Toaster ovens are small electric ovens with a see-through glass door, wire rack, and removable baking pan. Toaster ovens are significantly larger than most slotted toasters and are capable of performing most of the functions of electric ovens.
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Consumers who wish to make lots of toast will find that toaster ovens have more advantages over slotted toasters, for example, larger toaster ovens can toast up to as many as six slices of bread at a tome whereas slotted toasters can only toast two to four slices simultaneously. Top-rated toaster ovens allow you to choose your preferred browning level and feature a bagel setting for optimal toasting. The only drawback is that most toaster ovens won’t toast as fast and evenly as a slotted toaster.
Toaster oven shoppers should consider their needs carefully before placing an order:
1. Is it only a toaster oven or a toaster/convection oven?
Some ovens will only be basic, toaster ovens, while some others will be convection models that can be used for baking and broiling in addition to toasting.
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A toaster oven offers limited usability; it’s mainly used to toast food that cannot fit in a stand-alone toaster.
Convection ovens, on the other hand, have a much broader functionality and can replace full-size ovens.
2. How much food can it cook/toast?
You will want to know how many slices the oven can toast or how big a pizza can they fit in, etc.
3. Pre-set functions
Is the variety of functions sufficient to handle different types of food? Does the oven allow the user to tailor the settings to his/her individual needs? You will want to know more about the programmable settings that are available on the oven. The more functions the oven has, the higher will be the perceived value.
4. The door
The door can be the single most important factor that determines the energy efficiency of the oven. If the doors seal tightly, the heat won’t escape into the environment and the performance will be much higher.
If it doesn’t seal well, it can heat the kitchen instead of the food, causing a lot of unnecessary power consumption. Fortunately, most decent models on the market have tightly sealing doors.
You should also find out whether or not the handle is cool to the touch. Some handles have metal strips that will heat up and cause burns.
And lastly, are there rack markings on the door? These markings tell the user which position to put the rack in (bottom, middle or top) depending on what they’re cooking. Door markings are a nice feature to have.
5. Is there an automatic ejection feature?
Some models on the market have magnets on both sides of the door which pull the tray out when the door is opened. This is a very nice feature to have as it greatly minimizes the risk of burning the user’s hands.
6. Is the interior non-stick? Is there an interior light? Is there a removable crumb tray?
Most ovens have non-stick interiors that make it easy and effortless to clean (and also prolong the life of the oven since they prevent build-ups if the oven is not regularly cleaned).
Another important feature is the interior light. Many models (unfortunately) do not have this feature.
Some models have removable crumb trays that make cleaning the oven easier.
7. Cord length
A longer cord will offer more flexibility as it will allow the oven to be placed farther from the plug, whereas a shorter cord will not have that flexibility.
Although it’s not a factor that affects the performance or value, some people (especially those with limited space who need to carefully place appliances to fit in) will appreciate the flexibility.
8. Size – How large and how deep is the oven
Unlike many other small appliances, ovens are rarely stored away when not in use. Hence, the size will also matter for the users.
If it’s too big for a toaster oven, people may prefer to use a full-sized oven instead (since most people will already have one).
9. How sophisticated are the controls? Is there an LCD screen?
Some more expensive models come with sophisticated controls and an LCD screen; however, most models will have basic dial controls and no screens.
Hint: If the controls are sophisticated and offer many functions and if there is an LCD display, think about how much flexibility and precision the oven offers and bear in mind that it may be hard to find so much value in those price ranges.
If, on the other hand, the controls are very basic and there is no display, you may want to think about how easy the oven is to use, and how it can get the job done without the confusion caused by those complex controls, etc.
Toaster/convection ovens come with different accessories (mostly pans). You will want to know if the oven has a pizza pan, baking and/or broiling pan, etc.
In addition, some models come with special recipe books which can add to the perceived value.
Best Toaster Ovens:
1. Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven with Element IQ
- 1800-watt convection toaster oven heats foods quickly and evenly
- 0.8-cubic-foot non-stick interior with 3 rack positions
- 5 quartz elements with Element IQ for smart cooking
- Easy to use
- Easy-clean, stainless steel housing with ribbed plate warming tray
- Function dial with 9 pre-set cooking functions: bake, broil, roast, cookies, reheat, pizza, bagel, toast, warm (taking the guesswork out of cooking)
- Temperature and time dial with auto shut-off and sound alert
- Easily removable pull-out crumb tray
2. Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven NB-G110P
- 1300Watt double “Infrared Light” cooks faster than conventional toaster ovens
- Instant heat eliminates preheating, ideal for quick-cooking tasks
- Cooks consistently, evenly, and accurately
- 6 cooking menus with illustrated preset buttons
- Automatically calculates the cooking time for a variety of foods
- Square-shape inner tray which is perfect for pizza up to 9″ in diameter of 4 slices of bread
- Removable crumb tray for easy cleaning
- Reminder beep lets you know when food is done
3. Cuisinart TOB-40 Custom Classic Toaster Oven Broiler
- Inexpensive, but very good for easy broiling, baking, and toasting jobs.
- 1800 Watts to toast, bagel, bake and broil
- Full size interior holds 11-inch pizza and 6 slices of toast
- Easy clean nonstick interior
- Non-stick coating and dishwasher-safe parts
- Automatic shutoff safety feature
- The crumb tray comes slides out from the bottom of the toaster oven broiler for easy cleaning
- All parts that come in contact with food are BPA free
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