Skip to main content

Breville Mini Smart Oven

Published December 2019
More on the Best Toaster Oven
The Breville Mini Smart Oven is the smallest version of our favorite full-size toaster oven. This review originally appeared in a 2014 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine. Since that time, we have used the Mini Smart Oven for an additional 2 years in our kitchen and confirmed with Breville that the product remains unchanged. The Mini Smart Oven still receives our highest recommendation for a small-size toaster oven.

How we tested

With five precise quartz elements for even heating, our top-rated toaster oven, the Breville Smart Oven, out-toasted, roasted, baked, and broiled the other machines in our lineup. It also impressed us with its simple, intuitive format, with clearly marked buttons for useful preset cooking functions, like “pizza.’’ In fact nothing about it could be beat— except maybe the almost $250 price and its countertop-hogging size. For smaller kitchens and budgets, Breville more recently launched the Mini Smart Oven, using the same quartz heating technology (with four elements in the smaller space) and button format but costing about $100 less. And while it isn’t big enough to roast a whole chicken, heat a 12-inch pizza or bake a full batch of cookies, we used it to cook smaller foods to see how it would compare. Whether roasting a bone-in chicken breast, baking eight cookies, or heating an individual-size frozen pizza, the Mini Smart Oven aced our tests, preheating in five minutes or less and baking evenly. Its accuracy was spot-on, cycling no more than 30 degrees off the target temperature. Its one slight downside was toasting. Only the middles of one side of the bread browned on the first batch (subsequent rounds were far more even). Likewise for broiling: Cheese melted more evenly across the surface of open-faced tuna melts on follow-up rounds. At just about $150, the Breville Mini Smart Oven did almost everything the bigger Breville could do.


tk tk tk

3 Sites. No Paywalls.

Included in your trial membership

  • 25 years of Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and America's Test Kitchen foolproof recipes
  • NEW! Over 1,500 recipes from our award-winning cookbooks
  • In-depth videos of recipes and cooking techniques
  • SAVE all your Favorites for easy access
  • Up-to-Date reviews and product buying guides

Get America's Test Kitchen All Access — become the Smartest Cook you know, guaranteed.

Email is required
How we use your email address

The Results


Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.


Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.


Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.


Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.


Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.


Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.