To toast, or not to toast?
February 4, 2012 12:02 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to figure out if it will be cost-effective to buy this electric toaster oven, versus using a large gas oven.

We currently use a conventional gas oven to make something like toast that won't fit into a pop-up toaster, or to defrost something bread-like. Even it if is something small, like a couple hamburger rolls or a small pizza that would fit in a toaster oven.

Intuitively, it seems like it would be more efficient to have a small electric toaster oven rather than heating up the whole gas oven. But how can I calculate the savings to see if it is indeed less expensive, and figure out how long it would take to pay for the toaster oven?
posted by mikeand1 to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The wattage of the toaster oven should be available. It seems like your oven energy consumption ought to be available somewhere, though I'm not sure what units it will be in. Working out the cost of an hours usage should be good enough to answer your question, though.

Generally, the way to bet is that using electricity to make heat is horribly inefficient, so while your oven is much larger it doesn't cost that much to heat the air inside since the specific heat (the amount of energy required to raise the temperature) of air is pretty low.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:19 PM on February 4, 2012

I can't help you with what formula to plug in. But I have that exact model, and use it exclusively now. The electricity bill is lower, despite doing way more oven cooking now than had been the case with convention. Preheat time, to true temp even with the 13" pizza stone in there, is typically 1/3-1/5 that of a conventional oven. The 6" air space around it gets quite warm, but otherwise the house does not (which may or may not be considered an energy benefit, depending on your climate).

Bizarrely, it uses the most energy for toast-making and still manages suck at that one thing. "Toaster oven" is such a misnomer here. It's a compact oven with optional convection heating. Hang on to your toaster for toast and bagels. The Breville for everything else except holiday dinner.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:28 PM on February 4, 2012

Hmm. Correction: I have nearly the identical model, the 800XL, which is a bit larger.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:33 PM on February 4, 2012

I have the Breville convection oven, which is the larger one, and I love it! I have no idea if it's more cost effective and for me it doesn't matter, I love it that much. I use it every day, often more than once. It heats up faster than my full sized oven and yet still does a beautiful job on cookies, pizzas, bagels, reheating leftovers and such. My husband has even commented on how evenly it toasts.

I would suggest that you buy from Williams-Sonoma if you can. Breville has a reputation for crap customer service and a fair amount of malfunctioning toaster ovens, but if you happen to get a faulty one, W-S has a 90 day no questions asked return policy.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 2:55 PM on February 4, 2012

Response by poster: Hey, you guys are supposed to be helping me rationalize this purchase, not just egging me on! LOL.

It's rated at 1800 watts, but I doubt it uses that much power when it's not on full blast. And even if I could figure out that piece of it, I have no idea how much gas my oven uses to do the same work...

Ah well, I may just have to buy one anyway.
posted by mikeand1 at 3:22 PM on February 4, 2012

I've always had a small toaster oven. The one I currently have is a Black and Decker Classic Line. Have absolutely no clue as to the wattage.... In my first apartment that had no AC, I cooked everything in my toaster oven as not to heat up the apt. any more than I had to. Did cakes one layer at a time, and small pizzas. The broiler was great for steaks, chicken, etc. Still have one, great for heating up leftovers and making cinnamon toast/garlic toast. Even bought one of those stone thingys at Pampered Chef that is perfect for rolls and biscuits. I think they're a great buy and are handy when the microwave doesn't make things crispy or if you don't want to heat up the big oven.
posted by PJMoore at 4:30 PM on February 4, 2012

According to the 800XL manual, selection of heating function (specifically, which of its 5 heating elements are active) correlates to watts drawn. Broil and bake use 1500. Toasting uses 1800. Seems like yhe side of box listed the other functions as 1200 or 1500.

Your energy utility should be able to calculate the cost comparison for you. Natural gas is so cheap that anything's possible.

Bed, Bath, and Beyond has an unlimited time no-questions-asked return policy. If you don't mind putting off the purchase for a month or so, sign up for their mailing list now. By March you'll have a 20% off coupon.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:05 PM on February 5, 2012

Get a convection model!
posted by radioamy at 9:01 AM on February 6, 2012

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