The Best Toaster Oven for Your Needs -- Savings Experiment

The Best Toaster Oven for Your Needs
The Best Toaster Oven for Your Needs

You may use toaster ovens to heat up a quick snack, but they can actually use up to 50 percent less electricity than conventional ovens. So, if you're in the market for a new toaster oven, here are a few ways to shop smart and find the right one for your budget.

First, when choosing a model, always think about what you'll be cooking in it. If you're mainly warming up smaller meals, look into entry-level models, which are ideal for basic warming, baking and toasting. These generally cost under $50, and while they don't have the extra bells and whistles of the pricier models, you probably won't be using those features.

If you often cook in batches or for large groups, a mid-range model has more power and capacity, which is likely a better bet for your kitchen. These models range between $50 and $150, and are much roomier and more versatile for bigger dishes, like lasagna and even roast chicken.

You'll also get slicker features, like digital controls and a temperature probe, so you can cook your meals with more precision. Mid-range models are great as a second oven, too -- in fact, some can handle up to 90 percent of what a conventional oven does.

When it comes to capacity, some companies like to boast about how many bread slices a toaster oven can hold, but it's not entirely accurate. Some ovens will claim to toast up to six slices at once, but since there is no universal standard for slice size, you should take these claims with a grain of salt. For a better idea of capacity, go by the actual dimensions.

So in the end, assess your cooking needs, your counter space and your budget before you choose the right toaster oven. Try out these tips, and you'll be heating up your meals without burning your budget!

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