Some houses are small. If you live in a small house, you might also have a small kitchen. This makes fitting all the necessary appliances into your kitchen space quite difficult. For that reason, a lot of people want to save on space and find multi-functional devices that can deliver the same great results.
One of the most common debates is the toaster oven vs regular toaster argument. Can a toaster oven do everything a regular toaster can? Do I need to worry about energy efficiency? Is one more accurate than the other? Is one a bigger health risk than the other?
I did some investigating into which device is better. To be totally honest, I have both appliances and make the most of both of them. I probably use them both every day, especially my regular toaster at breakfast time. But is one better than the other?
Table of contents
- What are the differences between a toaster oven and a regular toaster?
- Is a toaster oven more efficient than a regular toaster?
- Is a toaster oven more accurate than a regular toaster?
- Is a toaster oven a bigger health risk than a regular toaster?
What are the differences between a toaster oven and a regular toaster?
There’s a lot of differences. Despite both having toaster in the name, toaster ovens and regular toasters are very dissimilar devices. This means that their functions are very different and you can use them to cook different dishes.
Most toaster ovens are in the shape of the cooking cavity of a conventional oven, but they are small enough to fit onto a kitchen worktop. This means that they are excellent devices for people that want to save on the space that a conventional oven takes up in a kitchen. Many also come with toaster slots and pizza slots, which means you can cook toast as well as larger dishes without any issues.
Toasters, on the other hand, are designed for one purpose. They cook toast (or any other bread sized snack) and they do it very well. They aren’t very versatile, but they don’t take up much space and toast bread better than any other device that is available.
Similarly, a toaster can be stored away easily. Toaster ovens are generally a lot bigger and this means that they usually stay on the kitchen worktop. Unless you have very large cupboards with plenty of spare room, you will need to make space for your toaster oven to permanently be on display.
Is a toaster oven more efficient than a regular toaster?
Toaster ovens are very energy efficient, but due to the simplicity of a regular toaster, they are always more energy efficient. As they are simple machines that only use a small amount of electricity to superheat elements, they save on having to heat up an entire cooking cavity.
In terms of raw numbers, toasters need around 800 to 1,500 watts per hour to function. Most mid-range toasters fall on the lower end of that scale unless they are designed for cooking larger and thicker slices of bread or have additional functions. Because a toaster is rarely on for more than 10 minutes (and even then, that’s for the slowest toasters on the market), you really only spend about 2 to 3 cents for every batch of toast you make.
Toaster ovens, however, use around 1,300 to 2,000 watts per hour. This isn’t a massive difference if you are using some of the more energy hungry devices, but it is still more. As toaster ovens also tend to be used to cook larger dishes, they will also need more energy over the long term.
For an energy efficient device, the toaster is the only winner. The problem for toasters, though, is that they’re not very versatile. If you only want to eat toast, they’re great. But if you need anything else, they’re going to let you down.
Is a toaster oven more accurate than a regular toaster?
This again comes down to a matter of scope. For cooking bread, a regular toaster is always going to win. But if you need to eat something else (which we all do), the answer becomes a bit more difficult.
Toasters are incredibly accurate for cooking toast. That’s what they’re designed for. They can give you the best toast that any appliance can make in a few minutes. This is great if you need toast for breakfast because you can get the correct crunchiness and bite simply by pushing down the lever.
Whereas toasters make perfect toast, toaster ovens might cook your bread and leave it a little soft. Instead of superheating the air inside the toaster, they work by heating up an entire cooking cavity. This means that they don’t cook as evenly as regular toasters. This is especially true if you own a convection toaster oven (like me).
But the question falls away again because toasters can only really cook toast. If you need a device which can cook a range of dishes accurately, you need more than a regular toaster.
Is a toaster oven a bigger health risk than a regular toaster?
We all worry about the health risks of cooking with our appliances, but neither device is especially dangerous when used correctly. If any of your devices seem to be broken or just not working how they usually do, unplug them and look into getting them repaired or replaced.
Toasters can be very dangerous when using incorrectly. As they send an electric charge from the grid to the internal elements, there is an electrical current flowing through the device. This is why you should never put metal implements into a toaster, especially when it is turned on. Similarly, they superheat the air inside, so getting a nasty burn is very easy if you’re too keen to get your toaster out.
Toaster ovens have been reported to blow from time to time. They have a large cooking element which can turn into a dangerous piece of metal if it breaks. This can lead to small explosions or, if you have a glass fronted appliance, shattered glass.
Use your toaster correctly and clean the element when cool to make sure you avoid this happening.
If you’re wondering “can I use a toaster oven instead of a regular toaster?”, the answer is yes. If you’re also thinking “can I use a toaster oven instead of a regular oven?”, the answer is also largely yes (but it depends on the size of the dishes you want to cook).
Toaster ovens are the winners for me because they can cook a variety of dishes. Even though a toaster would win most comparisons in a head-to-head competition when we are talking about cooking bread, the toaster oven wins at everything else.