I’ve always found it interesting how an individual’s preference for kitchen supplies, appliances, and utensils is largely dictated by what they grew up with. For example, I grew up in a toaster household. We used it to toast all manner of carbs, and the occasional Pop Tart when my parents were feeling generous. To be honest, I didn’t really know much about toaster ovens until I had just graduated university and a friend invited me over to her apartment for dinner and used her toaster to roast garlic for an appetizer. My mind was blown.
So, what is the difference between a toaster and a toaster oven and which is right for you? It all comes down to three things.
- How much space do you have?
- How much time do you have?
- What kind of food do you eat?
Here’s what you need to know.
Toasters are ideal for “quick and easy”
In a perfect world, we’d all have enough space in our kitchens–heck, in our homes in general–to store every type of appliance imaginable. Whether we could ever use them all is a topic for another post, but I digress.
The great thing about toasters is that they take relatively little space as far as appliances are concerned, whether stored on your countertop or in a kitchen cupboard. Depending on your needs (and space), you can go with a basic two-slice model like this stainless steel one from Hamilton Beach, or a larger four-slicer like this one from Cuisinart. Either way, you are set to toast your bread, bagels, English Muffins and frozen pastries in minutes, which makes busy mornings a breeze.
You can just pop your breakfast of choice in the toaster and let it warm and brown while you brush your teeth, send the kids off to the school bus, or empty the litter box. In a nutshell, toasters are best for those who need simple, quick, toasting capabilities.
More time on your hands? Think about a toaster oven
Taking the whole “space, time, and food” trifecta into consideration, if you have more space (counter or otherwise), more time to prep meals, and perhaps enjoy more than just toasted bread, toaster ovens might be the right choice for you.A toaster oven will absolutely take up more space in your kitchen, regardless of where you store it, however, with a toaster oven, you can not only toast your morning bagel, but you can reheat leftovers, and even create delicious meals and snacks if you’ve got that culinary bend.
Like toasters, toaster ovens come in a variety of sizes, ranging from small, like this Mini Toaster Oven from Breville to not so small, like this Pro Convection Toaster Oven, also from Breville. They are actually pretty versatile appliances and you can find quite a variety of recipes online that cater specially to toaster ovens, but the one thing to keep in mind is that they are not nearly as quick and efficient as toasters. That morning bagel of yours will take much longer to toast in a toaster oven than it would in a toaster.
So, which is right for you? Just think about the trifecta of space, time, and food preference. If you’re like me and can barely brush your teeth before getting out of the door in the morning, a toaster is for you. If you’re one of those people I envy who has time to reheat leftovers or slowly toast a bagel in the morning while sipping your coffee, then a toaster oven is likely the route to go.