Tips for choosing a quality, efficient model
The best convection toaster oven should save you time, money, and space – time because convection toaster ovens can bake, broil, roast, or toast faster than a regular toaster oven (or even a regular range oven), money because you can buy good quality convection toaster ovens for under $100, and space, because if your kitchen is really small and you don’t have room for a full cooking range, they can do just about anything a regular range oven could do (other than the Thanksgiving turkey) and they can toast your raisin bread to boot!
Convection toaster ovens save energy in a number of ways. In the first place, their small interior space warms up faster than a regular range oven, and takes less heat to warm. If you are just baking something small or heating up bread or rolls, it will take far less electricity to heat a small convection toaster oven than a regular range oven. And compared to a non-convection range oven, the best convection toaster oven will cook things much faster, because the convection process (which involves blowing the hot air around in the oven, as opposed to just letting natural convection move the air slowly around in a traditional oven) causes a much higher rate of heat exchange between the air and the items being cooked. This results in faster cooking, which gives less time for heat to escape through the walls of the oven, which in turn saves energy. In general, you can drop the temperature setting on a convection oven by about 25-30F compared to the equivalent standard oven, and cook for the same length of time, with equivalent results.
For large items or where you bake a lot of something at once (for instance, a big batch of cookies, or four loaves of bread), a regular range oven will be more energy efficient, especially a self-cleaning oven or a convection range or wall oven, because they tend to be made with thicker frames and therefore can hold a lot more insulation. This is one thing to bear in mind about looking for the best convection toaster oven: even the ones with the highest customer ratings do tend to get quite hot to the touch on the outside, so you want to make sure they’re placed on the countertop rather than sliding them into a shelf in your kitchen cabinetry.
In the sections below, I’m using November 2023 regular prices from Amazon.com to break down the best convection toaster ovens by price range. If you’re on a very tight budget, there are choices under $100 (just barely under $100) that are worth considering, but my recommendation is to try for something in the $100-150 range to get the quality and range of capabilities you need.
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Best convection toaster ovens under $100My favorite best convection toaster oven under $100 is the Galanz Large 6-Slice True Convection Toaster Oven. There are a number of things to love about this convection toaster oven. It provides more cooking functions than almost any other convection toaster oven on the market. You can use it to bake, bake with convection, broil, dehydrate, warm your food, toast up to six slices of bread, reheat two 12″ frozen pizzas (and get a nice crisp crust from the convection function), and roast small quantities of vegetables or meat. It comes with baking and roasting pans, two racks to hold the pans, and three rack positions (the top one being for quick broiling). What I love even more than the full feature list is its retro teal color. This convection toaster oven, like almost all others, has a bottom-hinged door, in this case opening flush with the bottom of the interior, which makes it easy to slide the bottom tray out without spilling. It’s an analog unit (of course, it’s retro) which means temperature and time settings are not necessarily going to be precise. Temperature range is from ‘warm’ to 450F, and its timer goes up to 60 minutes. You can also get the exact same unit in red instead of teal. To make matters a little more confusing, Galanz also makes the red model with one minor difference (replacing the Roast function with an Air Fry function) and one MAJOR difference – about $25 cheaper than the version with Roast. I’m not sure why Air Fry would be cheaper than Roast, since you can achieve pretty much the roasting results you’re after in any convection toaster oven by choosing convection bake and setting the temperature appropriately.
All of these models have 1500 watts of power, which is par for the course for the best convection toaster ovens.If you like the teal color but want to go for a more retro look, you can go for the Nostalgia Large Capacity Multi Functioning Convection oven. Technically this one isn’t under $100 – it’s around $139 right now – but I put it in this category because the exact same oven in red is under $100. These Nostalgia convection toaster ovens lack the Dehydrate and Roast options of the Galanz. In fact, I’m hard pressed to provide much to differentiate them other than their look. People do rave about how they look, and Nostalgia offers other appliances in the same bright red and pastel teal, if you want a retro look for your whole kitchen. Another great convection toaster oven currently under $100 is the Hamilton Beach 6 Slice Convection Toaster Oven With Easy Reach Roll-Top Door. One of the key features of this oven, which its owners really seem to love, is the roll-top door. The roll-top door means you can use it on a very crowded countertop. For example, you can have things in front of the convection toaster oven and still open the door, since it swivels up and over the top of the unit. This is the only convection toaster oven I’ve found with a swivel door. If that’s your thing, go for it. Standard oven features include Bake, Broil, Toast (6 slice max), and Convection Bake. Other improvements over the rest of the under $100 pack are auto-shutoff and stay-on settings. The first means that the heating elements turn off when the timer completes (believe it or not, on some other models the timer is just a timer, it doesn’t turn off the heat when the timer finishes). The second allows you to leave the oven on indefinitely, and that setting is designed not to be easy to turn on by accident, so you won’t find yourself turning chicken into carbon or racking up a big electrical bill by mistake!
The main drawbacks of the Hamilton Beach model are: it comes with only a single rack, and only two rack positions. You can buy an extra rack if you really need one, but out of the box this convection toaster oven won’t be ideal for baking multipe trays of cookies or two pizzas. This unit also doesn’t come with any trays. I would recommend it mainly if space is at a premium on your countertop and you are looking for something inexpensive. Hamilton Beach is a big brand so the quality is generally quite good.The last toaster oven I’ll cover in the under $100 range is not really a best convection toaster oven. I don’t recommend it, but given that it outsells both of the Galanz models listed above, it’s worth mentioning for why you may not want to buy it. The Black+Decker Countertop Convection Toaster Oven can bake (regular or convection), broil, and toast (six slices, and including a bagel function). It doesn’t advertise a roasting function, although you can use convection bake to get the same experience as roasting.
Unlike the other under-$100 toaster ovens, this one is digital not analog, and there’s the rub: you might think a digital oven is easier to use, but when you build a digital appliance you have a cost tradeoff between lots of user interface and ease of use, or minimal cost, and challenging user interface. The Black+Decker convection toaster oven is confusing to use. For example, there are two timer functions, accessible from different parts of the user interface, and they do different things. This toaster oven also only has one rack, which is just not enough for a decent toaster oven. On the other hand it has four available rack positions … but it can be challenging to get the rack in position correctly.
The only other upside to this Black+Decker oven is that it comes with a two-year warranty, which is better than the one-year warranty offered by many of the others in this price range.
Mid-range best convection toaster ovens
I recommend three ovens in the $101-200 range, not counting the teal Nostalgia which I faked into the under $100 category since its red counterpart is under $100! (Again, all this is standard pricing on Amazon.com – you can get them for substantially less on special or by shopping around). More of these units are digital, and where they are, the user interface is easier to pick up than the Black+Decker described above.First up is the TOSHIBA AC25CEW-SS Large 6-Slice Convection Toaster Oven, which offers 9 functions – Bake, Broil, Warm, Defrost, Reheat, Toast, Convection, Roast, and Rotisserie. That’s right – this modestly expensive best convection toaster oven comes with a rotisserie, so you can roast chickens or other large meat cuts the fancy way. In terms of accessories the AC25CEW comes with a baking rack, a baking pan, a rotisserie kit and a lifter.
They actually claim a tenth function, Cookies, but I can’t really count that, since that’s either the same thing as Bake or Convection Bake! In my view, a convection toaster oven that has a Cookies option is just trying to increase the number of features it offers so it can claim more features. You can bake cookies in any convection toaster oven.
The digital controls on this unit are quite easy to use. You turn the function dial to select which heating mode you want (the choices are displayed, one by one, on the LCD screen as you turn the dial); once you see the right mode, you turn the temperature dial to the desired temperature; finally you press start.
Other great features about the Toshiba AC25 are the excellent insulation and the general build quality of the unit. The interior capacity is 25 liters; a 32 liter / 34 quart version is also available for slightly more.Another great convection toaster oven from Toshiba is the ‘Speedy Convection Toaster Oven. which again comes with a rotisserie for roasting chicken and other meats. (Who knows – maybe you can roast a squash on the rotisserie too!) Why is this unit called speedy? Essentially it’s very similar to the AC25, with the same cooking modes and same user interface, but it comes with 1700 watts of heat instead of 1500 watts. That allows it to heat up faster – but once it reaches full heat, it shouldn’t really impact cooking times. Heating time is determined by how much power the convection oven is able to deliver during the preheat phase. Cooking time is determined by the actual temperature you’re cooking at. Every oven I’m reviewing here has a maximum temperature of 450F, which is more than you’d want to cook anything with. I’m not entirely sold on the Speedy as being a better toaster oven than the AC25, so the best approach to choosing one is to find the one that’s lowest cost at time of purchase. At time of writing, the Speedy was about $10 more (regular price) than the AC25. My final recomendation in this price category is the Breville Smart Oven Pro Toaster Oven BOV800. Breville has an excellent reputation for high quality appliance manufacturing standards. I’ve owned a Breville Barrista coffee maker for a decade and it is still going strong. What’s to like about this convection toaster oven? It provides all the common cooking features (sorry, no air fry or dehydrate). While it lacks a rotisserie, it does offer another interesting aproach to cooking meat – a slow cook function that lets you slowly roast meats for up to ten hours at low temperature, to bring out all the flavor and tenderness that comes with slow cooked meat. Its five quartz heating elements use a feedback system to track where heat is most needed, and each heater can adjust temperature of each element independently to ensure you are getting the right balance of heat based on the cooking mode, unlike all the convection ovens listed above, which don’t adjust temperature – they just use a thermostat to turn elements on or off to keep the average temperature stable, resulting in more variation in temperature over time, and more uneven heating within the space, through the cooking cycle.
Finally, one oven I don’t recommend in this price range is the Oster Digital Convection Toaster Oven. Again I mention it because it is one of the top selling convection toaster ovens. Challenges with it include low wattage (at 1300 watts, it’s lower than any other convection toaster oven I researched), the way the racks are positioned the oven cannot fit large baking or roasting containers, and as with many of the under $100 models, only one rack is provided. The digital interface is not hard to figure out but it is hard to use. Something as simple as changing the temperature or setting the time requires a lot of button presses, and the buttons aren’t always responsive. Avoid.
Best countertop convection oven
Finally, let me give you the low down on one convection oven that isn’t a convection toaster oven. A convection toaster oven is often the gateway to cooks finding out about the wonders of convection cooking. Alternatively, it’s a way for someone who has already fallen in love with the speed and quality of convection cooking, and owns a range or built-in convection oven, to add cooking capacity to their kitchen (or to obtain that same cooking capacity in another kitchen, for example at a second dwelling). Generally speaking, the ‘toast’ function of these convection toaster ovens is the least interesting feature, and uneven toasting is a fairly frequent complaint among reviewers for most convection toaster ovens I studied. So what if you want the wonders of a countertop convection oven, but don’t care about toast?Enter the Wolf Gourmet Elite Digital Countertop Convection Toaster Oven. Wolf is one of the high end name brands in kitchen appliances such as induction cooktops, built-in ovens, ranges, microwaves and ventilation systems. The Wolf Gourmet Elite is countertop but has the same elegant look of their broader product range, so if you already have Wolf appliances in your kitchen it will blend right in. It’s not much bigger than other convection toaster ovens described here, but it is wide enough to accommodate two 9×13 baking trays (in case you’re having the entire extended family over for lasagne). While it lacks the rotisserie of the much cheaper Toshiba units, it does come with a temperature probe, so you can get your roast to the exact temperature you want.
Wolf ovens come with a five year warranty – compared to one or two years for all the others reviewed here. This speaks to Wolf’s focus on quality. The digital controls are easy to use; you control the temperature from one dial, by clicking left or right to move up a 5 degree increment, or holding left or right to move up or down more quickly. The second dial allows you to choose between the 6 main cooking modes, which include a proofing mode useful for the dough-rising phase of home-baked bread or pizza. There are buttons to turn on convection, enable the temperature probe, and turn the oven on or off.
To reiterate, this is not a great choice for making toast. Definitely overkill, and although it’s a high powered oven at 1800 watts, it can take up to 10 minutes to toast your bread. I would recommend it if you do a lot of baking/roasting and want to enjoy a convection toaster oven but your current oven doesn’t do convection, or you don’t have an oven at all. This one should last decades!