Toaster vs. Toaster Oven: Do You Know the Real Difference?
When you want to toast something, whether it is a few slices of bread, a bagel, waffles, or even a muffin, the toaster and toaster oven are the two kitchen equipment that comes to mind. While many people use the two interchangeably and sound like the same thing, they are different machines. Each works well for a specific situation and hence the need to know their difference.
Toaster vs. Toaster Oven
1. Space-Saving: Toasters Hardly Take up Any Significant Counter Space
A regular toaster is the best option for those with limited kitchen counter space when deciding between the two appliances. Most are small and compact to ensure they hardly take up any significant space in the kitchen. Even the largest toasters will hardly be more than 15 inches long, and they are often under 10 inches wide.
On the other hand, toaster ovens are relatively larger as most tend to be the size of a standard microwave or sometimes just a little smaller or larger. The smallest and basic models without too much room inside are still over 15 inches long. Hence, even the most compact toaster ovens still take up more space than regular toasters.
2. Even and Consistent Browning: Toasters are Unbeatable Here
If you are very keen on the quality of toasting you get on your bread, it is better to stick with a traditional toaster. These tools are made specifically for toasting bread. Hence, everything from the heating coils' size to their placement is meat to ensure you get the most even and consistent browning. Better still, they have different browning levels to allow you to choose the ideal one for you.
Toaster ovens are still effective enough at toasting bread, and most people will hardly tell the difference between the bread they toast and one toasted on a regular toaster unless they do it side by side. However, they take much longer to heat up, and the heating elements are far away from the bread, meaning they will not deliver consistent browning.
3. Versatility: Toaster Oven Does Much More than Roasting Bread
A toaster oven will be a more useful tool to have around than a regular toaster when it comes to versatility. A toaster oven design is more like a conventional oven, except it is smaller and a little underpowered. However, what this means is it can do most of the things a regular oven can do, such as broil, bake, or warm food besides toasting bread.
Toasters are dedicated tools only good for toasting food. However, besides bread, they can toast various other things such as waffles and bagels. Therefore, anything that can fit in the toaster sloats can be toasted.
4. Ease to Use and Clean: Both are Straightforward to Use
These tools are pretty much straightforward to use for anyone. With a regular toaster, you only need to place the bread and choose your preferred setting, and your bread will be ready in as little as one minute.
Toaster ovens require some preheating. Once it is ready, you only have to place food inside and choose your preferred cooking mode before finishing by setting the cooking time, and then you have to wait for the food to cook.
When it comes to cleaning, both do not take a lot of work. However, if you have an older toaster model that does not have a crumb tray, it can take more effort to remove the crumbs inside. For the toaster oven, cleaning is always a breeze because besides having a crumb or drip tray, the interior is easily accessible.
5. Average Cost: Regular Toasters are More Budget-Friendly
While both the toaster and toaster oven are available in various models that come in varying price ranges, the former is the cheaper of the two in most instances. You can get a simple toaster for as little as $15, and even the most feature-rich or advanced models hardly go past the $100 mark.
For the toaster oven, prices of the small capacity and basic models start at around $50. But, if you prefer something fancier with a higher capacity or is even more versatile, you should be ready to part with at least $200.
The choice between the toaster and toaster oven largely depends on your personal preferences and other factors like the appliance's specific purpose.
With that in mind, if you are shopping for something exclusively for toasting bread and provides more even browning and does not cost much, go with a regular toaster.
However, for those that prefer a versatile appliance for doing much more than just toast bread, a toaster oven is the more appropriate tool of the two.