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Ninja Foodi Dual Heat Air Fry Oven: A real powerhouse

Ninja Foodi 13-in-1 oven.
Ninja Foodi Dual Heat Air Fry Oven
MSRP $230.00
“The Ninja Foodi Dual Heat Air Fry oven has 13 different cooking settings and is perfect for consolidating space in small kitchens.”
Pros
  • Combines a lot of cooking features in a compact unit
  • Easy to use
  • Hot alerts keep you from burning your fingers
Cons
  • Frozen pizza setting doesn't work great

Smart ovens have come to mean two things: Ovens that automatically cook prepared meal kits and those that are smart enough to cook in a variety of settings. As the name suggests, the Ninja Foodi 13-in-1 is the latter. After testing it for a couple of months, we’ve come to think of this Ninja model as the Swiss army knife of smart ovens. It really does it all!

Big but not too big

The Ninja Dual Heat Air Fry Oven SP300 does it all.

The first thing you’ll notice when you pull the Ninja Foodi dual heat air fry oven out of the box is its large size — but that’s not a bad thing. It’s just different than other ovens on the market. The unit measures 20.1 inches long, 15.33 inches wide, and 8.15 inches high, so it’s a bit wider and a bit deeper than your average toaster ovens, and with good reason: You can cook a 13-inch pizza in there with room to spare.

Another interesting design feature is the handle placement; it’s on the left side of the unit. At first, we thought that it was a little odd, but then we came to see the genius behind it. Having the handle on the side of the oven means there’s no way you can accidentally burn yourself.

You can cook a 13-inch pizza in there with room to spare.

All the settings you need to control the oven, along with a digital timer and temperature display, are on the right-side panel. You use these buttons along with the setting dial to do everything — and we mean everything. The oven sports 13 cooking options: Five dual heat and eight air oven modes. The dual heat functions are for relatively fast cooking methods: Sear Crisp, Rapid Bake, Fresh Pizza, Frozen Pizza, and Griddle. Air oven mode functions cover your more typical oven activities: Air Fry, Air Roast, Broil, Bake, Toast, Bagel, Dehydrate, and Reheat.

Basic but not too basic

The Ninja comes with three trays (air fry basket, wire rack, and SearPlate), which is all you need to make just about anything you’d make in a standard oven. Operation is fairly straightforward, even if you don’t read the manual. Simply press the power button, click the Mode button that has the feature you want, use the dial to highlight it, then push in the dial to secure the setting. Once you choose a mode, use the Time/Slices and Temp/Shade buttons along with the settings dial to enter your preferred temp. These settings are where the oven’s smarts come into play.

For example, if you’re toasting some bread, select how many slices using the Time/Slices option. Press the Temp/Shade button and use the settings dial to pick how toasty you want it. If you like bread lightly toasted, pick a lower shade number like 2.

When the food is ready, the oven will sound an alert. It will also replace the Temp/Shade reading in the digital display with the word Hot. We particularly liked this feature, as we don’t always have the willpower to wait for food to cool off enough before eating it. Once the oven is cool, it automatically turns off, so you never have to wonder if you turned off the oven.

Power to the cooks

A meal made on a cook sheet pan using the Ninja Foodi SP300.

In our two months of testing, we’ve come to rely heavily on the Ninja oven for most of our cooking needs. We found that it even replaced many of the reasons we use the microwave. We’re talking to you, reheat setting. We used all the cooking options to make a variety of feasts. Most came out great, but a couple didn’t fare so well.

During a cookie party, the Ninja was a lifesaver. We started to bake cookies using the bake feature. Then we found we could cut the time in half by using the air fryer mode. The cookies tasted just as good baked in both settings. The Air Roast mode finally gave us the incentive to make one of those sheet pan recipes, and now we’re converts of that method.

There were some nuances we learned along the way. Bagel mode is definitely different than toast. That setting tends to provide a dark shade than the Toast option, so you’ll want to adjust accordingly. If you prefer lightly toasted bagels, it’s better off to use the Toast mode.

The Ninja 13-in-1 oven is the ideal solution for small kitchens.

The only real disappointment was the frozen pizza mode. Try as we may, it always burnt our frozen pizzas. At first, we followed the pizza box instructions — no good, burnt to a crisp. Then we used the Frozen Pizza mode’s automatic setting, and it still came out a little too crisp. However, the interesting thing is that regardless of the pizza brand we put in the oven, it always knew to adjust to 25 degrees less and five minutes longer for cooking. Still, not all is lost: You can easily make a frozen pizza using the bake mode — and it cooks correctly.

Our take

The Ninja 13-in-1 oven is the ideal solution for small kitchens. It takes up about as much space as a small microwave and leaves plenty of room between the top of the counter and overhead cabinets.  The Ninja can handle most cooking jobs with ease. However, if you use an air fryer to make whole, crispy rotisserie-style chickens, then you’ll probably need at least one additional cooking option with a bit more space.

Is there a better alternative?

At this price point, it’s hard to find a smart oven with as many settings. If you’re looking for something that can accommodate larger food items, like a whole chicken, you might want to consider a countertop convection oven. If you’re looking for something with similar features and more height, the June Oven is a solid choice. It even comes with an app but costs more.

How long will it last?

The Ninja Foodi Dual Heat Air Fry Oven comes with a limited one-year warranty. The average life span of a toaster oven is about five years, so in theory, one of these countertop ovens should last about that long.

Should you buy it?

At about $300 when not on sale, the Ninja is one of the more affordable smart countertop ovens available and is definitely worth the money. The Ninja 13-in-1 oven is ideal for small kitchens and tiny homes. In fact, it’s perfect for a tiny home that might not have the room to spare for an oven.  If you’re looking to save space by consolidating a lot of counter appliances or need a stand-in oven, you would be hard-pressed to find a model that sports all of these features and does them as well.

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