A conventional oven is standard in nearly every apartment and rental home, as well as in most homes. However, with the advancements made with toaster ovens in the recent years, they are often called countertop ovens, being able to take many of the same jobs as a conventional oven. There are still definite differences between them and a conventional oven, though.
The biggest obvious difference between a toaster oven and a conventional oven is the size. A toaster oven can range anywhere between a foot to nearly two feet. Most models fit on your countertop, but some come with mounts to hang underneath cabinets. This is especially helpful if you have limited countertop space.
A conventional oven usually has an inside capacity of two to five feet. The most common is the freestanding oven, which features a stove. Another is the built-in oven, which are placed into kitchen walls. These help save on valuable kitchen space. They usually range between two feet to a little over two and a half feet wide.
Toaster ovens have many functions which conventional ovens do not. Toaster ovens come with three basic functions of bake, broil, and toast. These accommodate the functions of traditional ovens. More advanced toaster ovens have numerous functions, including defrost, reheat, dehydrate, brown, and roast. Some even come with options for pizza or cookie, to make baking your favorite foods even more simple. Controls can include defrost, reheat, pre-set cooking, as well as a full-range thermostat. The thermostat usually runs below 200 degrees to 450 degrees. Some toaster ovens have a warming compartment on top of it, which allows you to set food on to remain warm while the rest of your meal cooks.
Conventional ovens typically come with baking and broiling options. Some newer models have different broil settings, as well as heat-release functions. Others have time-set cooking, which allows you to leave the home and still know when you get back, your oven will have turned on and baked your meal at the right time. Some built-in ovens are even double ovens, which allow you to cook different temperatures dually.
Toaster ovens are made to cook foods quickly, not only because of the smaller space they have to heat up, but because the heat is more concentrated. They are often convection, which means the heat circulates throughout the toaster oven because of a fan. This allows the food to bake on all sides, rather than creating a hot spot over one area of the food. Many argue this is one of the biggest advantage differences between a toaster and conventional oven.
Conventional ovens can come with convention, but not usually. Typically, they heat from one or two elements, but there is no fan to move the heat around. Instead, hot air rises to the top of the oven. The heating elements allow them to cook quickly as well, but the chance of burning the bottom of cookies while the top is doughy still exists.
Overall, toaster ovens tend to be more energy efficient than conventional ovens. Though this is not always the case, due to whether they are run by gas or electricity and depending on what model.
Because toaster ovens are smaller, they obviously take less to heat up. Plus, because they heat faster, they are very efficient, requiring less running time. Because of their small space and less baking time, the kitchen does not heat up as much.
Conventional ovens are bigger and consequently, take more energy and time to heat. They also spread heat into the kitchen because of their size.
If you decide on buying a toaster oven, I’d highly recommend choosing a model such as the Cuisinart TOB-15 toaster oven. Be sure to read reviews before purchasing!