The Hamilton Beach Toastation line is unique amongst toaster ovens due to one major difference in design: rather than a single cooking area that can serve as both oven and toaster, these innovative appliances feature a traditional toaster built into the top of a small countertop oven. Many people complain that in general toaster ovens are not the best tool for making toast, especially if you are not dealing with a high-end toaster oven. By splitting the two functions on the Toastation, Hamilton Beach seeks to excel at both cooking and toasting in one handy multi-tasking unit. Did they succeed? I recently tested the Hamilton Beach Toastation 4 slice Toaster Oven for the purpose of providing an in-depth review. Here is that review, plus you'll find my ratings for this toaster oven at the bottom of the page.
When I first removed it from the box I saw that the Hamilton Beach Toastation 4 slice toaster and oven has a pleasing look. It is stainless steel and black with rounded corners. It comes equipped with old-fashioned dials rather than digital controls. Overall, it would not seem out of place in either a traditional or modern kitchen, making it adaptable to almost any decor. It seems to be well-constructed for the price (about $75.)
There has been a recent trend amongst toaster oven manufacturers to make their models really more oven than toaster. Many toaster ovens available today can take the place of a standard full-sized oven for most day to day cooking. This is not one of those units. By splitting the two functions to attempt to achieve optimal performance for both, oven size had to be sacrificed. You will not be able to fit anything much taller than two inches into the oven.
I like to start out a review period with making toast, since this is an area where many toaster ovens fail to live up to expectations. This unit toasts perfectly. I suppose that is to be expected since it is truly a toaster on top of an oven. It toasts much more quickly than regular toaster ovens do and it produces a beautifully crisp exterior with a warm, moist interior.
Throughout the review period I was somewhat limited in how often I could use the Hamilton Beach Toastation 4 slice toaster oven. I would say on average I used the oven portion three times per week, much less than I utilize my usual toaster oven. Although the oven works quite well, its small size was very limiting. I have used it most often to cook bacon, pizza bread and to reheat leftovers. It always heats up quickly and cooks quickly and evenly. The Hamilton Beach Toastation's diminutive size does have its benefits when it comes to energy usage and time required to thoroughly heat the oven.
One important thing to be aware of: you can't use both the toaster and the oven at the same time. I had not realized this before receiving the unit. When the toaster is in use, the slots actually open into the oven, making it impossible to use both simultaneously.
Overall, the Hamilton Beach Toastation 4 slice toaster and oven does perform quite well at the tasks it was intended for. This can be a great choice for some kitchens, depending on the needs of the user. If you want to get a toaster oven that can take the place of your standard full-size oven for things like roasting a whole chicken, this is not the best option for you. But if all you need is a small oven and toaster combo this is a good option to consider. I suggest you keep a food log for two weeks where you log everything you would like to use your toaster oven for and see how this model measures up before making a final decision.
All ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest possible rating
Appearance rating: 7
True to set temperature rating: 8
Even heating/cooking rating: 9
Overall rating: 8