Many home cooks are dismayed to find that their new toaster oven gets very hot on the outside. There are a multitude of horror stories lurking around the web describing burns suffered at the wraith of an evil toaster oven. Many consumers give up on toaster oven usage and go back to the mediocre food produced by the microwave oven.
First, a toaster oven is a real oven and will get hot. This will always be true, no matter which toaster oven you buy. It is not like a microwave, which only heats the food. If you, or any member of your family, is not able to exercise a modicum of caution around a toaster oven, you may want to scrap the idea of buying one. You need to keep anything that can melt or burn (that includes human skin) away from the toaster oven while it is in use. Use oven mitts when retrieving your food from the toaster oven.
With that said, there are variations within the toaster ovens available today. A well insulated model will not get as hot on the outside, but that insulation comes at a higher price. Generally speaking, any toaster oven that costs less than $100 will have very little insulation. This means a good deal of the internal heat escapes, not only making the outside hot but also wasting energy in the process. The higher the cost of the toaster oven, the thicker the material used to construct it are. Many home cooks have safely used cheap toaster ovens for decades; but you do need to be careful around them.
There are some high-end toaster ovens that offer decent insulation and do not get as hot on the outside while in use. However, ALL toaster ovens will get somewhat hot on the outside. The Breville Smart Oven consistently receives the best reviews and ratings for insulation and so much more. Breville makes the best insulated toaster ovens on the market today, even surpassing the insulation offered by more expensive models. Click here for more information on Breville toaster ovens.