Toaster and Toaster Oven Buying Guide
Toasters and toaster ovens may sound similar, but these small appliances are quite different.
Bagels, waffles, English muffins, baguettes, Pop-Tarts, and a nice slice of whole-grain sourdough might pop up in your toaster over the course of a month. Toaster ovens go the extra mile, allowing you to broil burgers or chops, roast vegetables, heat up a frozen pizza, or bake chocolate chip cookies. And thanks to new technology, select models with convection settings even let you air-fry food.
You can find a wide selection of toasters and toaster ovens in stores and online, but not every product is worthy of counter space in your kitchen. We’re here to help you determine which models will deliver every day at breakfast—or all day long.
How We Test Toasters and Toaster Ovens
We tested more than 100 toasters for ease of use and cleaning, and how well they can toast a single slice and a batch of bread from the very lightest taupe to dark brown, recording how long it takes. We performed these tests on more than 60 toaster ovens, too, along with tests that reveal how well a toaster oven reheats food and bakes.
Check out our toaster and toaster oven ratings to find the best one for your needs and budget. You’ll see more than 30 brands, including All-Clad, Amazon Basics, Bella, Breville, Cuisinart, DeLonghi, Hamilton Beach, Krups, Ninja, NuWave, and Oster.
Toast With the Most
Toasters come as two- and four-slice models. Toaster ovens, on the other hand, can toast anywhere from four to 14 slices at a time. In choosing a model, among the primary considerations are design, how much counter space the appliance takes up, and budget. Toasters in our ratings sell for less than $20 all the way up to $400. Toaster ovens in our ratings do a lot more, so prices start a bit higher; tested models cost $45 to $400.
The basics: If all you really need is your morning toast, sliced bread, or a bagel, your least expensive and most space-saving option is a simple two-slice toaster.
Toasters come in a variety of exterior finishes, such as chrome, copper, brushed metal, and colors (even floral patterns). All the toasters we tested had automatic shutoff. A few toasters have clear sides so that you can monitor your toast, but these had mixed results for overall performance in our tests. Or if you’re the impatient type, there’s a countdown feature. It’s worth noting that two-slice toasters outsell four-slice models.
Consider this: Retro and contemporary designs abound, as do models that look perfectly at home in high-end designer kitchens. But great looks don’t necessarily equal great mechanics. Many upscale toasters we tested were middling performers.
The basics: There are two types of toaster ovens, countertop models that entail a trade-off between counter space and capacity, and models that mount underneath a cabinet. Beyond making toast, toaster ovens can cook pizza, broil meat, roast a whole chicken or pan of vegetables, bake cookies, and reheat food. Some have convection or can defrost food, and a few have built-in air fryers.
Consider this: The toaster oven’s footprint on the counter is a concern if you’re tight on space. The smallest toaster oven we tested has an 13-inch-wide by 13-inch-deep footprint; the largest is 22x20 inches. But the smaller the toaster oven, the smaller its capacity. And if frozen pizza is your go-to snack, you’ll want a depth of at least 12 inches. Some ovens have a curved back to help accommodate a pizza, which is helpful if you have limited counter space.
A Slice of Life
Yes, even the humble toaster is heating up, designwise. Some very snazzy-looking toasters have passed through our test labs. Given the prominent place this appliance has on kitchen countertops, style may be important to you. But it’s not just about looks. Bottom line: You want a toaster that makes great toast.
As for toaster ovens, we’re also seeing new designs and innovations, as well as some very large models. They tend to be on the boxy side, though some have fairly sleek trim and details. But again, the ability to heat items quickly and evenly should be your top priority.
We tested dozens of toasters and toaster ovens, and these are some factors to consider when shopping.
If crispy bread toasted to perfection is all you care about, you’ll want to opt for a toaster. Toasters brown more evenly and consistently than toaster ovens. But a toaster oven can melt a cheese sandwich, broil a hamburger, or roast a 4-pound chicken. When they toast, though, the ovens take longer—2.5 to 9 minutes vs. 1 to 4 minutes for a toaster on a medium setting—and leave stripes on the bread.
Toasting times depend on volume, so even the fastest toaster ovens take twice as long as toasters. But if you’re toasting for a crowd, a toaster oven with a six-slice capacity (or larger) can quickly make up for lost time. For many households, a four-slice toaster combines the best of both worlds.
You’ll see the dimensions of each model in the specs section of our ratings, along with how many slices of toast each toaster oven can fit. And if you plan to cook pizza, make sure the rack is at least 12 inches deep. (You’ll see this measurement in the ratings, too.) Some ovens have a curved bump-out in back for this purpose. Look for variable or extra-wide slots in toasters if you like to toast real New York–style bagels.
Toaster and Toaster Oven Features
Manufacturers are adding features to toasters and toaster ovens in an effort to tempt you into making space on your counter. Here are some features worth noting.
You’ll see more than 30 brands in our toaster and toaster oven ratings. Here’s a look at a few widely available brands.
Among the leaders in market share, Black+Decker makes toasters and toaster ovens that are available nationally at a wide range of retailers, including Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, Target, and Walmart. Electronic toaster oven models include features such as a frozen pastry one-touch function button.
Breville is an upscale Australian brand of small appliances that produces toasters and toaster ovens. Its products are engineered to perform in a unique fashion. Breville toasters feature a motorized Lift & Look control button, a defrost function, and a one-touch A Bit More button for crisping. They start at $80. Toaster ovens start at $160. Both are available at specialty and department stores.
A smaller but well-known brand, Cuisinart toasters and toaster ovens are sold at department stores and through specialty channels. Cuisinart toasters are generally made with a brushed stainless steel exterior and have defrost and reheat features along with LED indicators.
The DeLonghi brand originates in Italy. Its toaster ovens are easy to operate, with a digital display and dials to guide you. Costing $200 to $350, a DeLonghi toaster oven can be found at a variety of stores, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, and Kohl’s.
Dualit is an upscale brand from the U.K. Its toasters have a sturdy, industrial-retro look. In addition to even browning, Dualit has an option that allows you to fire up only occupied slots. Dualit is a brand for toaster aficionados, with pricing of $100 or more for a no-frills toaster and up to $380 for one loaded with features.
Hamilton Beach is among the market-share leaders. Styles of toasters and toaster ovens vary from contemporary to retro to modern. Hamilton Beach products are widely available at Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart, department stores, specialty stores, and regional outlets.
Well-known for its mixers and large appliances, KitchenAid makes toasters and toaster ovens that are sold through department stores, appliance retailers, national chains, and specialty stores.
Krups is best known as a German manufacturer of coffee makers. It sells toasters that start at around $50 and toaster ovens that retail for about $120. Both are available at Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, and specialty stores.
Oster toasters and toaster ovens are value-priced, starting at around $25 and going up to about $130. Practical features, such as auto shutoff and cool touch, can be found on toasters, and a convection fan in toaster ovens. Retailers include Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and warehouse clubs.
Sunbeam offers inexpensive toasters sold at discount stores and select online retailers. It offers very basic two- and four-slice models.
Wolf is known for its cooking appliances with red knobs. Thanks to Wolf, there are now toasters and toaster ovens with red knobs, too. Beyond aesthetics, features on the toasters include a keep-warm setting. Toaster ovens feature a built-in temperature probe. Expect to pay upward of $400 for a Wolf toaster and upward of $700 for a toaster oven at a specialty kitchenware store such as Sur la Table or Williams-Sonoma.