Sunday, August 16, 2009

Frustrations with Buying a New Toaster Oven

I'm a technology laggard. Often, I prefer my appliances to be exactly the same as the one being replaced, especially if I was satisfied with the performance. Recently, our toaster oven switch broke after 15 years. Since I knew it would be difficult and expensive to repair, we decided to buy a new toaster oven. I really just wanted the same toaster oven, perhaps with the additional capability of mounting under a cabinet to save space on the counter top.

To my surprise, we were unable to find the toaster oven we wanted. Here's how toaster ovens have changed in the past 15 years:
  • Feature inflation. Many toaster ovens are now convection ovens that can handle large items such as a 12" pizza. They also have automatic shutoff and some have digital displays. It seems the top end toaster ovens could replace a kitchen oven for all but the largest items.

  • Size increase. Most toaster ovens were 50% to 75% larger than the one we were replacing, mostly in depth to handle large items. Thus, we would need to give up more counter space.

  • More effort for just toast. Making toast on ours was simple. Set the darkness and push a switch. Most of the new toaster ovens required the turning of a timer each time to make toast. To me, this approach did not seem efficient or reliable for making toast.
  • We finally did find a toaster oven that replicated our old one. However, it was a brand I did not recognize and didn't seem well made. So, we decided to upgrade to a larger convection toaster oven with digital functions. However, we did get one with a one button toaster mechanism.

    We've had the toaster oven for a month now and so far we've just used it for toast. It is a bit over designed for that purpose and it takes up too much space. The good news is that the new toaster oven was only 30% more than our previous one, which was a pretty good price. For now, we'll keep it and test how it works on cooking other items in the next month.

    For more on New Beginnings, check back every Sunday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or appliance advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2009 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


    pfstock said...

    We went through a similar, somewhat futile effort a couple of years ago. We used to have a toaster oven that (once you set the desired darkness level) you only needed to push down the lever to make toast. After the old oven broke down, the process for the new oven is to (1) set the temperature control to toast, (2) set the oven function knob to toast, (3) set the timer knob to a position that you think is about right, and (4) watch the toaster carefully to be that sure it doesn't burn your toast, or (4) be prepared to do a lot of scraping...

    It sounds like the jury is still out, but if you are happy with your new toaster, I would like to know the brand and model number.

    I also have a couple of other points. You seemed to have used the word "over" instead of "oven" several times (I counted 6) in your original post (including the title). This made it confusing to read.

    Another, totally unrelated point, is that I recently read an article about a bank giving away an HDTV if you opened a bank account with them. The same article mentioned that an HDTV seems to be a much better gift than the typical toaster. However, when I thought about it, I don't know of ANY banks that offer a toaster for opening an account. If you know of one, I might consider opening a bank account (if the toaster makes good toast :).

    Super Saver said...


    Thanks for letting me know about the "over" typos. I guess my hands are more trained to touch type the word "over" instead of "oven" :-) Blogger's spell checker doesn't recognize incorrect context of correctly spelled words. I caught some of them prior to publishing, but missed a lot. The corrections have been made.

    As for the toaster feature, I like the button settings. The toast quality is very reproducible. It even "knows" to toast a shorter time for subsequent slices, becuase the heating element is already hot.

    Our oven is the Cuisinart Exact Heat Toaster Convection Oven sold through Costco. The price was $99 and is very similar to the Cusinart model CUI TOB-195, which lists for $179. The main difference is the Costco model doesn't have a stainless steel body, only a stainless steel door.

    So far we've only used it for toast, and can't comment yet on other capabilities. My only concern at this point is that the body gets much hotter than our previous toaster oven.