In a quest to find the best toaster oven, we researched more than 100 models before buying the 13 most compelling options to compare head-to-head. We then used those machines to bake hundreds of cookies, more than 100 chicken drumsticks, and dozens of pizzas. We also baked cakes in each oven and toasted countless bagels and slices of bread. For those offering such a feature, we also air-fried sweet potato fries. After comparing cooking capabilities and general user-friendliness of each oven in a side-by-side manner, we've found the best for every kitchen, no matter your budget or kitchen appliance need.
Outer Dimensions: 17.2" x 21.4" x 12.8" | Maximum Pizza Diameter: 13"
REASONS TO BUY
Great all-around cooking performance
Excellent temperature accuracy
Can air fry and dehydrate
REASONS TO AVOID
May be too large for small kitchens
The Breville Smart Oven Air delivers on both fronts for those who want high performance and versatility. It offers more cooking functions than most competing ovens, in addition to providing field-leading baking performance and temperature accuracy. These capabilities include slow cooking, dehydrating, and air frying, amongst others. Thanks to a large display screen and intuitive control panel, it's easy to manage and use those different functions. Considering the Smart Oven Air's impressive resume, toast may seem like an afterthought, but the final product is excellent.
The only real downsides to the Smart Oven Air are its price and size. The extra features push the price well above that of most competitors, and the large footprint can make it feel like a bit of a space-hog on smaller countertops. If you take advantage of all the Smart Oven Air has to offer and have some spare counter space, it's worth considering.
Outer Dimensions: 19.7" x 7.6" x 15" | Maximum Pizza Diameter: 13"
REASONS TO BUY
Great all-around cooking performance
Impressive temperature accuracy
Air fry and dehydrate functions
Flips up for space-saving storage
REASONS TO AVOID
The Ninja Foodi Digital Oven is one of the most impressive countertop appliances we've seen. It is a simple, quick-heating oven large enough to handle a 13" pizza. It shines in this capacity, as it baked some of the best cakes and chicken in our tests. On top of that, it offers air fry and dehydration functions that we found to be as effective as those we saw in dedicated air frying from products in our best air fryer review and dehydrating appliances. The pièce de résistance is the convenient flip-up feature, particularly if you have a smaller kitchen. Thanks to a small foot and hinge on the back of the oven, you can easily flip it up when not in use. This storage configuration can still fit under most cabinets while sticking out from the wall less than 8 inches. And, of course, it toasts bread and bagels like a champ.
It's hard to find much to complain about other than the price tag. It is on the more expensive end of the spectrum but generally in line with other high-performing ovens. Additionally, it costs much less than many of the oven/air fryer combos currently on the market. If you're willing to pay a bit extra for top-tier performance, we can't imagine anyone being disappointed with the Ninja Foodi Digital Oven.
Outer Dimensions: 11.9" x 16.1" x 9" | Maximum Pizza Diameter: 9"
REASONS TO BUY
Easy to clean
Performs as well as some larger models
Compact and portable
REASONS TO AVOID
Runs a little cool
Limited oven space
When it comes to basic functions, the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach 4-Slice can compete with larger, more-expensive ovens, yet it comes at a fraction of the cost. When we weigh its price against its overall quality, we feel it's one of the most appealing compact toaster ovens we've examined. Sure there are better compact toaster ovens out there, but they also come with a higher price tag. If all you need is basic cooking and baking, the Easy Reach does it well and won't break the bank. Consistency aptly defines this oven, when we consider its general ability to cook and bake simple foods. It excels at reheating leftovers, cooking snacks, personal pizzas, or side dishes, making it a perfect choice for grab-and-go meals or after-school treats. It's lightweight and portable and takes up little space, allowing it to be a perfect addition to any RV, college dorm, or studio apartment. Our favorite feature is the Easy Reach's roll-top door, which lifts/rolls up, similar to an outdoor grill hood. This exposes nearly the entire oven interior and gives the user more top-down access to items being cooked. Even better, the roll-top door is clear, so you can check on all your baking goodies in one glance.
Although the Easy Reach scores above average in most of our metrics, it doesn't perform perfectly all the time. It struggles to maintain temperature and often runs a little cooler than desired, resulting in potentially undercooked items, especially frozen foods like pizza. We often needed to add extra time to our cooking and in some cases had to cook items for nearly double the suggested time limits. Despite the need to babysit items a little longer, we were pleased the final results were pleasantly cooked and very tasty.
Outer Dimensions: 15.5" x 14" x 8.8" | Maximum Pizza Diameter: 11"
REASONS TO BUY
Great all-around cooking performance
Great temperature accuracy
REASONS TO AVOID
The Breville Mini Smart Oven was designed just for you if you're short on space but big on baking aspirations. This space-saving model has nearly all of its big sibling's performance and temperature accuracy capabilities but in a package that's more economical and space-saving. The small size also lets it heat up incredibly fast, providing the quickest route we've seen, from emergency cookie craving to fresh-baked goodness. Thanks to its stellar temperature accuracy, it is also the smallest oven in this review that can still handle the more finicky meals and baked goods.
The only complaint we have against the Mini Smart Oven is its lack of capacity, but that's a tradeoff you need to make if you're looking to save space. Some might argue that the price tag is high, but we feel that dollar for dollar, this oven provides more cooking performance than almost any option on the market. It is the perfect oven for cooking aficionados in small apartments or dorm dwellers who don't want to give up their baking habits.
Outer Dimensions: 13" x 12" x 10.2" | Maximum Pizza Diameter: 9"
REASONS TO BUY
Fast and convenient
Great toasting quality
Great for frozen foods
REASONS TO AVOID
While the Panasonic FlashXpress is technically a toaster oven, it has quite a bit of microwave in its DNA thanks to unique infrared heating elements that can almost instantaneously heat up. Those elements both eliminate the need for preheating and can produce such intense heat that most standard cooking times get cut in half. This model can provide that close-to-perfect crisp on bagels and toast and rapidly heat leftovers without the sogginess associated with microwaves. If you've ever wished that your microwave could also make toast, this is the oven for you.
The biggest downside to expedient heating is that moisture retention falls by the wayside. We were never able to make chewy cookies with the FlashXpress, only very crispy ones. The machine itself is a bit quirky, with some odd presets and a Celsius temperature scale. This issue means it may not be possible to select the exact Fahrenheit temperature required in a recipe. But if you're primarily looking for a fast and convenient way to make toast, heat leftovers, and prepare frozen foods, and you don't mind making some sacrifices in the baking realm, the FlashXpress is the perfect countertop companion.
Outer Dimensions: 16" x 17" x 11.3" | Maximum Pizza Diameter: 12"
REASONS TO BUY
Easy to clean
REASONS TO AVOID
Poor temperature accuracy
While it wasn't quite up to par with our award winners, the incredibly versatile KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven with Air Fry is worth mentioning. If counter and storage space is an issue for you and you need all of your appliances to be as multifunctional as possible, this toaster oven packs a whole lot of functionality into its design. Besides the standard toasting and baking functions, this device can also function as an air fryer, a dehydrator, and proof your bread dough. The sleek dial and digital display make using this device about as user-friendly as an oven can be. The provided crumb tray is large and easy to slip in and out of the oven, and its non-stick coating makes it simple to keep clean.
Temperature accuracy is where this model struggles. The toaster oven temperature failed to reach the selection on the digital display. It consistently held a lower temperature, less than desirable when you need reliability. However, noting the difference makes it easier to compensate for this drawback. The KitchenAid Countertop Oven is a versatile and easy-to-use device that performs well whether you're roasting chicken or heating a frozen pizza.
To find the best toaster ovens, we researched more than 100 before purchasing the very best at full price — we never accept any free samples from manufacturers to help achieve our goal of providing unbiased expert reviews. Each oven is subjected to more than 22 individual tests. We made more than 1000 slices of toast, more than 300 bagels, over 100 frozen pizzas, and dozens of cakes, cookies, and bags of tater tots, comparing each in side-by-side taste tests. Our baking tests, the most important metric at 35% of the total score, consist of 12 individual tests. We test each machine using three different kinds of food: drumsticks, cookies, and cake. To test temperature accuracy, we used two professionally calibrated thermometers. We then assessed their overall user-friendliness and ease of cleaning. Our testing results can help you find the perfect countertop cooker no matter your needs or budget.
We tested and scored each model across 5 precisely weighted metrics:
Baking tests (30% of overall score weighting)
Ease of Use tests (25% weighting)
Temperature Accuracy tests (20% weighting)
Frozen Food tests (15% weighting)
Toasting tests (10% weighting)
We attributed the most clout to baking performance, closely followed by ease of use. Temperature accuracy and frozen food preparation both received moderate weighting. Because differences in toasting performance were generally smaller than those we saw in other metrics, toasting performance received the least weight of our testing metrics.
Each toaster oven was tested across various scenarios with different types of food, allowing us to offer up the details you need to make the right decision for your toasting goals and budget.
Generally, we've discovered that higher cost equates to better performance in the world of toaster ovens, but that correlation isn't linear. For example, the inexpensive Hamilton Beach Easy Reach 4-Slice managed to turn in an above-average performance in most of our testing. The Panasonic FlashXpress offers great value in a similarly low price range. However, it is a bit of a specialty product that excels at quick reheating but not baking. Possibly the best value-per-dollar, the Breville Mini Smart Oven offers top-tier performance at a relatively reasonable price, though it does come with a smaller capacity. The Ninja Foodi Digital Oven manages to deliver top-notch performance and multifunctionality at a relatively reasonable price.
Two primary advantages of using a countertop model are speed and energy efficiency. You can quickly bake single-portion meals or small batches of confections without wasting the energy and time heating a large conventional oven. The principal function of these products is baking, so we assigned it significant weighting in our scoring scheme and made sure to bake a representative spread of tasty food during our testing. We evaluated each model's ability to cook evenly without drying or undercooking meals. This goal led us to look for the ideal crispy-on-the-outside chewy-on-the-inside cookies, fully cooked yet, moist cake, and drumsticks with crispy skins and juicy, tender meat.
Though none of the models performed overtly poorly in our baking tests, there were some obvious front runners. The Breville Smart Oven, the slightly upgraded Smart Oven Air, the Calphalon Quartz Heat, and the Ninja Foodi Digital Oven all shared top marks for baking. These ovens created crispy on the outside, moist on the inside drumsticks, chewy cookies with slightly browned edges, and kept cakes fluffy and moist without any hot or cold spots. Bottom line, no matter your baking biases, we don't think any of these ovens will disappoint.
While not the absolute highest scorers, the Breville Mini Smart Oven and the KitchenAid Digital Countertop with Air Fry also impressed us in our baking tests. For the most part, the Breville Mini cooks just as well as its larger siblings, but with a few minor drawbacks. For instance, our drumsticks were not adorned with quite as crispy skins, and our cakes came out slightly less delectably moist. However, we still think these shortcomings were minor and that the Breville Mini is a fantastic choice for bakers who are short on space. The KitchenAid Digital Countertop excelled at keeping our baked items moist but had a few obvious dead spots in the oven that resulted in slightly uneven cooking.
The Cuisinart TOB-260N just missed out on a top-tier score in our baking tests because of a slight tendency to dry things out. However, we were very pleased with the Cuisinart TOA-60, which produced some of the better chicken we've tasted. The outer skins were crisp and the inner meat was juicy and savory. The Black+Decker Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake earned a slightly above-average score in our baking tests. It did a reasonably good job with everything but generally had slight issues with even cooking/browning of baked goods and struggled a bit to retain moisture when cooking meats. Fortunately, we still enjoyed everything we made in this oven and found these issues to be minor.
When our baking tests were said and done, the Black+Decker TO3250XSB also scored just above average. Across the board, it cooked things well but slightly unevenly. For example, chicken drumsticks were well cooked (though the skin had some crispy and some less than crispy areas), the cake was moist but with some darker spots on the outside, and cookies cooked a bit unevenly and tended to be overly crispy even when we tried to make them moist and chewy. This baking performance is more than acceptable in most cases, but you may be disappointed with the results if you have gourmet aspirations.
The Panasonic FlashXpress and its unique double infrared elements should be considered a super-fast reheater rather than a proper oven. Its design gives the model a particular niche in which it excels, such as quickly making toast and bagels, heating most leftovers without creating sogginess, and prepping things like frozen burritos. However, items like cakes, cookies, and drumsticks come out with a very dry and charred quality.
Ease of Use
Toaster ovens should be versatile. However, versatility often comes with complexity. The interface and features help unlock the products' versatility if the design is user-friendliness. The controls must allow you to select if you are making toast, bagels, frozen food, baking, or broiling. They must allow you to choose the proper temperature and cooking duration for each of these functions. Models with intuitive controls and thoughtful interfaces make navigating these options a breeze, but clunky interfaces can turn meal prep into a rage-inducing episode. We had everyone in our office dial each of the models with various settings to determine which were easy to use and which may find you in anger management seminars. We also assessed how easy it was to remove and clean each crumb tray.
We found that companies either go out of their way to design an intuitive and delightful user experience or keep things disappointingly spartan, with very few models occupying a middle ground. The Breville Smart Oven, the Breville Smart Oven Air, the Calphalon Quartz Heat, the KitchenAid Digital Countertop, and the Ninja Foodi Digital Oven, and the Cuisinart TOA-60 all sit in the delightful category. These models all feature large, easy-to-read LCD screens and crumb trays that are easy to remove and clean.
The Cuisinart TOA-60 doesn't employ any LCD screens but we found its four-knobbed interface to be extremely intuitive and very easy to use. Additionally, the TOA-60 also is easy to clean, earning it the same ease of use score as the models mentioned above.
The Cuisinart Chef's Convection Oven and Breville Mini Smart Oven utilize a similar interface to the full-sized models, using a large LCD screen and knobs to select and display settings. The Cuisinart has only one knob. Pressing on it allows you to cycle through selecting function, temperature, and duration settings. While these controls are straightforward, the dedicated knobs on the full-sized Breville made things feel just a bit more seamless. The Breville Mini has one knob to cycle through cooking modes and uses arrow buttons to set temperature and time. We prefer more knobs instead of buttons, but to get such a space-saving package, it feels like a small sacrifice.
Again falling into the slightly above average category, the Black+Decker Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake is simple to use, but we wish its control panel were a bit more specific. It features dedicated knobs for cooking function, temperature, and time. However, these knobs are labeled with very small writing, and there is no LCD screen displaying exactly what's been selected. It's pretty hard to tell if you've chosen your exact desired temperature and time.
The user experience for the Black+Decker TO3250XSB is similar. It has three knobs dedicated to cooking temperature time and one specifically for toast. It lacks a digital readout, so getting the time and temperature knobs in the exact right positions can be challenging. Similarly, it can be difficult to tell exactly how much cooking time is left.
Of the poorer scoring devices, the best model in the runner-up group was the Panasonic FlashXpress. Its controls are generally straightforward, with dedicated buttons for each preset (annoyingly, it does not have a bagel function, you'll have to settle for normal toast settings). We found that using the device can be a bit tricky. You can't make any selections until you press the power button, and it will just fire up on its own if you wait too long to make your selection. This forces you to shut everything off and start over. The temperature settings are converted from Celcius, so you likely won't be able to select the exact temperature your recipe calls for (for example, you can't set it to 400˚, but you can set it for 390˚).
The most surprising test results came from the temperature accuracy test. We were taken aback to find that a number of our ovens routinely differed from the indicated temperature by 20˚, with some having discrepancies as high as 50˚. It seems that achieving the correct temperature is the most basic function of an oven, and we felt those inaccuracies were unacceptable. As we dug into this issue a little further, we found it a pretty divisive topic in the baking world. You can find many articles peddling the idea that oven temperature is a relatively uncontrollable variable, so we should stop worrying about it because of that. However, you can find an equal number of articles extolling the virtues of accurate oven temperature and the fact that a change of just 25˚F can have a noticeable impact on the quality of baked goods. Both camps have a point. Having to obsessively check your oven with a thermometer will be a hassle and could take some (or all) of the fun out of baking. A more accurate oven will most likely yield better, more predictable results. With that in mind, we measured temperature accuracy with two different NSF-approved oven thermometers and a Extech EA11A-NIST thermocouple thermometer.
In our testing, we set each oven to three different temperatures and monitored the thermometers for 30 minutes to see which temperature each oven reached equilibrium. The Cuisinart TOA-60 surprised us with some of the most consistent temperatures we've seen in a long time. In most of our tests, the temperatures didn't fluctuate at all or were off by just a few degrees.
Following close behind were the Breville Smart Oven, its sibling the Smart Oven Air, the Breville Mini Smart Oven, and the Ninja Foodi Digital Oven. When set to temperatures of 350˚ and 400˚, the Breville Smart Oven settled in at exactly those temperatures. When set to 450˚, it ran just 5˚ hot. The Smart Oven Air turned in a similar performance, generally staying within 3˚ of its set temperature. Despite being more susceptible to temperature fluctuations due to its small size, the Mini Smart Oven was always within 10˚ of the set temperature. The Ninja Foodi Digital Oven ran slightly hot at its lowest temperature but was almost perfectly accurate at every temperature above that. It also tended to preheat much faster than most competitors.
Particularly when set to lower temperatures, the Black+Decker TO3250XSB tended to run pretty hot in our tests. For example, it often hovered around 375˚ when set to 350˚, and even got as hot as 400˚ at one point. When we cranked the set temperature over 400˚, accuracy vastly improved.
The Black+Decker Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake consistently ran hot in our testing. Somewhat frustratingly, this temperature discrepancy was not consistent — sometimes the actual temperature was just 5˚ above the set temperature, while at other times it was as much as 50˚ hotter.
The Cuisinart TOB-260N performed similarly but in the other direction. It ran 25˚ hot when set to 350˚ and 400˚, and 20 ˚ hot when set to 450˚. The Oster Extra Large Digital Countertop Oven and the Panasonic FlashXpress brought up the rear in this metric. At all temperatures, the Oster ran very hot. It was 30˚ hot when set to 350˚, 50˚ hot when set to 400˚, and 55˚ hot when set to 450˚. The FlashXpress heated up almost instantly but also ran hot. It was 20˚ over when set to 350˚, and 50˚ above when set to 425˚ (we adjusted our test for the FlashXpress because its presets are Celsius). The Calphalon Quartz Heat consistently ran 15˚ cold in all of our tests, so while it isn't accurate, it is at least consistent.
The KitchenAid Digital Countertop was another unit that struggled tremendously with temperature accuracy. It consistently ran low, at times only 5˚ off and occasionally up to 25˚ off. When set to 425˚, the oven consistently measured in at 400˚, regardless of how much time we let go by.
Compared to conventional ovens, toaster ovens preheat fast, making them the superior mechanism for quick delivery of frozen pizza when late-night hunger strikes. Due to its commonality and composition, most of our frozen food testing focused on this staple. We consumed possibly dangerous amounts of dough and cheese in the search to test and find which ovens produced the crispiest crusts and gooiest mozzarella. For good measure, we threw in some frozen tater tots as these ovens are also great for a quick hit of warm comfort food when it's needed.
The quick and easy convenience of frozen foods aligns perfectly with the Panasonic Flash Expressstrong suits. In our tests, it managed to prep frozen pizzas to near perfection in barely a third of the time it took other ovens to do so. The biggest downside is that this tiny oven can not accommodate an entire 12-inch pizza, but it will hold a 9-inch pizza. Unfortunately, 9-inch frozen pizzas are hard to come by in most grocery stores, so chances are you'll be settling for a 6-inch pie. The Hamilton Beach Easy Reach 4-Slice shares in the Panasonic's pizza-size woes. It also can only accommodate a 9-inch frozen pie. It also undercooked our pizza, requiring us to add additional time. However, the end product was perfectly browned and acceptably cooked.
If you tend to eat a lot of frozen food and don't like the inherent sogginess of prepping such foods in a microwave, the Panasonic Flash Express is a fantastic choice.
The Breville Smart Oven Air is the only model we've found that can match the FlashXpress's penchant for frozen foods. While the larger size means it takes a bit longer to make a pizza or tater tots, the Air creates a delightful crunch in both without sacrificing any tenderness. It can also handle a whole 12" pizza, an inability of the FlashXpress that is its most glaring weak spot.
The Ninja Foodi Digital Oven also performed well in preparing frozen foods, with a tendency to brown one side of a frozen pizza a bit more than the other, being its only slight weak point.
The KitchenAid Digital Countertop was another top scorer for heating frozen food. Food was consistently ready faster than the time listed on the instructions. This is an attribute in terms of cooking efficiency. Additionally, pizza crusts came out crisp, and more importantly, evenly cooked.
Surprisingly, the top models in other metrics only produced middle-of-the-pack results in our frozen food testing. The full-sized Breville Smart Oven and its Mini versions scored well in this metric. The Mini Smart Oven tended to leave pizzas a bit softer and doughier than we would have preferred, but this can generally be fixed by extending the cooking time. The full-sized Smart Oven had some inconsistency problems, cooking the backside of the pizza more than the front.
The Black+Decker excelled in our tests when making frozen pizza, managing to cook everything well without too much unevenness. Tater tots ended up a bit more uneven, but they were still delightful. Overall we highly doubt anyone cooking frozen foods with this oven will be disappointed.
The Black+Decker Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake was good but not stellar cooking frozen food. Every frozen item we threw at it was decently cooked but always with some notable inconsistencies. For example, some tater tots came out much crispier than others. Meanwhile, the frozen pizzas we baked had gooey cheese and crisp toppings, but the crusts remained doughy and chewy. If you like a soft crust, no biggie, but this was disappointing for fans of crispier crusts.
The Cuisinart T0A-60 did a great job of cooking the top of the pizza but had a tendency to overcook and even slightly burn the underside. Despite its ability to maintain even temperatures, we were quite surprised to see this inconsistent cooking pattern.
If a toaster oven doesn't excel at preparing its namesake breakfast item, it will lead to some disappointing mornings. To avoid such a catastrophe, we made hundreds of slices of toast in our ovens. We paid detailed attention to the toast's evenness, both across the face and between the top and bottom sides of the slice. To make sure we covered every preference, we used white, wheat, and sourdough bread and toasted them at every setting, from very light to borderline burnt. We also stuffed every oven chock-full of bread from wall to wall, then ran a standard toast cycle. This "toast map" elucidated if the oven had any cold spots or started bleeding heat towards the edges.
Once again, the original Breville Smart Oven, the Smart Oven Air, and the Ninja Foodi Digital Ovenare leading in this metric. The bagel modes of these models made some of the most evenly toasted bagels we've seen. Leaving the backsides of bagels warm and gooey while giving the cut sides a nice, even crust is a difficult thing to do, but these models did it with aplomb. When toasting bread, they also achieved impressive consistency. When we did our toast map test, filling the ovens wall-to-wall with toast, we found only small cold spots at the very extreme edges of these ovens. In comparison, most models left edge slices looking sadly neglected.
Primarily due to its speed, the FlashXpress also scored well in this metric. It is the only model we tested that can make toast and bagels as fast, if not faster, than a traditional slot toaster. It also had no cold spots on our toast map. The infrared elements can also easily be used directionally, so it has no trouble toasting the cut sides of bagels without browning the backsides.
The Black+Decker TO3250XSB also performed splendidly in our toasting tests, creating impressively even browning on both bread and bagels. Our only real complaint is that if you try to toast the maximum of eight slices of bread at once, those near the edges of the oven will likely come out with some cold spots.
We were also very impressed with the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach 4-Slice. It only toasts four slices of bread or two bagels at a time, however, for its small size and small price tag, we were pleasantly surprised at this mini-me's ability to consistently produce acceptable toasted items.
Another top performer in this test was the Black+Decker Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake. It browns toast relatively evenly and manages to get the cut sides of bagels even and crispy while leaving the backside warm and gooey.
The Cuisinart TOA-60 toasts very similar to how it cooks pizza. The top sides of our bread and bagels were toasted to relative perfection, while the bottom sides were overcooked or even slightly burned.
A toaster oven can add a wide range of cooking abilities to a dorm room or a spartan city kitchen without taking up much space. Even if you have access to a full-sized oven, these countertop models can still be worth adding to your arsenal of kitchen appliances. They heat up faster and have much better energy efficiency than conventional ovens. With hundreds of options on the market, it might seem like all toasters ovens are created equal, but when you start to look at the details, you'll find that the quality varies widely. We hope our expert review has helped you sift through the options and find the perfect model for your space, tastes, and budget.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.