We updated this article in November 2021 to ensure all picks previously tested and vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances Lab were in stock and reflected current pricing.
Toaster ovens deserve respect: They take up minimal space, can replace several kitchen appliances (like your toaster and air fryer — heck some are already air fryer toaster ovens) and shorten cooking times, especially when you use the convection setting. In addition to toasting bread and bagels, they can cook whole chickens and roast vegetables. Since most toaster ovens don’t require preheating, they’re great for the summer months when you don’t want to heat up your entire kitchen with your full-size oven. They're also energy efficient and use as little as half the energy of a conventional oven.
In the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliances Lab, we test toaster ovens to see which ones can produce the most even, golden brown toast in the shortest amount of time. We've tested about 60 in the past ten years. Scroll to the bottom of this article for more information on how we test; in the meantime, here are our top picks for the best toaster ovens you can buy in 2021 based on testing:
- Best Overall Toaster Oven: Breville Compact Smart Oven
- Best Value Toaster Oven: Hamilton Beach Sure-Crisp Toaster Oven
- Best Toaster Oven Air Fryer: Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven
- Best Small Toaster Oven: Panasonic FlashXpress Compact Toaster Oven
- Most Versatile Toaster Oven: Cuisinart Chef's Convection Oven
- Best Smart Toaster Oven: June Oven
- Heats foods quickly and evenly
- Easy to use and clean
Electronic controls and preset cooking programs for bagels, cookies and pizza (up to an 11-inch pie) make the Breville Compact Smart Oven super easy to use. It browned toast quickly, baked a beautiful cake and roasted tender potatoes and chicken in our tests. A nonstick coating makes cleaning a breeze. The control panel is also very intuitive, and the stainless steel design feels solid. Lastly, there's something to say about an average 4.6 star rating on Amazon from more than 4,000 reviews.
If you're looking for a larger capacity, the Breville Smart Toaster Oven Air, which can hold nine slices of bread or a five-quart Dutch oven, also performed well in our tests.
- Great air fryer function
- Timer only goes up to 30 minutes
Hamilton Beach Super-Crisp doesn’t fail to perform. While it looks very basic with easy-to-use controls, it toasted bread and baked pizza very evenly in a relatively short amount of time. In addition to its performance, the small footprint won't take up too much space on your countertop but can still fit six slices of bread and a 13-inch frozen pizza, so you won't sacrifice size for usability. We were most impressed with its air frying abilities: It made crispy and juicy wings, and crispy fries that weren’t dried out.
- Spacious interior for even crisping
- Flips up to save space
- Difficult to clean around the heating element
We already love Ninja for air frying: The brand's Air Fryer Max XL is our pick for best overall air fryer. So it's no surprise that we were also impressed with the air crisp function on this air fry oven. It made crispy, yet moist wings, with a large air fry rack that offers ample cooking room and promotes air circulation for the crispiest results. It's also a great toaster oven: In our tests, the control panel was intuitive to use and easy to read. Bread toasted well and cake baked very evenly. The bottom surface also releases so you can clean it easily, and the whole unit flips up to stand flush against your backsplash for compact storage.
- Tray pulls out automatically when you open the door
- Cook pan can be hard to clean and rusts easily
Though we have not tested this oven in our Labs, it is highly rated on Amazon. It's compact (it will fit a 9-inch pizza), so it's ideal for small kitchens (or big kitchens with limited counter space!). It features preset cooking times for toast, reheating waffles and rolls and cooking frozen foods like pizza and hash browns. We like that the rack is attached to the door so it automatically pulls forward as you open the oven.
Keep in mind that the oven will heat for a maximum of 25 minutes, so it’s perfect for many prepared frozen foods, but for longer bakes you’ll have to restart it. Reviewers noted that the pan is difficult to clean and rusts easily. We suggest covering it with a fitted layer of foil before placing food on it.
- Toasts quickly
- Two separate cooking temperatures
- Preheat alert tone is quiet
Although relatively compact, the stainless steel Cuisinart Deluxe Convection Toaster Oven Broiler can roast a golden brown chicken in an hour and is almost as fast at toasting as a pop-up toaster. Its spacious interior can also fit a 13" pizza (and it comes with a pizza stone!). It features multiple convection fan settings and can be programmed to dual cook, which means you can cook a chicken at one temperature to brown the skin and another to finish cooking it through.
For air frying, we recommend the Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven, which has four heating elements on the top paired with a large fan to help circulate the hot air and make foods extra crispy, plus a designated air fryer basket and tray.
- Detects food and automatically adjusts cook time
- Roomy interior is good for large batches
This toaster oven is one of a kind from a technological standpoint. Place a piece of food inside, and a camera will detect what it is and recommend how to cook it. Then, you can either press the Start Cooking button, or override it and cook your food a different way. The touchpad is practically addicting: It responds as fast as an iPhone and offers a very clean and easy user experience.
The oven itself is big and solid with a very roomy interior that’s easy to wipe down. We were able to fit 12 slices of bread on one of the shelves, and it toasted relatively evenly and baked a very nice cake. It also baked a delicious pizza with evenly melted cheese and a lightly crisp bottom.
For our most recent test of more than 20 toaster ovens, we toasted more than 500 slices of bread. We check for evenly cooked baked goods as well as the ability to broil steak and to melt cheese on open-faced sandwiches. For toaster ovens with air fryer functions, we test how quickly and evenly they crisp up chicken wings and frozen French fries. We also evaluate the toaster ovens based on their design quality, user manuals, control panels, ease of use, number of rack positions, interior visibility, audible alert and cleanability.
✔️ Space: Consider how much room you have as well as what you want to use the oven for. If space is not an issue, dream big: Ovens like the Breville Smart Oven Air and the June Oven can fit a small turkey. If space is an issue, there are many compact ovens on the market, like the Hamilton Beach Sure-Crisp, that can still fit six slices of bread at one time, or a 13-inch frozen pizza.
✔️ Design: Since your toaster oven will most likely live on your counter, aesthetics are important. Digital toaster ovens with stainless steel housing are typically sleeker and more modern looking than their mechanical counterparts.
✔️ Rack positions: Most toaster ovens have two rack positions, but the largest have three. The added rack position allows for even more cooking versatility and usable space, especially for air frying or dehydrating. As a general rule of thumb, the uppermost positions are used for broiling, while the middle are used for toasting bread and baking, and the bottom is used for cooking large roasts or pizzas.
✔️ Accessories and additional features: Most toaster ovens come with at least one rack and a baking/broiling pan (note: a heavier baking pan means less warping over time). Most toaster ovens now come with a removable crumb tray that is dishwasher safe too. Being able to toss them in the dishwasher is also very important: Dishwasher-safe parts help with toaster oven maintenance by preventing smoking from caked on gunk and keeping things looking new and shiny.
Some toaster ovens come with an air frying basket/rack, others with pizza stones or rotisseries spits, and many include an interior light, which helps you see inside without opening the door. We found this feature to be very useful, and were also pleased with toaster ovens that had large, glass doors for the easiest viewing.