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Toaster Ovens Shopping Guide
The right toaster oven can make your mornings a breeze. Whether making toast, reheating waffles, or warming up an English muffin, you’ll have breakfast ready in just minutes. Toaster ovens can do a lot more than just breakfast. They’re one of the most versatile kitchen appliances, good for making everything from toast and muffins to fresh cookies and pizza. A toaster oven is also one of the best alternatives to conventional ovens. You’ll save lots of space and money, and you won’t have to wait as long for toaster ovens to preheat.
Although a great addition to any kitchen, you need to be careful when picking out a toaster oven. Many products are cheap, burning your food and breaking within months. Here’s what to look for when you’re choosing a toaster oven for your kitchen.
Difference Between Toasters and Toaster Ovens
Although toasters and toaster ovens are often used for similar purposes, they are very different appliances. Toaster ovens are much more versatile, used for everything from making toast and reheating bread to baking cookies and cooking chicken. While mainly used for breakfast, they’re a great way of preparing simple dinners and reheating leftovers.
Although toaster ovens are more versatile, they’re also a bit slower than regular toasters. If you just want an appliance that can brown two slices of bread as quickly as possible, you’re better off with a toaster.
The Right Toaster Oven For Your Kitchen
Toaster ovens vary widely in terms of size. Some are designed to squeeze into a corner on crowded kitchen counters, whereas others are bigger than microwaves.
Before you start looking for the right toaster oven, measure out how much space you have in your kitchen. Toaster ovens should have a few inches of clearance on all sides for ventilation, so make sure you take this into account with your measurements.
Number Of Racks And Tray Size
Most toaster ovens come with racks, and some also come with baking trays. Before you buy, consider what you plan on using the toaster oven for. Buying it to make toast in the morning for the whole family? Then you’ll want a toaster oven that has at least two racks.
If you’re planning on making pizzas, roasting chickens, or baking cookies, you may need an oven with a larger tray size. You should also check to make sure that all trays and racks can be removed, giving you more space to roast food.
Regular Toaster Ovens vs. Convection Countertop Ovens
In recent years, a number of convection countertop ovens have started to pop up. Unlike a regular toaster oven, these appliances use a fan to circulate air throughout the oven. By circulating air, convection ovens cook food more evenly. This makes them a great option if you plan on roasting food or baking.
More and more toaster ovens are incorporating convection heating. Not every model heats via convection, and you can save money by choosing a traditional toaster oven without a fan to circulate air. For anyone buying a toaster oven to quickly heat bread and brown food, you won’t need to worry as much about convection heating. Because of this, you can work with a lower budget when finalizing your decision. On the other hand, if you want to roast chicken or bake cookies, you should invest a bit more money in a toaster oven that comes with convection heating.
Toaster ovens vary a lot in terms of maximum temperature. Some also have additional settings that can be used to broil or brown food. Consider what temperature range you plan on using with your toaster oven. If you’re mainly using it as a replacement for a convection oven, then a max temperature of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit will work. However, if you want to quickly brown or toast your food, you’ll need a toaster oven with a bit more power. Look for one that has a broiler setting, which quickly toasts and browns food.
Make sure you know the specifications of the toaster oven you’re buying. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an appliance that does nothing for you besides take up space.
You should also see what type of cooking functions each toaster oven offers. Some will have simple temperature dials, whereas others will have preset modes for different types of food. If you plan on cooking a variety of different foods with your toaster oven, it may be worth investing in an appliance with a number of cooking functions. Many toaster ovens come with a broil setting, which uses flames or hot coils to quickly toast bread and brown food. Keep an eye out for more advanced settings, such as slow cooking and air frying. You’ll have to pay more for these features, but they can be worth the investment if you plan on using them.
Ease Of Cleaning
Toaster ovens are one of the easiest appliances to clean, which makes it great for college students or low-maintenance chefs. However, some models may require a bit more maintenance than others. Check what types of materials the interior of the oven is lined with. Many toaster ovens have non-stick interior linings that make them easy to wipe off and clean quickly.
You can also find toaster ovens with removable drip trays. To clean the interior, simply pop out the tray, rinse it off, and stick it back in the oven.
The Right Toaster Oven For Your Kitchen
Toaster ovens are one of the most versatile appliances out there, giving your kitchen that final touch it needs.
But there’s not one toaster oven that will be right for everyone. Compare and review the specs and features of our top 10 toaster ovens to find the appliance that completes your kitchen.
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