The Ultimate Home Guide to the Best Toaster Ovens
Cooking at home is often touted as the more frugal option. While this is absolutely true, what’s also true is that these days most of us are cooking for one, or at the most two.
Conventional ovens take time to preheat and are often huge energy suckers. Why should you have to pay a higher electric or gas bill simply because you favor oven cooking over the results produced by microwaves?
The truth is you don’t, I don’t, and with the best toaster ovens on the market today, no one has to make that call. These aren’t your grandma’s toaster ovens—well, maybe they are, because she’s a smart lady, after all.
If you are looking for the best toaster oven reviews to kick start your hunt for the best toaster ovens, I’ve picked 3 of what I consider as the best that you can find in the market.
Ready? Let’s get started.
3 Candidates for Best Toaster Oven Champion
Breville BOV800XL: The Ultimate Performer
If you’re someone who enjoys serious cuisine, who takes a deep pleasure in crafting your meals, but have limited space or a tight energy budget, Breville BOV800XL is one model that has been positively rated.
The Breville Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven with Element IQ is the model for those who love to pull out all the stops in the kitchen, and it brings a bundle of fantastic features to you.
This 1800-watt oven offers a non-stick 0.8 cubic foot interior with multiple elements that operate independently to deliver optimum results to a number of applications—baking, roasting, reheating.
This oven is equipped with a durable metal wire rack. While this may be a standard feature, what owners often rave about in their toaster oven reviews is the slide design. The wire rack has been designed such that it will gently slide out when the door is opened.
It may seem like a trivial aspect but if you are a regular toaster oven user, attention to such details is often the thing that separates the best toaster ovens from the average models.
One feature that makes this a winner among many oven owners is the Element IQ technology. It sounds like a lot of jargon but what it essentially means is the Breville BOV800XL is equipped with 5 power-adjustable heating elements.
Most toaster ovens, even the likes of Cuisinart’s popular TOB-135, are equipped with 1 or at most 2 heating elements. And these heating elements are operated under either ON or OFF setting.
What makes the Element IQ so special is each heating element can have the power adjusted according to your cooking needs.
Let’s take toasting for example. While I’m not a toast expert, I can still tell a good toast from bad ones. A good toast has to have even crisp on the outside while maintaining enough moisture on the inside.
The Breville BOV800XL can be programmed to achieve such results. To deliver the perfect toast, the 2 heating elements at the top are set to about the same power level as the other 2 at the bottom. This is while leaving the fifth heating element (which is found at the middle top) in OFF state.
Baking, on the other hand, requires an entirely different heat profile. The perfect bake is achieved when no part of the food is left uncooked or less cooked than the other parts.
Perfect baking requires the temperature within the oven to be evenly distributed throughout the baking process. Convection is the technique that is used in many popular models such as the Cuisinart TOB-195.
In Breville BOV800XL, the combination of convection with Element IQ ensures baking perfection each time.
Cuisinart TOB-40: The Best Essential Oven
Breville BOV800XL is designed to be a powerful and high performance toaster oven. However, for those who are looking for a more basic model, Cuisinart TOB-40 Classic has to be the one model that you ought to consider for your investment.
Being a basic model means that you should not be expecting advanced features that are usually reserved for the higher end models. Touch pad control found in the more expensive Cuisinart TOB-155 is just one example of such feature. In place of the touch pad control, you have to do with function dial in Cuisinart TOB-40.
Despite the shortcomings, why did I still pick Cuisinart TOB-40 as the best toaster oven? Am I nuts? No. Let me explain.
In the words of Tim Cook, Apple says “no to good ideas every day”. But does this mean Apple’s products are awful? Far from it. In fact, Apple’s iPhone remains one of the most popular and the best smartphone in our generation. I’ll stop there and let you figure out the rest.
Cuisinart TOB-40 is one example of a product that does away with many things but excels in areas where it matters the most.
I have to say this might not be best oven for everyone. But if you intend to use your toaster oven for basic toasting and heating up of leftover pizzas and let rest to be done on your gas grill, then this will be the ideal pick.
No, it doesn’t have the convection fan feature but even in the case of Breville BOV800XL, the convection setting is recommended to be turned off during toasting.
Ultimately, ask yourself what you intend to use your toaster oven for. Provided you know what you are doing, Cuisinart TOB-40 might make the best toaster oven.
Panasonic NB-G100P: From the Infrared Oven Pioneer
While it’s slightly smaller and less versatile in its functions, the Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven receives high marks for quality of results.
Coming from one of the early pioneer of infrared toaster ovens, the infrared bulbs help provide instant, consistent heat to reheat, toast, and help you prepare most of your basic mealtime needs.
If you feel you’d like to bake or attempt more complex culinary feats, don’t try it in this small, efficient oven. You’ll be better off with another model or just using a conventional oven.
Do take note that the infrared technology is not quite the same as the conventional technology used in conventional toaster oven.
As you would have learned during your toaster oven review study, infrared toasters eliminates the need of pre-heating which can usually take in the range of 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the temperature and the model that you are using.
With infrared oven, you can expect cooking time of your favorite toaster oven recipes to be reduced significantly and in the case of Panasonic NB-G110P Xpress Toaster, 40% is what the manufacturer’s claim.
With six preset preparation options in an easy-touch format that makes preparing meals easy, it’s also ideal for young, busy people who are balancing several time obligations at once. Be careful of the top and sides—they do heat up quickly and conventional precautions should be taken with fire safety.
The Ultimate Decision
Now that you have seen my nomination for the 3 best toaster ovens, you should be in a better position to decide for yourself which will be the winner based on your need and preference.
Breville BOV800XL is certainly the obvious choice for those looking for high performance oven and expect to do multiple cooking profile with their oven.
For those who are looking for an oven that is simply good enough to do basic toasting and leftover heating up, Cuisinart TOB-40 has to rank high on their consideration list.
Panasonic Flash Xpress NB-G110P on the other hand, proposes something that is quite out of the ordinary. While infrared toaster has been around for years, it is still not the common choice among oven buyers. If the idea of shorter cooking time and absence of pre-heating time sounds enticing to you, do give it a try.
Eventually, you will be the best person to make a pick. As you can see, all the positive oven reviews linked to Breville BOV800XL will be irrelevant to you if what you are looking for is a basic model.
Image courtesy of jules