Hamilton Beach Easy Reach 4-Slice Review
Pros: Inexpensive, easy to clean, small footprint, consistent performance
Cons: Small size limits portions, cooks on the cool side
Manufacturer: Hamilton Beach
Compare to Similar Products
Hamilton Beach Easy Reach 4-Slice
|Price||Check Price at Amazon||$230 List|
$199.99 at Amazon
$187.39 at Amazon
$159.95 at Amazon
$89.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Inexpensive, easy to clean, small footprint, consistent performance||Great baking performance, great temperature accuracy, can also air fry and dehydrate, flips on its end when not in use to save space||Easy to use, accurate temperatures, well-built, very versatile||Compact, great all-around cooking performance, great temperature accuracy||Makes great frozen pizza, easy to clean, convection mode, great toast|
|Cons||Small size limits portions, cooks on the cool side||Somewhat expensive||Pricey, somewhat large, heavy, tendency to slightly overcook||Smaller capacity||Mediocre temperature accuracy, only average baking performance|
|Bottom Line||Compact, consistent, and budget-friendly are the defining characteristics of this easy-to-use oven||One of the best multi-function cooking devices on the market||This multipurpose oven is sleek, easy to use, and performs well across the board, but definitely takes a bite out of the wallet and your counter space||A perfect oven for those that want high performance but don't have much counter space||A convenient and reliable budget option with reasonable performance at a great price|
|Rating Categories||Hamilton Beach Easy...||Ninja Foodi Digital...||Cuisinart TOA-60||Breville Mini Smart...||Black+Decker TO3250XSB|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Temperature Accuracy (20%)|
|Frozen Food (15%)|
|Specs||Hamilton Beach Easy...||Ninja Foodi Digital...||Cuisinart TOA-60||Breville Mini Smart...||Black+Decker TO3250XSB|
|Outer Dimensions||11.9" x 16.1" x 9"||19.7" x 7.6" x 15"||15.5" x 16" x 14"||15.5" x 14" x 8.8"||14.5" x 22" x 11.5"|
|Maximum Pizza Diameter||9"||13"||12"||11"||13"|
|Accessories||Bake pan, oven rack, slide-out crumb tray||Wire rack, air fry basket, sheet pan||Oven rack, baking pan, air fryer basket||Baking pan||Baking pan, wire rack|
|Power Consumption (W)||1200||1800||1800||1800||1500|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hamilton Beach Easy Reach 4-Slice is able to do most basic cooking tasks well and does so at a great price. You can't fit huge portions in this compact oven, but what does fit inside will be cooked or baked consistently better than what you'd expect from such an inexpensive oven. In fact, it received higher scores than some bigger, fancier models with double or triple the price tag.
Plan on using a bit more cook time than the directions call for when baking with the Easy Reach toaster oven. Our chicken, cookies, and cakes were all a bit undercooked when the timer initially ended after the recommended baking time. In fact, many dishes we baked required nearly double the recommended time.
Despite the extra baking times, the end product was generally very pleasing. Cookies were just slightly darker than we desired but were very moist and tasty. Cakes were not evenly cooked to perfection but were still very edible. Chicken was moist and flavorful; however, we were disappointed and the Easy Reach's inability to produce a crispy outer skin.
Ease of Use
The Easy Reach scored its highest marks in this metric. We found this oven very simple to use and clean. The feature we liked the most was the oven's roll-top opening which not only frees up counter space, but also gives the Easy Reach its name. Most toaster ovens either swing open to the side, like a microwave, or swing down, like a conventional oven. The Easy Reach's door rolls up and over the oven. This exposes more than two-thirds of the interior oven, much like an outdoor BBQ grill.
The roll-top feature allows the user to access items by reaching down to them, making it much easier to adjust or remove food without bumping into the oven or burning your hands. Many toaster ovens have very little space between the racks and the interior sides of the oven, making it challenging to adjust or remove food. We also liked the fact that the Easy Reach's door is completely clear, which allowed us to monitor all of our food in one glance. We also love that the entire door can be removed for easy cleaning.
For this metric, we gave the Easy Reach its highest marks for ease of cleaning. Its crumb tray is very functional and easy to use. Likewise, cleaning out the oven's interior is a breeze — another benefit of the roll-top door. When open, the oven is completely accessible, both visually and spatially, which allows fingers, rags or scrubbers to easily find their way into every corner.
However, the Easy Reach didn't score as well on the ease of its interface. Although consisting of only two simple knobs, the oven's operation isn't overly intuitive or as simple to use as it appears. That said, it's not overly complicated, but it does require a few peeks at the owner's manual. As for accessories, this oven comes with a baking pan, oven rack, and slide-out crumb tray.
As previously mentioned, the Easy Reach struggles to maintain temperature. During our tests, we strategically placed calibrated thermometers inside the oven. After setting the desired temperature, we allowed the oven to preheat and then checked the temperature at timed intervals.
The Easy Reach performed the poorest in the the 350 and the 400-degree temperature ranges. At its worst, it was 30 degrees cooler than desired. However, it did perform better at 450 degrees, varying only 5 degrees hotter than desired.
The results of our temperature accuracy testing corresponded closely to our overall experiences in baking and cooking. In general, we found the Easy Reach undercooked items, which required additional cooking time to be added. However, there's a small upside: we feel it's better for things to be undercooked than overcooked. Even though we had to wait a little longer for our pizzas or cookies, we were happy to find that most items were eventually cooked to very acceptable standards with little or no burned areas.
Odds are you won't be sharing much of the frozen foods you cook in the Easy Reach. Due to its compact size, it barely accommodates a 9-inch pizza, while the most other ovens fit a standard size 12-inch pizza. If tater tots are your thing, this oven will struggle to fit half a bag's worth.
Most of the frozen items we heated came out a little undercooked after the recommended cooking time. Some of the pizza dough was still gooey and the tots weren't very crispy, resulting in additional cook times that exceeded those recommended.
On bright side, once we learned the subtleties of this oven, we were consistently able to produce frozen meals that were acceptably cooked. We simply had to wait a little longer than the directions suggested.
When compared to all of our other cooking and baking tests, we feel the Easy Reach 4-Slice is best at toasting. As its name denotes, it can toast four slices of bread at once. Most of the toasting was uniformly golden brown. However, the back-left side of the oven routinely toasted a little lighter than the rest of the oven.
We found the same heating map inconsistency when toasting bagels. The oven is only big enough to toast two full bagels at a time. The half-bagel slices in the front toasted perfectly, while those in the rear of the oven were paler and less crispy. Overall, we gave the Easy Reach higher than average marks for toasting and feel it does an acceptable job with this metric.
Should You Buy the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach 4-Slice?
Cooking large dishes or gourmet meals will never happen with the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach 4-Slice. It's compact design lends itself to one-and-done, single-serving dishes. You should buy this toaster if you're looking to save money and don't need a large, multi-function oven. This toaster is designed to bake simple snacks, re-heat leftovers, warm side dishes, or cook small, pre-made frozen meals. It's great for after-school goodies and would also be perfect for a college student or someone living the studio apartment life.
We also see a place for the Easy Reach in an adventure van or other type of RV. It takes up little space and is lightweight, simple to use and to clean. Most appealing about this oven is its lower price tag. When we combine its lower price with its ability to compete with higher-priced models, we feel the Easy Reach is a great buy.
What Other Toaster Oven Should You Consider?
If you're looking for more functionality and larger cooking capacity, the Easy Reach simply wouldn't be a wise choice for you. For toaster ovens that perform more like an actual conventional oven, we suggest the Breville Smart Oven or the Ninja Foodi Digital Oven, which both varying prices but similar features and test performance results. Another wise choice, that has nearly the same functions as the Breville, with a lower price tag, is the Cuisinart TOA-60.
— Jason Wanlass and Genaveve Bradshaw
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