Shopping for kitchen appliances can be as confusing as deciding what technology to buy. If you have a smartphone and a laptop, do you need a tablet? If you have a toaster and an oven, do you need a toaster oven? Here’s what to ask yourself when making this important decision:
What’s the Difference?
Toasters make toast, bagels, English muffins and other thin members of the bread family. They are small and utilitarian, like a bread family sedan. Toaster ovens make pizza, sandwiches, casseroles and house bigger members of the bread family. They are large and monumental, like a bread family minivan, only with bread paneling instead of steel.
Are You a Foodie?
A toaster oven is the hipster’s microwave. Like a vintage typewriter, it does the job a little slower, but a little nicer and with less energy. While a toaster can scratch your culinary itch, a toaster oven will give you a nice massage. If you have a food processor and a blender, you should probably have a toaster oven.
Are You Not a Foodie? Like, No Kitchen at All?
If you don’t have an oven, say in your dorm room or tiny NYC studio, the toaster oven can buy you some culinary legitimacy. It’s never going to be faster than a microwave, but it will always taste better. And it will take your melting skills across the board to the next level.
Are You In a Rush in the Mornings?
The toaster will serve you fine until the day you die. It is the cheapest, smallest breakfast machine you’ll ever buy. You can certainly knock out some killer toast in a toaster oven. But if you’re in a hurry, you better stick with the toaster express.
What If I Already Have an Oven…With a Broiler?
You can go the broiler route instead, but it’s a slippery slope. Mere seconds can mean the difference between toast that is golden brown or black as coal. If you aspire to concoct fancy flatbreads and elevated sandwich creations, a toaster oven deserves its place on your counter.
Perhaps the most exciting perk of a toaster oven is getting to see what’s going on inside. Think of it as the toaster of the future, complete with a Jetsons-style window. In the family car of kitchen toasting, who doesn’t want a window seat?
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