Cut down your time in the kitchen with this versatile appliance.
Toaster ovens are essentially mini versions of larger conventional ovens — but these handy countertop appliances can cook food faster and use less energy. If you’re thinking about adding one to your kitchen, use this guide to help compare some of the leading models and find the best fit for your culinary needs.
Compare some of the best toaster ovens
|Name||Average price||Type||Wattage||Cooking functions||Dimensions (inches)||Purchase|
|Breville the Smart Oven Pro||$280||Convection||1,800||10||18.5 x 15.75 x 11||Buy now|
|Panasonic FlashXpress||$120||Standard||1,300||6||10.125 x 13 x 12||Buy now|
|Cuisinart TOB-260N1||$230||Convection||1,800||15||20.87 x 16.93 x 11.42||Buy now|
|Hamilton Beach 31127||$65||Convection||1,400||3||9.41 x 18.74 x 15.24||Buy now|
|Oster TSSTTVMNDG-SHP-2||$65||Convection||1,300||7||19.72 x 16.29 x 11.33||Buy now|
|Black + Decker TO4314SSD||$70||Rotisserie||1,500||5||12.2 x 16 x 18.6||Buy now|
What is a toaster oven?
Today’s modern toaster ovens can perform many of the same cooking functions as a traditional standing oven, but much more quickly.
These small appliances typically live on your kitchen countertop and work by using internal electric heating elements that produce infrared heat to evenly cook, toast or bake your food. Many models allow you to choose from a large variety of cooking functions.
There are three main types of toaster ovens to choose from:
- Standard. These are best used for toasting bread or making grilled cheese and are generally the most budget-friendly option.
- Convection. Convection toaster ovens circulate the hot air throughout the appliance, cooking your food more evenly. These models can perform a wider range of cooking functions, such as baking, roasting and broiling. But they do tend to cost more.
- Rotisserie. Countertop rotisserie ovens are best suited for cooking various meats. These appliances feature a rotating spit to help cook meat evenly. The downside is that you can’t cook as many types of foods in these ovens as convection toaster ovens.
What can you cook in a toaster oven?
Toaster ovens can cook a surprisingly wide range of foods, depending on the type you choose. Just some of the foods that you can cook in a toaster oven are:
- Grilled cheese
- Baked potatoes
- Hot dogs
- Roasted vegetables
- Cookies and other baked goods
How to clean a toaster oven
Crumbs and other food particles that build up over time inside your toaster oven can be a fire hazard — and are just plain unappetizing. The good news is that cleaning your toaster oven is relatively easy. Just follow these steps:
- Check the manual that came with your toaster oven for any cleaning instructions specific to that model.
- Unplug your toaster oven.
- Place the oven on a towel or piece of newspaper to catch crumbs.
- Remove the crumb tray and racks and clean with dish soap and water.
- Use dish soap and water or a combination of dish soap, water and vinegar to wipe down the inside of your toaster oven. Don’t use abrasive cleaners or sponges.
- Try not to get any liquid directly on the heating elements.
- Repeat if necessary.
How to compare toaster ovens
- Size. Toaster ovens come in a range of sizes, so consider how many people you’ll be cooking for and how much room you have on your countertop. Keep in mind larger toaster ovens can be on the heavier side, so it may not be very practical to store it in a cabinet when not in use.
- Price. These appliances can range from $20 for a small, very basic model to $380 or higher for larger, more advanced models.
- Cooking functions. Some models come with more cooking functions than others. If you want to cook a large variety of foods, look for more cooking functions like toasting, baking, broiling, roasting, warming, defrosting and reheating. If you’re only interested in toasting foods and melting cheese, a more basic model might be all you need.
- Temperature settings. Check to see the range of temperature settings available on the model you’re looking at. You should be able to easily adjust the temperature for different foods.
- Timer. Most newer models come with a cooking timer, but not all. This function can be especially handy when using more advanced cooking functions.
- Extra features. If you want bells and whistles, look for extra features like a defrost setting, automatic shut off, interior lights and adjustable rack positions. Generally, the more features, the more expensive the oven.
- Cleaning. Check to see if the model you’re interested in comes with any specific instructions that may make it more difficult to clean. The racks and crumb tray should be easy to remove for cleaning purposes.
- Warranty. Many toaster ovens come with a 1-, 2- or 3-year limited warranty, but read the fine print to make sure. Compare warranty coverage between your top models, especially if you’re looking at pricier options.
Toaster ovens can cut down your time spent in the kitchen and can even perform most of the same functions as your regular oven. Decide on your budget and what size and features are best for your cooking needs to help you narrow down your search.
How did we choose these products?
We performed independent online research to create our list of the best toaster ovens, comparing the type, size, price, cooking functions and extra features. We also took into account reviews from unbiased third parties and our own personal experiences.