“Smart” countertop ovens use advanced technology to take over cooking for you—or guide you step by step—while promising to replace a half dozen other appliances. Sounds like a tall order, and each oven takes a different approach. So are any worth buying?
Last Updated June 7, 2023. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 23: Porchetta-Style Turkey and Fennel
Smart ovens promise to make cooking easier and more foolproof. We tested several, and while we liked features of each, we found two smart ovens that stood out. Both were easy to use and worked like highly enhanced countertop toaster ovens, with a variety of clever abilities that we found hard to give up when testing was done.
We highly recommend the June Smart Oven (3rd Generation). We tested and liked the “previous generation” model—and this new model improves on an already great oven. Using artificial intelligence, it can recognize both fresh foods and many brand-name packaged foods, initiate cooking programs, and guide you through its library of recipes. Its display and controls could not be simpler, whether you’re relying on its smart functions or using it like a regular oven. It can toast, broil, bake, roast, air-fry, dehydrate, and slow-cook, and it also offers accessories for grilling and baking pizza. Every recipe we prepared came out perfectly.
We also recommend the Tovala Smart Oven, which can automatically switch between baking and broiling as it cooks and will notify you when your food is done. It can air fry too. (Though it no longer uses steam to cook, another new model, the Tovala Smart Oven Pro, keeps steam and adds air frying.)
Over the past few years, smart countertop ovens have been arriving with a splash. This appliance category still has only a handful of players and remains a bit amorphous, since each company promises that its oven can accomplish a range of cooking tasks with very different technologies. All smart ovens claim to produce expertly cooked food with hands-off convenience, so you can kick your old toaster oven to the curb—and maybe your standard oven, your microwave, and a few other appliances, too.
Typically, smart ovens have apps that let you control cooking, peruse a library of built-in recipes, and purchase accessories; some also allow you to order meal kits. The ovens use sophisticated software in a variety of ways, whether to identify foods you put in them or run cooking programs that incorporate traditional and innovative cooking technologies, alone or in combination, to optimize results.
While you can operate them exactly like a standard oven, smart ovens offer many more functions. They also guide you step by step as you prepare recipes: They monitor and adjust cooking time and temperature (some via built-in temperature probes), offer helpful videos and tips, transmit images or graphs of your cooking progress on their apps or oven displays, and scan packaged retail foods or the company’s own meal kits fo...
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Lisa is an executive editor for ATK Reviews, cohost of Gear Heads on YouTube, and gadget expert on TV's America's Test Kitchen.