A toaster oven is an electrical appliance that more or less performs the functions of a toaster and a regular oven.
The toaster oven was invented about a century ago. It has gone through so many changes, test and upgrades to give its final product the shape and distinctive place in your kitchen.
The modern day toaster ovens are a vital appliance for many kitchens, especially those that lack a full fledged large oven.
So can toaster oven replace normal oven?
The answer to this question depends upon the size of your portions, your budget as well as your cooking style. So if you have small portions to cook, a toaster oven CAN potentially replace a normal oven. For larger portions, not really.
To better understand whether toaster oven can replace a normal oven or not, let us review the timeline and understand why and how toaster ovens found a distinctive place of their own in the kitchen.
Also Read: What is a Toaster Oven?
Toaster Oven Brief History
The inception of toaster ovens was started by a man named William Hadaway in the year 1910 from what was to be an electrical toaster for the Westinghouse Corporation.
The name toaster oven was devised for this appliance when after several years of invention it started to allow additional features of a regular oven.
Their most unique aspect included their compact design which allowed for the devices to be used on need basis i.e you can use them once and them stow them away.
Today toaster ovens have come a long way and we cannot help but ask- can toaster oven replace a normal oven?
The short answer is YES! as we mentioned earlier. But to properly answer that question, we have to first compare the functions, uses, and features of a toaster oven and a normal oven.
Also Read: Best Toasters Ovens for Broiling
Lets Compare Compare the Two First
To help in choosing the best oven for you, here is a comparison of the two based on aspects, functions and some features user consider when shopping for ovens.
Size – Perfect for Small Kitchens
When it comes to shopping for ovens, you have to consider the size of the appliance to the size of your kitchen and needs.
Are you living in a one-bedroom apartment, a basement apartment, a student room or a spacious house?
For those with smaller kitchen space, a toaster oven is a sensible choice. They are small and can be placed on the countertop or inside a cabinet.
For larger homes, normal ovens are quite suitable as it makes the kitchen less scanty.
Also Read: Best Toaster Ovens for Small Spaces
Portion Sizes – Small Portion Sizes Only
It goes without saying that due to their smaller size, toaster ovens only make sense for very cooking or heating small portions of food.
If you plan to make a feast, then normal ovens make more sense.
Energy Usage – Affordable Energy Bills
A toaster oven saves more energy while cooking. An average toaster oven consumes 1200-1800 watts while a regular oven runs on 2500 to 5000 watts.
According to Energy Star ratings, toaster ovens use a third of the energy as compared to a regular oven.
Therefore, if you pursue a greener path with less carbon footprint, or if you wish to lower your energy bills, you should consider replacing your normal oven with a toaster oven.
But before we displace regular ovens, we have to remember that you can cook more than one item at a time in a normal. When considering energy usage monetarily, a standard toaster oven is said to consume $0.03 an hour while a normal oven uses nearly $0.07 an hour.
Time – Faster Cooking
Time has to do with how fast each device cooks, which is related to how hot it burns and how long it takes the oven to preheat.
A toaster oven preheats faster than a conventional oven, thanks to its smaller space.
Toaster ovens that have convection feature cook even faster and more evenly.
This convection feature in toaster ovens, unlike conventional oven which heats food from bottom to top, makes provision for a fan that circulates the hot air promoting even cooking.
This allows a toaster oven to cook food more quickly and at lower temperatures.
Also Read: Toaster Oven vs Microwave
Costs – Very Affordable
When purchasing kitchen appliances or when skimming through online reviews, certain factors determine your oven choice. And one of those factors is cost.
A toaster oven costs much less than a conventional oven. The average cost of a toaster oven is estimated to be about $100.
Although, some high tech convection ovens cost significantly more.
Nonetheless, regular ovens cost more. Prices range from $1000-$3000 depending on the fuel source, the number of features and excluding the price of installations.
Also Read: Best Toaster Ovens for Roasting Vegetables
Installations – No Installation Needed
A toaster oven does not require installation. All it needs is to be unpacked, placed on a countertop and plugged in.
Regular ovens need professional installations especially if it comes with different fuel options or if it is a wall oven.
Electric ovens are usually set in between cabinets and a strong power source by professional who determines if it well leveled, properly plugged in, well ventilated and enough space for the appliance door to open and close freely.
Cleaning and Maintenance – Supremely Easy to Clean
There’s a joke that says “I would rather buy a new oven than clean the one that I have.”
Cooking in an oven can be so much fun to do but cleaning, on the other hand, can be quite a chore.
Toaster ovens are easier to clean because of their size. They have removable parts that allow you to have access to the interior much more readily.
To make it easier, you can clean them by wiping them with a piece of clothing after every single use.
Conventional ovens, on the other hand, are far harder to cleaning also due to its size and features.
Also Read: Can Toaster Oven Bake Cake?
Fuel – Unfortunately Only Single Source
One considerable advantage of using a conventional oven is that it allows for the choice of electricity, gas or propane.
Whereas, toaster ovens are only powered by electricity.
You could say that this factor is rather insignificant compared to the previously covered ones. But in situations of power outage or disconnection, you can always count on your normal oven to bake, broil and even keep your room warm.
For toaster ovens, this quality might change due to advancement in technology in a few years, but as of now, it continues to be a contra.
Rack Placement Options – Very Limited in Toaster Oven
Toaster ovens have very limited racking placement options. Most small and budget toaster ovens generally boast a single rack with limited adjustability.
On top of that, since the racks are very close to the heating element, you have to constantly monitor your food.
This feature, though usable, is sort of an inconvenience when comparing to a regular oven with several rack choices that give room for both vertical and horizontal space.
Take for instance, when making Thanksgiving turkey for the family, would you rather it be cooked in a toaster oven or a family-sized oven?
So Can Toaster Oven Replace Normal Oven – Final Words
With regards to this comparison, it is very obvious that a toaster oven CAN replace a normal oven. As far as the cooking style is concerned, both toaster oven and a normal work on the same principle. They also yield very similar results.
In the end, it boils down to whether you need an oven for large portion, or perhaps you do not want to use electricity as the fuel option. In that case, normal ovens make the most sens.