The Anova Precision Oven is perfect if you live in a smaller space, but make sure you have enough bench space first. It performs well but the amount of residual moisture can affect foods that need to dry out, like meringues. It also doesn’t have a grill element. The controls are easy to use, but we had difficulty connecting the app to the oven and weren’t able to test this component and features.
The Anova Precision Oven is a combination, steam, sous vide, convection oven designed to give you control over temperature and humidity. It claims to keep cooking temperatures steady and precise to give perfect results. The benefit is that it gives you many cooking options in one, which is ideal if you live in a studio apartment or need a small oven for a caravan, holiday home or anywhere a full-sized oven wouldn't fit.
It can be used as steam only or convection only, and is fan forced with top element only, top and bottom, and bottom element only. It also comes with a temperature probe allowing you to monitor temperatures when cooking meat.
Like several high-tech ovens we've come across recently, the Anova is also Wi-Fi enabled, giving you access to an associated app filled with detailed recipes.
We put the Anova Precision Oven to the test to see how it compares to a conventional oven.
Our experts put the Anova Precision Oven through our usual oven tests – grilling toast and cooking pizza, meringues, roast chicken and scones. Overall it performed well for oven performance, however, was let down in our meringues test. Due to the amount of residual moisture in the oven the meringues couldn't dry out enough which resulted in a chewy texture after two hours of cooking. Also bear in mind it has no grill element – only a top element that doesn't cover the tray area very well – which led to uneven browning in our grilling toast test.
We tested the sous vide capability by cooking salmon and using a combination of steam and convection to bake white bread and found it to be excellent. But it's important to note it takes a lot longer than using a microwave or steaming in a pan or steamer. We also tested the oven as an air fryer by cooking frozen chips and crumbed chicken, but they were unevenly cooked with only some browning.
Be mindful of the amount of steam produced when cooking with the Anova Precision, a lot of which escapes from the oven during cooking. While there are two cooking racks, it only comes with one tray, so baking is restricted to one shelf unless you can get another baking tray that fits. Standard oven trays are too big for the Anova oven.
Overall the Anova is only OK to use. The digital touch screen is easy to use with a bright and clear display, but the temperature and time controls can be sensitive to touch. The shelves may not roll out smoothly and can be difficult to slide in, so you need to find the right positioning. There's excellent visibility through the glass panel during cooking.
The exterior is easy to wipe over and the water tank and drip tray are easy to clean. The stainless steel interior has many cracks and crevices that can accumulate grease and grime and become very difficult to clean if grease is baked on. The oven ceiling can be tricky to clean due to the exposed top element.
The Anova Culinary app provides step-by-step instructions with pictures for a wide range of recipes. Some recipes mention use of accessories like a perforated tray for air frying and a cast iron sheet plate for browning pizzas, however these accessories are not available for purchase yet. We found on the Anova website that these accessories should be available to purchase by December 2021. Many recipes also come from the community so trial and error may be required. You can save your favourite recipes and you can also save and share your own recipes with the community.
One of Anova's selling points is the user's ability to control the oven through the app, monitoring the cooking process without having to be nearby. It controls aspects like cooking mode, preheat time and making temperature changes.
The manufacturer was very helpful in attempting to solve our connectivity issues, but unfortunately, after many attempts and discussions with the manufacturer, we couldn't get the oven to connect to the app and were not able to access or test the benefits of the app. The instructions state that the oven needs to be within 1.5 metres of the internet router during initial setup, so this could be an issue in some home setups.
Despite not having tested this feature, our home economist Fiona Mair thinks it's always a good idea to not rely solely on an app and be nearby to physically check on the cooking process.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.