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The Best Toaster Oven…

The 30-Second Review

The best toaster oven should be able to cook food the way you want it with minimal effort, whether you’re planning on roasting a whole chicken or you just want to reheat some of that pizza from last night. We tested 11 of the best toaster ovens on the market and found three excellent cooking machines for different budgets and cooking needs.

Best Overall

If you’re planning on cooking small meals in your toaster oven, the Breville Mini Smart Oven can do it better than most full-sized ovens, providing customized settings that worked as well as any we tested. We loved its easy-to-navigate features, which produced near-perfect toast and cookies at a midrange price ($150). For a compact toaster that’s adept at everything from toast to baked goods and frozen meals, this machine is unrivaled.

Best Budget

A smartly designed toaster oven that’s mastered the basics, the Hamilton Beach is an excellent option for those dealing primarily in toast and leftovers. And while it lacks some of the functionality of its more expensive peers, this $50 toaster produced consistent results in our testing.

Best Upgrade

Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven
If you do a lot of cooking and need more space than the Breville Mini Smart Oven, we recommend the Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven ($260). This spacious oven can seemingly do everything, and unlike other expensive all-purpose models, it didn’t leave us reaching for the manual at every step.

The Best Toaster Oven

There’s a lot of variety when it comes to toaster ovens, and the sheer amount of choices can be disorienting. You can spend $40 or $400 — it all comes down to what you expect from your shiny new appliance. Maybe you just need toast and bake settings with a 30-minute timer, or maybe you want a fully-functional oven with presets for different kinds of foods. We know everyone’s needs are different, so we looked for a range of options.

Our overall pick, the Breville Mini Smart Oven, will suit the needs of most people. It has eight customized settings including “Cookies,” “Toast,” and “Pizza,” and it adjusts its four heating elements for whatever option you choose. We were unsure how well these presets would work, but the results spoke for themselves: The Mini Smart Oven made chocolate chip cookies with crunchy edges and a gooey interior, and it produced the best batch of toast of any model we tested. It’s smaller than other toasters at its price ($150), but if you’re only cooking for one or two, the Breville Mini Smart Oven can’t be beat.

If all those features sound like overkill, consider the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Oven, our budget pick ($50). The Hamilton Beach is a sturdy, no-frills machine, and despite it’s sing-songy name, it’s designed to do the basics really well. It toasted bread and reheated leftovers better than our other budget options, producing results closer to what we found in our midrange ovens. We also loved its unique door design; instead of folding down like every other model we tested, the Easy Reach’s door slides over the top of the oven, keeping the glass clean when you pull out your food.

If you plan on using your toaster oven for frequent cooking or larger meals, we recommend the Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven ($260). While our other toaster ovens only had room for six slices of toast, the Cuisinart managed to fit nine, meaning you’ve got plenty of space for more ambitious meals. It also has 12 pre-programmed cooking settings, three more than anything else we tested. More settings isn’t necessarily a guarantee of better quality, but we liked knowing that whatever we could imagine cooking, it walked us through in an easy, intuitive way. And that functionality ultimately made for better meals — the Cuisinart made the best fresh pizza we tested.

Our Top Picks for the Best Toaster Oven

At first glance, the Breville Mini Smart Oven looks like it’s too small to cost this much. It can only handle four slices of toast — two less than our budget pick — and is generally dwarfed by our other mid-tier options. Don’t be deceived: This toaster oven works.

If we’re spending this much money, we expect it to make get pretty toast. And while the Oster and Panasonic produced perfectly nice batches, the Breville truly surprised us when we pulled out the rack. It was the best toast we made, an even gold all over that was true to its medium shade setting.

Along with the Krups, the Breville also aced our chocolate chip cookie test. The cookies had a perfect balance of crispy edges with a soft interior. And unlike the other models, the Breville Mini Smart Oven baked each cookie the same. The Panasonic gave us cookies much darker in the back than the front, while the Oster’s convection feature completely dried out the dough, even after adjusting the time and temperature.

Breville for Toaster Oven

The Breville’s control dial made it easy for us to start cooking.

Through all of our tests, the Breville was just the most enjoyable to use. We weren’t constantly forced to consult the manual or second-guess what we were doing. It holds your hand through every step to help you get the best results. If you choose the toast setting, it prompts you to pick a shade from from a seven point scale and then how many slices you’re making. It also tells you when it’s preheating and when it’s ready, a minor convenience in theory, but essential if you’re going to be doing a lot of baking. That stood in stark contrast to the Oster, which has a bizarre preheating method of having you set the timer at seven minutes, but makes you count it down from 30 to get there, one cruel click at a time, every time you use it.

In truth, the only thing that separates the Breville Mini from toaster ovens costing $100 more is its size. It has all the cooking functions, the same 1800 watt power (300 more than anything else in its price tier, so it preheats almost immediately), and scored as well on our tests as anything. But unlike our upgrade pick, the Cuisinart, it’d be hard to replace your conventional oven with something this small. We actually appreciated how snugly the Breville fit on the counter — you won’t have to rearrange your whole kitchen just to accommodate it — but if you imagine roasting a whole chicken in your toaster oven, you’re better off opting for something roomier.

For a simple, well-built toaster oven that’s mastered the basics, the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Oven is an excellent option. And while it lacks some of the functionality of its more expensive peers, this toaster produced impressively consistent results for its $50 price tag.

As soon as we took the Easy Reach Oven out of the box, it felt more impressive than our other three budget options. It was by far the largest of the group, which could be problematic if you have limited counter space, but what you get for that size is an internal capacity usually reserved for models twice its price. It has settings for baking, broiling, toasting, and convection baking, more than any other budget option we looked at. The Black and Decker did have a convection option, but you also couldn’t turn it off, a problem if you wanted to bake something more delicate like a souffle or cake.

Easy Reach Door for Toaster Oven

What really won us over, though, was the door design. Unlike every other model we tested, the Hamilton Beach has a door that rolls up instead of folding down (hence its name). We get it — that seems like a pretty trivial detail to focus on. But it makes a huge difference in how often you have to clean. That’s because when you pull the rack out on most toaster ovens, it sits directly above the glass door. So while they became a magnet for crumbs after just one batch of toast, the Hamilton Beach looked pristine throughout all of our tests. It also just felt safer: instead of reaching above a scorching piece of glass to pull out your food, the door was safely out of the way.

Granted, not everything cooked perfectly. In our toast test, the middle pieces were noticeably darker than the edges of the outer slices. But that was basically what we saw on every larger toaster oven, even the ones costing over $200. If you’re going to be cooking four slices or less at a time, it would do the job just fine.

It’s also not really suited for dishes with long cooking times. The timer only goes up to 30 minutes, a good measure of what you should expect out of a toaster oven for this price. If you’re planning on using it for dishes that take longer than that, it’s worth upgrading to the Breville Mini Smart Oven or the Cuisinart.

If you want to completely replace your conventional oven, the Cuisinart is worth its hefty price tag. It holds nine pieces of bread — three more than any other model we tested — and fits a 13” pizza. And with its excellent convection feature and myriad accessories, we could easily see this outperforming most full-sized ovens.

Before we even started cooking, the Cuisinart began to separate itself from our other two high-end options. It came with a 13” pizza stone, as well as separate pans for baking and broiling. While the larger Breville did include two baking pans and a pizza pan, we were disappointed that the Kitchen Aid only came with one multipurpose pan. The Kitchen Aid only has a 12” capacity, so it’s unlikely that any pans you’d already have on hand would fit. Granted, it’s not a dealbreaker, but for $280, it’d be nice to not have to go out and immediately spend more money.

Cuisinart for Toaster Oven

The Cuisinart’s cooking presets plug in time and temperature automatically. Need to adjust? Just turn the dial to choose between settings and turn them up or down.

For as much functionality as the Cuisinart gave us, it was also one of the easiest to use. It has 12 preset cooking modes, three more than the Breville and Kitchen Aid. And while more isn’t necessarily better, it was nice not having to think too much about getting the settings just right. Whatever we could imagine cooking in an oven, the Cuisinart had an option for, and it guided us through it in an intuitive way.

In all honesty, ovens from this top tier were all pretty great at cooking. For their high prices, they should be. Ultimately, it was the greater flexibility and customization that the Cuisinart provided that pushed it over the top for us. There was a thoughtfulness in features like the +30 second button and the interior light that the other models just didn’t match. Cuisinart also offers a three year limited warranty, where the Breville and Kitchen Aid only went to one year.

Similar to the Breville Mini Smart Oven, we couldn’t really find much not to like with the Cuisinart’s cooking. Granted, every slice of toast wasn’t perfectly even, but we saw that problem with every bigger toaster oven, and it was still the best of our most expensive tier. Consumer Reports came to the same conclusion, declaring, “There were no discernible flaws in its performance.” It all comes down to what you want out of a toaster oven. The Cuisinart will take up a ton of room on your counter, but you may never have to turn on your oven again.

Others to Consider

Breville Smart OvenThe bigger brother of the Mini Smart Oven, this toaster features a sleek design and nine preset cooking options.

We were also impressed with the Breville Smart Oven, essentially a larger version of our best mid-price oven. Like its little sibling, the Breville Smart Oven has a lot to like. The controls are just as simple to pick up, and magnets on the door of the bigger version draw the cooking rack out automatically, meaning we didn’t have to stick our hands in a hot oven. It didn’t do quite as well on our toast and pizza tests, but the margins were pretty slim. Ultimately it came down to space — they both had roughly the same external dimensions, but the Cuisinart held three more pieces of toast.

If you’re looking for a big toaster oven without spending a fortune, the Krups is a solid choice. It was nearly twice the size of more expensive models in its price group, and could comfortably fit a large chicken or 12” pizza. It also had some nice convenience features like an internal light and memory function that saves your most recent times and temperatures for each preset. Its biggest flaw was its cooking time. While the other ovens we tested that were as big as the Krups all cost about $100 more, they also operate at 1800 watts. The Krups only has 1500 watts, so it takes a little longer to heat up. We also found the shade settings weren’t entirely accurate — the medium setting barely gave our toast any color, and it was hard to find a consistent shade. If toast is important to you, there are much better options.

Did You Know?

Toaster ovens could save you money.

According to a study by Energy Star, toaster ovens use about half the amount of energy as a conventional electric oven when cooking small meals. That could mean as much as 30 cents saved for every hour you spend cooking in some states.

Don’t use Pyrex or glass cookware in your toaster oven.

Pyrex specifically advises people not to use their products in toaster ovens. It’s the same reason you should never use glass for broiling — the dish is just too close to the heating element to be completely safe. Over time, they run the risk of fracturing or shattering from repeated exposure.

Parchment paper isn’t safe, either.

Just like glass cookware, parchment paper is not recommended for the tight confines of a toaster oven. Reynolds explicitly warns against it on their website, while other brands put it right on the packaging.

The Best Toaster Oven: Summed Up

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