What’s the Best American-Made Toaster Oven? How should you pick the best toaster oven, and which ones are made in America rather than China? Don’t fret, I’ve taken a look at a few for you.
The Black and Decker
This is the product that comes to everyone’s mind when they think “toaster oven”. It’s small, looks acceptable, has three knobs to turn, and a fair amount of space. It’s light enough to move around easily, but not so light that it can get brushed out of the way by accident. The make is sturdy, and can definitely accommodate tight spaces or having items piled on top of it, though they may get a bit hot. It’s also pretty darn good, able to heat up quite quickly and is built to last. It won’t win any awards for looking good, but hey, it’s pretty darn functional.
The B&D is a great alternative or supplement to microwave ovens and can come in handy a lot of the time. Making toast is just as fast as in an actual toaster, and having another oven means that you can cook things which require different temperatures on busy days like Thanksgiving. Personally, I like to use mine to make micro pizzas, roasted vegetables, and also to toast bagels. There are entire cooking books which you could easily execute exclusively with the Black and Decker, all with the benefit of not using any gas, which can get quite expensive.
Did I mention that this toaster oven is quite efficient in its electricity use? An internal temperature sensor keeps the heating coils on only as long as necessary, intelligently switching them off afterward. This is where the good toaster ovens are separated from the mediocre toaster ovens. The Black and Decker’s front glass is actually a double layer which is well-insulated, meaning that less energy is required to get to and maintain temperature. Pretty good for an appliance that you’ll be using a lot.
The Black and Decker model also gets points for being easy to clean, although this is a relatively standard feature for toaster ovens. The crumb tray and oven rack pop right out, so there’s no excuse for them to get dirty. Thankfully, they’re also made of metal which cools extremely quickly. The mechanical timer on the front has a delightfully consistent ticking noise, and a pleasant bell which rings when the timer has run out. The intense warrantee that is provided means that you don’t have to fear silly breakages of the timer or bell; all of it is taken care of for you, so fire up the oven as frequently as you desire.
Broiling is quick and easy, and the oven can accommodate a personal pizza without trouble. Anything much larger than that is going to have some issues, though. You might be better off going with a regular microwave to heat up especially large slices of pizza, or entire pizzas. Nonetheless, the B&D looks at home in any kitchen, and is definitely American made at the B&D factory.
Black and Decker’s history of quality engineering is well-fought, resulting in their toaster oven being one of the bestsellers nationwide. I highly recommend getting yourself the Black and Decker.
The Oster Convection Oven
The Oster convection oven isn’t a traditional toaster oven, but it’s still pretty good. Having a slightly larger capacity than the Black and Decker as well as a digitized user interface, the Oster is an effective toaster oven.
The Oster is a bit larger than other toaster ovens, which may cause some issues. Also, the vents on the sides of the Oster get blazingly hot—obviously so, but it still means that it needs a bit more counter space to safely use. The main appeal of the Oster relative to a traditional toaster oven are its increased capacity and slightly increased temperature range. Unfortunately, the Oster is a bit over-engineered for the task of being a toaster oven. It’s more complicated than it needs to be, and isn’t as easy to clean as some of the others.
The Breville Smart Oven
The Smart Oven by Breville is another example of a great toaster oven that may be a bit over-engineered. The Breville marries the digitization of the Oster with the capacity and knob-control of the B&D. The end result is a toaster oven with superior control over temperature, and insulation bar none. This is the Cadillac of the toaster ovens.
Unfortunately, there are a few user experience issues with the Breville—it has four knobs, two buttons, and a digital display. This is overkill, considering that it’s a toaster oven and not a space shuttle. The Breville makes up for it with a cheerful exterior that screams “dorm room” a bit less than the other toaster ovens on this list, but it still looks like a standard appliance.
The Westinghouse Toaster Oven
This is another standard toaster oven, but it looks a bit more swanky than the others. With that being said, it has an average capacity an average timer, and a less-than-granular temperature knob. Though it looks good, the Westinghouse suffers from a timer which can be temperamental, as well as a temperature knob that doesn’t have sufficient markings to be precise with temperature selection.
The insulation of the Westinghouse toaster oven isn’t bad at all, although it’s slightly less effective than the others, making it less efficient. This is paired with a problematic door handle, which can become extremely hot, as it is made out of heat-conductive metal. Over all, the Westinghouse is a pick for those who can’t stand a toaster oven that grabs attention with poor aesthetics.
So, which should I buy?
There isn’t much of a contest here. Buy the Black and Decker toaster oven. It’s a standard addition to every kitchen or dorm room, American made, durable, and sublimely effective for the task that it’s built for. The capacity of the B&D toaster oven is sufficient for making toasts, small pizzas, bagels, or any number of other dishes. Relative to the others, the B&D has the best insulation, is extremely user friendly, electricity efficient, and easy to clean. The warrantee ensures that you’ll get your money’s worth. Sure, it may not look like much, but it’s a toaster oven, not a statue.