If You Have A Small Kitchen, These Toaster Ovens Will Save You Time And Space

by Marshall Bright
jhk2303 / Fotolia

Toaster ovens can do a lot of the same work as traditional ovens, but with some advantages: They preheat more quickly and are more energy-efficient for smaller cooking jobs. Plus, they can provide more even toasting for a wider variety of breads than pop-up toasters. The only downside is that toaster ovens can take up a lot of real estate on the kitchen counter. Luckily, there are tons of small toaster ovens to choose from. In fact, the best small toaster ovens may even largely replace your need for a regular oven if you’re mostly cooking for one.

Almost all toaster ovens will include bake and toast functions. Not all, however, will include features like broil or the ability to use a convection setting. If you primarily plan on using the oven for toasting bread, you may be fine to skip these additional (and typically more expensive) functions. However, if you plan on using the toaster oven for more advanced cooking projects, or just want to reheat leftovers more quickly, they can be very helpful.

Additionally, many small toaster ovens offer presets that let you fine-tune how toasted your bread is, and even set the temperature and a timer for things like bagels, frozen pizzas, and roast vegetables. Price-wise, toaster ovens cost more than pop-up toasters, and ones packed with features can run over $100. However, if you’re on a budget, you can still get many of the features, minus some of the presets, for less than $50. So no matter what your toasting needs, there is something in your price range. Here are the top picks.


The Best All-Around Small Toaster Oven

Breville’s full-sized toaster oven is one of Consumer Reports’ top picks. The only problem? It’s big enough to roast a whole chicken. With the brand's Mini Smart Oven Pro, you get the same high-quality cooking abilities with a smaller footprint — and it is about $30 less. It has the same eight presets, including toast, roast, and broil, and holds up to four slices of bread at a time.

The rack can be adjusted to three positions, and the mini oven is designed to cook food evenly, with no hot spots or half-burnt toast. A removable bottom tray allows you to easily clean crumbs, and it also has Breville’s signature “a bit more” button that adds a few more seconds of cooking time. A snowflake button also allows you to indicate when the oven should adjust presets for food that is frozen.


The Best On A Budget

While comparably sized to the Breville Mini Oven, this toaster oven from Black + Decker is almost $100 cheaper. The biggest thing you sacrifice are the presets, as well as Breville’s industry-leading even cooking. However, you will still get more even toasting than with a regular toaster. And because it is a little deeper, it can fit up to six slices, rather than four, at a time and still has perks like a crumb tray.

There are also four presets and the ability to control toast darkness with a second knob. Food can be baked, toasted, broiled, and kept warm, too. This is also the only small-footprint toaster oven on our list that uses convection heat. Convection baking circulates hot air, allowing heating to stay more even and avoid hot or cold spots. If you plan on doing any baking projects in the oven, you will have to keep in mind that temperatures require adjusting for convection ovens, usually by making it 25 degrees cooler. The rack can be placed in two positions, and a bottom tray can be removed for easy cleaning.


The Best Extra-Small Option

Dash specializes in truly tiny kitchen appliances that also happen to be cute. This is the smallest toaster oven on the list, measuring around a foot in length and 8 inches high. That size means you sacrifice things like presets and even a “toast” setting. Because a toast setting simply uses high temperature to quickly brown the outside of bread, you’ll just want to set the toaster to the highest temperature and allow it to preheat.

The two knobs allow you to set the temperature up to 450 degrees and also set timing for automatic shut-off. There's also a crumb tray. Because it is so small, however, presets aren’t the only thing you lose. The size also means you’ll lose some insulation: It gets very hot. If you have small kids or curious pets, you may want to opt for a more insulated oven that doesn’t heat up on the outside. But if you’re looking for something small for tiny apartments, RVs, or vacation homes, this may be your best bet.


A Pop-Up Toaster And Toaster Oven Combo

If you're short on space but you still want the ability to use a pop-up toaster and toaster oven, this two-in-one does both. The toaster oven has no presets, but allows you to preheat the oven up to a 500-degree broil setting. A timer allows you to set the cooking time up for to 60 minutes with an automatic shut-off. If you just want to quickly toast a piece of bread, however, you can use the toast setting via a slot at the top. Simply switch the setting to “toast” and you’ll have the ability to use the wide slot for everything from sliced bread to bagels. The see-through door also allows you to keep an eye on how much your bread is toasting. A knob also allows you to set toast darkness.

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