Toasters and toaster ovens are both great kitchen appliances to have. However, depending upon your budget and kitchen appliance storage space, you may only want to purchase one of them. In this post I'll compare the two and show different advantages/disadvantages of both.
To begin, let's examine the good ole toaster. Toasters can be used for toasting a variety of breads. This includes sandwich bread, waffles, bagels, and artisan bread. Generally speaking, toasters are not difficult to use. You simply drop some bread into the slots, adjust the toast setting, and pull the lever down. After the cycle is complete, the freshly toasted bread appears. Last but not least, you spread your favorite topping on the toast while it is still hot. (By the way, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon make a delicious combo. 🧈 😋)
In addition, cleaning a toaster is relatively simple. The crumb tray simply has to be removed, emptied, and then the toaster gently shaken over a trash can (make sure it's unplugged before doing this). A dry tiny paint brush can be used to clean the inside if you wish. (You can see our more thorough toaster cleaning guide here.)
You can pick up a toaster for a small amount of money. During Black Friday you can likely find them for $5 bucks. Although you can also spend quite a bit of money if you want one with epic toasting capabilities and features. For an example, check out this touchscreen toaster.
Now let's talk about toaster ovens. It is a somewhat larger appliance, and it is capable of doing a lot more than simply toasting bread. You can cook pizzas, chicken, fries, and a bunch of other stuff. They do take up more space on the counter, however.
It is likely that you will spend more time cleaning a toaster oven unless you are only toasting bread in it (at which point you might as well just buy a toaster). If not cleaned, grease from things such as fries and pizza can build up on the inside and pose a fire hazard. (See our toaster oven cleaning hacks for more information.)
A toaster oven may be more expensive than a toaster, but they provide a far greater range of things they can “toast” (maybe “cook” is a better word here in this case...). You should be able to purchase a decent toaster oven for less than $50 bucks.
A toaster or a toaster oven could technically be “better.” This all comes down to your family’s needs. Buy a toaster if toasting bread is all you care about. Buying a toaster oven with extra features you'll never use is a waste of money and counter space. Additionally, you should determine if your range can offer you the additional features a toaster oven has over a toaster. If you don't have a range, I highly recommend getting a toaster oven, since this will greatly increase the number of foods you can prepare. If you're in the market for a new toaster, check out our listings of the best 2 slice toasters and best 4 slice toasters.