If you’re looking at getting a new appliance for your kitchen, it’s worth doing some research before you buy. Perhaps your old toaster has broken down and you’re wondering whether you should invest in a toaster or upgrade to a fully fledged toaster oven. But is it an upgrade? Do toaster ovens cook as well as toasters, or will it just take up more space in your kitchen?
It’s clear that a toaster oven offers far more options than your regular toaster would. In a normal toaster you’re confined to the world of breaded delights such as bagels, pop tarts and regular, boring toast (no offence toast). But with a toaster oven, you open up a whole new world of possibilities. You can cook everything, from chickens to chickpeas – okay, not many people will cook chickpeas in a toaster oven, but at least it’s a possibility.
Before you purchase either, you should really assess what your criteria is. What do I need? Do I need the convenience of a toaster, or the sheer power of a toaster oven? Lets have a look at the pros and cons of both and see what the verdict is.
- Versatility – The toaster oven can cook pretty much anything. Here’s 8 toaster oven recipes that show just how versatile it is.
- Self cleaning – Whilst cleaning a toaster can be arduous, you won’t have to worry about this as much with a toaster oven. Many of them have features that are specifically designed to self clean the toaster oven by heating it to a high temperature. This helps to burn away any grime inside the toaster oven.
- Adjustable racks – Toaster ovens usually have adjustable racks that make it easy to adjust to whatever you’re cooking; toast, chicken, it’s all possible.
- Don’t just compare it to a toaster – This is where many people fail in there assessment of a toaster oven. It ISN’T a toaster! If anything, a toaster oven is in more direct competition with a microwave or a convection oven. It’s just a bonus that it can toast as well, combining what two appliances can do into one.
- It takes up half your kitchen – Okay, this one isn’t necessarily true and is kind of a misconception. Toaster ovens aren’t as big as people assume they are, though they are significantly bigger than toasters.
- Dimensionally challenged – The biggest issue with the toaster oven is that for it’s size, you might as well invest in a microwave and use your grill for toasting. Over at consumerreports.org they found that most of the time, you couldn’t even fit 6 slices of bread in your toaster oven. That’s not great for something that takes up so much size if your kitchen.
- Dry toast – Another one of the primary criticisms about toaster ovens is that because the actual heating elements of the oven are so far away from smaller foods like a slice of bread, it doesn’t toast well. In fact, it leaves the toast ending up dry and lacklustre.
- Convenience beats everything – Whereas a toaster oven might take a little while to heat up and cook your toast, a toaster can have this done in seconds. Average Russell Hobbs toasting times are anywhere between 45 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on how you like your toast.
- Adjustable slot sizes – Though this isn’t true for all toasters, many have adjustable slot sizes that compress around your bread. This makes for an even and thorough toast.
- It’s quiet – One thing that people don’t say often about a toaster is how quiet it is. Apart from when your bread pops up to let you know it’s done, it goes about its business in relative subtlety.
- You’ll actually use it – If you eat toast every morning, then it’s a no brainer for you to get yourself a toaster as opposed to a toaster oven. It’s not unusual for people to buy toaster ovens and never, ever use them.
- You don’t have many options – So apart from toast and bagels, there aren’t too many other options that you have for toasting. This is made worse by the fact that many toasters won’t even fit a slice of bread that’s too large.
- Toasters are more likely to catch fire? – Is this a myth or is it really fact? Well, apparently toasters are dangerous. This is only the case if you’re using your toaster inappropriately, like in the bath or something.
- Toasters nowadays are lacking in quality – According to the NY Times, toasters have been devolving ever since the 60’s. Whilst this might be true if you pick up a cheap toaster, you can still find some pretty high quality ones around.
After running through the pros and cons of each appliance, the question still remains; do toaster ovens cook as well as toasters? The answer? Well, it depends on what you’re cooking. In our opinion, a toaster will almost certainly cook toast better than a toaster oven. This is due to the proximity of the toast from the heating elements; a toaster is designed to just cook toast. Whereas a toaster oven is designed to do a multitude of different things. If you’re cooking anything larger than toast, you might be better off looking at a toaster oven for your needs.