- 1 Your Cooking Requirements?
- 2 Top 5 Best Toaster Oven Reviews
- 3 Conclusion
There are few simpler, yet more enjoyable, pleasures in life than fresh toast as part of your breakfast each morning. Or maybe you’re a little bit of a toast fanatic and you love toast any time day or night? But maybe you’ve reached that point in your life where a simple toaster is no longer enough, and you’ve been looking to pastures greener where you’ve spotted a toaster oven that you like the look of?
|Breville BOV650XL||Panasonic NB-G110P||Waring Pro TCO650||Breville BOV800XL||Cuisinart TOB-195|
|Capacity||0.45 cubic feet||0.7 cubic feet||0.6 cubic feet||0.8 cubic feet||0.6 cubic feet|
|Dimensions||16 x 13 x 9 inches||14 x 10 x 8 inches||14.5 x 17 x 10.8 inches||18.5 x 16.2 x 11.2 inches||7.8 x 16 x 9.6 inches|
|Warranty||1-Year Limited||1-Year Limited||5-Year Limited||1-Year Limited||3-Year Limited|
The beauty of a toaster oven is that it combines the ability to make 4 or more slices of toast with some additional cooking features too – basically you’re getting all the convenience of a larger oven, with a lot of the functionality of a full oven without all the hassle of having to pre-heat one. Granted a toaster oven is never going to replace your main oven, but they are versatile enough to be used as a backup oven, or simply a countertop oven for heating, reheating and baking all kinds of smaller food items. Toaster ovens are also an ideal choice for anyone living in a small apartment, who simply doesn’t have the space for a huge oven.
So the focus of our guide is to educate you on all things toaster oven-ish and provide you with some informative toaster oven reviews, so that you can make a more informed choice if and when you decide to buy one.
Your Cooking Requirements?
You’ll need to be very honest with yourself when you answer this question, because although modern toaster ovens are extremely versatile they’re still only capable of cooking meals of a certain size. Obviously any toaster oven will be more than capable of making excellent toast, but you’ll also need to measure it to see if it’s capable of baking or roasting larger items like a chicken, chops, or a pizza – the capacity of the toaster oven is going to be critical. So when you’re shopping for a toaster oven you need to be making note of the capacity of each model, which is measured in cubic feet, or cu. ft. for short. Ideally look for a toaster oven with a capacity of 0.6 cu. ft. or more.
Obviously a basic toaster oven should be capable of toasting, but even the most basic models should be capable of baking and broiling too. This means that even entry-level models of toaster oven should be capable of doing everything from making toast, to roasting a chicken, to broiling some burgers. You’ll find that more advanced models will come with functions like reheat, defrost, grill, dehydrate and brown, but whether or not you need these features will be entirely down to your personal preferences. At the higher end of the price scale you’ll find toaster ovens that have brick inserts – designed to give your pizza that authentic pizza oven taste, and some even have a rotisserie skewer feature!
When you buy an oven of this type you’re going to have a choice between an oven which cooks with elements (like a standard toaster), a convection toaster oven which uses a fan to circulate heat and an oven which uses infra-red beams to cook your food. The majority of toaster ovens are the convection heater type, because they cook food more quickly and evenly than just using standard heating elements. Infra-red toaster ovens can cook food more quickly but you lose the ability to broil and you can only use metal cookware inside one.
A toaster oven is already more energy efficient than any existing oven, but that doesn’t meant that you should stop there in your search for efficiency, because every little bit of energy you save reduces your carbon footprint, and in turn your impact on the environment. Basically toaster ovens with a smaller capacity will require less energy to cook food, as will ovens with thicker insulating walls and convection heating fans. You can always simply look for an Energy Star sticker on whatever toaster ovens you’re considering to reduce the amount of research you need to do.
Number of Racks
Ideally your new toaster oven would have slots for at least 2 cooking racks/trays because this makes preparing multiple dishes at once much more straightforward. You could be cooking a roast chicken on the top rack while you’re heating a side or dessert on the bottom rack. Wanting to buy the neatest and tiniest toaster oven you can find is understandable but you might be cutting off your nose to spite your face by doing that.
You’ve probably noticed that we regularly include the whole idea of setting and sticking to a budget when buying this type of household item, and toaster ovens are no different in that regard. In terms of what you can expect to spend on a high-quality toaster oven you’ll need a budget of between $70 and around $250 in total.
Now we need to take a look at what actual features you should be looking for on a toaster oven.
As with microwave ovens a toaster oven’s cooking power is measure in watts. Put simply more wattage means that your food will be cooked more quickly, with around 1800-watts tending to be at the upper end of the cooking power available on a toaster oven.
To save you having to literally turn your toaster oven upside down to clean it, finding one with a crumb or drip tray makes a lot more sense. Just make sure that the crumb tray is also easily accessible and that removing it and washing it isn’t an exercise in frustration.
Much like a microwave it makes a lot of sense to buy a toaster oven that you can wipe clean after cooking. If you’re roasting or broiling food in a toaster oven then you’re going to get a variety of fats and food chunks glued to the inside of it over time – that’s why you want the interior to be non-stick if possible.
Your new toaster oven should have “toast”, “broil” and “roast” cooking functions at the very least, while also including a “warming/keep warm” function too. If possible look for a model with pre-set cooking functions like “cookies”, “pizza” and “reheat” too if your budget allows for it.
We’ve already touched on this previously but if you want a truly versatile toaster oven then go for something in the 0.6 cubic foot capacity or higher. At least this way you’ll know for sure that you’ll be able to roast a 4-pound chicken with your new oven without it breaking a sweat (not that toaster ovens sweat, obviously).
There’s nothing worse than having a kitchen appliance that requires a degree in quantum mechanics to figure out how to use it – even when you have actually read the instruction manual! Getting a toaster oven with a simple menu system and a clear LED/LCD screen will save you a lot of headaches later on.
Top 5 Best Toaster Oven Reviews
And now we come to the pivotal section of this feature – our reviews of our favorite toaster ovens!
1) Breville BOV650XL Compact Smart Oven Review
The Breville BOV450XL has a 0.45 cu. ft. capacity so is slightly smaller than our recommended 0.6 cu. ft. capacity. That being said this toaster oven puts out up to 1800-watts of cooking power, using 4 separate quartz elements to cook your food evenly thanks to the Element IQ cooking technology inside it. You also get eight different pre-set cooking functions (including reheat, pizza and cookies), plus it can hold 4 slices of toast, and comfortably accommodate a pizza up to 11-inches in size – although this is an odd choice because it’s bigger than a small pizza but smaller than a personal size. The interior of this toaster oven is non-stick and it also has 3 different rack positions which allow for preparing multiple dishes at once. The Breville BOV650XL retails online now for a little less than $150.
2) Panasonic NB-G110P Flash Xpress Toaster Oven Review
The “Xpress” in the model name of this toaster oven comes from the fact that it uses infrared light to cook your food – meaning that any meal can be prepared almost 50% more quickly than with convection or heating element cooking. The intuitive interface of this 1300-watt oven has pre-set cooking modes for things like rolls, waffles as well as just normal toast, plus it can also cook a pizza up to 9-inches in diameter. The infrared cooking function means you get instant cooking power, so there’s no waiting around for the over to pre-heat itself. The Panasonic NB-G110P Flash Xpress will set you back a few cents less than $100 if you buy it online from Amazon.
3) Waring Pro TCo650 Digital Convection Oven Review
Next up we have the Waring Pro TCO650, the first of our toaster ovens to meet our 0.6 cu. ft. recommendation – which simply means that it can comfortably fit either a 12-inch pizza, 6 slices of bread, several burgers or a small chicken inside it for cooking (not all at once though). The 1500-watts of convection cooking power also means that your food will be cooked more evenly, more quickly and using less energy – it’s a win for everyone involved with cooking with this toaster oven. This oven also comes with several rack slots, a baking pan and the ever-important removable crumb tray, and also features a very clear and almost minimalist LED display and dial setup. At under $95 the Waring Pro TCO650 Digital Convection Oven represents great value for money and a whole lot of cooking versatility too.
4) Breville BOV800XL Smart Toaster Oven Review
With this Breville we’re taking our capacity up a notch again to 0.8 cu. ft, meaning that you can fit even more food inside this mini oven. You get the same Element IQ cooking technology featured in the Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart oven, but with a bump in power to 1800-watts instead – dispersed with 5 quartz elements instead of just 4. This toaster oven can comfortably accommodate a 12-inch pizza, 4 slices of toast or a multitude of other bread and pastry products of the same dimensions. The LCD screen is very easy to see and you also get 9 pre-set cooking functions to speed up your meal preparation. At almost $250 this is the most expensive toaster oven in our roundup, but also the largest in terms of capacity.
5) Cuisinart TOB-195 Exact Heat Toaster Oven Broiler Review
This toaster oven from Cuisinart is another which features the 0.6 cu. ft. capacity we find most comfortable for our own cooking preferences, understanding that a larger capacity oven takes up more countertop space. For under $130 you get a toaster oven which has a very easy to use control panel and is capable of taking up 4 slices of toast, English muffins or bagels at once – with 12-inch pizzas being no problem either. The interior of the Cuisinart TOB-155 Toaster Oven is a non-stick wipe clean surface. The other big advantage in buying this toaster oven is that it’s from Cuisinart, meaning you’re buying from a brand name you can trust.
Hopefully we’ve helped you through the minefield of decisions you’ll have to make when choosing a toaster oven – remember you need to be pragmatic in your choice of oven and exactly what types of foods you need (not want) to be able to cook in it.