Convection toaster ovens (or countertop ovens) have recently become so trendy that they’re starting to take the place of traditional ovens. And it should really come as no surprise given the myriad of benefits that come along with them. They use less energy, allow you to forego the preheating step almost entirely, and are particularly good for warmer months when you don’t necessarily want to be heating up your kitchen with your conventional oven.
And while a convection toaster oven easily covers your bases when it comes to standing in as a mini-me version of the standard, large kitchen appliance — most can easily handle everything from roasted chicken to cupcakes — they’re also a great alternative to a classic pop-up toaster and can toast bagels, sliced bread, and anything else you’d pop in the toaster come breakfast time.
What is the difference between a regular toaster and a convection toaster oven?
Most convection toaster ovens these days offer a whole lot more than just getting your bread to that perfect golden color. In fact, many toaster ovens on the market offer features like air frying and even slow cooking — and most are more energy-efficient than the old pop-up toaster you’ve been hanging onto since college.
Think about it like this: Even if all you’re looking for at the moment is something to toast up your morning bagel, having a convection toaster oven on hand will also allow you to swap out your electric oven in a pinch. You couldn’t very well cook your Thanksgiving side dishes in your pop-up toaster, now could you?
Both regular toasters and convection toaster ovens offer the exact same convenience when it comes to toasting things like bagels, but having a convection oven is a seriously good investment if you find yourself wishing you had more room in your oven—or, on the other hand, usually use your oven to cook small to medium-sized meals.
It all boils down to this: a regular pop-up toaster is generally smaller in size but is a one-use machine, whereas a toaster oven, while slightly larger in size, can perform a myriad of tasks that allows you to forego purchasing other appliances — like a slow cooker or an air fryer in certain cases.
Can you replace your full-sized electric oven with a toaster oven?
Considering replacing your full-sized electric oven with a toaster oven? Well, it’s certainly a possibility, and could be a good one if you’re working with a small kitchen or looking to cut down your electricity bill and carbon footprint without sacrificing, well, hot meals at home.
Convection toaster ovens typically sit on the counter or tucked into a well-ventilated pantry, but it’s important to note that most toaster ovens are significantly larger than pop-up toasters — but because they’re capable of performing almost all of the functions of the electric oven, if you do have the space on your counter it could be worth considering replacing your electric oven with a high-quality toaster oven.
Most toaster ovens range from about 16 x 8-inches to 20 x 10-inches and have been designed for you to safely cook, clean, and maintain without having to shell out hundreds of dollars on an electric oven or try to cram one into a small rental kitchen.
In terms of environmental impact, reports that a toaster oven uses up to half the amount of energy that a conventional electric oven does for cooking small meals. Typical power consumption of a toaster oven during use is about 1,200 to 1,4000 watts, and if 25% of households replaced their oven with an energy-efficient toaster oven, the reduction in energy use would reduce CO2 emissions by an eye-popping 20 million pounds.
That’s not to say that you absolutely must replace your electric oven with a small toaster oven, but it does make a good case for foregoing heating up the entire electric or gas appliance when you could simply pop a small to medium-sized meal into your convection toaster oven and having a high quality, energy-efficient option on hand makes it easy to opt for the toaster over the electric oven.
Do you need to spend hundreds to get a reliable toaster oven?
If you’re worried about sticking to a strict budget, well, don’t be. Depending on your specific needs, a toaster oven can easily take over as the main appliance you use in the kitchen. There are many multi-use toaster ovens on the market with tons of bells and whistles that allow you to not only toast, but also roast, air fryer, bake, slow cook, and even dehydrate — which will end up saving you a lot of cash and valuable kitchen space if you’re on the hunt for more than one appliance at the moment.
That being said, if you’re looking for something simple that will last you for years and won’t break the bank, there are a handful of great options that ring in well within budget and can still perform almost all of the tasks that a traditional electric oven would be used for.
Stay tuned after these picks for a convection toaster oven buying guide, but without further ado, here are our picks for 2021.
Whether you’re considering replacing your traditional electric oven with a more sustainable and space-saving solution or you just want something that can toast up multiple slices of bread at once, this six-slice Oster toaster oven will allow you to toast, roast, and bake small to medium-sized meals without having to preheat your full-sized oven.
The Cuisinart TOB-260N1 Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven is a great choice for those who prefer to invest once and know that there will be zero worries for the lifespan of the product. While it might not have the same multi-use functionality as other convection toaster ovens on the market, you can rest easy knowing it has bones that’ll last.
Looking for something that will replace multiple items in your kitchen? The Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven covers a whole lot of ground, including slow cooking, roasting, baking, and even just reheating. The compact size fits a surprising capacity, making it easy to fit into a small kitchen but toast and roast larger meals.
BLACK+DECKER Countertop Convection Toaster OvenWorking with limited counter space can be challenging but this Countertop Convection Toaster Oven by BLACK+DECKER offers all the power of a larger oven but at a much smaller size.
22.8 x 13.4 x 15.5 inches
You don’t need to give up your entire counter in order to fit in a high quality convection toaster oven into the mix—in fact, the BLACK+DECKER Countertop Convection Toaster Oven weighs in at just fifteen pounds and spans just 15 inches in width. What’s more, it’s also engineered to cook 20 percent faster than the average toaster oven so not only will it save you space, it’ll save you time as well.
If you’re looking for something that will basically replace your oven, microwave, and various other small appliances, the WEESTA Toaster Oven will do just fine. Not only does it grill a mean piece of toast, it’s also equipped to air fry, air roast, broil, and even bake.
Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven AirfryerSure, an air fryer is great… but a multi-functional, air frying toaster is even better—and the Cuisinart TOA-60 remains top of its class in both cases.
15.5 x 16 x 14 inches
- Weight: 21 lbs
The concept of air frying has taken off over the course of the last year or so—and for good reason. It’s a very healthy, and simple, alternative to deep frying that requires a whole lot less clean up. That said, you don’t have to make space on your counter for a whole different appliance if you want to reap the benefits of air-fried foods. The Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven Airfryer packs air frying and toasting and roasting into one compact machine, allowing you to easily make everything from roasted chicken to pub-style chicken wings all in one machine.
While most convection toaster ovens will work just fine for baking or more precision cooking, if you want something that will work for things like madeleines or even souffles, the Breville BOV900BSS Smart Oven is right up your alley. The Element iQ heat technology allows for very precise heat retention while the large interior will fit a moderate size baking pan or cookie sheet. What’s more, the smart oven also works for air frying and even dehydrating.
While most convection toaster ovens look quite similar in aesthetic, the KitchenAid KCO255BM comes as a breath of fresh air for design-minded home cooks. The matte black colorway and clean digital display will find a happy home in just about any kitchen aesthetic. And yes, not having a conventional fully transparent glass door to check the cooking process seems like an issue at first glance but in fact, the convenient interior light actually illuminates the interior, allowing you to check in on your dish as needed.
What should you be looking for in a convection toaster oven?
Whether you’re looking for something to use daily for toasting and roasting or you just want a high-quality replacement for your pop-up toaster, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a toaster oven.
Power: If you’re hoping to swap out your traditional electric oven with a toaster oven, you’ll want to ensure that your oven has a minimum power of 1000 watts to ensure you’ll easily be able to get it up to the temperature required for proper cooking.
Size: If you’re working with limited counter space, be sure to measure out exactly how much counter you’re willing to give up for your new toaster. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to roast chicken or other large-sized meals, you might want to double-check to make sure you’re opting for something large enough for your needs.
Design: Aesthetically speaking, there aren’t a whole lot of toaster ovens that are particularly gorgeous or design-savvy, but you’ll want to look for something that suits your needs in terms of practicality. If you’re used to cooking or baking items that require careful monitoring, for example, you’ll want to make sure you get a toaster oven that has a very large glass door and even interior lighting.
All things considered, what are the absolute best convection toaster ovens?
Looking at the abundance of high-quality convection toaster ovens out there, it’s entirely possible to see yourself actually using your real oven for storing shoes and sweaters rather than for roasting vegetables or baking cookies — or at least opting to forego your electric or gas oven to help foster more sustainable and eco-friendly kitchen habits.
Which is why we’ve rounded up some of the absolute best convection toaster ovens out there—with features you can and can’t live without. Whether you’re looking for a slow cooking oven, an air frying hybrid, or you just want something that will give you perfectly golden toast every single time, these are the best convection toaster ovens on the market right now.