There are many different brands and models to choose from when shopping for the perfect toaster oven. Here are a few tips to help you find the best toaster oven for you.
Size is perhaps the most important thing to consider when shopping for a toaster oven. It won't matter how good a toaster oven is if it's too large to fit on your countertop or too small to cook the food intended for it. Think carefully about your size needs. Measure the area where you plan on using it and make sure you don't get one larger than the available space.
Finding the perfect interior size can be a bit trickier. It's not as simple as pulling out the tape measure and getting dimensions. You will really need to pay attention to the size of the meals you plan on preparing. I suggest you keep a meal log for a week or two. Measure the size of the items you are cooking on a regular basis and see how a prospective toaster oven measures up.
Toaster ovens have a terrible reputation for being excessively hot on the outside, leading to burn related injuries. This reputation is well-deserved by many toaster ovens, but certainly not all. It all comes down to insulation. The less expensive toaster ovens have little, if any, insulation. There is nothing more than a thin sheet of metal between the internal heat and the outside world. This makes for a very hot exterior while in use.
High-end toaster ovens generally offer more insulation. This not only leads to a cooler exterior, but also adds to energy efficiency. If you are accident prone or have small children around the kitchen, it may be worth it to spend some extra money on a well-insulated toaster oven to avoid burn injuries.
Controls and Pre-sets
The available controls run the gamut from simple old-fashioned dials to state of the art digital controls with many available settings and functions. Think about who will be using the toaster oven. If any of the potential users have trouble with simple technology, such as a remote control or cell phone, your best bet is probably to stick with the simpler controls. If all users are tech-savvy, you may benefit from all that a more advanced model can offer. Some models are very sophisticated and can actually make you a better cook by suggesting the best possible time and temperature for the food you are cooking. Many have pre-sets for all the most popular food items, making it easy to always choose the best setting.
With any kitchen appliance, reliability is certainly very importantt. You don't want to end up with a toaster oven that doesn't work properly or fails within a few months. Unfortunately, reliability can be one of the most difficult things to determine. This is where unbiased customer reviews are absolutely crucial. People who have actually used a product you are considering can tell you honestly what the pros and cons are. A good warranty can also give you peace of mind, as well as buying from a company with a solid reputation.