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Breville Smart Oven Pro

Published March 2020
More on the Best Toaster Ovens
Curious about other sizes and styles of toaster ovens? We've also tested and recommend traditional toaster ovens, air-fryer toaster ovens, and the Breville Mini Smart Oven.

How we tested

Breville, the maker of our favorite toaster oven, recently told us that the company may discontinue our winning model—The Breville Smart Oven—in favor of its newer toaster oven, The Breville Smart Oven Pro. The Pro model is identical in size and shape to the Smart Oven model, but it features a slow-cook option and an interior light that the standard Smart Oven model doesn’t offer. At the time of this testing, both ovens were priced at about $270. We were curious to see how this model stacked up against our favorite toaster oven.

To test the Pro model, we made toast, broiled asparagus, roasted chicken, and baked cookies and compared the results to the same foods made in the regular Smart Oven. We also slow-cooked pork butt for pulled pork in the Pro model and compared it to slow-cooked pork that we made in our favorite multicooker. Finally, we used temperature tracking software to see whether the Pro model could consistently maintain a temperature 350 degrees Fahrenheit over 2 hours, a metric that we’ve learned produces evenly cooked food within recipe times.

Comparing the Food Results

The asparagus, chicken, and cookies that we made in the Pro oven were identical to the same foods we cooked in the regular Smart Oven model. When we set it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, the Pro model held an average temperature of 352 degrees—on par with the excellent accuracy we saw in the regular Smart Oven. Like the Smart Oven, the Pro model also comes with dark-colored baking pans that browned food thoroughly and cleaned up easily. 

Curiously, making toast was a problem for the Pro. Despite having identical interior dimensions, the same number of heating elements, and the same toast settings as the original Smart Oven, the Pro model turned out consistently underbrowned, uneven toast on every setting. Even on the highest setting, the toast was not dark; instead, it emerged blond in the middle, while another slice from the same loaf toasted in the regular Smart Oven came out evenly browned all over. We carefully watched the five heating elements in each oven as we toasted to make sure that they were cycling on and off at the same time (they were). We also tried a backup copy of the Pro oven, which produced the same results. We were eventually able to produce a browner piece of toast in the Pro, but it was frustrating—it took almost two full cycles on a medium setting (about 8 minutes). 

Slow Cooking in the Smart Oven Pro

The regular Smart Oven will allow you to set a cooking time for only 2 hours or less, so the Pro model introduced a slow-cooking mode that mimics the long cooking patterns of a slow cooker. However, slow cooking in the Smart Oven Pro is a bit different from using a typical slow cooker or multicooker. There is no dedicated slow-cooking insert. Instead, the food has to be cooked in ovensafe cookware, such as a covered casserole dish or small Dutch oven. For the slow-cooked pork test, we tried using both our winning 3.5-quart Dutch oven by Le Creuset and our Best Buy 3-quart Dutch oven by Cuisinart. Both pots fit in the oven, but only if we removed the knobs from their lids (an extra step, but easy enough without any tools), and both pots were large enough to accommodate the 4-pound pork butt called for in the recipe, which emerged perfectly juicy and tender within the stated recipe time. Our conclusion? If you have limited space and don’t have room for a dedicated slow cooker, the Pro offers a good solution for slow cooking, provided you have a smaller covered pot that will fit in the oven. 

Which Toaster Oven Should You Buy?

So should you buy the regular Smart Oven or the Pro model? If you primarily use your toaster oven to toast bread, the Pro isn’t the model for you. However, if you regularly cook meals in your toaster oven and are interested in slow cooking and don’t have the space for an additional appliance, the Pro is a great option—especially when Amazon price fluctuations occasionally make the Pro less expensive than the Smart Oven. In every test except for making toast, the Pro performed identically to the Smart Oven, and it offered slow-cooking functionality that you can’t get in that model.


Rating Criteria

Toasting: We looked at how well the toaster oven could make light, medium, and dark toast. 

Baking: We looked for fully cooked, evenly browned cookies.

Broiling: We evaluated how powerful and responsive the broiler function was and if it made crispy broiled asparagus.

Roasting: We evaluated how well the toaster oven could roast a chicken.

Slow Cooking: We evaluated how well the toaster oven could prepare a slow-cooker recipe and compared the results to food made using the slow-cook function of our favorite multicooker.

User-Friendliness: We looked for straightforward controls, intuitive settings, and clear displays. 

Accuracy: We tracked how well the toaster oven could hold a consistent temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit over 2 hours.

Cleanup: We washed the included baking pans after each use and looked for any warping or staining.

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.