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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Ovens & Toasters Reviewed In 2018Last Updated November 1, 2018
№1 – Hamilton Beach 31333 Convection Toaster Oven, Stainless Steel
№2 – Hamilton Beach 22720 Toastation Toaster Oven
№3 – BLACK+DECKER TO3250XSB 8-Slice Extra Wide Convection Countertop Toaster Oven, Includes Bake Pan, Broil Rack & Toasting Rack, Stainless Steel/Black
The Insider Pick
Toaster ovens serve as a miniature version of the traditional oven and they offer an array of functions, including broiling, roasting, toasting, and convection cooking. The Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven with Element IQ is at the top of our list because of its durability, patented heating technology, and stylish, easy-to-clean design.
Living in environmentally-conscious times, it may feel like a waste heating up a full-size oven just to make a small meal. And, if you have a small kitchen, a traditional oven may not be an option. This is where toaster ovens can help you save on space and utility bills.
Even if you have a large kitchen, a toaster oven is useful for the heavy-cooking holidays, such as Thanksgiving when you need to cook and warm several dishes at different temperatures at the same time.
There are almost as many heating options available as there are brands. When buying a toaster oven, you also want to consider how much space you will have. Most models will fit between your counter and the bottom of your cabinets. If space is at a premium in your dwelling, be sure to pay special attention to the dimensions of the toaster ovens you are interested in.
We examined the ratings and reviews of hundreds of top users and experts to see which toaster ovens offer the best value for your money, do what they say they can do, and perform consistently. Read on to learn all about our top picks.
Although the Breville Mini Smart Oven is our top pick, for various reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the Cuisinart Exact Heat Toaster Oven Broiler, the Oster Large Capacity Digital Convection Toaster Oven, the Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven, and the Breville Compact Smart Oven.
Here’s everything you need to know about buying an oven…
First, let’s get a few vocab terms out of the way to make sure we’re on the same page:
You should also answer a few questions before you start to shop for an oven or range:
What type of home cook are you? Do you take your cues from Top Chef challenges, or are you a frozen pizza type of cook? Do you love baking pastries, or do you stick with the stovetop? Be realistic about the features you need and will use in an oven or range to keep yourself from wasting money on upgrades you’ll never use.
What type of appliance does your kitchen accommodate? Do you have a built-in wall oven and separate cooktop, or do you only have space for a range? Stick with a product that will fit into your current setup, unless you’re ready for a big renovation to accompany your new appliance purchase.
What type of power hookup do you have? Check to see if you have a gas line or just an electric outlet.
What’s your budget? Some ranges can cost as much as a year’s salary (I’m serious). With that said, set a budget so that shiny stainless steel finishes and touchpad controls don’t blind you to the reality of what you can afford. Fortunately, our testing has shown us that you can find a good appliances at any price point. Here’s a broad view of what to expect in different price categories:
The heat output from electric cooktops is measured in watts. Output varies from stove to stove and burner to burner, but the output generally falls somewhere between 1,200 watts for low heat on a small burner and 3,800 BTUs for high heat on a large burner, though we’ve seen outliers on both ends of the spectrum. There are different types of electric cooktops from which you can select:
Smoothtop (glass-ceramic cooktop): These cooktops are made of smooth glass-ceramic with heating units under the surface. A built-in sensor lets you know when a burner is still hot. This is important with smooth electric cooking surfaces because the burner doesn’t always turn red if the heat is low. Keep in mind that this type of cooktop is prone to scratches, and not all cookware is safe to use on the surface (the appliance’s manual will let you know what’s safe to use).
Electric coil: These burners convert the electricity that runs into the coil into heat. These cooktops contain thermostat sensors that notify you when a burner is on, but not necessarily whether it is still hot. Electric coil stoves are notorious for uneven cooking because of uneven distribution of the coil. In short, it is hard to keep the coil perfectly level, which can make all of the food in the pan slide to one side. In addition, electric coil stoves are slow to heat and slow to cool. But ranges with this type of cooktop are cheaper than comparable models.
Some ranges use two types of power: gas for the cooktop, and electric in the oven. These dual fuel ranges are a good compromise for folks who want the direct heat of a gas burner but the even cooking of an electric oven. However, these hybrids cost more than traditional one-power-source ranges.
These ranges don’t have a back panel and are meant to fit in flush with the surrounding countertops. countertops. Slide-in ranges are often more expensive than freestanding models because of the mechanics that go into putting all the controls up front.
Drop-in ranges are similar to slide-in models — they sit flush with the surrounding countertops and all the controls are located at the front of the unit. But this type of range looks like you dropped it between two cabinets because of a strip of cabinetry you place beneath the appliance.
Convection fans are built into the back of oven walls. They circulate the heat in the oven so hot air is more evenly dispersed, which means your food will bake more evenly. You’d want convection fans if you’re baking food like cookies on more than one oven rack at the same time. Midpriced ovens will have at least one convection fan. Some ovens have what’s called “true” or “European” convection, which means there’s a heating element that surrounds the fan that warms the air as the fan blows. Read more about the science of convection here.
Temperature probes plug into the wall of your oven, and you use them to monitor the internal temperature of meat as it cooks. The temperature displays on the control panel of your oven, so you don’t have to open the door to see if your dish is done.
Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven with Element IQ
The Breville Smart Oven has a larger oven cavity than our top pick, so it can fit a 12-inch frozen pizza or six slices of bread. The Breville Smart Oven also has a more modern, intuitive interface than the Panasonic FlashXpress and an easy-to-read display. This oven is about twice the price of our pick, but it turned out pizza bagels and toast that were nearly as good as the Panasonic FlashXpress and our upgrade pick, the Cuisinart TOB-260N1.
The Panasonic FlashXpress excels at the basics, but the larger Cuisinart TOB-260Ncan perform more like a full-duty oven. It delivers even heat to up to nine slices of bread, and it can easily handle a 13-inch frozen pizza. The three-year warranty is outstanding, as are the impressive accessories, which include a pizza stone. It was the best toaster oven we tested, but we feel its size and price are both more than most people need.
Who should get this
A toaster oven is a great multipurpose small appliance that lets you toast bread and bake and reheat foods without firing up your full-sized oven. A compact one works well when you’re making single-serving meals and snacks or if your rental has a tiny kitchen with an oven that doesn’t work well (or is missing altogether). If your kitchen is so active that the oven is full, you can use the toaster oven like Martha Rose Shulman, chef and author of The Simple Art of Vegetarian Cooking. When she runs out of room, she said, she turns to the toaster oven to make gratins, lasagne, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
And what about regular old toasters? We have picks for those, too. In our original guide, Ganda Suthivarakom likened a toaster oven to a passenger car, while your big oven is like an SUV: ”both are useful, and both will take you where you need to go, but the little car may be faster, more energy efficient, and more convenient for those shorter, smaller trips you commonly take.”
How we picked and tested
Toasting bread in the Breville Smart Oven. Photo: Michael Hession
As for extra features, some are clever and genuinely useful and convenient, like automatic cooking modes and racks that pull out when you open the door. Others are less clearly valuable—we saw everything from toaster/toaster-oven crossbreeds to models with rotisseries built in. Really, we were only looking for straightforward ovens that could handle baking, toasting, and other standard tasks well.
One feature manufacturers like to tout is convection, which basically means a fan circulates the hot air inside the oven. The fan can be deactivated if you want to broil meat or just melt cheese on an open-faced sandwich. Convection has a benefit in full-size ovens, where it can reduce cooking times, but it’s not clear how useful it is in small ovens, as Consumer Reports notes. We didn’t consider convection a must-have feature when we selected models to test.
While most people wouldn’t shop for a toaster oven by examining its heating elements, three main types featured prominently in our research, and the differences between them helped explain why certain models performed better than others. Nichrome heaters (metal wires, like in a slot toaster) are very common, and quartz elements (which look like long coils encased in a glass tube) tend to appear in more expensive models. The big advantage quartz has over nichrome is that it heats up considerably faster. The third type is a ceramic element, which is often found in space heaters. None of the models we tested use ceramic exclusively, but one model, the Panasonic FlashXpress, uses both quartz and ceramic.
For this update, we put seven toasters through a battery of tests with three tasters in our New York City test kitchen.
Our heat-map test results from five of the better ovens we looked at. Photo: Katie Hausenbauer-Koster
First, for our toast test, we filled each toaster with as many slices of basic white bread as we could. For consistency, we set each machine to the medium shade setting and used the toasted results to create a heat map. This showed us any hot spots, as well as how each one performed as a toaster.
In the five models we thought had the most promise after the heat-map toast test, we also ran a bonus round of testing on boneless, skinless chicken thighs. We wanted to test the effectiveness of each oven’s broil mode (except the Panasonic FlashXpress, which doesn’t have one). The results were disappointing on every single model, so don’t expect much from this feature, even if the oven can roast and bake with no problem.
The compact, Panasonic FlashXpress excels at basic tasks like toasting bread, reheating pizza slices, and cooking bite-sized snacks. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
This compact toaster oven evenly toasts bread, bakes cookies, and brings frozen foods to life as well as or better than competitors that cost significantly more.
We recommend the Panasonic FlashXpress for its strong baking performance, compact size, and reasonable price. It cooked toast and other foods to an even, lovely golden-brown better than most other models we tried, and its toast shade settings were among the most accurate we tested. For a relatively low price, the FlashXpress stands out from a crowded pack of mediocre, cheap models, offering performance and features we found comparable to toaster ovens that are larger and double the cost.
The Panasonic FlashXpress made crispy-yet-melty Bagel Bites that were more consistently browned from one edge of the oven cavity to the other. Some ovens’ results weren’t dark enough; others put out too much heat or hot spots in the center. Up against bigger, more expensive toaster ovens, the FlashXpress more than held its own.
The Panasonic FlashXpress browned frozen pizza Bagel Bites better than the other small toaster ovens we tested and about as well as ovens costing twice as much. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
Up against bigger, more expensive toaster ovens, the FlashXpress more than held its own.
Bread toasted on the medium setting came out beautifully golden brown without any scorching or charring. Only one other toaster oven we tested was able to toast bread as impressively—the Cuisinart TOB-260NOther models we tested, such as the KitchenAid KCO273SS, toasted bread unevenly, with extreme light and dark patches. The Panasonic FlashXpress was the only toaster oven we tested that had both quartz and ceramic infrared heating elements, which consistently produced evenly browned toast batch after batch.
The shade control for toast was accurate, giving us perfectly browned toast on the medium setting. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
The Panasonic FlashXpress was one of the smallest toaster ovens we tested, so it’s a great option if you have limited counter space (it measures a bit more than one cubic foot at 13.by 13.by 14.inches). It takes up only a little more space than most four-slot pop-up toasters and fits four pieces of bread (compared with up to nine in some of the other toaster ovens we tested). We think that’s fine; an overwhelming majority of our survey respondents said they would only want to toast two to four pieces of bread at a time. You can’t cook a casserole or a loaf of bread in this toaster oven, but there’s still plenty of space for items like leftover pizza, frozen waffles, and cookies.
We liked the spring-loaded auto-eject rack designed into the Panasonic. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
Beyond performance, there are other features that set the Panasonic FlashXpress apart from the competition. Hooks on the door help eject the toaster’s wire rack so you don’t have to reach your hand as far into the oven cavity to retrieve your food. Though this feature was common with some of the larger, more expensive models we tested, the Panasonic FlashXpress was one of the few to include door hooks at a lower price.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Unlike the dial-centric designs typical of other toaster ovens, the Panasonic FlashXpress has membrane buttons. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
When mapping out the Panasonic’s internal heat distribution, we found a 1-inch margin right behind the door where the toast didn’t brown well. Since you can’t fit full slices of bread in that space anyway, it’s not a huge deal (just remember to push your bread all the way to the back of the oven rack). However, it did affect other foods that were in that zone. While Bagel Bites and cookies placed in the cool area were thoroughly cooked, they weren’t as pleasantly browned. However, similar problems were common in many of the ovens we tested.
Low heat—and a lack of color—on the two pieces of bread we put in the front of the oven. Photo: Katie Hausenbauer-Koster
Using a retro red LED display, the Panasonic FlashXpress’s timer looks more like a time bomb from a 1990s action thriller than a modern kitchen appliance. While it’s not hard to read the display dead-on, it can be tricky to discern from off-angles. Our testers found that the displays on the pricier Breville and Cuisinart toaster ovens were easier to read.
The retro LED display on the FlashXpress’s timer is not the easiest to read at sharp angles. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
Additionally, the Panasonic FlashXpress, as a Japanese appliance, is understandably designed around degrees Celsius for temperature input. There’s a converted-to-Fahrenheit selector on the temperature indicator, but the markings are oddly spaced. Want to punch in 400 °F? You can get either 42°F or 390 °F but nothing between. That said, this idiosyncrasy didn’t negatively impact any of the items we cooked.
The Panasonic’s stamped metal crumb tray was warped after only a few cycles. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
Also, the Panasonic FlashXpress has a somewhat flimsy stamped metal crumb tray compared to the sturdier trays on our other picks. After only a few cycles, the Panasonic tray was already warped. However, the warping didn’t make it overly difficult to pull or clean the tray. We’ll keep an eye on this to see if it presents any problems down the road.
Should you encounter any problems with the FlashXpress under warranty, contact Panasonic.
The roomier Breville Smart Oven is our runner-up pick. Photo: Michael Hession.
Care and maintenance
Among all the toaster ovens we tested, only a couple of manufacturers noted the importance of getting the oven ready for its first use by running several test cycles with the machine empty before using it on anything you plan to eat. This way, any industrial residues inside the oven (which are applied to prevent corrosion while the machines are shipped and stored) can burn off and don’t have a chance to get into your food. Do this in a ventilated space if possible; depending on the oven, you’ll smell fumes in the first round or two. While you wait, take the time to wash the rack and accessories in warm soapy water.
Once you’re up and running, we recommend you empty the crumb tray often. If you’re cooking something that could drip grease on the lower heating element, be sure to use foil and a pan underneath the item. If grease splatters inside the oven, clean the interior according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Though it’s more expensive, the Breville Smart Oven Pro is nearly identical to our runner-up pick, the Breville Smart Oven. While the Pro adds a couple of minor features (a slow cook mode and an internal light), the Bagel Bites we toasted between the door and the front of the oven’s rack were noticeably paler than those in the middle and back of the oven. Consumer Reports found the same thing, giving the Pro a lower score on “full batch” than the Smart Oven.
The Breville BOV650XL Compact Smart Oven didn’t do well in many of our tests. Its price is decent if you don’t need the capacity of the big Breville Smart Oven, but it’s still more than the Panasonic that we like more overall.
The Hamilton Beach 31230 Set & Forget Toaster Oven with Convection Cooking was our previous runner-up pick. However, in a new round of testing, we found that it produced pale toast on the medium setting and cooked unevenly compared to the Breville Smart Oven.
We tested the KitchenAid KCO273SS 12” Convection Bake Digital Countertop Oven and found that it was about as capable as the Breville Smart Oven but underperformed when compared to the Cuisinart. It came with very nice racks and had the clearest display out of all the toaster ovens we tested, but since the KitchenAid only has a 1-year warranty, we think the Cuisinart is worth the extra money for the 3-year coverage and better performance.
We were underwhelmed by the Proctor Silex 4-Slice Toaster Oven. We dismissed this model because it was plagued by the same problems as the Black and Decker TO1303SB model.
The Black and Decker TO1332SBD 4-Slice Toaster Oven was the most inconsistent in our tests, burning some things and undercooking others. Consumer Reports gave this model a score of 48, noting that while it was very easy to use, it didn’t bake as well as others.
The Oster TSSTTVMNDG Digital Large Capacity Toaster Oven has cheap plastic components. In our tests, its performance was inconsistent and it had hotspots and high running temperatures. Consumer Reports gave it a score of 6and chose it as their best buy in the category, but said, “the model’s overall toasting performance was only so-so.”
The Cuisinart TOB-40 Custom Classic Toaster Oven Broiler is easy to use, but bread became too dark on its medium setting. Also, this model has no timer, so you’ll have to keep a close watch on your food to prevent it from overcooking.
The Cuisinart TOB-13toasted bread unevenly and its temperature control was less consistent, so we were able to dismiss it.
The Cuisinart CSO-300, more of a steam oven than a toaster oven, promises to speed up cooking times up to 40 percent by incorporating steam heat. We didn’t test it, but this toaster is significantly more expensive than our pick.
Firstly decide where in your kitchen you would like your oven to be placed, as double ovens are designed to be either built in or built under they are not transferable. Built in double ovens are positioned into a column at eye level and built under will sit below your worktop.
Measuring only 46cm, compact ovens are perfect for kitchens where space is limited or one person cooking. Coming with both oven and grilling functions, these ovens are small in space but big in potential.
Grills provide an added variety to your cooking style and deliver a nice flavour. From cuts of meat, to cheese on toast, the grill will help towards some truly tasty meals!
For the more speedy or hungry of us, a fan-assisted oven speeds up cooking minutes for every hour producing food cooked to the same temperature and high standard – only quicker!
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Ovens & Toasters wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Ovens & Toasters
- №1 — Hamilton Beach 31333 Convection Toaster Oven, Stainless Steel
- №2 — Hamilton Beach 22720 Toastation Toaster Oven
- №3 — BLACK+DECKER TO3250XSB 8-Slice Extra Wide Convection Countertop Toaster Oven, Includes Bake Pan, Broil Rack & Toasting Rack, Stainless Steel/Black