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Shopping Guide for Best Toaster Ovens

When it comes to convenience in the modern kitchen, few appliances are as useful as toaster ovens.

Whether you enjoy crisp slices of toast for breakfast or miniature pizzas for dinner, toaster ovens are the multitasking machines that keep up with your eclectic noshing.

Toaster ovens come in an abundant variety of shapes, styles, and options in the marketplace. It can be difficult to select the version that will fit your family best.

To help you in the decision-making process, the team at BestReviews studied toaster ovens and purchased products for field and expert research. We then distilled our top findings into the handy guide that follows.

You deserve a toaster oven that’s functional, efficient, and a delight to look at.

If you’re ready to buy a toaster oven, please refer to the product matrix at the top of this page. There, we explore our five favorite toaster oven models.

If you’d like to learn more about toaster ovens, read on to learn the criteria you should use to make your decision.

Toaster Oven Features

Home chefs have access to plenty of heating mechanisms, including ovens, stovetops and microwaves.The toaster oven combines the best of those tools. Here are some factors you can use to evaluate the ovens on your short list.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven Convection Toaster Oven

Energy Consumption

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.

Features

Temperature Range

You need the flexibility to lightly toast a piece of bread at a low temperature or heat up mini-pizzas for your family with significantly more heat. Toaster ovens have a variety of temperature settings, some as high as 500°F.

DID YOU KNOW?

Toaster ovens typically range in temperature from 150°F to 500°F.

Features

Cook Settings

Each oven has a unique combination of settings for the perfect bake. Options include broil, toast, convection bake, and warm. Some toaster ovens offer food-specific settings, such as temperatures perfectly suited to pizza, cookies, or toast.

Features

Capacity

Determine how much space is on the inside of your toaster oven. If you have a small family, you might need less cubic feet. If you plan to feed a lot of people with your toaster oven, look for a model that is bigger with more shelf space.

EXPERT TIP

Check the capacity of your toaster oven to ensure it can comfortably house the food you enjoy. You don’t want food to become misshapen because you have to force it into the interior.


Staff  | BestReviews
Features

Visibility

How easy is to it see inside the toaster oven to check on your food? Most toaster ovens have a broad glass panel that makes it simple to check in on what you’re heating. But keep in mind that with wear and tear over time, the glass could become clouded. Read product-specific reviews to determine which models are best-suited for longtime use.

Always use oven mitts when handling foods in the toaster oven. They are just as hot as a typical oven.
Features

Timer Settings

The primary function of a toaster oven timer is to ensure you don’t overcook or burn your food. Some ovens have preset functions, such as a 30-minute timer for defrost and longer timers for specific types of food. It’s nice to have several options, but at the end of the day, the main question is whether you can quickly begin the cooking process with a simple turn of a knob.

Features

Trays and Racks

How easy is it to pull trays and racks out of the oven, particularly at high temperatures? If a tray snags on the edge of the oven, it could be a safety hazard to yank it out. Find a model with trays and racks that come out effortlessly.

Racks are an important consideration, with most models ranging from one rack to three for cooking and baking flexibility.

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Features

Counter Footprint

Not every kitchen has a lot of open counter space. Toaster ovens can be pretty small and compact, but you need to leave enough surrounding space to avoid overheating nearby items or overhanging cabinets. Be sure to check exterior dimensions to ensure your purchase will literally be a good fit.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Hamilton Beach 31126 Easy Reach Oven with Convection

Convection Capability

The Hamilton Beach Easy Reach is 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.

Features

Safety

Toaster ovens get hot fast, which makes them really handy. Yet, if food particles get trapped inside the appliance or food is left inside too long, a fire can erupt. Read reviews to see which appliances have a great safety record. Once you purchase a toaster oven, use common sense, and don’t leave the kitchen for an extended period of time while it is in use.

EXPERT TIP

Measure your counter space to ensure you have enough room for your toaster oven, as well as enough surrounding space to avoid overheating items nearby.


Staff  | BestReviews

How Toaster Ovens Work

Toaster ovens typically provide two primary cooking methods. The first is the toaster component located at the top of the machine. Depending on the size of your oven, you can typically toast between two and four pieces of bread. The toast is slotted vertically into the machine for rapid heating and browning.

The second component is the oven component, which is where most of the variety, settings, and knobs can be found. The primary tools at the front of a toaster oven include a large glass door with a handle that can be pulled out and down to make space to place your food inside.

Many ovens have a detachable tray for crumbs at the bottom of the interior. Above this tray are one to three racks for placing food horizontally for heating. You can place toast in here, as well as heftier foods like pizza.

Knobs or buttons on the front of the machine help you regulate the type of cooking you are doing, the temperature of the cook, and how long the cook takes. Simply preheat the oven to the proper temperature, place your food in the oven, and set the timer for it to begin to cook.

Standard or high-tech? Today’s toaster ovens allow you to choose between digital display screens or more common manual knobs.

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BestReviews

Toaster Oven Lifespans

A good toaster oven is built to last. These appliances can function at a high level for years, even up to a decade or more. With the possibility of keeping your toaster oven a long time, you may want to consider a few things:

  • Check reviews of the model you’re considering. Do other owners indicate this model lasts a long time?

  • What design style fits into your kitchen decor?

  • Do you prefer an LCD display, or are simple labeled knobs sufficient?

  • What color and finish are most appealing to you?

EXPERT TIP

Consider how your appliances complement one another. A toaster oven can’t cook big pot roasts or 3-ft.-wide pizzas, but it’s fantastic for smaller and more manageable portion sizes.


Staff  | BestReviews

Toaster Oven Prices

The cost of toaster ovens varies significantly depending on the options you want. As you add more features, the cost goes up.

Price

$20 to $60

If you don’t plan to use a toaster oven more than a few times a week, a less expensive model would probably work fine. Features include a tray for crumbs, a single rack for toasting, and two slots for bread atop the product.

Cooking food in a toaster oven is healthier than sauteing food in oil on the stove.
Price

$60 to $100

These ovens feature a more spacious interior with room for casseroles, whole chickens, and other dishes. You’ll likely find two racks and space for up to six slices of toast. Convection technology is another popular feature that speeds cooking.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven Convection Toaster Oven

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.

Price

$100 or more

Toaster ovens above $100 are built for frequent use and larger groups of people. They can be equipped with technology that ramps power up or down to match your cooking needs, as well as features such as:

  • Higher temperatures

  • Bigger interior capacities

  • More racks and preset functions

  • Up to 12 slots for toast

  • Digital backlit displays

DID YOU KNOW?

The value of a toaster oven is the ability to not only toast bread but also quickly heat other foods at high temperatures.

Getting the Most Out of a Toaster Oven

Maintenance

Keep your oven clean

Most ovens have a collection tray at the bottom for dried crumbs and food specks. Once per week, remove the tray and discard the crumbs. Wash it by hand or in the top rack of your dishwasher before replacing it in the oven.

EXPERT TIP

Use plastic to remove crumbs and food debris from your toaster oven. Never insert metal utensils in the oven.


Staff  | BestReviews
Maintenance

Carefully clear debris

Large pieces of trapped food will burn, causing bad odors or worse – fire. If big chunks of bread become trapped inside the appliance or wedged in the toaster, unplug the appliance and gently shake out the crumbs.

Maintenance

Use plastic utensils, not metal

Always use plastic utensils to extract stubborn crumbs or larger pieces of food. And always unplug your toaster oven before cleaning or performing any kind of repair. Never stick a metal utensil in your toaster oven. Metal tools can scratch the interior, and, of course, a metal instrument in an electric appliance can produce a nasty shock.

EXPERT TIP

Always unplug your toaster oven before extracting trapped food or giving the oven a routine cleaning.


Staff  | BestReviews

Overview of the Breville Smart Oven

Our staff tested the Breville Smart Oven, which we liked for a variety of reasons, particularly its speed: it takes just 2 minutes and 34 seconds to preheat to 300°F.

It’s also very quiet. We do wish, though, that it had a light inside to make checking the food easier.

It can hold up to three racks inside. The Breville Smart Oven comes with three baking trays, including a pizza tray.

The toaster oven measures in Fahrenheit and Celsius and comes with three knobs for function, temperature, and time. Knob options include toast, bagel, roast, broil, pizza, cookie, reheat, and warm.

A digital light-up screen rounds out this appliance.

Use your toaster oven to make healthy snacks too, such as kale chips.

FAQ

Q. Why would I choose a toaster oven over a conventional toaster?

A. A conventional toaster only has slots for bread, whereas a toaster oven opens up new cooking possibilities for pizza and more. You can also place toast flat and shred cheese or other complementary ingredients on top of it for melting.

Q. When should I use a toaster oven instead of a regular oven?

A. A regular oven can take a long time to heat and is best-suited for big multi-course meals or occasions when there is more food than space in a toaster oven. A toaster oven, by contrast, is ideally suited for quick meals, rapid heating, and smaller portions. The beauty of a toaster oven is the ability to select from an array of times and temperature settings, and to rapidly move baked or cooked food in or out to feed family members gathered around the dinner table.

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Movie Night Snacks in your Toaster Oven

Make something healthy in the toaster oven by roasting kale spritzed with lemon and topped with parmesan cheese.
Or feed your inner kid with some homemade pizza bagels.
Finish the movie off with some ice cream sundaes featuring coconut chips from the toaster oven.
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