As everyone’s requirements vary, no single toaster oven can answer the cooking needs of every person. Some people seek a toaster oven that can toast multiple slices of bread at once. Others find a small oven that can cook entire frozen meals or bake bread since the temperature in a toaster oven rises much faster than that of a conventional oven and consumes less energy. When shopping for a toaster oven, some general guidelines exist that can be helpful for making the right decision.
If one were purchasing a toaster oven that might occasionally replace cooking in a conventional oven, he or she would be wise to choose one that has specific settings for baking and broiling food, rather than a general on-off setting. This feature will give the cook more control over the outcome and results in more precise temperatures.
A convection-type toaster oven is ideal for the person who needs a small oven for baking. Hot air is rapidly circulated inside the oven, resulting in even cooking at a faster speed. A distinct disadvantage is that less expensive models often have fans that make more noise than one might expect. Not only are the more expensive brands quieter, they often have convenient touchpad controls and digital displays.
Controls that are easy to use have an advantage over many different settings, especially if children or older adults will use the oven, at any time. Three dials are plenty for any toaster oven, namely, a timer, a temperature setting, and a solid cooking function.
Additionally, one may prefer an oven that has an audible sound to notify the cook when the food is ready to take out of the oven.
Safety features are another important consideration. Toaster ovens that have automatic eject racks make it safer and easier to remove food that is hot. The safer ones have a magnet or hook installed directly inside the door so that the rack slides out automatically when the door is opened. Another safety feature is the automatic shutoff. This can help prevent fires from forgotten foods that are accidentally left inside the oven.
Most toaster ovens have trays that catch food crumbs. The kids that are accessible from the front of the oven are the most convenient. This allows the tray to be emptied while the oven remains hot. The front-accessible tray also negates the necessity to lift or move the oven to access it and makes for easier cleaning.