The newest batch of toaster ovens do a lot more than brown sliced bread. Yes, they make toast, but these multi-tasking countertop ovens can do anything from bake to broil, roast to reheat and even air fry, proof, dehydrate or serve as convection ovens.
We put nine leading models through a battery of tests, toasting and baking dozens of slices of bread, defrosting waffles and frozen snacks, baking cookies and more, and in the end we came up with a couple of great, versatile ovens that deserve a home in your kitchen.
Best toaster oven overall: Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven TOB-260N1
$278.97 at Amazon
The Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster aced all our cooking tests, giving the most evenly toasted bread, perfectly browned, crisp frozen waffles, frozen potato skins that came to internal temperature in just 15 minutes with melted cheese that didn’t burn (something that happened in most of other models), and cookies with perfectly uniform tops and bottoms that had our kids begging for a new batch nightly. The french fries cooked using the convection setting turned out as good as any we’ve baked in an air fryer.
It also topped the competition when it came to included accessories. Cuisinart includes two cooking racks, a 9-by-13-inch enamel baking/drip pan, broiling pan, crumb tray and 13-inch pizza stone. Its spacious interior (which fits nine slices of bread, a quarter sheet pan or a 13-inch pizza) features four rack positions and a nonstick interior making cleanup easy, and gets extra points for its auto-slide middle rack, which attaches to hooks that pull it part-way out when you open the door — making access much easier.
We also appreciate the interior light, which you can turn on or off whenever you like, as in a traditional oven, because many of the models we tested only allow you to see the cooking/toasting progress by opening the door, thus losing heat while you cook.
The high-speed machine boasts an impressive 15 cooking functions (toast, bagel, waffle, dual cook, bake, broil, roast, pizza, sandwich, keep warm, leftovers, plus 30 seconds, two convection cooking settings and defrost) and seven toasting shades. 1800 watts of power are managed by what Cuisinart calls the “Exact Heat” sensor, which monitors internal temperature and adjusts the five heating elements to maintain the desired temperature through the cooking cycle. In our testing, it consistently delivered even heat from front to back and side to side.
The Cuisinart Chef’s intuitive, sleek display is large and easy to read, and the backlit LCD screen and selector dial are a cinch to operate. Beyond the expected stop and start functions, front panel buttons let you run the convection fan in any mode, choose faster or slower convection speeds, and add 30 seconds to your cook time (handy if you didn’t quite get your toast dark enough). You can also access dual cook mode, unique among the models we tested, which allows you to select and consecutively run any two functions or temperatures: For example, set it to bake nachos at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, then switch to broil at 500 degrees for 5 minutes.
But while we loved this model, it wasn’t perfect. It weighs about 32 pounds, and at 21 inches wide by 17 inches deep by 11.5 inches high, the stainless steel appliance was among the larger toaster ovens we tested. And not ideal for those with limited counter or cabinet space. Given its larger size, we weren’t surprised that It wasn’t the fastest to preheat, though it was faster than the similarly bulky Panasonic FlashXpress. Lastly, it doesn’t have an air fryer mode, though we found its high convection gave crispy results comparable to the models we tested that did offer the popular setting.
The Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven is big, and it’s one of the most expensive toaster ovens we tested. But when you factor in its three-year warranty, superior results and versatility, it’s worth it — especially if you, like us, quickly find yourself using it more than your regular oven (a godsend in the hot summer months).
Best air fryer toaster oven: KitchenAid Countertop Oven With Air Fry KCO124
$219.99 $189.99 at Amazon
With a streamlined black matte design and unobtrusive, simple controls aligned across the bottom of the appliance’s front panel the KitchenAid Countertop Oven with Air Fry is an instant standout on style. And, as we discovered in testing, its performance holds up to its aesthetics.
Of the toaster ovens we tested with air fryer functionality, however, the KitchenAid was the best performer. We loved that the included air fryer basket slid in and out of the appliance more easily than on any of the other ovens we tested, as it made it easier to give that needed shake or flip halfway through the cooking cycle.
The KitchenAid is smaller than the Cuisinart, and has four heating elements, nine cooking settings (proof, dehydrate, toast, air fry, bagel, bake, broil, reheat and keep warm), plus air fryer and convection oven options and eight toast shades. We liked the simplicity of its interface, too: Use a dial to choose the cooking function, a dial to choose the time and temperature, a digital display for progress updates and simple start, cancel and frozen buttons. It comes with a baking pan, grill rack, crumb tray, metal rack and air fry basket.
Like our overall pick, the Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster, it boasts 1800 watts of power, a nonstick interior coating for easy cleanup and it delivered great testing results. It didn’t preheat as quickly as the Cuisinart, but once up to temperature the KitchenAid did as well as the Cuisinart Chef’s, offering an even bake, and it matched the performance of its convection setting as well, cooking french fries that came out super crisp on the outside and nice and soft inside. It lagged behind as a toaster, with room for just six slices to the Cuisinart’s nine, and while it produced an even golden color on the tops of our test slices, the bottom surface was more uneven. That said, it outperformed most of the competition, none of which matched a dedicated toaster in this respect.
Overall, temperature management was not quite as precise as the Cuisnart, though this affected performance only slightly. The potato skins needed an extra few minutes to cook compared to our winner and showed a bit of charring on top, but the cheese melted just right and the skins were nice and crisp. The waffles, however, took a little experimenting, as the KitchenAid has no dedicated setting. We started with the bagel setting, but that didn’t cook them long enough, then adjusted the darkness level on the toast setting, which was better, but left some dark spots on the bottoms.
The KitchenAid weighs in at 21 pounds; lighter than the Cuisinart but you likely won’t be putting it away between uses in any case. More importantly, at 17 inches wide, 11.3 inches high and 16 inches deep, it’s shorter, narrower, and shallower than the Cuisinart, making it a great option for those with more limited counter space.
So, while this model got top marks for build, looks and high performance, the Cuisinart Chef’s Convection toaster oven fared better in our tests and had more versatility. However, if air fry capability is important to you, the KitchenAid, also about $90 cheaper than the first-place winner, won’t disappoint.
How to choose a toaster oven
If you’re simply toasting bread, waffles or bagels, a regular two or four-slice toaster does the job just fine. But today’s countertop ovens offer so much versatility and convenience — “toaster ovens” barely captures what they do — that once you invest in a good model, you’ll likely never go back to a plain ol’ toaster again.
These ovens do take up quite a bit of room on your counter. But you won’t mind leaving them out all the time because they come in so handy. They are especially helpful during hotter weather, when you can bake anything — from cookies to pizza to fries to a whole chicken — without heating up the house with your traditional oven. It’s also helpful that on all of the toasters we tested, the interfaces are all so easy to operate, you’ll be able to start cooking without referring to the manual.
Most of the models we tested feature nonstick inner surfaces, adjustable wire racks and baking pans and they all include removable crumb/drip trays. Some models included extra racks, broiler pans, pizza pans and stones, and air fry baskets, so while you’re shopping you’ll want to look for the accessories that suit your favorite recipes.
We generally found the air fryer functions do not work as well as the best air fryers, especially because it’s difficult to get that crucial halfway-done shake or food flip with a shallow basket that, many times, has to be removed from the oven. While everal of the ovens we tested included convection fans, that help circulate hot air, cooking food faster and leaving it crisper outside — you can typically get “air fryer” like results from these modes, even on ovens that don’t have a dedicated function, aside from preparation methods dependent on seasoning or flipping and shaking using a basket.
The models we tested range in power from 1300 to 1800 watts and all provided a number of functions/cooking modes, a wide temperature range (usually about 150-450 degrees) and a variety of toasting shades. The number of heating elements ranged from two to five and some used sensors or smart technology to monitor and adjust temperature. Some did not require preheating, while others did, typically alerting you to preheating status on a digital screen, much like a traditional oven, but with their smaller chambers took far less time to reach the desired temperature (usually in five minutes or less).
All the toaster ovens we tested recommend hand-washing for all included accessories, save the Wolf, where the crumb tray, baking pan and broil rack are dishwasher safe. That said, we have some expert tips on keeping your toaster clean if things get really grimy.
How we tested
Our testing pool included nine toaster ovens ranging in price from $58 to $750; some included special features such as convection oven, air fry, dehydrator, bread proofing and more. When pertinent, we additionally tested those cooking modes.
While all the models performed well in our toasting and cooking tests, which included making toast, waffles, frozen potato skins, refrigerated break apart and bake cookies, as well as crispy chickpeas for air fry modes and frozen french fries for convection modes. Some toaster ovens did a better job when it came to achieving an even browning, better crisping, faster preheating and more. We also found differences in interface, included accessories and versatility.
To test performance, we used four typical recipes you’d prepare in a toaster oven in all models.
- Toast: We used the same ordinary white bread in each machine, selecting a medium darkness shade and placing as many slices as would fit on each rack (four to nine depending on the size of the oven). We checked for color and evenness on front and back, also noting how long it took to toast the bread.
- Waffles: We used the same frozen waffles, using the waffle function when available, or the toast or bagel function when no waffle function was present. Again, we noted color, evenness on front and back and the time it took to toast the waffles.
- Potato skins: Using the same store-bought frozen potato skins, we heated them according to package directions, noting the consistency of the melted cheese, how dark or burned the tops got, the crispness of the outside and tenderness of the potato. We also used a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the skins once the timer went off to see if they met the optimal temp of 165 degrees.
- Cookies: We baked the same break apart-and-bake chocolate chip cookie dough in each toaster oven, using the bake or cookie setting, if present, with all set at the same temperature and for the same amount of time. We checked for evenness of bake on top and bottom, whether they were over- or undercooked and noted how many cookies could comfortably fit on each foil-lined baking pan.
For models featuring air fry, we made the same crispy chickpea recipe, checking for crispness, evenness of cooking and noting how long each batch needed to cook to reach optimum doneness. For convection ovens, we made frozen crinkle-cut french fries and roasted veggies, again noting how evenly they cooked, crispness vs. softness and time.
While testing, also used an oven thermometer to record how long it took each toaster oven to reach 350 degrees and took special note of the overall build and power wattage, size and weight, number of functions or modes, temperature range, number of toasting shades, number and type of heating elements, ease of set up, interface, parts or accessories included and how easy they were to clean (most parts of most models were not dishwasher safe).
We also looked at warranty coverage, customer service accessibility, and price — not just paying attention to affordability, but in particular, making sure that any higher-priced models we examined were worth the additional cost over budget models.
Other toaster ovens we tested
$169.99 $157.68 at Amazon
There’s a lot to love about this compact, stainless steel toaster oven. The smallest of those we tested, it can be stored away in a large cabinet, making it ideal for those short on counter space. Featuring six cooking functions (toast, waffle/frozen, roll/reheat, pizza/frozen, quick/reheat and hash brown/frozen), it has five shade controls and a wide temperature range (250 to 500 degrees). We loved the auto-eject rack that makes access a cinch, gave it high praise for its performance on waffles (“They were perfectly soft inside, crunchy on the outside and perfectly warm so the butter melted elegantly,” our teenage Eggo aficionado reviewed) and we appreciated that one of the dual heating elements acted as an interior light so you could easily see what was going on inside. It also doesn’t require preheating time, so if you’re reheating a couple slices of pizza or warming up a sandwich, your food will be ready in just a few minutes. Nits? Because of the small size, it can’t handle more than four slices of bread at a time, you can’t add time or change the temperature while you’re cooking and the temperature presets are set at odd intervals (for example, 355, 390, 425, 460, etc.). But as the most affordable of those we tested, for single cooks or those setting up their first kitchens, this is an excellent choice.
$180 at Amazon
Just a bit smaller than our overall winner, the Cuisinart Deluxe is roomy enough to bake a 12-inch pizza, easily toasts six slices of bread at a time, and has nine cooking functions (toast, bagel, warm, bake, broil, reheat, defrost, convection bake and convection broil) and seven browning shades. Its adjustable thermostat allows you to choose from temps from 150-500 degrees in 25-degree increments and it comes with an oven rack, broiling rack, crumb tray and baking/drip pan. The blue backlit LCD digital display and selector dial and buttons are intuitive and easy to operate and, like the Chef’s version, the “Exact Heat” sensor keeps an even temperature throughout the cooking process. Unsurprisingly, it performed well on most of our cooking tests, with one of the faster preheat times. But the winner was much better on the convection setting (the Deluxe results were uneven, with some fries burnt and some not fully cooked). And, for the same price, we got better performance from the KitchenAid.
$229.99 $129.99 at Target
Cuisinart’s air fry toaster oven is smaller, but taller, than the Chef’s and Deluxe versions, which placed it too close for comfort to our cabinets. We found it performed similarly to the Deluxe, giving us very crisp toast that tasted great, but with uneven color and darker spots on the bottoms. We also noticed bread and waffles placed closest to the door turned out lighter than those in the back of the oven, a sign of uneven heat distribution. The timer also threw us for a loop — the indicator starts at 10 minutes, so if you want to bake for less time you have to guess where to set the dial — not great for things like cookies. It wasn’t our favorite air fryer, either — better than the Hamilton Beach, but not as good as the KitchenAid. The shallow basket was tricky to shake (we lost some chickpea soldiers) and some started to burn while others were still cooking.
$269.95 at Williams-Sonoma
Like all Breville appliances we’ve tested over the years, the Australian brand’s 1800-watt Smart Oven performed well. Smaller than the Cuisinart Chef’s oven, it’s big enough to hold six slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza, and has nine cooking functions (convection, frozen, toast, bagel, bake, broil, pizza, cookie, reheat and warm), seven toast shades and temperature control from 140 to 450 degrees that can be adjusted in 10-degree increments. It has top, middle and bottom rack positions and we love the magnetic auto-eject rack that ejects the rack halfway when you open the door, allowing for easier removal of food. It also includes a 12-by-12-inch baking pan and broiling pan, nonstick pizza pan, wire rack and crumb tray and an “Element IQ” smart heating system that transfers heat across five quartz elements. We love the easy dials and LCD screen and nonstick inner walls for simple cleanup. But it doesn’t have an interior light, the Cuisinart’s pizza stone gave us a much crisper crust than Breville’s metal pan, the Breville’s convection mode must be turned off manually, which can be a bit annoying and it was one of the slower models to preheat to 350 degrees.
$190 at Williams-Sonoma
Much like its counterpart, the compact version of Breville’s Smart Oven does a great job overall. It tied for first in our cookie baking test, giving a totally even bake and tied for second on the rest — not delivering the perfect evenness as our winners but still making great toast, waffles, potato skins and fries. It shares many features with its big sister: Element IQ, a nonstick interior, easy-to-use controls, the same temperature range and toast shades. It has one fewer cooking function (no convection) and comes with a 10-by-10-inch enamel baking tray and broiling rack, and the same one-year limited warranty. Just note: Compact means compact. Able to hold just four slices of bread at a time, it’s great for small spaces, but not so great for feeding a larger family. But our biggest negative was that there were no lips on the sides of the rack, so it kept sliding all the way out of the oven when we tried to remove it, often even slipping out of our oven mitt and onto the open door — not a good thing when dealing with hot food.
$79.99 $58 at Amazon
Called the “Easy Reach” thanks to its roll-top door, we found that the design made accessing the toaster oven more difficult in practice. With one of the most compact designs, it’s a tight fit to toast six slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza as advertised. The model we tested (which, we must note, arrived dented in on the top, perhaps due to a shipping mishap — we don’t believe this affected performance) is pared down compared to the other models with toast, bake, broil and air fry modes. It also only has two toasting modes — light or dark — and comes with a metal mesh air fry basket, baking pan, broil rack and crumb tray. With 1400 watts of power it performed well on our toast and waffle tests with nice browning and fairly consistent evenness. The potato skins were pretty burnt on top, though, and it did the worst job of the lot on cookies, which were unevenly browned on the tops and undercooked in the middle. However, with a five-year limited warranty at its low price, the Easy Reach could still be a good choice for someone with a small space or first apartment who will primarily use it for basic toasting, warming or reheating, but we think it’s worth spending more for the Panasonic if you can stretch your budget.
$749.95 at Williams-Sonoma
Yes, $750 is a lot for a toaster oven. At almost three times the price of our winning model, it costs as much as some full-sized ovens. But, man, does this thing perform. But to put that in context, if you’ve always wanted a second oven, but don’t have the space for a built-in one, this may be the next best thing. It’s larger than any of the other models we looked at and weighs nearly 50 pounds, but for those with the counter space it may make sense, especially with oven-like features including an integrated temperature probe. It also comes with a generous five-year limited warranty. The Wolf crushed our potato skins, cookies and french fry tests, but while it toasted bread and waffles nice and evenly, it took a long time to do so: almost nine minutes for the toast and more than seven minutes for the waffles. So, yes, it’s a great countertop oven, but unless you really need the extra space the Cuisinart Chef’s oven wins out overall for the great majority of home cooks.