best toaster oven

Best Toaster Oven Under $100 For 2018: Hamilton Beach vs. Oster

At RookieKitchen, we’ve looked at knife sharpeners and cookware sets, but now it’s time to look at something I’ve been curious about for a long time…

If space is at a premium but you don’t want to give up on eating home cooked meals, then you need a toaster oven to complement your kitchen. From reheating frozen meals to cooking and toasting fresh ingredients, these little gadgets cook many meals in less time and with less energy than a conventional oven. Choosing a toaster oven is fairly easy, but there are a lot of duds to avoid. You don’t want a cheap model that will melt if you use it too much or one that can hardly heat up chicken nuggets. We’ll go through the best toaster ovens available based on price and features.

Affordable: Hamilton Beach 31401 Stainless Steel 4 Slice Toaster Oven

best toaster ovens under 100
If you’re in the market for a basic unit that can quickly and evenly cook both frozen and fresh meals, then this is a great model to choose. Not only is it very affordable, but it offers a reasonable amount of space and should be plenty for one or two people. Just how big is it? The Hamilton Beach 31401 is large enough to fit a nine-inch pizza or four pieces of bread. While there are certainly larger models, this entry-level toaster oven gives a lot of room for such a low-priced item. Not only that, but it’s made completely from stainless steel, ensuring that it can take a lot of punishment, along with many hours of cooking without breaking down or melting.

While it may be small, it definitely packs a lot of power. You can cook chicken nuggets and other frozen meals in 28% less time than a conventional oven, and with 75% less power. There are two models to choose from. One that toasts, bakes and broils, or a slightly more expensive one that can also cook bagels.

There is an automatic timer that shuts the toaster oven off when finished. You can set it up to 30 minutes. There’s also a baking pan included that you can set food in if you don’t want to put items on the grill racks. Speaking of the racks, there are two positions so that you can easily control the food’s exposure to heat.

If you’re looking for the convenience of a toaster oven without dishing out a lot of money, then this is the best toaster oven for you. It doesn’t have many extra features, but it does a great job with what it can do. This is perfect if you want hot food that cooks faster than it would in a conventional oven.

best toaster oven 2018

Solid: BLACK+DECKER CTO6335S Countertop Convection Toaster Oven

This is the toaster oven if you want to step up and get some premium options and features without sinking too much money into the unit. The Black and Decker toaster oven comes with a large number of settings, a compact size that makes full use of the available space and a bunch of extra pieces that help with cooking food or cleaning the unit.

When it comes to size, this model is able to fit a whole casserole pan or a 12-inch pizza. Aside from being wider than the smallest units, it can fit extra food due to its curved back that helps accommodate pizza and other large foods. In fact, the inside is so large that you can fit a whole chicken inside. Not only that but by utilizing convection cooking (which circulates hot air around the food to induce cooking), the Black and Decker can cook foods faster and more evenly than conventional ovens.

The default model comes with two rack positions, which should be enough for most people. However, if you want even more control or to fit more food, then you can get the upgraded model with three different rack settings. This will ensure that your food is perfectly cooked to your preference.

There are eight different settings to choose that will help you properly cook a variety of meals and dishes. These settings include toast, bagel, bake, frozen snacks, pizza, cookies, and potatoes. If none of these settings are correct or ideal, then you can set the time and temperature manually. The temperature goes to a maximum of 400, which should be more than high enough for almost any meal (include meats). The timer can be set up to 120 minutes for long, continuous cooking. When finished, the toaster oven will automatically turn off to ensure that your food isn’t overcooked.

Cleaning the interior is ridiculously easy. Everything inside has a nonstick coating, so food literally slides right off. You’ll have no problem removing the grill racks and other pieces to clean them and ensure you don’t burn any stuck-on food.

Speaking of pieces, this toaster oven has a lot of extra things for cooking and other features. First of all, there’s a baking pan that helps with baking or keeping liquids with the meal for extra flavor or just to make the meal easier to clean up. Next, we have a crumb tray that you can easily remove. This sits at the bottom of the toaster oven and collects crumbs as they fall. Not only does this make it easier to clean, but it also keeps your counter free of crumbs. Worried about your food burning or just want to see your items cook in real time? The see-through glass door lets you see the food as it cooks.

The design is quite beautiful with a brushed stainless steel finish. This will look marvelous on your countertop, fitting in with nearly any design or aesthetic.

If you want even more control over how your food is cooked and a bunch of unique features and pieces, then the Black and Decker unit is the best toaster oven for you. It offers top-tier performance at mid-level costs, making this a great value.

Best Value: Oster Large Countertop 6-Slice Digital Convection Toaster Oven

what is the best toaster ovenThis premium toaster oven has a lot of features that you’ve already heard of from the Black and Decker, but there is even more here and you get an even greater level of control, which makes this the best toaster oven for those who are very picky about how their food is done, or who want a toaster oven that is as close to a regular oven as possible. From high-temperature thresholds to a very large interior, this one definitely sticks out as a premium item.

Let’s start with cooking capacity. The Oster can fit a whole 13-by-9 inch pan, which equates to about a 12-inch pizza with room to spare. You can fit a maximum of six slices of bread for toasting, along with plenty of cookies, a whole chicken, and other large items. Not only can it fit a lot, but the convection cooking method allows it to cook items faster and with much less energy than a regular oven.

There are numerous settings available to ensure that your food is cooked just right. When it comes to toast, you can select exactly how light or dark you want it. Want to defrost meat or other frozen items? No problem. There’s a defrost option that will ensure your item is completely thawed before the real cooking begins. You also have pizza options that can be changed based on size, manual time and temperature settings, bake and broil settings and so much more. The timer can be set to a maximum of 90 minutes, which should be enough for most meals, and the temperature setting can be pushed all the way up to 500 degrees. There’s also a warming setting if you just want to keep food hot and not cook it any further.

If you want to watch your food as it cooks, then you’ll be happy to know there’s a glass front panel that you can look through. Not only that, but there’s a light that you can turn on for even better visibility. The stainless steel handle attached to the front is very sturdy, making it easy to open and close the toaster oven.

Two rack settings make it easy to move your food closer or further away from the heat source, ensuring it gets the proper browning desired. A removable crumb tray makes sure that all of the crumbs are gathered to make them easy to discard after cooking.

The design is very reminiscent of a regular oven. It’s black with stainless steel finishing and a panel of buttons for all the settings and options. It looks ready to fit into any kitchen but is stylish enough to add a little something extra to your counter. Unlike most other toaster ovens that have dials, which can be inaccurate, the entire console here is controlled with buttons and a digital display. This ensures that you get the exact setting, time and temperature that you want.

While the Oster is slightly more expensive than the Black and Decker model, it offers a whole new level of control that is appealing to those who want their food just so. If you want a unit that is close to a conventional oven in terms of versatility with all the benefits of a mobile unit, then this is the best option for you.