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A toast to the best toaster oven, the KitchenAid Digital Countertop Toaster Oven.
Invented in 1910, toaster ovens have long been taken for granted or maligned as unnecessary countertop obstructions offering duplicative services other major appliances provide. While they are far from new-fangled gadgets, toaster ovens provide distinct advantages to a modern home cook. And, in some instances, advances in cooking technology have beefed up the options newer toaster ovens offer.
A toaster oven’s size and convenience make it an ideal choice for specific places and people. Compact, using standard electricity, and requiring no hood, a toaster oven is more than just a 2- or 4-slice toaster; it’s the optimal solution for small spaces, like dorm rooms and offices — spaces that don’t allow for a full-size oven or open flame cooking. A toaster oven’s compact size and quick warm-up time make it a perfect option for singles, college students, and families with kids who enjoy cooking for themselves. They’re also incredibly energy efficient.
In addition to toasting bread and bagels, the average toaster oven can be used to cook homemade pizza, bake cookies, and salmon, roast vegetables, and reheat leftovers. Newer, high-end toaster ovens also function as convection ovens, rotisseries, or even air fryers. In order to find the best toast ovens, our lab tested 13 toaster ovens by melting cheese, baking cookies, and testing each oven’s toast heat map. While we landed on the KitchenAid Digital Countertop Toaster Oven as our top choice, see our other picks below.
KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven
Pros: Offering great capacity and convenient extras, this model toasts and broils evenly throughout.
Cons: It is pretty straightforward in terms of functionality and settings.
A reliable brand for decades, it’s no surprise that KitchenAid’s Digital Countertop Toaster Oven won the hearts of our testers. It heats and toasts evenly and also offers a powerful broil option. In addition, this oven has an incredible capacity for its size — it can hold up to six standard bread slices simultaneously — and comes with a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, a metal drip pan/crumb collector, and a removable chrome-plated steel oven rack.
Simple and easy to use, KitchenAid’s Digital Countertop Toaster Oven features one easy-to-read dial and a large LCD timer. The accompanying instruction booklet explores each of the oven’s functions and offers insights into the use of each setting. Cooks will also find a section in the booklet for general suggestions when it comes to selecting the correct bakeware. Clean-up couldn’t be easier, thanks to the drip pan/crumb catcher and a non-stick interior. This sleek and modern oven comes in a steel or black matte finish and looks great on most countertops. While it’s not the most expensive, smallest, or even the most versatile of the bunch, the KitchenAid Digital Countertop Toaster Oven is easily our pick for the Best Overall toaster oven.
Price at time of publish: $150
Capacity: 21 liters
Dimensions: 16 x 17 x 11.3 inches
Temperature range: 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Functions: Bake, broil, toast, warm; reheat, roast, cook-from-frozen; plus settings for bagel, cookie, and pizza
Black+Decker 4-Slice Toaster Oven TO1313SBD
Pros: Maintains high heat, toasts evenly, and has a curved interior that allows for pizza.
Cons: Not the most modern-looking product offered today.
When you hear the words “toaster oven,” of those we tested, the Black+Decker 4-slice Toaster Oven is probably the closest match to the vision you’ve conjured in your mind. It can toast four slices, two bagels split into halves, or bake a pizza. It can maintain high heat for broiling and, once hot, holds within five degrees of the temperature selected. It has a unique curved interior allowing it to accommodate a 9” round pizza, and includes a baking pan, broil rack, and removable crumb tray/drip pan. Its appearance won’t turn any heads, but its striped-down utilitarian function may score more points with some users.
Despite its lack of looks, modest size, and low price, the Black+Decker 4-slice Toaster Oven toasts evenly and works well at all levels of its temperature range; our testers were blown away by how much this little toaster oven excelled at the basics. The approachable and accessible Black+Decker 4-slice Toaster Oven features two simple dials and a 30-minute timer that allow you to access its ability to bake, broil, toast, and keep food warm with little fuss.
Price at time of publish: $43
Capacity: 13 liters
Dimensions: 11.18 x 15.47 x 8.3 inches
Temperature range: 200 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Functions: Bake, broil, toast, and keep warm
Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven
Pros: A multi-purpose appliance that can double as a convection oven.
Cons: If not purchased for its added features, this is a pricey toaster oven.
Breville is a go-to brand for many home cooks. When it comes to toaster ovens, two of its more popular models ranked high enough in our tests to land in our top five picks. For many dedicated cooks, having single-use tools and equipment wastes space. Regarding toaster ovens, the Breville Smart Oven Convection Toaster Oven heeds that call as it is a multi-purpose countertop appliance if ever there was one. It may not slice and dice, but it does toast, bake, grill, roast, and slow cook, thanks to its convection oven feature. Our testers loved that each setting has its own dedicated section laying out temperatures, what you can cook, and where you can cook it.
Although multi-purpose appliances can sometimes be intimidating, our testers felt getting acquainted with this model wasn’t too complicated. While the toaster oven performed to our testers' liking during the toast and cookie test, they did notice a few spots with varying temperatures.
Price at time of publish: $216
Capacity: 28 liters
Dimensions: 11.1 x 18.5 15.7 inches
Temperature range: 120 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Functions: Convection-powered, toast, bagel-toast, bake, roast, grill, pizza, cookies, reheat, warm, and slow cook
Breville Compact Smart Oven Toaster Oven
Pros: It has a sleek and intuitive design that makes it easy to start using right out of the box.
Cons: Pizza pan and cutting board are sold separately with this model, and our testers noticed some uneven toasting.
For those with limited counter space, the feature and utility of any kitchen tool we invest in are all the more important. Wasting space is the last thing we want to do with cluttered or limited counters. The Breville Compact Smart Oven is the fun-size solution to this exact problem. With a perfect size to make the most of your kitchen’s surface area, this toaster oven is simple to clean and comes with several presets we were pleased with (it particularly shined in the broiling category). The ease of use here is nearly unrivaled in all of our tests. The contemporary style of the dials and buttons is clear and simple enough to use that our test kitchen felt the instruction manual was hardly necessary.
With its compact size, our testers did notice uneven toasting during the bread and cookie test. That said, if you’re a first-time buyer or a home cook looking for the perfect toaster oven for a tight-fitting space, the Breville Compact Smart Oven is our pick.
Price at time of publish: $230
Capacity: 17 liters
Dimensions: 10.2 x 16.7 x 15.6 inches
Temperature range: 120 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Functions: Toast, bagel-toast, bake, broil, pizza, roast, cookies, and reheat
Instant Omni Plus Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Pros: With multiple features like convection fan “rotisserie” and air fryer capability, this toaster oven does it all.
Cons: Besides the higher price tag, there’s not much we could find that we disliked.
On top of your standard bake, broil, roast, toast, warm, and reheat, the Instant Pot Omni Plus Air Fryer Toaster Oven offers a dehydration feature that is perfect for drying fruit or making jerky as well as complete air frying capabilities. It also has a convection fan that allows you to cook excellent rotisserie-style chicken. Big enough to hold an entire chicken, it even comes with the rotisserie spit and forks you need to do it right. In addition, you can expect an enamel baking tray, stainless steel oven rack, air fry basket, and a lift tool. To boot, all of its accessories are dishwasher-safe and are easy to disassemble.
Apart from handling toasting tasks and simple bakes, plus 13-inch pizzas and whole chickens, this oven is a more than capable air fryer. It exceeded our expectations when it came down to crisping life into frozen french fries. They were cooked evenly, and our testers were particularly pleased with their texture and how evenly they browned. You can’t go wrong with a perfectly crisp and ultra-low-effort batch of fries, are we right?
Price at time of publish: $250
Capacity: 18 liters
Dimensions: 16.53 x 15.74 x 13.89 inches
Temperature range: 85 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Functions: Convection fan “rotisserie,” air fry, bake, broil, dehydrate, reheat, roast, toast, and warm
The KitchenAid Digital Countertop Toaster Oven was by far our Best Overall pick. Our test kitchen found that it has even heating and browning properties for a perfect cook every time. It’s also super easy to clean, is sleek and modern in its design, and offers exceptionally high value for the price. If you’re also in the market for an air fryer, we recommend the Instant Pot Omni Plus Air Fryer Toaster Oven.
In order to find which toaster ovens performed above the rest, we put each one through rigorous side-by-side testing. We toasted bread from single slices up to six slices, depending on each toaster oven’s capacity. We looked for even browning but also for the oven’s heat map. This is how the heating element in the oven either does or doesn’t allow for even cooking through the entirety of its interior. We also broiled toasty grilled cheese sandwiches, baked some cookies from pre-made refrigerated chocolate chip dough, and carefully monitored how long each oven took to come up to temperature and how well it held the set temperature we selected. Lastly, we cleaned and disassembled each oven multiple times. After our testing, each toaster oven was rated on features, ease of use, performance, and value.
Factors to Consider
How big you need your toaster oven to be — or rather how much room you have for a toaster oven on your countertop, is as unique to each user as their fingerprint. Be sure to measure for specs that work in your kitchen (provided in the dimensions noted underneath each oven description). Finally, consider what you’ll want to toast, bake, roast, or broil in the oven when deciding how big the toaster oven you need is.
With so many options on the market today, discovering the right perfect toaster oven largely depends on the settings you’re likely to use. Are you looking for a toaster oven to mainly toast and reheat leftover foods? Or, are you also looking to whip up a pizza or air fry salmon for easy weeknight dinners? Price will vary depending on the added features, but determining your use cases with the added settings will help you make an informed decision.
Racks and Accessories
Despite the ease of shipping these days, it can be hard to find just the right accessories for a toaster oven. Buying one with everything you need makes this less of a hindrance. We considered the accessories provided with each oven, evaluating the quality of each item and how easy it was to clean after use. When purchasing, consider if the price of the added accessories and the space they will inhabit in your kitchen is worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth buying a toaster oven?
<p>According to the founders of <a href="https://toasterovenlove.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow nocaes">ToasterOvenLove.com</a>, <a href="https://toasterovenlove.com/about/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="2" rel="nofollow nocaes">Tim and Brie</a>, who have created a hub of toaster oven resources for fans of the small but mighty countertop appliance, despite flashy settings, toaster ovens are really just small ovens that heat up quickly and bake efficiently. Whether it’s worth buying one is going to depend on your lifestyle and what you’re trying to cook with it. For our small two-person household, it is definitely worth buying a toaster oven.</p>
Besides small households, who else needs a toaster oven?
<p>They’re a practical appliance ideal for cooking in compact spaces like office lunchrooms, cabins, and RVs, says Tim and Brie. During the holidays, a toaster oven makes a handy second oven for side dishes and desserts or to keep things warm before serving. And in the summer, you can bake a batch of gooey chocolate chip cookies without heating up the whole house.</p>
How do toaster ovens work?
<p>Most toaster ovens have heating elements that are located at the top and bottom of the oven. They heat the oven based on the cooking function, temperature, and time set on the oven’s control panel. </p>
What is the difference between a toaster oven and a toaster oven with a convection setting?
<p>A convection toaster oven has a fan that circulates heated air around the inside of the oven, explains Tim and Brie. The warm circulating air keeps the oven’s temperature consistent, which results in food that’s cooked more evenly and usually faster. Convection cooking also helps to remove surface moisture from the food, so it gets crispy and browned outside while staying tender and moist inside.</p>
What is the difference between a toaster oven and an air fryer toaster oven?
<p>An air fryer toaster oven usually has an air fry setting, says Tim and Brie. With that setting, the convection fan is moving at a faster speed, and on some ovens, the heating elements may be set at a higher intensity. Also, to allow for maximum airflow and extra crispiness, food is usually placed in a perforated metal basket during cooking.</p>
What Didn't Make the List
Cuisinart Chef's Convection Toaster Oven ($275 at Amazon)
Hamilton Beach 4-slice Countertop Toaster Oven & Pizza Maker ($70 at Amazon)
Results Still Simmering
Cuisinart TOB-40N Custom Classic Toaster Oven Broiler; 17-Inch ($100 at Amazon)
De'Longhi 10-in-1 Digital Toaster Oven ($350 at Amazon)
Panasonic Toaster Oven FlashXpress ($170 at Amazon)
Oster 6-slice Toaster Oven ($119 at Amazon)
BLACK+DECKER Countertop Convection Toaster Oven ($90 at Amazon)
BALMUDA The Toaster ($300 at Amazon)
Christa Glennie has been a freelance writer and food editor for nearly 20 years. She is also the author of two cookbooks and specializes in food and drink trends, agriculture, the regional foodways of Western New York, and the restaurant business. Her respect for simplicity and uncluttered counters in the kitchen ultimately fuels a desire to find and own well-designed, multi-purpose, best-in-class kitchen tools.