There’s no argument that toast bread and other toaster things such as muffins, waffles, and bagels are everyone’s favorite. As a result, the toaster is the traditional go-to device for these delicacies.
The toaster oven is the new entrant in the scene, and it is making the choice of kitchen enthusiasts and foodies a bit more complicated.
A toaster and a toaster oven sound like the same thing. But are they the same?
Can you substitute the good old fashioned toaster with a toaster oven?
Toaster ovens are new in the market, and they boast various functions. Similar to a microwave, the best toaster oven is available in countertop or mounted form. A countertop toaster oven is freestanding, and you can easily place it on the kitchen table.
On the other hand, mounted toaster ovens usually install underneath counters or in cabinets. Once installed, you cannot move them.
Toaster ovens are available in a range of designs and colors. But the one thing that excites kitchen enthusiasts and foodies is the oven functions. That means you can defrost or grill at your pleasure.
They also have temperature controls, timers, start and stop buttons, and speed control. Toaster ovens can do anything that a toaster can. For example, you can use the toaster oven to toast muffins, sandwiches, and toast with spreads.
But unlike the good old fashioned toaster, you can toast some of the bread such as dinner rolls, buns, and bread filled with wraps. You can also roast or broil meats, cook pizzas, roast a pan of vegetables, and bake your favorite cake when you have the time. Toaster ovens warm up quicker than a standard oven.
Toaster ovens are also ideal for reheating food or frosting. Some of them have convection and air flyers as additional features.
You can therefore say that a toaster oven is a cross between an oven and a toaster. You get the best of both worlds in the kitchen and at the cost of minimum space.
Disadvantages of a Toaster Oven
Even though a toaster oven can replace your old toaster, it has a few shortcomings that you will have to contend with.
For example, toaster ovens take a little bit longer to perform simple functions such as toasting your bread in the morning. Well, you will only notice this slight difference if you are toasting a few slices of bread.
But if you are toasting many slices of bread, then a toaster oven is not that slow. Another shortcoming is that it is broad and bulky, which is a concern if you are tight on space.
It will also take you back a few hundred bucks, especially if you want the heavy-duty model. But still, you will find pocket friendlier models on-the-market.
Remember, the smaller the oven, the less you will have to cook. The pizza size that you can cook will depend on the cooking space inside the toaster oven. Woe unto you if you invite all your workmates over for pizza that you intend to cook with a small toaster oven.
Installation may also be necessary if you prefer an in cabinet model, which may cost you extra. You will need a handyman to do it for you unless you are good at these things.
If you are looking for a superior toasting device, toasters are at the top of the pile. They give you a more even and consistent brown that a toaster oven will struggle. Usually, the rack inside the toaster oven can block some of the heat.
Traditional toasters are often available in two shapes: 2-slice and 4-slice. The contemporary toasters’ functions and design are surprisingly numerous, and a good thing to accommodate different tastes and preferences.
The primary materials are metal, plastic, glass, and stainless steel. In the past, toasters were only available in black, white, and silver. You can now go to a departmental store and buy a toaster of your favorite color and match it with the rest of the decor in your kitchen.
They come in a wide variety of exterior finishes such as brushed metal, copper, and chrome. You will also find floral patterns and clear sides for easier monitoring of your food.
The price tag ranges widely depending on various factors, such as model and brand. In some instances, the price is not an indicator of quality. There have been some instances where expensive toasters only last a couple of months.
The new toasters come with various convenient functions such as the toasting time, where low numbers such as one often result in a light toast. A higher number toasts longer, and you get a darker result.
Disadvantages of a Toaster
On the downside, you cannot use toasters for anything else in the kitchen besides toasting bread-based products. You cannot add buttered items or include various ingredients to try different things. If you are not toasting, then you have no business with a toaster.
Another shortcoming is that you can only toast two slices or four slices at a time. That means sometimes you have to wait to toast a particular number for the whole family. Their temperatures are also not accurate, and you have to experiment to get the right results.
With a toaster, you can only toast food items with a firm structure and fit in the socket. This requirement is limiting, especially if you have large pieces of bread or other food items.
What are the Differences?
The above descriptions give you a better picture of what each appliance is all about. It is, therefore, now more comfortable to distinguish between a toaster and a toaster oven.
Size and Design
Given that a toaster only has a few functions, such as toasting a few slices of bread, they are smaller and more comfortable to move around. In contrast, toaster ovens are bulky and not easy to move around. You cannot put a toaster oven in your handbag and take it to your workplace now and then.
Both toaster ovens and toasters are available in different designs and colors. But depending on the power and design, a toaster oven will take more kitchen space, even when mounted.
Unlike the typical toaster, toaster ovens have accurate timers to achieve precise temperatures. The different temperature settings allow you to toast, bake, defrost, reheat, and broil, among others. The timer is like what you have in a microwave, which shuts off after the timer runs out.
With a toaster, you cannot set the duration or even the temperature.
The benefit of a toaster over a toaster oven is that you can get a burnt slice within minutes. The instant results come in handy, especially when you are in a hurry. You don’t have to wait to reach the correct temperature, as it happens with a toaster oven before you start toasting.
How much you have will significantly determine the type of device that you purchase. If you are tight on budget, the regular toaster will be sufficient. On the other hand, a toaster oven is a bit more expensive.
But still, you will come across regular toasters but are almost similar in terms of price to their counterparts, the toaster ovens. Carefully weigh your options before you make the final choice.
Regular toasters and toaster ovens are different in terms of their functions. As mentioned earlier, toaster ovens are versatile, and you can use them to prepare other foods. You can use a toaster oven to broil, bake, heat, and roast.
Some of the toaster ovens have convection, which circulates air for more even cooking. Comparable convection ovens are more expensive and bulkier. As a result, toaster ovens are a bargain in the tag between toaster oven vs convection oven.
A toaster oven will also allow you to lay other additions to the bread when toasting. A toaster is only useful in toasting and browning the bread. You cannot do anything else with it.
The Shade of the Toast
The regular toaster is about perfection in the toast shade. Usually, the shade is more consistent on both sides because there are no barriers. The trays and wire racks in the toaster oven affect the toasting process and get less than perfect results.
If you still prefer the toaster ovens toasting bread with the perfect shade, go for the high-end models.
Ease of Use
A regular toaster is a one-purpose device, and so it is easier to use. You don’t have to adjust any knobs or buttons before you can start preparing your food. The only thing you need to do is a slot in the slices of bread and push the lever.
It is a different case for toaster ovens, especially if it comes with analog dials. It is not relatively easy to get the perfect setting when starting. You will also need to turn the bread to get the right shade regularly.
The toaster and the toaster oven are energy-efficient recommendations by EnergyStar as alternatives for regular ovens. However, toaster ovens will require a bit more energy than traditional toasters and microwaves.
Do I Need a Toaster and a Toaster Oven?
The choice between a toaster and a toaster oven is a matter of preference and needs. If you live alone and you are rarely in the house, then a toaster may be ideal. Of course, you will only be toasting a few slices of bread in the morning before you rush out.
Some of us are perfectionists, even when it comes to cooking food. A toaster will give you the perfect crispy bread with an even browning for your tea or coffee every morning.
On the other hand, a bigger family may need a more versatile appliance to accommodate their needs. A toaster oven is larger than a toaster and will brown a few more bread slices than its counterpart. But that does not mean toaster ovens are only for families.
You may be single or living alone, but you are a foodie. Kitchen fads will need versatile equipment such as toaster ovens to try different recipes and ideas. A toaster oven can roast a 4lb chicken and broil a hamburger.
On the question of whether you need both of them, the simple answer is not necessarily. Toaster ovens and toasters do almost the same functions, and it would be a bit extravagant to simultaneously purchase both of them. Choose the most appropriate for your needs.
The Examples of Food that I can Cook with a Toaster Oven
No doubt, toaster ovens are special kitchen appliances that can function as a microwave, toaster, and oven. That means you can use the toaster oven to prepare crunchy flatbreads, delicious muffins, and tasty bagels. Even better, you can use the appliance for baking all the mentioned delicacies.
The roast chicken looks much better on a toaster oven because of the improved air circulation and even temperatures. There is nothing better than an evening date on a well-cooked, crispy, and juicy roasted chicken. Talking of roasting, you cannot leave out ribs, fresh fish, steak, and gammons.
You can also try your hand at birthday cakes, chocolaty cookies, and summer fruit tarts. The toaster oven is perfect, especially if you are fond of crispy and flaky pastries.
Is a Toaster Oven Better than a Regular Oven?
There are a few factors to consider before we can sufficiently answer this question.
For example, how much food do you need to prepare using the oven?
Remember that a toaster oven is compact and may not accommodate the food needs of an extended family or a small gathering. A toaster oven is also out of the question if you have a food and drinks establishment.
Well, a toaster oven becomes suitable if you have a small family. It would be very beneficial to choose a toaster oven over a regular oven in such a case.
But why do we say so?
For starters, a toaster oven is more energy-efficient than a regular oven. Typically, standard ovens take a bit of time to attain the right temperature, raising the monthly bill significantly.
But looking past the monthly bill, toaster ovens and regular ovens have similar functions. For example, they have the same settings for temperature, fan, or grill. Most users say that toaster ovens are more efficient when it comes to circulating air inside the oven.
That means you may have better cooking results with a toaster oven compared to a regular oven. The automatic shut-off feature is a bonus for most toaster ovens. Modern standard ovens may have this feature, but it is not common.
Is a Toaster Oven more Dangerous than a Toaster?
Every kitchen appliance in your home comes with its associated risks. If we were to choose between a toaster oven and a toaster based on the related risks, we would pick a toaster.
But that does not imply you shouldn’t buy a toaster oven. Learn about the potential dangers and make sure to avoid them. But which are these potential dangers associated with toaster ovens?
Typically, buns are quite common with people that use toaster ovens and regular ovens. Toaster ovens will tend to get very hot, and you should take the necessary measures to avoid burns. Keep the children away from the hot appliances and the kitchen at large.
Leftover chemicals or food can ignite a fire and cause a lot of damage. Read the manufacturer’s manual carefully and follow the recommended safety precautions.
Electrical issues such as electrical shock are common with a toaster oven and other electrical kitchen appliances. Food may get stuck inside the toaster oven, and your attempt to clean it may lead to an electrical shock. Never stick metal objects and your fingers inside the toaster when plugged.
Is a Toaster Oven Healthier than a Microwave?
A convection toaster oven uses hot circulate air and ensures even cooking. The method preserves nutrients and is generally safe. In contrast, microwaves utilize high energy waves that can destroy nutrients in the process. So in the toaster oven vs microwave debate, the toaster oven emerges the winner.
Why do Toaster Ovens Explode?
The mention of the word ‘explode’ creates an impression of a bomb. Of course, the toaster oven will not explode in that sense. What happens is that the glass door shatters when you leave the temperature at the highest point and for a long time, such as 24 hours.
Should I unplug my toaster oven when not in use?
It is not strictly necessary to unplug your toaster when not in use. Make sure you use the correct cord to connect to the wall socket. Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions, and you should be good.
In the battle of appliances between a toaster and a toaster oven, who takes the crown? Well, it pretty much depends on your needs and preferences. If you can afford both devices, then why not!
Even though regular toasters will always give you the best toasting results, they cannot beat toaster ovens when it comes to speed, efficiency, and temperature accuracy. You can also cook different foods using a toaster oven. So the winner between the two will depend on your needs.