V Smart oven Tovala Air Fryer is a Wi-Fi connected desktop oven with an app that, when combined with an expensive meal plan subscription, can cook fresh, personalized meals for one in about 20 minutes or less.
The perfect companion for small kitchens and busy work schedules, the Smart Oven Airfryer allows you to select meals online, scan the barcode on the package and dig through them. However, if you’re interested in creating your own recipes or cooking more than that (you can order double portions, although that will raise the price of already expensive meals) you may not need such a targeted smart device. And, if you don’t feel like spending the extra money on a six-week meal delivery, an affordable $70 oven will skyrocket to the less economical $250, which no longer makes it a budget choice, especially when compared to other countertop ovens and air fryers. like our favorite, $300 Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven.
To help you decide if this smart oven is right for you, I’ve cooked up a week’s worth of Tovala gourmet meals with the Smart Oven Air Fryer. Here’s what you need to know before you start cooking.
Airfryer Tovala Smart Oven offers a simple service of fresh food delivery for one and one-touch cooking with Wi-Fi connection. Great budget toaster, if you order food it goes to a more expensive and less useful purchase if you’re more interested in cooking from scratch. However, if you’re looking to save time and energy, this countertop oven outperforms supermarket frozen food and takeaways.
The Tovala app (available for iOS and Android) is non-negotiable for the Smart Oven Air Fryer because this is where you register, pay and order your food. It will also help you set up your oven and even give you access to a database of recipes if you really decide to cook from scratch. And if you need a recipe for roasting hot dogs in the air (see below), then this oven will definitely fit.
Once you download and log into the app, it will also take full control of the Smart Oven Air Fryer, although you can still use the device’s simple buttons (more below) or use its even more convenient barcode scanner. And to keep you organized, the app will also send food delivery notifications to your phone and let you know when your food is ready.
Because I live with my husband and two kids, I knew I wouldn’t necessarily be using this oven the way it’s meant to offer a tastier 21st century version of the lonely TV dinner. And since I love to cook for my family, I was skeptical about a simple indoor smart oven. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how incredibly easy and fast it is to use in combination with a food delivery service.
The point is to take most of the work out of preparing food from fresh produce while making it tastier and healthier than the prepared foods you can buy at the supermarket. Not only do you not have to follow a complicated recipe, but you also don’t have to fiddle with temperature, come up with a cooking regime, or think about how long to cook. This is, simply put, dinner for dummies.
The new Smart Oven fryer, released this year, has a neutral putty color that contrasts with the soft gray finish of the Smart Oven Pro. It has a glass window through which you can watch the food being cooked, a touch control panel on one side and a barcode scanner in the upper right corner.
Super easy food and cooking subscription
Since the food subscription service is an integral part of the company’s philosophy, it makes little sense to buy this oven without ordering at least some of the dishes. And, as mentioned above, to get a $70 oven, you have to order six courses. I ordered eight to start.
While you can get a meal for as little as $10, the average price is $13 per serving (prices vary depending on the ingredients). This is about what you would pay if you ordered. You can start with four meals a day for $52 and shipping costs $10. After subscribing, you can easily go back and change the frequency or even skip or pause meals depending on your schedule.
I selected several dishes to try, including four chicken dishes, one filet mignon (which added a few dollars to my shipping cost), several meatballs, a bowl of beef and rice, and one vegetarian option. Each meal is packed in a neat cardboard box with instructions and a barcode, and the corresponding protein is individually vacuum-packed.
Cooking was easy. Everything is already cut and portioned, and the necessary sauces or seasonings will come in handy, separate bags. I asked my teen to make them himself and my 16 year old was fascinated by how easy it was to pick up the food and toss it in the oven and then just scan the barcode and wait for his dinner. As mentioned, you can use an oven launcher app, but there’s something strangely satisfying about holding that barcode under a scanner and watching it work.
The food is good. It’s not restaurant quality, but it’s more appealing than a frozen dinner. Though if you’re on the calorie or salt side, you might want to check the food list online before ordering specific meals – my Italian meatballs with roasted red peppers and potato wedges had a whopping 720 calories and contained 45 grams of fat with almost 2,000 grams of salt ( compare that to a Big Mac, which has 540 calories, 25 grams of fat, and just over 1,000 grams of salt).
If you are looking for a more versatile toaster oven for all kinds of foods and cooking methods, Tovala is not the best choice. And no, you can’t go to the supermarket and choose Towal’s food. The app’s Grocery tab has a list of groceries if you want to grab something from brands like Amy’s, DiGiorno, or Trader Joe’s, but you can also use your microwave at this point.
The oven itself is smaller than the $449 GE Cafe Couture oven with air fryer that I usually put on the countertop, and it has a lot less bells and whistles. While this austerity may be better for ready-meal subscribers, it’s not as helpful if you’re cooking from scratch or cooking for a large group.
Although this new oven is marketed as a deep fryer, after receiving the dishes, I realized that none of them used this feature. At least I don’t think so, because he doesn’t tell you what he does when he cooks. It’s just like that.
Towala addressed this by answering. “The air fryer is not really compatible with Tovala dishes at the time, it’s only for other foods you might want to air fry.” Like hot dogs, apparently.
Here’s what I didn’t consider until I signed up for my meal plan: where exactly do I store eight individual boxes of food in the fridge? I ended up having to rearrange things completely to stack them on top of each other and then put the egg whites in the freezer. If you have a small kitchen and an even smaller fridge, you might want to consider this before ordering more than four meals at a time.
Of course, if your fridge is empty due to not cooking for yourself, the Smart Oven air fryer is perfect.
V Smart oven Tovala Air Fryer and an accompanying meal plan is a time-saving way to enjoy fresh food at home. Assembling the dishes is easy, and you can use the app or the oddly cuddly bar scanner to cook without any further instructions.
Of course, if you don’t feel like paying at least $52 a week for at least four meals a day, this inexpensive $69 oven will go up to $250 and you’re better off having a simple toaster oven/fryer like Hamilton Beach Course Crisp for just $100 with no strings attached. And if you’re the more adventurous home cook, you might want something bigger and more versatile, like our pick. KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven with Air Fry (200 dollars).
But if you just want to cook your own food with little to no effort, prep work or cleaning up, the Smart Oven Air Fryer is a smart choice. Even my 16 year old son, who spends more time queuing at Chipotle than cooking his own meals, appreciates Tovala’s ease of use and minimum mess.
Did you like the food? “That’s good, mom, but I’d rather eat your cooking.” Music to my ears, but for him it’s definitely a step up from takeaway.