Toaster ovens are small, but mighty
You don't need a conventional oven to do all your cooking; a toaster oven can handle the chore just as efficiently without heating up the entire kitchen. Some toaster ovens can accommodate a chicken or a 12-inch pizza, while others are more suited to smaller snacks. The best models work so well that many people use them as a dedicated oven. Others use them as a second oven to help prepare large meals.
There are three types of toaster ovens:
- Convection toaster ovens cook food faster than regular toaster ovens or even conventional ovens.
- Toaster ovens without convection features cook food much like a conventional oven does.
- A toaster/toaster oven combination is a popular choice for kitchens with minimal counter space or cooks who want just a multi-use appliance. These small models are ideal for single-serving portions.
The top-rated toaster ovens can cook 3- to 4-pound chickens, 12-inch pizzas, cakes, casseroles, side dishes and more. The best of them cook evenly, with preset functions and automatic shut-off features. They're also easy to clean, with nonstick interiors and pullout crumb trays. Most toaster ovens include a number of accessories, including baking and/or broiling pans, pizza pans, drip trays and recipes.
Toaster ovens generally cost between $100 and $200, but a few decent ovens are less than $50. A top-of-the-line model may cost $250 to $300, but people who use a toaster oven as their only cooking/baking appliance say they're worth the investment. If you're in the market for a simple toaster, see our report on toasters; for full-sized ovens, check out our report on ranges.
ConsumerSearch.com analyzes a number of expert reviews and hundreds of owner comments to evaluate dozens of toaster ovens on their performance, ease of use and appearance. We then narrow down our results to determine the best toaster oven for any kitchen.