Ultimate Guide to Toaster Ovens

Are you looking for the perfect toaster oven for your first toaster oven or a replacement for your beloved old one?

Toaster ovens can do many things that microwave ovens can’t and are much more energy efficient than conventional ovens. You can cook anything you want, including whole pizzas, fish, muffins, bread, and most toaster ovens have multiple functions. With its size, the toaster oven can save space and money, and in most cases are much more convenient to use.

Buying a toaster oven can be overwhelming with the choices available on the market. The secret to finding the right toaster oven for you is first to figure out what exactly you want to accomplish, then do some research.

Types of Toaster Ovens

Commonly, there are two types of toaster ovens. First is the countertop models that entail a trade-off between counter space and capacity. The other one is a model that mounts underneath a cabinet.

Some also have convection or can defrost food, and a few have built-in air fryers.

Standard Countertop Toaster Ovens

Standard countertop toaster ovens do way more than toasting. Most people think of toaster ovens as a way to toast or warm food. The truth is that you can cook things just like you would in a traditional oven because a countertop toaster oven bakes and broils, too. 

This toaster oven is easy to use and a compact kitchen addition. It comes in so many designs and types but impossible not to find the one that is right for you. It is, however, essential to note that standard countertop toaster ovens are not versatile and limit your cooking freedom as there is a lack of functions compared to other types.

They allow you to make perfectly toasted meals, as they usually boast efficient temperature controls. An average countertop toaster oven has a capacity of two to six bagels or bread slices at one given time.

Countertop Convection Ovens

Standard countertops and convection ovens are similar in size to a toaster oven. The main difference between a standard or toaster oven and one with a convection feature is the built-in fan that produces more even heat, allowing you to get your food cooked through more efficiently. It even cooks food faster and more evenly.

Convection ovens are simple to learn and are usually described in detail in the owner’s manual on how to use them. Since convection ovens eliminate cold and hot spots from happening, there is no need to turn your food occasionally to keep it from burning or becoming overcooked. Because of the unique way that convection toaster ovens cook, you can easily use lining paper or aluminum foil without worrying about the quality, consistency, or time it takes to cook the foods inside, giving you an easy way to clean your oven after use.

Infrared Countertop Toaster Ovens

An infrared toaster oven is a countertop appliance that uses radiant heat to cook food. This light energy cook and warm-up food within the least time, resulting in increased power and time savings. 

With these, you no longer need to defrost your frozen meals because food items may be fresh or frozen when placed into the toaster and can be cooked to a uniform temperature using infrared light.

Also, infrared toaster ovens are portable and easy for you to move around inside your kitchen. It is also compact enough to bring with you on trips or wherever. It even generates less noise because of its low air movements inside.

Digital Toaster Ovens

The best digital toaster ovens are capable of more than browning sliced bread. The digital display makes it simple to choose toast, bake, broil, pizza, or convection for more even cooking. It offers precise temperature and time control and some cases, convection capabilities.

Models vary widely in their features, capacity, and cost. For versatility, look for a toaster oven with manual temperature and time controls, so it functions like a standard oven for anything you may want to roast or bake. There are digital toaster ovens with a built-in safety micro switch that automatically stops operation when the door opens. It also comes with a few accessories like a baking pan, air frying basket, air rack, tray handle, crumb tray, rotisserie spit, and rotisserie handle.

Commercial Toaster Ovens

Commercial toaster ovens are a little different than those meant for individual or home use since they are specifically designed for commercial use.

Most commercial countertop convection toaster ovens deliver even and efficient cooking results to restaurants with limited floor space. These toaster ovens can be used for many foods other than bread. This design helps food to cook evenly and consistently in less time. These ovens are ideal for on-demand cooking and reduce cooking time without sacrificing quality. It is the best buy for any restaurant, cafeteria, buffet, or catering business.

Guide When Buying Toaster Ovens

Size and Space

Toaster ovens come in different styles and sizes. When deciding what size toaster oven to get, there are two things to consider: First is where you will be cooking, and second is what you want to cook.

Some people want small toaster ovens for their mere simple tasks of cooking, like making toast or baking cookies. Others may require a large one to satiate their homemade pizza cravings. 

It is also essential to consider the size of your kitchen and the space you have for a toaster oven. For safety reasons, all toaster ovens have a minimum amount of clearance or space that is required to be between the appliance and overhead cabinets, rear walls, and on both sides during use.

Ease of Operation

For some toaster oven users just being able to cook at counter height and no longer having to bend down to take heavy dishes out of a full-sized oven is already helpful, especially for some people with physical disabilities.

An easy-to-use and good toaster oven must possess clearly-labeled front controls with a large and vivid display. The most basic functions should include temperature controls and adjustable toast-shade settings. Others have found toaster ovens that provide audible and visual cues helpful, like flashing lights or beeps when the toaster oven has been turned on or is finished cooking.

Features

There is no end to the number of special features they are putting in toaster ovens. Convection fans, interior lights, digital screens, and non-stick interiors are only a few of the added features of toaster ovens.

There are also toaster ovens having a timer that announces the end of the cooking time and in some cases, the end of the preheating cycle too. Some timers will also include an automatic shut-off feature to turn the toaster oven off after cooking, and a few allow you to control the sound level of the beep. Other features are an auto-reject rack, a frozen button, and a temperature probe.

Accessories

The nice thing about extra accessories like a pizza stone or broiling rack is that you know it’s been designed to fit in your toaster oven. While you can order these add-on accessories separately, it will result in you spending more. Therefore, always check the features included in your product to save time and money.

Budget and Reviews

Before deciding on the toaster oven that will fit your counter space and meet your cooking needs, a good sale is always waiting around the corner. So while waiting, narrow down your list of potential toaster ovens to buy by reading reviews on the internet, ask a friend or relatives about their toaster ovens, and read a few best articles like this one.

In addition, it is also helpful if you visit their physical store. Get handsy with the toaster ovens. Try to turn the knobs if they are easy to align with the different functions or if they are super loose. Remove the crumb tray, pull the rack, and test other accessories like you are actually baking.

In conclusion, finding the best toaster oven lies in your hands. The only trick is knowing what works for your specific needs and preferences.