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Hands-on Gear Review
Oster Extra Large Digital Countertop Oven ReviewPrice: $150 List | $79.99 at Amazon
Pros: Relatively inexpensive
Cons: Relatively poor performance, frustrating control panel
Bottom line: Not a terrible choice if you need the extra size, but much better performers are available
Maximum Pizza Diameter (in.): 16
Color/Finish Options: Stainless
The Oster Extra Large Digital Countertop Oven attempts to be a more apt replacement for a conventional oven by offering a larger than average capacity. This is great for bigger meals, but we feel it somewhat misses the mark of what makes toaster ovens so attractive. Its larger size increases heat up times, meaning less energy efficiency and more time spent waiting for your morning toast. Additionally, it was the worst performer in both our toasting and baking tests. Those looking specifically to expand their cooking capacity beyond their conventional oven, or to keep one dish warm while cooking another, may find the large capacity of the Oster helpful, but it wouldn't be our top recommendation for most people.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
This chart compares the Oster Extra Large Digital Countertop Oven's over performance in our testing (shown in blue) to that of the other models we tested.
Here we further discuss how the Oster performed in each of our individual tests.
The Oster was the worst performer in our baking test. It earned the low score of 4, well behind the top score of 9. It scorched most of the cookies we made in it, making them borderline unappetizing. It produced similar results with cakes, cooking them unevenly, drying them out quite a bit, and burning the outside. Chicken drumsticks also came out relatively dry with splotches of burnt spots. We wouldn't say it completely ruined any of the food we baked in it, but all the other models were able to produce more palate pleasing results.
Ease of Use
The Oster received a score of 3 on our ease of use test. This was the worst score in this metric, well behind the top score of 9. It was the only model we tested that uses a touch control panel rather than buttons. This is similar to the controls you would find on cheaper microwaves where there are no raised buttons, just a flat piece of rubbery feeling material with buttons printed on it. It was incredibly hard to press these 'buttons' on the Oster, often taking multiple attempts. This, combined with the fact that there was no audible feedback when a button was pressed, meant it was very difficult to tell if the oven had recognized our commands. It has individual buttons to select each of its six cooking modes: toast, bake, broil, warm, defrost, and pizza. Conspicuously absent is a bagel function, and it doesn't provide a count down timer when in toast mode. Oddly, the oven does not indicate when it's done preheating. The manual suggests turning it on for seven minutes before putting food in if you want to preheat, but our testing found indicated that the oven did not get up to temperature in that amount of time. This additional step felt unnecessary and lost the Oster a lot of points in our test. Additionally, the convection fan was the loudest of the bunch, the only one that was loud enough to be annoying.
The Oster was at the bottom of our temperature accuracy testing, scoring a 2 in a metric that saw scores as high as 9. When set to 350˚ it was 10˚ hot at the 15 minute mark and rose to 25˚ hot at the 30 minute mark. When set to both 400˚ and 450˚ it consistently ran 25˚ hot. This could be part of the reason it tended to burn a lot of the food we made in it.
The Oster received a 6 on our frozen meal preparation test, putting it right in the middle of a closely packed field that had scores between 5 and 8. It cooked frozen pizzas fairly evenly, but often burned crusts and over browned the cheese and pepperoni. If you don't like crunchy pizza you may want to reduce the time or temperature in the Oster. Tater tots came out a bit better, with dark but not burned outsides and chewy insides.
The Oster again received the lowest score in this metric, which included scores ranging from 4 to 8. Even on medium shade settings it often burnt the edges of bagels, and toasted the backside quite a bit. We were able to get better bagel results from some traditional slot toasters, which don't generally excel in this capacity. The Oster's large size means you can shove a lot of bread into it, but our toast map showed it to have a very small toasting sweet spot in the center of the oven. Any bread not in the exact center was quite neglected and barely toasted.
Listing at $150 the Oster is one of the cheaper models we tested. However, the Best Buy Award winning Black and Decker provides much better performance at a list price that is $50 less. Unless you really want the larger size of the Oster, we don't feel it provides a good value.
The Oster differentiates itself from other toaster ovens through its larger size, but we found it to underperform in all the tasks that you would want a toaster oven to complete.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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