A toaster oven is probably one of the most common appliances in a kitchen because it’s a very useful piece of equipment. In fact, I’d argue that it’s even more useful than a microwave.
Its most basic function is toasting bread and reheating leftovers. But unlike a microwave, it’s practical enough to be used as a second oven to complement your main oven.
They come in handy when you're cooking a small meal or when cooking side dishes. They also save space because they're smaller and they don't even require preheating. People with small spaces could use a small electric skillet too and get most of their kitchen functionality with those two devices.
What’s more, toaster ovens are also energy-efficient, because they use 1/2 less energy than conventional ovens. You can save on your energy bills while also reducing your carbon footprint.
When you have a digital toaster oven, you can even push the envelope in terms of their functionality. Because they are programmed with specific heat settings, you can use one to perfectly bake, roast, or broil a variety of dishes easily.
Some models can even replace an air fryer or a slow-cooker (including air fryer toaster ovens, which do exactly what the name suggests). Some have convection fans that allow you to shorten your cooking time.
In fact, the most popular ones right now are the digital toaster ovens that have convection heating systems. That’s because the convection process is an easy way making evenly cooked meals. Whether you’re baking or roasting, the hot air circulating all around the food ensures that everything is nicely browned and cooked.
Digital ovens are also easy to operate. With just a push of a button, you can use the pre-programmed settings, and just leave it until it’s finished cooking your meal. It will automatically shut down when it's done.
Overall, it’s a useful appliance to complement the main oven. It's so useful that some people are buying one just to replace their standard conventional oven.
Here are my top five choices for the best ones in the market today.
The Best Digital Toaster Ovens
- Oster Toaster Oven
- Toshiba Digital Toaster Oven with Convection Cooking
- BLACK+DECKER 6-Slice Digital Convection Countertop Toaster Oven
- Breville Mini Smart Oven with Element IQ
- Panasonic FlashXpress Compact Toaster Oven
1. Oster Toaster Oven
This digital toaster oven can cook a 12-inch pizza, a casserole and even roast chicken. It uses convection heating so it heats up food very fast; some user comments say it can reach 350 degrees in just 2 minutes.
It has digital controls and has 7 settings with cooking temperatures that range from 150 to 450 degrees. You can Convection Bake, Broil, Toast, and Warm, among other things. You can even choose to toast your bread from light to dark.
It has two racks that allow you to customize the interior space. Its accessories include a durable baking pan and a removable crumb tray. Safeguards include an interior light and a 90-minute automatic shut-off.
- The convection fan isn’t noisy; cooks evenly
- The top surface heats up so it can be maximized as a warmer
- It won’t fit a standard 9×13 Pyrex casserole pan.
- The digital panel isn’t touch-sensitive; some users complain of needing to press it harder in order to select the presets
2. Toshiba Digital Toaster Oven with Convection Cooking
This oven can accommodate a 12-inch pizza, 6 slices of bread, a 4-lb chicken and the usual casserole and cookies. The motor is slightly more powerful so the convection fan can circulate hot air faster than most brands.
Its digital display is large, bright and in high contrast to make it easier to read the settings. It has 10 cooking settings and the temperature can be adjusted from 150-400 degrees Farenheit. It also has Defrost, Reheat and Keep Warm settings.
It features user-friendly control knobs, dual-position racks, and a non-stick interior for easy cleaning. Accessories include a baking rack, baking pan, a removable crumb tray, a rack clamp, and a rotisserie kit. It comes with a one-year warranty.
- Convection operation is almost silent
- It alerts the user when it reaches a preset temperature.
- Temperatures are preset in odd number increments. For instance, if the recipe requires a cooking temperature of 400 degrees, you can only work with 390 or 410 degrees.
- No interior lighting
3. BLACK+DECKER 6-Slice Digital Convection Countertop Toaster Oven
This oven can cook a 12-inch pizza or toast 6 slices of bread. This product has a specially designed convection heating system that enables it to cook up to 20% faster than older models.
It has a digital display and user-friendly buttons that allow you precise control over time, temperature and cooking functions. It also has settings for baking bagel or pizza. You can bake, broil, toast, or reheat frozen snacks.
It also has a 120-minute timer that also features a Stay-On and Auto-Shut Off functionality. You can also use it to get your desired toast shade.
Accessories include a baking pan and a broiling rack. This product comes in dual rack or three rack versions. It has a 2-year limited warranty.
- Has a Timer feature; also jumps temperature in 5-degree increments
- Door only opens midway, instead of a flat 90 degrees. This could pose a safety hazard especially when removing hot dishes from the oven.
- Needs to be preheated before using the convection cooking function
4. Breville Mini Smart Oven with Element IQ
This oven cooks 11-inch pizzas, 4 slices of toast, cookies, and tuna melts. Its Element IQ Technology allows the oven to transfer heat smartly across its 4 quartz heating elements so that you get to have a more precise and stable temperature.
Its LCD display is backlit for easy reading. It has 8 cooking functions; you can broil, toast, roast, and bake bagel or cookies. During preheating and cooking, the display lits up orange and once the cooking cycle is over, the light turns into blue. When the oven is plugged into a power alert, it will also beep twice.
It has a non-stick interior cooking for easy cleaning and comes with a 1 year limited product warranty.
- Remembers the last temperature setting
- Automatic preheat setting
- Some complaints about the dial being hard to read
- The rack is not well designed; some complaints about the hot rack falling out when the oven door is opened
5. Panasonic FlashXpress Compact Toaster Oven
This oven can cook a 9-inch pizza or toast 4 slices of bread. Its double infrared quartz and ceramic heating elements cooks the inside and outside of your food evenly and quickly.
It has 6 Auto Cook Menus and has simple touch-button icons which can automatically set precise toasting times and browning levels. It also has a manual touch button temperature control sensor.
It has bright interior lighting and comes with a square inner tray, a baking tray and a removable crumb tray for easy cleaning.
- Doesn’t require preheating
- Rack is spring-loaded so it pulls the door shut when one closes it
- Cannot bake for longer than 25 minutes
- Does not have presets for standard US cooking temperatures like 375F or 400F; some users say the closest temp you can use for baking is 390F.
Buyers Guide to Picking the Best One
A digital toaster oven can be a significant investment because they don’t come cheap and convection models tend to be pricier because they have advanced features. But when all you need is just something to toast your bread with, a cheaper model will work just as well.
That being said, the high-end ones allow more culinary versatility because they come with all sorts of cooking settings. And because they’re also more energy-efficient, you can save more on your bills when you’re using one instead of your regular full-size oven.
If you can get over their price range, here are the other points that you should consider when buying one.
Capacity and Size
The sizes for digital toaster ovens can swing from mini-sizes to extra large ones. An easy metric to use for finding the ideal one is to find out how large a pizza it can cook. Or you can measure it by the number of bread slices it can toast.
The largest I’ve found can bake a 12-inch pizza. But if you want to use the oven primarily for reheating leftovers, a small oven could be a wiser choice.
Digital ovens, on average, have seven temperature settings that will allow you to do basic cooking techniques like toasting, baking, broiling or heating. But the best ones have additional food-specific settings that extend your range of cooking. For example, a Pizza Function will automatically set the temp to the optimal range for cooking pizza.
Some digital ovens integrate other technologies into their design. The most common is convection cooking which uses a fan to circulate hot air inside the oven. Some include air frying. Others may also add a dehydrator function. While these are not really necessary, they help extend the functionality of the toaster oven.
The basic accessories in a digital toaster oven are usually a removable crumb tray (for easy cleaning), an oven rack and a baking pan.
Some brands add more additional racks and extra baking pans. Don’t forget to check out the material that they’re made of. Some will be made from aluminum, some from stainless steel. Stainless steel, however, is better, IMHO.
Is it designed to be user-friendly? Check its wattage, for instance. Can you just stick it into any wall socket, or would it require a dedicated circuit that only a professional electrician can set up?
Is the digital interface intuitive and helpful? Can senior citizens operate the buttons easily? Is the LCD display bright and large enough for people with weak eyesight to read?
Does it have an interior light so you can check the food easily? If it has, how easy is it to replace if it gets burned out?
Does the timer work as advertised? Some brands can have problematic timers.
What are its safeguards? Standard safety functions include an automatic shut-off feature and an auto-eject rack that will push the oven rack forward when you open the door so you don’t have to fumble and risk getting burned.
After Sales Service and Warranty
As with any appliance, especially one that’s going to be used daily, you need to check if it comes with a warranty. The best ones are those with two-year warranties.
Check their after-sales service by going through the customer comments on their product page. If they’re reliable and prompt enough in addressing customers' complaints and concerns, they’re worthy enough for your consideration.