The Best Toaster Oven
We endured weeks of carb loading on toast, garlic bread, frozen pizzas, cupcakes, and baked potatoes and spent 40 hours researching, toasting, broiling, and baking to determine that the Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro convection toaster oven is the highest quality, most feature-packed, and most versatile toaster oven for all-around use. Our runner-up was the Cuisinart TOB-135 convection toaster oven, which also produced great results, was a pleasure to use and had an aesthetic similar to the Breville. It has a slightly smaller capacity and wasn’t as luxurious but was also a great everyday performer.
As one of the most versatile kitchen appliances in any household, the toaster oven is expected to be able to perform any number of functions successfully. With the latest advancements in heat technology coupled with the newest additions in cooking features, we realized that finding the most valuable toaster oven available today presented a more daunting task than we initially expected.
Today’s most popular toaster ovens advertise a wide range of cooking functions without sacrificing quality for quantity. They can heat up food items faster, produce more consistent results, accommodate larger portions of food, are easier to keep clean, and will look great in any kitchen or home. Our research process helped us narrow down the growing toaster oven market to our seven favorites, so we could determine which ones were the best of the best.
Top Pick: Breville BOV845BSS convection toaster oven
Refined features like the knobs, screen, and auto-eject rack made the Breville a clear winner.
Table of Contents
- How we chose toaster ovens to test
- The seven best toaster ovens
- Who needs a toaster oven?
- Features to look for
- How we tested
- The best toaster oven
- The runner-up
- The budget-friendly pick
- The other finalists
- The bottom line
How we chose toaster ovens to test
We began our search for the best toaster oven by reading reviews and research from websites such as Amazon, Best Reviews, Good Housekeeping, and Bon Appétit.
We also read countless individual consumer reviews and cooking blogs to find out what people use their toaster ovens for, what the most useful features are, what the most common complaints are, and what makes the ideal toaster oven.
We discovered that people valued the following toaster oven characteristics:
- Capacity: How much food can be accommodated?
- Accessibility: How easily can the toaster oven be used?
- Functionality: How do the features affect your usage?
- Versatility: Can the toaster oven cook a wide variety of foods?
- Dependability: Do the preset cooking functions produce expected results every time?
- Consistency: Is the food item cooked through evenly?
- Attractiveness: How aesthetically appealing is the appliance?
- Impression: How much kitchen space does the appliance require?
- Tidiness: How easily can the toaster oven be cleaned?
- Affordability: Do you have to spend more money to yield better results?
To narrow the extensive list of toaster ovens we researched down to our seven finalists, we only chose the toaster ovens with the highest ratings. With all of them boasting Amazon ratings of 4 stars or more, we ordered them and performed a series of tests. We then compared the data we collected against each of the finalists.
The seven best toaster ovens
|Product||Price||Watts||Size (cubic ft.)||Build Quality||Speed|
|Breville - BOV845BSS||$$$$||1800||0.5||5/5||4/5|
|Cuisinart - TOB-135||$$||1800||0.33||5/5||4/5|
|Oster - TSSTTVMNDG||$$||1300||0.55||4/5||4/5|
|Waring - TCO650||$$||1500||0.33||3.5/5||3/5|
|Panasonic - PAN-NB-G110PW||$$||1300||0.21||3/5||5/5|
|Black+Decker - TO1303SB||$||1150||0.15||3.5/5||3/5|
|Hamilton Beach - 31334||$||1200||0.14||3.5/5||3/5|
Who needs a toaster oven?
Whether your living space lacks a full kitchen or you are simply looking to add to your collection of kitchen appliances, a toaster oven can benefit any household. In addition to toasting your favorite breakfast items, a toaster oven can do anything from baking a classic rotisserie chicken to broiling some home-style barbecue ribs.
Toaster ovens provide the versatility that a slot toaster lacks and offers the convenience that a conventional oven does not.
While you may have to wait up to half an hour for a conventional oven to preheat, a toaster oven can cut the preheat time substantially. For the eco-conscious home cook, toaster ovens are a budget-friendly and energy efficient alternative to conventional ovens.
The toaster oven is also a pragmatic appliance for people who often cook smaller portions or feed smaller households.
What is convection cooking
Out of the seven finalists we tested, four featured convection cooking: Breville Smart Oven Pro, Cuisinart Deluxe Convection, Oster 6-Slice Counter Top, and Waring Pro Digital Convection. A convection toaster oven has a fan and exhaust system that can be used to better circulate and ventilate the hot air.
The fan blows hot air directly onto the food, which allows it to cook faster, and in turn, save energy. The convection system also eliminates any hot spots by evenly distributing the hot air around the food and throughout the oven, which allows you to achieve more even cooking.
Another benefit is that the convection mode minimizes the amount of moisture in the toaster oven. The dry environment allows you to achieve better browning compared to the normal mode, because it will roast your meats and vegetables instead of steaming them.
In addition to roasting, the convection setting is great for baking cookies, pies and pastries as well as toasting and dehydrating food products. If you are braising or cooking something covered, you can also use the convection setting for faster cooking since dryness will not be a concern.
While toaster ovens with convection cooking are generally more expensive than those without, the additional benefits make the option worth considering.
What are infrared heating elements?
To provide a complete roundup of heating methods available in toaster ovens, we tested one that uses infrared technology, the Panasonic Flash Xpress. Infrared technology uses light energy to cook food, similar to a microwave. The intensity of the light speeds up the cooking process dramatically, and the toaster oven requires virtually no preheating time.
However, the strength of the heat limits its usage for more delicate foods. Infrared technology better suited for toasting bagels and reheating pizzas and less ideal for cooking fish. The soft, flaky texture of fish requires more delicate handling. Speed and efficiency is by far the greatest advantage of infrared technology.
Features to look for
The oven you choose will largely be determined by your kitchen space, cooking needs, and budget. Then you can further narrow by aesthetics, and features which usually come at a premium.
For people who plan on using their toaster ovens to reheat or cook single servings of food, a small toaster oven that can accommodate four slices of bread or a 9-inch pizza will suffice. People who plan on using their toaster ovens to prepare multiple servings would benefit from a large toaster oven that can accommodate six slices of bread, a 13-inch pizza, or a whole chicken.
The size of your kitchen and your aesthetic taste will also determine how much of your counter space you want to allot to a toaster oven. If you have a small kitchen with limited counter space, a smaller toaster oven may be ideal.
The crumb tray is a small, thin, stainless steel sheet that slides out from the bottom of the toaster oven. All of our seven finalists have crumb trays, and we strongly recommend purchasing a toaster oven with one. The tray is an essential feature, because it makes cleaning your toaster oven much easier.
The tray covers the entire bottom of the inside and catches all of the crumbs and fragments that fall during the cooking process. Instead of watching the debris burn at the bottom of your toaster oven over time, you can simply pull the tray out after each use and sweep the contents into the trash. If you’re dealing with tougher substances, you can also easily wash the tray.
Toaster ovens are one of the most versatile kitchen appliances, because they can perform a variety of cooking tasks. Our finalists feature anywhere from three to 10 preset cooking functions. Six out of the seven finalists offer bake and broil settings, which is what differentiates a toaster oven from a regular toaster. Baking surrounds your food with hot air for even cooking while broiling directs the heat to the top of your food for a searing effect.
Other popular functions include bagel, pizza, and warm. The bagel setting will produce a slightly toasted outside and a crispier inside. The pizza setting can be used to melt the cheese and heat the toppings while crisping the crust. The warm setting maintains the temperature of hot foods to prevent bacterial growth. A few of the finalists also provide a reheat setting for leftovers and a defrost setting for frozen foods.
Beyond preset cooking functions, other convenient features to consider are interior lighting, digital displays, nonstick interiors, and automatic shut-off. You can also decide between dial and touchpad controls.
Pricier toaster ovens almost always feature a sleeker look and more luxurious feel, but they aren’t necessarily better than cheaper options. However, some of the more expensive toaster ovens have more wattage for faster, more even cooking.
The price of more expensive models may account for the higher quality of materials and durability of components, which means that they are likely to last longer. Some of our finalists even offer limited product warranties. Ultimately, your decision will be determined by your personal budget and preferences.
How we tested
One of the most popular reasons why people use toaster ovens is convenience, specifically when it comes speed. When it came time to start testing our finalists, we paid close attention to preheating and cooking times.
On average, toaster ovens with higher wattage were able to perform cooking tasks faster than toaster ovens with lower wattage. However, the toaster oven that won our speed test by a large margin was the only one that featured infrared technology.
Despite being powered by a modest 1300 watts, the median wattage amongst our finalists, the Panasonic Flash Xpress was the speed demon to beat them all. The Panasonic was able to produce perfect toast in one minute and 45 seconds, garlic bread in one minute, and frozen pizza in 12 minutes.
We began our testing process with the classic toast function available on all of our finalists. The goal was to toast a slice of bread to a crisp, golden brown. We used a generic brand of pre-sliced white bread in order to get a clear visualization of the color and texture after toasting.
The toast setting works by emitting even heat from the top and bottom of the oven, similar to the way a 2 or 4-slice slot toaster emits heat on two sides of the bread simultaneously. For this setting, we placed the wire racks on the middle level of the toaster ovens. For the five finalists that allowed us to choose a level, we set the toaster ovens to level two.
For the two that did not, the BLACK+DECKER and the Hamilton Beach, we simply watched and turned off the toaster oven once a crisp, golden brown color was achieved. The toast time ranged from one minute, 45 seconds to four minutes.
When it came to toast evenness, the majority of our finalists proved to be disappointing. While most of the toast featured even coloring on both sides, besides the white grate marks, the shading gradually changed from the top to bottom on many of them. The two finalists that were successful in producing even shading on both sides in their entirety were the Oster and the Waring.
To test the broil function, we decided to make some fresh garlic bread. With our French baguettes generously slathered in herbed garlic butter, the goal was to melt the butter and crisp the edges while maintaining the soft interior.
On the broil setting, the heat source comes from above the food. Since the Panasonic lacked the broil option, we utilized the toast option once again. We preheated all of the toaster ovens to 450°F or 500°F, depending on the temperature range available. We only kept the garlic bread in the toaster ovens until the optimal color and texture was achieved. The broil time ranged from one minute to two minutes and 30 seconds.
While the cooking times varied, the cooking results of all of our finalists were nearly identical. Each toaster oven successfully produced a slice of garlic bread with melted butter, crisp edges, and a soft interior.
To kill two birds with one stone, we decided to evaluate our finalists’ ability to bake a pizza and cook frozen food in a single test. We chose to conduct our comprehensive test with mini frozen pizzas. A toaster oven of any size can easily accommodate the seven-inch pizzas. The goal was to thoroughly defrost and warm the pizza while achieving melted cheese, toasted toppings, and a crisped crust.
We used the pizza function on the four toaster ovens that offered it: the Breville, Oster, Waring, and Panasonic. For the ones that did not, we used the bake function and preheated them to 400°F as the packaging instructed.
The pizza setting works similar to baking as it distributes heat from above and below the rack. We also maintained the packaging’s instructions to bake the pizza for 16 to 18 minutes. The only exception was the Panasonic, which we had to stop at 12 minutes.
The cooking results for our frozen pizza test were identical to our garlic bread test in its uniformity. Each toaster oven was successful in fully cooking the pizza. While the browning of the crust showed minimal variations between toaster ovens, each pizza exhibited melted cheese and toasted toppings.
Since baking is a cooking function that can be used on almost any food item, we decided to test it on more than one. First, we brainstormed through the baked goods options, and to satisfy our sweet cravings, we chose to bake cupcakes using the Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix. The goal was to produce cupcakes that were light in density, moist in texture, and even in color.
On the bake setting, the heat source comes from above and below the food. As instructed by the packaging, each toaster oven was preheated to 325°F and each timer was set to 12 minutes. They all produced essentially the same results in density, texture, and color, but the shape of the cupcakes varied.
Baking cupcakes also gave us an opportunity to see how convection mode compared to normal mode. This test was where the Breville and Cuisinart toaster ovens excelled as their convection baking produced the lightest, moistest cupcakes.
For our final test subject, we needed to ensure that we covered the wide range of food that people use their toaster ovens for. We decided to bake potatoes, the item opposite of cupcakes on the density spectrum. The goal was to achieve a baked potato that had crispy skin but was soft through and through.
Using the bake function, we preheated our finalists to 425°F and set our timers for 45 minutes. Once again, the results were the same across the board. Our forks and knives were met with minimal resistance.
The design of the toaster oven goes beyond how much space it will take and how it will look in your kitchen. While the aesthetic appeal can only be determined subjectively, we took it upon ourselves to judge the build and functionality presented by each model’s design.
The convection toaster ovens weigh significantly more than the others. The Waring is the heaviest at 22.8 pounds, nearly triple the weight of the Panasonic and BLACK+DECKER, which tie for the lightest at 7.5 pounds. While the weight difference accounts for the size, material, and addition of the fan and exhaust, the heaviness of the toaster ovens translate to the heaviness of the doors and their ability to insulate the heat. Among our finalists, the Breville had the heaviest, sturdiest door.
To evaluate functionality, we looked at the controls and displays. The toaster ovens were split evenly on whether they featured dial or touchpad controls, but every model featured digital displays except for the BLACK+DECKER and the Hamilton Beach. By omitting this feature, they made it more difficult for us to set accurate times and temperatures.
Finally, we considered every other feature that our finalists advertised and how they benefited the user experience. We judged each toaster oven carefully on how simple the instructions were and how easy the model was to use. We considered how much effort was required for the crumb trays to be removed and cleaned as well as how effective they were in collecting food debris.
We looked at timer and temperature range. We took into account the presence of an interior light and the effectiveness of a nonstick interior. We evaluated how clear the displays were to see, how difficult the buttons were to push, and how smooth the dials were to turn. We compared every tangible aspect of using a toaster oven to help determine the best overall.
The best toaster oven
The Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro proved to be the superior choice in almost every way. We say “almost every way”, because when we tested the toasting function, the toast produced uneven shading after three minutes, which was the median toasting time among our finalists. While both sides were identical (sans grate marks), the toast got gradually darker towards the top. However, since most of the toaster ovens yielded the same results, we would recommend a slot toaster for optimal toast.
Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro
An all-around winner with great cooking capabilities and refined design and a robust set of features.
The Breville toaster oven boasts the highest wattage at 1800 watts, which boosted its preheat speed despite its large size. Once it was hot and ready, the Breville performed every other cooking function successfully. While the cooking results of all of the models were similar across the board, its convection mode pushed it past the rest. Appearance-wise, the cupcakes were an even yellow and had perfectly rounded tops, and with just one bite, we also determined that the cupcakes were more airy and moist than the rest.
The Breville toaster oven proved itself as the latest in technological advancement and the greatest in thoughtful design. Ultimately, the multitude of features is what makes it the clear winner.
The interior light is bright enough to get a clear visualization of its contents. The LCD display employs a sans serif font and a soft blue or orange backlight that is easy on the eyes. There are three separate easy-to-use dials: function, temperature, and time.
The auto shut-off feature is an added benefit for anyone who has a habit of being forgetful or leaving their food unattended. The auto-eject rack is a luxury, but makes your food more easily accessible and lowers the chance of accidental burns. In addition to the clearly marked buttons and dials, the glass door provides indications for where you should place your wire rack for each cooking function.
Combining all of these user-friendly features, the Breville toaster oven was clearly designed with the customer in mind. The average consumer could painlessly operate the Breville using his or her intuition alone. For those who prefer to read the instructions, the easy-to-read instruction book is comprehensive and includes several bonus recipes. There is also a one-year limited product warranty.
Even before cooking anything, the Breville was stunning just to look at. The brushed stainless steel gave it a sharp, sleek look that made all of its competitors pale in comparison aesthetically. Along with the traditional wire rack, the toaster came with an enamel broiling rack, an enamel baking pan, and a nonstick pizza pan. The remarkable quality of material and craftsmanship is in the price tag. As demonstrated by the Breville’s price tag, these luxuries comes at a price.
The design closely mimicked that of a conventional oven, and so did the size. At 0.5 cubic feet, it can fit up to six slices of bread and a 13-inch pizza. The capacity, along with the 10 pre-set cooking functions, makes the Breville the most versatile toaster oven we tested. The cooking functions include toast, bagel, bake, roast, broil, pizza, cookies, reheat warm, and slow cook, and the convection fan can be turned on at anytime whereas other models solely offer convection baking.
In addition, with a new technology developed by Breville called Element IQ, there are five independent heating elements that are controlled to accommodate whatever you are cooking. Once you choose a cooking function, the power is automatically funneled to where it is needed most, delivering the optimal amount of heat at the perfect time for precision cooking.
Swayed by the luxurious design that complements any high-end kitchen and the unparalleled functionality that provides the greatest user experience, we concluded that the Breville Smart Oven Pro was our pick for best overall.
- The Breville toaster oven uses 1800 watts for efficient preheating and cooking.
- Convection mode is great for baking.
- It features auto shut-off and an auto-eject rack for a more foolproof approach to cooking.
- The functional design makes it the easiest to learn how to use intuitively.
- It has a spacious capacity of 0.5 cubic feet and 10 pre-set cooking functions.
The Cuisinart TOB-135 Deluxe Convection Toaster Oven is our very capable runner-up pick, which we also loved. This oven is a fraction of the price of the Breville we reviewed and it goes for a similar look and feel. With a capacity of 0.33 cubic feet, it includes a broiling rack and baking pan and can accommodate six slices of bread, a 12-inch pizza, or a four-pound chicken.
It is one of the most versatile toaster ovens with nine preset cooking functions: toast, bagel, warm, bake, broil, reheat, defrost, convection bake, and convection broil. The instruction and recipe booklet is well-written and simple to follow.
A formidable size, the Cuisinart also boasts a high 1800 watts in order to preheat quickly and cook effectively. The cooking results of the Cuisinart were nearly identical to the Breville. While toast evenness was not achieved, all of the other food items succeeded as expected. When we tested the convection mode, it produced exceptionally light, moist cupcakes compared to the other finalists.
The Cuisinart toaster oven also employs many features that promote a positive user experience. The buttons are easy to press and allow you to choose which aspect of cooking you want to control, including shade, temperature, and timer. The selector is a dial that is easy to turn, and highlights the buttons below if they’re available for your selected function allowing you to adjust values quickly.
The LCD digital display utilizes a soft blue backlight that prevents eyestrain. The auto shut-off is a convenient feature for multi-taskers who can’t always reach their food immediately. The crumb tray is easily accessible from the outside of the toaster oven.
While the brushed stainless steel is virtually the same, the clean, modern design remains second to our top pick. Sporting a more approachable price tag without sacrificing the sharp look or any important features, the Cuisinart Deluxe Convection claimed the runner-up spot.
- The Cuisinart toaster oven looks expensive without being expensive.
- It has a capacity of 0.33 cubic feet and nine pre-set cooking functions.
- It is powered by 1800 watts to cut preheating and cooking time.
The budget-friendly pick
At a very budget-friendly price point, the BLACK+DECKER TO1303SB 4-Slice Toaster Oven is the perfect choice for anyone cooking on a budget. This toaster was in fact about 1/8th and 1/3rd the cost of our other winners. While the price tag is reflected in the design, the black and stainless steel finish make it suitable for just about any kitchen. The quality of materials is lacking, which is evident in how easily it can scratch, but this has no effect on its performance.
Smaller and slower, but by far the least expensive with nearly identical cooking results.
The ultra-light seven and a half pound appliance can accommodate up to four slices of bread and a nine-inch pizza, which is the perfect size for the average toaster oven user.
With 1150 watts, the BLACK+DECKER is one of the slower toaster ovens, but it yields the same cooking results in the end. During testing, it did not stand out with any particular food, but it performed well. The BLACK+DECKER was able to produce crispy toast, melted cheese, and soft cupcakes.
The three dials control the temperature, cooking function, and timer. While the timer dial turns easily, the temperature and cooking function dials are slightly more difficult. The BLACK+DECKER provides four pre-set cooking functions: bake, broil, toast, and warm.
The crumb tray is only accessible once the door is open. Since the door is light and opens easily, removing the crumb tray is quick and painless. The toaster oven also comes with a bake pan and broil rack. The instruction manual is a pamphlet that unfolds to one large piece of paper.
The most budget-friendly option amongst our finalists, the BLACK+DECKER 4-Slice does the trick without breaking the bank.
- The BLACK+DECKER toaster oven is perfectly sized for the average individual.
- It uses the least amount of energy at 1150 watts.
- There are four pre-set cooking functions: bake, broil, toast, and warm.
The other finalists
All of the other toaster ovens performed well in the series of tests we conducted, but in the end, we found several disparities in their features and our results that determined which ones were our favorites.
The Oster 6-Slice Counter Top Oven is the largest toaster oven that we tested with the ability to fit six slices of bread, a 12-inch pizza, and a whole chicken. It provides six different pre-set cooking functions along with its convection mode. While its convection fan didn’t yield cupcakes as light and moist as our top two choices, the Oster was one of the two toaster ovens to produce evenly shaded toast.
The interior light provides decent visibility of the food. The touchpad controls are easy to navigate, and the crumb tray is easy to access. The black and stainless steel design gives it moderate aesthetic appeal.
The Waring Pro Digital Convection Oven is the heaviest toaster oven on our list. Weighing 22.8 pounds, it can cook up to six slices of pizza or a 12-inch pizza at once. Powered by 1500 watts, it can perform five different pre-set cooking functions. The Waring was the other toaster oven that succeeded in producing evenly shaded toast, but when it came to the convection cooking test, its cupcakes were also not as airy and spongy as our top two picks.
The design is somewhat dated, but the black and stainless steel makes it moderately attractive. It lacks an interior light, but the simple, clearly marked buttons and dial selector are redeeming qualities.
The Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven is the most unique finalist. While it is made of stainless steel like the others, it is the only white and square toaster oven. With 1300 watts and infrared technology, it is the most powerful toaster oven without convection cooking. In all of the tests, it led in cooking speed, and in turn, it had a tendency to brown all of the food items too quickly. The speed demon offers some interesting pre-set cooking functions: toast, waffle, roll, pizza, hash browns, reheat.
With useful features like an interior light, nonstick interior, and auto-eject rack, it is also the most impressive toaster oven without convection cooking. However, the Panasonic’s inefficient design is where it fell short. You cannot adjust the time or temperature for any of the preset settings, and when you can, you have to commit to the tedious task of excessive button-pushing because of its lack of a dial.
The Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Oven is the adult version of the Easy Bake Oven. The grey color and curved design distinguishes it from its competitors, and with a sliding door that you push upwards from the bottom, it lives up to its name. The lightweight toaster oven uses 1200 watts and can accommodate four slices of bread and a nine-inch pizza.
It performed well in the garlic bread, frozen pizza, and baked potato tests, but it did not produce even toast or rounded cupcake tops The Hamilton Beach is notable in its simplicity with three basic cooking functions and two dials to control the temperature and time.
The bottom line
The toaster oven is an all-in-one product that can perform any number of cooking functions efficiently and effectively. A good toaster oven provides a household with a simple user experience and convenient cooking method.
Our pick for the best toaster oven is the Breville Smart Oven Pro because of its style, usability, and versatility. The design was timeless, the features made operating it a breeze, and the pre-set cooking functions made for endless possibilities. The Breville was able to broil garlic bread to perfection in one minute and 30 seconds and convection bake moist cupcakes in 12 minutes.
We also recommend the Cuisinart Deluxe Convection Toaster Oven Broiler, which is similar in functionality and features but is available at a fraction of the price. It was able to produce crisp toast in two minutes and 30 seconds and defrost frozen pizza in 16 minutes.
For those who are on tight budget or are limited on counter space, the BLACK+DECKER 4-Slice Toaster Oven is a great choice. It was able to bake a soft potato in 45 minutes and round cupcakes in 12 minutes. The small, lightweight, low wattage model performs just as well as its pricier counterparts.