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Small toaster ovens are a great option for small apartments and cramped kitchens. You can easily fit them on a countertop, along with your other appliances. They’re far more versatile than microwaves and toasters, as they offer baking, broiling, toasting, and many other cooking modes.
A toaster oven is also a good alternative to a standard big oven for those who can’t stand for too long or who just need to prepare smaller meals.
After researching various models, we reviewed what we think are the top small toaster ovens. The Hamilton Beach 6-Slice Easy Reach is the only model with a convection mode. If you are interested in convection toaster ovens, this article discusses five very good options.
In this post we will cover:
- What is a Toaster Oven?
- Why Should I Get a Toaster Oven?
- Choosing the Right Toaster Oven
- Reviews of Top Small Toaster Ovens
To read the reviews click here.
What Is a Toaster Oven?
A toaster oven is an oven that combines the functionalities of a traditional toaster and a standard oven. Toaster ovens tend to be much smaller than the classic models, and they are perfect for small kitchens and cramped countertops.
Toaster ovens usually only have a main chamber, where all the cooking takes place. There are no standard burners on the top, though some models might feature the classic upright toast slots.
Controls are usually positioned on the side of the oven. The most important ones are the temperature and cooking mode dials, as well as the timer. Some models might also sport LCD displays and additional buttons and switches.
It's important to correctly position your toaster oven on the countertop. Toaster ovens needufficient clearance from the overhead cabinets, as well as from other appliances and items on the counter. Make sure to check the user manual for the exact requirements for your oven.
Convection toaster ovens: Convection ovens are very similar to standard toaster ovens. The only major difference is that the convection models have fans that distribute the heat around the chamber.
Microwaves: While toaster ovens use heating elements, microwaves rely on electromagnetic waves. Essentially, microwaves are there to defrost foods and warm up meals, but they are not great at preparing toast and other crisp meals.
Related Content: Microwave Oven vs Toaster Oven
Why Should I Get a Toaster Oven?
There are several reasons you should consider switching to a toaster oven. Toaster ovens are mostly used to toast bread and bake pizza. However, there’s so much more they can do, especially the advanced models that have four or more cooking settings.
For example, you can use the bake setting to make your favorite casserole, chicken breasts, or any other meal you would bake in a standard big oven. The toast setting lets you prepare delicious muffins, bagels, garlic bread toast, and waffles. The broil setting is great if you want to make mozzarella sticks, chicken nuggets, and egg rolls.
Accessibility: If you find it difficult to bend over or crouch every time you need to check on the pizza or casserole in your standard oven, a toaster oven on the countertop might be a good alternative.
Easier to maintain: Being smaller, toaster ovens are far easier to clean than classic ovens.
Mobility: Once positioned and integrated with the working surface, a standard oven can’t easily be moved around. A toaster oven fits on a countertop and can be relocated easily.
Efficiency: Toaster ovens tend to be more energy-efficient than the standard variety. Many models also save power when warming food. If you are cooking for one person, a convection toaster oven would be convenient and energy-efficient.
Choosing the Right Toaster Oven
Buying a toaster oven can be a complex task, especially if it is going to be your main cooking and baking appliance. With that in mind, there are many factors to consider. The main considerations are quality of materials used, the unit's durability, size, interior capacity, settings, features, accessories, price and warranty. Comparing models is a good way to ensure you are getting the right toaster oven for your kitchen and cooking needs.
Size and Capacity
First, you should ask yourself what you would like to cook or bake in your new toaster oven. Is it a 12” pizza, a pair of fish fillets, or a few cookies here and there? Consider how many people you will be feeding. Will you be cooking for one, two, or perhaps a bigger family?
If you intend to use the oven every day and to prepare a wide range of meals, a bigger model is the best way to go. There are amazing toaster ovens that can bake 12” or even 13” pizzas, and some can even accommodate a 15-lb. Thanksgiving turkey. The bigger models tend to cost more than smaller ones, but it will pay off in the long run.
If, on the other hand, you need the oven to prepare quick snacks or just a few slices of toast from time to time, a smaller oven might be the smarter choice. Compact toaster ovens are more energy-efficient and they can be simpler to clean.
The number of cooking settings may be the most important feature for those planning to use their new toaster oven every day. Currently available toaster oven models all have multiple cooking settings, and that includes the budget class options. The most common ones include toast, baking, and broiling. All models can be used to warm up a meal.
In addition to these four, some models might have extra cooking settings, like pizza, roast, or steam. Let’s take a quick look at the most commonly included settings.
Bake: This is the most standard setting. You will find it in every toaster oven, regardless of its price and size. It is designed to mimic the way a “big oven” bakes. The heat mainly comes from the bottom element, though many models can increase and decrease the power of the elements as needed.
Broil: The broil setting only uses the top element to prepare food. You can use it to grill veggies, melt cheese, and give your casserole a nice brown surface.
Toast: The toast setting uses both the top and bottom elements to evenly heat up the food. Aside from toasting bread, it is great for reheating pizza and making waffles and bagels.
Warm: This setting keeps the meal above the temperature range where bacteria may develop (40°-140° Fahrenheit). It is around 160°F on most models.
Pizza: This setting uses both top and bottom elements. The former will melt cheese and other toppings, while the latter will give the crust a nice crisp. Some models have specific time limits for frozen and fresh pizzas.
Roast: Roasting is harsher than baking, and it is done at a higher temperature. In roast mode, the oven will reach the maximum temperature faster.
Steam: Some models include this advanced mode. It utilizes an onboard water reservoir to let you poach and steam the food. You can also create artisan breads and other bakery-style pastries with this setting.
Cookies: The name of the setting says it all. It is completely tuned to baking cookies, though you can prepare other foods and meals that require similar temperatures and have a similar preparation time. This mode generally turns the convection fan on (if there is one).
Bagel: The bagel setting is designed to give your pastry a crusty top and a well-done interior, while being gentle on the exterior.
Other settings: Depending on the model, your toaster oven may also come with air-fry, dehydrate, dual cooking, slow cooking, and many other cooking settings.
Air-fry is there when you want to give your meal a nice brown top and make it extra crisp. Use dehydration to dry fruits and herbs.
Dual cooking lets you combine two settings. For example, you might broil sausages, and then, when the broiling is done, you can leave them on the warm setting for another half an hour.
In order to make their toaster ovens more appealing to buyers, manufacturers keep trying to outdo each other by offering a wide range of innovative features. You can expect convection, digital displays, rotisserie spits, and more. Here’s a word or two on some commonly seen features.
Convection: This is a fan that distributes the air around the chamber. Ovens with a fan are also called convection toaster ovens.
Timer : This is an essential one. It keeps track of the cooking process and will turn the elements off once the time is up. However, most models have the Stay On feature for meals that take longer to prepare. In Stay On mode, it is up to you to turn the power off.
LCD Screen: A neat feature found in more mid-range and top-range toaster ovens. It usually displays the temperature info and the cooking setting. In some special cases, it can display other key info. It may change colors to signal where you are in the cooking process.
Illuminated interior: Some toaster ovens have inside lights that let you monitor the progress of your meal without the need to open the chamber door.
Accessories and Extras
Let’s take a look at the most commonly featured accessories that come with toaster ovens.
Baking pan: Many models, even in the budget category, come with a baking pan. The included pan is perfectly sized to fit inside the chamber. You can use it to bake or broil your meals.
Broiling rack: This useful accessory keeps the food above the baking pan during broiling. Many models, though not all, have multiple positions for the broiling rack.
Crumb tray: This is a standard feature even in the budget class. A removable crumb tray is located at the bottom of the chamber and you can pull it out while the door is closed.
All of these accessories make your toaster oven more convenient to use. Of course, you can also buy pans and trays separately.
Price and Warranty
Finally, you should consider the toaster oven’s price and the warranty that comes with it. Of course, the more accessories and cooking modes the oven has, the more expensive it will be.
Before buying a toaster oven, read the warranty carefully and see how long you’re covered. Also, find out how the manufacturer handles defects. Make sure you understand the return policy in case the oven underperforms or arrives damaged.
Reviews of Top Small Toaster Ovens
1. Breville BOV650XL
The Breville BOV650XL is a compact and stylish smart toaster oven with eight cooking functions and simple controls. It can take on everything from toast to pizza, from muffins to roast chicken. This small toaster oven can save some space on your countertop, while still offering a wide range of features.
Features of Breville Compact Smart Oven
The highlight of this smart oven is the Element IQ system. Basically, Breville’s toaster ovens that come with this feature have sensors, and they can redistribute heat within the chamber to get your meal cooked, baked or roasted evenly on all sides. The feature also helps you save power on lower settings.
This Breville oven has eight cooking modes, including toast, roast, bagel, pizza, bake, cookies, broil, and reheat. The oven also allows you to choose how dark you want your toast to be.
On the technical side, the BOV650XL delivers 1,800 Watts, which makes it one of the most powerful options in the small toaster oven class. It can heat up to well over 400°F.
The front panel of this toaster oven is equipped with an easy-to-read LCD screen. It has two color modes — orange and blue. The former is on during the pre-heating, while the latter kicks in when the cooking process is done.
The display layout changes depending on the setting. For example, when your oven is in toast mode, the display shows the toast darkness level and the number of slices you’re toasting. By default, it displays the temperature in Fahrenheit, but you can change it to Celsius with the push of a button.
The front control panel is also equipped with a Start/Cancel button, a cooking mode dial, a Temp/Time knob, as well as Defrost and Temperature Conversion buttons. The Temp/Time knob also allows you to select the toast darkness level and the number of slices you’re toasting.
The oven is big enough to take four slices of bread and six muffins. You can also bake a 12” pizza in it. The interior is easy to clean due to the non-stick coating and it has a handy removable crumb tray at the bottom. The grill has three positions for maximum flexibility.
The eight cooking settings affords you the luxury of cooking a huge range of dishes. The Breville BOV650XL has simple controls and an easy to read, informative LCD display. On the downside, the toaster function is not up to expectations. This unit has a 1 year limited product warranty.
2. Panasonic NB-G110P FlashXpress
Features of Panasonic FlashXpress
The Panasonic FlashXpress toaster oven uses double infrared heating technology and features 1300 Watts of power. The two heating elements are made of quartz and ceramic materials. They bring the oven to temperature immediately so there is no need for preheating. According to the manufacturer, the cooking time for the oven is 40% faster than conventional toaster ovens.
Note: Don’t be alarmed if the heaters turn off and on during cooking, as this is a way of controlling the temperature.
Although this Panasonic toaster oven is not a stylish appliance, the design is simple and the unit is straightforward to operate. The settings are controlled with touch buttons as opposed to the knobs usually found on toaster ovens.
As far as temperature uniformity is concerned, there are conflicting opinions among reviewers as to whether food cooks evenly in Panasonic FlashXpress. The biggest complaint is that the food within an inch or two of the door is not cooked to the same degree as the food in the middle or back of the oven. If you find this to be the case, the pan can always be rotated to get more even heating.
This Panasonic infrared toaster oven comes with a baking and removable crumb tray and a square inner tray. The toast rack cannot be adjusted for height as there is only one position for it. However, it is removeable for cleaning.
The rack is attached to the door and automatically slides out when the door is opened. This makes it easy to place pans or dishes on the rack and take them off.
The FlashXpress toaster oven has six cooking modes - toast, frozen waffle, reheat rolls, frozen pizza, quick reheat, and frozen hash brown. In the toast mode, one of five shades of browning can be selected by pressing the touch button arrows. The timer cannot be used with the preset modes.
In addition to the six preset options, one of eight temperature levels can be selected to cook your food. The digital timer can be used with these temperature settings. It can be set anywhere from 30 seconds to 25 minutes. A beep lets you know when the time is up.
The interior of this oven can accommodate 4 slices of bread or a 9” pizza. Once you place the food in the oven, it can be monitored with the interior light. The light goes on when the elements are heating and off when they are not heating.
The Panasonic NB-G110P FlashXpress is easy to use and cooks foods quickly and evenly. If you are looking to buy a small toaster oven that will be used to toast bread, re-heat leftovers or cook frozen foods then this is good choice.
A one year limited warranty is included.
3. Hamilton Beach 6-Slice Easy Reach Toaster Oven
The Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Toaster Oven with a roll top door is an inexpensive alternative to the pricier Breville toaster oven we reviewed. This unit has a convection feature and a spacious interior.
Features of the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Toaster Oven
The Easy Reach Toaster Oven has 4 cooking modes. The roll top door gives you easy access to the toast or pizza you’re baking, while also saving space. It also reduces the possibility of rubbing up against a hot open door when removing food. The door has a thermo-resistant handle at the bottom.
The cooking modes — convection, bake, broil, and toast allow you to prepare small portions of various meats, vegetables and desserts.
The temperature range is 150°- 450°F. The Hamilton Beach 6-slice Easy Reach Toaster Oven has 1400 Watts of power.
The front control panel is a simple one, featuring three knobs. The top knob lets you select the temperature, the middle one allows you to choose the cooking mode, while the bottom knob is the toast timer. By default, the longest interval you can set is 30 minutes. There’s also the Stay On feature, for dishes that require more time.
The manufacturer states the oven is big enough to fit six slices of toast, can bake a 12” pizza in it and accomodate a 9"x 11" baking pan.
The grill is included with the oven and can be placed in one of two height positions. The top slot is for the toast and convection modes, while the lower rack position is for the bake and convection modes.
The crumb tray is located at the bottom and can easily be removed for cleaning.
The Hamilton Beach 6-Slice Easy Reach Toaster Oven is easy to use as there are only three control knobs. The top roll door takes up no additional space when opened, while giving you full access to the food inside. This is helpful if you have a cramped kitchen.
However, the cooking performance is less than stellar. Then again, this isn’t a $300 appliance either. This oven doesn’t have an LCD display or smart heat distribution.
This unit has a one year limited warranty in the United States and 5 years in Canada.
4. Mueller Austria Toaster Oven
The Mueller Austria Toaster Oven is a super-affordable option for those on a tight budget. It also has plenty of power and can save energy while warming up your meal. If you’re looking for a reliable and well-made budget solution that doesn’t take up much space, make sure to give this toaster oven consideration.
Features of Mueller Austria Toaster Oven
The Mueller Austria Toaster Oven has four modes. These include baking, toasting, broiling, and warming. Baking mode uses only the bottom heater, broil mode uses the top heater, while mode both heaters are turned on in toast mode.
The temperature dial goes from 150° to 450°F. It also displays temperature in degrees Celsius. This toaster oven has 1100 Watts of power.
The control panel is simple and is made up of three large dials. It is located to the right of the oven door. The temperature dial is at the top, the cooking mode dial is in the middle, while the timer’s positioned at the bottom. The Function dial lets you choose between bake, broil, and toast modes.
You can set the timer to maximum 30 minutes if you want the oven to automatically shut-off after the cooking is done. If you’re preparing a meal that takes longer, switch to the Stay On position. If you’re making toast for breakfast, this oven lets you select whether you want it light, medium, or dark.
Its chamber is big enough to take a 9” pizza or four pieces of toast. It has two heaters, one on the ceiling and the other on the chamber’s floor. There are two toast rack positions and the standard crumb tray sits at the bottom (it is NOT removable).
The Mueller Austria Toaster Oven offers an average ratio of performance and price. It is energy-efficient on lower settings. The oven is versatile, allowing you to cook a staggering range of meals and snacks. It is has a functional, modern design.
The bottom tray doesn’t slide out, so cleaning it takes more time than with some other models.
Unlike the other toaster ovens reviewed here, the Mueller Austria model has a two year limited warranty for USA and Canada.
If you don't have a lot of counter space, the BOV450XL would be our choice. However, if space is not an issue, the BOV650XL is our choice for the top small toaster oven. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but the 650XL can handle a 12" pizza while the smaller unit can only accommodate an 11" pizza.