These Are the Best Toaster Ovens that Money Can Buy
Looking for the best toaster oven for the price? If so, this is the guide you need.
In all honesty, most toaster ovens are usually terrible. For the most part, they have been a trusted kitchen appliance that not only toasts bread but also doubles up as an oven. Most toasted or heated food such as bread and bagels would do better in a regular toaster. Baking food is perfect, sitting on the oven rack of a traditional oven.
You will be compromising if you choose to cook a roast or those complicated foods in a toaster oven countertop even under the right temperature. Most toaster ovens are quite heavy. However, with the invention of food processors, instant pots, sous vide cookers, and kitchen-friendly smart displays, you have a better way of putting the counter space to good use instead of having a big toaster oven.
I get it if you still want a countertop toaster oven since you don’t have a conventional one. There are other different features to like when it comes to these machines. The misgivings can be a bit personal. Advanced toaster ovens are quite expensive, while other mini smart ovens are way beyond what any average kitchen would need.
The upgrade pick toaster ovens are more reasonable. However, let’s review some affordable alternatives and see if we can get a good value. I’ll focus on well-reviewed popular models costing between fifty and a hundred dollars. I equally did use convection heating: utilizing a fan to circulate air, therefore, cooking uniformly as a baseline.
Best Toaster Ovens for the Price
Here are some of the best toaster ovens that I came up with:
#1. Panasonic FlashXpress
The Panasonic FlashXpress is a modern, eccentric countertop toaster oven that uses infrared heating elements for bread toasting and baking pizza fast and accurately. It also comes with a removable crumb tray. It’s not large enough for big families, which can be an advantage as this helps save space. It’s an ideal toaster oven for baking and toasting or an upgrade.
#2. Breville Smart Oven
Save from a countertop convection oven, the Breville Smart Oven toaster can cook just about anything, although it’s pricey. However, in a cloud-connected sense, there’s nothing smart about this toaster oven. Besides, it’s attractive, sturdy, and comes with a removable crumb tray.
The toaster additionally features other useful cooking settings, and this includes convection cooking. If you don’t have a modern oven or are planning on using the toaster oven for cooking every day, this would be an excellent pick.
#3. Bialetti 35047
Bialetti is a convection toaster offering 1800watts similar to that of a Breville toaster but comes at half the price. It’s made of a black stainless steel surface and has a digital display that is quite easy to use. It also has a defrost button. More power means that the toaster tends to cook more quickly, be on the watch out.
#4. Oster TSSTTVCG05
The Oster TSSTVCG05 is a convection toaster with an open down door that goes beyond 90◦. If you don’t push the glass back against the backsplash, it can easily crash at the corner. However, looking beyond that little design flaw, you will love how this toaster oven does cook, whether you are broiling, toasting, or baking.
#5. More Toaster Ovens
Black and Decker TO3265XSSD
The Black and Decker TO3265XSSD is one of the newest toaster ovens that does use the air fry mode instead of the convection settings. If you need a broader model with enough toasting space, this will work perfectly well.
Hamilton Beach 31123D
The Hamilton Beach 31123D toaster uses less energy and features a lift and look door, making it easy to use. However, the logo on the glass does obstruct viewing. Nostalgia Retro RTOV220RETRORED
Just like the names suggests, this toaster comes in a retro design, and this makes it look like a toolbox. It’s not well-made, but it is efficient.
The Toshiba AC25CEWBS has a digital control and is available in a black stainless steel alternative. The toaster oven comes with a learning curve as a result of overpowered baking and underpowered toasting.
What Options Do You Have?
You still have several toaster oven alternatives to choose from. Different brands such as Hamilton Beach, Oster, and Black & Decker have since been making products since time immemorial. A worthy bargain-bin pick does cost 50 dollars or less.
However, if you are going for something more expensive, expect convection heating, cooking, and ample oven capacity. The toaster oven for the price should also come with other different features like attractive design, non-stick coating on the pan, digital controls, and preset options.
The Toshiba and Bialetti models come in black stainless steel that does match the advanced appliance trend. The Toshiba toaster oven features an in-built rotisserie rack. Nostalgia offers an exquisite build in a red body while the affordable Oster and Hamilton Beach oven toasters serve those on a budget.
How to Test Toaster Ovens
You have to do a lot of cooking when testing for the best toaster oven for the price. Try out a variety of popular toaster oven fodder. Save for the toasting tests, use cook times and standard temperature. Also, if possible, follow the recommendations on the box for the different things you intend to prepare.
Most of us typically use the toaster oven for toasting bread. So, I had plenty of bread for running the test. Toasters often use an in-built kitchen timer to program the cooking, broiling and toasting time. These timers include preset toasting options like medium or darker toast. It equally has a setting for lightly toasted bread slices as well.
When toasting using fancy models, the toaster allows you to dial the browning level that suits you. The toaster has close to seven different functions with preset toasting times.
As a personal preference, I did toast two thin slices of sandwich bread in different toaster ovens using the three versions: dark, medium, and light. I took photos at the end of the process and ensured each oven cools back to room temperature before taking another test. We are mainly looking at evenly coloured slices, especially at medium settings and the ability to adjust easily either up or down.
Bialetti and Toshiba have digital displays hence quite easy to use as you only dial the browning level you prefer in different settings. For Bialetti, four out of the seven slices were too dark. The toaster did toast the bread visibly at the slightest toast settings. Besides, it offers a few extra minutes when you need to keep the toast warm.
At four out of six, the Toshiba model was lighter even at darker settings. The other toaster ovens use timer knobs with markers for settings. Hamilton Beach has small tags for dark and medium toasts adjacent to each other on the buttons. The Oster is controlled manually yet delivered a consistent browning level at medium settings and took a few minutes compared to Bialetti.
Let’s now look into the dark settings. People usually use dark settings to toast right from frozen. I used frozen Eggo waffles for the test. The toaster oven that produced black toasts on the same settings did excellently. However, Eggo’s on the Black & Decker oven was done correctly as that particular setting as well.
Meanwhile, Toshiba and Hamilton Beach were quite weak and couldn’t make the Eggo’s crispy enough.
Other Frozen Snacks, Food, and Pizza
I tried out frozen pizza as well. The box does recommend baking any frozen pizza for 17 minutes at 425 F. The Hamilton Beach toaster oven was quite weak as it undercooked the pizza and required extra minutes to do the job correctly. Bialetti uses more power, and this resulted in a burnt pizza but was ready quite fast.
Toshiba also burnt the pizza. It was surprising since the results were opposite during the toasting tests. The toaster has a pizza setting just like Bialetti, and the results were a bit identical with these two models.
Black & Decker and Oster did well producing well-baked pizzas while Nostalgia did bake quite a passable pie as well. For the most part, I only looked at how the models were matching the recommended cook times and temperatures ignoring the taste. The results from other frozen snacks and food matched those of pizza.
Lastly, I tested some office favourites: chocolate chip cookies. I used the convection settings to bake the cookies in each of the toaster ovens according to the recommended temperature and time settings.
Toshiba typically over baked the cookie. The cookies from Black & Decker and Bialetti were almost perfect while Hamilton Beach, Nostalgia, and Oster cookies were the best.
The convection settings on Nostalgia produced the most evenly baked cookies, notably different from other standard baking tests. Besides, all the toaster ovens were great at the convection settings. The setting is ideal for baking, especially for things like cookies. However, the models that over or undercook only require a little learning. The Oster toaster oven was the best pick as far as performance is concerned.
Don’t Let a Bad Design Burn You
There’s isn’t a toaster oven that makes any food taste better than a full-size oven. The models that cost less than a hundred dollars are typically not designed to produce great results—the reason why you shouldn’t take the oven’s performance reviews seriously. The best toaster oven for the price shouldn’t over or under bake and use less power. You will barely notice the difference in how it cooks or bakes.
You will also notice a lot of flaws in designs and old-fashioned user interfaces, visit the store physically before making a purchase. Examine the little features in these toasters like opening and closing doors or even adjusting the racks.
There isn’t even one countertop toaster oven that is perfect. However, depending on the price range, some models often better compared to others. The differences alone are worth shopping for.
You also need to keep in mind what you intend to use the toaster oven for most of the times. If you are toasting every morning, go for a toaster with preset settings, and if it’s broiling, then a toaster oven with a rack would be ideal.
Countertop toaster ovens usually use less energy compared to most traditional ovens. At high to medium heat, a conventional oven draws close to 2400watts while an average one draws about 1500watts. It, therefore, means that you will cut on your consumption anytime you use a countertop toaster oven instead of a traditional one.
Let’s look at that perspective mathematically in terms of cents and dollars. Suppose the rate of energy is 0.12dollars per kilowatt-hour and use of an hour daily. A traditional oven will increase your energy bill for about $105 every year, and the figure can drop to $65 when using a toaster oven.
However, the actual savings will depend on how often you use the toaster oven. Most people will still use their full-size oven even if they own a toaster oven. Therefore, this means that if you hardly ever use the traditional oven, you can save about $20 yearly, especially if you bake every day.
That’s a perfect figure although less that what to expect. An average toaster oven of 1500 watts offers 0.6cubic feet while an ordinary electric oven 2400 watts offers five cubic feet. A toaster oven is 85% smaller but uses 35% lesser energy. You get more value from a full-size oven if you have a big family.
Smart Toaster Ovens
Smart toaster ovens are available in the market but are quite expensive. It’s hard to recommend these models unless you are an early adopter enthusiast of modern kitchen technology and equally moneyed. I would advise you to stick to regular ovens.
June Intelligent Oven was the first in history and now sells in the second-generation model. It’s a great machine with in-built cameras that identify what you want to cook and guides you through the process. It’s not ideal for toasting.
Tovala Smart Oven is also a second-generation smart oven but less expensive compared to June. It features an in-built QR code scanner that helps identify specific meal kits or any frozen food. The smart oven then automates the whole cooking process. You only need to place the food in the toaster then press start.
Brava Smart Oven is the priciest and compared to other toaster oven upgrades; it’s almost similar to Frankenstein’s monster. It has the same heating elements like Panasonic Xpress, June’s in-built cameras, and Tovala’s meal kits approach. The meal kits are costly, just like the smart oven.
However, as at now, neither of these smart toaster ovens are worth purchasing. Connected cooking devices are produced since manufacturers are motivated to be innovative, especially with the Instant pot that proves people want well-featured kitchen appliances.
It also includes market movers. Recently, LG did announce that their smart ovens are bound to support the meal kits from Tovala. However, you need to have the Tovala app on your phone to scan their QR codes. Besides, whirlpool also has a smart countertop oven in the pipeline, and more brands will soon follow suit.
Healthy competition like the one we see here will lead to something more compelling with slightly lower prices.