The Tovala Smart Oven is just $49 for Black Friday, but is it any good?

The Tovala Smart Oven Gen 2 is best suited to those who will make the most of its accompanying meal plan, but it's also a top countertop oven in its own right

Tovala toaster oven
(Image credit: Tovala)
Homes & Gardens Verdict

The Tovala Smart Oven (Gen 2) makes cooking as easy as scanning a barcode - and even includes the option to purchase ready-to-cook meals. It has the optional ongoing cost of a meal kit subscription, but can still be used for home cooking and quick meals if you decide they're not for you.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Space-saving/lightweight

  • +

    Optional meal delivery service

  • +

    Steam, Broil, toast, and reheat functions

  • +

    Scan to cook Tovala meals

  • +

    Scan to cook numerous grocery items

  • +

    Recipe library

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Tovala meals can be an expensive ongoing cost

  • -

    Must have WiFi and smartphone to set up the oven

  • -

    On the small side for family-sized meals

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I’ve had the Tovala Smart Oven, Gen 2 (also known as the Tovala 6-in-1 Steam + Air Fry Smart Oven) since June 2021, so I’ve been able to test it on several occasions. This appliance is a game changer that eliminates the need to prep meals or figure out the time, temperature, or cooking mode. The ability to just unpack a box of food that’s been delivered to my door, place it in the oven, and scan a barcode to begin cooking makes it easy to eat healthy meals on a regular basis.

However, you can’t just grab Tovala’s meals from your favorite grocery store - you’ll need a subscription to take full advantage of this feature. Of course, you’re not limited to the company’s food. The Tovala Gen 2 Smart Oven also functions like a regular countertop oven, and even has a steam function. However, the meal subscription function is really what sets it apart from the rest of the best toaster ovens

Below, I’ll provide a review of the Tovala Smart Oven Gen 2, the Tovala Meal process, and other essential information to help you decide if this is the right countertop oven for your needs. 

Although it's got a hefty ongoing cost attached, if (like me) you're not a lover of making meals from scratch, it's a price worth paying to have the option of ready-prepared meals that sync effortlessly to your oven. Really, things couldn't be smarter. 

Tovala Smart Oven 2 Gen: $299 (opens in new tab)

Tovala Smart Oven 2 Gen: $299 $49 when you buy 6 weeks of meals (opens in new tab)

Save $250 on the Tovala Steam + Air Fry Smart Oven, when you order at least 6 weeks of meals within your first 6 months to take advantage of this Black Friday deal.

Our reviewer
Terri Williams photo
Our reviewer
Terri Williams

Terri hates cooking – but loves testing kitchen appliances. She’s tested over a dozen countertop ovens, and has written buying guides on countertop ovens and other kitchen appliances and home goods for several popular websites.

Tovala graciously gifted Terri her unit of the Tovala Gen 2 Smart Oven for this review. 

 Tovala Gen 2 Smart Oven: Specs 

Tovala smart oven

(Image credit: Tovala)
  • Cooking modes: Steam, Bake, Broil, Toast, Reheat
  • Temperature Range: 86°F- 446°F
  • Exterior Dimensions: 18.5" L x 12.32" D x 11.75" H 
  • Interior Dimensions: 12.75" L x 11" D x 8" H
  • Weight:  20.9 lb. 
  • Power: 1525W
  • Accessories:  Drain Tray, Crumb Tray, Steamer Cover, Oven Rack, Sheet Tray, Hot Pad, Measuring Cup, Quick Start Guide, and Recipe Cards 
  • Warranty: 1 year

Getting started

Tovala smart oven review

(Image credit: Terri Williams)

 

I’ve had the Tovala Gen 2 Smart Oven for over a year, and the box that it came in was recycled a long time ago, so I can’t show you the unboxing process. However, the accessories were carefully wrapped, and include a few items that may require an explanation:

  • Steamer cover: goes over the stainless steel steamer in the back of the oven. The cover easily slides in place.
  • Drain tray: this slides into the front (under the oven door) and collects excess water produced when cooking with steam.
  • Measuring cup: used to pour 8 ounces of water into the water reservoir when using a cooking mode that includes steam. The “add water” message appears whenever there’s not enough water in the reservoir.
  • The other accessories include the crumb tray, oven rack, sheet tray, hot pad (for resting hot trays on), and the quick start guide and recipe cards.
  • As of September 2022, new Tovala Gen 2 Smart Ovens also come equipped with an air fry basket accessory (the air fry basket accessory can also be purchased separately for $19.99, and used with the oven’s convection baking mode. 

Tovala smart oven review

(Image credit: Terri Williams)

The 1525-watt oven has a sleek, stainless steel interior and exterior. It’s on the smallish side (which is great for people trying to save countertop space) but is large enough to hold a 4 pound chicken, or 10-inch pizza.

Tovala recommends a 6-inch clearance on the top of the oven and 3 inches on the sides and back. The company also recommends plugging the appliance into a GFCI outlet that has nothing else plugged in.

Using the Tovala Gen 2 Smart Oven

Tovala smart oven review

(Image credit: Terri Williams)

The first step to using the Tovala Gen 2 Smart Oven was downloading the Tovala app on my smartphone, creating an account, and setting up the oven.  After the initial setup, the oven can be controlled via phone, but also using the control panel on the appliance.

Tovala app

(Image credit: Tovala)

The app also provides the ability to create cooking cycles, receive notifications when the food is done, order meals, and access a large library of recipes.

The control panel includes modes to select from (scan, toast, steam, bake, broil), and this is also where the time and temperature are set. The button at the bottom of the control panel is used to start, cancel, or turn the oven off.

Tovala smart oven review

Tovala scan code and controls

(Image credit: Terri Williams)

The light at the very top of the control panel is the scan function, and this is used to scan the barcode on Tovala’s prepared and delivered meals, as well as many common grocery store items.

The company sent me four meals to try for the purposes of this review, but I've also used the oven for day-to-day cooking without the included recipe subscription. 

Tovala smart oven review

The four Tovala meals

(Image credit: Terri Williams)

Cooking Tovala Ginger Tamari Pork Chop

Tovala smart oven review

Ginger Tamari Pork Chop before

(Image credit: Terri Williams)

The first test was Tovala’s Ginger Tamari Pork Chop with Sweet Pea Rice and Pickled Carrots. Without opening the box, the meal’s name, cooking time, and use before date are displayed, which is helpful when storing the boxes in the refrigerator. The pork chop, sauce, veggies, and pickled carrots are all individually wrapped. There’s only one pan shown in the photo, but the 2nd pan is actually packed underneath it to save space.

Tovala smart oven review

Cooking Ginger Tamari Pork Chop

(Image credit: Terri Williams)

The meal card includes the nutrition information as well as the barcode to scan. After flipping the meal card over, the other side includes icons with corresponding titles for each item. (At first, I thought it was funny that the company felt the need to identify the pork chop, rice, etc., but the next day, when I couldn’t tell the salad dressing from one of the sauces, I was grateful for those titled pictures!)

Below the icons and titles are the prep instructions: for example, separate the nested trays, remove the plastic film, place the pork chop in one pan, place the rice in the other pan, etc.

I followed the instructions, put the two pans in the oven, scanned the barcode, and came back when the oven started beeping to indicate the food was ready. Then I added the pickled carrots and ginger sauce.

The meal was delicious. The pork chop was tender and juicy, the rice was fluffy and light while the peas were crunchy, and the carrots and sauce added just the right amount of flavor.

Tovala smart oven review

Ginger Tamari Pork Chop plated

(Image credit: Terri Williams)

Cooking Tovala Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon & Peanut Noodles

Tovala smart oven review

Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon & Peanut Noodles before

(Image credit: Terri Williams)

The next day, I tried another one of the Tovala Meals: Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon & Peanut Noodles. This box contained many more items than the first meal. In addition to the salmon filet, noodles, peanut sauce, and Sriracha sauce, it also included a prepared salad and carrot ginger dressing. I opened everything, poured the sauce over the salmon, placed the salmon and noodles in separate pans, placed them in the oven, and then scanned the barcode on the meal card.