The growth of the toaster oven has changed the way many people cook, allowing us to cook pizzas, grilled cheese, cookies, and many more delicious snacks and meals. As they grow cheaper and cheaper, getting a toaster oven is easier than ever.
Their multiple uses instantly make the toaster oven an attractive piece of equipment to include in any kitchen. Space is a premium today, but are they better than a traditional toaster for simply toasting bread?
We investigate which is more useful - toaster oven vs regular toaster!
Table of contents
- Which is cheaper?
- Which can cook the greater variety of food?
- Which is the most space-efficient?
- Which has the most accurate settings?
- Which cooks the fastest?
- Which toasts the best?
- Which is the most energy-efficient?
- Are there any risks in using toaster ovens and toasters?
How do toaster ovens and toasters differ?
Which is cheaper?
A regular toaster is perfect for our toast lover on a budget.
Because of their simplicity, a regular toaster is almost always cheaper than a toaster oven. Whereas midrange traditional toasters are generally available for around $20, toaster ovens can set you back from $35 at the cheapest to well over $100.
If you want to find the cheaper option, a regular toaster is the choice for the price conscious buyer. Trying to stick to a toaster price budget for a toaster oven will probably lead you to low quality products and frustration down the line.
Which can cook the greater variety of food?
Toaster ovens can cook a wider range of food.
Anyone who has ever used a toaster knows what a toaster can cook – toast. If you get creative, you can make a small number of other dishes (that are usually designed to go in the toaster) but the toaster is only really designed to cook bread-shaped food that fits into the vertical slot.
However, the toaster oven can cook a wide range of dishes. As well as toast, it is possible to roast, broil, and bake snacks such as roast chicken, steak, and cookies. Toaster ovens are also designed to reheat leftovers quicker than a traditional oven (something a regular toaster shouldn’t be used for) and some are built with a special pizza slot for all your pizza needs.
Whereas a traditional toaster can do a small number of tasks well, it can’t replicate what the toaster oven can do overall. If you need to get one appliance for many purposes, the toaster oven is the way to go.
Which is the most space-efficient?
Toaster ovens are larger.
As a toaster oven is a (surprise, surprise) toaster with an oven attached, they are all much larger than domestic use-sized regular toasters.
Regular toasters are generally no larger than 7” wide by 9” tall. This makes them the perfect small appliances to leave on your worktop, but they can also be sorted away too. If you want to buy the less popular 4 slot toasters, they are generally 12” wide and 9” tall. This is still smaller than you will find for a toaster oven.
Toaster ovens vary in sizes depending on what kind of equipment you need in your kitchen. If you need a pizza toaster oven, you will need to find one which is at least 12” wide and deep to actually fit a pizza in. Toaster ovens are generally made 11” wide by 16” tall at the smallest to 25” wide by 17” tall. If you have a regular oven and ration space in your kitchen, the toaster oven might not be for you.
Which has the most accurate settings?
Toaster ovens are easier to set to a specific heat.
Middle-range regular toasters generally have a cooking time setting that lists numbers. These don’t generally correspond to cooking time in minutes, but upper midrange machines do give you accurate times. Regardless, toasters generally cook at one temperature and have vague timing settings.
Toaster ovens are much easier to set up to cook at a specific temperature. Combining the regular toaster’s ease of use and an oven’s larger grill compartment, you can set a range of specific heats accurately.
If you are planning to cook a variety of dishes with a device and need a greater range of cooking settings, the toaster oven is the only option.
Which cooks the fastest?
Toaster ovens require much longer to cook toast.
Regular toasters have a cooking time of between 1 and 4 minutes, depending on the setting and desired toastiness. This means that making a stack of delicious hot toast is an easy task that you can set and forget. Place your bread in, push the lever down, and wait to hear that spring.
Toaster ovens cook like conventional ovens, so require much longer to warm up and this leads to slower cooking times. Although we found a toaster oven that promises to cook toast in only 2 minutes, most products on the market take 4 to 9 minutes to finish your little breakfast.
If you’re the kind of person who needs toast fast, a traditional toaster will be fine for your needs. This also means that a regular toaster also wins out in the competition for the best bulker toaster, especially if you are using the 4 slot variety.
Which toasts the best?
Toaster ovens offer an even finish, but can’t get the same crunch a regular toaster delivers.
If we asked people to give us a word for what makes good toast, I imagine most people would say “crunch”.
Getting the right crunch from a piece of bread only needs one piece of equipment – a regular toaster. The way a regular toaster cooks means that you get a crunch middle as it removes most of the moisture from the bread quickly.
Toaster ovens can toast bread as well, but it’ll give you a different finish. Instead of giving you a crunchy finish, the toaster oven will give an even, steady cook. If you prefer crunch, get a toaster. If you don’t like blackened areas on your toast, a toaster oven can deliver a non-burnt finish more reliably.
Which is the most energy-efficient?
Regular toasters are more energy-efficient, especially for small batches.
Toaster ovens use on average 1700W per hour of cooking. In comparison, a regular toaster only needs 800W per hour of cooking.
But these wattage levels are useless if we don’t consider the amount of time it will take to cook your toast. Cooking two rounds of bread in a toaster only takes 4 minutes at the very most, which is only 54W. On the other hand, toaster ovens can require up to 9 minutes to toast, meaning that they need around 255W.
A toaster is perfect for the energy conscious and those who need to watch how much electricity they use. They are perfect for the modern, energy conscious individual who is looking to cut back on wasteful electric use.
Are there any risks in using toaster ovens and toasters?
Toaster ovens can be slightly more hazardous, but they are by no means dangerous.
Due to its low power, toasters generally don’t pose a great deal of danger to the user. As long as there is no water near the electrical input and the user doesn’t stick a knife into the toast slot, there is relatively little risk at all.
On the other hand, toaster ovens can be slightly more dangerous due to the oven/grill section of the appliance. The risk of getting a burn is greatly increased (from relatively 0) if the user doesn’t treat the device with respect and there have been issues with glass front toaster ovens cracking, shattering, or even exploding.
These risks are still relatively low when using a midrange toaster oven, but the regular toaster is undoubtedly safer.
In our 8 sections, the traditional toaster wins the war of toaster oven vs regular oven by 5 to 3 (we prefer our toast crunchy, so that’s a tick from me). If you simply want to make great-tasting toast in a safe, energy-efficient, and cheap way, you don’t need to splash out on anything more expensive than a simple toaster.
The toaster oven does offer a wider range of dishes that it can cook, however. If you have greater needs than simply making toast, a toaster oven is still an excellent investment. Your toast may not be quite as nice as from a regular toaster, but you get to enjoy the pizzas and leftovers that the toaster purist won’t.