And, in some cases, the amount of smart technology featured in contemporary toaster ovens matches your full-size oven.
Modern toaster ovens come with advanced heating elements, LED displays, automatic settings, and hassle-free maintenance options.
It is obvious that these technological characteristics extend their usability far beyond just crisping up a couple pieces of bread.
But if you’re only familiar with the traditional pop-up toaster, selecting a toaster oven that matches your preferences might be a demanding task.
However, there is no reason to worry because we’ve done all the hard work for you.
This article features the top 10 toaster ovens currently available, together with all of the relevant information you should know.
Feel free to continue reading since our reviews should help you find the best toaster oven that fits your needs.
And, on top of that, we’ve included a buyer’s guide that may come in handy if you are not really sure about what to look for in your future toaster oven.
Best Toaster Oven in 2018
|Toaster Oven||Best For||Price|
|Chefman Toaster Oven (Editor’s Pick)||Best for Easy Maintenance and Safe Cooking||Price|
|Hamilton Beach 31411 Toaster Oven (Editor’s Pick)||Best Capacity for Average Size Family||Price|
|Black+Decker Toaster Oven (Editor’s Pick)||Best for Family Meals||Price|
|Cuisinart Chef’s Toaster Oven||Best for High-Volume Cooking||Price|
|Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven||Best for High-Tech Baking and Speed||Price|
|Oster Digital Toaster Oven||Best for Convection Cooking with Budget||Price|
|Hamilton Beach 31401 Toaster Oven||Best Everyday Energy-Efficient Cooking||Price|
|Proctor Silex Modern Toaster Oven||Best for Tight Budget Cooking||Price|
|Maxi-Matic Americana Retro Toaster Oven||Best Looking Toaster Oven||Price|
|Maxi-Matic Elite Cuisine Toaster Oven||Best for Baking All Sorts of Meat||Price|
1. Chefman Toaster Oven — Best for Easy Maintenance and Safe Cooking
The Chefman Toaster Oven is a compact yet versatile oven that should be super easy to use even if you have never dealt with one before.
The Chefman oven features a smart stainless steel design that allows you to remove all the trays and easily access the oven interior for a quick cleanup.
On top of that, you can put all of the trays and racks in a dishwasher to avoid arduous scrubbing.
Besides the walk-in-the-park maintenance, this oven is compact, though spacious enough so it can fit a couple of dishes at once.
The Chefman doesn’t compromise oven capacity for a small footprint, which makes this toaster oven almost ideal for any kitchen size.
It is big enough to handle most of your cooking no matter if you need to prepare meals for the family or quickly heat up TV dinner. Also, this toaster oven has a convection setting that should ensure your meals are evenly cooked.
This convection feature goes hand in hand with a wide available temperature range of 75°-450°F. The Chefman Toaster Oven should give you all the versatility you may need.
If you just want to warm or defrost your food, the Chefman should do that for you in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, the oven offers baking and broiling functions so you can put an entire chicken inside or bake a 10” capricciosa.
And guess what? You don’t have to suffer the heat of a full-size oven since the Chefman does the job efficiently with less energy.
What’s more, the Chefman oven comes with a 30-minute timer and an audible signal to notify you when the meal is ready.
These features also provide safety both for your kitchen and your meals since you can just put the food inside and go about your business without any worry until you hear a beep.
And if you are not a seasoned cook you can become a member of the Experience Club Chefman and gain access to recipes and tutorials to help with your cooking.
On the downside, you should be careful with the hot trays and racks when the food is ready, as this oven doesn’t feature auto-eject like a pop-up toaster oven.
Overall, this is a great convection toaster oven at a price that’s within reach of most people. It offers versatility and power similar to premium models but is at the same time very easy to use.
- Easy maintenance
- 6 cooking functions
- Powerful and versatile
- Might overheat
- Comes from a less-known manufacturer
2. Hamilton Beach 31411 Toaster Oven, Stainless Steel — Best for An Average Size Family
Toast, broil, bake, or warm without having to use your full-size oven with the trendy Hamilton Beach 31411 Toaster Oven.
It is a decent size which can fit a 12-inch pizza or six pieces of toast; this toaster oven’s four cooking settings and large capacity give you the convenience to make just about anything.
With an exterior made of stainless steel and a curved design in the front, this toaster oven will make a great addition to your kitchen. The dials are simple to use which will allow you to adjust the timer, temperature, and toast shade.
You can decide between a stay-on setting which is ideal for batch cooking, or you can choose to use the 30-minute timer.
There is also a bell that lets you know when it is done, plus an automatic shutoff feature.
Included is a pan which you can use to boil or bake food and three racks which allows you to control your cooking or if you want to reheat your food.
You can use the toast feature to make crisp toast and even make a batch of cookies using the bake setting. Melting cheese or browning fish is also now quick and easy thanks to the broil feature.
Hamilton Beach toaster ovens are carefully designed and constructed to make your life easier.
They make use of consumer insights, comprehensive research, and rigorous testing to deliver the best product to meet your needs.
Whether it’s preparing enjoyable meals efficiently, or just making a few slices of toast, you can count on Hamilton Beach since they have over 100 years of experience creating products with you in mind.
If you are looking for a reliable toaster oven that can make your life easier, then the Hamilton Beach 31411 is a good option. It’s large enough to fit a 12-inch pizza, six slices of toast, or a 6-cup muffin tray which is great if you have an average size family that you are cooking for.
- Lots of space inside
- Four convenient cooking settings
- Comes with three rack positions
- Toaster gets quite hot on the outside
3. BLACK+DECKER TO3240XSBD 8-Slice Toaster Oven — Best for Family Meals
BLACK+DECKER is a company that has become synonymous with affordable but high-quality professional and hobby tools.
But when they applied the same attention to detail to toaster ovens, we’ve got one of the best currently available. And not only that, this toaster oven is built to last, but it’s also one of the biggest ones you can find, making it perfect for family use.
The super-wide oven interior allows you to place up to a 12” pizza, that’s equivalent to 8 slices of sandwich bread.
Similar to most other ovens that we liked, the BLACK+DECKER uses convection technology to ensure even heat distribution. But you should note that the actual heat inside the oven is somewhat lower than what you dial in.
Don’t worry, this is not a flaw by any means. Convection heating uses a fan and exhaust vents to cook the food more evenly but may make it harder for the temperature sensor to pick up the exact temperature.
This toaster oven also features a 60-minute timer with a stay-on function if you need to cook the food in the oven longer.
The timer works great for longer baking tasks that require you to precisely zero in on baking duration to get an extra fluffy pastry or perfectly crispy crust.
Besides baking, the BLACK+DECKER offers broiling and toasting functions with an additional setting to keep your food warm.
The three rather large dials allow you to choose the desired oven function and set the timer easily. Also, this toaster oven is very easy to clean. The crumb tray is housed under the oven, so there is no need to move or disassemble the device to reach it.
You should know that this toaster oven is in the upper price range, but you’re paying for the brand’s reputation, high-end build quality, and overall versatility.
On the other hand, this BLACK+DECKER toaster oven is a sizable unit so be prepared to dedicate a special place for it in your kitchen.
The BLACK+DECKER is one of the most durable and easy-to-use toaster ovens you can currently find in the market.
It also comes with a 2-year warranty from the well-known manufacturer, which should give you peace of mind in case you are not satisfied with the device.
- Large toaster oven
- Smart heating
- Sturdy and durable
- Excellent for families
- 60-minute timer
- Might be pricey for some users
- Temperature settings may be tricky
4. Cuisinart TOB-260N1 Chef’s Toaster Oven — Best for High-Volume Cooking
The Cuisinart Chef’s Toaster Oven comes with a lot of bells and whistles to offer you a near professional cooking experience on the comfort of your kitchen countertop. But the advanced features and plethora of accessories come at a price.
The Cuisinart is one of the most expensive toaster ovens around, but it offers functionality that very few other models can match.
It is even bigger than the BLACK+DECKER so you can easily bake a 13” pizza, up to 9 slices of toast, or use multiple racks to bake a couple of things at once. On top of that, you should be able to place a 7-pound turkey breast or 4 pounds of ribs with some room to spare.
There are 15 different settings to choose from to ensure you can properly cook all of these things. A rather large LED display shows the currents settings, and although it is great to have so many different options, they might be confusing at the start.
However, once you get used to the cooking functions, the meal quality this oven is able to deliver may only be comparable to full-size kitchen ovens. Similar to most other toaster ovens featured in this write-up, the Cuisinart is a convection toaster oven.
But unlike some other models, it comes with 2 different convection settings. These are a regular convection cooking and the so-called speed convection, each of them available at the simple touch of a button.
As you may expect, this toaster oven is great for broiling, baking, roasting, sandwiches – you name it, and it can probably cook it. However, there is one function that makes this oven very special.
It comes with a dual cook function that enables you to have two different cooking settings/temperatures for two different temperature zones in the oven.
This feature is great for meats and other foods that can benefit from extended cooking time at the separate top and bottom temperatures.
To accommodate all of the different foods you can place inside this toaster oven, it comes with a few accessories, and let’s not forget that it features two racks.
There is a 13-inch pizza stone, an accessory that you rarely encounter in toaster ovens, together with 3 different pans. The Cuisinart also features a removable crumb tray that can be easily accessed for cleaning.
If we are to disregard the steep price, this toaster oven may even be a decent replacement for your full-size oven.
It should work great for users who need to handle high-volume cooking on a regular basis without having to fire up the large stove oven, but the number of functions it offers may be confusing for novices.
- Massive volume for a toaster oven
- Includes a few useful accessories
- Multiple cooking functions
- Full-size LED display
- Steep price
- May not be ideally suited for novices
5. Panasonic NB-G110P Flash Xpress Toaster Oven — Best for High-Tech Baking at Great Speed
This toaster oven comes from yet another respectable manufacturer known for its dedication to cutting-edge technology. And that’s what you can expect with the Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven.
This toaster oven features infrared heating technology, rather than convection or conventional, which should offer you fantastic cooking speed no matter what you put inside.
Infrared heating is slowly gaining traction with appliance manufacturers due to its excellent heating properties, but don’t expect to find too many of these units in the market.
However, the Flash Xpress toaster oven is a prime example of what this technology has to offer. There is 2 ceramic, and quartz heating elements that operate at 1300W and the infrared heating technology reduces your cooking time by about 40%.
To control all this cooking power, there are a bunch of settings located just under the oven door. The 6 preset buttons allow you to set essential oven functions easily and the unit features precise temperature controls that range between 250° and 500° Fahrenheit.
To further customize your cooking preferences, the Flash Xpress comes with a small LED timer with a 25-minute countdown.
It would have been nice if the timer could be calibrated for more than 25 minutes, but you should remember that this toaster oven is faster than others so you might not need more than that.
There is an audible signal when the timer runs out, and if you want to check on your food during cooking just press a button to activate a light inside the oven.
The Panasonic Flash Xpress allows you to bake, toast, reheat, or brown foods though there is no option to broil.
This might be a major downside for some users but this toaster oven does a great job of roasting your meat, and there are other tricks to brown it properly.
On the upside, it should be perfectly suitable for preparing different kinds of pastry and pizza, though bear in mind that it doesn’t offer you the oven capacity of some bigger models like the BLACK+DECKER. However, the oven can comfortably fit up to 4 slices of bread or a 9-inch capricciosa.
The small footprint makes this toaster oven convenient for most standard kitchens, and it should be an excellent option for bachelors who don’t like to spend too much time in the kitchen.
You also get a cooking tray designed explicitly for this oven, though it would be nice if the oven came with more accessories.
The Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven should be an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for an appliance that can deliver high speed and power with easy-to-use controls.
It may have some limitations when it comes to broiling but rest assured, you should be more than happy with its baking properties.
- Infrared technology
- Compact design
- Easy to use
- Not as versatile as some other models
- Single rack
6. Oster Digital Toaster Oven — Best for Convection Cooking on a Budget
The Oster Digital Toaster Oven is among the most affordable convection toaster ovens that can handle a large volume of food. But don’t let the low price deceive you since this oven packs a decent punch comparable to some pricier models.
Admittedly, it is not as big as the Cuisinart Chef’s Toaster Oven, though it can comfortably accommodate up to 6 slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza.
What’s more, this is a fully digital toaster oven, offering you the convenience of setting functions at the touch of a button. All of the settings are nicely laid out on the left-hand side of the oven with color-coordinated start and stop buttons at the bottom.
There are six basic presets to bake, broil, warm, defrost, or toast your food, as well as a designated convection bake function to enhance the baking properties of this affordable unit. The convection baking function is designed to create a perfectly crispy crust and even browning.
Also, you can easily set the temperature and baking time via oversized buttons in the middle of the appliance, and these settings are shown on a small LED display atop the function buttons.
The Oster Digital is also quite powerful with the ability to deliver a temperature range between 150° and 450° Fahrenheit, which should be more than enough to get your meal ready in a matter of minutes.
On top of that, the timer allows you to select up to a 90-minute countdown with an auto-shutoff feature, so you don’t need to worry even if you forget that you left the oven on.
A large glass door lets you peer inside to check on your food easily, and if you cannot clearly see what’s going on inside you can always press a button to turn on the interior light.
It is worth mentioning that the Oster Digital LED display can double as a clock when you are not using the unit, and you can go back to the clock, as you may already assume, with a simple press of a button.
This oven is also very easy to clean because it’s conveniently sized and features a removable crumb tray. You get only one baking pan with this unit, but it should not be a problem since it can accommodate most standard casserole pans.
The Oster Digital Toaster Oven is overall an excellent value for the money because it offers cooking power and versatility at a price that most people can afford.
Also, since the controls are entirely digital, you shouldn’t have any problems using this appliance even if you are a complete novice.
- Great value for money
- Spacious oven
- Digital controls
- Excellent temperature controls
- Toasting function might not perform as expected
7. Hamilton Beach 31401 Toaster Oven — Best for Everyday Energy-efficient Cooking
The Hamilton Beach Toaster Oven is simple to use, versatile, conveniently sized and it should offer most of the features you may expect in a toaster oven. But let’s make some things clear right off the bat.
The Hamilton Beach is not a convection oven, though this doesn’t mean that it’s vastly inferior to the other models we liked. If you factor in more than affordable price, this model is really worth checking out.
The Hamilton Beach toaster oven is big enough for 4 slices of toast or a 9-inch pizza. This toaster oven comes with a 30-minute timer with an auto-shutoff function to let you prepare the food with peace of mind.
Even though it may be logical to have the auto-shutoff function in every toaster oven, this is not actually the case. So we may assume that this extra functionality brings the Hamilton Beach one step closer to its pricier counterparts.
On top of that, the Hamilton Beach is really energy efficient even though it doesn’t feature convection heating. It should use up to 75% less energy than your full-size kitchen oven with noticeable improvements when it comes to cooking speed.
We may agree that there is no need to heat up the entire kitchen just to get a few cookies or chicken nuggets ready. And this is precisely the type of cooking this toaster oven is designed to handle, offering you the same food quality faster and easier.
The features have been further enhanced by more than a few different settings and temperature options that you can easily dial in. No matter if you want to bake, broil, roast, or toast, the food that comes out of the oven can exceed your expectations.
Besides the excellent cooking performance, this oven is very aesthetically pleasing. It sports a stainless steel panel and a glass door with black trims which should look great in most kitchens.
This model comes with a baking pan that can be placed on one of the two cooking racks inside the oven for better heat distribution.
And you shouldn’t have any problems placing other dishes that are suitable for toaster ovens.
This toaster oven may be a great addition to your kitchen arsenal since it offers excellent versatility and ease of use despite the lack of convection heating.
- Appealing design
- Great versatility
- Highly affordable
- Not the most even heating
- The door is a bit too lightweight
8. Proctor Silex 31122 Modern Toaster Oven — Best for Cooking on a Tight Budget
If you are on a really tight budget but need a reliable and versatile toaster oven, the Proctor Silex Modern Toaster Oven might be just the thing you are looking for.
This toaster oven offers decent cooking speed, ample oven capacity, and a few safety features that should help you prepare meals with ease even if this is the first time you are using a toaster oven.
This compact toaster oven can comfortably fit up to 4 slices of bread or a 9-inch pizza with two different rack positions to ensure even heat distribution.
Unlike some other models, the Proctor Silex comes with a drop-down crumb tray rather than a pull-out one, but you can reach it without too much trouble.
It’s worth mentioning that, similar to the Hamilton Beach toaster oven, the Proctor Silex doesn’t feature convection heating, which you wouldn’t expect at this price.
Therefore, you should take care to place the food on a proper rack to ensure optimal heat distribution and take a close look at your recipe so you can dial in the exact settings.
When it comes to settings, the Proctor Silex toaster oven comes with 3 knobs that let you choose the temperature, cooking function, and time.
This toaster oven is quite powerful for a unit of this price point, and it offers a temperature range between 150° and 450° Fahrenheit. But it does come with some limitations in terms of cooking functions because it can only toast, bake, or broil your food.
On the upside, what this oven may lack in cooking functions it compensates for with a highly useful timer. You can dial up to 30 minutes of cooking time with auto-shutoff and stay-on functions, which should be great for baking and broiling tough cuts of meat.
On top of that, the timer lets you select three different levels of toasting which adds to the overall versatility of this kitchen appliance.
The Proctor Silex is an excellent option if you are strapped for cash but would like to enjoy the perks of a bigger toaster oven. Also, this unit might be a great option if you have never used a toaster oven and would like to test out an inexpensive model to see if it works out for you.
- Easy to use and clean
- Well-designed timer
- Decent power
- Only 3 cooking functions
9. Maxi-Matic ERO-2600BL Americana Retro Toaster Oven — Best for Cooking in Style
The Americana Retro toaster oven by Maxi-Matic is probably the most stylish toaster oven around. If you are into the retro design reminiscent of 1950s kitchen appliances, you might fall in love with this one at first sight.
But this toaster oven is not all about looks. It features a compact design, high power, and generous oven capacity that should give you enough room to fit even bigger pans.
The Maxi-Matic Retro is big enough for 6 slices of bread, and you shouldn’t have any problems fitting a 12-inch pizza. There are also three different rack positions with cooking instructions printed on the oven door to help you place the food properly.
Also, this toaster oven comes with a wire rack and baking, as well as a crumb tray that can be easily removed for cleaning.
Even though the Americana Retro is not a convection oven, you may expect a much better cooking performance compared to some other conventional ovens featured in our selection.
The improved heating properties come from the 4 stainless steel heating elements that are conveniently placed to ensure even heating from top to bottom. The enhanced heaters also give you a temperature range between 200° and 450° Fahrenheit, which should be more than enough regardless if you want to bake, broil, or just reheat your food.
As far as the cooking functions go, the Maxi-Matic Retro doesn’t fall behind some other premium models. It can bake, broil, toast, or simply reheat your food at a performance close to what you get from a full-size oven.
We need to point out that the actual cooking settings are laid out similar to some old-school full-size ovens. You are basically selecting the heaters that you want to use: top, bottom, both, or none.
These cooking settings may be confusing to you if you are used to preset ones, but once you get the hang of it, you shouldn’t have any problems using this toaster oven.
To ensure nothing gets burned and the food is adequately cooked inside the oven, there is a convenient 60-minute timer.
The timer also features auto shutoff and stay-on functions which help you dial in the exact time to ensure you get the juiciest possible cut of meat or extra crispy pastry.
- Great aesthetics
- Two color options
- Versatile cooking functions
- Compact design
- More complicated cooking settings
10. Maxi-Matic ERO-2008S Elite Cuisine Toaster Oven — Best for Baking All Sorts of Meat
The Maxi-Matic Elite Cuisine toaster oven features both a rotating spit and a grill on top which makes this toaster oven an excellent choice if you wish to prepare different types of meat.
On top of that, this is the only toaster oven we liked that incorporates the additional spit and grill, yet stays within most people’s budget.
The compact design of the Elite Cuisine should allow you to fit this toaster oven on most countertops. But you need to be aware that this is not exactly a small unit since the oven body has to accommodate all the extra cooking features.
Also, you should factor in the grill that is located on the top so avoid placing this oven below hanging kitchen cabinets. The grill does come with a lid for added convenience and safety, but it won’t hurt to be extra careful anyway.
When it comes to cooking power and options, there are only a few toaster ovens that can compete with the Elite Cuisine. You get a 23-liter internal capacity that should be more than enough for any cut of meat for a small family.
The rotating spit is perfect for rotisserie poultry that’s crispy on the outside but succulent on the inside. In addition, there are 7 other cooking functions such that you can toast, bake, broil, or even steam your food.
All of the oven functions are easily set via the dials that are located on the left-hand side of the oven, though the dials could have been of better quality since they may feel a bit plasticky.
Anyway, the added functions shouldn’t be hard for you to use since all of the settings are clear and well laid out. You can choose a temperature range from 150°F, which is ideal for warming your food, all the way to 450°F for broiling or roasting meat.
The Elite Cuisine has a 60-minute timer with stay-on and auto-shutoff options. There are also two additional settings on the timer that allow you to choose the preferred brownness of your toast.
Also, this toaster oven comes with more than a few accessories, so there is no need to search for pans or racks to use with it.
The Maxi-Matic Elite Cuisine Toaster Oven is an excellent all-in-one solution that won’t break the bank. Also, this toaster oven offers utilities that most families can benefit from so it’s worth a try.
- Multi-purpose toaster oven
- Top grill
- Great value for money
- Requires more vertical space
Toaster Oven Buyer’s Guide
Do you wish to know how to distinguish between a premium toaster oven and an average one?
This section of our article covers the necessary information regarding the different types of toaster ovens and their usability and features to help you make a smart purchase.
How Does a Toaster Oven Work?
A toaster oven converts electricity into heat by way of heating elements which is then delivered to the food inside the oven.
If you peer inside a toaster, you might be able to see rows of red-hot heaters, though most modern cooking appliances have them concealed for better heat distribution and safety.
Once turned on, electricity passes through a series of conveniently spaced heating elements. The spacing ensures even heat distribution over the food. In essence, the heating elements radiate heat towards the food, which if properly executed should result in evenly roasted or baked meals.
Convection toaster ovens also feature exhaust vents and a fan that circulates the hot air inside to ensure even heat distribution and optimal baking time.
Toaster ovens come with a timer and a thermostat. The purpose of these devices is to regulate the amount of temperature or heating time. Basically, timers automatically switch off the oven after a designated time period and thermostats keep the oven at the desired temperature.
The overall construction plays a vital role with toaster ovens. Most of them are made of brushed metal featuring high-temperature resistant doors and heat-reflecting oven interior.
Toaster ovens are somewhat smaller than microwaves, and you don’t need to worry about placing metal inside. They should be an excellent option for preparing quick meals for a family of 3, but let’s look at some of their pros and cons.
- Compact and space-saving
- Heat efficient
- Limited space inside the oven
- Not suited for liquids
Why are Toaster Ovens Great for Your Kitchen?
Before you purchase the best toaster oven for your kitchen, you might want to ask yourself a question: Do I really need one?
The simple answer would most likely be yes. Due to its versatility, a toaster oven can be highly convenient for households of all sizes.
However, even though most toaster ovens are compact, you should think about the space that it will take up in your kitchen.
The oven capacity is another important factor that, of course, largely determines its size and functionality beyond toasting.
In other words, if you don’t have a lot of space and don’t wish to roast a chicken, it would be best to get a basic one.
Most basic toaster ovens are budget friendly (even the high-end models) with the ability to quickly reheat leftovers and brown bagels or toast.
However, those of you who have more mouths to feed should go for a bigger model that features a couple of trays or convection heating.
As we have already mentioned, toaster ovens are more energy efficient than kitchen range ovens. If you need to prepare a small meal, you can conserve energy by using a toaster oven.
Also, they won’t create a sauna-like temperature in your kitchen which makes them almost ideal for summer use.
What’s more, your children should be perfectly safe when using a toaster oven. This way you can help them build confidence in the kitchen and teach them about essential meal preparation.
Also, you can use a toaster oven in combination with a regular one. This gives you extra baking space which may come really handy especially in the holiday season or if you like to entertain guests every now and again.
A toaster oven could be a lifesaver if you are in college or living alone since it saves cooking time and there is not that much cleaning to do after baking.
On the other hand, a toaster oven should be really beneficial for parents with young children and otherwise busy people.
If you fall into any of these categories, expect to spend much less time in the kitchen and get a tasty meal quicker.
How do You Choose a Toaster Oven?
By now it should go without saying that a toaster oven is an excellent addition to your kitchen.
But besides its versatility and overall ease of use, some other determining factors may influence your decision.
Similar to other kitchen appliances, what you pay is what you get with toaster ovens. But if you are going to use the toaster oven for quick snacks, there is no need to splurge on a big unit that features more than a few functions.
Basic toaster ovens should set you back around fifty bucks, while top-of-the-line convection or infrared toaster ovens may cost a few hundred dollars.
One way or another, think carefully about how you are going to use the oven, and it should help you determine how much to spend.
Capacity and functionality
The bigger the toaster oven, the more food you’ll be able to put inside. The increased capacity usually translates to more functions. This basically means the ability to customize baking/roasting properties depending on the type of food.
Of course, more capacity means that a more substantial real estate requirement in your kitchen so you should account for that as well when you make a selection.
No matter which toaster oven you choose, it will come with some preset settings or functions.
You should take a close look at the settings because these provide invaluable information about what the oven is actually capable of doing.
Most basic toaster ovens feature presets to toast, reheat, warm, or brown your food. Some more advanced models come with options to bake, roast, or use the oven to prepare bagels, pizza, or cookies. The basic settings are:
To get the best results, you should put the slices on the middle rack. This ensures your bread or bagels are evenly toasted on both sides.
However, the toasting setting may vary depending on the brand so do take a close look at the instruction manual to make sure you get the best results.
A toaster oven bakes similarly to your full-size oven with the ability to handle most foods as long as they can fit in the small oven. You just need to select the desired temperature, set the oven to baking function, and let it heat up for a few minutes before you put the food inside.
If you are using a convection oven for baking, avoid cooking trays that cover up most of the food since convection heating works best when a large surface is exposed to the hot air.
It is advisable to reduce the temperature by 25% because convection heating has more efficient heat distribution than conventional.
This function is designed for cooking meat, and toaster ovens can usually handle chicken, pork, beef, or fish. It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t cover the meat with aluminum foil.
If the grease accumulates on the foil, it might be at risk of catching fire. Also, it is much easier for the oil to find its way into the dripping tray when the meat is uncovered.
You can also put some water in the cooking tray to minimize sizzling.
Even heating is one of the crucial features especially if you are preparing a couple of dishes at a time or roasting something large like a chicken.
This oven property is one of the things that manufacturers tend to put forward, but it pays to take a look at the actual oven properties and power. Convection toaster ovens usually offer the most even heat, but there are also some excellent conventional models.
The temperature range is another important factor that you should consider before purchasing a toaster oven. It largely influences the oven’s versatility and the variety of foods it can prepare.
Also, greater temperature range usually translates to more settings and better functionality. And it’s worth noting that toaster ovens have lower maximum temperatures than full-size ovens in general.
The auto shutoff function comes in really handy to avoid burning your food. If you are easily distracted or downright forgetful, this toaster oven function should be an absolute must for you.
It allows you to return to your food without having to worry about the smoke alarm going off or baking the food beyond edibility.
A rack that automatically pops out when you open the toaster oven door should make removing hot food a breeze. However, a lot of models don’t actually come with an auto-eject option.
Toaster ovens are usually very easy to clean.
When it comes to cleaning, you should make sure that the oven doesn’t have any hard-to-reach areas.
However, most toaster ovens come with a cleaning tray that collects all of the crumbs or other baking/roasting byproducts. And, for the most part, toaster ovens are much easier to clean than regular ovens.
To make cleaning even easier, you should go for a toaster oven featuring a cleaning tray that you can completely slide out from the front.
Even though this characteristic doesn’t play any crucial role in the functionality of a toaster oven, many people like to match toaster ovens to other kitchen appliances.
You might feel better if your kitchen looks cohesive especially if you need to spend a lot of time in it on a daily basis.
Finding the perfect toaster oven that completely matches the style of your kitchen shouldn’t be a problem since most manufacturers offer a wide variety of designs.
The designs range from neutral white or silver models to cool-looking vintage toaster ovens that come in different pastel colors.
Other Feature You Should Look for
An audible alert that notifies you when the food is ready is another feature you should look for. These alerts are actually loud beeps that go off once the timer signals the end of a cooking cycle.
However, not all toaster ovens come with a timer, but you should definitely go for a model featuring one because it will allow you to precisely determine the cooking time.
The interior of your toaster oven is a vital part that significantly affects the cooking properties of an oven. Preferably you should choose an oven with a non-stick interior since it helps when you clean the unit.
Besides non-stick properties, the interior should be clearly visible so you can monitor the baking process and it helps if the oven has a light inside.
More than a few toaster ovens come with some sort of LED display. But you should know that this feature is actually not that common.
However, an oven display is quite handy since it indicates all of the information relevant to baking, such as current settings, time, and temperature.
You should also pay attention to the accessories that come with your toaster oven. The accessories usually include pizza or baking trays, roasting racks, and a crumb tray.
If the toaster oven that you like comes with all of these accessories, you are in luck because you can save money and don’t have to make close measurements of the oven’s interior when shopping for third-party trays.
And last, if you wish to go beyond simple browning or toast, it would be wise to invest into an oven that has near and far infrared heating elements.
The near-infrared heaters are efficient at cooking your food on the inside while the far do a great job of cooking the outside.
On top of that, infrared heating elements offer instant heat so you won’t need to preheat the oven.
Toaster Oven Types
Toaster ovens can be divided into 4 major types: standard, convection, rotisserie, and infrared.
Each of the types features a slightly different technology that you should know about before the purchase.
So let’s dive right in and see what kind of features these ovens have to offer.
Standard toaster oven
This is the most common type of toaster oven that works similarly to your old pop-up toaster. But it offers the convenience of enclosed heating, and you can use it for other things besides slices of bread.
So if you are looking for an oven that can quickly warm different foods or brown pieces of toast and bagels, this might be the perfect type for you.
The standard toaster ovens usually come in different sizes and can offer multiple settings to adjust the heat to your cooking preferences.
You should know that the number of settings may vary significantly based on brands and models.
Also, standard toaster ovens are quite affordable, and at the lower end, you should be able to find a reliable unit for a little less than $50.
Convection toaster oven
This particular oven technology has become really popular in recent years. It offers premium cooking features on your countertop and is probably the most versatile of all toaster ovens.
Convection ovens use a fan and exhaust vents to distribute the hot air inside the oven evenly. Compared to standard toaster ovens they offer faster cooking time, especially at low temperatures.
When you combine these two characteristics, you should get cooking performance comparable to a full-size oven, within reason.
On top of that, most convection toaster ovens are able to handle a variety of tasks such as broiling, roasting, or baking.
And the quality of food that you get from a convection oven is often superior to any other type of toaster oven.
However, you should expect to spend a bit more on a quality convection oven, though it is an investment worth making especially if you use the oven daily.
Rotisserie toaster oven
Rotisserie toaster ovens are designed to handle roasting meat efficiently.
They usually come with a rotating spit that allows the meat to roast as evenly as possible while retaining all the delicious juices inside.
Most rotisserie toaster ovens are big enough so you can fit an entire chicken inside but they do come with their fair share of limitations.
While you will probably use the standard or convection oven on a daily basis, this might not be the case with a rotisserie oven.
Most people keep this kitchen appliance safely stashed away until they need to roast some meat.
With that said, you should know that this particular type of toaster oven may not be as versatile as some other models featured here.
A lot of people who go for a rotisserie oven use it as a secondary unit just for cooking meat. But rotisserie ovens are usually very compact, so you shouldn’t have any problems storing them when not in use.
Infrared toaster oven
Infrared technology has only recently been featured in toaster ovens so you may expect to find fewer models available.
But this doesn’t mean this particular type of toaster oven cannot deliver a premium cooking experience. Quite the contrary, infrared toaster ovens offer performance comparable to convection ovens.
If you choose to use an infrared toaster oven, your food should be ready in no time with even heat distribution all around.
Also, it takes very little time for the infrared heating elements to heat up so you probably won’t need to defrost frozen foods first when you use this type of oven.
Infrared toaster ovens are also very versatile for preheating, baking, roasting, or dying/curing functions.
It’s worth noting that some convection ovens also feature infrared options so you can get the best of both worlds.
All of the abovementioned features come at a higher price but again, due to the extra versatility and ease of use the investment is likely to pay off in the long run.
Toaster Oven Safety
We have already mentioned that toaster ovens heat up in no time. Although this makes them quite convenient, it also poses a significant fire risk. To avoid any potential hazard, you should plug the oven directly into a power outlet.
You’ll want to avoid extension cords altogether because a large amount of current draw might overheat and combust the long cables. That’s why toaster ovens are built with short power cords in the first place.
This is not as crucial if you’re using 240V, as the higher voltage effectively halves the current draw (given the same power consumption).
To minimize any external hazard or burns, you need to place the oven on your countertop correctly. Clear ample space around the unit to allow proper air circulation.
It should go without saying that the oven should be nowhere near flammable materials such as curtains, kitchen cloths, and towels, or foods that might be lying around the kitchen.
Some of the features like pop-out racks and auto shutoff also add to the overall safety of a toaster oven.
Also, the accessories such as drip trays do a great job of collecting all of the excess greases that might flare up when you are preparing meat.
Additionally, some models come with doors that open more than others so you can have easier access to the inside of the oven.
Although these doors are quite convenient when you are reaching for food inside the oven, they might require extra counter space so make sure they don’t bang into anything.
On top of that, you should know what kind of dishes is safe for use in a toaster oven:
What Not to Put in a Toaster Oven
The usual rule of thumb is no paper and no plastic. Also, Pyrex or other glass dishes might underperform in a toaster oven since they are not designed to be used with a direct heat source.
Even though your oven might be able to handle parchment paper you should avoid it. Instead, go for a silicone mat or oil the pan if you don’t want the food to stick.
When it comes to aluminum foil, you should check the instructions that came with the toaster oven. But our recommendation is to avoid using it especially if you are preparing meat.
What to Put in a Toaster Oven
Any usual metal dish or baking pan should be fine as long as it easily fits inside the oven. You can choose cast iron dishes as well since they can handle any kind of temperature or heat source.
Cast iron cookware is extremely versatile but be prepared to spend a bit more money.
Although some stoneware and ceramics can handle the heat inside a toaster oven, you should be careful about it.
Make sure you do your research before purchasing a ceramic dish and read the user manual to see if it can handle a toaster oven. Overall, ceramic or stoneware plates perform better than glass or Pyrex.
First, you should unplug the oven and let it cool down if it is hot.
Then remove all of the pans or racks and use an all-purpose cleaner. You should use a non-abrasive sponge both for the accessories and the oven interior.
When you clean the interior, don’t spray the cleaning agent directly on it but rather spray it on the sponge.
Also, you need to avoid any contact with the heating elements if they are exposed inside the oven. The glass door should be cleaned with a solution of vinegar and water or a proper commercial preparation.
Once all the cleaning and wiping is done, let the oven sit for a while, so it has enough time to dry properly.
You can repeat the process several times if your oven is super dirty.
To Wrap Up
By now you are probably well aware that many factors are in play when you want to select the best toaster oven for your specific needs.
You should think about the size of your kitchen, when and how you would like to use the appliance, and above all, what kind of food you wish to prepare.
Once you are clear about the toaster oven’s functionality, it shouldn’t be too hard to zero in on the one that has all the bells and whistles you require.
On top of that, it should go without saying that your oven needs to be reasonably priced to avoid paying for unnecessary options.
We’ve made a selection of 10 ovens that are great for specific types of cooking that you might be looking for.
So finding the one that matches your needs should be a no-brainer – just check out the highlights of each individual oven as they are presented in a manner that is easy to understand even if you have never seen a countertop oven before.
Toaster ovens are energy-efficient, fast, and most of our choice models are able to cook different types of food.
Also, you can always use it together with your full-size oven to add some extra cooking capacity that always comes in handy if you are expecting guests or preparing a large family dinner.