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The Big Boss Rapid Wave Oven: Is it Really Worth it?

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The Big Boss Rapid Wave Oven: Is it Really Worth it?

The Big Boss Rapid Wave Oven is one of those “As Seen on TV” products that we all ooh and ahh over. The Rapid Wave is touted by the manufacturer as an easy way to cook entire meals three times faster than in a conventional oven. It also, according to the infomercials, uses 80% less energy and is self-cleaning. This, upon first glance, seems like the perfect kitchen appliance.

So when we recently moved from the country into a small in-town house, only to find that there was no stove, we weighed our options and decided that for the price, the Rapid Wave Oven couldn’t be beat. We rushed out and bought one, assuming we would be able to cook traditional meals for our family. We were, at first, ecstatic. This one little device meant that we did not have to go spend a large amount of money on a gas stove, money which, incidentally, we just could not afford at the time.
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At first the Rapid Wave Oven was great. It was easy enough to use for someone like me, who has very few kitchen-related skills and can barely handle microwaveable cardboard-tasting meals. I quickly found that a few frozen pork egg rolls tossed on the Rapid Wave Oven’s top rack would quickly turn into a delicious late-night snack and the rest, as they say, was history. Or was it?

Cooking times

The Rapid Wave oven, while not living up to the manufacturer’s “3x faster” claim, did cook food faster than a traditional oven would have. This was, primarily due the fact that there is no need to preheat. All you have to do is put the food on one of the two racks, place the lid (which houses the controls and heating element) on top, set the temperature and time dials and walk away. A soft ding let’s you know when the timer runs out.

Fairly easy to clean

With the exception of the control lid, which tends to become splattered with grease and food particles, the Rapid Wave Oven is fairly easy to clean. The entire bottom is one large glass bowl, which can easily be lifted out of the hard plastic base (be sure to give it time to cool off first, though) for cleaning in the sink with hot soap and water. The lid, however, is a slightly different matter. Since all of the electronics are inside the lid, it cannot be put into water. Instead, you must take the time to wipe it all down, which would be okay if it weren’t for the fact that grease splashes inside the grill where it is impossible to reach.

Racks mean food doesn’t sit in grease

The Rapid Wave Oven comes with two small metal racks which sit, nested, inside the base. The bottom rack sits about an inch off the bottom glass, while the top rack is only a couple of inches below the heating element (a glass halogen tube). While the food cooks the grease drains into the bottom of the glass bowl. This, while making the food a little healthier, does result in a larger mess at cleanup time. However, the downside is that food placed on the bottom rack doesn’t cook as fast (obviously because it’s farther from the element). Although the control lid uses a fan to force air like a convection oven, it works better in theory than it does in practice. Alternately, food cooked on the top rack is precariously close to the heating element and tends to burn quickly and easily if not watched closely.

Lid lock

Even after using the Rapid Wave Oven for about six months I am still unsure exactly what purpose the lock serves. The control lid includes a handle that must be lowered and locked into place before the unit will turn on. This would be great if the lid actually locked to the base. This, however, is not the case. With the handle locked in place and the unit running, the lid can still be lifted (or knocked) off the base. Can you say fire hazard?

The Rapid Wave Oven is, of course, a bit bulky. It’s not extraordinarily huge (after all, you can’t expect to cook a meal in something the size of a tin can, right?), but it is a bit too large to comfortably fit inside most kitchen cabinets. This means that the oven often resides permanently on the counter top, which there never seems to be enough of to begin with.

Timer Functions

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Using the term “functions” is a bit of a misnomer, honestly. There really aren’t any functions at all, other than turning the dial to turn it on the element and set the cook time. The control lid contains two knobs, one for the cook time and one to set the temperature. There also is not a convenient on/off switch, which is unfortunate when you realize that your food is burned just enough to be edible but the timer is still going. This, also, is slightly irrelevant when considering that after only a couple weeks the timer itself stopped functioning. It would still cook, of course, but when the timer ran out it no longer shut off without unplugging the device and manually turning the dials to force it.
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Power Consumption

Contrary to the manufacturer’s claims, the Rapid Wave Oven does not use 80% less power. In fact, we constantly had problems with the unit using so much power that the kitchen breakers would flip, shutting off everything in that room. Of course, a quick flip of the break switch and we were back in business. At least until the breaker would no longer turn back on. After having the wiring checked we discovered that the Rapid Wave Oven had been drawing so much power that the kitchen’s wiring in the attic had burned and melted (another fire hazard!)

Durability

The Big Boss Rapid Wave Oven ended up not lasting more than about six months. Because of the way the grease and food particles splash up into the control lid, the halogen tube lamp takes quite a bit of abuse. Needless to say this eventually led to failure. But at least it can be said that the cooking element goes out in style, with a loud pop and large amounts of smoke, not to mention tiny shards of glass embedded in the food. After less than six months, the Rapid Wave Oven had cooked its last meal. This is a very short life span which is, perhaps, why the Rapid Wave now sells for less than half of what we originally paid for it.

Overall the Big Boss Rapid Wave was very disappointing. From almost the beginning there were too many issues and when you consider the risks involved is definitely not worth purchasing.