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Panasonic FlashXpress Review

A small capacity, amazingly fast oven that can also replace 90% of microwave functions
Panasonic FlashXpress
Credit: Panasonic
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $170 List | $136.37 at Amazon
Pros:  Fast and convenient, great toasting quality, great for frozen foods
Cons:  Smaller capacity, odd controls
Manufacturer:   Panasonic
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Oct 25, 2016
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 11
  • Baking - 30% 4
  • Ease of Use - 25% 5
  • Temperature Accuracy - 20% 2
  • Frozen Food - 15% 8
  • Toasting - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The FlashXpress is a ringer that shakes up an otherwise homogenous field of toaster ovens. Its small capacity and seemingly rocket fuel-injected heating elements don't bode well for baking performance, but they can make quick work of frozen meals and toast bread in a flash (Xpress toast, if you will). It is the only model we tested that uses both quartz and ceramic heating elements. These heating elements are able to heat up almost instantaneously, no preheating required, and blast both the inside and outside of food with heat. In many ways, it performs as if it were a microwave that can also make toast, earning it recognition for its convenience.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Panasonic FlashXpress
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $170 List
$136.37 at Amazon
$230 List
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$159.95 at Amazon
$90 List
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$90 List
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Pros Fast and convenient, great toasting quality, great for frozen foodsGreat baking performance, great temperature accuracy, can also air fry and dehydrate, flips on its end when not in use to save spaceCompact, great all-around cooking performance, great temperature accuracyMakes great frozen pizza, easy to celan, convection mode, great toastInexpensive, good overall baking performance
Cons Smaller capacity, odd controlsSomewhat expensiveSmaller capacityMediocre temperature accuracy, only average baking performancePoor tempertaure accuracy, results can be less than consistent
Bottom Line A small capacity, amazingly fast oven that can also replace 90% of microwave functionsOne of the best multifunction cooking devices on the marketA perfect oven for those that want high performance but don't have much counter spaceA convenient and reliable budget option with reasonable performance at a great priceA verstaile budget option that will please most, but struggles with temperature accuracy
Rating Categories Panasonic FlashXpress Ninja Foodi Digital... Breville Mini Smart... Black+Decker TO3250XSB Black+Decker Extra...
Baking (30%)
4.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (25%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Temperature Accuracy (20%)
2.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
4.0
Frozen Food (15%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Toasting (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Panasonic FlashXpress Ninja Foodi Digital... Breville Mini Smart... Black+Decker TO3250XSB Black+Decker Extra...
Outer Dimensions 13" x 12" x 10.2" 19.7" x 7.6" x 15" 15.5" x 14" x 8.8" 14.5" x 22" x 11.5" 21.5" x 23" x 11.2"
Maximum Pizza Diameter 9" 13" 11" 13" 13"
Accesories Baking pan Wire rack, air fry basket, sheet pan Baking pan Baking pan, wire rack Baking pan, wire rack, air fry basket
Power Consumption (W) 1300 1800 1800 1500 1500

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The FlashXpress's dual infrared heating elements are very bright...
The FlashXpress's dual infrared heating elements are very bright, almost to an intimidating degree. The owner's manual warns against staring at them for too long.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

Baking


If you want a toaster oven for baking, then you probably don't want the FlashXpress. Baking is not its forte, nor was it designed with baking in mind. In fact, its timer maxes out at 25 minutes, far short of the cooking time required by many baking applications. It scored relatively poorly in our baking test, putting it well behind the top-performing models.


Its super-powered heating elements tended to leave most things over crunchy on the outside. Cookies were very crispy, cakes came out with blackened edges, and drumsticks were a bit burnt. Everything was cooked all the way through, but the FlashXpress failed to achieve the pleasant textures and consistencies that the more standard ovens were able to produce. One big plus: if you like crispy cookies the FlashXpress can zap out a small, personal-sized batch in a flash, as it requires no preheating time.

The FlashXpress's design is not optimized for baking. It often...
The FlashXpress's design is not optimized for baking. It often scorched the outsides of baked goods during our testing.
Credit: Steven Tata

Ease of Use


As we mentioned before, the FlashXpress has a bit of an eccentric design when compared to other toaster ovens. This continues to be true in its user interface, which earned it one of the lowest scores on our ease of use testing.


The FlashXpress's controls are all buttons, no knobs or dials, and they aren't the most comfortable to press. All information is displayed on a bright red, retro-looking LCD display. It has a dedicated button for each one of its six cooking modes: toast, frozen waffle, bread reheat, frozen pizza, quick reheat, and, oddly enough, frozen hash brown. The toasting shade is selected with a pair of dedicated up and down arrows. If you don't want to use one of the six preset functions you can simply select a temperature using another set of up/down arrows, and then set the time with a third set of arrows.

The Fahrenheit temperature settings are clearly converted from celsius round numbers, making them seem a bit odd at first glance, for instance, you can't dial in 400˚, but you can dial in 390˚. You can't dial in 450˚ but you can dial in 460˚, and so on and so forth. Also, it does not have a start/stop button, it only has an on/off button. So when you turn the oven on you have about 10 seconds to dial in the settings you want, and then the oven will start cooking. If you make a mistake in those setting you have to turn the whole oven off and start over, with no adjusting settings on the fly. Also, if you hesitate too much in punching in your setting the oven will start up partway, and you'll have to shut it off and try again. Additionally, the crumb tray was the flimsiest that we tested, and there is a small lip right inside the door that tends to accumulate crumbs. While none of these things are deal-breakers, they can occasionally cause some frustration, especially if you're in a hurry and hit the wrong button a few times (it happens to all of us).

The FlashXpress' controls take a bit of getting used to, and aren't...
The FlashXpress' controls take a bit of getting used to, and aren't quite as intuitive as one would hope.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

Temperature Accuracy


Not surprisingly, the FlashXpress ran hot in our temperature accuracy testing and shared the bottom score in this metric.


It heated up instantaneously but was consistently above the desired temperature. When we set it to 350, it jumped to 370 and stayed there. When set to 425, it was 20 degrees warm at the 7-minute mark and a full 50 degrees warm at the 15 and 30-minute marks.

Frozen Foods


The FlashXpress was the best performer in our frozen meal performance test. There wasn't a huge spread in scores in this metric, but the FlashXpress was the clear frontrunner.


It cooked the surface of frozen pizzas well, lending just a bit of crispiness to the crust and fully melting and just starting to brown the cheese. Its quick heating style did leave the interior of the pizza a bit underdone compared to the outside. While most of our testers enjoyed this texture, others felt it was less than ideal. Also, we used 6-inch pizzas in our testing for the FlashXpress as it couldn't accommodate the 12-inch pizzas we used for the other models. It can accommodate a 9-inch frozen pizza, but those are somewhat hard to come by. It was also able to get the outside of tater tots nice and crispy while leaving the insides with a pleasant, fluffy texture. Again, it was able to do all of these things much faster than any of the other ovens, lending to its lack of a required preheating stage. If you're looking for fast frozen meals, the FlashXpress lives up to its name.

With no need to preheat, the FlashXpress was able to quickly zap out...
With no need to preheat, the FlashXpress was able to quickly zap out frozen pizzas.
Credit: Steven Tata

Toasting


Toasting is where the FlashXpress comes into its own. It shared the top score in our toasting test.


It made the best toast in our test, toasting the top-facing sides of slices quite evenly and leaving minimal striations on the bottom-facing sides. Its toasting sweet spot can accommodate four slices of bread. It has just a small cold spot next to the door, so if you're making toast in this model we suggest you push the bread all the way to the back of the oven. It was the only model we tested that didn't have a bagel function. It toasted the faces of bagels very evenly, but it also toasted the backsides, which lost it a few points.

The FlashXpress makes toast exceptionally fast. When placed on the medium shade setting it produces toast in two minutes. This is about the same amount of time as a traditional slot toaster and about a third of the time of most toaster ovens. This is even more impressive when you consider the fact that traditional slot toasters have the advantage of heating elements that are right next to the bread.

The FlashXpress made some of our favorite toast, and our toast map...
The FlashXpress made some of our favorite toast, and our toast map showed that it only has a small cold spot near the door of the oven.
Credit: Steven Tata

Value


This is sort of a mid-range priced toaster. It's a fair bit more than our Best Buy and much less than our Editors' Choice. If you're looking for something that can bake then this is not a great value, as other affordable models produce better baking performance. However, its cost is in the same ballpark as buying both a traditional slot toaster and a microwave. So if you're pressed for counter space and want something that can serve in the place of both of those appliances the FlashXpress is a reasonable value.

Conclusion


If you're looking to bake then the FlashXpress isn't for you. However, if you're looking to combine your traditional slot toaster and microwave into one compact device, then this is what you're looking for. Just one note of caution: the FlashXpress's heating elements throw off infrared radiation, which can damage your eyes with prolonged exposure. The user manual warns to not stare at the elements for a long time. While we didn't find this particularly troubling, it may dissuade someone who is looking to ditch their microwave due to concerns about microwave radiation.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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