When I pared down my kitchen tools last year, the Breville Smart Oven was among those that stayed firmly in place. It's a counter hog, no doubt about it, but I use this appliance nearly every day.
So much more than a toaster oven, the Smart Oven is the appliance I use most for baking, roasting, broiling, reheating (I don't own a microwave), and, yes, making toast. If I need to make a big batch of cookies or multiple pans of roasted vegetables, I'll use my full-size oven, but this countertop oven works for just about everything else. I even bake cakes, pies, and bread in it.
In addition to overall energy efficiency, one of my favorite features of the Smart Oven is that it preheats super fast. This is especially convenient when I need to quickly toast nuts or defrost something. It also has a convection setting, which can shorten cooking times. Plus, using the Smart Oven doesn't heat up the whole kitchen, which is nice when one lives in a warm locale like Southern California (or for summer cooking in general).
Finally, because I cook from a lot of British recipes, I love the fact that this has Celsius in addition to Fahrenheit settings. No need for conversion charts!
Do I wish I had the extra counter space that this oven occupies? Yes – but for me, the trade-off is worth it.
• Buy it: Breville BOV800XL The Smart Oven, $249.95 at Amazon.com
Related: 10 Best Uses for Your Toaster Oven
(Images: Emily Ho)