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Toaster vs. Toaster Oven

I can't decide. I don't have enough counter space for both! I have an old toaster oven that has slowly broken down. I mostly use it for toast, melting cheese on things (one of my favorite pastimes!) and toasting nuts. The toast never comes out so great, and I could probably use the broiler for the other things...and yet, I like having a toaster oven. I know I'm lucky if this is my biggest dilemma in life. Seriously, I've bought cars with less consideration than this!

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  1. stick with the toaster oven for versatility - you can do some research to find one that produces good toast.

    1. I only have enough space for one also. I went for the toaster oven because of it can do so many things. It is nice to use it for one or two baked potatoes rather than heat up a big oven.
      I also love cheese melted over an open faced sandwich. Toast is better in a toaster though. If I ate toast frequently I may have made a different decision.

      There are some toaster ovens that install under your cabinets - perhaps that option would allow both?

      1. Sounds like you already have your mind made up with the leaning toward the toaster oven. And so far, others support that leaning as a good idea. I don't. Especially in a smallish kitchen, and if you have other ways to melt cheese.

        The thing I hate about toaster ovens is that, in reality, they take up twice the counter space as their "footprint" simply because you have to keep the area in front of them clear so you can open the door. I've always found that a huge pain. And, like you, none of the toaster ovens I've ever owned did a half way decent job of toasting anything. And the biggest pain of all is that I've never had or seen a toaster oven that turns the toast over and toasts the other side without intervention from me! Such a drag!

        Instead, I have a GE "Classic Toaster" that does four slices at a time, has little "holders" that grab the bread when it is lowered and holds it at an even and optimum position for toasting. I can push a button and it will toast only the cut side of a bagel if I have it loaded right, it will defrost those breakfast thingies that are filled and that you drizzle icing over after they're heated/toasted. It also has a button to push to "Reheat." I have no idea what the difference between "Defrost" and "Reheat" is as I've never used either one. I'm quite happy with one sided and two sided toasting.

        To melt cheese or pre-buttered or olive oil drizzled whatever, I do that either in my built-in microwave using the halogen heat source without microwave, or I can use my oven. Or I can use a creme brulee torch (as in large industrial sized butane torch that plumbers use to solder copper pipes). Hey, it's fast and I have control!

        But most of all, I love being able to leave my sugar bowl sitting in front of my toaster and not have to give a thought to breaking it when I open the damned door!

        8 Replies
        1. re: Caroline1

          Caroline1, I do not argue with you but in the instance of safety. You do note that you need to have clearance room in front of a toaster oven for the door. That is true. However, you really need to be careful around regular toasters as well - the little toasters don't look like much but they get really hot an can melt/burn things around them. I just don't want to see something get ruined/someone get hurt thinking you don't need space around them. Our coffee pot in the office has a few "melty" looking spots and it sits right next to the toaster.

          I do personally use a toaster oven though. As much as i would like to get rid of it I do find it hard to justify turning on a full size range to melt cheese on one piece of toast for myself. I should be getting an over the range micro/convection oven installed Monday though so it is possible that I will use that at times but I will have to see what it works best as. Most people don't have that option though.

          1. re: Allice98

            i have to agree with Allice here. i would never turn on my full-size oven & waste that kind of energy to toast a pice of bread, heat up a single potato, or melt some cheese - that's just crazy talk IMHO...and if you want to melt the cheese over something toasty, the MW isn't an option because it'll turn your lovely, crisp toast or bread soft & soggy in seconds. i've used my toaster oven for everything from toast and baked potatoes to broiled fish and meat. it's definitely the better choice unless the only thing you'll ever use it for is toast.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I never said I would use my full oven for a slice of toast. I said that I can melt cheese in my Advantium oven using halogen light, but I did refer to it as my "built in microwave," but indeed it is so much more. It cooks by halogen light OR microwave OR both. And -- hypothetical here -- if it uses twice the power of a toaster oven (I have no idea if that's true) it does melt the cheese on top, and if I want it to it will crisp the bottom at the same time, so I would only have to use ithalf the time of a toaster oven if I wanted bread toasted on the bottom and cheese melted on the top. It's an extremely efficient and handy appliance!

              1. re: Caroline1

                fair enough...but most of don't have a fancy-schmancy Advantium ;)

            2. re: Allice98

              No. I don't need any clearance room around my toaster. It has a lovely chrome housing, however the entire exterior of the toaster stays cool to the touch at all times. Well, unless I put my hand on top of it over the toast slots. There ARE some well designed toasters on the market these days. Child safe, even! '-)

            3. re: Caroline1

              I do most of my oven jobs in the toaster oven and it pleases me to think that I am saving energy. I even use it for cooking sweet potatoes and baking biscuits. I don't own a toaster anymore.

              1. re: Sharuf

                You need a Trivection oven! Really fast, really good. I will be cooking my 25 pound stuffed turkey in it this Thanksgiving when the whole family gathers, and the stuffed bird will be roasted to perfection in 2 hours and thirty minutes, which means I have to hustle to have the rest of the meal ready when the turkey is done. There really ARE some great user friendly appliances out there, folks! The Trivection will cook the turkey in that short a time using thermal heat, convection heat and microwave all at the same time and I will say I have never had jucier more flavorful turkeys in all of my life as I get with this oven.

                But for those times when I just want to use straight thermal heat, I have invested considerable money in converting my entire house to CFL and LED light bulbs, so when I need thermal oven, I use it in clear conscience. I'm not an energy squanderer.

            4. i have a toaster oven, because of the versatility. I use it to bake smaller items like an 8-in sq pan of brownies, to do gratins, tofu dishes, toast nuts, etc. What I DON'T use it for it toast! It does make lousy toast. But, unless you love toast and eat it alot, I'd go for the toaster oven. But if toast is your raison d'ĂȘtre for breakfast, go with the toaster.

              3 Replies
              1. re: nofunlatte

                I love toasted day old baguette for breakfast.... Maybe i am just a piggy, but, I can't possibly squeeze the two long halves into a toaster!

                1. re: Allice98

                  Time for an engineer to develop a new small appliance that I don't need but will want nonetheless! Didn't think of the baguette toasting issue. And no, you're not a piggy--but I think you should consider being a toast scientist and doing some more work on data collection. Perhaps you can think of other things to toast that the likes of a toast philistine like me could never conceive of!

                  1. re: nofunlatte

                    On the flip side you can't toast really small things in a toaster either.... if the edge is too short to stick out of the toasters opening you can't use it.

                    Not unless you want to turn the toaster upside down to get things out so that the crumbs fall all over the counter and onto the floor.

                    But, I wouldn't know a thing about it....... nope! Not I!

              2. I had the same dilemma. After daily use, the door to my 7 year old under-the-cabinet toaster oven had to be propped closed for it to work. A fire hazard, I thought. I have a tiny kitchen with no counter space at all. Like yours, it never really did toast all that great but it was very handy and I could broil a chicken leg or bake a couple of cookies without much hassle. I thought about replacing it, but the manufacturer changed the design of their under-the-counter models so I'd have to buy a whole new assembly for a lot more money. I ended up buying a regular toaster made by Cuisinart and I haven't looked back. It actually toasts on the first go.

                If I were you, I'd use the broiler in my oven for melting cheese and the like. As for nuts, I use a cast iron skillet on my stove for that.