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Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and fresh-baked cookies? That's the promise of today's toaster ovens. Our latest tests of dozens of models found a few able multitaskers. But other ovens botched basic jobs. And if all you want is great toast, buy a toaster; it can pop out evenly browned slices for $35 or less. Here are the details:
Toasters top our toast tests. Though we're still waiting for a model that does the job perfectly every time, toasters continue to brown more evenly and consistently than toaster ovens.
Toasting times depend on volume. Even the fastest toaster ovens take twice as long as toasters. But if you're toasting for a crowd, an oven with a six-slice capacity can quickly make up for lost time. Four-slice toasters combine the best of both worlds.
Convection doesn't pay. There's little proof from our tests that this fan-driven technology enhances baking performance, probably because air circulation is less of a factor in a small oven.
Size can be deceiving. Some of the toaster ovens with the biggest dimensions couldn't fit six slices of toast. If you plan to cook frozen pizza, make sure the rack is at least 12 inches deep. Look for variable or extra-wide slots in toasters.