Any time there’s a novelty which I could add to my kitchen, I’m super excited. That’s exactly what I felt when I decided to buy my first infrared toaster oven a few years ago. Up until now, I have had the pleasure of owning a couple of different models and learned a lot about what makes an efficient and easy one to use. It all comes down to how to choose an infrared toaster oven….
I love them because they:
- Cook up to 50% faster
- Cook very fast- instant heat
- Uses infrared technology
- Straight from freezer to toaster, no defrosting
- Cooks pizza, cakes, meats, bread, makes toast and more
- Even the kids can use one they are so simple to operate
If chosen well, a well designed model can easily substitute many of your kitchen appliances, traditional oven included. Of course, you can’t just go ahead and buy any toaster. To help you make a good choice, I have prepared a guide of the best toaster ovens to buy, based on my personal views.
Plus I have shared a what you can cook in an infrared toaster oven to get you inspired…:)
Why Would You Need An Infrared Toaster Oven In The First Place?
Do you think this Mom could find a toaster oven handy? Well, before I even share any tips on how to choose an infrared toaster oven with you, let’s take a quick look at why you should consider getting your own oven. There are three reasons that I believe should encourage 95% of people who read this immediately:)
- Save time. Up to 40% more efficient cooking.
- Save money. Less energy expenditure equals lower energy bills.
- Better taste. If you are in a hurry but want your food to taste good – you can’t go wrong with an infrared oven.
What about the other 5% of people? Well, I don’t care – if the above three reasons don’t convince them, nothing will. Now that you know the reasons for purchasing your very own infrared toaster let’s move on to the actual buying guide.
1) How To Choose An Infrared Toaster Oven?
When deciding on the best toaster oven to buy, you need to take into consideration two basic things – your personal requirements and quality of the product itself. Let’s start with the first category. To make sure that the toaster suits your needs, you need to think of how you’re going to use it.
How to choose an infrared toaster oven depends on a few factors… Are you single, and may use one to reheat breakfasts and prepare quick meals in the afternoon or evening?Or maybe you’re looking for a device to help you cook delicious and healthy meals for your whole family? Depending on that choice, you will have to pay attention to the size of an oven.
If you select too big a benchtop toaster for your small meals, you will have to wait too long for them to cook. At the same time, if you buy too small a one, you might have to cook every meal in turns, what takes too long. Naturally, size is not the only thing that matters. Here’s an easy toaster oven recipe for pan pizza.
If one of these isn’t quite what you need and you are looking for an infrared oven which cooks a complete meal, you may like our guide on the best infrared countertop ovens.
2) Brand And Cost Effectiveness
Money sure is a factor in how to choose an infrared toaster oven…. You can buy an infrared toaster for under hundred bucks. I wouldn’t recommend you do that, though. A good quality toaster costs at least around $120 – $150, and top family ones might be priced around $500 – $600. Some of the top brand names to look for are Panasonic, Breville and Frigidaire to name a few.
While that might seem like a lot, if you invest in a high-end one, you will save a lot of money and time long-term, as these are usually more energy efficient and get your meals ready a lot faster. There are also other reasons why you should choose a toaster made of quality materials. Apart from durability and ease of cleaning compared to their cheaper counterparts, top-quality toasters manage the high heat levels a lot better.
This saves money on power bills, one of the many time / money saving benefits of an infrared toaster oven. High-end toasters emit less heat thanks to airtight door seals.
3) How To Choose An Infrared Toaster Oven:Usability – How Convenient Is Your Toaster?
If you get used to your infrared oven, you will be using it almost every day. That’s why you’d better off investing in a high powered, convenient and easy to use one. There are a few things which I consider critical when it comes to convenience and effectiveness of use:
4) Functions and preprogrammed cooking options
Typically, you will be using your oven to perform multiple different tasks: reheating, defrosting, broiling, baking, browning, and roasting. Check how well your selected toaster performs each of them. On top of that, ensure that there are multiple preprogrammed cooking options, allowing you to prepare your favorite meals with just a few clicks of a button. Speaking of which…
5) Big LED screen and buttons on the front (and their number)
If you are buying your toaster oven online, look at its photos. Check if it has enough buttons on the front cover. Sometimes, there are just 2-3 buttons and a knob which you use to select programs on the screen. And, make sure to choose a toaster oven with an interior light.
Unless there’s a big and bright LED screen, you should choose an oven with multiple buttons so that you don’t have to do waste time on playing with the toaster trying to select the right options.
6) Precise temperature settings
The benefits of an infrared toaster oven with 8, 10 or even more preprogrammed settings give you a range of cooking options. I am yet to meet someone who did try to experiment and use their own temperature settings…. There’s far more food which you can cook, than programs in any oven. That’s why you should pay attention to the temperature settings. Ensure you will be able to set cooking temperatures precisely, without having to take a guess. Or select a more or less right one because of heat increments, or too small upper and lower limits.
7) Efficient preheating system
Another temperature-related feature is the preheating system. Selecting the best affordable toaster oven with an effective range of preheating options can save you more time, and retain flavor in every dish. These functions are so helpful when you pull frozen food out of the freezer to pop straight in the toaster. They completely cut out the time consuming process of defrosting! Make sure you read any under counter toaster oven reviews. Reading reviews tells you if people are happy with all aspects of the model and any downsides….
8) Timer and buzzer
Unless you spend all the time in your kitchen and can keep an eye on your toaster any time it’s on, you will want an oven with easily visible time. Preferably on a big LED display and loud buzzer that will let you know anytime your food is ready. While it sounds like a minor detail, it really makes a difference if you tend to leave the kitchen once you turn the toaster on….
9) Bright light and see-through door
Similarly, you want a convenient view on what’s happening inside. We all like to watch our food get ready as we can quite often judge whether we should take it off a little bit earlier or keep it cooking a few minutes longer.
By having a toaster oven with interior light which is bright, and clear see-through door, we can watch our meal without opening the door and losing heat.
The bright light is also helpful anytime you want to clean your oven as it makes it a lot easier to spot all the stains and crumbs.
10) Power cord length
I’ve found the power cord length factor somewhat underestimated. Not many people pay attention to that one. Depending on the number of power sockets, as well as other appliances you have in your kitchen, a short power cord might be a big obstacle. It may be impossible to put the toaster where you find it most convenient to use.
To avoid having to move too many things in your kitchen for the sake of turning on your oven, check whether the length of power cord is long enough. Read those under counter toaster oven reviews! A short power cord is useless! Based on my experience.
11) Extra accessories
Every toaster comes with a few accessories. The most basic ones include a standard square-shaped tray and a removable crumb tray. Which is an absolute must, and makes it easier for you to keep the non stick interior clean. On top of that, check if there are any extra accessories that might help you prepare your favorite foods such as a baking tray, grill pans or pizza trays.
Some manufacturers even add a special cookbook full of recipes selected with infrared toaster oven users in mind. An invaluable aid for anyone using a toaster to do more than reheating leftovers or defrosting pizzas.
How To Choose An Infrared Toaster Oven Is Simple Taking Into Account The Above 11 Points
Of course, there might be other things which you should or need to take into consideration and which I most likely didn’t include in my small list. We all value certain things differently. While I believe following the above will help you select a top-notch toaster, you should always look at your own priorities when making an investment like that. I always encourage my readers to choose high-end products which cost a little bit more in the beginning, the payoff is well worthwhile in the long run. How did you go in your research on how to choose an infrared toaster oven? Let me know, I’d love to hear your story.
Here is an interesting article on the running costs of using infrared heat