A toaster oven is one of the most functional and energy efficient appliance that you should have in your kitchen. Aside from its conventional use of toasting breads, a toaster oven can be used for a lot of other things. It is very easy to operate, does not take up too much space, and is also quite affordable.

If you do not have a toaster at home yet, you are missing out on a great product. If you think that toasters are only used for making toasts for breakfast, then you are totally underestimating its capabilities. This kitchen appliance can allow you to be creative in the kitchen by using it in preparing food items that you usually prepare using a stove.

To give you a better idea, here are some interesting things that you can do with a toaster oven.

  • Use the toaster oven to reheat leftovers. Most people use the microwave when reheating leftovers, but the food usually ends up soggy and sometimes, inedible. If you use a toaster oven, the food will retain both the texture and flavor so you can enjoy it again like it was freshly made.
  • Use it to roast meat and vegetables. This is especially applicable if you are only cooking for yourself or even for two. You can use the toaster oven to roast any type of meat and vegetables to create a healthy meal. Just season everything with your favorite seasonings and let the toaster do all the work.
  • Bake cookies, cakes, muffins, and quick breads in it. If you want to bake just a small amount, you can use a toaster oven instead of a big oven to save energy. You can easily bake mini cakes, a few cookies, or even a small loaf of bread.
  • Use the toaster oven to make perfectly golden biscuits. In fact, this appliance can help you make quick and delicious biscuits without making them hard or dry.
  • Make a homemade pizza for yourself or for a small group. If you have a bigger toaster oven, you can bake up to a 12 inch pizza in it, but if you have a small one, you can still use it to bake pizza by using English muffins or bagels as your crust.
  • Cook bacon easier in a toaster oven. You will find that cooking bacon in the oven is so much easier than frying it on a stove. The good thing is, you can avoid the splashing hot grease from the sizzling pan.
  • Roast some nuts in it. All you have to do is toss the nuts and arrange them on a baking sheet. Put some oil and season them with salt or anything that you like and then leave in the oven for about 20 minutes. They are very easy to make and great for snacking.
  • Make baked potatoes. Place washed and scrubbed potatoes on the oven tray and poke holes in both sides using a fork. Bake for approximately an hour at 400 degrees. Once done, you can top it with melted cheese and bacon that you also cooked in the oven.
  • Make croutons for your salads and soups. Just toss small cubes of bread on the tray and put some olive oil and seasoning. Arrange them in a single layer and toast until they become crunchy.
  • Dehydrate fruits and vegetables. Make sure that your toaster is set to its lowest setting if you intend to use it to dehydrate. Simply put slices of your preferred fruits and vegetables on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for a few hours, until they are completely dehydrated.

There are still a lot more that you can do and cook in a toaster oven. You just have to let your creativity take control and you can whip up delicious and healthy meals without exerting too much effort.

Now that you are convinced regarding the usefulness of a toaster oven, you also need to know the features that you should look for when you buy one. There are different types of oven available in the market today and depending on how you intend to use it, there are also different factors that you should consider.

The Most Common Features of Toaster Ovens

Different toasters offer different features to allow cooking different types of food, aside from just toasting bread. Some of the conventional features that you should look for are below:

  • Auto centering
  • Auto shut-off signal
  • Cancellation button
  • Cover
  • Crumb tray
  • Defrost
  • Digital control panel
  • Extra wide
  • LED lighting features
  • Reheat
  • Toast lifter
  • Tongs

Aside from these features, there are also factors that you need to consider when buying a toaster oven.

Factors to Consider

First is the size of the toaster oven. Even though this appliance is relatively small, you should also consider the space that you have on your kitchen counter. If you have a small kitchen, it would probably be best to buy a smaller model. However, if you have the space and you have a large family, buy a bigger model which can accommodate bigger food servings.

Next is the energy efficiency to save energy. It would be better if you can choose how many slots can heat up at a time. To make a toast more efficiently and help reduce uneven browning, you should only use the number of slots needed. For instance, if you are only toasting a slice of bread but two slots heat up, one side of the bread will be browner than the other side.

Most importantly, since a toaster oven is also an investment, you should buy something that can last for many years. Toaster ovens can be made of materials such as stainless steel, chrome, and durable plastic. Usually, those made of stainless steel are more durable but also more expensive. If price is not an issue, look for a well-built oven with high quality materials. Even though they are pricier, they tend to last longer.

Toaster ovens have a lot of potential and can save you time, effort, and even money due to saved energy. To make the most out of your investment, make sure that you clean it well and keep the crumb tray clear to prolong its life.

Here are the top ten toasters that we recommend.

1. Cuisinart Metal Classic 4-Slice Toaster

This handsome toaster is made by Cuisinart and has a brushed-stainless steel exterior. There are four 1.5” wide slots for toasting, with bagel, defrost, reheat, and cancel buttons. It also has six-setting browning dials. It’s 11.88” x 11.06” x 7” in size.

Pros

  • Dual control for two different types of toasting at the same time
  • Extra wide slots

Cons

  • The bagel setting does not seem to toast the bagel insides, but instead toasts the outsides as well
  • Doesn’t seem to work well over time

2. KRUPS 4-Slot Toaster with Brushed and Chrome Stainless Steel Housing

You can toast four slices or two bagels at once with this silver and stainless steel KRUPS toaster. There are cancel, defrost, reheat, and bagel buttons, as well as six-setting browning dials on both the left and right sides. The slots are 1.5” wide x 5.75” long. The entire toaster is 13.5” x 13.3” x 8.6” in total size.

Pros

  • Blue LED light indicators
  • Two removable crumb trays

Cons

  • It does take longer to toast than some other models
  • The knobs are made of plastic and not as durable

3. Oster 4 Slice Long Slot Toaster, Stainless Steel

With this four slice toaster, it has a narrower design so that two pieces of bread fit side by side. Each slot is 1.5” wide by 10.5” long. It has seven toast shade settings, and a removable crumb tray. It also has toast, bagel, frozen, and warm buttons. The toaster is 7.3” H x 6.9” W x 16.6” D and weighs 4.98 lbs.

Pros

  • Less than 7” wide, so can fit in small spaces
  • Long slots can accommodate larger, artisan style breads

Cons

  • Only one push-down lever for both large slots
  • Only one control for both slots

4. KitchenAid Toaster with Manual High-Life Lever

This traditional toaster has a brushed-stainless steel exterior with red, black, or steel sides and four extra-wide slots for toast or bagels. It has five shade settings for toasting, and two buttons for cancel or bagel. It also comes with a crumb tray. The overall dimensions are 11.5” x 12.5” x 8.3” in size.

Pros

  • It has all-metal construction, even the toasting knob
  • It has a manual high-lift lever to easily remove toast or bagels

Cons

  • No defrost or warm settings
  • It beeps once its finished toasting, while other models don’t have a sound

5. Cuisinart Countdown 4 Slice Stainless Steel Toaster

This Cuisinart toaster comes with a blue backlit LCD countdown feature which shows you how much time you have left before the toaster is ready. It has bagel, defrost, reheat, and cancel buttons. The slots are 1.5” wide, and there are seven toasting settings. This toaster is 12.6” x 12.3” x 9” in size.

Pros

  • Use the “+” or “-“ buttons to darken the toast
  • High lift manual lever

Cons

  • The toaster beeps loudly when it’s done toasting
  • Some buyers have reported inconsistent browning when using the bagel setting

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6. WestBend Egg and Muffin Toaster

Cook an entire breakfast in one go with this egg and muffin toaster. It includes four slots for toasting bread or bagels and a built in egg cooker on the right-hand side. You can scramble, poach, soft or hard boil eggs. There’s also a meat tray to warm up meat. Buttons help you decide what you want to cook. It’s 12.4” high x 19.5” wide x 10” deep in size.

Pros

  • Comes with an egg basket to store up to 8 eggs before cooking
  • Separate settings for both sides of the toaster

Cons

  • The egg cooking pan is Teflon coated and easy to scratch
  • If one side doesn’t work, the whole toaster doesn’t work

7. Dash Clear View Toaster

This Dash clear view toaster looks like a miniature toaster oven, since it has a clear glass window to view the toast while its toasting. There’s a 7-level browning control dial, defrost, reheat, and bagel buttons, and a high-manual lever. You can buy it in red, black, or white colors. It’s 16” x 8” x 5.8” in size.

Pros

  • It has an automatic shut off for safety
  • The slot is extra wide 1.5” and 10” long

Cons

  • No heating coils along the side, just heating on the bottom
  • Not a four slice toaster, only two slices

8. Breville The Bit More 2 Slice Toaster

This full stainless steel toaster has two extra-wide slows, buttons for bagel, frozen, and cancel, and five settings for browning. It also has a special “a bit more” button if you’d like to toast the food a bit more. The ready alert button can be on high, low, or muted. This toaster is 11.2” x 8” x 7.8” in size.

Pros

  • Has adjustable control settings for browning
  • There’s a “Lift & Look” feature to check the food without interrupting the toasting cycle

Cons

  • Only a 2-slot toaster, not 4 slots
  • For longer bread slices, the bread does not toast in the gaps between heating elements

9. Cuisinart The Baker Artisan Bread Toaster

With cancel, bagel, reheat, and defrost settings, this artisan bread toaster has extra-large dual slots that are 1.5” wide and 10” long. The outside is chrome with a high-lift lever, and the slots are self-centering. It also comes with a crumb tray. This toaster is 16.2” x 8.8” x 8.5” in size.

Pros

  • The depth of the toaster slots is 5”, so perfect for wide breads and bagels
  • It can also toast 4 regular rectangular slices of bread

Cons

  • The toast often ends up darker on one side than another
  • When pushing down the lever, you need to lock it in place

10. Cuisinart 4 Slice Countdown Metal Toaster

This Cuisinart toaster is the same model as the previous Cuisinart model on this list, but in a newer version. It also comes with the blue-backlit LCD countdown feature showing you how much time you have left before the toaster is ready. It has the same bagel, defrost, reheat, and cancel buttons. The slots are 1.5” wide, and there are seven toasting settings. This toaster is 12.6” x 12.3” x 9” in size.

Pros

  • Use the “+” or “-” buttons to darken the toast
  • High lift manual lever

Cons

  • The toaster beeps loudly when it’s done toasting
  • Some buyers have reported inconsistent browning when using the bagel setting