These days, the traditional two-slot toaster has some heavy competition from bigger, more versatile toaster ovens, which not only toast bread but also bake, broil, and grill various foods. If you’re looking for a new model, you should consider what you generally use the toaster for, how much kitchen space you have, and how much you want to spend. What follows is a breakdown of the pros and cons of toasters and toaster ovens, the considerations you should make when making a purchase decision.
Everyone has seen or used a simple two- or four-slot toaster with the push-down lever. These models have always been and remain efficient performers when it comes to making toast. On a medium setting, toast generally takes two to three minutes to finish. Price is another benefit of plain toasters: you can find competent models for as low as $15. The main challenge with toasters comes from finding the right setting to avoid burning the toast.
Generally, if you’re satisfied with simply toasting bread, waffles, or bagels, you’ll be happy with just the toaster.
If you like versatility in your kitchen appliances and have the extra counter space, you’ll most likely be happier with a toaster oven, which offers a range of cooking functions: baking, broiling, defrosting, and grilling. Toaster ovens also come in handy when you frequently entertain guests because the mini-oven can assist you in preparing meals and snacks along with the full-size oven.
Toaster ovens have good to great capacities, capable of holding up to six slices of toast at a time. Some are large enough to bake whole pizzas, roasts, and rotisserie chickens. Some come with a panini press and can easily melt cheeses on your sandwiches with a broil feature. In the summer, when it’s too hot to grill outside, you can always broil steaks or burgers in the toaster oven, saving energy at the same time.
Remember that there are always downsides to every appliance. For all its versatility, toaster ovens are not always as effective or efficient at browning bread as regular toasters. They leave stripes on one side from the rack and usually take longer, sometimes four to six minutes. Toaster ovens are also more expensive, with middle-range models as much as $80 and more expensive ones running at $250.
Making Your Decision
To decide what to buy, think about your cooking habits. Do you need an extra oven to prepare more food for guests or a large family? Do you like having an appliance that makes baking pizzas, toasting bagels, broiling hamburgers, and broiling sandwiches easy? If so, you should spring for a toaster oven. Consumers who buy a good model are frequently very pleased with the wide range of features and effective cooking performance.
If your cooking needs are less demanding and you just don’t have the space for another large appliance, stick with the old-fashioned toaster. Not only is it compact and provides fast results, but it’s highly proficient at making the most common breakfast items.
|Brittany Rowland researches new developments in Appliances, Kitchen and CE products features with a vigor to which few would aspire… but someone has to do it. See more about Brittany|
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