I recently tried out the Sunbeam 6198 four slice toaster oven. I did this so I could provide an in-depth review to anyone considering purchasing this toaster oven. I normally do a six-week review period with toaster ovens, but that had to be shortened for reasons which I will explain below. I put away my usual toaster oven at the start of the review period so that I could get a clear idea of how this unit performs with normal daily usage. Here is my review, plus my ratings for this toaster oven are at the bottom of the page.
This Sunbeam toaster oven is very inexpensive, about $33 plus shipping. I understand this means expectations should be somewhat low. I removed my new appliance from the box. To be honest, it has a cheap look and feel to it. The sheet metal it is constructed of is very thin. It is also on the small side compared to most modern models, but again, this is a very inexpensive option. It has old-fashioned dials rather than digital controls. I found it odd that the timer has a maximum setting of 15 minutes. Most items need to be baked longer than that. There is a baking pan included; the quality of it is similar to that of the toaster oven. This toaster oven is a bright, glossy white, which is something you don't find too often.
I like to start out a toaster oven review period by making toast. This model is listed as a four slice unit, but it was very clear that only two slices could fit comfortably inside. The resulting toast was disappointing: burnt on the bottom and completely dry throughout. The toaster oven got very hot during this initial use, although it was only on for a few minutes. Excess external heat is a common problem with inexpensive toaster ovens, but this unit is even hotter than most cheap ones.
I baked two chicken breasts for dinner that evening. I set the toaster oven to 350 degrees F and placed the seasoned and oiled chicken on the baking pan and into the toaster oven. I also placed a digital thermometer probe into the oven so I could see how true to the set temperature this unit is. I checked five minutes into the baking and was quite surprised to see the internal oven temperature was actually 468 degrees F. I have literally tested dozens of toaster oven models throughout my career and I have never seen such a large temperature discrepancy. I turned down the temperature setting but it continued to run hot and the chicken was not very good. Just like the toast, the bottom of the chicken was a lot more brown than the top.
Later that evening I noticed a strange smell in my kitchen. It seemed to be coming from the toaster oven. Further inspection revealed that it was actually my laminate countertop that had been slightly melted by the insanely hot appliance. Again, I have tested many ovens and other appliances. This is something that has never occurred during a review period. I initially assumed I must have a defective unit and considered requesting a replacement so that I might resume the test period. A bit of research revealed other consumer reviews with similar problems. I concluded that the test period must end; I am simply not willing to ruin my countertop or food with this appliance. This was my first review period which I was forced to end so abruptly.
This is a very inexpensive appliance and it does show. The bottom line is this: you can do better, even in this price range.
All ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest possible rating
Appearance rating: 5
True to set temperature rating: 1
Even heating/cooking rating: 1
Overall rating: 1