potato wedges were on the agenda, and we added roasted potatoes and squash, plus baked chicken on the menu. Brownies and bread, too!
The "Bake" function was the easiest to use. You don't need to figure out how long you need to preheat for the "Bake" and "Pizza" functions. Once you press these cooking functions, the oven automatically begins preheating and it will notify you when you can place your dough or batter inside.
I waited patiently near the oven, turning the light on once in awhile to check if I was burning anything. Since I didn't need to compute conversion of temperature (most ovens in the Philippines are set to Celsius and some recipes specify Fahrenheit), it was just a matter of choosing BAKE, turning the dial for the temperature and the time.
Roasting vegetables and baking chicken was pretty easy, too. The Air Fryer function was the trickiest one to navigate because it was one I wasn't familiar with. I had to look up air fryer recipes but once that was sorted out, it was literally PRESS, WATCH, AND WAIT.
Like most ovens, I discovered that the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer had hot spots and this was evident when we air-fried potato wedges and chicken nuggets. Some pieces browned faster so I moved some pieces around while cooking before it burned. It didn't happen for my other cooking experiments, though.
Overall, after you get to know the oven and its functions, everything was smooth sailing. We made pizza and had baked chicken for the second time.
Cleaning it was one of my major worries. I didn't want to stain it! But it was easier to clean than I thought: after letting the oven cool from using, I just wiped down the inside walls where there were stains and made sure to soak the roasting pan before giving it a gentle scrub in the sink.
How Much Does It Cost
According to the Breville Philippines website, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer is priced at P26,999 and comes with a 1-year warranty. The price does seem kind of steep since you can find ovens and air fryers that cost less than P10,000 each nowadays. But do remember that this is a branded oven and after-sales support is as important when buying an appliance you want to invest in.
It all boils down to lifestyle and use. If you're into looking at a lot of air frying and baking, then this is a good buy. Instead of getting two separate appliances, you save countertop space with just one. It's pretty roomy, too, since you can fit a whole chicken! It's a good splurge for someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen.
If you're a kitchen newbie, want to level up your kitchen skills and are willing to spend on a reliable appliance that combines the best functions of an oven and an air fryer, then it's something worth spending on.
If you only want to use the oven function and not keen on the air fryer, then maybe the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer is not one you need to immediately get. There are loads of other options depending on your budget.
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