The Best Affordable Toaster Ovens For College Students – Great Food On A Budget!

Best affordable toaster ovens for college students featured image

The college and student life is tough. You’re short on time, money, and let’s face it – you can’t always eat well. Don’t worry though – I’ve got the answer!

A great toaster oven can help you save time, money, and hassle…all while letting you cook some fantastic meals easily.

I’ve put together a list of 4 of the best affordable toaster ovens for college students below. Each one’s a great choice and only $50 or less!

Read on as there’s a ton of free & helpful information you can read before spending a penny.

Contents

Infographic – Toaster oven college facts

Toaster ovens for college tips and facts infographic

How do toaster ovens work?

Hamilton Beach 31401 cooking examples image

Toaster ovens are a smaller version of conventional large ovens and use an oven rack for cooking just like they do. Unlike their larger counterparts, however, they’re much more efficient – not just in cost, but also by providing faster cooking and lower energy use. Despite being small, many offer some great convenience features. Don’t let the name fool you – “Toaster” ovens can do a lot more!

A toaster oven is a small cooling appliance which uses electrical heating elements to cook food by heating air inside a sealed baking container.

Most are small in size. For example, many have a general size around 12 to 15″ width x 12″ to 15″ tall (about 30.5-35 x 30.5-35 cm). The depth is often of a similar dimension, although the particular dimensions vary a lot based on the model and design.

Most (but not all) of today’s popular toaster ovens are in fact convection ovens. Convection ovens are an enhanced version of traditional cooking ovens of the past.

Convection cooking uses an electric fan to move the air around the food, providing better heat distribution which results in better results. This is especially important for foods like pizza or others with a crust which is better with an evenly toasted surface.

Toaster ovens also may include features not found on larger home ovens, like specialty bread toaster features, toast timer presets, and more. They’re designed to give great convenience and ease-of-use that conventional ovens don’t offer.

What’s especially great is how affordable they can be for students!

Image showing a toaster oven heater element

Image of a typical toaster oven baking french fries. Shown is the red glowing electric heater element which warms the air for cooking. The amount of cooking power (and cooking speed) of a toaster oven is based on its power rating and design.

While the name “toaster oven” may imply that they’re ideally suited for bread, in fact that’s not true at all. They’re actually quite competent for many wonderful cooking tasks where a larger oven isn’t required.

Here are some of the most common uses for college students:

  • Toasting sliced bread or bagels
  • Baking: muffins, bread, etc.
  • Cooking and crisping small pizzas
  • Cooking meats and vegetables
  • Re-heating take-out foods such as french fries
  • Cooking frozen foods like Hot Pockets, burritos, and chicken nuggets

You’re nearly unlimited as far as what kinds of snacks or meals you can cook with one, in fact. As college budgets are often very strict (yes, I’ve been there, too!) it’s really up to you as far as how much you’d like to spend.

However, as I’ll show you below, there are some excellent buys for about $50 and below.

Special features

Hamilton Beach Toastation bagel example image

Are you a bagel or toast lover? Some models offer a unique feature: a traditional pop-up toaster on top of the cooking oven. For those who love toast but want it even faster, it’s a great way to get your tasty bread. 

While I’ve mentioned several of their uses above, there are some other features you should know about before shopping. They’re also unique to the particular model and design so it’s important to check before buying.

  • Preset heating selections: Temperature presets make cooking easier, as some offer preset temperatures for common foods
  • Timer function: A common (and excellent) feature, a cooking timer allows adjusting how long the oven will run and then shutoff
  • Crumb or drip tray: Wonderful for cleanup. A removable tray or pan that catches fallen crumbs from toast or other foods as well as dripping oils or fat.
  • Cooking settings: baking, broiling, toasting, and keeping food warm are common options
  • Toast darkness setting/timer: Allows cooking perfect toast! Set the toast darkness level and/or timer and you’re done!
  • Air fryer: Not common on budget models, this is a special cooking mode that somewhat replaces oil frying results with a healthier alternative. Great for french fries, chicken wings, and many traditionally fried foods.

In order to keep costs down, most sold today use electro-mechanical components and rotary dials. Some models, however, (normally more expensive units) have digital controls and a numeric display that shows cooking information.

While I generally prefer digital controls, in my experience the standard dial controls work very well in quality models I’ve tested.

What kinds of foods can they cook?

Toaster oven cooked foods example (pizza, wings)

Top: The best cheap frozen pizza I ever ate in my life! Perfect for college life! I tested a Cuisinart toaster oven for pizza and got fantastic results. Bottom: You’ve got lots of food options, including wonderful foods you’d normally pay for at a restaurant like chicken wings. This particular model, the Cuisinart TOA-60, features an air fryer cooking option. I love it!

Possibly a better question to ask is, “What CAN’T you cook with a toaster oven?” They’re so versatile, it’s kind of hard to think of what that might be.

Generally speaking, most limitations are the size of the oven vs how much food you’d like to prepare.

There’s an amazing range of possibilities! Some of the most common cooking tasks that make them perfect for the student life are:

  • Inexpensive (but tasty!) frozen foods like Hot Pockets, small pizzas (9-12″, depending upon the oven), nuggets
  • Fish and chicken fillets as well as whole small chickens, too
  • Toasted bread, bagels, muffins, brownies, and so on
  • Re-heating leftovers and slightly crisping crunchy foods
  • Make original, fast, and inexpensive foods that are tasty: quesadillas, home-cooked fries, baked potatoes, shrimp

…and the list goes on and on!

Image of fresh cooked Hot Pockets from a toaster oven

An excellent food for the college budget, Hot Pockets like these pizza-flavored ones I cooked come out of the oven hot, fresh, and crunchy. I was delighted by how delicious they were – FAR better than any I’ve had in the past from a microwave oven!

The good news is that most products include an oven rack, crumb tray, and baking tray so you can get started right away without spending any more money.

One drawback to these small appliances is that if you need more cooking pans it can be hard to find one that’s the right size. Many off-the-shelf cooking pans are designed to fit larger ovens, unfortunately.

How long to preheat a toaster oven

In a recent post answering the question, “How long does a toaster oven take to preheat?”, I set out to find out how much time you’d have to wait for cooking food.

What I found was pretty interesting!

Toaster oven preheat time measurements graphic

My real-world test results to find out how long preheating typical toaster ovens would take. Left: A standard-sized Black and Decker oven. Right: A larger Cuisinart TOA-60. The results were pretty good! Compared to larger ovens which can take up to about 15 minutes, toaster ovens take up about 1/2 – or less – the same time. Nice!

To do so, I used a digital thermometer and temp probe along with my stopwatch app. The results were pretty good, actually.

In both cases, my toaster ovens took 1/2 half the time of a larger appliance. Based on my measurements, you can expect to wait about 5-6 minutes or so depending upon the model.

Do I have to preheat my oven?

While you don’t have to, I definitely recommend it except for a few situations. Preheating a toaster oven brings it up to a ready temperature so that the food will have a consistent cooking temperature from start to finish.

When performing functions like using the warming setting to re-heat leftovers or keep food fresh and hot until you’re ready to eat, it’s not necessary.

For most cooking tasks that need a relatively high temperature, however, it does make a difference.

Toaster oven cooking times

I know from personal experience how tough working, going to school, and just trying to find time get things done can be. It’s rough!

The great news is that you can get some quality food in those brief moments in between studying and everything else. But how long does it take to cook many foods in a toaster oven?

Real-world testing and facts are better than just guessing or Googling for someone’s opinion, so I dug in deeper. I measured cooking times for a variety of foods.

Toaster oven frozen pizza cooking time measurement

Image showing the toaster oven cooking time I measured for a typical budget college meal – a mini frozen pizza. I tested using my Cuisinart TOA-60. Note that cooking times will vary from oven to oven. In this case, convection baking made a big difference!

It’s very important for me to clarify that I used the convection baking option in my test oven.  In case you weren’t aware, you’ll more often get better results by using convection baking. That’s especially true for items with a thin crust or thin and/or flat like a pizza is.

Generally speaking, the time required depends greatly on the oven size and power rating.

Here are some estimated cooking times based on what I’ve measured. Note that this assumes you’ve preheated the oven>

  • Frozen pizza: About 5-7 minutes
  • Hot Pockets, burritos, and similar thick frozen foods: 5-8 minutes
  • Chicken nuggets: 7-10 minutes
  • Fish fillets: 7-9 minutes
  • French fries: Around 6-9 minutes (varies by cooking feature, and lightly oiled fries etc)

Think of it this way: by the time it would take to have food delivered or even drive to a restaurant, you could already be eating a fresh meal cooked in your dorm or apartment.

You’d also easily save 1/3- 1/2 the money, too!

How long does toasting bread take?

Toaster oven toast results example image

Testing average bread toasting times. Out came perfectly toasted medium-darkness white bread. Delicious!

As they are called toaster ovens, after all, I thought I should put them to the test in that area as well.

I love toast and think it’s great. But what I didn’t know is that my toaster ovens would produce the best toast I’ve ever eaten in my life.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that!

Cuisinart TOA-60 toaster time settings measurements chart

I measured toasting times for 4 slices of bread using my Cuisinart, on all 3 available darkness (toast timer) settings. Other ovens are somewhat similar, depending upon their design. Medium (my favorite) was fantasticA perfect brown toast evenly placed across the bread. Wonderful!

Similarly, other models will have about the same results. I’d estimate a difference of 1-3 minutes in some cases, but generally you should get about the same results.

Ideally, look for a model that makes toasting easy by providing dial controls marked with toast darkness settings already. It makes it easier to use and you can also get consistent results that way.

★ 4 of the best affordable toaster ovens for college students ★

Our top picks

ImageProductDetails
sample-table__image★ Our #1 Pick! ★Black & Decker 4 Slice
  • Excellent cooking and value under $50! Toasts 4 slices
  • 30 minute timer, 4-function cooking
  • Great for pizzas too! Easy to use settings
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageHamilton Beach Toastation
  • Built-in dedicated pop-up toaster
  • Great simple cooking and reheating
  • Easy to clean w/ crumb tray
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageEasy access topHamilton Beach Easy Reach
  • Roll top door for easy, safe food access
  • Fits 4 slices or 9" pizza
  • 30 min. timer. Slip-resistant knobs
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageDash Compact
  • Fantastic for toast, pizza, even cookies!
  • Precise temp dial, 30 min. timer
  • Easy to clean. Set and forget auto off feature
Check on Amazon

Reviews and details

1. Black and Decker 4-Slice Stainless Steel – Get great features, easy cooking, and fantastic food under $50!

Black and Decker 4-slice toaster Editor's Choice imageIt seems like there are just so many options to choose from out there. However, I’ve come across one that’s a fantastic budget value not just because it’s affordable, but it offers so much.

The Black and Decker 4-slice model TO1313SBD toaster oven is simply one of THE best values for today’s college student.

While it’s budget-friendly, it doesn’t skimp on quality. There’s a very nice stainless steel finish, simple but well-designed control panel, all the basic features you need, and a front door that’s easy to open and use.

Not only that, but it also features the company’s proprietary EvenToast design to produce toasted bread that’s 30% more evenly done than competing products.

With a maximum temperature of 450 degrees, it’s excellent for many dorm or apartment cooking jobs:

  • Baking
  • Toasting
  • Broiling
  • Reheating leftovers or take-out

It’s one of the best choice when you want a well-rounded toaster oven but have a budget, too.

Black and Decker 4 slice toaster controls image

The controls are user-friendly and simple but get the job done really well, in my opinion. You’ll get temperature presets, a cooking timer, and 4 main cooking modes that cover nearly all cooking tasks you have. There’s also a power light to show when the oven is and isn’t in operation.

Although it’s one of the most affordable models sold today I’m impressed with the features (and performance, too).

Quickly select one of the many settings using the rotary dials:

  • 0-30 minute cooking timer
  • 4 cooking modes: Warm, toast, broil, and bake
  • Adjustable temp dial with toast preset

Black and Decker 4 slice toaster bread example

Bagels, bread, and so much more toast nearly perfectly thanks to the even heating in the Black and Decker – 30% better than leading competitors! Fit up to 4 bagel or bread slices on the oven rack. The removable crumb tray (bottom) makes cleanup easy afterwards.

Ready for some fantastic, fresh toast after a hard day of classes or working? You’ll get some of the best you’ve ever had, up to 4 slices at a time. Black and Decker’s EvenToast technology works to more evenly toast bread for better results. A cheap electric toaster can’t even come close!

When you’re finished, just slide out the crumb tray found at the bottom for easy, hassle-free cleanup. I really like how well it works and how it keeps cleanup so simple.

The crumb tray also works well to capture drips that may happen when cooking meats and other foods.

Black and Decker 4 slice toaster oven removable trays

Top: Cleanup is easy! Slide out the bottom crumb tray after cooking or toasting for easy access. Bottom: The oven rack also conveniently holds the baking pan/drip pan underneath. It slides out easily for use or for handwashing when needed. One thing I also really like is the nice front flip-down door. It’s well-designed, lets you see the oven interior easily, and prevents burns as the handle is heat-resistant.

Cooking performance and other features

Measuring only 16.5 x 10″ in size, its small might fool into thinking it’s less capable. I’m happy to say that definitely not true!

The Black and Decker TO1313SBD is ready of some pretty cool cooking jobs:

  • Cooking personal pizzas up to 9″ in size (with great, toasty results!)
  • Baking and broiling meats like chicken, fish, chicken and fish sticks, and more
  • French fries and baked potatoes
  • Baking small breads or bread sticks
  • Re-heating cold leftovers or takeout food
  • Keeping food warm or warming leftovers

Yes, it is a small toaster oven, meaning that you can’t cook an enormous tray of chicken breast fillets, for example. However, it’s fantastic for those everyday college meals, snacks, and getting something hot and fresh ready for a get-together or study session.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with it despite the low price (often well under $50 if you shop smart). I also like how it heats up quickly.

However, it’s not perfect of course, and I do have a few minor complaints. The outside of the oven gets pretty hot during cooking. Also the baking/broiling tray that’s included isn’t was wide as it could be (it’s a bit shorter than the inside width of the oven).

Honestly, though, that definitely doesn’t detract from what’s a great value and a great buy. The toasting function is excellent and it’s a great low-priced toaster oven that just seems to hit all the right points where it counts.

PROS:
  • One of the most affordable
  • Fast warm-up time
  • Good, clear, simple controls
  • Adjustable timer control (30 mins)
  • Bake, broil, toast, and warm functions
  • Great for personal pizzas up to 9″
  • Great, even toasting performance
  • Removable crumb tray
  • Baking/drip tray stores underneath top rack
  • Power on/off light
  • Heat-resistant door handle
  • Nice flip-down front door
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Easy to clean
  • 2 year warranty
CONS:
  • Outside of oven gets hot while cooking
  • 30 min. max timer ability
  • Baking/broiling tray isn’t full width of inside
  • 450F maximum temperature
  • No digital display or controls
  • No power cord storage

Simply-put, the Black and Decker is one of the best affordable toaster ovens I’ve found. It’s also one of the most popular among buyers, too!

Because of how well it works, the quality, and the excellent value, I awarded it my Editor’s Choice rating.

Don’t put with bad food any longer! Head over to find the lowest price (with free shipping!) at Amazon now.

2. Hamilton Beach Toastation 2-Slice – Mini oven cooking power with pop-up toaster convenience.

Hamilton Beach Toastation

Want the convenience of a traditional toaster but the great cooking abilities of a conventional oven? Check out the wonderful Hamilton Beach Toastation 2-slice.

It’s a great way to get great meals in less space – and without breaking the bank!

Built into the top of the unit is a traditional-style pop-up toaster that can hold 2 slices of bread or 2 bagel halves. To keep things simple, there’s also a standard slide lever on the side to start the toasting process.

It’s very compact, too. At only 9 x 17.3 x 9.3 inches in size, it’s a great for your dorm room, apartment, or shared kitchen area.

Hamilton Beach 22708 toaster oven controls image

The Toastation is a great-looking and easy-to-use toaster oven you’ll love. Toasting bagels or sliced bread is a breeze! Just load the top section with 2 slices and pull the side lever down, with your toast darkness level dialed in (the top dial). Push the Cancel button at any time to interrupt the toasting process. For oven cooking, switch it to Oven mode, select any temperature up to 450 degrees, and enjoy great cooking performance.

I like how simple it makes everyday toast making and cooking. Craving freshly toasted bread? You’ll get it – with toast making that’s 24% faster than leading toaster ovens.

I found it really easy to use:

  • Set the toast darkness level dial as desired (1 of 6 settings)
  • Slide the mode switch to Toast
  • Insert bread and push down the side lever

In just a few minutes your delicious, golden toasted bread will pop up – it’s as easy as that! After use, the toaster will shut off automatically (no need to worry about leaving a switch on).

Preheat the oven for a little while and you’re ready to get to cooking!

What really got me interested in reviewing the Toastation wasn’t just the elegant and sleek design, but how well it works for small foods. Treats like mini-pizzas cook up really nice and cruncy.

You can fit up to 2 large 16″ pizza slices or one 9″ personal mini pizza for cooking. Pastries work really well in it, too. (Or Hot Pockets, burritos, or so many affordable but tasty foods I love!)

Hamilton Beach toaster 2 slice oven pizza example

What is the Toastation 2-slice toaster oven all about? Is it really worth your money? Here’s my take: it’s a really easy, reliable way to always get affordable, tasty food that helps make your student life easier. It’s not for really big items, but perfect for you and/or your roommate to cook items like small pizzas, french fries, nuggets, and many delicious budget foods. It also uses 73% less energy than a large oven!

While I’ve already told you many reasons why I like it, and while it really is very compact size, (so it’s great for studio apartments and dorm rooms) there’s another reason I’m a fan.

The Toastation uses as whopping 73% less energy than a large oven. That’ll put a nice dent in your electric bill every month! Over time that means the Toastation will pay for itself in savings!

I remember my college days: foods like chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and even leftover pizza from my weekend job helped me survive.

The Hamilton Beach can not only re-heat leftover food and cook frozen foods but also put a crisp crunch back on food that’s gone a bit soft.

Frozen foods like those I mentioned above also cook 28% faster than some other models, according to Hamilton Beach.

Baking rack and crumb tray

Your oven includes everything you need:

  • Baking tray
  • Oven rack
  • Crumb tray

What I really like is how when the front door opens the oven rack slides out to allow easy reach of your food. It’s a pretty neat little surprise on such an affordable model.

Time to clean up? No problem. Just pull out the crumb tray (found at the bottom) for wiping down with a damp soft cloth. The the baking tray is nice as well, and can hold a pretty good-sized portion including loose french fries or nuggets.

What I don’t like is that it doesn’t include a feature I love and recommend: a cooking timer.

However, if that’s not a priority for you, it’s a fantastic choice for some of the best toasting and the power of a compact and money-saving efficient toaster oven.

PROS:
  • Compact size
  • Simple operation
  • Easy & fast top-located toaster
  • 73% lower power use than large oven
  • 6-level toast darkness control
  • Adjustable oven temperature
  • Faster cooking for small foods
  • Faster than rival toasters
  • Rack slides out when door opens
  • Affordable price
  • Great for warming foods and cooking small meals
  • 1 year warranty
CONS:
  • Toaster is limited to 2 slices (4 slice model available)
  • No timer feature
  • Smaller oven size than rivals
  • Toasting isn’t as even as convection models
  • Some complaints that the door may stay open a bit

I recommend the Hamilton Beach for anyone who needs a great combination countertop oven and fast toaster for their everyday college and student needs.

It’s sleek, well-designed, and super easy to use choice. I really like it!

Check it out today. Be sure to see the great buyer reviews and low price at Amazon now.

3. Hamilton Beach Easy Reach – Classic styling, modern value & performance, with a super-convenient roll top.

Image of Hamilton Beach Easy Reach model 31334D toaster oven toasting functionWith its semi-retro sleek styling and a super-convenient roll top design, the Easy Reach toaster oven really stands out from the crowd. I was really eager to get my hands on this one!

There are 2 nice colors to pick from: contemporary gray or a lovely fire engine red.

It’s one of the easiest to use and most convenient countertop ovens I’ve ever tested and reviewed.

With the 2 dial controls you’ve got several great features at your fingertips:

  • Adjust the cooking temperature (up to 450 degrees)
  • Bake, broil, or toast a variety of foods and breads
  • Set the auto-off timer and walk way for hassle-free cooking

Wondering what makes the “roll top” design special? It’s a unique oven door that rolls back towards the rear of the oven, allowing easier access to your food. Unlike conventional toaster ovens, it can fit into even more limited spaces – fantastic for dorm rooms or any place where space is at a premium!

What I love about it how it enhances your cooking experience and everyday use. For example: cooking pizza? Just roll the door back to adding toppings or check the crust.

Are you a cooking perfectionist? The top makes it possible to insert a thermometer in your food or check your food without have to remove it from the oven. Very nice!

Not only that, but it’s safer than other ovens, too, as there’s almost no possibility of getting burns by accidentally touching the oven interior as can happen with others.

Hamilton Beach Easy Reach toaster oven open top example

The Easy Reach really sets itself apart and makes cooking a new experience. I love the roll top design – it rolls (slides) open easily gets out of the way so you can add toppings, seasonings, sauces, and more without hassle or the risk of burns. The curved glass door window is also great as it makes seeing your food at an angle possible, too.

love how the awesome roll top makes new things possible. For example, while cooking I don’t have to remove food to check the internal temperature or to add seasoning turn over items cooking. It’s a really cool and convenient feature in my opinion.

As I’ve worked with toaster ovens for some time now, I can tell you that it’s easy to have an accident and touch something hot. However, the Easy Reach greatly reduces the risk of burns as you’re far less likely to touch hot metal.

Image of Hamilton Beach Easy Reach model 31334D clean up features

Top: Don’t worry, although the roll top door is unique, it’s easy to remove and wash! Bottom: Done toasting or cooking? Slide out the crumb tray and just wipe it down. Very simple and hassle-free. The Easy Reach is one of the easiest to clean toaster ovens I’ve dealt with so far.

While you might be guessing that the rolling door design makes cleanup, it isn’t the case at all. In fact, it’s actually pretty easy to do. The door is removable for easy hand washing.

As with other products, there’s a nice crumb tray which catches crumbs or drips from cooking food. Slide it out for easy clean up and you’re done in jiffy.

Toasting operation

Toasting is quite easy as well, and I like how it works. (Not just for bread, by the way, but bagels, English muffins, and more)

The cooking timer dial includes selectable toast darkness levels. Place up to 2 slices of bread on the oven rack in the top tray position for optimal toasting both on the top and bottom of your bread.

For items such as bagels and English muffins or waffles, place the rack on the lower position. The toast function works well and my test items (bread, bagels, and a waffle) turned out well: evenly crisped and delicious.

General cooking

For general purpose cooking, you’ve got several options:

  • Bake personal pizzas, fish sticks, chicken, nuggets, fries, potato wedges, and much more
  • Broil delicious fish or chicken dishes like salmon or chicken strips
  • Warm/re-heat pre-cooked foods like takeout dishes or leftovers

Cooking is pretty simple as I learned:

  1. Choose the proper temperature
  2. For reheating/warming food, set a low temp and set the oven to “always on”
  3. For cooking (baking or broil) set the temperature and the timer

…and that’s it. When the cooking timer ends the Easy Reach will switch off automatically and your food is ready and waiting.

It’s very simple, although it’s not as powerful as other toaster ovens in the same (budget, under $50) price range. If you’re planning on cooking larger items like 1/4 chickens or steaks, you’ll need to allow more cooking time.

Overall I found it to be a great little oven that a good performer for its size. The owner’s manual, although a bit simple, is very clear and does help you get started easily.

Overall, it’s a great little toaster oven and is one of the easiest to use I’ve come across. The manual, while a bit simple, is very clear and helpful.

PROS:
  • Wide-view/easy-access rolling door cover
  • Bell sound when food is ready
  • Allows adding food toppings very easily without burning hand
  • Durable, wear-resistant finish
  • 30 minute auto-off timer control
  • Includes baking tray, crumb tray, and 2-pos. oven rack
  • Selectable toast darkness
  • Adjustable temperature dial (max. 450 degrees)
  • Great owner’s manual
  • Bake, broil, and toast modes
  • Rolling door is removable for hand washing
  • Great for bagels as baking rack can be moved to 2 positions
  • Holds up to 4 bread slices
  • Power indicator light
  • “Always on’ selection available
CONS:
  • Toaster darkness adjustment can be difficult
  • Oven remains on when door is opened
  • Knob markings could be more clear
  • No power cord storage
  • Limited to 2 bagels when toast (approximately)
  • Clicking timer sound
  • Odd toaster control (as opposed to separate toaster dial)
  • Warranty could be longer (Black and Decker offer 2 yr)

Although it’s not perfect, I’m impressed with how well it works and especially how convenient it is to use. I can’t get over how much easier it makes accessing food while cooking.

I also really like the “retro-ish” styling and the lovely red color. It’s a nice touch you simply won’t find on others.

Have a look now and it's one of the best-selling and highest rated budget toaster ovens at Amazon.

4. Dash Compact Toaster Oven – Restaurant style looks and modern cooking features on a budget.

Want something that offers modern styling and performance but won’t break the bank? Here’s a great one!

The Dash Compact toaster oven shows that when smart design meets modern styling great things can happen.

Even though it sells for under $50, you wouldn’t guess it. To me in person it looks more expensive that it really is and is reminiscent of a professional restaurant kitchen oven. It’s that nice.

You’ll also get to choose from 3 lovely colors:

  • Aqua
  • Graphite
  • Red

Even better, it’s very simple to use. Two controls are provided:

  • Temperature dial with 200-450 degree settings (with fixed temperature positions)
  • 15 minute adjust timer with auto shutoff

Baking, toasting, and other tasks are a breeze. Simply set the temperature and then the timer – then let the dash do the rest. The power light will stay on while it’s working and as the timer ends the power will shut off automatically.

As the timer runs out and the oven turns off you’ll hear a chime sound.

Dash Compact toaster oven size diagram

Small but powerful! Thanks to the smart design, the Dash Compact measures only 8.8 x 12.2 inches in size. The bottom-located controls help it take up less horizontal countertop space. It’s a refreshing approach to toaster ovens.

The Compact is an excellent fit for dorm rooms, a common (shared) kitchen, and so much more. What I really like about it is how the design has the controls on the bottom and not the side like others.

This results in less horizontal counter space being taken up. It also helps give it the unique look it has, too.

What’s included + features

Dash Compact toaster oven included items

Top: A slide-out crumb catcher tray is located at the bottom of the unit for easy clean-up after use. Bottom: How cool is that? The owner’s manual is not only clear, helpful, and well-written, but also includes some really nice recipes to get the most out of your new oven.

In addition to the oven tray and backing pan, the unit also includes a convenient crumb tray (which slides into the bottom) that makes clean up a snap.

Need to pull out the oven rack? That’s no problem, as it’s easily removed, too.

I have to say I was impressed with the owner’s manual. It’s clear, very helpful for getting started, and includes some excellent recipes I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Like other ovens in its power range, warm-up (preheat) time is fast, too, taking only 3-5 minutes to preheat before you’re ready to cook.

In my test the Dash Compact cooks well and is a great performer. My one and only real complaint is that there’s no toast darkness settings provided.

If you’re not big on toast, that’s not really an issue, but it’s something to be aware of beforehand.

PROS:
  • One of the easiest to use
  • Great owner’s manual + recipes
  • Auto-off timer
  • Compact size
  • Fast preheat time (3-5 minutes)
  • Design saves counter space
  • 3 colors available
  • Temperature dial uses fixed settings for better use
  • Cool temp bottom crumb tray
  • Large, clear front door
  • Great for mini pizzas
  • 1 year warranty
CONS:
  • Warranty could be longer (1 yr vs 2 yrs of Black and Decker)
  • Timer limited to 15 minutes
  • Some may prefer a lower temp setting option
  • No toast darkness settings
  • No rear cord storage feature

If you need a general purpose, great-looking, and modern toaster oven, the Dash Compact is well worth checking out.

While I wish it offered a few more features (toast darkness settings, and a 30 minute timer instead of 15), it’s designed mainly for general compact oven cooking. It does it well!

Be sure to find out why it's a hidden gem and see the great buyer reviews at Amazon.

Additional information

Want to learn more about toaster oven preheat and cooking times? Check out this helpful post where I measured oven preheat time.

How Long Does A Toaster Oven Take To Preheat? See What I Found!

How long does a toaster oven take to preheat featured image

Thinking about buying a toaster oven? Or perhaps you’d just like to know more about cooking & heating times for yours.

In either case, I’ve done some hands-on testing to tell you everything you need to know about preheating times, cooking times, and more. If you’re wondering how long it takes to preheat a toaster oven, you’ve come to the right place!

Additionally, there’s some interesting information to show why they offer some great advantages over larger ovens.

Read on to learn more!

Contents

Infographic – Toaster oven facts

Toaster oven facts infographic

How long does a toaster oven take to preheat?

The time it takes for toaster ovens to preheat varies from oven to oven based on 2 things:

  • The toaster oven’s size
  • The power rating (it’s heating ability)

Smaller ovens (like those most suited for small meals or 4 slices of bread) will perform differently than larger, multi-function toaster ovens.

To find out some hard numbers I used 2 example ovens and did hands-on testing for both. I found out some very interesting things!

Testing preheating on 2 toaster ovens

Toaster oven preheat time test setup image

Top: For the first toaster oven I used a typical-size Black and Decker TO1675W (1500W) model. Bottom: Setting up the larger Cuisinart TOA-60 model, which is not only an oven but features an air fryer as well (1800W power). For both, I used a high accuracy, high temperature probe and digital thermometer.

For my test setup, I used 2 ovens to get 2 readings and have a better understanding of how long it takes a toaster oven to warm up.

I used these models for testing:

  • Black and Decker TO1675W toaster oven with 1,500W rated power
  • Cuisinart TOA-60 toaster oven/air fryer with rated 1,800W power

For both, I used an accurate high temperature probe and digital thermometer, set them to their convection bake mode, and measured the time each needed to reach 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius).

How long to preheat an oven to 450 degrees?

Toaster oven preheat time measurements graphic

There you have it! An average toaster oven takes around 5-6 minutes to preheat to 450°F (232°C) while a larger one like the Cuisinart takes only slightly longer.

In most cases, expect a preheat time of close to 5 minutes. Smaller toaster ovens may take less time, but as a rule, 5-6 minutes is a reasonable expectation for most on the market.

What’s interesting, however, is how they compare to a larger more powerful traditional oven.

Keep reading to find out more.

Do you have to preheat a toaster oven?

Preheating a toaster oven isn’t necessary but is highly recommended.

The reason is that it gives the oven time to heat up to a ready temperature for immediate cooking when the food is put inside.

Ideally food begins cooking at the right temperature for the right amount of time instead of having it start cold in a cold oven. In the case of not preheating the oven, the food has to heat up gradually instead of having the oven hot and ready to start cooking right away.

Think of it as waiting for the shower to have warm water before you get in. Is it necessary? No, but it’s definitely better in most cases as it lets you get started correctly as soon as you’re in.

Toaster oven cooking times

It’s not just preheating times that matter when you’re considering buying or using a toaster oven. What about cooking times? How long will you have to wait for your dinner, and how well do they typically work?

In order to find out, I cooked a variety of foods in my wonderful Cuisinart TOA-60 toaster oven/air fryer. Especially important was finding out it they’re not just faster at preheating but cooking as well.

Toaster oven cooking times measurements

I measured the cooking times for several different foods including toast using my Cuisinart TOA-60. As it features both convection baking and an air fryer feature I put them both to the test. Here are 2 of the results I got during testing. Pretty fast, and certainly faster than a larger oven.

It’s important to clarify that I used the convection oven (baking) option in my test oven. Convection baking gives better results in many cases and is especially great for items that are tastier with an even, crunchy crust.

An air fryer also has many benefits and allows cooking great, healthy foods you love but without the oily mess and fatty health concerns normally associated with fried foods.

Cooking time results

For my test examples, a small frozen pizza took only roughly 6 minutes to become perfectly toasted and crunchy with the recommended internal temperature of 165 degrees. (Note: for convection baking, it’s recommended to reduce the target temperature by 25 degrees before cooking).

Toaster oven cooked foods example (pizza, wings)

Cooking test foods and measuring cooking times. I got perfectly cooked pizza with an evenly crisped crust in about 6 minutes and delicious air-fried wings without unhealthy oil in about 15 minutes.

While the Cuisinart owner’s manual recommends about 20-25 minutes, my wings were very well done in just under 15 minutes.

Additionally, I estimate I overcooked them just a bit so it’s more like 13 minutes or so. The results were excellent, with minimal, if any, preparation.

Toaster oven vs traditional oven – Preheat times

Preheating time comparison

Sure, it’s great that you only have to wait about 5 or 6 minutes or so for one to heat up. But is there an advantage over a traditional and much larger oven? And how long does one of those take to preheat?

I had to find out!

Similar to my toaster oven measurements, I measured the pre-heat time for my Samsung larger oven and here’s what I found.

Cuisinart TOA-60 vs conventional oven preheat times comparison diagram

Shown: A comparison of time measured for preheating a toaster oven to 450°F (232°C) vs that of a larger, more powerful oven. Wow! Quite a difference! Just over twice as much time is needed.

What I found surprised me. While my oven is large and fairly powerful (a nice Samsung with many features) at around 3,600W, the Cuisinart toaster oven took less than half the time to preheat.

Needless to say, there’s a definite advantage here when using a toaster oven when it comes to how long you’ll have to wait before cooking a meal. That’s much less time wasted.

But wait – it gets even more interesting.

Toaster oven vs traditional oven – Energy use

I’ve put together a simple graph that helps explain how much power one uses vs the other.

Cuisinart toaster oven vs regular oven power use comparison graph

A basic graph showing the energy a good modern toaster oven uses vs that of a larger conventional (standard) oven. Basically, you can expect a regular oven to use twice or more the electrical power of a toaster oven. Over time the toaster oven will cut cooking times and energy use a lot!

Indeed, while you might think a conventional (standard) oven is larger and more powerful it’s better. The truth is, that’s not the case at all with a few exceptions.

Conventional ovens take extra time to heat the air and preheat because of the larger air volume inside.

As they’re more compact and the heating elements are normally closer to the food, toaster ovens can also cook faster in many cases despite being less powerful.

Reasons why they’re a better choice for most everyday cooking

Based on my preheating, cooking, and energy use comparisons here, I can confidently say a toaster oven will cut your waiting, cooking, and energy use costs by about 1/2.

Of course, toaster ovens aren’t ideal for everyone and all situations. For example, I often do “meal prepping” and cook large amounts of chicken or other items on baking pans which need a lot more room.

For smaller personal or family-sized meals, however, (especially frozen foods) toaster ovens are much more efficient and easier to use.

Some models like the Cuisinart TOA-60 I mentioned can even fit a whole 4lb medium-sized chicken inside for cooking.

How long does toasting bread take?

In addition to the other toaster oven measurements and tests I performed, how could I forget one of the most important?

I’ve always been a toast fan so I just had to find out how an oven compares to today’s typical inexpensive pop-up toasters found everywhere.

Cuisinart TOA-60 toaster time settings measurements chart

Toasting time measurements using 4 slices of white bread. I tested each of 3 darkness levels available on my test oven. Toasting with an oven takes slightly longer than a simple electric pop-up appliance but gives better results, I found.

Toaster ovens vs electric toasters

Cuisinart toasted bread test results

Testing white bread toasting quality & times with my Cuisinart oven. Toaster ovens are able to produce consistent, excellent toast quality (if you select a good oven, that is). Above: With the darkness selector set to Medium, I got perfectly medium-toasted bread in just under 5 minutes (with no preheating necessary).

There are pros and cons when it comes to using traditional electric pop-up toasters vs a toaster oven.

However, in my opinion, and based on my testing, toaster ovens are a better choice and you’ll be far happier with them.

While electric toasters are very simple often very inexpensive, what I’ve found is that they’re often unreliable, fail early, and are difficult to adjust for the results you want.

Additionally, I’ve seen many cases where they would begin to perform worse over time.

By contrast, a good quality toaster can deliver consistent, nearly perfect toasting due to including features like a toast timer (which shuts the oven off after use) or toast darkness presets.

There is a trade-off, of course: a pop-up toaster can take a bit less time. The problem is that you often get uneven toasting and sometimes the toast is too dark.

The end results were excellent and it was honestly some of the best toast I’ve ever tasted in my life!

Considering the added cost of getting a better-performing electric toaster, why not just get a quality toaster oven? Many are affordable and as low as around $50, making them a better value overall.

Hamilton Beach Toastation

Some toaster ovens offer the same convenience as a pop-up toaster built in. This popular, low-cost Hamilton Beach Toastation 2-slice provides the best of both worlds.

Features to look for when shopping

Most ovens sold today typically include the following features and what you should shop for mainly depends on the types of food you’ll enjoy.

Additionally, convenience is a huge factor in my opinion, too, as some models offer better options to make cooking less bothersome.

Typical features:

  • Cooking modes: toast, bake, and broil
  • Food warming mode
  • 30 minute auto-off cooking timer
  • Oven rack and crumb tray

Having tested a variety of ovens and cooking modes, I can tell you that the air fryer and convection oven features are simply some of the best you’ll find.

They’re well worth spending a little more money for. Here are a few features I recommend considering when shopping. Several are available in products below $100, making them affordable for many people.

Recommended features:

  • Built-in pop-up style dedicated toaster
  • Digital timer and/or electronic controls
  • Convection bake and broil functions
  • Longer cooking timer (60 minutes, for example)
  • Toast timer with auto-off & darkness settings
  • Non-stick interior coating
  • Oven light

Toaster oven air fried french fries example image

Love fried foods like delicious crisp, browned french fries? Buying a toaster oven with the air fryer feature allows fried food taste but is much healthier and easier, too.

Convection ovens work by using a fan or fans to move the hot cooking air constantly. This results in an evenly crisped or toasted outside of the food as well as better heat distribution for more even internal cooking.

As convection ovens are more effective, it’s often recommended that you reduce the temperature setting by 25 degrees.

Additional recommendations

If you’re wondering about which toaster ovens are great choices for your money – but you’ve got a budget – check out my great post with the best values in toaster ovens under $50.

One of the absolutely best products I’ve had the pleasure to own is the Cuisinart TOA-60 toaster oven and air fryer. It’s what I used to cook the wonderful and delicious foods you see in the pictures here.

It’s such a great model that after testing and reviewing it, I’ve awarded it my Editor’s Choice.

Cuisinart TOA-60 review Editor's Choice recommended product image

Looking for a great toaster oven that gives fantastic results? Based on my hands-on testing, the excellent Cuisinart TOA-60 is one of the best models sold today at Amazon.

The Best Toaster Ovens Under $50 – 4 Fantastic Choices

Best toaster ovens under $50 featured image

What if you could make not just toast, but also bake mini pizzas, reheat your dinner or lunch, or toast your bagels using only a fraction of the time, energy, and cost of a larger oven?
 
A toaster oven will let you do all of these in a fraction of the time of an expensive and bulky traditional oven. If you shop smart it’s possible to get some of the best toaster ovens for under $50.

Below you’ll find 4 unbeatable models along with reviews, details, and more. You’ll also learn some great toaster oven facts before spending a single penny!

Contents

Infographic – Toaster oven facts

Toaster oven facts infographic

What is a toaster oven and how do they work?

Example image of a toaster oven in kitchen

Toaster ovens are like a smaller version of standard ovens. However, despite offering extra convenience features, they’re also very cost-effective and affordable! While the name “toaster” may lead you to think they’re mainly for baking or toasting breads, in fact they’re extremely versatile.

Toaster ovens are small cooking ovens that generate heat using electrical heating elements in order to cook food by transferring heat to the food.

Most of today’s toaster ovens are in fact convection ovens which use an internal fan to distribute the heat more evenly and give a better cooking experience.

They’re essentially extremely similar to traditional ovens you’ll see in homes and other areas with a kitchen. However, generally speaking there are some differences that add convenience.

Additionally, they may have features standard ovens do not (with the exception or higher-priced models).

Image showing a toaster oven heater element

A toaster oven, much like a typical electric oven, uses electrical heating elements which change electrical energy into heat. The number used depends on the cooking settings and the temperature the product design can offer.

While the name “toaster oven” may lead you to believe they have a limited number of purposes, they’re very useful for a variety of cooking tasks.

Here’s a basic list of what you can use one for, depending on the model:

  • Toasting sliced bread or bagels
  • Baking: muffins, bread, etc.
  • Cooking and crisping small pizzas
  • Cooking meats and vegetables
  • Re-heating foods such as french fries
  • Dessert making

It’s really up to as well as how much money you’d like to spend, as the features offered vary by model and price. They’re a wonderful use of money and space, as for the dollar you typically get a good value.

Special features

Hamilton Beach Toastation bagel example image

One of the most common features of some toaster ovens is a special bread or bagel toasting area built-in (normally on top). It’s a great way to more quickly get real toast without the need to use the main heating compartment. Note the crumb tray inside in the bottom.

As I mentioned earlier, toaster ovens often offer more features. That’s especially true for toasting bread and bagels, for example.

However, there are several more worth knowing about:

  • Preset heating selections: These conveniently set the temperature for certain commonly cooked foods, making it easier to use
  • Timer function: Many models offer an adjustable timer which will automatically switch off the oven after a period of time
  • Crumb tray: When toasting (or cooking), if available this pan/tray makes clean up easier as it’s a removable pan that catches crumbs or other food particles
  • Cooking settings: baking, broiling, toasting, and keeping food warm

Generally speaking, they’re also quite easy to use, as they’re often controlled by rotary dials used to select the cooking temperature, cooking mode, and the timer if one is included.

What can I cook in a toaster oven?

Example of foods to be cooked in a toaster oven

You’re limited nearly to only what you can think of! There are some amazing possibilities when it comes to cooking options with your new toaster oven. Meats, vegetables, and even crisp, delicious pizzas are just the beginning. Baking bread and desserts are simple and fun, too!

Nearly anything you can cook with a conventional (large) oven can also be cooked in a toaster oven. The limitations are simply the amount of room you have and your toaster oven’s options.

There’s an amazing range of possibilities! Some of the most common cooking tasks are:

  • Broiling meats such as steaks, chicken, or salmon
  • Cooking (baking or air frying) chicken wings
  • Baking: muffins, small desserts or bread, brownies
  • Cooking vegetables
  • Re-heating french fries or take-out foods
  • Crisping potato wedges
  • Backed potatoes
  • Cooking personal pizzas or bread sticks

…and the list goes on and on!

There is one disadvantage, aside from size: unlike larger ovens, you’re more limited in the pans you’ll be able to fit inside. That means you’ll have to shop a bit more carefully for what you need beforehand.

Features to look for

Toaster oven controls closeup image

Which features should you be shopping for? Honestly, it really depends a lot on the types of food you’ll be cooking as well as what you can afford. I’ll list some of the basic features that are really helpful but bear in mind that they’re not necessary – just more convenient in most cases.

Here’s a summary of some of the best things to look for when shopping (depending upon your budget, of course!):

  1. Timer/auto-shutoff: This will give you the option to “set it and forget it.” When the cooking timer is used you’ll be able to use your toaster oven without concern for overcooking or burning your food (see note below).
  2. Food temp presets: This is a convenient feature that makes cooking common foods easier. When available, just set the dial to the preset and it will warm to the correct temperature without any guessing.
  3. Operating modes: Multiple operating modes offer more ways to cook food. The more, the better. Broil, bake, air fry, and warm are some of the most useful functions to look for.
  4. Digital display: Where available, digital displays are much more accurate for knowing the current cooking temperature than analog (dial) controls. It’s usually a feature on more expensive models, however.
  5. Removable crumb tray: A feature on many toaster ovens including budget models, a crumb tray catches crumbs or drips and makes cleanup easy. Just remove the crumb tray and wipe it clean (or wash) and put it back in.
  6. Pizza-capable design: As toaster ovens are fantastic for cooking personal-sized pizzas, if you enjoy pizza you’ll want to look for the size capability. Some brands specify this clearly while others do not. For example, some are advertised as working with pizzas up to 9″ in diameter. Be sure to check the dimensions if provided if that’s the food you’d like to cook.
  7. Warming mode: Want to keep your food warm, or re-heat cold takeout? A warming feature keeps the oven in a low-heat state to keep food warm and tasty. Not all ovens feature this, so be sure to check if it’s helpful for you.

★ 4 of the best toaster ovens under $50 ★

Our top picks at a glance

IMAGEPRODUCT
Black & Decker 4 Slice
  • Excellent cooking and value under $50! Toasts 4 slices
  • 30 minute timer, 4-function cooking
  • Great for pizzas too! Easy to use settings
Check On Amazon →See Customer Reviews →
Hamilton Beach Toastation
  • Built-in dedicated pop-up toaster
  • Great simple cooking and reheating
  • Easy to clean w/ crumb tray
Check On Amazon →See Customer Reviews →
Hamilton Beach Easy Reach
  • Roll top door for easy, safe food access
  • Fits 4 slices or 9" pizza
  • 30 min. timer. Slip-resistant knobs
Check On Amazon →See Customer Reviews →
Dash Compact
  • Fantastic for toast, pizza, even cookies!
  • Precise temp dial, 30 min. timer
  • Easy to clean. Set and forget auto off feature
Check On Amazon →See Customer Reviews →

Product reviews and details

1. Black and Decker 4-Slice Stainless Steel – Great value! Excellent features, fast/easy cooking, and auto-off timer.

Black and Decker 4-slice toaster Editor's Choice imageWhile there are tons of choices out there, here’s one I feel is really a great all-around winner. The Black and Decker 4-slice (model TO1313SBD) is a super-popular choice and a great value! It’s simply one of the best values under $50 you can buy today.

With its durable stainless steel construction, handsome and simple control panel, good basic features, and easy-open front door, it’s one of the best options under $50 for most buyers.

It features the company’s EvenToast technology to create toasted bread that’s 30% more evenly done than the competition.

With up to 450 degrees of heat available, it’s perfect for many small cooking tasks:

  • Baking
  • Toasting
  • Broiling
  • Reheating

It’s perfect for a wide range of cooking jobs when you don’t want to invest a lot of money but still want great results.

Black and Decker 4 slice toaster controls image

Controls are simple to use, but you won’t come up short on features despite the low price! Temperature presets, a timer feature, and 4 cooking functions cover nearly all basic cooking jobs. A power light also shows when the unit has finished when using the timer.

Despite being one of the most affordable on the market, features are good.

You’ll get the simple-to-use rotary controls for the following:

  • 0-30 minute cooking timer
  • 4 settings: Warm, toast, broil, and bake
  • Adjustable temp dial with toast preset

Black and Decker 4 slice toaster bread example

Bread, bagels, and much more toast nearly perfectly thanks to the even heat distribution – 30% better than competitors! You can fit up to 4 slices of bread (or similarly sized items) on the cooking tray. A lower removable crumb tray makes cleanup easy.

Wanting some of the most delicious bread around? Enjoy some of the best toast you’ve ever had – up to 4 slices at a time. The EvenToast technology offers up to 30% more evenly toasted results than the leading competitors.

When done, simply slide out the bottom crumb tray for easy cleanup. It’s a nice feature I like.

The included baking/broiling/drip pan stores neatly just underneath, which is a pretty cool feature.

Black and Decker 4 slice toaster oven removable trays

Top: Pull out the crumb tray for easy cleanup after toasting your favorite bread. Bottom: The cooking rack, which also stores the baking/broiling/drip pan, slides out easily for washing too. A handsome flip-down glass door provides great cooking viewing while in use. Additionally, the heat-resistant handle avoids burns while it’s hot.

Food cooking abilities

Although at about only 16.5 x 10″ in size, don’t let the nice compactness full you – it’s capable of producing lots of great meals!

The Black and Decker TO1313SBD isn’t just for toasting. Check out some of the other great things you can do:

  • Cooking personal pizzas up to 9″ in size (with great, toasty results!)
  • Baking and broiling meats like chicken, fish, chicken and fish sticks, and more
  • French fries and baked potatoes
  • Baking small breads or bread sticks
  • Re-heating cold leftovers or takeout food
  • Keeping food warm and tasty

While it’s a small oven, which means you won’t be able to cook a whole tray of chicken breast filets, it’s perfect for single snacks or meals in less time than a conventional oven. It also heats up pretty quickly.

I do have a few minor complaints – the outside surface gets quite warm while in use (the front handle is fine to touch). Additionally, the baking/broiling tray isn’t the full width of the top rack which is a bit disappointing.

However, despite the minor quibbles, it’s a fun (and easy!) to use oven that toasts and cooks well. It’s also one of the most affordable models sold today.

PROS:
  • One of the most affordable
  • Fast warm-up time
  • Good, clear, simple controls
  • Adjustable timer control (30 mins)
  • Bake, broil, toast, and warm functions
  • Great for personal pizzas up to 9″
  • Great, even toasting performance
  • Removable crumb tray
  • Baking/drip tray stores underneath top rack
  • Power on/off light
  • Heat-resistant door handle
  • Nice flip-down front door
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Easy to clean
  • 2 year warranty
CONS:
  • Outside of oven gets hot while cooking
  • 30 min. max timer ability
  • Baking/broiling tray isn’t full width of inside
  • 450F maximum temperature
  • No digital display or controls
  • No power cord storage

It’s one of the best and easiest to use affordable toast ovens you’ll find – so much so that I awarded it my Editor’s Choice rating.

Looking for a basic toaster oven that gets the job done well, has good features, and that you can afford? This is it!

Head over and find the lowest price (with free shipping!) at Amazon now.

2. Hamilton Beach Toastation 2-Slice – Pop-up toaster convenience with oven cooking power in a compact size.

Hamilton Beach Toastation

Ready for simple, reliable, and affordable toasting and cooking? The Hamilton Beach Toastation 2-slice toaster oven is a space-saving way to get delicious cooking results.

It’s not just a compact mini-oven. For added convenience, a remarkably easy-to-use 2-slice traditional pop-up toaster is built into the top. Just like traditional toasters, there’s a pop-up control on the side.

Measuring only 9 x 17.3 9.3 inches in size, it fits well into both small kitchens, dorm rooms, and limited countertop areas.

Hamilton Beach 22708 toaster oven controls image

The Hamilton Beach Toastation is one of the easiest to use toaster ovens you’ll find. Toasting bread or bagels is VERY easy – just load 2 slices in the top and push the side lever down, just like a traditional toaster, with your toast level dialed in (top dial). Push the Cancel button any time to stop the toasting or cooking process. For oven functions, put the control switch in Oven mode. Then just select any temperature up to 450 degrees using the rotary control.

Cooking and toasting are a breeze. Want freshly toasted and delicious bread or bagels? The Toastation toasts 24% faster than leading toaster ovens.

It’s easy:

  • Set the toast darkness level dial as desired (1 of 6 settings)
  • Slide the mode switch to Toast
  • Insert bread and push down the side lever

Your delicious toast will pop up soon – that’s it! The toaster will shut off automatically. It works well for not just toast or bagels but English muffins, too.

For oven baking and other cooking tasks just set the oven to preheat for 15 minutes and you’re ready to start.

It’s great for cooking or reheating small foods like chicken nuggets, fries, and even small personal pizzas. You can fit up to 2 16″ pizza slices in the cooking rack as well. Pastries are another great idea as well.

Hamilton Beach toaster 2 slice oven pizza example

The 2-slice oven is great for reheating or cooking small items like pizza, french fries, fish sticks, and much more. It uses 73% less energy than a traditional oven!

One of the things I like the most about the Toastation isn’t just that it’s compact, but it uses a whopping 73% less energy than traditional ovens do. Over time that adds up to large savings in electricity cost – not to mention how much time you’ll save over a big oven.

Foods like frozen chicken nuggets or fish sticks cook 28% faster than other ovens as well.

Baking rack and crumb tray

The oven includes 3 cooking accessories:

  • Baking tray
  • Oven rack
  • Crumb tray

When opening the front door the rack slides out for more easily reaching your food. The bottom crumb tray is easy to remove and clean, making maintenance easy as well. The included baking tray is great for many foods including loose french fries, nuggets, and more.

Overall, while it does have its drawbacks (no timer feature, smaller oven cooking area), it’s a great choice if you enjoy fast, adjustable toasting and small cooking needs.

PROS:
  • Compact size
  • Simple operation
  • Easy & fast top-located toaster
  • 73% lower power use than large oven
  • 6-level toast darkness control
  • Adjustable oven temperature
  • Faster cooking for small foods
  • Faster than rival toasters
  • Rack slides out when door opens
  • Affordable price
  • Great for warming foods and cooking small meals
  • 1 year warranty
CONS:
  • Toaster is limited to 2 slices (4 slice model available)
  • No timer feature
  • Smaller oven size than rivals
  • Toasting isn’t as even as convection models
  • Some complaints that the door may stay open a bit

If you’re limited on space and primarily need a toaster but want cooking features too, it’s a great option.

Overall I find it to be a good compromise between cost, oven cooking, and fast toasting. It’s a good buy I think you’ll enjoy.

Have a look today! Check out the many happy buyers and great reviews at Amazon now.

3. Hamilton Beach Easy Reach – Roll top ease in a great-looking package.

Image of Hamilton Beach Easy Reach model 31334D toaster oven toasting functionFeaturing a unique design and handsome styling, the Easy Reach toaster oven brings a new spin on great oven cooking and convenience. Not only is it great looking but it’s actually safer and easier to use than its competitors!

It’s a simple, easy-to-use model with great features. Using the 2 main controls you can:

  • Adjust the cooking temperature (up to 450 degrees)
  • Bake, broil, or toast a variety of foods and bread
  • Set the auto-off timer and walk way for worry-free cooking

The Easy Reach features a special design in which the window and door actually roll back and don’t need extra clearance like most. This means it’s a fantastic choice for limited counter space areas.

Not only that, but it’s also an advantage as not only is it easier to view your food easily while it’s cooking, but you’ll also have greater access without risking burns.

Hamilton Beach Easy Reach toaster oven open top exampleUnlike traditional designs, the Easy Reach makes accessing your food easier. The roll top is fantastic as it slides right out of the way, allowing you to add cheese, seasoning, sauce, or any number of toppings to cooking food without the risk of getting burned. Not only that, but the curved window allows you to more easily view your food while it’s cooking, unlike most products sold today.

What’s especially nice about the Easy Reach is how unlike most products on the market, the oven door doesn’t fold down in the front. Instead, it rolls back to offer a larger, more safely accessible food area.

Whether adding cheese to pizza, seasoning or sauces to food you’re cooking or just checking on your meal, it makes accessing your food a snap. It’s also safer, too, as there’s no need to expose your hand to a hot front door like on most.

Image of Hamilton Beach Easy Reach model 31334D clean up featuresTop: Need to clean the door? It’s a breeze! You can remove the rolling door and wash it as needed easily. Bottom: After toasting, pull out the removable crumb tray for easy wipe-down clean up. As far as clean up goes, the Easy Reach is one of the best-designed models I’ve seen yet.

What’s especially nice about this model is that you can easily remove the rolling door/window and hand wash it using a damp cloth or sponge and soap and water.

That’s a truly unique feature I haven’t seen elsewhere, and it makes clean up much easier than I expected. Much like other models on the market, the removable crumb tray slides right out and is easy to wipe off, making clean up after toasting very simple, too.

Toasting features

Ok, so what if you need toast? As it turns out, it’s easy to use and can make great toasted bread or bagels.

For toasting, the timer dial includes selectable toast darkness levels. For 2 slices of bread, place the oven rack in the middle to get even toasting on the top and bottom. To toast bagels, English muffins, pastries, and waffles, place the oven rack in the lower position, then select a toast color according to the directions.

In my experience, it works great! Bagels and waffles I toasted were very evenly crisped and quite delicious. I was thrilled at how good they tasted.

General cooking

In addition to making great toast, you can create some great dishes anytime using the bake, broil, or “always on’ dial options:

  • Bake personal pizzas, fish sticks, chicken, nuggets, fries, potato wedges, and much more
  • Broil delicious fish or chicken dishes like salmon or chicken strips
  • Warm/re-heat pre-cooked foods like takeout dishes or leftovers

In testing, it was quite easy, and only required a few steps:

  1. Choose the proper temperature
  2. For reheating/warming food set a low temp and set the oven to “always on”
  3. For cooking (baking or broil) set the temperature and the timer

That’s pretty much it! When the timer shuts off, the Easy Reach will turn of as well and your food will be ready and waiting.

Overall, it’s a great little toaster oven and is one of the easiest to use I’ve come across. The manual, while a bit simple, is very clear and helpful.

You can cook some excellent foods with great results for a fraction of the electricity (and time!) a larger, more expensive oven takes. Even foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, fish, and sausage only take 15-25 minutes max using it.

PROS:
  • Wide-view/easy-access rolling door cover
  • Bell sound when food is ready
  • Allows adding food toppings very easily without burning hand
  • Durable, wear-resistant finish
  • 30 minute auto-off timer control
  • Includes baking tray, crumb tray, and 2-pos. oven rack
  • Selectable toast darkness
  • Adjustable temperature dial (max. 450 degrees)
  • Great owner’s manual
  • Bake, broil, and toast modes
  • Rolling door is removable for hand washing
  • Great for bagels as baking rack can be moved to 2 positions
  • Holds up to 4 bread slices
  • Power indicator light
  • “Always on’ selection available
CONS:
  • Toaster darkness adjustment can be difficult
  • Oven remains on when door is opened
  • Knob markings could be more clear
  • No power cord storage
  • Limited to 2 bagels when toast (approximately)
  • Clicking timer sound
  • Odd toaster control (as opposed to separate toaster dial)
  • Warranty could be longer (Black and Decker offer 2 yr)

While it’s not perfect, I’m impressed with the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach toaster oven.  It’s especially fantastic for countertop areas with extremely limited space and it makes clean up a breeze.

Baking, broiling, and toasting work great and it looks great while doing so – I like it!

Find out today why it's one of the best rated affordable toaster ovens at Amazon.

4. Dash Compact Toaster Oven – Compact, easy, and high quality cooking…on a budget!

Ready to fall in love with style all over again? The Dash Compact toaster oven proves that when functions meet smart design great things are possible!

Despite being priced below $50, you’ll see right away how much more expensive it looks. With restaurant-quality styling, the user-friendly front door makes it easy to get great cooking functions on a budget.

Not only that, but it’s very easy to use, too! An overlooked gem, in my opinion, it’s well worth checking out. You’ll also get 3 great-looking colors to choose from:

  • Aqua
  • Graphite
  • Red

It’s super easy to use, too. Two controls are provided:

  • Temperature dial with 200-450 degree settings (with fixed temperature positions)
  • 15 minute adjust timer with auto-shutoff

Toasting, baking, and many other tasks are a snap. Just set the temperature and then the timer – and let the Dash do the rest. The power light will stay on while the oven is in use and turn off when the oven shuts off.

When the timer runs out and the oven turns off you’ll hear a chime sound.

Dash Compact toaster oven size diagram

Great results in less space! Despite being incredibly useful it measures a compact 8.8 x 12.2 inches. Since the controls are bottom located instead of on the side (like most competitors) there’s more room inside.

It’s also a great fit for small areas like dorm rooms, small kitchens, and other tight spaces. What I especially like about the Dash Compact is the design with places the controls on the bottom and not on the side, giving more oven room in less space.

What’s included + features

Dash Compact toaster oven included items

Top: A bottom-located crumb tray slides out for easy wipe-down and cleaning. Bottom: You’ll also get a great manual which includes useful toaster oven recipes! Very nice.

In addition to the baking pan included, there’s a removable crumb tray (located at the bottom of the unit) which slides right out for easy cleaning.

The oven rack is easy to remove as well.

Need more cooking ideas? The owner’s manual isn’t just clear and helpful – but also full of great recipes that take advantage of your new oven.

One thing I really like about the Dash is that it takes only 3-5 minutes to preheat before cooking. That’s a huge time saving over traditional ovens, and faster than many competing toaster ovens.

PROS:
  • One of the easiest to use
  • Great owner’s manual + recipes
  • Auto-off timer
  • Compact size
  • Fast preheat time (3-5 minutes)
  • Design saves counter space
  • 3 colors available
  • Temperature dial uses fixed settings for better use
  • Cool temp bottom crumb tray
  • Large, clear front door
  • Great for mini pizzas
  • 1 year warranty
CONS:
  • Warranty could be longer (1 yr vs 2 yrs of Black and Decker)
  • Timer limited to 15 minutes
  • Some may prefer a lower temp setting option
  • No toast darkness settings
  • No rear cord storage feature

In my opinion, the Dash Compact is a great-looking choice that’s worth the money. While I wish it offered a few more features (toast darkness settings, more than 15 minutes on the timer) it’s a great one.

Don’t hesitate to see the great buyer reviews and color options at Amazon.

More helpful articles

Are you wondering how long a toaster oven takes to warm up before cooking? Find out more about preheating cooking toaster oven facts here.