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August 24, 2022  |  Kitchen

Which toaster oven is best for dorm life?

Choosing the best toaster oven for college

When it comes to living in the dorms, having a toaster oven is a great appliance to have. Not only are they compact enough to fit into small spaces, but they also make it convenient to cook small meals without having to leave the dorm room. Plus, many modern toaster ovens come with advanced settings that make them useful for broiling, toasting and baking food. So, whether you want to skip the cafeteria or need a late-night snack while studying for your next exam, a good toaster oven is a must.

What to know before you buy a toaster oven for the dorm

Standard vs. convection

Two main types of toaster oven exist:

  • Standard: Small and easy to use, these are designed to cook small amounts of food. They don’t use much energy and are often quicker than a standard oven.
  • Convection: Also compact, this type uses even less power and can cook food quickly and evenly. Similar to standard options, these are more efficient than most microwaves.

Settings and functions

Toaster ovens for the dormitory come with many settings and functions, including:

  • Preheat: This can get the appliance to the appropriate temperature before putting in the food to cook.
  • Defrost: This is perfect for premade meals, such as frozen dinners, meat or bread. After defrosting the food, you can then toast or cook it without ever having to remove it from the appliance.
  • Reheat: If you don’t have a microwave or want to avoid ending up with soggy leftovers, use the toaster oven to warm up your food.
  • Bake: Use this setting for a small batch of something small, such as pastries, cookies, pizza or even lasagna.
  • Broil: The top rack of the appliance is usually meant for broiling food, which gives it a lovely charred or caramelized quality.
  • Air fry: Some toaster ovens double as air fryers to cook food and give it a crispy exterior.
  • Toast: For those who simply want toast, some appliances have different toast settings that let you choose how light or dark you want the toast to be.

Display

Some modern toaster ovens come with a touch display that includes things such as:

  • Cooking settings
  • Timer
  • Date and time
  • Temperature
  • Light

In many cases, toaster ovens also have two to four knobs you can use to adjust the settings. They also usually have a “Start/On” and a “Cancel/Off” button you can press to use the appliance.

Timer

While not all toaster ovens come with a timer, many do. This feature is especially convenient if you don’t want to worry about checking in your food while you’re busy doing other things.

Surface temperature

Some toaster ovens have a cool-touch feature that keeps the external surface from getting too hot while on. This includes the glass display and other outside components. Not only does this reduce the chance of you getting burned by mistake, but it also keeps the appliance from burning whatever surface it’s on.

Racks

These appliances usually have one or two racks. These are sometimes adjustable, allowing for more precise cooking and easy cleaning. They also make it easier to cook more than one dish at once, provided both are small enough to fit inside.

Automatic shut-off

Certain toaster ovens have an automatic shut-off feature that prevents food from overcooking or burning. It’s also a handy safety feature for those who need to quickly step out while preparing something.

Infrared heating

Some newer toaster ovens have infrared heating that makes preheating unnecessary and allows for an even distribution of heat to cook food evenly.

Accessories

Here are some ways to keep your dormitory toaster oven clean and in great operating condition for longer:

  • A removable oven liner that goes over the crumb tray and keeps the bottom of the appliance clean.
  • Appropriately sized plans that can fit inside the appliance. When in doubt about sizing, measure the internal length and width or check the instruction manual that comes with the toaster oven.
  • An oven thermometer with an easy-to-read display to keep track of the internal temperature as food cooks.
  • Silicone pads or gripper clips to easily remove or adjust food without burning your hands.

Best toaster ovens for dorm life

Black and Decker Toaster Oven

This stainless steel convection oven has a curved interior that can easily fit a 9-inch pizza, up to four slices of toast or other small dishes. It has several settings, including bake, toast, keep warm and broil.

Sold by Amazon

Mueller Austria Toaster Oven

Capable of toasting several slices of bread or baking a 9-inch pizza, this appliance is perfect for dorm life. It has several cooking settings, a removable crumb tray and user-friendly dial controls.

Sold by Amazon

Breville Smart Oven Convection Toaster

This all-in-one appliance is compact enough to fit into any small dorm room. It has cooking settings for pizzas up to 13 inches, cookies, bagels, toast and more. It can also reheat, warm, bake or roast food. The display is easy to read and use. Included with the appliance are a baking pan, broiling rack and nonstick pizza pan.

Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Calphalon Air Fryer Toaster Oven

This stainless steel countertop toaster oven comes with 11 preset cooking functions, including air fry, bake, broil, toast, dehydrate and reheat. It comes with a pizza pan, baking pan, wire rack and dehydrator rack. It also has a three-year limited warranty. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot


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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.