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Best Toaster Oven 2018
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Best Toaster Oven 2018

Best Toaster Oven 2018
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Ah, the Greek Frittata! What a start to the day.

The crisp, crunchy feta on the sides with soft and juicy eggs in the center and a healthy topping of spinach, scallions, tomatoes and olives! Proteiny, fatty, healthy goodness.

Sounds like a gourmet meal, doesn’t it? Only, this one was whipped up in less than 20 minutes in a best toaster oven at home.

‘Toaster…what?’

Oh yeah folks, toasting bread in pop-up toasters is so 19th century. Or is it 18th?

Toaster ovens are here and not only do they toast more efficiently, they also bake, roast, grill, cook and heat your food, while amplifying the aesthetics of your kitchen counter. From pizzas to Frittatas, sandwiches to meatloaves, a toaster oven can do it all in a more energy-efficient manner.

Did we get you curious enough to go browser-shopping for the best toaster oven?  You are in for a surprise, for toaster ovens are available in a mind boggling number of choices.

Big and small, feature-rich and barebones, perfect for empty-nesters and busy households, there’s a toaster oven for everybody.

How, then do you pick the right one for your home?

That’s where we step in. We eat, live and breathe home appliances and toaster ovens are our current flame.

Before we share the juicy bits though, let us quickly cut to the chase and show you our picks for the best toaster ovens in 2018.

Name Volume Display Heating Element Temperature Price
Panasonic FlashXpress ( Best Small Toaster Oven ) Up to 4 bread slices or a 9-inch pizza Digital LCD Quartz and Ceramic 250°F – 500°F Check Price
Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven ( Best Large Toaster Oven/ Most Popular ) Up to 6 slices of toast or 12-inch Pizza Backlit LCD Quartz with Convection cooking 120 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit Check Price
Black & Decker TO3250XSB 8-Slice ( Best Budget Toaster Oven ) Up to 8 slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza None Quartz and Convection heating Max temperature of 450 degrees Check Price
KitchenAid KCO273SS ( Best Convection Oven )  2-12″ pizzas Large Digital LCD Display Convection heating with Quartz heating elements 150-450°F in 5°F increments Check Price
Cuisinart TOB-260N1 Chef’s Convection 13″ pizza or 6 large toast slices Backlit LCD Display Quartz with Convection heating N.A. Check Price

 

What criteria did we use to evaluate these best toaster ovens?

Don’t most of them look identical? How did we decide which ones make the list and which don’t cut it anymore?

Having a team of chefs, homemakers, nerds, super moms, geeks, nomads and internet-junkies who put everything from shavers to toaster ovens to the test for us, gets half the job done.

The other half was achieved digging through mommy groups, Facebook pages, speaking to salesmen, technicians and customers who have been using these multitasking devices for years.

We read reviews, watched videos, spent hours on the phone, burnt copious amounts of fuel, and baked, toasted, grilled and cooked our way to toaster oven heaven.

The reviews above are the result of our blood, sweat and an expanded waist line. (Aura around us!)

After spending hours researching toaster ovens, we realized that it all boiled down to a handful of variables that people usually consider while selecting one.

Without further ado, here’s our toaster oven reviews for you.

#1 – Panasonic FlashXpress – Best Small Toaster Oven

Volume: Up to 4 bread slices or a 9-inch pizza

Display: Digital LCD

Heating Element: Quartz and Ceramic

Temperature:  250°F – 500°F

There are so many reasons why we couldn’t help but be impressed with the Panasonic FlashXpress. It ticks all the boxes that one looks for from a multifunctional appliance like this.

It is compact, lightweight, looks fairly good and has an entry-level pricing.

Panasonic FlashXpress

Despite this, it can cook food up to 40% faster than its nearest competition.

To be fair, it does have its limitations. But those are too feeble to mar its appeal as a budget-priced toaster oven for homes where countertop space is a premium.

Let’s take a closer look.

The perfect under cabinet toaster oven

At 10 inches tall and 12 inches deep, the FlashXpress tucks in neatly under the cabinet. It weighs a feeble 7.5 pounds and moving it around or even carrying it along for impromptu parties should be effortless. You can choose from a painted silver or an all-white metal exterior casing. There’s a retro-looking control panel on the front with slightly ungainly buttons that have a very responsive ‘click’ to them when pressed.

It looks more like an old microwave than a modern day toaster oven. Likewise, with the display. It’s an oldish LCD one that doesn’t look too impressive. But hey, it does the job. Overall, it might not score over the rest in the looks. But it does make up in the performance. Surprisingly enough, the three feet power cord is on the side and not the back. But that’s hardly a deal breaker.

On the control panel, you have dedicated buttons for six presets (toast, frozen waffle, bread reheat, frozen pizza, quick reheat and frozen hash brown), a temperature adjustment setting (more on this in a bit) and up/down buttons for adjusting the shade of your toast (5 shades). There’s an on/off button which also doubles up as a pause/start button. In other words, there’s no way you can pause the toaster oven other than restarting it. Duh!

Usage is fairly easy. You can throw in your toast, select a preset and be done with it. Same goes for reheating pizza slices, bread or making a frozen hash brown. There’s an internal light that you can power on to check on the food and the drop down door with the pop-out baking rack allows easy retrieval of the food.

Express heating

The FlashXpress has dual heating elements, both Ceramic and Quartz. These are positioned on the front and the far end each, which we suppose is for the outside and the interior of the food you are heating or cooking.

And boy, does it heat fast.

Panasonic hits it out of the park by eliminating annoying preheat times. If you like your food heated or bread toasted fast, this is your best bet. Just toss it in, press a button and get on with your life.

On the flipside, if you expect to broil meat to a precise temperature or grill fish or bake large cakes for that matter, you might find that this isn’t the best toaster oven for you.

There’s a food crumb tray that slides out easily and reaching into the limited-space interiors to wipe it down is fairly easy.

  • The entry-level price tag: At the price point, this toaster oven offers unbeatable value for money.
  • The fast heating time: If you want a no-frills attached, toaster for reheating food or toasting bread, you won’t find a better option in this list of best toaster ovens.
  • The consistency: Everything from bread to pizza to hash browns are cooked to perfection. The five shades of toast browning is an added bonus and takes the guesswork out of it. For the baking aficionados, you can still bake in small batches.
  • The presets: We love the one-button access to your favorite foods.
  • The temperature control: You can only adjust the temperature from 250°F - 500°F in eight increments. Being a Japanese made appliance, the Farhenheit controls have been migrated from a Celcius one. So, oddly enough you can’t set the temperature to 450 or 390. Once again, not a huge turn off but a minor niggle that you need to work around.
  • The timer: The max time that you can set the timer for is 25 minutes. So, if you want to bake a batch of cookies for 40 minutes, you’d have to reset the timer after 25.

Verdict : The Panasonic FlashXpress is a very solid contender for the best small toaster oven. Small apartments, empty nesters and dorm rooms will be very tempted at the size, the features and that price tag. If you are looking for more advanced features and slightly bigger cooking volume, read on.

#2 – Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven – Best Large Toaster Oven &  Most Popular

Volume: Up to 6 slices of toast or 12-inch Pizza

Display: Backlit LCD

Heating Element: Quartz with Convection cooking

Temperature: 120 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit

Bump your budget a little and you reach premium turf in the toaster oven space. This is the Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven that is as close to a full-range oven as you can get.

Breville BOV800XL

It has as many as 9 preset settings, pin-point temperature accuracy and the volume to accommodate your 12-inch pizzas. Club that with a swanky stainless steel appearance and an upscale control panel, you have a combination that is very hard to ignore.

True, the extra volume comes at the cost of a larger footprint. But it is still smaller in dimensions than some of the other models at this price point. And it has 0.8 cubic feet of space inside.

This is hands down, the best large toaster oven in this list and also, the most popular one if customer reviews are to go by.

The easiest to use

At 18.5 inches wide and 12.5 inches deep (if you don’t include the handle), the Breville Smart Oven is fairly large in size. But like we said, the larger the size, the bigger the pizza slice that it can accommodate. Toss in your 13-inchers and this will gulp it down with ease. The construction is all-stainless and looks attractive. However, the top side of the oven gets heated when it is in use. We believe that the intended use of this feature is for a plate warmer. But if you are careless, you can melt a plastic bowl or something. So, ensure that there’s nothing kept on top of the oven when it is in use.

The control panel on the front is largely dominated by three dials for function, temperature and timer. We know what you are thinking. Dials? But trust us on this. Once you get your hands on them, you’ll how easy this is to use.

There’s an LCD display with an intuitive user menu that switches on the fly when you select the appropriate knob. The LCD also conveniently changes color from blue to orange whenever the oven is in use. Additionally, there are four small-sized buttons that allow you to select the defrost function, start/pause the oven, turn on convection heating and toggle between Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Three Height settings

Depending on what you are cooking or heating, you can select from three different rack heights. Breville adds a quick height-selection guide on the see-through door making it easy to choose the right one without having to fiddle with the manual every time. The middle rack, which is typically the rack you’d use for pizzas, cookies and the likes, has a magnetic rack-ejector that pushes it out when you open the door. That’s a neat safety feature. But sadly, it is not extended to the other racks.

The preset functions are a breeze to use. Just select one using the large dial and the Smart oven auto adjusts the settings. You can bake, broil, roast, make cookies, reheat food, make pizza, a bagel, toast bread or keep the food warm.

The convection setting can be turned on for some of the functions and it speeds up the heating time.

The cooking is consistent and perfect every time. The breads are toasted to the perfect shade of brown (you can choose from 7 shades) and the broiled meat was crispy outside with juicy interiors. It did struggle with frozen pizza. But so did all the ovens in this list.

The maximum cook time is 2 hours which is enough for broiling meat or slow cooking. However, if you prefer to slow cook or broast meat for close to 8-10 hours, then you can take a look at the Breville Smart Oven Pro which has a slow cooking feature.

  • The appearance: With the stainless-steel construction, the swanky control panel, this one is a looker. But its effectiveness goes far beyond the looks.
  • The features: 9 presets, a vast temperature adjustment range, two-hour cook time, three height settings for racks and convection cooking to speed it up further. Enough said.
  • Ease of use: The dials and the LCD panel make it a breeze to use. Even when we first tested it, we could easily toggle through the menu without checking the manual.
  • Sturdy and deep crumb rack: The Breville Smart Oven has the deepest and the sturdiest crumb rack that we have tested
  • Plate warmer: A plate warmer is definitely a well-thought out addition to the list of features. But you’d have to ensure that you are aware that the top side of the oven gets mildly warm when it is in use. Thankfully, it does not get scalding hot.
  • 2-hour maximum cook time: Seems like we are going to have to wait until we see a four-hour timer in a toaster oven. But to be fair, most of the tasks that one uses a toaster oven for can be completed in an hour at best. So, again, not a major complaint.

Verdict : Despite being a toaster oven, there is no reason why the Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven cannot replace a microwave and a full-rack oven in a small apartment. It has so many features and the performance is consistent across the board. Highly recommended!

#3 – Black & Decker TO3250XSB 8-Slice Extra Wide Convection Countertop Toaster Oven

Volume: Up to 8 slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza

Display: None

Heating Elements: Quartz and Convection heating

Temperature: Max temperature of 450 degrees

Take a good look at that price bracket. How can one even get a full-sized toaster oven at that price? Surprise, Surprise!

Here’s Black & Decker’s TO3250XSB, an extra wide oven that can accommodate up to 8 slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza. It can bake, broil, toast, and keep food warm.

It has an all stainless steel construction and includes a convection heating feature to amplify the heating speed.

TO3250XSB

True, it does look like an oven from the 80s with large rotary knobs on the control panel. And there’s no digital display. But that’s a minor quibble that we are willing to look beyond. For otherwise, this is an absolute steal.

If you are shopping for a shoestring-priced, all-inclusive toaster oven, then here you have it.

Extra Wide but slightly bulky

The Black & Decker 8-slice oven has one of the largest interiors that we have tested. It can easily accommodate a 13”x9” baking pan or your frozen 12-inch pizza. That extra luxury comes at a fat price. This one will eat into your counter space. It is 23.5 inches wide and almost 15 inches deep. Standing at 12.5 inches tall, it will only barely fit in under the counter.

However, if you have a spacious counter and are looking for a second-oven that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, then this is one of the best ovens in this list.

Surprisingly enough, the construction is stainless steel although it has a matt black finish. As we said earlier, the control panel is something that you’d like to forget about. There are three large dials for temperature control, the timer with a maximum time of 60 minutes and a dedicated toast timer that lets you select up to 6 shades of brown.

All dials are easy to rotate and there’s an audible, responsive click when it reaches each intended setting or the middle setting.

There is a stay-on setting in the timer that lets you keep the toaster oven powered on, even after the cook time is completed.

There is only one cooking rack included in the package. You can always buy an additional one separately though. The lone cooking rack can be height adjusted to three positions. Sadly, like the Breville, there is no rack-position guide on the see-through door and you’ll have to refer the manual to get it right.

Bakes evenly and perfectly browned toasts

We noticed that you’ll have to get used to setting the optimum temperature for your toasts, baked goodies and your meat. It seems to vary by 15-20 degrees at least. So, if your desired temperature is 350, setting the dial midway between 300 and 350 works best.

One apparent design flaw that has led to some negative customer reviews and feedback, is that one can accidentally place the crumb tray above the lower heating elements. Not only does this block heat, it also leaves you with undercooked toasts on the lower side. But this isn’t a design flaw at all. It is a rookie mistake. Check your manual and ensure that you have the right parts installed in the right places. You will get perfectly browned toasts.

Even at the highest setting, it was not burnt.

With the extra space, you can easily cook in your full-sized casseroles without having to fire up the range. We tested the convection fan feature and it reduced the cooking time by almost 15 minutes. So if you are stretched for time, power this feature on.

The broiling feature is not the best in this list. But once again, if you desire perfection, go for the Breville Smart Oven or the Panasonic FlashXpress. Leave this for the spendthrifts.

  • Extra Wide Interiors: The Black and Decker TO3240XSBD is the only toaster oven at this price point that can accommodate 8 slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza. We even squeezed in a 13-inch pizza without any problem whatsoever.
  • Old School Design: We spoke to many customers who quite like the old school design. They mentioned that rotating the dials to set the temperature seemed much easier than pressing a bunch of buttons repeatedly. Well, to each his own.
  • Convection heating: Looking for quickly heated food? Power the convection heating on.
  • The cheapest toaster oven in this list: Need we say more?
  • No Digital display: A digital display would have made this very good oven a great one. Yeah, we can never stop being greedy!
  • Variable temperature: As we said earlier, the temperature might be off by 10-15 degrees. Usually, this doesn’t affect the performance after the first couple of times you use the oven. We have had customers work around this for years.
  • Bulky design: If your counter space is limited, then this is not the toaster oven for you.

Verdict : Homeowners looking to bake their 13×9 pizzas and get their toasts browned to perfection would love the Black and Decker TO3240XSBD. They’d have to live with an old analog styled control panel. But as many customers told us, that’s not a deal breaker.

#4 – KitchenAid KCO273SS – The Best Convection Oven

Volume: 2-12″ pizzas

Display: Large Digital LCD Display

Heating Elements: Convection heating with Quartz heating elements

Temperature: 150-450°F in 5°F increments

It was one of the top selling toaster ovens in the business because of its laundry list of features that can give a full-sized rack a run for its own money.

The KCO273SS is a large toaster oven with excellent cooking volume. It has a combination of analog dials and a digital display that makes it a breeze to use. There are 9 preset settings, a very accurate temperature control setting and a bunch of intuitive safety features that round off this well-thought out package.

KitchenAid KCO273SS

Unless you have a brand loyalty to Breville, you’d be on the fence about which one of these two to select for your home. We certainly were hard pressed.

Multiple color choices

The KitchenAid KCO2733S is one of the only toaster ovens available in a bunch of color choices. If you were plain bored of the mundane stainless steel models, then here’s an option to rev up your kitchen décor.

It has a modern design with clean lines and a sizeable footprint, which is a given, considering the cooking volume. It stands 14 inches tall, 15 inches deep and 18 inches wide. That’s almost comparable to our previous pick, the Black and Decker TO3240XSBD. But this one looks much better overall.

The control panel looks neat despite the two large analog rotary dials occupying bulk of the space. Flaking these is a large LCD display panel. The larger of the two dials allows you to select one of the nine presets that it offers.

So, you can rotate a dial and let the toaster oven select the optimum temperature and heat settings for toasting bread, baking a cookie or reheating food. One of the stand out presets is the Asado roast. The only other toaster oven that offers a roast function is the Breville BOV800XL.

The second dial allows you to set the temperature or the degree of brownness for your toasts. Deep pressing this changes the function to the cooking timer. While that’s a great way to save space on the control panel and make it look less cluttered, we would have preferred a dedicated dial for the timer.

On the bottom, you have a dedicated on/off button, a button to power on the convection heat and one to add a defrost option to thaw food.

Even Heat Technology and accurate temperature controls with built-in memory

The KitchenAid KCO2733S features a patented heat distribution technology called Even Heat Tech. This automatically powers some of the heating elements on and off at specific times of the cooking cycle. For some of the presets, only selected heating elements are active. While it might sound like a fancy gimmick, it translates into consistent quality no matter what you cook.

Bagels are perfectly toasted devoid of any cold spots. You can arrange them anywhere on the rack and still get an evenly cooked crust. Likewise, toasts were browned to perfection. Thankfully, no burnt bread even at the highest setting.

Another notable feature is the temperature control accuracy. The KitchenAid KCO2733SS was among the most accurate ovens that we tested. The temperature never varied more than five to six degrees.

  • Bells and Whistles: The KitchenAid KCO2733SS has all the bells and whistles at a very affordable price tag. There are nine presets, all of which can be customized further and the toaster oven stores the new settings in the memory until you unplug it.
  • Even heat tech: By automatically toggling between the heating elements at specific times of the cooking cycle, the KitchenAid maintains consistency in the output. You get consistently good food every time.
  • Asado roast: Put that 4-pound chicken in to roast and you get the perfect crisp crust and juicy interiors. The timer has a max time of two hours which is more than sufficient for poultry.
  • Roomy non-stick interiors: With multiple racks, you can cook up to 2-12 inch pizzas at one time. The non-stick coating makes it a breeze to clean.
  • No Interior light: If you are used to an interior light in the toaster oven while cooking, you might feel this lacking in the KitchenAid KCO273SS. But that’s just a minor quibble folks. Use those smartphone torchlights.
  • Two important functions in one dial: Having one dial for two of the most important functions, temperature adjustment and the timer seems unnecessary considering that they could have made the upper dial slightly smaller in size and accommodated a third one easily.

Verdict : With excellent customer reviews, a very competitive price tag and a feature list that rivals the best, the KitchenAid KCO273SS is one of the top rated toaster ovens in this list of the best toaster ovens. In fact, we could say that it edges the Breville slightly. What do you think?

#5 – Cuisinart TOB-260N1 Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven

Volume: 13″ pizza or 6 large toast slices

Display: Backlit LCD Display

Heating Element: Quartz with Convection heating

Temperature: N.A.

Let’s say, we saved the best one for the last. The Cuisinart TOB-260N1 also called the Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven is hands down the best toaster oven in this list.

And we don’t usually throw words around like that.

But this one, easily trumps the rest of the models tested here by miles in terms of features, performance and the price tag.

To give you an overview, it has 15 presets, a convection heating mode, a turbo convection heating mode and a dual clock feature that allows you to activate two cooking modes at the same time.

TOB 260N1

Most importantly, it is priced slightly above the KitchenAid KCO273SS and well below the Breville Smart Oven making it a great pick for anyone looking for a premium oven in the sub-250 price range.

Cook Two racks at the same time

This is one of the roomiest toaster ovens in the market currently. It can accommodate up to 6 slices of bed, a 13-inch pizza (Includes a 13×9 pizza stone) or a large 13×9 baking pan. Goes without saying that the footprint is wide. It stands 11 inches tall and 20 inches wide. It will just about fit in under the counter.

Having said that, the brushed stainless steel casing looks stunning. There’s a large bar handle on the front to open the see-through glass door and the control panel is a mix of an old school dial and a touchpad.

The dial allows you to select from 15 presets while there are buttons for the convection mode which can be added to any preset mode to speed it up, the turbo convection mode and the dual cook mode. There is a dedicated start/stop button, two power on the interior light for two minutes and a ‘+30 seconds’ button which extends the cooking time by 30 seconds for any of the modes.

A large blue LCD panel displays the functions, the temperature, the shade of the toast and the cooking time, making it effortless to adjust the settings even on the fly.

The Cuisinart TOB-260N1 features four cooking racks that are height adjustable and you can cook two of them at the same time to save time.

Fast Preheating time

One of the advantages of having five quartz heating elements is that the Cuisinart TOB-260N1 heats up in less than 15 minutes. In fact, we found that it reached its maximum temperature of 450 F in just about 14 minutes.

If you activate the ‘Turbo Convection Mode’, it skips preheating and goes straight to cooking, which is pretty neat if you are rushed for time.

The dual cooking mode allows you to activate two features like bake and keep warm or bake and broil at the same time. Once the baking is completed, the broil function is activated for a couple of minutes giving your cookie a nice, crisp coating. There are umpteen ways in which you can use this to add that extra crisp crust to your dishes.

Cuisinart has its own patented temperature monitoring and maintaining tech, which it calls ‘Even Heat’. That might sound gimmicky. But we found that the temperature was consistent and there were hardly any cold spots on the pizzas, bagels or toasts. The toasts were perfectly done, no undercooking on either sides. The same with reheated pizza, broiled chicken and meat.

There are a bunch of safety features thrown in for good measure. The racks pop out a few inches when you open the doors, the interior light switches on and the upper racks have a safety-hook that prevents the tray from accidentally sliding out.

There’s a large food crumb tray for easy cleaning and the interiors are lined with a non-stick coating for a quick wipe down.

  • The features: No other toaster oven in the biz gives you 15 presets to choose from. Even though you might never use all of them, it does feel good to know that you can just toggle through them and select it if need be. To add to it, there are two convection settings and a dual cooking setting.
  • The fast heating time: With the multiple heating elements, it takes just 15 minutes for the Cuisinart TOB-260N1 to hit max temperature. We also love the fact that you can skip the preheating time altogether with the Turbo convection mode.
  • The accessories: The package includes a 13-inch pizza stone, two baking racks and a 9x13 bake and broil pan. With four rack slots, you can easily use two at the same time.
  • The price: The features and the performance is so good that we wouldn’t mind spending a little extra to get out hands on this one.
  • 3-year warranty: Once again, a first from Cuisinart.
  • Limited Timer: The maximum cooking time on the timer is 120 minutes. Someday, we’d like to see a toaster oven that lets you slow cook your meat for 10 hours or more.

Verdict : This is by far, the best toaster oven in 2018. It does everything a toaster oven can do and a lot more for a price that is easy on the wallet.

To sum it up

These were the best toaster ovens that we could dig up based on the personal tests that we ran, the customer feedback we received and our discussions with some of the recent and long term users of these models.

If you are looking for something compact and cheap, that can heat your food fast and toast to perfection, then the Panasonic FlashXpress will be a great pick for you. Whereas if you have the room, go for the Black & Decker TO3250XSB.

People looking for more features from their toaster oven will love the Cuisinart TOB-260N1. Or the Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven for that matter, which is an equally good option.

Lastly, if you prefer the best convection oven, then we highly recommend the KitchenAid KCO273SS.

Do you have your personal favorite toaster oven? Do write in to us. We’d love to hear from you.

Best Toaster Ovens – Complete Buying Guide

Dimensions: People prefer toaster ovens with a small footprint that can easily fit on the counter without looking like an eyesore. Aesthetics are subjective but we weaned out models that looked arcane, with clumsy knobs and oversized buttons. Touchpad controls and digital displays scored above the rest. To cater to kitchens of all sizes, we selected models of varying dimensions. Irrespective of whether you have a large home, a thumbnail sized apartment or an RV, you will find a toaster oven for your kitchen in this list.

Volume: The caveat of picking an overly compact oven is that you can cook less food with it. Oven manufacturers typically describe it according to the capacity of bread slices you can toast, pizza slices that you can make or reheat and the capacity to roast chicken. There are small, medium, large and extra-large models that you can choose from depending on your cooking requirements and the availability of space in your kitchen.

Convection: You might get swayed with a fancy sales pitch that advertises the latest infrared heating or convection feature. But you only need these features if will be baking food or broiling it. For the uninitiated, convection toaster ovens feature a fan that circulates hot air evenly around the food. This speeds up the cooking time, eliminates cold spots and reduces moisture. If your intended use is to toast bread or reheat a few slices of left over pizza, these advanced features are overkill (and pricey). Nevertheless, we have included best toaster ovens with conventional heating elements (Nichrome, Quartz and Ceramic), infrared heating as well as convection heating.

Temperature: The ability to adjust temperature is usually considered a premium feature. But it can be very useful if you broil meat or grill fish or prefer your toasts browned to a specific degree.

Consistence: One of the factors that we consider extremely important is consistence in the quality of cooking. Does it toast bread evenly? Can it toast it to varying degrees of brown? What about bagels? How soon does it reheat pizzas? Are cookies baked evenly? Are there cold spots while broiling chicken?

Presets and features: Some models offer a bunch of presets for convenient, automatic cooking. Press a button to cook pizza, bagels, baked potatoes, to reheat or defrost food and so on. Some allow you to fine tune the existing presets according to the food you cook frequently. The safety features that we found most useful are an integrated alarm, an internal light and an automatic shut off system that activates once the heating/baking time is completed. Accessories like cold-touch handles or pop-out racks that prevent you from coming into contact with the hot areas are also desirable.

Cleaning and maintenance: In a perfect world, a toaster oven would auto clean itself of all the grime and spills. But in the real world, you need to roll up your sleeves and grease your elbows every now and then. However, features like a crumb tray and non-stick interiors make maintenance a lot easier. The crumb tray collects most food particles and residue that falls off the baking tray or the casserole that you use. You can slide it out the front of the oven toaster and rinse it or pop it into the dishwasher.

Price: The ideal price is again, subjective. But you get what you pay for. These have a smaller cooking volume, manual controls and the temperature regulation is a hit or a miss. You can get a toaster oven with a decent cooking volume (6 to 8 slices of toast), reasonably accurate temperature variation, digital controls and a bunch of accessories.

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