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Best Toaster Oven Review – Top 5 Hottest List for Aug. 2020
Who would have expected it? The venerable toaster oven understandably underwent small makeovers and slight changes since it was introduced by GE as the Toast-R-Oven in 1955, but remained fundamentally the same for decades.
Over those years, the toaster oven became – and remained – the best-selling kitchen appliance in America. And from kitchens to studio apartments to college dorms, almost every toaster oven looked and performed exactly the same way.
A Multitude of Quality Toaster Ovens to Choose From!
Welcome to the 21st century, where we now have smart toaster ovens, convection toaster ovens, and infrared toaster ovens. Of course, the old-fashioned, four-slice chrome standby oven is still very much with us as well, at about 10% of the cost of the highest-priced model on our list of the top 5 best toaster ovens. (Don’t click away if you’re only after a good piece of toast, English muffin or baked potato; we’ll be including the best of the traditional units here as well.)
Newer Toaster Ovens Take the Word “Oven” Very Seriously!
If you’ve never purchased or used one of the newer models, you may be wondering what would make a toaster oven worth $100, $200 or even more; in short, the pricier models take the word “oven” in the phrase “toaster oven” seriously. Some even perform well enough to replace a regular kitchen oven or serve as a second oven, if desired. From baking bread and making pizza to properly broiling or roasting meat, a high-end toaster oven is much more than an appliance that can make a mean toasted bagel.
Smart Toasters, Convection Toasters, and Infrared Toasters
Then there are the fancy options.
“Smart” models let you tell the oven what you’re going to cook, and it will radiate different amounts of heat from the top and bottom elements at the right times, convection toaster ovens provide the convenience and speed of a standard convection oven on your countertop, and infrared units speed up cooking time without the need for preheating.
Many of today’s toaster ovens are also more versatile, with larger interiors or multiple shelves that don’t require you to cram your food onto that tiny aluminum tray we all associate with these appliances. And as with any modern appliance, there are different bells and whistles available like automatic shut-off, non-stick interiors and automatically-ejecting racks (so you don’t burn your fingers when pulling your food out).
The Groom+Style review team has got a wide range of units on our list of the top 5 best toaster ovens, so there are some for the chefs, some for the cooks, and some for the person who simply wants to toast some bread.
Let’s get toasting…
1. Breville BOV800XL “Smart Oven” Convection Toaster Oven
The Breville “Smart” Oven has nothing to do with the “Internet of Things” – although it is expected that most toaster ovens will indeed be connected to the Internet in the near future. (Believe it or not, the first Internet-connected toaster was displayed at a networking show in 1990; all it could do, though, was receive signals telling it to turn on or off.)
But back to the subject at hand. This Breville is called “smart” because it has nine preset menu functions which automatically adjust cooking time and temperature, much like on an over the range microwave. It then uses what the company calls “Element IQ” to direct heat to the parts of the oven where it is needed to properly cook the food selected. As an example, even, high heat will be used when “toast” is selected, but differing heat levels will be used for meat that needs to be cooked throughout and seared on the top.
As its name suggests, the BOV800XL also features convection cooking, which is activated when appropriate, such as when cooking meat or baking. Naturally, you can also manually choose toast, bake, broil, defrost and convection settings at temperatures from 120-500°.
This is a powerful appliance, with its 1800 watts near the top of the list of the toaster ovens Groom+Style have reviewed. More importantly, though, it’s a great performer. The smart functions work well, and everything from pizza to chicken comes out cooked fully (and deliciously). There’s a two-hour timer, an adjustable rack with the auto-eject feature we mentioned earlier, a non-stick interior and an easy-to-use digital display along with knobs to manually adjust the temperature and the timer. It also stays fairly cool to the touch while cooking at any temperature, which makes it safe but also means the heat is staying inside the toaster oven to do its work, rather than escaping.
The one negative is that the Breville is smaller than we would have expected for its price. It will hold six pieces of toast, a 13-inch pizza or a small chicken, but Groom+Style would have liked that price to buy extra room. It also has just one rack, where some competitors have two.
While we wish there was a little more interior space, you can’t have everything – and we’ll sacrifice that extra room in order to have a top-of-the-line cooking appliance like the Breville Smart Oven, which can do almost everything a standard convection oven can do while still making a perfect piece of toast.
Facts and figures for the Breville BOV800XL “Smart Oven” Convection Toaster Oven:
2. KitchenAid KCO273SS 12” Convection Digital Countertop Oven
Groom+Style have to admit that we’re partial to KitchenAid appliances, and this convection toaster oven didn’t change our mind. We couldn’t bring ourselves to rank the KCO273SS in the top spot, though, and the reason is in the oven’s name: 12”. That doesn’t make the KitchenAid all that much smaller than the Breville, but every inch does count when you’re talking about smaller appliances; fitting a full chicken into this model is going to be difficult, and you’ll probably have to settle for a chicken breast or a Cornish Hen. On the brighter side, though, there are two racks in the oven, and this unit is cheaper than the Breville.
In most other ways, the two appliances are similar. The KCO273SS also produces 1800 watts of power has nine preset functions (bake, pizza, roast, toast, broil, cookie, warm and reheat), and while there isn’t a fancy “Smart Oven” name attached to the way this model works, the upper and lower elements and the convection function are programmed to kick in differently depending on what is being cooked. The presets and temperature are controlled with knobs while convection and defrost functions have separate buttons, and there’s a fully digital display.
Most importantly, this toaster oven cooks just about as well as the Breville, which is the primary reason the review team says we still love KitchenAid. The outside of the unit stays even cooler than the Breville does, there’s a two-hour timer and automatic shutoff (but no rack ejector), and the interior is made with a non-stick finish. If you’re concerned about the “bad stuff” in non-stick finishes, you can upgrade to the KCO275 model which features a PTFE/PFOA-free CermaShield interior finish (and also comes in seven designer colors, not just the usual KitchenAid modern silver).
The KCO273 is a really good convection toaster oven, that is a bit smaller and a bit cheaper than our #no1 choice.
Looking closer at the KitchenAid KCO273SS 12” Convection Digital Countertop Oven:
3. Black & Decker TO1303SB 4-Slice Toaster Oven
Consider this a brief pause in our survey of expensive, “super-whiz-bang” toaster ovens; the Black & Decker TO1303SB is the latest iteration of the time-honored, simple toaster oven – and in the spirit of full disclosure, we’ve had one version or another of this toaster in our kitchen for decades. We just buy a new one when the old one is (pardon the expression) toast.
There’s no convection, no defrost function, no rack ejector, a timer that only runs for thirty minutes, an exterior that gets very hot during cooking, and to give you an idea of its size, it only fits a nine-inch pizza.
But this traditional toaster oven isn’t meant for fancy cooking operations, or to hold a ton of food. It’s simply the latest version of the classic toaster oven that Black & Decker has sold for many years, and it will do a solid job toasting your bread or bagel, heating up your food, baking a potato, cooking French fries or doing the other “menial” tasks that are all many people ask of their toaster oven.
For the price, this Black & Decker is the best at doing those non-fancy cooking jobs – and if you came to this page looking for a “regular toaster oven,” look no further.
More detail on the Black & Decker TO1303SB 4-Slice Toaster Oven:
4. Panasonic NB-G110P Flash Xpress Toaster Oven
Here’s another more traditional toaster oven, but with an interesting twist. It makes use of double-infrared technology (both ceramic and quartz elements provide near and far heating, respectively) which does two important things: it eliminates the need to preheat the unit (or if you’d prefer to look at it another way, the annoying wait for the toaster to get hot), and it cooks food as much as 40% faster than normal heating elements.
This Panasonic isn’t a substitute for your kitchen oven; it doesn’t have a convection function, and it isn’t meant for baking bread or roasting meat. But it does a good job when toasting, heating, baking (potatoes and refrigerated biscuits both come out great) and defrosting without leaving those still-frozen areas in the middle, thanks to the two types of infrared power which distribute heat almost as well as a convection oven. There are six presets including toast, pizza, defrost and reheat.
The NB-G110P is small, but it’s not meant to roast a turkey – or to challenge one of the two top-ranked items on our list of the top 5 best toaster ovens.
This model does everything the Black & Decker does, in very fine fashion and much faster. The big question is whether you think it’s worth paying for a high-end toaster oven without convection capabilities.
Specifications for the Panasonic NB-G110P Flash Xpress Toaster Oven:
5. Cuisinart CSO-300N Convection Steam Oven
What looks like a toaster oven, is the same size as a toaster oven, makes a great piece of toast – but is a whole lot more than “just” a toaster oven? This Cuisinart beauty, which Groom+Style rank down at #5 primarily because it’s likely to be a lot more appliance than you need.
You can toast, bake, convection bake, defrost, reheat and warm with the CSO-300N. What you can also do, which its competitors can’t, is steam (with steam bake, steam broil, basic steam and super steam settings, and a built-in water reservoir). This powerful unit (1875 watts) provides up to 120 minutes of steady steam to cook rice, fish, vegetables, and dumplings, or to mix steam and bake functions for deliciously tender meat. Thanks to the addition of steam, it’s also terrific at making bread, pretzels, donuts and other types of “touchy” food items that normally come out burnt, raw or simply uneven in many small “full function” toaster ovens.
The Cuisinart Steam Oven features one-knob digital control, a self-cleaning mode so “no-stick” coating isn’t necessary – and it is the most versatile unit on our list, even though to our mind it’s really not “just a toaster oven,” but is more of a combination convection oven and steamer. You can still make great toast with it, though.
Digging deeper on the Cuisinart CSO-300N Convection Steam Oven: