First, let's define what a toaster oven is.
According to Wikipedia (the #1 source of information, we know):
"Toaster ovens are essentially small-scale conventional ovens and can be used to cook foods other than just toasting."
Toaster ovens get their name because they can function as both a toaster and an oven. An original name for an original kitchen appliance.
"Why should I get a toaster oven? I already have a toaster!"
We wouldn't blame you if that's what you are thinking. We thought this ourselves for the longest time.
Until we finally did get a toaster oven, that is. And man, that was one of the best decisions we ever made.
So if you are looking for reasons to dump the toaster and upgrade to a toaster oven, then look no further. Here are our top 10 reasons why you need to get a toaster oven today!
Already looking for the best toaster ovens of 2020 no matter what your budget is? Click the button below to learn more!
Reason 1: They Are Super Easy To Clean
Toaster ovens are remarkably easy to clean!
They come equipped with a crumb tray that catches all of the crumbs that might fall off your bread that sits on the rack. All you have to do is empty the tray, wipe down the rack with a damp cloth, and pat yourself on the back.
No need to do something like turning the toaster over and shaking the crumbs out, which may cause some damage and ruin the appliance. Don't even get us started on trying to actually clean those things; that's a nightmare in it of itself.
When it comes to ease of cleaning, toaster ovens will make your life so much easier.
Reason 2: They are Super easy to Operate and require little/no troubleshooting
Toasters are pretty simple, right? Just put the bread in the slots, push the slider down, and watch as it does its thing.
...except when the slider doesn't want to work for some reason. Or you accidentally flicked the shade setting from 1 to 2 and now your bread is burnt. Or some other little thing comes up that makes you want to sigh in exasperation. Nobody likes being forced to troubleshoot.
All those issues? Yeah, you won't get that with a toaster oven.
Toaster ovens require a bit more button pressing since can be outfitted with a range of settings, but they are built to be easy to operate and can be used even without looking at the manual.
And unlike toasters, your toaster oven isn't going to just stop working for no reason.
We can attest to that from experience.
Reason 3: You can upgrade your "toasting" game
Toasters can dish out some high-quality toast, don't get us wrong. But they are still limited in that they can only toast plain bread.
Toaster ovens, on the other hand, don't have that limitation since the bread is facing upright on the rack. You could add butter to your bread and bake it into the toast for buttery toast that isn't soggy, for example.
Toasters will keep toasting your bread as long as the operation continues. But with toaster ovens, you have the advantage of being able to keep your toast warm if you aren't around to immediately grab it once it's finished cooking.
As for shade control, toaster ovens keep it simple: light, medium, or dark. Just make sure you try out each one as a toaster oven's medium might by someone's light or dark.
Reason 4: You aren't limited to just toast
Despite being called a "toaster oven", this appliance is closer to your conventional oven than it is to a toaster.
As such, you can cook many of the same foods that you could in a traditional oven as long as the toaster oven has space. You can cook meat, veggies, pastries, paninis, and so much more.
Certain models even allow you to dehydrate your fruit, which can normally only be done with a dedicated dehydrator ($200+)! That's a high value setting on something know for just toasting bread.
We love the flexibility and versatility that toaster ovens provide, and you will too.
Reason 5: You have Tons of cooking settings to choose from
Toaster ovens often come with a variety of settings that allow you to elevate your cooking experience, unlike toasters which only allow you to choose how dark you want your toast to be.
Most models can bake, broil, and toast your food without issue. Other models go beyond that and can also roast, dehydrate, and so much more.
It's seriously amazing how many settings you can choose from. And the more settings you have access to, the greater the variety of meals that you can prepare.
This is our favorite part of having a toaster oven. The really good ones can be a worthy substitute for even the larger, conventional ovens.
Reason 6: They provide quite a bit of room
Toasters can fit either 2 slices of bread or 4 slices of bread. If you want to make more toast at a time, you are out of luck.
But the smallest toaster ovens start at 4 slices of bread and only go up from there. Some models even allow you to fit up to 18 slices of bread. That's an insane amount of toast!
Of course, you can pick and choose how much space you want by looking at the different sizes of models.
And if you can't find a reason to toast that much bread, no worries. You can choose to prepare a whole chicken or a pan of mixed delights instead.
Most toaster-lovers choose to go with a moderately-sized toaster oven (6 to 8 slices of bread) since that's enough space to toast bread for the whole family.
Reason 7: They come with unique features and accessories
We already touched on different cooking settings that you can choose from. But did you know that toaster ovens also come with special features?
Some models will allow you to do things like:
- Set a timer that automatically turns the heat off after it expires
- Control the temperature for each rack
- Utilize heating sensors that gently adjusts the heating for optimal results
Many toaster ovens also come with accessories that are a tremendous help.
You can expect to get a baking pan at the minimum. For premium models, you can get gloves, baking pan, crumb trays, recipe booklet, and even a pizza stone. We've never used a pizza stone, to be honest, but we would certainly use one if it came with our toaster oven!
These extra features and accessories can raise the price by a fair amount, so make sure that you'll actually use them. The provided recipe booklet will definitely take help you use every single feature of your toaster oven; we definitely recommend getting a toaster oven that includes one.
Especially if you are new to toaster ovens.
Reason 8: You can easily monitor the progress of your food while cooking
Do you ever put bread in your toaster, walk away, and then come back to toast that is under or over-cooked? It's a huge pain in the butt and a waste of delicious bread.
But it's pretty annoying having to crane your neck to see only a bit of the bread's sides. Even if you have the perfect setting, all it takes is someone else touching it or you accidentally moving it for everything to be ruined.
While toaster ovens also give you the option to choose your shade of toast, it's also just nice to be able to easily monitor your food without opening the door.
You don't have to open the door since most models use a glass see-through door and are illuminated by an extra light or by the color of the heating rods. The best part is that you can do it with just a glance; no neck-craning required.
This isn't limited to just toast, either. You can check and monitor all types of foods, all without needing to open the door and let the heat out.
It's a small quality-of-life change that we didn't know we needed until we got it.
Reason 9: They Really don't take up much countertop space
If you are worried about lugging around a miniature oven, don't be.
Compact toaster ovens are all the rage due to their maneuverability and lack of countertop footprint.
They around the same size as 1 1/2 of a 4-slice toaster (imagine putting a 2-slice and 4-slice toaster oven put together).
Compact toaster ovens offer many of the same great features found in bigger models at a lower price, but these also tend to lack the special bells-n-whistles found on larger models.
These qualities make the compact toaster oven preferable for people who mainly want to focus on toasting bread/bagels/sandwiches. You can cook other things too, but we don't recommend trying to cook large items like a whole turkey. Still, the versatility combined with the compact size makes it a perfect fit for college dorms and apartments.
Compact toaster ovens offer greater utility while taking up roughly the same amount of space. It seems like a win-win to us.
Reason 10: They can do everything a toaster can do
Toaster ovens can do anything and everything that a toaster can do.
True toast connoisseurs (if that exists) may state that toasters deliver a more even shade of toast. And while we admit that this is true to an extent, it's not a noticeable deal-breaker in our opinion. Many toaster oven lovers had no problems with toasting up hundreds of bread slices.
If you are just a stickler about having the best toast in the world, then maybe a toaster oven isn't right for you. We understand that everyone's preferences are different and want to respect that.
But toaster ovens can fulfill all of the basic functions that a toaster can. Both can toast bread/bagels, but a toaster oven can do that and so much more.
It's like having a wonder-machine on your countertop.
In short, toaster ovens are awesome!
So what are you waiting for? If you want find the perfect toaster oven today (no matter the budget), check out our list here!
We put a lot of work into it for you guys, so be sure to give it a look and leave a comment. We'd love to hear from you!
If you are gung-ho about getting the perfect toaster, we totally understand. We still love a high-quality toaster ourselves! So if you are interested in the best toasters of 2020, check out this list here.
Until next time, have a great day and leave a comment below!