Toaster Vs. Toaster Oven: The Battle Of Appliances

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Well, if you’re anything like (and if you follow my blog regularly, I’m sure we have a similar taste) you cannot start your day without a cup of French Press coffee and a good toast.

Last week, toast-lovers across the globe celebrated the National Toast Day, and in honor of this special holiday, I’ve decided to tackle a certain age-old debate.

So what works better: a toaster or a toaster oven?

Rising Popularity of The Toaster Oven

The automatic toaster made its debut way back in 1926, and more than a million Americans bought it by the end of the decade.

Since then, the device has evolved quite a bit; this includes additional and wider slots for muffin tops, bagels and artisan breads, in addition to defrost features.

And while toasters are still extremely popular, some people would argue that nothing compares to a cutting-edge, high-end toaster ovens.

Even though the appliance was invented more than 50 years ago, the toaster oven has become more popular than ever in recent years. As Quartz Media reports, total sales of toaster ovens in the United States have grown by more than 80% since 2000.

However, does this rise in popularity mean that toaster ovens are actually more useful than traditional, pop-up toasters?


The Basic Differences Between The Two

Obviously, just because something’s more popular doesn’t mean it’s truly better.

These two products have a lot in common, for instance, they are both light, portable and operate off electricity. But they’re also considerably different in their capacities and capabilities.

Therefore, in order to help you fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of both products, let’s take a closer look at some of their characteristics and functions.

The Classic Toaster

The classic shape of the toaster – the shiny box with two slots at the top (2-slice) – has stayed the same for little under a century.

It has yet to undergo any drastic changes – there are models that offer more slots (4-slice) and some even have full-color displays – but that’s about it.

And if you even need a short explanation what it does, here you go – it’s a device that allows you to toast bread slices and nothing else. Basically, its singularity of purpose (which is indicated by its short name) is what defines the toaster.

Related: Most Recommended Wide Slot Toasters; Bread Knives

Toaster Pros

  • Toaster’s coils are extremely close to the food you’re preparing; this allows the device to cook quicker than other kitchen appliances. Additionally, this also enables it to use less energy while working.
  • It’s also one of the smallest kitchen appliances (especially compared to toaster ovens) around and they are generally lighter, cheaper and in general, more compact than other utensils.

Toaster Cons

  • Toasters may be cheaper, but they are also more prone to malfunctions and breakdowns than toaster ovens. However, we should address the elephant in the room.
  • The biggest con of the toaster is that its abilities begin and end with toasting bread and pastries, which make it far less functional than any toaster oven (even than older models).

The Toaster Oven

As the name implies, you can use the device both as a toaster and an oven.

Some people even think of it as a miniature oven and because ordinary ovens can toast as well, calling it an oven doesn’t actually take anything away from it. In addition, most of these ovens come with broiling abilities, which means you can do much more with them than with an ordinary toaster.

The small size and the multiplicity of purpose are among the main reasons why toaster ovens are so popular among the consumers.

Toaster Oven Pros

  • The most obvious advantage of a toaster oven is it’s the wide variety of settings, which includes, baking, grilling, warming and toasting. Also, most toaster ovens have a timer feature that prevents overcooking.
  • And one of the most appealing features of a toaster oven is its self-cleaning ability. If you spill something onto some of its heating elements while preparing food, it will clean itself the next time you turn it on.

Toaster Oven Cons

  • Even though they provide well-balanced heating, toaster ovens require much more time to preheat than toasters, and consequently require more energy as well.
  • What’s more, they also weigh much more than your average toaster, which means that they are much more difficult to move if you want to free up some space on your countertop.

Further Reading: Toaster Oven vs. MicrowaveToaster Oven vs. Convection Oven

What about the Prices?

  • Modern pop-up toasters cost up to $500, but in reality, there is really no need to spend more than $30 on one. And while some of them have some interesting features, like Internet-connectivity, Hamilton Beach Classic Toaster will do the job just fine.
  • Ovens are naturally more expensive (some models cost up to $1,500), but that doesn’t mean you cannot find an economical one. For example this 8-Slice Oven from Black & Decker, which will allow you to bake, boil and (of course) toast.

Additional Considerations

Seeing how both appliances are rather inexpensive, the price shouldn’t be a problem to anyone.

But there are some things you should really think about, so before you make the final call and fill out your order, just stop yourself and consider these three things:

1. Consider the Food You Eat

  • If all you want is nice a piece of toast for breakfast, then you should definitely go with the classic model. As I mentioned before, you can find a huge number of models on the market today and if you enjoy, let’s say bagels, find one with wider slots.
  • On the other hand, if last-night leftovers are a staple in your household, or your family likes to eat in front of the TV and enjoys oven-ready frozen meals, than a toaster oven is certainly a much better choice for you.

2. Consider Your Time

  • Again, this depends on your morning routine – if you have a busy schedule and all you need to prepare breakfast as quickly as possible every morning – go with the toaster.
  • Conversely, an oven is great for stay-at-home moms who get up early in the morning to prepare breakfast before the whole family wakes up.

3. Consider the Spacing in Your Kitchen

  • Finally, we have the most important thing you need to think about when shopping for toasting tech – do you have enough space in your kitchen for a toaster oven?
  • If your counter top doesn’t have much space, you’ll be forced to go the way of the toaster, no matter how much you’d like an oven.

So Which One Should You Choose?

When it’s all said and done, your choice largely depends on personal preference.

  • If you cannot imagine your breakfast without any toast – go for a toaster.
  • Or if you want a more versatile tool in your kitchen – go out and buy a toaster oven.

And although I currently own both, I have to admit, having a reliable toaster is essential.

Don’t get me wrong, the oven still comes in handy once in a while – my boys ask for croissants from time to time – but let’s be honest; nothing is beats good toast in the morning.

Barbara Whitney
 

For the last 20 years, I’ve been cooking, preparing, researching, and gathering recipes, tools, and knowledge about food and the way we prepare it. Raising two lively boys and spoiling one great husband later, it’s safe to say that I’ve optimized my kitchen to deliver the best possible meal, no matter the occasion.

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