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Toaster Oven Buying Guide

A comprehensive guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy a toaster oven.

Getting Started

Small appliances can perform large tasks. Take the tears out of chopping onions with a food processor or mini-chopper, mix dough with your food processor, make fresh smoothies in the blender, deep fry your favorite fish - the list is endless. For advice on selecting the perfect small appliance check out our quick reference guide to small appliances. If you need further assistance contact our Gourmet Shop Sales Associates at 888-228-5800.

Types

Toaster ovens are ideal for cooking small quantities of food. They preheat quickly and are capable of toasting bread on both sides at the same time. These appliances are useful as second ovens or can be used in place of a large oven to reduce energy consumption.

There are two types of toaster ovens: regular toaster ovens, which you use for toast, bread or warming up food, and convection toaster ovens that use energy the same way as convection ovens, but more efficiently. In these ovens you can bake smaller pieces of chicken, small pizzas, and even a small cake.

Toaster ovens come in different sizes and colors, and they tend to be big and bulky, so make sure that you have enough space on your counter. Regular toaster oven size is 0.5 Cu. Ft. and can fit 4-6 slices of bread. The bigger the model you want, the more expensive it is.


Features

A good toaster oven should have a "keep warm" option. In case you are not able to take the toast out as soon as it's done, it will keep it warm for you. Some models have a signal bell that rings when the food is done, and there are some models that provide two shelves for baking, but heat distribution might be uneven.

Other toaster oven features include a defrost cycle, reheat, timer, auto shut off when the door is opened, and toast shade. You should also be able to set your own temperature and cooking time. Some toaster ovens offer an interior light, which is a nice feature to have when you are looking to see when your food is going to be ready. 

Convection toaster ovens use a stream of power-driven air produced by a high-speed fan that swirls continuously over a standard heating element. This results in uniform temperature throughout the oven, which not only speeds cooking but also saves up to 50 percent of the energy used by conventional ovens. Convection toaster ovens are more efficient than microwave ovens for larger amounts of food, though they lack the size of conventional ovens.

Some can be used as slow cookers or to dehydrate fruits and vegetables. In fact, foods can be cooked at lower temperatures for shorter periods of time in convection toaster ovens. In many cases, temperatures may be lowered by up to 75 degrees when baking, and roasting time is cut by about one-third. Convection toaster ovens also are easy to clean. 

Considerations for all small appliances:

  • Determine your cooking needs and wants - both current and future. Is your family growing or growing up and moving out? Are you interested in increasing your culinary endeavors? Are you wishing to simplify and reduce time in the kitchen?
  • Evaluate your kitchen counter space. Where are you going to put all those new small appliances?
  • Check the height of the appliance compared to the height of your cabinets.
    Appliances that mount under the cabinet are available.
  • Decide on the color of your new small appliance. 
  • Determine the appliance capacity. The number of speeds and settings on an appliance usually increases with the size of the machine. Those who have large families or like to entertain may choose to buy larger appliances.
  • Decide whether you want corded or cordless appliances. 


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