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If you are looking to quickly re-heat a slice of pizza, or a whole chicken, a toaster oven is a great option.
It does more than reheat, however. Modern toaster ovens can make anything from breakfast hash and sausage to meatloafs and muffins. And to boot, they live up to their name and make great toasts!
Narrowing down hundreds of toaster ovens to a final five was a challenge. We discarded those of questionable durability and quality, and we did not include "toastations" in our list, as these appliances are too small for most families.
We present you with a range of elite toaster ovens that vary in price, offer decent cooking space, and stand out as top-notch appliances. They are:
Currently Executive Chef at Bon Appétit Management Company, Steve began his tenure with Bon Apetit as Chef de Partie. He has over ten years of experience, including tenures at two- and three-Michelin star restaurants. Steve is passionate about all things cooking – products, supply chain, management, menu design, and budgeting.
In general, people buy toaster ovens because they're a practical solution for smaller kitchens. Therefore, external dimensions are important. These dimensions don't always reflect internal space, however, as internal space could be subdivided to provide additional functionality. We give you the skinny on the size and cooking capacity of our top five contenders.
In spite of their compact size, consumers expect a lot more from a their toaster oven than just toasting. In this section of our ratings, we examine the cooking versatility of each model on our shortlist.
A toaster oven's temperature controls and timers help you get your cooking done right. We tell you which appliances offer the best controls and functions.
How much a toaster oven costs will certainly impact your purchasing decision, but it's not just a question of dollars and cents. It's also a question of how much you get for your money and whether premium products are worth the additional investment.
Surprisingly, a toaster oven's star product is not toast. It's more adept at baking, broiling, defrosting, warming, and reheating foods.
The Black and Decker TO1303SB 4-Slice Toaster Oven is roughly 14.5 x 9 x 11 inches, so it isn't going to take up a lot of room in your kitchen. While putting it away and taking it out again might not be all that convenient, at just 7.5 pounds, it's definitely do-able. As for food capacity, Black & Decker calls this product a "4-Slice" oven, but if you're toasting anything larger than regular square bread, you'll actually be restricted to two slices. This appliance can accommodate a 9-inch pizza, but you're not going to be able roast a chicken in there (although you could probably cook a couple of breasts and legs). An included bake pan and broil rack help owners make maximum use of the space available, and there's also a crumb tray for easy clean-up. This is a popular entry-level model, and it makes no attempt to sell itself as anything else.
With external dimensions of approximately 10 x 16 x 19 inches and a weight of about 13 pounds, the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Oven is quite light and on the smaller side, in terms of size. However, it offers enough space to accommodate a pan of 9 x 11 inches, and a family could easily prepare several toasted sandwiches or a 12-inch pizza in it. As with many toaster ovens, a crumb tray, baking pan, and rack are also included.
You could comfortably fit a twelve-inch pizza inside the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Convection Toaster Oven.
The Panasonic NB-G110PW Flash Xpress Toaster Oven is another compact item, measuring only about 13 x 12 x 10.25 inches and weighing just 7.5 pounds. Not surprisingly, it has an internal space very similar to that of the Black & Decker. You could feasibly fit a nine-inch pizza or four slices of bread into the Panasonic, but certainly not a seven-pound chicken! You also get a cooking tray, baking rack (which slides in and out as the door opens and closes), and removable crumb tray.
Although the manufacturer doesn't quote food sizes that will fit the 20-pound Cuisinart TOB-195 Exact Heat Toaster Oven Broiler, the internal dimensions are approximately 18.5 x 17 x 10 inches. Given these specs, it's safe to assume you could use the appliance to cook a decent-sized chicken, just like you could with the Hamilton Beach -- although potential buyers should keep in mind that this appliance is not quite as tall as the Hamilton Beach. Owners told us they could fit a 12-inch pizza and/or a half-dozen slices of toast inside. With this purchase, you also get a two-position oven rack and crumb tray, but no additional baking tray.
The Breville BOV800XL is similar to the Hamilton Beach and Cuisinart in terms of the amount of internal space provided. The dimensions of the Breville BOV800XL are a little over 18.5 x 16 x 11 inches, and the appliance weighs 17 pounds -- slightly less than the Cuisinart and Hamilton Beach. This appliance is purported to accept a 13-inch pizza and/or six slices of toast at a time. Those who purchase the Breville enjoy three rack positions (the most of any toaster oven on our shortlist), a baking tray, broil rack, crumb tray, and dedicated pizza pan.
The Black and Decker TO1303SB Toaster Oven may be a basic model, but that doesn't mean it's just for bread and bagels (although it does them pretty well). Owners tell us it's great for small batches of items like oven chips, biscuits, and nachos, and it does a good job of warming and reheating. Also, because it has two independent heating elements, the Black and Decker can be quite energy efficient (depending on the cooking mode you use). Some owners tell us they wish the Black and Decker would hold more food, but everybody we surveyed seemed to like the way this toaster oven cooks.
Food should be kept centred inside a toaster oven when heating or cooking it — this gives the best results.
The Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Oven offers four cooking modes: toast, bake, broil, and convection. We like the convection mode because it is a cost-effective alternative to purchasing a full-sized convection oven. Essentially, a fan circulates hot air from both the top and bottom of the oven to evenly cook food. There's a 30-minute cook timer (complete with alert bell) if you prefer to use it, as well as a "stay-on" option if that's more your cooking style. Some owners did complain that the Hamilton Beach gets hot on the outside. This isn't an unusual complaint in the world of toaster ovens, but if you have little children in your home, you may want to locate the appliance appropriately. Some people also complain that the internal fan is a bit loud. But the majority of Hamilton Beach owners are pleased as punch with their appliance, and they rave about the fact that it costs so little.
If you want your food cooked fast, there's nothing quicker than the Panasonic NB-G110PW FlashXpress. That's because this appliance cooks with infrared light, which gives virtually instant heat. The manufacturer claims that this infrared feature eliminates the need for preheating and cooks food up to 40 percent faster than a standard toaster oven (though they don't compare convection models). If you're frequently in a hurry, you may appreciate this machine's ability to cook frozen foods like pizza in a flash. The downside of this appliance is that, while it will toast, brown, bake, and reheat quickly, it's not a viable option for roasting and broiling. Nevertheless, the Panasonic FlashxPress is tremendously popular; it obviously suits many owners' lifestyles.
The Cuisinart TOB-195 Toaster Oven provides you with four basic cooking settings — bake/pizza, toast, broil and convection — and it also offers settings for reheating and defrosting, which puts it on a par with the Hamilton Beach in terms of functions. It doesn't have the handy probe function that the Hamilton Beach has, but it does offer a heat sensor so cooking temperature remains consistent. The Cuisinart's larger capacity makes it useful for the preparation of entire meals. Its convection option also makes it a valuable back-up for your normal oven. It's a very popular choice among consumers who use it for a huge variety of foods — though a few critics told us the Cuisinart's toasting is a bit uneven and its baking performance is slightly lacking.
You would expect the 1,800-watt power of the Breville BOV800XL Toaster Oven to give you plenty of heat, and it does. Thanks to the Breville's quartz elements, it also cooks food quickly. The unique and efficient way in which the Breville uses its heat to cook food sets it apart from other toaster ovens -- a major selling point for us! The Breville is capable of varying its interior temperature distribution to suit the needs of whatever it is you're cooking. If you preset for toast, for example, it heats evenly on top and bottom. If you preset for broil, it increases overhead heat proportionally so you get a nice browning effect. There are nine options in all, plus an additional convection setting. According to the manufacturer, these settings give you more control over your food and consistently better results. Owners agree, citing a long list of delicious foods the Breville helps them prepare: bagels, meatloaf, casseroles, roasts, and more.
Satisfied Breville owners cite a long list of delicious foods they like to prepare in their toaster oven: bagels, meatloaf, casseroles, roasts, and more.
The controls on the Black and Decker TO1303SB Toaster Oven are simple and uncomplicated, although a few owners found them difficult to read. There's a dial for setting temperature, a dial for selecting one of the four cooking modes, and a dial which allows you to select browning level and set a 30-minute timer. As with any kitchen appliance, there's a bit of a learning curve while owners get used to the way the Black and Decker's controls work. A few owners burnt some toast in the process of learning how to use these controls, but no one we spoke to considered that to be a significant drawback. Owners also like the fact that the Black and Decker's glass door opens flat down (as opposed to the side). The disadvantage of a side-opening door is that it might swing back while you're putting food in or taking hot food out.
The Hamilton Beach Easy Reach has three dials on the front of its roll-top interface. The upper dial selects temperature, which ranges from 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The lower two dials allow you to identify your preferred cooking mode (toast, broil, bake) as well as the convection option and whether you want to use the timer. If your vision is poor or your grip is not firm, you may prefer a push button toaster oven rather than this one. But for the majority of uses, it gets the job done.
Although the way it cooks (infrared heat) is unusual, the controls on the Panasonic NB-G110PW Toaster Oven are fairly conventional. Owners enjoy simple push buttons for different food types and a temperature panel that runs from 250-500 degrees Fahrenheit. Five-position shade control for browning and a digital timer offer considerable precision, but potential buyers should note that the timer can only run for 25 minutes. While that might seem a bit short, it's an indication of the speed at which the Panasonic toaster oven cooks. The door opens flat, but unfortunately, it hides the control panel when open. Though frustrating, this could actually be a safety feature, as you can only access the cook settings when the door is closed.
The Cuisinart TOB-195 Toaster Oven's easy-to-use button and timer layout are quite similar to the Hamilton Beach and Panasonic. These features offer plenty of flexibility to the consumer, but in the case of the Cuisinart, they may be confusing at first. Reading the manual would certainly clear up any confusion, but many of us are admittedly guilty of going for the buttons first. This initial confusion has caused some consumer annoyance. Such annoyance is probably unfair to the manufacturer, but that's how people feel. Some owners told us that too many steps have to be taken in order to use the oven. Others complained about the timer; it doesn't automatically turn off and will continue beeping until you take action. Once you get used to the Cuisinart, however, it's got a lot to offer -- which is why we've included it on this elite list.
It is advised to wipe down your toaster oven after every use (after it has cooled down). Grease and other debris can build up on the inside over time and can even catch fire when the oven is heated.
Many consumers will find the large knobs and clear, digital display on the Breville BOV800XL Toaster Oven an ideal combination. This is a powerful, 1,800-watt machine that uses energy conservatively. That's because the Breville's "Element IQ" technology adjusts the machine's energy output to meet specific cooking needs. For example, the Breville will turn itself down to 1,500 watts for baking. The oven's cooking capability is underlined by the timer, which can be set for up to two hours and offers both audible alerts and auto shut-off. The door opens flat, which is ideal, and thanks to some small magnets, it also auto-ejects the rack. A few owners have registered complaints about the Breville's screen. Given the fact that these reports are rare, however, we suspect that the problem could be the result of a flawed production batch.
At a cost of $29, the Black and Decker TO1303SB Toaster Oven is an inexpensive appliance. We think the price is right for a toaster oven that could serve as a valuable back-up for your normal oven. It's also the perfect appliance for an apartment or motor home. While it doesn't have a huge capacity, it's good enough for a wide variety of snacks (including a 9-inch pizza) and for reheating leftovers. At such an affordable price, the manufacturer has sold plenty of these models to satisfied customers. Apart from a few critical owners who said the appliance burned their toast or cooked their food unevenly, it's hard to find anyone who has a bad word to say about the Black and Decker toaster oven.
The Hamilton Beach Easy Reach is currently on offer for $52. It's not the cheapest toaster oven on the market, but it's considerably affordable when compared to some higher-end models. While the Hamilton Beach has the usual toast, bake, and broil functions, its convection function captures our attention. When you use this feature, you escape the traditional "hot spot vs. cold spot" problem that regular ovens have. Your food cooks faster and burns up less energy, too. We realize its capacity is not as large as some other ovens, but for many small households, it would do just fine.
If the Panasonic NB-G110PW Toaster Oven appeals to you, you can get one right now for $119. That's more than the Hamilton Beach, which is a lot bigger inside, and a huge jump up from the similarly sized Black & Decker. However, this is a very popular model with customers. We suspect a lot of it has to do with how rapidly the Panasonic cooks food. This sentiment is echoed by owners who say things like "Fast and beautiful!" and "So quick!" The Panasonic is also praised for its reheating ability; the infrared technology prevents food from getting soggy and can even refresh some fried foods.
The Breville BOX800XL has garnered more positive reviews and five-star ratings from owners than any comparable product on the market today.
The Cuisinart TOB-195 Toaster Oven is a fairly expensive model at $179. However, there's no denying the variety of functions it offers or how satisfied the majority of its owners are. This machine has received some customer criticism for its capacity (larger dimensions, shorter height) and complex controls, but people love the way it cooks -- and that's one of the most important criteria when you're rating a toaster oven, after all! The convection component is generally seen as a bonus, but it is a bit on the noisy side. When we asked owners how they felt about their Cuisinart TOB-195, comments like "A wonder oven!" and "Another excellent Cuisinart product!" were common.
At a cost of $244, the Breville BOV800XL is one of the most popular toaster ovens you can buy. If you analyze our ratings and the comments of owners, it's not hard to see why. The Breville is no bigger on the outside than many of its competitors, but if offers class-leading internal space and equipment. It looks good, features clear, easy-to-use controls, and offers a wide variety of presets. Best of all, the Breville gives you the flexibility to cook food the way you want to cook it. There have been a few negative comments but no common threads. And, given the sheer number sold, it's no surprise that occasional problems would occur.
Each of our top five toaster ovens offers something of value. Without a doubt, however, the best toaster oven on the market today is the Breville BOV800XL. It's a prime example of getting what you pay for.
At 17 pounds, the Breville is probably not be the kind of appliance you'd want to move around often, but it's not massive -- most kitchens should be able to find room for it. There's also the argument that smaller kitchens could be fine with the Breville alone! Indeed, this toaster oven has the flexibility you need to cook a lot of different foods in a lot of different ways. In some instances, it would be a fine substitute for a traditional oven.
Internally, there's enough space in the Breville to merit three rack positions. (Most competitors have only two.) In terms of racks and trays, the Breville also comes with more equipment than most other models.
The proof is in the pudding: many owners told us they use their "main" oven a lot less often now that they have a Breville in their kitchen.
The controls are simple and easy to use, but there's a lot of versatility hidden within this simplistic interface. You can easily turn a knob to get toast how you want it, or reheat leftovers, or accomplish a more complex cooking project such as stuffed Cornish game hen.
There have been sporadic complaints about the Breville, but that's not surprising when you consider the sheer volume sold. No single fault rears its head often enough to be considered a consistent problem, and that is one of the primary reasons why it's the best of the best.
If you're looking for an excellent all-rounder that is, in the words of one satisfied owner, "a full-sized convection range in a little package," the Breville is the product to buy.
By definition, each toaster oven on our shortlist is a terrific deal. The Black and Decker, priced very low, is unlikely to disappoint, and the infrared Panasonic is widely popular with consumers. However, the "Best Bang for Your Buck" appliance has to be the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach. You simply cannot ignore the low-cost versatility of this fantastic toaster oven.
Complete with convection capabilities, the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Oven is small enough for an apartment, yet it has a cooking capacity that could meet the needs of a larger family.
Owners agree that the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Toaster Oven is a superb value. Some tell us it is the best they've over owned.
Controls are clear, relatively uncomplicated, and don't get hidden by an open door (unlike the controls on the Panasonic and Cuisinart). In fact, the roll-top door is one of the features that owners like best about this appliance. It enables the user to see the food while it's cooking and access it easily. It also creates a bit of additional room inside the oven.
In addition to the convection function, owners can choose from bake, broil, and toast modes, and the oven can fit up to six slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza at once. This is considered to be a budget model, and we acknowledge that some owners occasionally complain that the oven gets too hot on the outside and that the dial can be a bit finicky. Nevertheless, the price is superb for a convection model, and owners are highly satisfied with its performance. Several say it's the best they've ever owned, which is a remarkable compliment for a kitchen appliance that costs only $52.