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Updated Aug 1, 2022 12:04 PM

The ubiquitous toaster oven has humble beginnings that stretch back to 1910 when scientist William S. Hadaway cobbled together a small oven out of spare parts for the Westinghouse Corporation. Today, sales of the countertop contraption have bloomed to nearly 2 million units per year, thanks to these kitchen appliances’ versatility and countertop-friendly form. The best toaster ovens excel at crisping, toasting, warming, and baking food at the level of a conventional oven, using electricity to get the job done quickly and efficiently. With some models, especially at larger sizes, cooking results can be virtually indistinguishable from those achieved in regular-sized ovens. Below, we’ll break down some of our favorite models as well as important factors to consider when selecting the best toaster ovens for every culinary need.

How we chose the best toaster ovens

In order to select the best ovens, we took a peek around our personal kitchens, gathered technical information, perused critical impressions, and consulted first-hand user experiences. We gathered a list that included various size options, paying particular attention to wattage and capacity. We also looked at multifunctional options and models with special features or included accessories, which are particularly useful if you’re supplementing other kitchen appliances. The best toaster ovens should be easy to use, making cooking quicker and simpler so you can fuel up with your favorite dishes.

What to consider when buying the best toaster ovens

Space and wattage should be your first consideration. Also, consider whether this appliance will supplement your existing kitchen collection or fully replace and take on the duties of a traditional oven, toaster, or dehydrator. These factors will determine the number of features you’ll want to look for, and because this category is so varied, identifying your needs will be the first important step in settling upon the toaster oven for you.

How many functions does the toaster oven have?

Not surprisingly, the best toaster ovens have come a long way since their invention, adopting functionality that stretches far beyond simple bread toasting. If you have any inclination that you’ll be using your toaster oven for cooking or reheating—say, preparing a side dish from scratch or crisping up a frozen pizza—you should look for a unit that offers temperature and time control at bare minimum, if not one with dedicated modes for specific types of cooking. Fortunately, today’s toaster ovens generally include these basic features and should be able to tackle the most common small-scale cooking and reheating needs of your kitchen. If you’re looking to replace or meet the power and cooking capabilities of a larger conventional oven or dedicated pizza oven, etc., a toaster oven may be able to deliver there as well, thanks to some models packing true convection heating, air frying, steaming, and a whole host of other cooking modes to maximize your kitchen’s flexibility. Regardless of whether you have space to spare or are looking for a unit that can absorb multiple cooking responsibilities, a multifunctional countertop oven with specialty functions is by far one of the most versatile kitchen appliances available on the market.

Check the wattage

In the most basic terms, wattage determines energy consumption and overall power. In the world of toaster ovens, this metric directly affects the heating capabilities of a particular unit and the time it takes to heat your food as a result. When considering different wattages in an oven, it’s important to take into account what you’re aiming to heat or cook and whether or not you have wiggle room in your electricity bill to upgrade to a unit with higher power. Generally speaking, toaster ovens don’t consume an unreasonable amount of energy when compared with most other appliances, but once you get into the realm of convection heating, air frying, and beyond, these changes may start to appear on your electric bill. The plus side to choosing an oven with high operating wattage is a marked increase in cooking temperature, which is essential for performing quick operations at high heat like crisping and browning. Higher wattage also means shorter cooking time, which can make a big difference when preparing food at a moment’s notice. Higher wattage isn’t nearly as significant when it comes to slow cooking, but if you’re looking to achieve perfectly prepared meals in a hurry, it’s important to go for an oven that’s powered sufficiently for your needs.

Take note of the dimensions

Toaster ovens are a go-to space-saving kitchen appliance, thanks to the unique combination of their versatile heating capabilities and traditionally small footprint. While the average toaster oven on the market can accommodate a cooking surface area that amounts to the equivalent of four slices of bread, some models take space-saving to extremes and offer up high power and versatility in an even tinier package. Settings, where a smaller-than-average oven might excel, include small apartment kitchens, auxiliary kitchens, entertaining spaces, RVs, offices, bars, and more. If no more than one or two people are eating or preparing food at once, you can probably get away with a smaller unit.

Temperature range

If you’re looking for a toaster oven to replace your traditional oven, it’s important to consider whether the oven is capable of reaching high enough temperatures. This sounds simple enough, but considering that conventional ovens rely on either gas power or high-voltage electric hookups, the toaster oven has its work cut out for it.

As mentioned earlier, toaster ovens reach high temps through high wattage, but this process takes further delicate engineering and is facilitated by using multiple heating elements and placing them in specific areas of the oven’s interior. This multi-zoned heating is key to even cooking and maintaining the temperature throughout the food. Some of the favorite ovens employ the added benefits of convection, moving hot air around the food to prevent heat pockets from forming and ensuring even cooking every time.

Accessories

If a toaster oven’s role in your kitchen is to be as versatile as it can be, it follows that it should include accessories that enhance its ability to be pushed to the max. Because of their varying shapes and sizes, toaster ovens often won’t accommodate traditional baking pans, skewers, or any other type of generic cooking implements. A budget toaster oven generally won’t include any of these extras, and it’s important to consider whether a model includes everything you’ll need to start cooking right away or if you’ll have to make additional purchases to round it out.

A flat or ridged baking pan is of the most common accessories included with a toaster oven. These are included to support items that might otherwise crumble or melt through the oven’s internal rack during the cooking process, such as cookies, pizza, or egg-based dishes. If a toaster oven model is on the larger side and capable of cooking modes like broiling or roasting, you might consider whether it includes a dedicated high-temperature pan or a pan insert for drippings. Some toaster ovens even offer a rotisserie mode, and in cases like these, a proprietary roasting spit is almost always included.

The best toaster ovens: Reviews & Recommendations

From pizza rolls to garlic bread, the best toaster ovens can warm them all to perfection. Here are our choices.

Best fair fryer: Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer 

Breville

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Why it made the cut: The Smart Oven Air Fryer uses advanced technology to support a ton of cooking modes, including air fryer, which allows you to utilize high temperatures and maximized airflow for more healthy snacking. 

Specs 

  • Wattage: 1800w
  • Dimensions: 18.5 x 16 x 11.25 inches 
  • Featured cooking modes: Air Fry, Slow Cook, Roast, Broil, Bake 

Pros 

  • 11 cooking modes 
  • Speedy cooking times 
  • Element iQ system

Cons 

  • Some report a buzzing noise 
  • Pricey

Air fryers have been taking over the kitchen appliance scene ever since they graced our TikToks several years ago. If you, too, have been bitten by the air fryer bug, but also want the versatility of the best toaster oven for temperature range, check out the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer—our best overall pick. It features the Element iQ System, with five distinct quartz elements, digital PID temperature control, and power regulating algorithms to cook food efficiently and evenly. Cooking modes include Broil, Bake, Toast, Warm, Reheat, Slow Cook, Airy Fry, and more. The Air Frying technology can reduce cooking time by 30% and eliminate the need for oils, resulting in crispy french fries, nuggets, and more. The large-capacity interior is roomy enough for a full roast chicken and a 4.4-quart dutch oven. This toaster oven and best air fryer combo even comes with a fry basket, wire rack, non-stick pizza pan, and a broiling pan.

Best convection: Cuisinart TOB-260N1 Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven

Cuisinart

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Why it made the cut: The Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven from Cuisinart is a large toaster oven that can handle a 13-inch pizza, nine slices of bread, and more with almost a foot of cubic space.

Specs

  • Wattage: 1800w
  • Dimensions: 20.87 x 16.93  x 11.42 inches 
  • Featured cooking modes: Toast, Bagel, Dual Cook, Leftovers, Waffle

Pros 

  • 15 cooking functions 
  • Digital Interface 
  • Toast shade control 

Cons 

  • A little bit of a learning curve to some cooking modes 

This high-wattage toaster oven is perfect for cooking meals for friends and family. Forget two slices of bread, this machine can tackle nine slices at a time (and gives you shade control options to boot). The inner cavity is big enough to fit a standard quarter sheet rack and also features four rack slots. It’s even big enough to bake two layers of cake at one time. The Chef’s Convention oven comes with two racks, a baking pan, broil tray, and a pizza stone. It also boasts over 15 cooking modes, which include Leftovers, Sandwich, Bagel, Defrost, and Dual Cook—a mode that allows you to run two cooking functions at different temperatures consecutively. For air frying fans, this model has two convection speeds.

Best compact: Panasonic FlashXpress Compact Toaster Oven

Panasonic

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Why it made the cut: The Panasonic FlashXpress is a great option for those looking for a more compact option to accommodate less counter space; great for cooking small meals this toaster oven can fit a 9-inch square baking tray for a personal pizza or four slices of bread. 

Specs 

  • Wattage: 1300w
  • Dimensions: 12 x 13 x 10.25  inches 
  • Featured cooking modes: Toast, Waffle, Roll, Pizza 

Pros 

  • Price
  • Digital temperature control 
  • 5 browning settings 

Cons 

  • Timer is limited to 25 minutes 

This compact toaster oven from Panasonic runs on 1,300 watts of power and uses a pair of quartz and ceramic elements to quickly and evenly cook, reheat, and defrost your food with high-efficiency infrared heat. It offers six auto-cook modes, a digital timer, and manual controls, and it comes with a removable pan and crumb tray for extra flexibility. At only 12-by-13 inches, this is one of the best small toaster ovens if you’re looking for something to sit comfortably on crowded countertops. It’s also light enough to easily be stored when not in use. The connected baking rack automatically pulls out when it’s time to retrieve your toasted treats, and each model comes with a square baking tray that can fit up to four slices of bread. 

Best multifunction: GoWISE USA Deluxe 15-in-1 Oven

Amazon

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Why it made the cut: The GOWISE Deluxe does it all and comes with 10 additional accessories, including a rotisserie rod, mesh basket, drip pan, and oven rack. 

Specs

  • Wattage: 1600w
  • Dimensions: 12 x 13 x 10.25  inches 
  • Featured cooking modes: Dehydrate, Rotisserie, Frozen Food, Toast

Pros 

  • Included recipe book 
  • 10 additional accessories 
  • 16 presets 

Cons 

  • Heavy
  • Small interior 

This amazingly versatile air fryer and toaster oven combo is an incredible value, thanks to its 15 available cooking modes and included 10 accessories (there’s a rotisserie cage, drip pan, mesh basket, and more). The multi-cooker operates with a simple touch interface and sports three separate tray racks to max out flexibility and capacity during use. The rotisserie feature deserves a special mention for its ability to prepare roasts, tenderloins, kebabs, and whole chickens. The Deluxe model even comes with a recipe book that includes step-by-step instructions for 50 different dishes that need only your toaster oven to finish. It’s available in five colorways and two different sizes, meaning you can find something that fits both your kitchen aesthetic and kitchen counter.

Best budget: Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Toaster Oven

Hamilton Beach

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Why it made the cut: The Easy Reach is an affordable model from Hamilton beach that is easy to use and efficiently executes basic cooking functions. 

Specs

  • Wattage: 1200w
  • Dimensions: 8.6 x 16.12 x 11.93  inches 
  • Featured cooking modes: Bake, Broil, Toast

Pros 

  • Simple, straightforward
  • Auto-shutoff 

Cons 

  • Basic controls 
  • Only 3 cooking functions 

It’s not difficult to find a budget toaster oven for under $50, but be prepared to cut some corners in terms of versatility and build quality. The Hamilton Beach Toaster Oven ticks all the boxes for an item in this price range, offering convenient broil and bake functions, as well as a cooking timer, all in a small toaster oven. Still, you’ll likely have to spend a bit more if you want to ensure thorough, quick, and predictable results from such a compact toaster oven, which is usually half the reason for buying one at all.

FAQs

Q: Do toaster ovens use a lot of electricity?

Compared to many other household appliances, toaster ovens do not use a lot of electricity. In fact, they use roughly one-third the amount of power as a conventional electric oven. Each toaster oven is different, typically using between 800-1,500 watts per hour. A full convection toaster oven may use up to 1,800 watts. Electricity usage will also depend on the cooking temperature and time. You can do a few other things to further minimize energy consumption: choose a model with an Energy Star seal, unplug when not in use, and don’t try to bake anything that takes longer than 50 minutes to cook all the way through.

Q: What is the difference between a toaster oven and an air fryer?

The difference between an air fryer and a toaster oven is that an air fryer relies on a large fan to circulate hot air around food in a small space to both cook and crisp. A toaster oven uses metal conductors to generate heat and cook food. Air fryers generally have a smaller capacity than most toaster ovens but cook quickly. Their major claim to fame is being able to cook crispy dishes, like french fries, without the need for additional oils. Toaster ovens have a larger capacity for cooking more at once but offer less versatility in terms of the possible dishes one can make. However, many toaster ovens feature an air fryer cooking mode, delivering the best of both worlds.

Q: How much do toaster ovens cost?

Toaster ovens can cost anywhere between $25 to $1,200. Generally speaking, toaster ovens under $100 are fairly small, only have manual controls, and come with minimal accessories. Between $100 and $300, you can find better options for cooking presets, capacity, temperature control, and overall design. Beyond $300, you’re looking at luxury products, including large convection toaster ovens and models than can perform other functions, like dehydrating.

Q: Are toaster ovens toxic?

Generally speaking, toaster ovens are no more toxic than any other cooking appliance. A few reports have identified potentially harmful chemicals found in various parts that may make up a toaster oven. Try to avoid PFAS chemicals, often found in non-stick Teflon pans. Ensure your toaster oven is made from stainless steel, forgoing any plastic features, and you can also look for options that do not have a California Prop 65 warning label. This label tracks over 900 potentially harmful chemicals and is attached to products that use a higher level than deemed “healthy.” A toaster oven that does not have a Prop 65 warning label could generally be considered “safer.” However, consult a doctor for more information about chemical components found in everyday appliances if you are concerned.

Final thoughts on the best toaster ovens

The venerable toaster oven, versatile as it is, comes in a predictably huge number of variants and sizes. Some models simply toast or reheat food at a cost-effective price point, while others sometimes eliminate the need for larger kitchen appliances. Depending on the space in question and the culinary needs of the user, there’s a specific one out there that’s a perfect fit for every situation. Whether you’re downsizing and replacing an appliance, looking for a compact way to spit roast a chicken, or just trying to make good toast, one of the best toaster ovens might be just the thing you need to round out your kitchen.