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on 12 February 2012
I thought I should write a quick review of this product because when I was reading previous reviews to help me decide whether to buy it, there were clearly several controversial issues. Does it have a grill? Will it burn you if you touch the handle? Will it burn your food or leave it cold? Will it ever arrive in the first place if it's being delivered by Yodel? Well, here's my experience and some answers to those questions.

Delivery: Ordered it from Amazon on Wednesday 8th February. Free super-saver delivery. Delivery (by Yodel) estimated Monday 13th. I was worried because online reviewers suggested Yodel were rubbish and wouldn't even knock the door. In fact the Yodel chap knocked the door very adequately and delivered the item with a smile about 5pm on Friday 10th Feb. Everything was present as expected and undamaged in the box, including a user's manual (which some reviewers said wasn't provided).

So is there a user's handbook? Yes. The user's manual is clearly written and helpful. For example, it explains that the heating element at the top of the inside of the oven works as a grill, but that to use it effectively you should leave the oven door open so that the oven thermostat doesn't kick in and turn the grill off while you are grilling. The manual also explains the short "before use" sequence that you should go through before you first cook, to get rid of any smelly fumes from the components.

Is there a grill? Yes. See above, or read the instructions in your user's handbook! I am completely confident that I will be able to make my cheese on toast. The grill doubles as the top heater element for the oven, if you choose to have both top and bottom elements on. It's worth experimenting with that depending on what you're cooking.

Does the oven actually cook anything? I have just roasted a tray of vegetables to perfection. Set the oven to 200 degrees, leave parboiled veggies in tray of oil in oven for one hour, basting half way through, and voila! If I am able, I will put up a photo to show that they cooked brilliantly: I like them crispy and brown so I left them in for an hour. That's exactly the same time as I used to leave them in the full-size gas cooker that this mini-oven is replacing! I warmed the oven to temperature with both the upper and lower elements on, but left the veggies to roast with just the lower element (and its fan) on, which kept the oven happily at the 200 degree setting without "toasting" things on the top shelf!

Does the handle get so hot that you can't touch it without an oven glove, as some reviewers say? No. Not for me. After my 1-hour roasting experiment the handle was cool to the touch. The glass door was hot, and the top of the oven around the hot-plates was hot, but the handle was cool. The user's manual does warn you very clearly that the outside of the oven (including the handle) could get hot, but for me the handle stayed cool.

Do the hot-plate rings work OK? Yes. This is an electric cooker, obviously, so they work like electric cooker rings, not gas, which is not to everybody's taste (slow to warm, slow to cool), but they were as good as any other electric hotplates in my limited experience, and certainly adequate.

Is this the best oven in the world, without peer? Obviously not. I paid about 70 quid for it, and I am not a haut quisine establishment, so I'm not reviewing it as though I am the Queen's banquet chef. Some reviewers were perhaps expecting too much? It's cheapish and cheerful and it seems so far to be doing exactly what it says it will do. It is not a £900 super deluxe item, and it is not designed to satisfy a top chef catering for a party of twenty, but for an oven with a couple of hot plates for less than £100 (reduced price sale, admittedly, when I got it) I'm a perfectly satisfied customer, full of perfectly roasted vegetables and looking forward to my pizza and garlic bread for tea!
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on 6 February 2011
As I have had two of these ovens previously (not from Amazon) I trawled through all the options available to see if I could make a change to another product; the reason being that the oven thermostat on the the first appliance gave up within the guarantee period; the second appliance lasted longer but the thermostat started to malfunction; the oven ran too hot and came on when switches were on zero. However, I should add that the appliances were extensively used. My research did not offer anything that I thought would be a suitable replacement, so I am in again!

Improvements have been made, the top/grill element is more substantial. The handle is a better design and the base feet are more solid. The oven light is controlled on the switch rather than being on all the time if the oven is plugged in. I have always been delighted with roasting and baking results from the oven. Cakes are perfect every time. The fan operation is a bonus and it may be the only mini oven to have this facility. The interior is surprisingly roomy and will accommodate a good free range chicken, or equivalent. Prospective purchasers should note that mini ovens are flimsier than normal ovens and discolouring of the enamel surface, especially around the door, is more prevalent. In order to deal with this I would recommend running the oven on slightly lower temperatures but for slightly longer periods. Also, the sort of person who only cleans an oven once a year (whether it needs it, or not!) will benefit from a more regular wipe around - after all, no bending required as it is often on a worktop. On that note, if you are vertically challenged please note that the hotplates (which function very well) will make saucepan stirring quite a high altitude activity. Lower surfaces will obviously be the solution here. When cleaning the exterior, you have to be careful around the dials as the symbols and number transfers can easily be wiped off. Please note that packing can be a bit hit and miss. I had oven racks missing from appliance number two and no oven tray or instructions in the current model. However, Amazon simply replace the whole works as there is not a facility for sending individual parts. Russell Hobbs also do not do parts but have a help line and can deal with queries. They also offer, I believe, an extension to the guarantee period and a refurbishment service. On the topic of parts, it is a little annoying that there is no facility for the user to change the oven light bulb when it invariably blows. However, it should last longer because it is now easier to control. If you do not have room for a large cooker and would prefer traditional cooking over microwave then you will be very pleased with this sort of appliance. It is also quicker and more economical than heating up a larger oven. It probably will not last as long as a more expensive, substantial oven but with care, and a happy thermostat, should give reasonable service. Happy baking!


I am sorry, readers, it was not third time lucky! The oven thermostat failed again and the appliance was returned after about seven months, under guarantee, via long-suffering Amazon. I had, in any case, reduced my optimistic 4* to 3* as the oven was already showing too many signs of wear. In particular, dial information being wiped off, despite taking great care; it is a difficult appliance to clean easily. Please now see comments related to the Igenix 42 litre mini oven on this, and other detail.
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on 7 January 2010
This mini oven is as good as a coventional cooker. It has all that I need for my cooking needs. Well worth the money and would recommend to anyone.
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on 19 February 2015
We got this oven when we planned to renovate the kitchen. This was 2 years ago, the kitchen is still not renovated I'm sorry to say! - but it's given us a chance to road-test this oven for a long time! My overall impression a week ago would have been "better than I expected" - but sadly yesterday there was a loud crack of some sort and the larger hob ring stopped working. I will now be buying the VonShef oven of identical specs, but £35 cheaper.

I used the oven daily, to cook meals for me and my girlfriend. It is OK if you're using one thing at a time (1 hob ring or just the oven). I would NOT recommend it for a family - and the reason is that the rings cannot provide a *constant* level of heat. They reach the target temperature, the thermostat clicks off, then they cool waaaaay down before clicking on again. You have to try to almost time your cooking. The result is that your stir fry ends up being gently boiled in its juices instead of being pan-seared, or if you drop your pasta or potatoes into boiling water and it's at the "wrong" time of the cycle, it will cool the water and just sit there. This makes judging cooking times much harder. It is much more pronounced if you use the oven at the same time as the hob(s). The oven's heat interferes with the hob rings' thermostat, so while the oven is on you can forget properly frying anything. The absolute worst case scenario is both rings and oven on - it will take you 4 times as long to hob-cook something.

Another thing to note is that the hob rings are either On or Off. The 1-5 scale is pointless. Unless you have it on anything other than Max, it will basically not heat. Not good for simmering anything, in other words.

The oven by itself is actually quite good, heats up and cooks things like potato wedges or chicken pieces very fast. The black tray and racks are pretty much all you need. I have never cooked a big joint of meat or a whole chicken though. I can say that a pizza barely fits in - and if you get the "Taste the Difference" larger type, you really have to cut it into two and carefully fit the halves next to each other. The "grill" (putting the tray right under the top element of the oven) only sort of works, certainly nowhere near as fast and powerful as a big oven's.

The door catch broke about a month ago, and the door swings open (had to use tape to hold it in place).

The hob rings have rusted over time, but I don't think this affected their function. The oven, being typical white 'glazed' type, gets indelibly stained pretty quickly, but it's unavoidable.

I put it on a low-ish small table, so the hob height was comfortable - but if you place it on a kitchen surface I can see it being annoying to cook at that height, especially for shorter people.

So to sum up, it was quite a trusty little workhorse but the 2 year life span is a bit disappointing for the price, and the inability to maintain constant heat in the hob rings is often very irritating as it makes you spend far longer on cooking than you should. I would definitely not recommend it if you need to cook large meals, using both rings, or ring and oven at the same time. For a couple it's OK, maybe for a 3-person family. Perhaps the VonShef model I am getting will be the same - but I have to try something different as I don't have a solid reason to get the Russell Hobbs model again.

Quick update: after only a few days with the VonShef oven, I can see that it is much more like a normal oven - it maintains constant heat in the hob rings, and is truly capable of maintaining different levels of heat, so you can simmer and fully boil things. You can hear the thermostat clicking on and off quite a lot, to maintain constant heat. And it seems to have no problem heating both rings and the oven to the required temperature at the same time. It is a bit smaller though, which I didn't pay attention to. Those pizzas will need an extra squeeze!
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on 13 August 2008
Purchased this from a catalogue, and was very dissappointed to find it did not actually have a grill, merely a smaller square oven element at the top, to be used for keeping food warm. You cannot actually grill thingssuch as bacon, sausages, or make toast with this mini kitchen. What is does is bake them, turning the edges which sit right under the element black, and barely touching the middle of the items you are grilling. It also turns them into the texture of a brick. The box says it all - "can be used to roast, bake, boil or fry". Note is doesn't say you can grill! I sent it back. Only buy this item if you never want to grill anything.
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on 20 March 2014
This is my second portable oven.(I don't need the hotplates) My first was a Morphy Richards. Firstly the internal depth is smaller than a standard oven 27cm. So you might find that some of your baking trays and tins will not fit!. It also has a light/baking switch thing going on where when you turn the knob the light goes on and lights up the interior which is in itself a good thing but when you turn it off. The light stays on until you gingerly make sure the knob is right the way off.Only for it to turn on, this is disconcerting as it is indicative of the oven still being on. I now just switch it off from the mains when not in use. I gave it a pass mark as it cooks well and quite quickly. And does look a bit cute. My main complaint is that I have had to buy new baking trays and tins
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on 22 June 2015
I brought this in 2013 I thought it was ok at first but then I became suspicious that the hobs were not getting as hot as they should and if fact they turn themselves off when they wanted to. I expect they get over hot and give up. I use this occassionly it's a quick option for cooking so it hasn't had a lot of use. One morning whilst sitting in the kitchen the oven turned it's self on, it was plugged in and everything else ws off. I sent it back and got another one and was told it was faulty. I have had the new one agin it's not used that often. However the same problems have occurred, the hot plates do not remain hot and again last week the oven turned it's self on. I now always turn it off at the plug. It's no longer under guantee as despite getting a new one i didn't get another guantee. I never write reviews but as it says it's good for students, and my daughter is a student I can see this oven causing problems with electrics and house fires if left on. Please be careful with the oven if you have one and buy soemthing else in the future. Russell hobbs you are not as good as you once were!
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on 6 September 2017
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on 24 October 2016
Quick delivery from Amazon.
Hobs were reasonably good, being thermostat control. But if I was honest, they did struggle a bit to get upto heat.
The oven itself was a good size, but again just like the hobs, couldn't reach upto a stable hot temperature, so I ended up cooking food for longer even though it was designed to be a fan oven.
Had this brand new and less than 16months later, one of the dials cracked. Luckily it had 2yrs manufactures warranty, so RH was extremely quick replacing the oven and so just had to dispose of this one.
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on 28 May 2015
i've had this a year and have nothing else to cook on.
the hot plates take a while to warm up (as expected as electric not induction /halogen). and ages to cool down so its hard to simmer.
the oven loses heat v quickly if the door is opened so its better to not 'check' on things, or will take 10-15mins to come back up to temp!
the hot plates lose power if you turn the oven on and vice versa.
the oven IS big enough to do a roast chicken....if you can put everything in the same medium sized oven dish...but then not open the door too often.
the paint has singed off all around the door - did this within a few weeks.
overall i bought it so we could refurb our kitchen and it is possible to cook with this and it has the advantage of being portable, but after a year i can't wait to get a 'proper' oven back!!
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