Over the years, I have covered lots of comparisons, including toaster ovens vs convection toaster ovens, convection oven vs regular oven, and even toaster ovens vs normal toasters. Now it’s time to carry out another comparison and crown the winner of the Toaster oven vs regular oven debate.
Before getting to the main section of the post and differentiating the two, allow me to note that both products have their places in the kitchen. It would be almost impossible to fix a failed Thanksgiving dinner using a toaster oven, while on the other hand, the regular oven is anything but portable.
With that in mind, let us start by defining the two.
What is a regular oven?
Regular ovens (also known as conventional ovens) have been a mainstay in the modern kitchen since the 50s. If you were born in the 20th century, then you were probably brought up with one of these.
What’s more? Regular ovens operate via a bottom-up heat transfer from a fixed, stable heat source; usually a gas flame or burner element fit inside the oven house. Regardless whether the regular oven uses electricity or gas, the baking procedure is essentially the same: heat rises from the bottom to cook the meal.
In addition to that, most regular ovens retail with a broil function as well.
Now let’s define toaster oven.
What is a toaster oven?
Toaster oven is a smaller and more advanced version of conventional oven. And unlike conventional ovens, toaster ovens run on electricity alone, and also retail with a removable baking pan and wire rack.
In addition to that, most toaster ovens nowadays are also called OTG, which implies the tool has the ability to act as an Oven, Toaster, as well as a Griller.
Some people around the world also refer to it as the pint-sized, portable oven. Unlike the regular oven, you can move a toaster oven to any room in your house, and won’t need to execute any additional settings to start using it.
To top it off, toaster ovens retail with different settings such as broil, bake, and toast, alongside a timer and temperature gauge. The timer allows you to preset how long you would like your meals to be prepared, whereas the temperature gauge allows you to select your desired temperature.
You can use the best toaster ovens to bake different meals, such as bread slices, cookies, small cakes, pizzas, and much more. The broil setting will come in handy when you’re roasting eggs, fish, meat, etc.
Now that you understand what the two products are, let us look at their differences in details.
A toaster oven is, without a doubt, smaller compared to a conventional oven. And worse yet, unlike regular ovens, toaster ovens usually consume valuable counter space. Regular ovens are usually installed into the kitchen cabinet, which means they do not take up any space that could have been used for something else.
So a regular oven takes the lead on this one. It’s big, but still manages to be installed in a way that does not consume too much space in the kitchen.
- Cooking time
Even though old-style toaster ovens that just broil and toast still exist, most modern versions also retail with the convection functionality. For those not accustomed to the convection setting, it is an inbuilt fan that a toaster oven uses to move hot air inside the oven.
This, in turn, cuts cooking time hugely compared to a regular oven. For instance, preparing a small whole chicken would take an hour to cook in a conventional oven, then it would take half that time to prepare it in toaster oven with the convection feature.
This takes me to the third difference.
- Energy Consumption
Most people think just because a regular oven is larger and more powerful, that it is better compared to a toaster oven. But the truth is, this is not always the case in certain situations. As I just mentioned at the preceding section of the post, a regular oven will take a lot of time compared to a toaster oven to prepare the same meal, which automatically translates to more energy consumption.
A toaster oven, on the other hand, (thanks to its compact design and the fact its heating elements are closer to the food) will take less time to prepare meals, which interprets to a quicker cooking time.
Based on my personal experience of using the two tools for years, I can confidently estimate that a toaster oven will cut your energy use costs related to cooking by about a half if you were using a regular oven before.
That said, a toaster is not ideal in all situations either. Which brings me to:
- Preparing large, family-sized dishes
For smaller and personal uses, toaster oven will be a perfect addition to your kitchen. However, when it comes to preparing large meals such as a turkey for thanksgiving or big batches of biscuits for guests and a large family, regular oven would be the better choice.
Most regular-sized toaster ovens cannot even fit a standard-sized chicken.
So, if you often prepare meals and cook huge amounts of meals and other items on baking pans that require a lot more room, you’ll be better off with a regular oven.
Even though the best convection toaster ovens cook faster, the biggest advantage with all sorts of toaster ovens over regular ovens is the fact they give off little, to no heat during operations.
Regular ovens, however, are infamous for heating up the entire kitchen, and sometimes, the whole house, emitting too much heat.
This makes them almost unusable during the hottest summer months.
With a toaster oven, however, you can bake your pie in hot weather without significantly increasing the temperature in your home.
That said, this means that regular ovens are an advantage in the winter since they’ll provide more warmth. The one you ultimately choose will depend on where you come from.
- Efficiency and Cost
Compared to regular ovens, toaster ovens (including convection toaster ovens) are way cheaper. Remember that a regular oven is a major appliance that can even act as a stovetop. Toaster ovens, on the other hand, are smaller kitchen appliances, so they can be obtained for a smaller amount of money.
Regular ovens, on the other hand, can cost twice or three times more than a toaster oven.
There you have it, a detailed review on Toaster ovens vs regular ovens. As I noted at the beginning of the post, the one you ultimately pick will largely depend on your needs, available space in your kitchen, and personal preference. To make your selection process easier, here is a detailed post I created on the best toaster ovens in the market today.