I personally enjoy trying out various sorts of gadgets, both small and large appliances, so that I can figure out the good, bad, and ugly. It’s a New Year and today, I’m starting a new category (see tags on the side of the blog) with reviews of non-tech items Please stop by and check out the first welcome post (disclaimer: see the sticky regarding our blog’s product reviews.)
First-up:The NuWave Oven.
The NuWave Oven is sometimes available at membership stores at a great price. You can also check out Amazon for deals, or make a purchase at a reasonable full retail price direct from NuWave or other retail store. This toaster oven replacement is definitely worthwhile!
What is the NuWave Oven?
I describe the NuWave Oven as a toaster oven replacement, and in my tests, it is. Often referred to as a convection oven, it’s physically a cylindrical countertop electric oven and more. This type of oven is often referred to as a convection oven. It has a removable top electric element and fan that provides the cooking and everything else is dishwasher safe. Unlike a microwave, you can use tin foil in it just fine. It has measurements that are about a foot high, and there is a 3” optional extender ring for bigger items.
Why do you want to buy it?
It’s faster than a regular oven or toaster oven. It’s far easier to clean because it is dishwasher safe. It it cooks any items you want crispy better than a microwave. It also has an unusual ability to cook many things from frozen that you otherwise would be forced to cook in a microwave.
Toaster Oven Comparison
The NuWave Oven’s most direct competitor is the toaster oven. They both are countertop devices that can cook many of the same things and are priced similarly. So why throw out your toaster oven for a NuWave? First, is the speed. For example, the most common toaster oven usage is for re-heating pizza:
The traditional toaster oven can take about 10-15 minutes to heat up to the desired temperature before you even put the pizza in the oven. However, the NuWave Oven is already hot and ready-to-cook in about 1 minute. You will be eating that nice, crispy, hot pizza slice in less than 8 minutes. Why wait when you’re done with the NuWave before the toaster oven is even temperature ready?
Now, after you have enjoyed that yummy slice of pizza, you have the dreadful task of having to clean your oven. Think about all that cleaning when the the NuWave Oven can be cleaned simply in the dishwasher. The toaster oven? Get ready to scrub inside the small box by hand, around fiddly heating elements and on the front glass.
Time for the other obvious comparison, the microwave. Both products cook frozen foods and are faster than other cooking options, and both are countertop electrical devices. So why would you want a NuWave if you’ve got a microwave?
Quite honestly, the NuWave doesn’t really replace a microwave like it does a toaster oven. The microwave is still faster than the NuWave, and for things that you don’t want to be crispy, say like string beans or meatloaf, the microwave is still a good choice.
However, for everything that comes out unappealingly soggy from your microwave, the NuWave cooks it to perfection. The NuWave also cooks raw foods that I never really trusted the microwave to cook, like a whole chicken. I’m pretty sure that it would be nearly impossible to cook raw chicken in the microwave and have it come out both edible and desirable.
What can you cook?
I’ve been impressed by the variety of food items that I can cook easily and quickly in the NuWave. As I stated previously, you can cook frozen, raw and pre-prepared foods.
Here are a just a few of my suggestions on preparing a tasty and basic meal:
Take a frozen or raw whole chicken and cook it rotisserie style, without the mess or skewering hassle. Take one side, drizzle with olive oil, rub in your spices, and follow the cooking guide, flipping over half way. It comes out amazingly moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.
The NuWave Oven lets you “grill” fish, hot dogs, sausages, hamburgers and steaks.. The fat drips down while the food gets cooked and browned on the grill in no time and it doesn’t crush the food like a foreman grill. Although you don’t get the smoky flavour of barbecue, you do get the texture and health benefits of not cooking meats in their own fat on the stove. You also avoid the potential smoke if cooking from frozen.
I’ve baked hams, roasts, cookies, vegetable casseroles (8”x 8” glass baking dish fits fine),potatoes (drizzled with olive oil and Himalayan Sea Salt cracked on top wrapped it in tin foil), and sweet potatoes. Just to warn you, I have found that potatoes are the one thing that takes longer than a normal oven. However, you don’t have to worry about anything dripping out or down to the bottom of the oven making a mess and filling your house up with smoke. I have found that other foods cook marginally faster, just because you get to skip the 15 minute pre-heat time of the traditional oven.
- I mentioned that potatoes take forever to cook in the NuWave Oven versus a traditional oven.
- The lid system is clunky. It’s physically separate and you have to have double the counter space to set the lid next to the oven when putting things in or taking them out. The lid is HOT so you have to be careful to only touch the handles on the power unit. Their lid holder doesn’t work much better as it obscures access to the oven and may crack the plastic lid over time.
- Cooking time is limited to 2 hours at which time, then you have to re-set it. It’s entirely an artificial programming limit. You can continue immediately by restarting the process and it works fine, just in 2 hour increments. Normally, you don’t hit the limit with recipes because you need to flip the item in the middle and a few things take more than 4 hours to cook. With that said, some things you don’t flip, and may take more than 2 hours. In this case, you have to remember to be around to reset the timer to finish cooking.
- Although clean-up is easier than many other cookers, there is one part that can’t go in the dishwasher– the cooking head, but you don’t really need to clean that. However, the NuWave’s size and shape can take up pretty much the entire bottom rack of my dishwasher for cleaning it. Sometimes I have to clean it over 2 runs because of other dishes.
- Lastly, it can be hard to store as well due to its parts, size and shape. It doesn’t click together, everything is just balanced / fit onto the bottom so if you don’t lift from the bottom, it just leaves parts behind or parts fall off. This can be challenging for storage. You can’t fit it into a neat rectangular space like a toaster oven. It currently takes up one shelf behind a cabinet door in my kitchen cabinets. This is why I plan to replace the toaster oven’s storage space.
Conclusion / TL;DR:
The NuWave is surprisingly good at cooking a number of various different foods well, including foods that are frozen. The oven’s speed is faster than a traditional oven. It’s pretty easy to clean if you can get it into your dishwasher. I recommend looking for the NuWave Oven if you can find it priced for around $100, or under $125 if the price includes some optional extras.