How to Select the Best Toaster Oven – 2017 Buyer’s Guide
Looking for the best toaster oven? Well you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find honest and unbiased reviews of the best selling and top rated toaster ovens on the market. You’ll also find numerous guides and tips that will help you choose the best toaster oven for your particular needs.
We recommend that you take the time to read as many of our toaster oven reviews as you can. The more of them you read, the better your sense will be of the strengths and weaknesses of the various toaster ovens out there. However, if you don’t have the time or desire to read a lot of them, you can click here to see which toaster ovens we recommend.
Toaster ovens are efficient, small appliances that use much less energy than larger, conventional ovens. They do the toasting or baking necessary for small to medium sized items like toast, single-layer cakes, sandwiches, cookies, brownies and pizzas. Because of their compact size, they fit easily on a counter or sideboard, and they can be stored in a cupboard when not in use if the owners desire. The modern toaster oven is an advanced piece of kitchen equipment that has a lot to offer home cooks. The incredible values of these appliances are evident in their ability to perform multiple cooking functions and the number of practical features they possess. Still, it is recommended that you compare the various toaster oven brands and models on the market in order to find one that will meet your personal needs and the needs of your household.
Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Toaster Oven
- Size – A larger toaster oven will take up more counter space, but will allow you to fit larger food items inside, like chickens and larger pizzas, so you will have to decide which size toaster oven is best for you depending on your cooking needs. The average interior capacity of a toaster oven is about 0.5 cubic feet, but the larger ones can be 0.8 cubic feet or more. Another and more practical way to measure the interior capacity of a toaster oven is by the maximum slices of toast that can fit inside (typically between 4 to 6) or the largest size pizza (measured by its diameter in inches) that can be comfortably placed inside. It should be noted that most of the two-in-one toaster/toaster oven models that offer very small oven spaces and slots for toasting are not practical. To fit the two functions in one unit, features are compromised such as easy cleaning, quick toast pop-up and oven space.
- Safety – Look for toaster ovens that have a rack that extends outward as the door opens. This feature in the ones that have it, helps to prevent someone from burning their hands when grabbing food off the rack after it’s been cooked. In addition, some brands and models have doors that may not open wide enough to extract items from the oven safely without burning hands and fingers. Also, try to avoid toaster ovens that are not certified by the NSF for home use or ones that are poorly insulated, as the exterior walls of these ovens can get very hot during use.
- Convection – Some toaster ovens have convection capabilities and some do not. Those that have this feature have a built-in fan that distributes the hot air inside the toaster oven around the food that is being cooked. This results in more evenly and thoroughly cooked food. It also shortens the cooking time, which is another great benefit since less time in the oven means less electricity is used.
- Efficiency – Toaster ovens can vary quite a bit when it comes to energy efficiency. This is mainly due to the fact that some (especially the cheaper, lower quality ones) are not as well insulated as others. Toaster ovens with poor insulation tend to have greater heat loss through the door, cracks, and walls of the toaster oven than a better constructed and well insulated one. Toaster ovens also differ in terms of the wattage that they use – anywhere from 1200 to 1800 watts on average. Comparing different makes and models can help buyers obtain similar toasting and baking features at greater power-saving capabilities.
- Cord Length – The electrical cords are not normally longer than three feet because of the wattage pulled by the oven. A short cord length may be a potential inconvenience, as using the ovens with extension cords can pose a possible fire hazard risk.
- Sounds – Some bells and buzzers are louder than others and have different tones on the various toaster ovens on the market. Many people find the ticking sound made by toaster ovens with mechanical controls to be annoying. For these people, a toaster oven with digital controls may be preferred as they do not make “ticking” sounds when in use.
- Warranty and Return Policy – Buyers should always check to find out what kind of return policy and warranty is offered by the seller; the longer the warranty and return period, the better. Most high quality toaster ovens come with a warranty of at least 1 year. Buyers should plan to try out the ovens and even be open to returning them for another model or brand if they’re not satisfied with its performance.
- Where to Buy – Checking out toaster ovens at a physical store may allow the shopper to view them from up close, but a greater selection and lower prices can be found online. It is also much more convenient buying them online since you can purchase them from the comfort of your own home. The main drawback of buying online used to be the cost of shipping, but most online vendors, like Amazon, now provide free shipping on most orders so that is no longer a disadvantage of buying online. Regardless of where you buy, though, it’s important that you research, compare, and read reviews of the various makes and models online before buying.
Top 10 Toaster Oven Brands
- Breville – Breville toaster ovens have features like programmed pre-sets for roasting, toasting bread, toasting bagels and broiling. Meanwhile, the ovens remember preferences set by the user. Nonstick interiors help with cleaning. Rack ejects automatically. Element IQ technology centers the heat from elements where most needed when baking, and convection baking is included.
- Cuisinart – Automatic shut-off and even-shade monitors are provided with the Cuisinart toaster ovens. The rack also extends as the door opens. Some models have touch-pad controls, LCD display and convection baking.
- Oster – Digital controls and convection features mark the Oster’s line of toaster ovens. High-tech and sleek style are also signature to the quality Oster brand.
- Black & Decker – Different models have convection capabilities, racks that come out as the door opens and pre-programmed settings such as broil, bake and bagel. Some models also have the nonstick interior.
- Hamilton Beach – The Hamilton Beach line provides models with convection baking and rotisserie as well as an optional feature that shifts the oven to a warm setting when the cooking time or ultimate temperature is reached. The temperature probe feature is known for its accuracy. Interiors are nonstick for easy cleaning. Some models include automatic shutoff.
- DeLonghi – This brand offers digital controls and the convenient “Temperature Quick Check” that lets the user check the current temperature while the oven is running.
- GE – Most General Electric toaster oven models offer convection with the rotisserie function as well as regular baking and convection baking.
- Frigidaire – Infrared and convection cooking and baking methods are available in models of Frigidaire toaster ovens. The LCD displays are easy to read, and units provide preheating and pre-set modes for settings like defrosting, broiling and toasting.
- Kenmore – Large LCD displays, infrared and convection features are available as well as regular cooking and baking modes on different models of Kenmore countertop ovens.
- KitchenAid – The toaster ovens from KitchenAid offer such high-tech features as nonstick interiors and convection capabilities. Automatic shut-off is an important safety trait.
What is the Best Toaster Oven?
One of the most frequently asked questions we get here is what the best toaster oven is. Well, the answer to that question is that it depends. Now, if you asked us to tell you what the best toaster oven is without factoring in price, then that would be an easy question to answer. There are two toaster oven models (shown below) that are without a doubt the best on the market. We highly recommend that you buy one of these two, as they are very high quality toaster ovens that will last you years and years, unlike a cheap, poorly constructed $50 one that won’t be as durable, nor will it even come close to producing the same cooking results as one of these top-of-the-line models. A good toaster oven is a long-term investment that will more than pay for itself over time. However, we do understand that some people may find the higher-end toaster ovens to be a bit outside of their budget, so we’ve also listed some great alternatives for those seeking a more affordable option.
Breville BOV800XL – The best toaster oven on the market. Period. Boasting a long list of advanced features and capabilities, this 1800-watt toaster oven is a modern marvel and a must-have appliance for any kitchen. It has 9 pre-set cooking functions, 5 variable intensity heating elements, digital controls with an LCD display, an automatic eject rack, and a convection fan. It also has a very spacious interior, allowing you to toast up to 6 slices of bread at one time or to back a pizza as large as 13″. In addition, the Breville BOV800XL is an excellently designed and constructed toaster oven. The reinforced stainless steel housing and tight-sealing door provide terrific heat insulation.
What truly separates this toaster oven from all the others on the market, though, is that it performs every cooking function extremely well. Most toaster ovens are only good at performing one or two cooking functions, but the Breville BOV800XL does them all, and does them marvelously.
Breville BOV450XL Mini – This is another great choice if you’re looking for a high-end toaster oven. With 0.45 cubic feet of interior capacity, this sophisticated-looking toaster oven is certainly one of the smaller ones on the market, making it very energy efficient, yet it’s still wide enough for you to fit an 11″ pizza or 4 slices of toast inside. One of its best features is its digital control dial, which allows you to choose from a number of pre-programmed cooking functions including baking, broiling, toasting, reheating, and defrosting. The easy-to-read, backlit LCD screen shows the time and temperature, and also indicates the preheating cycle as well as the end of cycle via an orange and blue illumination.
Other features include its stainless steel exterior, non-stick interior walls that make clean-up easy, and 4 heating elements (2 on top and 2 on the bottom) that distributes the heat evenly so you don’t get underdone/overdone spots on your food. You’ll also like the fact that it comes with a 1 year warranty, giving you that added peace of mind. Overall, the Breville BOV450XL is just a beautiful looking and impressively well built toaster oven that will toast and bake all of your favorite foods quickly and evenly.
Best Toaster Oven Under $100
Cuisinart TOB-40 – In our opinion, this is the best mid-priced toaster oven on the market. What makes this toaster oven so great is that it’s so simple to use. Toasting bread is as easy as turning the dial and pressing start. There are no complex controls to fiddle around with here; everything was designed and built for maximum simplicity and efficiency. If you don’t plan on doing much baking and you’re primarily going to be using your toaster oven as a “toaster”, then the Cuisinart TOB-40 is a great choice. It’s fairly compact, yet the interior is still spacious enough for you to fit a decent sized pizza or multiple slices of bread inside. Its four heating elements – two on the bottom and two on top – heat up quickly and distributes the heat evenly. It also comes with a number of useful accessories, including a drip and baking pan, a wire rack, and a broiling rack. And on top of all that, at under $90, it’s fairly inexpensive as well. You really can’t go wrong here.