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What is a toaster oven

Toaster Ovens vs Conventional Ovens – Learn the Differences Here

Have you been actively searching for a versatile oven to help you unleash your culinary skills? We have got you covered!

Ovens have become a vital part of the modern kitchen. Whether toasting bread, roasting chicken, or baking a cake, an oven can help you accomplish it all.

But with so many models and types of ovens on the market today, choosing the model that best serves your needs can be a tough ask.

In particular, do you go for a toaster oven or a conventional model? what is the difference between two and why should it matter to you.

In this article, we extensively delve into the comparison of toaster ovens vs conventional ovens to help you make an informed decision.

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Toaster Ovens vs Conventional Ovens

The following table shows a quick glimpse of the difference.

 Toaster OvenConventional Oven
SizeSmall, CountertopLarge, Cooking Range Size
UseSmall MealsLarge Meals
CostAffordableExpensive
InstallationNone NeededInstallation Needed
Energy EfficiencyConsumes less energyConsumers almost double the energy
FuelElectricityMultiple i.e Electricity, Gas, Wood
Rack PlacementFewer racks, limited adjustable.Plenty of racks, a lot of adjustability
Food PlacementFood close to the heating elementFood can be placed at a distance from the heating element.
PreheatQuickSlow

Toaster Oven

Toaster Oven vs Conventional Ovens
Toaster Ovens are small, convenient and energy efficient. Source: Cuisinart

As the name suggests, a toaster oven is a small-sized oven that is powered by electricity only.

The oven often blends the features of a traditional conventional oven and a toaster.  Its main use is to toast bread, broil, bake, or cook small amounts of food.

Toaster ovens have heating elements positioned either at the top or at the bottom of the oven house. While most models come with a digital control panel, some are a bit more mechanical.

Learn more about what is a toaster oven here

There are four common types of toaster ovens:

  • Standard Toaster oven that typically cooks a small amount of food. This model works very much like a traditional toaster because the heating coil fluctuates from on to off.
  • Convection toaster oven comes with a powerful inbuilt fan designed to achieve even hot air circulation. This is one of the most desired type of toaster oven for those who need even cooking.
  • Rotisserie toaster oven features revolving technology to lock in all the delicious flavors and cook the food evenly from all directions. It is particularly good for rotisserie chicken and other types of meat.
  • Infrared toaster oven harnesses infrared energy for faster, more efficient cooking. It is designed to hit extreme temperatures and is, therefore, fit for a wide range of foods.
Convection Toaster Oven
Convection Toaster Oven with a fan highlighted in the Red Circle. Source: Cuisinart

Size

A major selling point for toaster ovens is their relatively small size, which ensures that they take up very little space in your kitchen.

Whereas some models need specially designed cabinets, most models fit perfectly on ordinary countertops and shelves. Most baking enthusiasts prefer this moveable option that can allow you to put the device into storage when not in use.

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Use

As the name suggests, a toaster oven is essentially a cross between an oven and a toaster. It is ideal for not just toasting bread, bagels, and baguettes but also cooking pastries, potatoes, pizzas, and grill chicken.

While you can cook many types of meals, you are limited by its size. Therefore, toaster ovens are great for small meals.

Toaster ovens come with plenty of settings for functions such as broiling, roasting, defrosting, and baking.

These settings generate different amounts of heat, and it is, therefore, important to choose the right option.

However, some of the latest models are fitted with knobs to help you adjust the temperature manually if you desire a customized level.

Pre-Heat and Food Placement

Since toasters oven are small, they have a low thermal mass. As such, they can heat up fairly quickly. As such, not only is the Pre-Heat time is minimal, they are great for heating something up quickly.

Plus, since the food is generally placed quite close the heating coils, you can cook or re-heat something up in a jiffy.

The only issue is that the close proximity of the food to the coils also presents the issue of over cooking, or even burning up, the food when not monitored properly.

Cost and Installation

A toaster oven does not need installation. All you need to do is unpack and plug it into a power source.

A few models, however, might need carpentry work as they have to fit in a cabinet.

Energy Efficiency

Toaster ovens are relatively more efficient in the use of energy thanks to their small size and small heating coils.

The lower preheating time also contributes to energy saving.

Fuel

The major source of fuel in a toaster oven is electricity. The obvious disadvantage is that you might need a reliable power backup.

Otherwise, your cooking may be interrupted in case of a power outage.

Rack Placement

For all their positives, toaster ovens often have relatively fewer rack positions. Some might have unalterable racks, which limits the quantity and size of food that can be inserted.

Also Read: Best Toaster Ovens with Rotisserie

Conventional Oven

What is a toaster oven
Conventional Ovens are large, ideal of cooking big meals, and consume more energy. Photo by Stefan C. Asafti on Unsplash

Conventional ovens have been around since baking was founded. Sure the fuel source may have changed from wood and coal to gas and electricity, but the principle has remained the same.

Conventional ovens are large, bulky, and ideal for cooking large meals with even heating.

The standout feature is a bottom-up heat transfer mechanism from a stable fixed source. The power source can be a gas flame, propane, or electricity.

Up to date, bottom-up heat transfer remains the signature feature for all conventional ovens. However, as with convection toaster ovens, some of the latest makes are fitted with fans for improved heat distribution.

Size

Conventional ovens have a relatively larger interior space. If you intend to prepare large meals or bake in large quantities, a conventional oven would be the ideal pick.

On the downside, they require a relatively bigger fitting space as well. You might have to mount some on the wall or within a built-in cabinet.

When installing for the first time, a technician can help you figure out the best fit.

Use

Conventional ovens are used for baking just about anything, from bread, pastries, baguettes, through chicken, beef, and cakes.

Due to their larger size, they are built for cooking large meals. On top of that, certain meals may come with a label citing that they can only be cooked in a regular oven.

This is because regular ovens have a better temperature control and are excellent for even heating.

Cleaning them, however, can be an uphill task because of their relatively bigger size.

Preheating

Conventional ovens have to be preheated before you can cook your food.

Preheating takes time and energy. Therefore, if you just need a device to quickly heat up your food, then conventional ovens may not be the best choice.

Cost and Installation

The Installation process is a bit technical, and basic skills in carpentry, vent fitting, and electrical work for electric ovens might be needed.

As a result, you might have to seek the services of a professional, which means you will have to fork out a little bit more out of your pocket.

For conventional ovens that use gas, you need to ensure that they are firmly hooked into the energy source to prevent gas leakage.

In short, the installation of a conventional oven is a bit more tricky and may require specialized help.

Energy Efficiency

Conventional ovens, especially the older models, are not energy efficient. They have a relatively higher consumption of gas and electricity, especially when used to heat, cook, or bake frequently.

On top of that, since the heating elements i.e electrical coils, on a conventional oven are large, it costs a lot more to operate.

In this case, cooking small meals in a large oven may not be the most economical solution.

Conventional ovens attain the desired temperature level within a few minutes of plugging in. However, preheating may be needed depending on the model you settle upon, and that too adds to the cost.

Fuel

Conventional ovens offer a lot of flexibility in terms of the choice of fuel.

Most of the models on the market are fitted with both electric and gas options. Thus, the risk of having to abandon your cooking following a power outage is low.

Rack Placement

Conventional ovens offer a lot of flexibility in rack positioning. You can adjust the racks up or down depending on the size of the item in the oven house.

This fact explains in part why conventional ovens are hugely popular among commercial bakers.

Food Placement

Due to the adjustable rack positions, you can place your food close to or away from the heating element. This way you get a much higher control on your cooking.

Conclusion

Here we had a quick look on the comparison between toaster ovens vs conventional ovens.

Like much of technology, ovens have seen many overall improvements, and the market today offers a vast range of options from which to choose from.

However, we can’t emphasize enough the fact that there’s nothing like a one-size-fits-all. Each model and type of oven comes with its own set of features.

If you have a large meal in mind, the conventional oven may be the way to go. But if you are the do-it-yourself chef interested in small to medium-sized jobs, a toaster oven would be a better fit.

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Each and every specification for a certain kitchen appliance matters. At KitchenGearoid, instead of looking at the appliance specifications with a birds eye view, we aim to provide a microscopic view with the goal to detail each and every aspect.

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