Toaster ovens typically conjure up memories of student life. Heating up pizza for what felt like the rest of eternity. It’s an unfair reputation for an appliance that is fast becoming a rival to the traditional oven in kitchens across America. The modern toaster oven is commonly fitted with a turbo, or convection feature.
Convection heating doesn’t up the temperature, but rather, circulates heat evenly throughout the oven using a fan. This is known as convection heating and creates the ideal conditions for perfectly cooked pizzas, fluffy cookies or rich, chocolaty brownies.
The arrival of ceramic, infrared toaster ovens has meant that these products are now legitimate replacements for conventional ovens. Below we list some of the best available alongside a buyers guide. If you have any further questions, check out our FAQ´s.
|Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven|
Best Toaster Oven
|Oster Convection Toaster|
Best Budget Toaster Option
|Hamilton Beach 31128||n/a||Convection|
|Cuisinart Deluxe Convection Toaster||3 Year||Convection|
|Breville Mini Smart Oven|
Best Convection Toaster Oven
|Cuisinart Classic Toaster Oven Broiler||2 Year||Conventional|
|KitchenAid KCO253CU||1 Year||Convection|
|Morning Star - Infared Digital Toaster Oven||n/a||Infared|
|Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven|
Best Infared Toaster Oven
1. Breville BOV800XL – Best Toaster Oven 2021
The 800XL is huge with enough capacity to fit a 13” pizza with ease. Measuring in at 18.5 x 16.2 x 11.2 with an 1800W output, this toaster is a serious contender for your traditional oven. Similar to the mini-smart oven at the beginning of this list it uses element IQ technology to ensure an even cook.
Inside, the heat is provided by 5 quartz elements. These elements operate individually, much like a dimmer switch, distributing the 1800W of power to different areas of the oven. It sounds complicated but with 9 presets it’s easy enough to navigate. The heating elements are all made from quartz which is a nice feature. Using quartz elements, rather than metal, speeds up heat exchange to reach top temperatures quicker so you won’t be waiting for it to preheat.
This toaster oven is ideal for those in smaller flats who really don’t need to use a full-sized conventional oven. It’s energy efficient and large enough to accommodate most meals. Many users have reported that the top of that the metal exterior gets seriously hot so keep your hands well away when it’s in use!
2. Oster Convection Toaster Oven – Best Budget Option
When making toast just doesn’t cut it, the Oster Large Capacity toaster oven comes to the rescue. This beast is capable of fitting a mammoth six slices of toast for big family mornings. It’s a convection oven toaster which means you’re not just limited to toasted snacks. You can make lasagnes, stews or even pies. Circulated hot air means that bigger dishes will cook all the way through without burning the outside.
The only issue I can see is the size. A 19” width would be a squeeze in small kitchens. The benefit of that size is you can use the Oster as a replacement for a fully functioning conventional oven. I can see this being huge benefit for entertaining during thanksgiving or Christmas holidays.
This toaster is fitted with a glass door so you can check progress plus two separate rack trays. The problems for me are with maintenance. Inside is constructed from steel which can easily pick up smoke marks or burnt food. Add to that the steel rack with glass window and you might spend a lot of time cleaning this thing.
I like the fact that you can select exactly how you want your toast cooked for those that like a darker shade. Overall, it’s a versatile toaster oven with a decent price for larger kitchens.
Black and Decker products have a reputation for superb build quality without the hefty price tag. Owning a Black and Decker gives you the safety net of their superb customer service team. This toaster oven is hardly the most attractive on our list but could easily be the most functional.
You can purchase a CTO with either dual or triple rack. Dual rack is more than sufficient. The three presets, bake, broil or toast, are set at the touch of a button and all perform admirably. Inside the toaster is non-stick which is a blessing if you plan on daily use.
The looks are a bit of a let-down which is a shame because a lot of thought has gone into this appliance. The front and back, for example, are curved to provide room for larger foods like pizza without sacrificing counter space.
If you prize functionality over looks the Black and Decker CTO 6335S is an inexpensive, super effective toaster oven.
Hamilton Beach is a company with over 100 years experience in appliances and you can see that experience put to good use with the Easy Reach 31128. This neat little toaster oven will fit even the tightest of budgets. It accommodates 12” pizzas thanks to a curved back, although that does come at the expense of fitting flush to the wall.
The team at Hamilton Beach has got around a limited budget by thinking carefully about everyday usage. It shows throughout the design. A front that opens upwards rather than downwards is a clever idea that reduces grime build-up caused by taking pizzas or melted cheese dishes out of the oven. The only issue I can see with this is the hinges weakening over time which could cause the hot oven door to slip down. But, I haven’t seen any evidence of that happening from user reviews.
There is always going to be a few downsides within this price bracket. The temperature dial is a little inaccurate at higher temperature which takes a bit of getting used to. Furthermore, those same elements take a little longer to heat up than usual. On a positive note, I really like the look of this oven. Sleek, curved exterior with a fingerprint-proof brushed steel construction.
It’s not the strongest toaster oven, not by a long shot, but there’s enough here to give it our best budget toaster oven award.
Cuisinart has a reputation for producing the finest looking kitchen appliances around. The TOB Deluxe doesn’t disappoint with its minimalist design and chrome oven handle. This unit feels pleasingly heavy which suggests a good build quality whilst the silver interior matches the exterior to give a complete look.
The TOB is taller than most toaster ovens but that height provides a roomy 0.6 Cu. Ft. for cooking. Which is enough space for a whole roast chicken or a 1.5 pound tenderloin. There are six presets for cooking whilst heat sensors inside the oven ensure foods are cooked through. The whole unit is operated through a simple digital display with a wheel for controlling temperature.
This is a pretty looking oven so you’ll want to keep it clean. The interior is non-stick with removable trays and a crumb shelf. On the outside, brushed steel resists finger marks and staining. It all combines to create an easy to maintain product that looks stylish and cooks well.
6. Breville Mini Smart Oven – Best Value Toaster Oven
The first entry on our list comes from kitchen powerhouses, Breville. It’s a good-looking appliance with sleek stainless steel and a simple, user-friendly interface. Rather than convection, this oven uses smart element IQ technology to cook foods. Lots of mini-heat sensors inside the oven detect temperature and adjust the heating elements accordingly. Each of these elements is made from quartz so they’ll last a long time over a lot of usage.
Toaster ovens are all about convenience. The last thing you want to do after a long day is fiddle with settings or research how to perfectly cook a pop-tart. This toaster oven has eight presets which cover most meals. You can also make manual adjustments if you’re feeling creative and save them in the toasters memory for later use.
There’s some clever technology on the Breville BOV450XL but, fortunately, they’ve managed to keep things simple on the inside. The interior is all non-stick with removable trays for easy access to clean in awkward spots. It fits four slices of bread or an 11” pizza snug, so should have you covered for most quick meals. It’s perhaps a little pricey for a toaster oven because of the quartz heating elements. Price aside, it’s a top product.
The Cuisinart TOB-40N Custom is easily the prettiest toaster oven on this list. It’s analogue operated using three front facing dials. It has a simple, elegant look and adjusting temperature is made easy via the wheels. The front of the oven is a smooth, brushed stainless steel whilst its 11” width won’t take up too much room on the counter.
This toaster oven is simple to use. The dials let you fine-tune temperatures whilst the in-built Always Even Shade control lets you choose your perfect shade of toast. The tray automatically slides out once you open the ovens door which is a lovely addition to an already impressive product.
The interior is all non-stick so cleaning it is easy enough. The only problem, for me, is its size and power. It’s a little bit limiting, especially if you plan to use it as your main cooking appliance. If you need something mainly to make great toast then its more than capable of meeting those needs.
Kitchen Aid is a heavy-weight in the home-ware division. With over 100 years experience in this industry I’m expecting big things from the KitchenAid KC series. My first impression is of a cool looking convection oven with easy-to-use analogue dials. In fact, the appearance is very similar to the Cuisinart featured above with the same brushed steel frame and width.
The features leave a little to be desired on this oven. There’s nothing here that really stands out although, the non-stick interior and reversible trays will undoubtedly come in useful. You also get six options for tray height making the Kitchen Aid KC a versatile unit.
The marketing team at Kitchen Aid tells us that this is a revolutionary device, but I can’t really see any innovation in the oven itself. It’s a bit more expensive than the Cuisinart DOB range and it´s difficult to see where that money has been spent. I’m confident it can handle most cooking tasks and it looks great. But, I still think it’s worth shopping around a bit before making a purchase.
If you live in a studio flat, or you’re looking for a legitimate replacement for your full size oven, the Morning Star Extra-large Convection Oven is the appliance for you. With a 21” inch width and ten presets this toaster oven offers a lot of options. It looks good as well, with its wheel operated digital display and built-in oven light.
An oven this size, and price, should be packed with features. Underneath the hood there’s an infrared feature that saves energy whilst providing unrivalled cooking power. Each preset can be manually adjusted to cook foods just the way you like them and it comes with a one year full warranty. Compared to a traditional oven, which this product competes with, the Morning Star is an efficient, low cost option.
The Morning Star has placed itself as an appliance for everyday use which makes practicality an important feature. The interior is non-stick plus the oven light will come in handy when you’re toasting. I really like this product and can see it being a big hit with inner city home-owners.
10. Panasonic Flash Xpress – Best Infrared Toaster Oven
We´ve come to associate Panasonic with advanced technology rather kitchen appliances but the Flash Xpress is a serious entry into the toaster oven market. It’s a small toaster oven using soft-touch buttons to access presets and adjust temperature.
I can see the button operation being a hassle if you want to set custom temperatures and I can’t think why they didn’t incorporate a wheel. Although, having said that, some of the technology here is excellent. Double infrared lighting cooks food using up to 40% less energy than convection ovens. The non-stick interior is easy to clean and the six presets are easy to work out.
What I really like about this product is the size. It won’t take up a huge amount of room on your counter plus it performs at the level of a much larger unit. The ceramic and quartz elements heat up quicker than traditional metal whilst the interior light makes checking on food easy. Cnet, an independent consumer review website, rated the Xpress as one of their top buys.
The Panasonic Flash Xpress is a futuristic toaster oven in terms of features but, for a new product, it already looks slightly dated.
Factors Considered for this review
The reviews and suggestions we’ve made here are the result of extensive research. The starting point was to look at some of the highest rated, and highest, selling toaster ovens. Whittling down those products into a shortlist was done by using impartial buyers websites like Which and Cnet.
Once it came to reviewing items we looked at the manufacturer’s website to give us an idea of the specifications and features of each product. To help us make an argument for the best toaster ovens available in 2021 we conducted specific research into the features that would be useful in owning a toaster oven.
Different households will need different types of appliance. On this list we included a range of products to help you find what you’re looking for. Products like the Morning Star or Breville 800 are ideal for large families or even as a replacement oven in studio flats. At this size, these toaster ovens are capable of cooking a whole lot more than just toast. At the other end of the scale, smaller 12” models like the Cuisinart TOB will be a useful addition to your kitchen armoury but can be limited. Although it’s tempting to go all out on a toaster oven, think about what you really need before buying. The same goes for counter-space. If you’re kitchen is already cluttered, don’t make it worse by squeezing in a huge toaster oven.
Kitchens aren’t all about functionality. If you have a kitchen dining joint space, chances are, you’ll be spending a lot of your time there. That makes looks important. As a rule of thumb, I’d opt for a Cuisinart kitchen appliance if looks are your primary concern. The designs are typically subtle and modern whilst blending in with the surrounding decor. They cost a little more than most but still come in cheaper than a Breville.
Kitchen appliances don’t run on simple metal element heaters anymore. A modern kitchen appliance should be up-to-date with technological trends. The most advanced toaster oven on our list is easily the Panasonic Flash Xpress. In this review we’ve selected products based on technological features which can be anything from heating element materials to infrared lighting. These technologies really make a difference, especially if you´re investing in a toaster oven for daily usage. There’s more detail below about the different types of technology, how they function and key things to look in those functions.
Price is always a factor when it comes to buying new products. Our list is affordable. You should be able to find a high-performing toaster oven for around $100. This price will be variable depending on what you plan to use it for. If you´re looking at a toaster oven as your primary appliance you´ll need to invest a bit more. Equally, if you just need something to make toast then adjust your budget accordingly.
Many manufacturers talk about efficiency which is undoubtedly a plus but it won´t give you a huge return on your investment. Toaster ovens are often compared with traditional full sized ovens when it comes to efficiency and that comparison is inaccurate. In my opinion the most relevant features for efficiency are the element materials and infrared technology. Both of these make a significant difference to the overall consumption of the unit. But, temper your expectations, toaster ovens tend to be small and an efficient one is unlikely to make a dent in your electric bill.
Other things to consider
Heating elements are, surprisingly, the parts of the oven that generate heat. This heat is generated by passing an electric current through a conductive material. When the current comes into contact with resistance the electricity is converted to heat. Different materials have a different resistance. The amount of resistance has a big impact on how quickly the oven heats up, its max temperature and how much electricity it needs. The two main materials used in heating elements are metal and ceramic.
Metal Heating Elements
Traditionally, heating elements are made from metal and are placed in the top of the oven. The advantage of metal heating elements is that they tend to be very sturdy. Not much can go wrong but, unfortunately, they take a while to heat up and are less responsive to changes in temperature.
The other issue is an uneven distribution of heat which results in uneven cooking. Some brands have tried to get around this by incorporating heating elements in the top, bottom and sides of an oven with limited success. On a cheaper oven, you would expect to find metal heating elements. They´ll be fine for making toast but will struggle for bigger meals.
Ceramic Heating Elements
The latest ceramic heating elements use infrared light for the heat exchange. Ceramic materials have a natural resistance that increases as they get hotter. They also stored and emit heat better than metal fibres. All in all it adds up to a robust, efficient heating element that gives off more heat than metal whilst using less electricity. Ceramic material has a higher threshold for heat and heats up 40% quicker. In terms of a toaster oven that means less time pre-heating plus the natural heat threshold makes ceramic elements safer to use long term.
These heating elements are common on more expensive ovens. Go for ceramic heating elements if you´re choosing between two ovens of similar price.
Convection Vs Non-Convection
Convection ovens work by using a fan to distribute heat. Even heating throughout the oven ensures that your foods will be cooked all the way through rather than just on the outside. Convection ovens are pretty standard in today´s market but a non-convection oven will be a lot cheaper. Generally speaking, you should opt for a convection oven. On this list all bar one are convection ovens.
Convection ovens aren’t the only option though. If your primary use is for making toast, or bagels, a non-convection oven will do just fine. Fans can be noisy plus more parts mean more things that can go wrong over time. Fans use up more electricity. We opted for convection ovens on our list because they are more versatile with greater cooking power.
When it comes to buying a kitchen appliance the main consideration should be practicality. The best toaster oven will be different depending on who is buying. So, here are a few things to think about when you´re ready to buy.
Toaster ovens are all about convenience. When you´re tired after a long day is when a toaster oven will be your best friend. For that reason, having controls that are easy to operate is vital. On this list, the Cuisinart DOB and Kitchen Aid KC series are operated using wheels. Wheels are the simplest way to set temperatures and we highly recommend investing in those types of toaster oven. The Panasonic NB series is easily the best performing on our list but the controls do let the product down.
The other consideration of course is presets. Presets make life easy. You don´t have to fiddle around with temperature nor time your meals. If you lead a busy life style, try to get an oven with as many presets as possible.
The problem with toaster ovens is that they´re small. This means that the exterior can heat up a lot, along with the oven door. Automated shelves slide out when the door is open which means you won´t risk burning your hands. This is especially useful if you holding a plate and only have one hand free.
When it comes to easy cooking, timers are your friend. Most, but not all, toaster ovens are fitted with timers to make cooking easy. For practical use, I´d highly recommend investing in a toaster oven with a built in timer.
Loud timer alarms
Watching food cook is like watching paint dry. The majority of toaster ovens come equipped with timers and alarms so you put food in and get on with your life. A common mistake with toaster ovens is a very quiet alarm bell. Heating elements remain hot even after the electricity has shut off so food left in the oven will dry out, or worse, burn. Loud alarms negate this problem. You´ll want something loud enough to hear in the next room, but quiet enough to not sound like a fire alarm.
Automatic shut offs
When you’re tired, it’s easy to forget to switch an appliance off. Most toaster ovens will have an automatic shut-off after half an hour or an hour. We´d highly recommend double checking before you buy. Automatic shutoffs are not only safer, reducing the chances of kitchen fires, but also enhance the lifespan of your unit.
Removable crumb trays and non-stick interiors
More kitchen appliances mean more cleaning and more maintenance. Removable crumb trays and non-stick interiors are a blessing when it comes to day-to-day cleaning. Surprisingly, not every toaster oven is non-stick so, if you can, always buy one that is.
It´s time to pull out the trusty tape measure and find out exactly how much room you have to play with. Kitchen appliances should fit flush with their surroundings. You´re less likely to knock them over plus it will give a neat feel to your space. Know how much room you have before you buy.
The other thing to watch out for in terms of counter space is concave interiors. Concave interiors are curved oven walls that increase the capacity of the oven. The obvious problem with this design is that the toaster oven will stick out further from the wall. If your counters are narrow then avoid buying a concave toaster oven.
Replacing a conventional oven
A lot of people are choosing toaster ovens as a cheap alternative to a conventional oven. Toaster ovens will never perform as well as a larger oven but some have enough power to do the same job. If you’re replacing a conventional oven adjust your budget accordingly by investing in a larger, ceramic element convection oven. You get what you pay for, so if you’re going to use a toaster oven every day, be prepared to pay that little bit extra.
We´ve covered ten of the best products available today. In this list we´ve tried to accomdate all shapes and sizes to suit different needs. If you´re primary use is for simple things like toast then opt for the smaller, cheaper products on this list. Equally to replace a conventional oven, opt for the XL product categories. If you have any further questions take a look at our frequently asked questions page below.