With a basic design, the Hamilton Beach 31401 doesn’t have any exterior feature that stands out. It makes up a little for this with its interior having quartz heating elements with safeguards.
The design of the Instant Omni Plus 18L 140-4002-01 Air Fryer Toaster Oven shows attention to detail and makes use of modern technology, which resembles the larger Ninja DT201 a lot. While not perfect, its strong points are more than enough to make up for the minor drawbacks.
Stood out to us were the combination of one nichrome and four quartz heating elements as well as the oven’s powerful convection settings. However, the spacing between the four rack levels made it difficult to place a baking pan to catch drippings while roasting a whole chicken with the rotisserie kit.
While the Hamilton Beach 31401 doesn’t offer much in terms of usability, it also doesn’t cause any inconvenience. Although the analog control knobs can make it difficult to pinpoint an exact time and temperature, it wasn’t a big problem.
The Instant Omni Plus 18L 140-4002-01 Air Fryer Toaster Oven is the opposite of a simplistic analog unit like the Cuisinart TOA-60. It maximizes its ease of use but that leads to some weak points in and of itself; the same goes for its user control.
The oven’s touchscreen LCD is very easy to operate with all of its separate cooking functions and feature toggles despite having only one master-control knob and a subpar color contrast. Due to insufficient space, however, the cooking chamber can get quite tricky to clean in case of big greasy messes.
Our test results showed that the Hamilton Beach 31401 did a good job of making toast. However, it didn’t perform well in dishes that require a long cooking time and/or a high temperature, including pizza, whole roasted chicken, and baked french fries.
Our resulting test dishes were also mostly lacking in color, except for the toast. This was possibly due to the oven’s low power output in addition to having only two heating elements, unlike the Breville BOV450XL. One solution could be to decrease the amount of food compared to our test amount.
The performance of the Instant Omni Plus 18L 140-4002-01 Air Fryer Toaster Oven is consistently great. In particular, it’s excellent at baking/ air frying fries and roasting a whole chicken. This is thanks to its great design, strong convection system as well as useful accessories—including an air fryer basket and rotisserie kit.
Pros & Cons
- Lightweight and small size
- Easy-to-clean stainless steel exterior
- Cool-touch door handle
- Simple control knobs
- Stay-on feature
- Quartz heating elements have safeguards
- Informative and eye-catching package
- Smart Programs and cooking status bar
- Electrical safety feature for the door
- Convenient slide-out crumb tray
- Safeguards for all heating elements
- Complimentary app with detailed instructions and numerous recipes
- Helpful toggles
- Easy-to-clean stainless steel exterior
- No convection fan
- No internal lighting
- No safety mechanism for the door
- Touchscreen digital displays need more contrast
- The master-control knob can be confusing
In most of our performance tests, the Hamilton Beach 31401 left a lot to be desired against the consistently great results of the Instant Omni Plus 18L. However, in an interesting upset, the Hamilton won in toasting bread.
Despite both using quartz heating elements, the Instant has four of them plus an additional swirl nichrome heating element while the Hamilton only has two. The Instant also has a power output of 1800 W as opposed to 1200 W of the Hamilton.
These could be the reasons behind the Hamilton’s low scores in dishes that require a long cooking time and/or a high temperature. Of course, the lack of a convection system compared to the Instant doesn’t help. In actual use, however, you can cook less food than our test amounts for better results.
The Hamilton has a basic design and three simple control dials with a stay-on function. On the other hand, the Instant has an LCD touchscreen with smart programs, audio cues, toggles, and cooking presets. It’s also equipped with a slide-out crumb tray, interior light, and tray-level indicators on the glass door.
The Instant Omni Plus 18L is the winner thanks to its convenient features of design and usability as well as overall efficiency. Nonetheless, the Hamilton can still have a place in your kitchen as a lightweight, small-sized, and energy-saving appliance.
Behind the Comparison
Alan Nguyen is a writer and product reviewer at HealthyKitchen101. His major in English language teaching taught him to present concise information. In addition to his cooking hobby, he values the practical aspects of household appliances.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef passionate about delicious and healthful foods. At HealthyKitchen101, she develops recipes and collaborates with our Research, Testing, and Review lab to evaluate the performance of cooking appliances. Her assessments add a strong authoritative voice to our product scoring process.
Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.