The Best Toaster Ovens of 2016

The 7 Most Important Qualities to Consider for Your Next Toaster Oven

1. Wattage power

Toaster ovens are known for having very powerful wattages, especially when compared to regular microwaves which only offer about 700-1000 watts. The more basic toaster ovens start at about 1500 watts and can go up to 1800 watts or more. The high wattage of a toaster oven provides enough power to generate a temperature range of 150-450 degrees-Fahrenheit. You can cook a variety of foods (both thawed and frozen) with such a wide temperature range.

2. Cooking functions

Toaster ovens have a lot of cooking functions, including presets. At the bare minimum, a toaster oven can convection bake, broil, toast, or just keep foods warm at a low temperature until you are ready to eat. Some of the presets include functions like “Cookies,” “Bagel,” and “Pizza.” These presets are convenient because you do not need to experiment with heat or time. More advanced ovens can have as many as 8-9 presets, and are also able calculate the cooking time for breads and frozen foods.

3. Oven size

When you are looking at toaster ovens, the oven size determines what kind of food you can cook. Most toaster ovens are measured by bread slices, so a 4-slice oven is on the smaller size. 4-slice ovens can also hold an 11-inch pizza. Larger ovens can hold 6 slices, 12-inch pizzas, or even a 13×9 casserole dish. Keep in mind that a larger oven means it takes up more counter space, and will be trickier to store underneath a cabinet.

4. Weight

Toaster ovens tend to be heavier when they have larger ovens. Weight can be a concern if you are moving or need to transport the oven. Smaller ovens can weigh as little as 7 ½ – 13 pounds. Larger ones can be pretty heavy and get to 20+ pounds.

5. Crumb tray

All toaster ovens come with a crumb tray which is usually removable. This way, the oven catches crumbs from pizzas, bread, and so on. The crumbs will not fall into the oven and burn. To remove, you simply slide out the tray and toss the crumbs way. Cleaning is very easy. Be sure to wait till your oven is cool before attempting to remove the crumb tray. You don’t want to burn yourself and spill the crumbs everywhere.

6. Digital display

In order to choose the toaster oven’s cooking functions, the timer, and so on, toaster ovens have digital displays. Most toaster ovens have pretty advanced LCD displays that are easy to use, and often include an orange light during preheating and a blue one once the oven is ready. The less expensive toaster ovens have basic timers, so you can only set a cooking time up to 25-30 minutes. The more advanced the oven gets, the more time you can add, as in the 90-120 minute range. This greatly expands the kinds of foods you can cook in your toaster oven.

7. Construction

A good toaster oven needs to be durable since it is exposed to high levels of heat all the time. You also do not want to be dealing with scratches or dings on the exterior. Most toaster ovens are made from reinforced or powder-coated stainless steel. The interiors should have a non-stick coating. The heating elements on toaster ovens are usually metal, like steel, that can manage and retain high heat levels over time.

What are the best toaster oven brands?

1. Black & Decker

Black & Decker is a huge brand that produces everything from power tools to small appliances, like toaster ovens. They were founded in 1910 by two young friends who worked in Baltimore at a small machine shop. Their first invention (in 1917) was a portable electric drill. The small appliances part of the business was purchased in 1984 from the General Electric Company and includes coffee makers, juicers, bread machines, and more. Many of their toaster ovens are a lot more affordable than those from other brands.

2. Breville

Originally a manufacturer of radios and mine detectors, the Australian-born Breville brand has been around since the 1930’s. In the 1980’s, the Breville brand invented the sandwich toaster. Their other small appliances became extremely popular, such as the first whole-fruit juicer, a food processor, and more. They sell their products all around the world, including the US, the Middle East, Canada, and South Africa.

3. Oster

Like so many small appliances companies, Oster did not start out making toasters, blenders, and other kitchen equipment. They made manually-powered hair clippers in the 1920’s before expanding their products in 1946. In 1960, the brand was purchased by Sunbeam Products, a small-appliance company that made electric toasters and coffee makers. Since those days, Oster is known as an innovator and creates all kinds of blenders, electric knives, and toaster and pizza ovens.

4. Cuisinart

As one of the world’s most famous kitchen-appliance brands, Cuisinart has a lot to live up to. It was founded in 1971 by a married couple who were inspired by a food prep machine in France, and introduced the modern food processor to the public. With endorsements by famous chefs like Julia Child and James Beard, the brand took off. Cuisinart has since expanded into coffee makers, cookware, slow cookies, waffle makers, and toaster ovens. As such a famous and highly-regarded brand, Cuisinart products are pretty expensive.

Some Extra Features To Look For

1. Superior heating elements

Many expensive toaster ovens offer special temperature features for more even, powerful heating. One of these features is the use of quartz or ceramic heating elements. Quartz is superior to other metal because it responds very quickly to changes in temperature, so the heating is more even. When combined with ceramic, quartz heating elements can actually heat up 40% faster than other toaster ovens.

2. Complete temperature control

One of the most popular features in more advanced toaster ovens is a smart sensor. These sensors can adjust the wattage based on what you are cooking. When you have a fixed wattage, you just get one blast of heat, but with smart sensors like the Element IQ on Breville ovens, you get superior control and can make incremental temperature changes if necessary.

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