I need a new toaster oven. And a clever title.
March 12, 2013 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Toaster oven needed.

Requirements: must make toast, have a broiler, be easy to clean, not cost more than a hundred bucks or so, be durable, offer an array of toast settings (she likes hers burnt, I like mine barely warm), not take up the whole counter, won't set kitchen on fire. Preferred but not absolutely required: Amazon Prime eligible, simple controls (no digital doohickeys, just knobs, plz), energy efficient. Not required: convection, infrawave, multi-purpose frippery that detracts from central toast-oriented tasks.

This toaster oven will be used almost exclusively for making toast, reheating pizza, and melting cheese on sammiches. Additional functionality is nice, but I'd rather pay for a durable, high-quality appliance that does less than a whizzy, less-reliable model that does more.

I've nosed around on Amazon and have a couple of models picked out, but I'd like the input of the Big Green Hive (can we make that A Thing? Let's make that A Thing.).
posted by BitterOldPunk to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Hamilton Beach's "Set and Forget" was Cook's Illustrated's "Best Buy" the last time they did toaster oven reviews about two years ago. And it's $20 cheaper now than it was then. Their top choice was a $250 model by Breville, in case you were wondering.
posted by bcwinters at 3:42 PM on March 12, 2013

If you can spring for the Breville, it's worth the expense. Very reliable, very easy to use, and very easy to clean.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:01 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is the newer version of the one I've had since '98. It is glorious. I bake cookies and brownies and toast and pizza and all kinds of stuff.
posted by ApathyGirl at 4:26 PM on March 12, 2013

do you woot? they have them there sometimes, and sometimes with considerable discounts. they have a discussion area, too, where people will point out pros and cons from their personal experience. they seemed to like this (now sold out) Cuisinart Exact Heat Convection Toaster Oven Broiler pretty well, and it was listed for 70% off retail.
posted by msconduct at 4:44 PM on March 12, 2013

We just bought the $250 Breville model, which was top ranked by Cook's Illustrated and Consumer Reports and absolutely LOVE it. Heats evenly, solid build quality, super straightforward controls. But. They also make what appear to be Mama Bear and Baby Bear versions for $200 and $150 that appear to have the same design, heating elements, similar feature sets, just in smaller packages. That might be something to look into.
posted by jroybal at 5:06 PM on March 12, 2013

Get a Breville. Really.
posted by nkknkk at 5:58 PM on March 12, 2013

Response by poster: Hmmm.

People seem to really like the Breville. And after reading the specs, I am intrigued. But a couple of questions:

I'm assuming the measurements given by Amazon are correct, and that the $250 unit is 16.5 inches tall. That's going to leave me with juuuuust over 4 inches of clearance from my wooden cabinets. Is that enough? How hot does the top of the oven get?

I like the idea of using this in lieu of my oven for roasting chicken and baking potatoes. Seems like it'd be more convenient and save on electricity. I know I said I was only using the thing for toast, but if the Breville is really good at other tasks, that might sway me.

In other words, talk me into spending two-and-a-half times my budget for this appliance.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:52 PM on March 12, 2013

I think if you get a couple of pot holders to keep on top of the toaster unit, your cabinets will be fine, especially as long as whatever's on that bottom shelf can tolerate some warmth (like, not your spices, but plates are fine).

fwiw, we have a 5-year-old sub-$50 Black and Decker from Target that meets all of your requirements. I don't know if it'll last a lifetime, but my last toaster was something similar, had it for years, and it only died because it got damaged during a move.
posted by elizeh at 7:09 PM on March 12, 2013

I also have a Black and Decker from Target and I use it a lot. It's a six-slice convection oven. Last summer it was a life-saver during the heat wave. I make french fries, pizza, muffins, quiche, and other stuff in it and it's easier than heating up the oven. It will fit a small (6 cup) casserole dish or a 9" round pie pan. I think it was around $60. It's pretty tall so I do move it out from under the cabinets just as a precaution when it's on for more than 15 minutes or so. I'm sure it's not as fancy/state-of-the-art as the other one, but it definitely does what you say you want.
posted by loveyallaround at 7:31 PM on March 12, 2013

I have the Breville (did not buy it, it came with a place I take care of) and it really is a miracle machine. If the price doesn't kill you, it's an amazing thing. Does not get too hot on top, you could put it under a cabinet. And I do use it for most of my ovening and it's easy as hell to clean. Bakes everything that fits in it. Has a nice pan, you can even make cookies. DOES NOT TICK.

I get my home toaster ovens from ebay because I need the old ones with the pushdown lever and they don't make them any more. Those are also decent, so don't rule out ebay if you are a little particular.
posted by jessamyn at 8:13 PM on March 12, 2013

We have this Cuisinart. It does all the things you want it to do (multiple slices of pizza at once, different shades of toast/bagels, melty cheese) and claims to do more (tater tots, chicken), you can buy it via Prime for less than $100. it will fit on your counter and I have this bonus picture of ours with a cat. It's a good toaster oven. I recommend it.
posted by saturnine at 8:20 PM on March 12, 2013

This Panasonic toaster oven is the latest version of the one that has served me well for years and years. It has a hash brown button! I use mine all the time to cook frozen fish filets and breaded chicken breasts, roast brussels sprouts, make frozen pizzas, reheat leftovers that want to be slightly crispy, and of course make toast. You won't be sorry.
posted by overleaf at 10:39 PM on March 12, 2013

We have the same Cuisinart as saturnine. Looks good, works well, though we haven't tried to bake anything in it - pretty much just bagels, toast, fish nuggets, reheating pizza.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:04 PM on March 13, 2013

Response by poster: We went with the Breville Smart Oven. It arrived today. Ooooooh, pretty. While it's probably more toaster oven than we need, I look forward to putting it through its paces and seeing what it'll do.

Thanks for the input, y'all!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:48 PM on March 14, 2013

aarrghhh! just came here to say that woot has the compact breville on sale for $89 right now (but it ain't gonna last).
posted by msconduct at 7:29 AM on March 20, 2013

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