The toaster oven is the cornerstone of any kitchens since it’s the appliance that used to do a vast majority of the cooking easily and in a timely manner. There are also several types of toaster ovens, but first of all showing you why acquiring one should be a must on your end, let us take a look what the appliances can do.
I acquired my first toaster oven about five years ago, to act as a replacement to my traditional oven, and if you want to learn the differences between the two types of ovens, check out this post on conventional ovens vs toaster ovens.
That said, needless to say, it comes in handier than my traditional oven. Couple that with the fact it takes up very little space on a kitchen counter and you have one of the best space-saving kitchen appliances ever invented. What’s more?, unlike my best four-slice toaster, my toaster oven can toast up to six artisan bread slices at a time and will deliver them perfectly and evenly toasted in less than 2 minutes. If you want to cook a whole pizza on a 13-inch pizza stone, a toaster oven will come in handy as well.
In fact, I used mine to prepare a pot pie last night.
Having said that, thanks to technological advancements over the last couple of decades, kitchen appliance companies have started designing different types of toaster ovens that are best suited for specific kitchen duties. In order to get the best results that will leave you in awe, you need to choose the right one for those needs. And I’ll show you how to do that today.
Before getting to picking a type, you first need to determine your needs and aims.
Determining your needs
As you may know by now, your regular 2-slice toaster is sufficient to make the most delicious toasties. So if you are scouring the internet trying to learn everything about toaster ovens, then you perhaps would like to do more than just toast bagels and bread slices.
And to understand your exact needs, you need to ask yourself the following questions.
- What is my budget?
- What types of foods I like my toaster oven prepare besides toasties?
- Do I want a toaster oven that can also work as a convection oven?
- How much space am I willing to give up?
- What are the sizes of the meals and how often will I prepare them?
Once you extensively understand these basic questions, then it is time to start going through the different types of toaster ovens.
Without further delay, let us skip to the main section of the post.
1. Standard countertop toaster ovens
If you are looking for the best toaster oven that is convenient for simple cooking methods such as heating, toasting, and browning different foods, then a standard countertop toaster oven could be what you are looking for.
These are the first toaster oven models that were created before all the bells and whistles such as browning levels. An average countertop toaster oven can also fit in two to six bagel or bread slices at a time without a hassle.
If you choose to go with this type in the end, there are several features you have pay attention to. Ensure the one you pick boasts temperature controls as well as a cool to the touch exterior surface.
The temperature controls feature is pretty self-explanatory and the cool to the touch exterior will ensure that regardless of how long the toaster oven remains in operation, its exterior surface won’t burn anyone who comes into contact with it.
- Easier to use compared to the other types
- Lots of options to pick from
- Compact to save on kitchen space
- The feet are anti-slip
- Delivers perfectly toasted meals
- Not as versatile as the other types of toaster ovens
- Don’t give you a lot of cooking freedom due to limited functions
2. Convection toaster ovens
Over the last couple of years, convection toaster ovens have overtaken standard countertop toaster ovens as the most popular toaster ovens in American homes. For those who are new to toaster ovens, the only significant difference between convection toaster ovens and standard toaster ovens is an inbuilt fan.
Convection toaster ovens retail with inbuilt fans that will circulate hot air inside the oven so your meals can be cooked more evenly. This technology also allows these ovens to cook food faster and at lower temperature compared to standard countertop ovens, which will save you both lots of money in power bills and time.
Of course, this means that a convection toaster oven will cost more than a standard oven, but it will worth it if you can afford it.
I should also note that cooking appliance companies have invented convection microwaves too. These gadgets are designed to work much like your normal microwave but will also use the same unique cooking style as a convection toaster oven.
- Convenient if you want an appliance that can cook quickly
- Delivers evenly toasted meals
- Gives you a lot more cooking freedom in the kitchen
- Usually bigger than your usual standard toaster oven
- Not very easy to use for people who have never used toaster ovens before
- Different convection toaster ovens have different cooking features
3. Infrared countertop toaster ovens
An infrared toaster oven will employ a fairly new cooking technology that uses light energy to cook your foods even faster than a convection toaster oven. The only downside to these appliances is that their interiors are smaller than the other types of toaster ovens’ and are not as widely available as convection toaster ovens.
But if you manage to land your hands on one that can fit the meals you tend to prepare often, then you’re in luck. They are incredibly effective and will need the least time to warm up. This will come in handy when you are preparing frozen foods. The appliance will completely eliminate the need of defrost before cooking.
If you can’t find an infrared toaster oven, then remember that most convection units also retail with an infrared feature. This allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds with the same appliance.
- Cooks foods evenly and quickly
- The most energy-efficient option
- Will warm up quicker than the other types of ovens
- When you are preparing frozen meals, no defrosting will be needed
- Not user-friendly for beginners
- Their cooking space is too small
Hopefully, this guide has given you a sufficiently thorough idea of what you ought to expect from different types of toaster ovens. If you’ve seen a type that you think your kitchen needs, then I urge you to check this detailed post on the best toaster ovens money can buy today.