As the chefs put it, heat the food to the right degree, and you will enjoy a healthy and germ-free delicacy.
Toaster ovens and microwaves have a key role in our modern kitchen today. They both are essential appliance for heating and even cooking food.
Convenient and efficient cooking of these gadgets may have desirable results if only they are used to their full potential and for the right type of cooking.
In this article, we will compare toaster oven vs microwave. We shall give an insight into their functionalities, where they excel, among other things, to bring you much deeper into their knowledge in the culinary world.
Toaster Oven vs Microwave Comparison Table – Quick Glance
|Cooking / Heating Time||Average||Fast|
|Cleaning and Maintenance||Tough||Easy|
|Energy Efficiency||1200-1800 watts ; Consumes More Energy||700-1300 watts ; Consumes Less Energy|
|Size||Can be found in very small size||Larger than an average toaster oven|
|Installation||Easy to install and operate||Easy to install and operate|
|Safety||Requires proper ventilation and vigilance||Relative safe to operate|
|Countertop Convenience||Small and Compact||Most models can be fitted in kitchen cabinets freeing up countertop space.|
|Frozen Food Convenience||Takes time to defrost||Ideal for defrosting|
Let us briefly look at how the toaster oven and the microwave oven compare in terms of how they operate and function.
Toaster ovens heat the food up from outside to inside.
A toaster oven uses heating elements, usually located on the top and the bottom to cook food. A heating element is basically an object that converts electrical energy into heat.
These heating elements can be made out of metal, ceramic as well as other materials.
With new and improved models coming into the market every other day, the heating elements vary in number, size, and functionality.
The amount and size of heating elements depends on the size of the oven. However, the larger the heating element, the more electricity it will consume.
Advanced convection toaster oven models have a fan assistance which disperses heat evenly and efficiently and can operate at lower temperatures.
Some toaster ovens may have infrared element designed to heat food at very high temperatures by harnessing the infrared rays.
Standard toaster ovens cooks from the outside to inside direction . It has diverse functions such as defrosting, roasting, broiling, and baking.
Also Read: What are Toaster Ovens
Microwave ovens heat the food up from inside to outside.
A microwave uses high powered electromagnetic radio waves and molecular friction. Waves generated penetrates inside the food, making molecules vibrate, this causes friction, which in turn emit heat that makes the food hot.
Microwaves cooks and heats food from the inside out unless fats or water surrounds the food.
The microwave waves are unique because they do not melt glasses or (select microwave grade) plastics.
Key Points Comparison
Let’s compare the two appliances over a few key points below:
1. Cooking Results
Do you love your pizza crispy? A toaster oven should be your top choice kitchen gadget. Heating elements in a toaster oven does an excellent job in evenly browning food, toasting, and making it crispy.
In case of reheating a pizza and baking bread, the results would be a crispy base outside and a soft fluffy in the inside. Lowering the temperature to a minimum can help keep food warm for required time.
Microwaves works well with high water content food. Therefore you can heat tea, milk, or a cup of coffee perfectly.
On the downside, microwaved food ends up soggy, so you would not want to use it to heat crispy chicken skin, bacon, or a pizza.
Microwaves do not have features to keep food warm once the cooking cycle is complete. If the food is not consumed right away when it is ready it will surely get cold.
Microwaves are excellent for defrosting and quickly heating up the food.
Also Read: Best Breville Toaster Ovens
2. Frozen Food Convenience
Compared to a toaster oven, a microwave defrosts food faster, but both get the job done.
Some toaster oven models have frozen food settings that adjust temperature and time of defrost foods.
Convection toaster oven’s ‘fan-factor’ might have an advantage over the standard oven toasters as it speeds up the cooking, defrosting, broiling and grilling process.
Also Read: Best Large Toaster Ovens
3. Cleaning and Maintenance
Toaster Ovens are a bit trickier to clean as compared to a microwave oven.
Toaster ovens have wire racks and crumb trays to be washed and walls and glass doors that need wiping, meaning more time. The heating elements occasionally need to be cleaned as well.
You have to be careful while doing it because they are a bit more sensitive and you have to make sure you do not damage them.
Microwaves are very easy to clean as all parts are reachable. Most models have removable glass trays that can be taken out and washed under the sink or a dishwasher.
Depending on the quality of of the model chosen for either the toaster oven or microwaves, and if well maintained, they can last for a relatively long period.
Microwaves can be used for plenty of times before it needs cleaning. A Toaster Oven, on the other hand, requires cleaning quite often.
Also Read: What is Oven Self Clean Feature
Energy efficiency highly depends on the model and individual wattage of toast oven or microwave chosen.
They are both energy efficient, depending on the food you intend to prepare as well as their overall size.
Most toaster ovens are rated at 1200-1800 watts. As far as heating up the food goes, toaster ovens also take longer time, which means more energy bills.
Although some quality toaster oven models are designed to cook a whole chicken or bake a medium-sized pizza, they do better with a small portion of food.
Toaster ovens size is determined by the number of slices of bread they can bake at once. It might be classified as a 3-slice model or a 6-slice model.
The footprint of most countertop ovens range from 14inches wide by inches deep to 20 inches wide by 10 inches deep. Therefore, they are quite compact.
Microwaves range from 1.4 cubic feet to 2 cubic feet. If you are constantly cooking large amounts of foods, that too quickly, then a microwave is your go-to choice.
As far as physical size goes, toaster ovens can be found in much smaller sizes than an average microwave oven.
Also Read: Best 6 Slice Toaster Ovens
6. Cooking Time
Toaster ovens take slightly longer time to cook, allowing even and better overall texture and taste of the food.
Foods such as potatoes will be buttery and soft inside and a crispy outside.
Microwaves heats food relatively fast but toughens them more quickly. Microwaves make use of the contained water molecules to heat food therefore this literally dries the food as it removes the little water molecules present inside.
To circumvent the issue of making your food devoid of any water, you can place a cup of water inside the microwave during heating to get better results.
Heating speeds between toaster ovens and microwaves can be compared depending on what you are cooking or heating. For example, heating up bread can take almost the same time.
7. Countertop Convenience
Toaster ovens are relatively small in size, easy, and light to move. Though few toaster oven models require mounting under counters, most of them can be packed into storage after one-time use to be retrieved when needed.
Microwave Ovens take up bigger space on the countertop. An average microwave oven is bigger, heavier, and cumbersome as compared to an average toaster oven.
But microwave ovens might be more convenient especially since many are designed to fit under the counter or in the cabinet space, which can free up a lot of space on the countertop.
Most Toaster ovens and microwaves are countertop models that require no installation. After unpackaging them, you need to plug into a power source, and you are good to go.
Some, however, need to be mounted, depending on your kitchen design. This would, therefore, require professional services.
Kitchen pads, gloves, or other protective gears are essential when removing cooked food in toaster ovens. Taking such precaution aids to prevent burns or cooking-related accidents.
Toaster ovens get hot on the surface during use, so it is important to ensure that plastic materials that can easily burn or other flammable materials are far removed from the immediate vicinity of a toaster oven.
Microwaves are safe to use so long as the doors are intact. Damaged doors mean low-frequency radiation waves can escape. These waves are harmful. Read FDA Article on Microwave Ovens.
Microwaves do not get hot on the surface during use. The walls and microwave grade cookware stays cool, and it is only the food that becomes hot.
Also Read: Are Toaster Ovens Safe?
Here we looked at the difference between toaster oven vs microwave oven. While there are plenty of areas where the two differ, in the end, the choice boils down to how you want your food to be.
If you like your meal to be heated evenly with a crispy and brown finish, then a toaster oven is the best choice.
To complement this if you might also need a cup of warm tea or milk. For this a Microwave Oven is more convenient.
Therefore, the distinction here is quite varying in terms of output they give and the food they prepare.