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Marah Eakin

Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 review

Image shows the Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1.

With microwave, air fryer, and convection oven capabilities, the Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 aims to cut down on the small appliance clutter that plagues so many of our kitchens. 

Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1: Key specs

Type of microwave: Combination air fryer, convection oven, and microwave
Colors: Brushed stainless steel and black stainless steel
Capacity: 32L
Power: 1200W
Dimensions: 20.4" x 20.2" x 12.4"
Weight: 34 lbs
Number of settings: Many, including duration, temperature, and 19 built-in smart presets
Energy Star Certified: No
Construction material: Brushed stainless steel
Warranty: 1 year, limited

This oven sets out to do everything from reheating soup to roasting a chicken, melting chocolate to crisping up a three-day-old slice of pizza. The company says that capacity is due to the oven’s “Element iQ system,” which it says “steers power to where and when it’s needed” in order to create “the ideal cooking environment.”

To test those claims out, we snagged a Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 for ourselves, putting it through a rigorous round of real-world tests over the course of about a month. We used it to do everything from baking Christmas cookies to roasting chicken wings, testing not just its presets and various capacities against not only our expectations but those of the fairly standard microwave and toaster ovens we already owned.

Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1: Design

Sleek, sturdy, and well-made, the Combi Wave satisfied all our wants in terms of durability and appearance. Made of stainless steel, the Combi Wave comes in both brushed and black stainless steel and has a hefty door handle that makes the whole appliance feel relatively substantial. That doesn’t mean it’s loud, though: The door has soft close technology that means you won’t find yourself always wincing when you slam the opening shut. 

(Image credit: Marah Eakin.)

We were particularly taken with the digital readout, which is fairly large for the machine’s size and is very easy to read. We also liked the machine’s two knobs—One for time and one to adjust temperature or microwave power—both of which feel great in your hand and allow you to make easy selections no matter what you’re cooking.

In terms of aesthetics, we’d be remiss if we didn’t shout out the Combi Wave’s pleasing cycle end music, which is far superior to the obnoxiously loud beeps other comparable appliances can make...

(Image credit: Marah Eakin.)

Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1: Features

Since the Combi Wave aims to do the work of three different appliances, there are features a-plenty. The oven comes with both a circular metal baking or roasting pan (with folding legs), as well as a raised roasting trivet. 

Depending on what you’re looking to do—say, roast some chicken using one of the machine’s presets—the oven’s digital display will tell you what pan or rack you should use and how long the oven’s preheat will be. If you’re in doubt—say you’re not using a preset, for instance—the oven also gives general guidance if you’re baking versus microwaving or whatever.

(Image credit: Marah Eakin.)

The oven has two previously mentioned knobs—time and adjust—the centers of which contain the machine’s “stop” and “start” buttons. There are also buttons on the front to choose “fast combi”, “oven”, “microwave” , “air fry”, or “from frozen” cooking, as well as a button for the “food menu” where you’ll find many of the machine’s presets. The latter is a great place to start if you’re looking to reheat something, figure out the length of time you’ll want to cook a certain amount of salmon, say, or just whip up a quick bag of microwave popcorn.

Inside the machine’s door there are even more preset and settings buttons, including two meant to make melting chocolate or butter incredibly easy (trust us. We used them multiple times around the holidays). There’s also a child lock option, a “heart” button to make a cook setting a favorite, and options to change the machine’s sound cues as well as make them louder or softer.

(Image credit: Marah Eakin.)

Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1: Setup and assembly

The Breville Combi 3-in-1 comes in a well sized box with limited packing materials. The ones that are in there are mostly cardboard, too, meaning they’re easily recyclable. Unboxing the Breville Combi 3-in-1 isn’t hard, either, provided you have an extra set of hands to pull on the box while you yank on the oven. 

Once the oven is out of the box, you’ll just need to unwrap the electrical cord, pull the plastic off the end of the three-prong plug, and you’re good to go. The machine’s accessory trays are wrapped separately, too, so assembly is incredibly easy. You’ll have your new oven up and running in a matter of minutes.

Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1: Performance

We put the Combi Wave through a few standard tests meant to measure the oven’s performance against other comparable models. First, we microwaved a dinner-sized bowl of tomato soup for about two minutes at the highest setting. The soup—and the bowl—came out piping hot, so much so that the next time we made soup we dialed back the time just a touch. 

Next, we tested the oven’s convection function on both a dish of chicken legs. We let the machine’s “chicken” preset do all the guesswork and simply entered the meat’s weight to let the oven gauge the cooking time. The legs came out perfectly done, with crispy skin on the outside, and the entire process was incredibly easy. Best of all, the oven even turned itself off when the cooking was done, meaning we wouldn’t wake up hours later in the middle of the night wondering if we’d turned the oven off after dinner. Things went comparably well with a couple salmon filets, as well, which took just nine minutes to cook and came out perfectly done.

We also made handy use of a couple of the oven’s other presets, like the popcorn feature, the chocolate and butter melting (which is more handy than you’d think!), and the “pizza” setting, which reheated a couple delivery slices to a perfect crispness. We baked a few pans of brownies that came out well, too, and found that the oven left the edges perfectly crispy.

(Image credit: Marah Eakin.)

As far as performance, we only had a few drawbacks, really. First, if you’ve never had a convection oven or air fryer, you might find it a little hard to get used to the whooshing air sound that comes with the cooking process. It’ll turn into background noise after a couple of bakes and at only about 56 dB it’s less noisy than your average dishwasher, but still, it’s louder than a traditional oven. The “done” music is fully adjustable, as well, so you can set that to be as loud or as quiet as you’d like.

Secondly, while the Combi Wave is pretty big (We tested ours in a mid-century ranch house with a galley-like kitchen and it took up a shocking chunk of our counter space), it’s still not big enough to cook two things at once, meaning you won’t be able to, say, throw a chicken on the top rack while you heat up a tray of fries down below. This oven only has one cooking surface, meaning you’ll have to pick and choose how and what you want to cook at any given time.

One note about that counter space issue, while we’re thinking about it: While we thought the Combi Wave felt pretty large in our home kitchen, almost no buyers online seem to have that issue and most say it fits perfectly in their more modern spaces. Our advice is to just measure first and make sure you have a sense of how big the oven will be compared to your room.

Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1: Care and maintenance

 We found the Combi Wave to be pretty easy to clean, with the accompanying pan and rack wiping down to appear basically new no matter what we threw at them. Because the inside of the oven is shiny stainless, it’s easy to see where the messes are, too, so as long as you stay on top of any splatter or crust and don’t let it build up for months or years, you shouldn’t have to resort to anything more than a little hot water and elbow grease. 

Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1: Price and availability

The Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 has a list price of $499.95, putting it on the higher end of the price spectrum compared to other combination ovens. (Toshiba, for instance, makes a slightly smaller oven that costs just $229, while Panasonic’s 4-in-1 oven costs $529). 

While $500 might seem steep for a small appliance, though, we found it to be fairly worthwhile, both because of the Breville Combi Wave’s general quality and its capacity to replace other appliances. You can toss your microwave and airfryer if you snag one of these, and if you’re looking for a full suite of countertop friends, Amazon bundles the Combi Wave with a 4-slice Breville toaster for just about $570. 

The Combi Wave is available for purchase from Breville direct, as well as from retailers like Amazon and Best Buy.  

Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1: User reviews

At the time of writing, the Combi Wave currently has a 4.4 star rating on Amazon with 424 reviews. It has a 4.5 on Best Buy with 461 reviews, too, meaning users are relatively consistent in what they think about the product. 

One Amazon buyer wrote in their review that, “I've used this now for about two months and I've just started scratching the surface about what it can do. The longer I own it the more I like and respect it,” while another called out the buttons and dials, which they called “so intuitive and easy to use.” A Best Buy customer agreed, hailing the “large” and “bright” LCD panel, which they said, “contains all of the information needed during any cooking task.” 

Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1: What the experts say

Rick Biederbeck, owner of the Spencer’s TV And Appliance chain in Arizona, says a combination oven is a smart purchase not just because it eliminates counter clutter but because it’s probably well made. “Most of the inexpensive brands don’t offer the things that you can get in a combination oven,” Biederbeck says. “When you’re looking at something that gives you more options, it’s probably from a higher end brand and part of their process is to build for quality so you have an assurance that it’ll last a long time.” 

Biederbeck estimates that an oven like the Breville should last somewhere between 15 and 20 years depending on how often you use it and how roughly you treat it. “If you’re using something twice a week for 15 years, even if it costs twice as much, to me, it’s worth it,” he says. 

Though Biederbeck isn’t familiar with the Combi Wave, he says it’s in line with other ovens in the marketplace, all created in the wake of the public’s love affair with air frying. Now, he says, there are even ovens that have 4-in-1 capabilities, like this Samsung model, which can also steam cook and sous vide food. “They’re handier at home and make for fewer things to keep in the cupboard or pantry,” Biederbeck says, “I have that Samsung at my house, and I use that steam feature at least twice a week.” 

Should you buy the Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1?

While the Breville Combi Wave 3-in-1 is certainly a splurge, the oven’s range of use and sturdy durability make it a smart buy. It passed every test we put it to with flying colors and we really left our reviewing process with only minor quibbles. 

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