Toasters and Toaster Ovens: A Comprehensive Review

When it comes to kitchen appliances, few gadgets are as beloved and indispensable as the toaster and toaster oven. Whether you're a fan of a simple, crispy slice of bread in the morning or a culinary enthusiast who loves experimenting with quick, small-scale baking, these appliances can make your life significantly easier. But with so many models and options available, how do you choose between a toaster and a toaster oven? This comprehensive review will help you navigate the differences, benefits, and ideal uses for each, ensuring you make an informed decision for your kitchen.

A sleek modern kitchen with a toaster and a toaster oven side by side on the countertop, both in use.

The Basics: Toasters vs. Toaster Ovens

What is a Toaster?

Toasters are the quintessential breakfast appliance. Designed specifically to toast slices of bread, they come in various styles, including two-slice and four-slice models. Toasters are prized for their simplicity and speed, making them perfect for busy mornings when you need a quick, no-fuss breakfast.

Key Features of Toasters

  • Speed: Toasters are designed to toast bread quickly, usually in under two minutes.
  • Consistency: Modern toasters come with adjustable settings to achieve your desired level of toastiness consistently.
  • Compact Size: Toasters take up minimal counter space, making them ideal for smaller kitchens.

What is a Toaster Oven?

Toaster ovens, on the other hand, are mini ovens that can handle a variety of cooking tasks beyond toasting bread. These versatile appliances can bake, broil, and sometimes even act as convection ovens. If you enjoy cooking and experimenting with different recipes, a toaster oven might be a more suitable choice for you.

Key Features of Toaster Ovens

  • Versatility: Toaster ovens can toast, bake, broil, and even roast, offering a wider range of cooking options.
  • Capacity: These ovens can accommodate larger items, such as small pizzas, casseroles, and even whole chickens, depending on the model.
  • Energy Efficiency: Using a toaster oven can be more energy-efficient than heating a full-sized oven, especially for smaller tasks.

Toaster Showdown: Best Models on the Market

Best Two-Slice Toasters

  1. Breville BTA820XL Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster

    • Features: One-touch auto lowering, LED progress indicator, "A Bit More" button for extra toasting time.
    • Pros: Sleek design, even toasting, durable build.
    • Cons: Higher price point.
  2. Cuisinart CPT-160 Metal Classic 2-Slice Toaster

    • Features: Six-setting browning dial, reheat, defrost, and bagel buttons.
    • Pros: Affordable, reliable performance, easy-to-clean crumb tray.
    • Cons: Bulky for a two-slice toaster.

Best Four-Slice Toasters

  1. KitchenAid KMT4115ER 4-Slice Toaster

    • Features: Extra-wide slots, dual controls for separate toasting levels, high-lift lever.
    • Pros: Versatile, robust construction, consistent results.
    • Cons: Takes up more counter space.
  2. Hamilton Beach 4-Slice Toaster (24810)

    • Features: Shade selector, auto shutoff, slide-out crumb tray.
    • Pros: Budget-friendly, easy to use, good performance.
    • Cons: Basic design, slower toasting time.
  3. Toaster Oven Showdown: Best Models on the Market

    Best Compact Toaster Ovens

    1. Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven

      • Features: Element IQ technology for precise heating, 8 cooking functions, compact size.
      • Pros: High performance, space-efficient, user-friendly interface.
      • Cons: Limited capacity for larger items.
    2. Panasonic FlashXpress Compact Toaster Oven

      • Features: Double infrared heating, six preset cooking modes, compact design.
      • Pros: Fast cooking times, even heating, affordable price.
      • Cons: Lacks advanced features of larger models.

Best Full-Size Toaster Ovens

  1. Breville BOV900BSS Convection and Air Fry Smart Oven Air

    • Features: Super convection for faster, crispier results, air frying capability, large capacity.
    • Pros: Extremely versatile, large capacity, multiple cooking functions.
    • Cons: Expensive, large footprint.
  2. Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven Airfryer

    • Features: 7 cooking functions including air fry, convection bake, and broil, large capacity.
    • Pros: Multifunctional, good capacity, reliable performance.
    • Cons: Higher price, bulky design.

Pros and Cons: Toasters vs. Toaster Ovens



  • Quick and efficient for toasting bread and bagels.
  • Compact and easy to store.
  • Generally more affordable.


  • Limited functionality beyond toasting.
  • Not suitable for larger or more complex cooking tasks.

Toaster Ovens


  • Versatile cooking capabilities.
  • Can handle larger and more varied food items.
  • Energy-efficient for small baking and broiling tasks.


  • Takes up more counter space.
  • Longer preheating and cooking times compared to toasters.
  • Typically more expensive than toasters.

When to Choose a Toaster

Toasters are the go-to choice if your primary need is toasting bread, bagels, and similar items quickly and efficiently. They are perfect for:

  • Small kitchens with limited counter space.
  • Individuals or families who mostly eat toast or bagels for breakfast.
  • Those looking for a simple, budget-friendly appliance.

When to Choose a Toaster Oven

Toaster ovens are ideal if you want an appliance that can do more than just toast. They are perfect for:

  • Home cooks who like to bake, broil, and roast small quantities of food.
  • Households that require a second oven for more flexibility.
  • Energy-conscious individuals looking to reduce their energy usage by avoiding the full-sized oven for small tasks.


What's the main difference between a toaster and a toaster oven?

A toaster is primarily used for toasting bread and bagels, while a toaster oven is a versatile appliance that can toast, bake, broil, and even roast.

Can you bake a cake in a toaster oven?

Yes, you can bake a cake in a toaster oven. Many models come with baking functions and can accommodate small cake pans.

Are toaster ovens more energy-efficient than regular ovens?

Toaster ovens are generally more energy-efficient than regular ovens for small tasks, as they heat up faster and use less energy overall.

Do toasters and toaster ovens require special maintenance?

Both toasters and toaster ovens require regular cleaning to remove crumbs and prevent buildup. Toaster ovens may require additional care to clean the interior and remove grease.


Choosing between a toaster and a toaster oven ultimately comes down to your specific needs and kitchen habits. If you’re looking for a quick and straightforward solution for your morning toast, a traditional toaster will serve you well. However, if you need an appliance that offers more versatility and can handle a variety of cooking tasks, a toaster oven is the way to go.

Both appliances have their unique advantages and can make your culinary adventures easier and more enjoyable. So, take a good look at your kitchen needs, consider the features and benefits of each option, and you'll be well on your way to making the perfect choice.