In the niche category of steam ovens, Miele has reigned supreme. In fact, for over a decade they were one of the only manufacturers who could build a solid and reliable steam oven. It wasn’t cheap, but – in our opinion – it was the best. Then we got the chance to review a new kid on the block – the Sharp AX1200S Steam Oven. Here came a unit with more functionality, more flexibility (in the ability to be a counter-top unit as well) and an impossibly low price.
It would seem then that the Miele Steam Oven had met its match. In two ways this is true: the Miele will not be able to compete with the Sharps price, and the Sharp is a counter-top unit, thus opening itself up to all consumers instead of limiting itself to built-in applications.
But in many more ways the Miele still reigns supreme. For one, it is a tried and true platform. It was designed solely as a steam oven and has been in action (in some form or another) for well over a decade. It looks truly natural when built-in, unlike the Sharp which appears bulky and out of place when applied in cabinetry.
The Miele also sports one show-stopping feature that the Sharp does not: MasterChef. The computer system is impossibly simple to use and is as close to “set it and forget it” as you or I will ever encounter. The MasterChef computer system has been tuned and honed over the years and it truly shows. Putting in your food information, approximate weight, and desired temperature and the results are astounding. The Sharp will never be able to match this functionality, nor can any unit we know of on the market today.
It’s interior cavity is plentiful and is lined in smooth stainless steel, and clean up couldn’t be easier. The water bin is on the right side when you open the door, making it impossible to miss even for users unfamiliar with the machine. The unit comes with (3) perforated stainless steel cooking pans, a solid stainless drip pan, and a stainless wire rack.
Another neat feature is Miele continually adds recipes online for use with the machine. At well over $2,000, the Miele Steam Oven is no kitchen after-thought – but for those who are dead-serious about their gastronomic cooking, this is the best machine on the market.
Pros: Solid build quality, proven track record, Masterchef rules.