Yes, it looks and feels great. It's designed to be flush-mounted, though Bosch says it will fit most 30-inch cutouts. Telescoping racks glide easily, and a soft-close door is, quite literally, a nice touch. And, yes, it has tons of features, including true convection, custom cooking modes, a two-hour self clean, and a meat probe.
But the reason we're such fans of this wall oven is how well it bakes. In test after test, food emerged without flaws.
On sale, we've found the HBL8451UC for as low as $2,000. That's only a few hundred dollars more than wall ovens with fewer features and less impressive performance. With its good looks, all-encompassing features, and excellent temperature accuracy, this is the wall oven to buy—and the one to beat.
Exquisite European style
Looks aren't everything, but when it comes to an appliance that will sit in your kitchen for years, they can be pretty important. Fortunately, we think the HBL8451UC is beautiful. With it's brushed stainless exterior, flush-mount fit, stark clean lines, and unimposing control panel, this is European design done right.
The HBL8451UC is also packed to the gills with high-end features and conveniences. The QuietClose door gently shuts regardless of how forcefully you try to slam it, which is great if you need to nudge the door closed while your hands are full. Inside the—admittedly small—4.6-cubic-foot oven cavity, you'll find two standard racks and one telescoping rack that slides out for easy access. While these racks are useful, they do add a few minutes to the preheat time.
The HBL8451UC features true or "European-style" convection. In layman's terms, it means that along with a upper broiler element and a lower baking element, the oven also has a fan that circulates heated air from a third element. This results in better evenness, particularly for dishes that take longer to cook. The HBL8451UC also comes equipped with a temperature probe, which saves you from needing to open up the oven to manually check the temperature of your food. Even if you don't use the probe, bright lighting and a big window both help.
Takes its time, but the results are worth the wait
The recessed eight-pass broiler was spectacular. It took only five minutes to reach our target temperature of 600°F, which should make short work of steak tips. For purposes of comparison, we test all ovens with default settings, so we didn't score the optional Fast Preheat setting. However, we'd suggest you use it, as the HBL8451UC has a disappointingly slow default preheat.
Overall, we were extremely impressed with the HBL8451UC's cooking performance. We baked a batch of cookies and two cakes using both standard bake settings and convection. In both cases, colorimetry testing showed excellent uniformity and evenness across all baked goods.
As is often the case, cookies baked marginally better when we used the standard bake setting. On both convection and conventional bake settings, we noticed very little difference in doneness between each individual cookie. The bottoms were slightly overdone, but a lighter baking sheet will prevent that from happening.
Cakes fared slightly better in the convection setting, however the edges were slightly overdone. Our advice: Take a few minutes off your expected baking time and you should have no trouble.
This Bosch is the one to beat
We don't lavish praise on products unless they deserve it, but this Bosch wall oven does. The HBL8451UC is easily one of the best-looking wall ovens we've ever seen, and the long list of extra features is impressive. Far from just a pretty face, the HBL8451UC also delivers when it comes to performance. The broiler is excellent, and the oven proved more than capable of cooking food evenly and accurately.
While its $2,299 MSRP isn't exactly chump change, it's pretty reasonable for a stainless wall oven with convection. Fortunately, with a bit of online sleuthing, you can find it for around $2,000.
Meet the tester
Aside from reviewing ovens and cooktops, James moonlights as an educational theatre practitioner, amateur home chef, and weekend DIY warrior.
Checking our work.
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