Maxi-Matic has provided the US with small kitchen appliances and other household items for well over 25 years. The Maxi-Matic company offers a wide range of products designed to make home life easier. Their products are competitively priced and in general enjoy a reputation of quality and innovation. So how does the Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet 20 Liter 1500 Watt Convection Toaster Oven measure up to this reputation? I recently tested this model for six weeks for the purpose of providing an in-depth review to potential consumers. Here is that review, plus you'll find my ratings for this toaster oven at the bottom of the page.
First, it is important to realize that this is a relatively low-priced toaster oven. It will cost you about $70 including shipping. While that may be a bit more than a $25 oven from your local big box discount store, you certainly should not expect this to perform like the coveted high-end models, such as the Breville smart oven, that will run you upwards of $250. Upon removing the Maxi-Matic toaster oven from the box, the look of it is consistent with its price range. It is constructed of decent (but not great) materials. It is black and stainless steel, making it likely to go with any kitchen decor. The front is curved, giving a little extra room for round items, like a twelve inch pizza. The included baking pan certainly has a cheap feel to it. This is not surprising since a quality baking pan bought separately can cost you about 50% of the cost of this toaster oven.
I normally start a toaster oven review period with making toast, since this is an area where most toaster ovens fail to impress. So in went four slices of whole grain bread. I was surprised to find that I needed to set the oven to a specific temperature when making toast; I have used many toaster ovens and this is certainly not the norm. So I consulted the user's manual. I was unable to locate any information as to the recommended temperature setting when toasting. I proceeded to call Maxi-Matic and was promptly informed that the correct setting is 350 degrees F. The very polite woman at Maxi-Matic told me that they receive this question often. Hopefully new versions of the user's manual will include this important information.
After 6 minutes, the toast did turn out beautifully. It had a perfectly crisp exterior with a moist interior. This is an area where many toaster ovens fail to live up to expectations, so I was very pleased with the results. During this first cooking task I could see that the door does not have a very tight seal, causing it to lose heat and waste energy. This is typical of toaster ovens that cost less than $100. The door does get very hot and I would recommend always using oven mitts unless you can be sure to only touch the stay-cool handle. Overall, I would rate this toaster oven's heat retention above average compared to other models in the same price range, but still not as good as a well-insulated $200+ model.
This Maxi-Matic toaster oven has convection baking, which leads to more even cooking. The convection feature does work well; it eliminates hot spots and helps food to cook more quickly. I used this oven on a daily basis for the duration of the review period. I am pleased to report that it was able to take the place of my full-sized oven for most cooking tasks. I was even able to roast a whole chicken in it. I find that meats brown beautifully without prematurely drying out on the inside. Overall, I think this toaster oven is an excellent value. There may be better ones out there, but not at this price.
All ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest possible rating
Appearance rating: 4
True to set temperature rating: 7
Even heating/cooking rating: 8
Overall rating: 7