A toaster oven is not just for toast! Many of us are turning away from using our ovens for cooking, instead opting to use a toaster oven, or even a multifunction microwave with convection and grill functions. By using these smaller appliances, we can toast, bake, broil and even roast on the countertop without using as much energy as we would if we turned on the oven.There are different types of toaster ovens available and not all of these are multifunction ovens, so in this review we take a look at the pros and cons of some of these different types. We also look at exactly what you can use a toaster oven for and discuss some of the concerns around the safety of toaster ovens. We do hope that the information we supply will help you to choose the best microwave toaster oven for your kitchen and lifestyle.
A convection toaster oven with smart technology, the Breville BOV800XL smart toaster oven is our best pick for both its style and its safety features.
Suitable for toasting, baking, broiling and keeping warm, the Black + Decker four-slice toaster oven TO1303SB is our budget pick for its features and functions.
Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Microwave Toaster Ovens
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1. Breville BOV800XL Smart Toaster Oven
The Breville BOV800XL smart toaster oven has Element IQ cooking technology which can adjust the five quartz heating elements to cook food quickly and evenly. This is a convection oven which means it is also suitable for baking. It can take six slices of bread, a 13" pizza or a whole chicken.
This 1800 watt oven has nine different pre-set auto cook options; however, you can customize all of these and your new settings will stay stored in its memory until you change them or disconnect it from the power outlet. It has an auto shut-off and is covered with a one-year limited warranty.The interior is non-stick, and its crumb/drip tray can be removed without opening the door - allowing for easy cleaning. The rack is an auto-eject rack, which means that when you open the oven door, the rack slides half way out - making it easier to remove food and reducing the risk of burns. It does come with a baking pan; broil rack and pizza pan, or you can buy other accessories from the manufacturer.
2. Black + Decker Four-Slice Toaster Oven TO1303SB
Able to toast, bake, broil and keep warm, the 1200 watt Black + Decker four-slice toaster oven TO1303SB will also take a 9" pizza. It has a large viewing window for easy food monitoring. It has a manual control with a 30-minute timer. When using the manual timer, the ‘stay on’ function, does leave the oven on, so you may want to avoid this setting unless watching the oven.This stainless steel oven comes with a broil rack and bake pan and it has a two-year limited warranty. The crumb tray is removeable for easy cleaning. The handle on this toaster is plastic which means it can get very hot and there may be a slight risk of the handle coming loose if the oven is getting too hot.
3. Panasonic Toaster Oven NB-G110P
The 1300 watt Panasonic toaster oven NB-G110P uses double infrared hating from high efficiency quartz and ceramic elements to cook 40% faster than typical toaster ovens. Suitable for cooking a 9" pizza or four slices of bread, it has a FlashXpress instant heating, which means you do not have to wait for the oven to warm up before using.
This compact countertop toaster oven has a silver external finish, a 25-minute digital timer and six pre-set cooking modes, although you can only use these temperature settings – you cannot manually set a different temperature. The interior is non-stick for easy cleaning and its crumb tray is removeable.This toaster oven comes with a one-year limited warranty, although if it develops faults under the warranty, you may need to return to a local approved service center or pay shipping costs to return to the manufacturer.
4. Black + Decker Countertop Convection Toaster Oven CTO6335S
The 1500 watt Black and Decker countertop convection toaster oven CTO6335S has a convection heating fan to circulate warm air through the non-stick oven. This stainless steel oven has a digital control with one-touch functions, a timer and an auto turn-off function.
There is no backlight on its LCD display, so you may struggle reading it at times when light is poor. It has two rack positions for flexibility and with its extra deep interior, it can take either six slices of bread or a 12" pizza. The crumb tray in the base is easy to remove and clean and it comes with a two-year limited warranty.The glass door does not have any hinge restriction or tension, so you need to ensure you carefully lower the door to the countertop, rather than just letting it drop. This oven does get hot externally when in use, including the handle, so you may need to take extra care around where you site and use it.
5. Cuisinart CMW-200 Convection Microwave Oven with Grill
The Cuisinart CMW-200 convection microwave oven with grill has a 1000 watt output and a 1.2 cu. ft. capacity. As well as a traditional microwave, it also has convection, convection fast bake, convection roast, grill/combo, defrost and keep warm. If you are used to convection cooking, you may find that the convection functions may not cook as fast as what you are used to.
With an LCD display and brushed stainless steel and black exterior, it has an easy to clean stainless steel interior. There are nine preset cooking options and a memory function. Although this is under a three-year limited warranty, some users have experienced less than satisfactory customer service when contacting the manufacturer about warranty claims and you may need to pay shipping costs to send the appliance in for repair.
6. Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SD372S with Built-In Inverter Technology
The Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SD372S with built-in inverter technology generates a steady stream of power across all temperature settings. This allows evenly prepared food within shorter cooking times across different cooking modes.
This countertop oven also allows you to simmer delicate foods rather than overcook them – which also means that the food keeps its nutrients. This 950 watt microwave oven has a 0.8 cubic ft capacity, with an 11¼" turntable. It is touch button control, with one-touch cook and reheat sensor cook capacity. You can also use the Keep Warm feature to leave prepared food in the oven until it is ready to serve.
With a brushed steel finish, it is more prone to fingerprints and dirty marks. You may want to check whether this oven is suitable, as some users may experience circuit trips when in use. Whether this is due to older wiring or even current electrical circuit breakers in the home, you may want to seek professional expertise if you have any concerns.
It is worth mentioning at any repairs to Panasonic appliances under warranty will need to go to a suitable service center, or be returned to Panasonic, so you may want to consider any extra costs that you may have to pay if you are unlucky and it breaks down within its one year warranty.
7. Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN686S
The 1200 watt Panasonic SN686S microwave oven has in-built inverter technology for even cooking at different temperature settings, especially when steaming, poaching and braising. It also has a Turbo Defrost feature to speed up defrosting time. As a stainless steel finish, it will show fingerprints and grease marks.Its Genius Sensor can automatically set power levels and uses steam from cooking to calculate how much time is left for cooking and adjust time as necessary. There are 14 auto-cook settings as well as a keep-warm function. You can also purchase a stainless steel trim kit for this microwave to build it in to your wall cabinet.
8. Samsung MG14H3020CM Countertop Grill Microwave Oven
The Samsung MG14H3020CM countertop grill microwave oven offers a larger 1.4 cubic ft oven with a 950 watt output over ten power settings. It has a ceramic enamel interior for scratch resistance and easy cleaning and black mirrored exterior for a contemporary finish. With traditional microwave heating, it also has a grill element.
The grill element and ceramic plate are suitable for crispy foods such as bacon, sandwiches, fish or pizza. With a full digital control and auto settings, you can also turn the audible alarm off – ideal when you have late night snackers in your home! The door may not allow you to see in and check food as well as comparable ovens.There is a one-year limited warranty with this oven, but if you do experience any issues with it under warranty, you will need to take it to an approved service center – which may be some distance from your home.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Microwave Toaster Oven
Advantages of Toaster Ovens
Toaster ovens take up a lot less room than a regular oven and as multipurpose appliances, their appeal is obvious – especially in smaller kitchens.
They also cost less than a new oven, put out less heat overall, may be faster to warm up and are much more energy efficiency than your oven or range.
What a Toaster Oven is Good For
Toaster ovens are suitable for a variety of foods and cooking methods. As well as just toasting, you can use one for baking bread, cake, pie, muffins and cookies. It is also ideal for kabobs as well as open faced or other hot sandwiches.
You can use some for broiling and others are large enough to roast a whole chicken or other meats. The toaster oven is also ideal for frozen pizza, heating leftovers, or even just keeping your cooked food warm before serving. Those that also function as microwaves also offer typical microwave functions such as defrosting and keeping warm.
Safe Cookware in a Toaster Oven
The safest cookware to stick to for a toaster oven is metal baking pans or sheet pans. Cast iron is also OK, but due to its weight it may be too heavy for the rack. If you have an oven that also has traditional microwave functions, then you may need to use non-metallic cookware – always check the appliance manual for guidance.
Manuals for toaster ovens often say that glass cookware is safe in the oven, however, Pyrex cookware and similar which is usually fine in a microwave, is not suitable for using in a toaster oven. The best thing to do is check what the toaster oven manual says and then double check your cookware manual and/or website. Likewise, you should avoid putting mugs in your toaster oven as they may not be safe at higher temperatures.
Foil is more of a difficult one in toaster ovens. Some manufacturers say you cannot use it while others say you can. If you can and do use foil, you need to make sure it does not touch the walls or heating elements as it can melt onto these and catch fire.
You should avoid parchment paper. Depending on what temperature you are cooking at, a silicone baking mat or lightly oiled pan will do the same job.
Using Toaster Ovens Safely
Although toaster ovens come with a lot of safety features, there are still risks with these appliances - they use a lot of electricity to produce a lot of heat in a small space. The outer surface of the oven can get hot enough to cause burns, ideally you should always keep oven mitts to hand.
Toaster ovens can also catch fire, especially if crumbs or grease accumulates in the oven and occasionally there is a risk of the glass door shattering if the oven overheats. As high voltage appliances they may also trip circuits or even cause electric shocks.
Below we have listed some of the things that can help you to use a toaster oven safely.
Check for electrical compliance
Check that the oven is licensed and has an NSF certification – this means it has been checked for its compliance to various safety standards. You may want to use a GFCI outlet in the home and look for an auto shut-off function on the oven which will turn it off if it gets too hot.
Read the manual!
We are all guilty of flicking through the manual and then putting it away in the drawer as we know how it works. As the manual does have all the safety information that can help reduce risk of damage to us or the oven, we really should take time to read it before relegating it to the drawer.
Location of the oven
Always make sure that you leave the manufacturer’s minimum recommended amount of space around the oven and do not place any objects on top of, or directly next to it. Keep it out of the way of any soft furnishings such as curtains and away from any moisture or water sources.
Once it is in place on your countertop, also check that no part of the power cord is touching the oven.
Keep it under observation
It is easy to wander off into another room when the oven is on, but we really should try and stay in the kitchen when it is on. It is also a good habit to always unplug it as soon as it is finished - especially if there are young children around.
You can also keep it under observation when not in use by checking for and cleaning off any food or grease build up as this can help minimize fire risk.
As we have seen in this review, a toaster oven is not just for toast. Whether you want to bake, roast, boil or keep warm, there is a microwave toaster oven that will do all of these and more. There are some safety concerns around these ovens, but if you do use them as the manufacturer specifies, then any risks should be minimal.
So, if you are ready to give your oven a break, reduce your energy consumption and invest in a microwave toaster oven, then we hope that the products we have reviewed here will help you to choose the best microwave toaster oven for your countertop.