Have you ever been torn between purchasing a toaster or a toaster oven for your kitchen?

Both appliances have their unique advantages, and it can be challenging to decide which one best suits your needs.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of “toaster oven vs toaster”, comparing their functionalities, efficiency, and versatility to help you make an informed decision.

Key Takeaways

  • Toasters and Toaster Ovens are both suitable for toasting bread, but differ in size, functionality and cost.
  • The right appliance should be chosen based on individual cooking needs, kitchen space & budget.
  • Evaluating preferences can help identify the best option between a traditional toaster or versatile countertop oven.
Aspect Toaster Oven Toaster
Functionality Can perform a variety of cooking tasks including toasting, baking, broiling, and reheating Primarily used for toasting bread and bagels
Size Larger, takes up more counter space Smaller, more compact
Ease of Use Easy to use with more features Very easy to use with fewer features
Cleaning More components, hence slightly more difficult to clean Easier to clean due to fewer components
Price Generally more expensive Generally less expensive

Understanding Toasters and Toaster Ovens

At first glance, toasters and toaster ovens may seem similar – after all, both are designed to toast bread.

However, there’s much more to these handy kitchen appliances than meets the eye. While toasters are compact and excel at toasting bread slices, bagels, and even toaster pastries, their capabilities are limited to what fits within their slots.

On the other hand, toaster ovens are more versatile countertop ovens, capable of not only toasting bread but also cooking a variety of other items.

So, what’s the key in deciding between these two popular kitchen appliances?

Traditional Toasters

Traditional toasters are simple, space-saving appliances designed to toast one task: toast bread.

Most toasters come in two-slice or four-slice models, with the two slice toaster being a popular choice for smaller households and the four slice toaster being a popular choice for families.

These toasters have extra wide slots to accommodate various shapes and sizes of bread, including homemade or artisan breads.

Some models even offer smart operation with touchscreens, customizable toast settings, and special settings for different types of bread products.

Loading bread into a traditional toaster is straightforward – just insert the slices into the top slots and let the appliance work its magic.

Despite their convenience, the toasting ability of traditional toasters is limited to plain bread products like:

  • sliced bread
  • bagels
  • crumpets
  • English muffins

Thus, they may not fulfill all of your toasting needs.

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Toaster Ovens

In contrast, toaster ovens are essentially small countertop ovens that offer greater versatility and functionality than traditional toasters. They can be set to specific temperatures or cooking functions such as:

  • bake
  • broil
  • defrost
  • reheat

This makes them suitable for toasting items that cannot be toasted in a traditional toaster, like hot dog buns or other types of toasted bread.

Some toaster ovens even feature dual functions, such as integrated air fryers, increasing their versatility even further.

While toaster ovens typically require more counter space and consume more energy than traditional toasters, their wide range of cooking options makes them an attractive choice for those seeking a multifunctional kitchen appliance.

Comparing Toasters and Toaster Ovens

Now that we’ve explored the basic features of toasters and toaster ovens, let’s compare them in terms of their size, functionality, and cost.

While both appliances can effectively toast bread, their differences in design and capabilities will ultimately determine which one is best suited for your kitchen needs.

Size and Counter Space

When it comes to size, traditional toasters have the upper hand.

They are generally more compact and require minimal counter space, making them an ideal choice for smaller kitchens or those with limited countertop space.

Toaster ovens, on the other hand, are larger and heavier, necessitating more counter space due to their size and design.

Keep in mind that while toaster ovens take up more space, they also offer more versatility and functionality, which may outweigh the drawback of occupying extra counter space for some users.

The available space and layout of your kitchen ultimately play a significant role in deciding whether to opt for a toaster or a toaster oven.

Functionality and Versatility

In terms of functionality and versatility, toaster ovens have a clear advantage over traditional toasters.

While toasters are limited to toasting items that fit within their slots, toaster ovens can accommodate a wide variety of food items and heat to specific temperatures, allowing for more precise cooking control.

Toaster ovens not only excel at toasting bread, but also offer additional cooking functions such as:

  • baking
  • broiling
  • air frying
  • dehydrating

This makes them a more versatile option for those who enjoy experimenting with different cooking techniques.

For those seeking an appliance capable of managing a diverse array of cooking tasks, a toaster oven, also known as a small oven, could be a more fitting selection.

Cost and Energy Efficiency

When considering cost and energy efficiency, toasters generally come out on top. They are typically more affordable than toaster ovens, with prices starting at around $20, whereas toaster ovens can range from $45 to more than $400, depending on their features and capabilities.

In terms of energy consumption, toasters are more energy efficient than toaster ovens, as they require less electricity for toasting bread.

However, if versatility and additional features are high on your priority list, the extra investment in a toaster oven may be worth it.

In the end, your personal needs and budget will dictate whether you opt for a toaster or a toaster oven.

Toasting Bread: Toaster vs Toaster Oven

Examining how both appliances handle toasting various types of bread is vital, given that their primary function is toasting.

It’s important to identify the appliance that aligns best with your bread-toasting preferences.

Toastmasters are a popular brand of toaster ovens, and they offer a wide range of features.

Pre-Sliced Bread

When it comes to toasting pre-sliced bread, both toasters and toaster ovens can get the job done, albeit with some differences in efficiency and quality.

Toasting pre-sliced bread in a toaster oven takes longer, but usually yields a more consistent and even result.

On the other hand, toasting pre-sliced bread in a toaster is faster, but it can be challenging to achieve a uniform result.

If speed is your priority, a traditional toaster may be the better choice for toasting pre-sliced bread.

However, if you prefer a more consistent and even toast, a toaster oven may be the way to go.

Artisanal and Home-Sliced Bread

Thicker, unevenly sliced artisanal bread can pose a challenge for traditional toasters, as their slots may not accommodate larger or irregularly shaped slices.

In this case, a toaster oven is better equipped to toast sliced bread, especially when dealing with artisanal and home-sliced bread.

Toasting artisanal bread in a toaster oven allows you to achieve a uniform, golden-brown color and crisp texture, while avoiding the risk of the bread getting stuck in the toaster slots. If you frequently enjoy artisanal bread, a toaster oven is the better choice for you.

Bagels and English Muffins

When it comes to toasting bagels and English muffins, a traditional toaster is often the more suitable option.

Most toasters feature a bagel setting that toasts the cut side of the bagel while gently warming the outer crust, resulting in a perfectly toasted bagel every time.

However, if you don’t have a toaster with a bagel setting or prefer to use a toaster oven, you can still achieve satisfactory results by placing the bagel or English muffin on a baking sheet and toasting it in the oven for a few minutes until golden brown.

In the end, your personal preference and the features of your appliances will determine whether a toaster or a toaster oven is more suitable for toasting bagels and English muffins.

Other Cooking Tasks: Toaster vs Toaster Oven

While both toasters and toaster ovens excel at toasting bread, they also offer various additional cooking functions, often featuring a removable crumb tray for easy cleaning. Toaster ovens start with the basic toasting function and expand their capabilities from there.

By exploring the capabilities of each appliance for other cooking tasks beyond toasting bread, we can determine which one aligns best with your culinary requirements.

Reheating Leftovers

When it comes to reheating leftovers, a toaster oven is the clear winner.

While traditional toasters are not designed for reheating food, toaster ovens can be set to a specific temperature and cooking time, making them a versatile option for reheating a variety of dishes.

Toaster ovens are also more energy-efficient and generate less heat than a full-sized oven, making them a great choice for reheating smaller portions of food without heating your entire kitchen.

If reheating leftovers is a common task in your household, a toaster oven is the better choice for you.

Baking and Broiling

Toaster ovens also have the edge when it comes to baking and broiling.

While traditional toasters are not capable of baking or broiling, toaster ovens can be set to the desired temperature and cooking time for a variety of baking and broiling tasks.

Whether you’re baking a small batch of cookies or broiling a tuna melt, a toaster oven offers the versatility and precision needed for these tasks.

If you enjoy baking or broiling, a toaster oven is the more suitable appliance for your kitchen.

Air Frying and Specialty Functions

Some toaster ovens come equipped with additional features and specialty functions, such as air frying and dehydrating.

These features allow you to expand your culinary repertoire and experiment with new cooking techniques using just one appliance.

Traditional toasters, on the other hand, lack these specialty functions and are limited to their primary purpose of toasting bread.

If you’re looking for an appliance that can handle a diverse range of cooking tasks beyond toasting, a toaster oven with additional features may be the better choice for you.

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Choosing the Right Appliance for Your Kitchen

After exploring the world of toasters and toaster ovens, the time has come to decide. Which appliance aligns best with your kitchen?

To assist in your decision, it’s important to evaluate factors such as your cooking needs, available kitchen space and layout, and budget.

Assessing Your Cooking Needs

Before choosing between a toaster and a toaster oven, take a moment to evaluate your cooking habits and requirements.

Are you mainly using the appliance for toasting bread, or do you need it for a variety of other cooking tasks such as baking, broiling, and air frying?

Consider the types of food you frequently cook and whether a toaster or a toaster oven would better suit your needs.

For example, if you mainly toast pre-sliced bread and bagels, a traditional toaster may be sufficient.

However, if you frequently cook artisanal bread, bake small dishes, or reheat leftovers, a toaster oven could be the more practical choice.

Considering Kitchen Space and Layout

Another important factor to consider when choosing between a toaster and a toaster oven is your available kitchen space and layout.

If you have limited counter space, a compact toaster may be a better fit for your kitchen.

On the other hand, if you have ample counter space and value the versatility offered by a toaster oven, the additional counter space it occupies may be worth it.

Keep in mind that toaster ovens are available in various sizes, so you may be able to find one that fits your kitchen layout and counter space.

Balancing Budget and Features

Finally, take into account your budget and the features you desire in your appliance.

While traditional toasters are generally more affordable and energy efficient, toaster ovens offer more features and versatility, which may be worth the extra investment for some users.

To find the right balance between cost and desired features, consider how often you’ll use the additional functions of a toaster oven and whether the extra expense is justified.

In the end, the decision to choose a toaster or a toaster oven will hinge on your unique needs, budget, and personal preferences.


In conclusion, both toasters and toaster ovens have their unique advantages and can be valuable additions to your kitchen.

While traditional toasters are compact, affordable, and energy-efficient, toaster ovens offer greater versatility and a wider range of cooking functions.

The choice between a toaster and a toaster oven ultimately depends on your individual needs, cooking habits, kitchen space, and budget.

By considering these factors and the information provided in this blog post, you can confidently select the right appliance for your kitchen and enjoy perfect toast every time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is a toaster oven better than a regular toaster?

Overall, a toaster oven offers more versatility than a regular toaster with the added benefit of being able to cook dishes as well as toast.

Additionally, it can heat up faster than an oven and toast items that are topped or buttered, which a regular toaster can’t do.

However, it does take longer to toast than a regular toaster and tends to leave stripes on the bread.

What are the disadvantages of a toaster oven?

Toaster ovens are relatively expensive compared to traditional toasters and can be noisy. They are also not the best option for those looking to quickly toast their bread slices.

Do toaster ovens toast as fast as toasters?

In comparison to a toaster, a toaster oven takes longer and doesn’t provide consistent toasting.

Therefore, toasters are the better option for quickly and evenly crisping toast.

Do you need a toaster?

You don’t necessarily need a toaster - your oven can do just fine if you don’t eat toast on a daily basis.

Just set it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, flipping the bread halfway through.

Can I use a toaster oven for baking and broiling?

Yes, toaster ovens are able to bake and broil, providing more versatility than regular toasters.