Tips for choosing a quality, efficient model
The best convection toaster oven should save you time, money, and space – time because convection toaster ovens can bake, broil, roast, or toast faster than a regular toaster oven (or even a regular range oven), money because you can buy good quality convection toaster ovens for under $100, and space, because if your kitchen is really small and you don’t have room for a full cooking range, they can do just about anything a regular range oven could do (other than the Thanksgiving turkey) and they can toast your raisin bread to boot!
Convection toaster ovens save energy in a number of ways. In the first place, their small interior space warms up faster than a regular range oven, and takes less heat to warm. If you are just baking something small or heating up bread or rolls, it will take far less electricity to heat a small convection toaster oven than a regular range oven. And compared to a non-convection range oven, the best convection toaster oven will cook things much faster, because the convection process (which involves blowing the hot air around in the oven, as opposed to just letting natural convection move the air slowly around in a traditional oven) causes a much higher rate of heat exchange between the air and the items being cooked. This results in faster cooking, which gives less time for heat to escape through the walls of the oven, which in turn saves energy. In general, you can drop the temperature setting on a convection oven by about 25-30F compared to the equivalent standard oven, and cook for the same length of time, with equivalent results.
For large items or where you bake a lot of something at once (for instance, a big batch of cookies, or four loaves of bread), a regular range oven will be more energy efficient, especially a self-cleaning oven or a convection range or wall oven, because they tend to be made with thicker frames and therefore can hold a lot more insulation. This is one thing to bear in mind about looking for the best convection toaster oven: even the ones with the highest customer ratings do tend to get quite hot to the touch on the outside, so you want to make sure they’re placed on the countertop rather than sliding them into a shelf in your kitchen cabinetry.
There are a number of brands on the market; as with other types of appliances, it’s quite likely that most convection toaster ovens are made in one factory in China and different brands simply choose a style, capacity, and a set of features, and order their ‘special’ convection toaster oven in bulk. But the Bravetti or Euro-Pro line appears to have a number of high-quality products that get rave reviews, so both my best convection toaster oven picks are in this line.
Bravetti 6-slice convection toaster oven
The Bravetti 6-slice unit made by Euro-Pro is probably the best convection toaster oven on the market. What other appliance under $100 can you buy that can roast a whole chicken or a beef or pork roast perfectly, and that can serve up your morning toast? In terms of quality it gets high ratings, which in its price point is a good sign, since with many of these cheaper toaster ovens you get what you pay for. It has three racks, and although rated 6-slice can actually accommodate up to 8 slices depending on the bread.
Cooking modes include convection bake, broil, rotisserie, toast, and keep-warm. You can use it to roast a chicken on the rotisserie, bake mini pizzas or reheat a slice, bake bread, muffins, a birthday cake, or a small batch of cookies, or toast enough English muffins to feed six people at once! In fact, unless you plan to roast a turkey, once you have this best convection toaster oven you may never need to use your regular oven again.
It has a 60-minute timer with auto-shutoff and bell, and can heat up to 450F. Bear in mind that this is a large unit , about 12 inches deep by 17 inches wide; you’ll need a good spread of counterspace to accommodate it. The good news is that this may well become the kitchen appliance you use the most. If you’re doing a kitchen renovation as we are, and need to temporarily relocate the kitchen to the basement while the contractors gut everything, you can use this best convection toaster oven to cook just about everything you might want to eat. (A crock pot would be a close second choice.)
As with any convection toaster oven, you need to bear in mind that the oven size creates challenges for cooking some larger items. For example, if you have a casserole that almost fills the width of the oven, it becomes harder to pull out than in a regular oven where you can reach around the casserole. The same applies for a roasting pan or any other heavy item. For lighter items such as pizzas or cookie trays it’s relatively easy to just slide the item out from the front.
The only downside to the quality story for this toaster oven is that the timer is not as well built as it could be. Make sure you buy from a reputable online or retail dealer so that if you run into problems with the timer you can return it for warranty replacement or repair. When the timer stops working you will find it operates as a simple on-off switch, which is not ideal for making toast but is manageable for other longer-running functions.
I have not been able to source an online supplier for this best convection toaster oven but you may be able to find one at a local retailer. In Canada they are sold by Canadian Tire. Amazon.com used to carry a similar model (under the Euro-Pro label). If shopping in the US you could consider others in the Euro-Pro line.
Euro-Pro TO251 Convection Toaster Oven
Another best convection toaster oven is the Euro-Pro TO251 Convection 6-Slice Toaster Oven with Pizza Pan. It has a similar capacity, a 60-minute timer with stay-on function (which lets you keep the oven running for longer than an hour, but it’s up to you to time it separately), and 1380 watts of power – about 8% less power than the Bravetti. It also comes with its own baking pan and pizza pan. It is roughly the same size as the Bravetti model, at 18 inches wide by 10 inches high by 13 inches deep. Note that dimensions on some websites for this product are incorrect and make the unit sound massive – that’s because they’re providing thie shipping measurements – the size of the box it comes in!
The Euro-Pro TO251 includes a number of heat settings. You can have heat on the top only, the bottom only, or both. You can have convection on or off.
With this best convection toaster oven you can bake cookies, pies or cakes (using a slightly smaller diameter pie dish or cake pan), brownies, tarts, muffins, and even a wide range of breads and have them come out perfectly baked – and faster than in a regular oven. The oven comes with a rounded back so that a 12 inch pizza tray can fit into it. You can roast chicken, Cornish game hens, bake casseroles,