Even though both toasters and toaster ovens share a name and function, each comes with its own set of pros and cons. So which one is right for you? Here’s what you need to know.
Why you would opt for a toaster
A toaster is a tried and true counter-top appliance that has one job and does that one job well: toasting.
Main benefits of toasters
If all you need is an appliance that will toast your morning bagel to perfection, then look no further than a toaster. Generally speaking, because toasters do not rely on a rack, they give you a more even and consistent brown on your bread, bagel, or English muffin than do toaster ovens.
The other great thing about toasters is that they take up relatively little space, regardless of whether you store them on your countertop or in a cupboard. They are also lighter than your average toaster oven, so if you do need to store your toaster out of sight and out of mind, retrieving it in the morning won’t be a back-breaking ordeal.
Toasters are also very easy to keep clean. Most come with a crumb tray that can be easily removed, so you can shake all those loose crumbs directly into a wastebasket. Even if your toaster doesn’t come with a crumb tray, you can simply turn it upside down and shake out all those excess crumbs.
Toaster ovens are for more than just toast
If you want an appliance that not only toasts, but that also roasts, broils, bakes, and reheats, then a toaster oven is the right choice for you.
Main benefits of toaster ovens
Toaster ovens are much more versatile and adaptable kitchen appliances than are toasters. While they will still do a fine job toasting your slice of bread, they can also be used to perform many other cooking tasks typically associated with a standard oven.
For example, you can use a toaster oven to whip together the perfect tuna melt. Simply butter one side each of two pieces of bread. Spread your tuna mixture evenly on the non-buttered side of one piece of bread, add a slide of swiss or cheddar cheese, then place the other piece of bread on top, with the butter side facing up. Place your sandwich on a baking pan and back in your toaster oven for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Delish!
The capabilities of a toaster oven do not end there. From creating tuna melts and mini pizzas, to expanding your culinary chops with casseroles and roasts, toaster ovens are a fantastic for people who want a multi-use appliance, and who have the counter or cupboard space to house such an appliance.
When deciding between a toaster and a toaster oven, there are few things to consider: space, time, and variety. If counter or cupboard space is a premium in your home, or if all you need is something that will toast bread, then a toaster is the way to go. If you are looking for a little more versatility and like the idea of an appliance that can easily sub in for your oven, then a toaster oven might be better for you.