If you are looking for a truly versatile kitchen appliance, look no further than the toaster oven. Not only can it toast a piece of bread to perfection, but it can also do a variety of other tasks, like cook a pizza, bake cookies or even roast a small chicken. A toaster oven is an ideal appliance for those who don’t have a full-sized oven, or for those who do have a full-sized oven, but don’t feel like waiting for it to heat up or running it when they only want to cook something small, and cook it quickly.
When you are shopping for a toaster oven, you are going to find that there are limitless options available. While it is certainly great to have a lot of options, it can also make things a bit confusing. With so many options available, how can you find the best one for your specific needs? Well, to help you on your quest for finding the best toaster oven, we have assembled this handy buyer’s guide, which is full of valuable information that will help you make the best selection for your needs.
Types of Toaster Ovens
Toaster ovens come in various shapes and sizes, and they are made from a variety of materials. They also offer a wide range of functions. To find the best toaster oven for your needs, it’s important to understand the different types that are available and what each type offers.
There are five main types of toaster ovens, which include:
- Standard toaster ovens
- Convection toaster ovens
- Rotisserie toaster ovens
- Infrared toaster ovens
- Combination toaster ovens
Here’s a more detailed look at each type of toaster oven, and what they have to offer.
Standard Toaster Ovens
The most basic of all toaster ovens is the standard toaster oven. They come in a wide range of sizes and can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, chrome and stainless steel. Standard toaster ovens also offer different heat settings, so you can be sure that you can set it to the right temperature so you can have your food cooked to perfection. The standard toaster oven is compact, making it ideal if you are short on space, and it sure does make cooking very convenient.
Convection Toaster Ovens
If you are looking to cut down on your energy bills, then the convection toaster oven is the right choice for you. These toaster ovens contain a fan, which is used to blow heated air around the food. This not only cuts down on the amount of energy they use, but it also means that they cook food more evenly and do so more quickly. Convection toaster ovens come in a range of sizes, from compact to large, so you can be sure that you will find the right size for your needs.
Rotisserie Toaster Ovens
A rotisserie toaster oven comes equipped with skewers that are used for – you guessed it – making rotisserie foods. Simply put your favorite meat or vegetable on the skewers, set the temperature, and you will have perfectly cooked food. These toasters feature heating elements throughout. The food rotates on the rotisserie skewers, ensuring that it is evenly cooked on all sides. If you enjoy rotisserie, this type of toaster oven is definitely an option to consider.
Infrared Toaster Ovens
If you want to cook your food as quickly as possible, then the infrared toaster oven is what you are looking for. They don’t have to be preheated, which can be a big time saver in itself. Plus, they use infrared heat, which is transferred directly to the food, and cooks it up to 50 percent faster than other types of toaster ovens. Another bonus about the infrared toaster oven: You don’t have to defrost frozen foods before cooking them, which can also save you a great deal of time.
Combination Toaster Ovens
A combination toaster oven gives you two types of toasters in one: A convection oven and a pop up toaster. Combination toaster ovens can also be outfitted with other handy features, such as coffee makers and burners that you can use to fry food on. These multifunctional toasters are a great option if you are limited on space.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Toaster Oven
As with all products that you purchase, there are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when purchasing a toaster oven. We did a lot of research and we feel that the following factors are the most important to take into consideration, as they will help you find the best toaster oven for your specific needs.
One of the most important factors that you are going to want to consider when purchasing a toaster oven is the size. These appliances come in a wide range of sizes, so you are going to want to make sure you choose the best size for your needs. When selecting the size, make sure that you take into account the amount of space you have in the area where you will be storing the toaster oven. There are under the cabinet models available, so if you want to free up space on your counter top, this could be an option that would work well for you.
The wattage of the toaster oven doesn’t have a direct impact on the amount of time it will take the toaster oven to cook your food; however, the wattage is still an important factor that you should take into consideration. The wattage refers to the maximum power the oven will consume if t is running for a period of one hour at its highest capacity. If you want to be mindful of your energy consumption, then this is something that you are definitely going to want to consider.
You should also consider how fast you want the toaster oven to cook your food. Convection toaster ovens cook food faster than standard toaster ovens, and infrared toaster ovens cook food the fastest out of all toaster ovens.
A toaster oven is an appliance that you are going to see a lot of, as they are designed to be left out on your kitchen counter or suspended underneath a cabinet. As such, you are going to want to make sure that you find it visually appealing and that its style works well with the rest of your kitchen. Various styles are available. The materials play a big part in the style, and some of the most common materials used on toaster ovens include heavy grade plastics, stainless steel and chrome. They also can feature designs that are more modern, or designs that have a retro look.
What do you plan on using your toaster oven to do? Will you be using it just to make toast and reheat leftover food? Or, will you be using it to bake, broil and roast? You want to make sure that you choose a toaster oven that offers the functions that will allow you to use it in the manner you wish to.
You also want to make sure that your toaster oven is easy to clean. The easier it is to clean, the better, as it will not only allow you to clean it out without making a huge project, but it will also allow you to cook your food more safely and efficiently.
You should also consider the amount of money you want to spend on your toaster oven. These appliances can vary significantly in price, with the most basic models costing around $40 and more top of the line models costing upwards of $150 or more. Generally speaking, the larger the toaster oven is, and the more functions it offers, the more expensive it will be.
Toaster Oven Features
Toaster ovens can offer a wide range of features. The features that they boast are intended to make this appliance easier to use, and to make them cook your food with greater efficiency. To determine what types of features you will find the most beneficial, here is a look at some of the top features we have found on the best toaster ovens.
The best toaster ovens will feature non-stick surfaces. Toaster ovens can get messy, and cleaning them out can be difficult. A toaster oven that features non-stick surfaces is a lot easier to clean, as you won’t have to work as hard to get caked on dirt or dripped food off.
If you want to know when to take your food out of the toaster without having to constantly check on it, look for a toaster oven that features a timer. Once you put your food in the oven, you set the timer, and when it chimes, you know exactly when to pull it out. This feature definitely makes using your toaster oven a lot more convenient.
Pre Programmed Settings
If you want to cook your food as fast and as efficiently as possible, look for a toaster oven that features pre programmed settings. These settings are designed to bring the toaster oven to the right temperature for cooking certain types of food. Simply choose the preprogrammed setting you desire, place your food in, and it will cook perfectly. There is no need to worry about finding the right temperature setting for your food.
If you plan on using your toaster oven to make toast, waffles or any other item that you want to toast, look for one that features and ejection tray. With this feature, you can put your item in the oven, turn it on, and it will automatically eject when it is done cooking. This feature saves you from having to constantly watch your toast and prevents it from burning.
Another feature that will make it easier to clean your toaster is a crumb tray. This feature is located under the toaster and it catches all of the crumbs that fall from the food while it is cooking. The crumb tray can be removed from the front of the toaster and dumped so that you can easily dispose of those crumbs.
Auto Shut Off
Another handy feature is an automatic shut off. When the toaster is finished cooking, it will automatically turn off on its own, so you don’t have to worry about overcooking your food.
Toaster ovens that feature adjustable racks offer your toaster oven more flexibility. The racks can be removed or their position in the toaster oven can be adjusted, allowing you to make the right amount of space for the food you are cooking.
If you love the taste of brick oven pizza, this is a feature you are going to love. Insert the brick into the toaster and it will mimic the taste of a brick oven pizza.
Best Toaster Oven Brands
There are a lot of companies that manufacture toaster ovens, which means that it can be challenging to determine which companies make the best and most reliable toaster ovens. To help you, we have done some extensive research and tested out several toaster ovens. Our findings revealed that the following toaster ovens are the best of the best.
Breville is an Australian based company that created the first sandwich toaster. They have some of the highest quality toaster ovens on the market. They are manufactured from the highest quality materials, feature the most innovative technologies and offer a wide range of features.
This company is a leader in the technology industry. They manufacture a wide range of toaster ovens that boast a number of features and are outfitted with the most advanced technologies.
Cuisinart is another highly regarded company in the kitchen appliance industry. Their toaster ovens are some of the best available. They make a variety of toaster ovens that are outfitted with the most advanced features.