Electric ovens take up a lot of space in a kitchen, but they do have the benefit of being friendlier to our planet than gas ovens. If you can use an electric oven instead of a gas oven, you should. But who would be the winner in the battle of the electric oven vs the toaster oven?
For many people (including myself), keeping a neat and tidy kitchen is a top priority. This means you need devices that can give you good results, especially if they’re going to take up a lot of space. This is why some people prefer to use toaster ovens – they’re smaller and more energy efficient than electric ovens.
But should we side for a toaster oven over an electric oven? I did some investigating and tried to focus on 4 key areas: cooking times, the accuracy of cooking, energy efficiency, and safety / the effects on our health. I’ve put together my research below so you can learn everything you need to get the most out of your kitchen appliances.
Table of contents
- What’s the difference between an electric oven and a toaster oven?
- Does an electric oven cook faster than a toaster oven?
- Is an electric oven more accurate than a toaster oven?
- Is an electric oven more energy efficient than a toaster oven?
- Is an electric oven healthier than a toaster oven?
What’s the difference between an electric oven and a toaster oven?
There’s one big difference between an electric oven and a toaster oven – the size. Whereas toaster ovens are designed to be kitchen worktop sized, small devices, ovens take up a substantial part of a kitchen.
Unlike a lot of ovens, electric ovens used (as the name suggests) electricity to heat up the element. This is the same as a toaster oven and makes both devices quite similar to the smaller regular toasters.
Both devices are also capable of cooking a large variety of food. Because they can make the most of their cooking cavities, you can load a dish into the oven or toaster oven and let it cook. You are only restricted by what you can actually fit into the appliance.
Size really is the main difference between the appliances. Whereas you should be able to cook smaller dishes like a roast chicken or a small beef joint in a toaster oven, cooking a full sized turkey is going to need an oven. If you use electric ovens, you are also being a little kinder to the planet.
Does an electric oven cook faster than a toaster oven?
Yes, they are usually faster due to the size of the cooking cavity. They can get more heat circulating around the dish. This means that your food is exposed to more heat and can cook faster.
To ensure the best level of cooking, getting an electric convection oven might be the right choice for you. These devices circulate the heat evenly, sometimes by the use of a fan (although fan ovens are slightly different again).
This difference isn’t massive though – my toaster oven can roast a chicken at a very similar speed to my regular oven. It needs 5 minutes extra to get the right level of crispiness and cooked all the way through. If you are using a convection electric oven, you might find that a toaster oven can perform the same tasks in about the same time.
Is an electric oven more accurate than a toaster oven?
This is a difficult one because I can’t say I’ve found a big difference. Both appliances can cook evenly and give you a great finish if you have good cooking techniques and know what you are doing.
My electric oven is great for cooking chickens. I haven’t found that I have any cold spots in my oven, so this means that the chickens always come out nicely cooked through and with good crispiness to their skin. I’ve been especially happy when cooking larger poultry in my electric oven like turkeys.
Toaster ovens are smaller. That means you’re less likely to have a cold spot. My one can cook a chicken evenly and get a good level of crispness on the skin. I find that because the appliance is slightly weaker (as it only uses one element), getting enough heat to blast the skin has been a bit difficult.
I’m going to call this one a tie – they both cook accurately enough for my needs. If I was forced to choose a winner, I might say electric oven but it’s too close to call for me.
Is an electric oven more energy efficient than a toaster oven?
No, even though an electric oven is generally better for the environment than most ovens. Although the size of an electric oven is usually a bonus, this is a case where it really holds the appliance back.
Electric ovens usually need around 2000-2200 watts per hour to get to their optimal temperature. This isn’t a huge amount and works out to around 25 cents for every hour you spend cooking something.
However, toaster ovens are more efficient because they only need 1200-1700 watts per hour. That’s a whole kilowatt less. This means that you are saving both your wallet and the planet in the long run.
For energy efficiency, the toaster oven is better. As toaster ovens are also generally used for smaller dishes, you might also find that you use the device for less time than an electric oven. This means that you spend even less simply by using the device for less time.
Is an electric oven healthier than a toaster oven?
Neither device is really healthier than the other. Electric ovens aren’t risks for gas leaks and are less powerful than their gas oven cousins. This means you are less likely to cause burning to food, which means you can avoid the long-term health implications of eating burnt, carbon-crusted food.
Toaster ovens and electric ovens have similar stories concerning glass cracking and shattered glass becoming a health risk. If you use your devices properly, keep them clean, and check for anything that needs fixing often, both these appliances can be used safely.
I’m going to be controversial now – the toaster oven is the better device. Despite the larger cooking cavity of an electric oven, it’s not as good in two key areas: saving space and energy efficiency.
Saving the planet is good for everyone, but saving your wallet is good for you. Finding a device that can give you excellent results while also saving you money is a dream. For that reason, I love my toaster oven and use it whenever I can. My electric oven is still good for when I need to cook a big dish, but I like saving money too much to use it as often as some other people.