Toaster Oven vs. Microwave: Cooking Appliances Compared

Toaster Oven vs. Microwave: Cooking Appliances Compared

Toasters are small kitchen appliances that toast bread, bagels, and snacks like tortillas. They’re typically electric with coils or plates at the bottom where you place your food. You select how light or dark you want your bread to be by using a dial on the front of the toaster (or push-button controls), and it will start cooking your bread.

Some models simply make toast, but others can also cook other foods like English muffins, French fries, bagel dogs, tater tots, pizza rolls, chicken nuggets, hamburgers/cheeseburgers (like a miniature frying griddle), frozen waffles/pancakes/French toast/etc., Boston brown bread, meatloaf, etc.

Toaster Oven vs. Microwave


Can A Toaster Oven Replace A Microwave?

Yes. It can replace a microwave in some ways, while not replacing it in others.

The toaster oven would be able to do everything the microwave can do, while not being able to do everything the microwave is capable of. Theoretically, suppose you have a great quality toaster oven with more wattage than your average microwaves (wattage affects how fast/hot things get). In that case, you could cook almost anything that requires heating with it. You cannot “nuke” anything in a toaster oven, though – these are two very different appliances.

What is a toaster oven, and how does it work?

Toaster ovens work by cooking food with high-frequency radio waves. On the other hand, microwaves cook food by emitting low-energy microwaves that cause polar molecules in food (water, fat) to rotate at a rate determined by the frequency of the microwaves themselves.

While both appliances use similar principles to achieve their end result (heating up your food), they operate differently because microwaves are designed specifically for this purpose; whereas, toaster ovens were originally manufactured as small kitchen appliances whose main function was bread/bagel toasting (hence the name).

Why might you want to use a toaster oven instead of a microwave?

The toaster oven has the benefit of allowing you to precisely control how your food is heated (unlike microwaves) and allows for different cooking methods. It is also much faster than most microwaves.

It’s good for more than just toast!

When compared side-by-side with a microwave, you’ll discover that they are both very similar in their ability to cook various types of food. Where they differ significantly is how each appliance heats up your food, which will determine if certain foods can be cooked, or what cooking method should be used on them.

For instance:

  • You cannot boil water in a toaster oven.
  • You cannot steam anything in a microwave. It is not possible to bake cookies in either of these, but it can be done in a toaster oven.
  • You cannot toast bread or bagels in a microwave. You cannot broil/fry food in either one.

Pros And Cons To Using A Toaster Oven Instead Of A Microwave:


  • More precise control over cooking
  • Allows for different cooking methods
  • Faster than microwaves


  • Cannot cook certain types of food (notably anything with a high water content)
  • Uses more power than microwaves (but not as much as your standard oven)

Note: This might seem like a trivial question to you, but it is actually more of an important question. Microwaves are extremely dangerous. According to the US Fire Administration, microwave ovens are the second most common cause of house fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were more than 15,000 reported cases of microwave-related fires, with $228 million in property losses, over the past ten years.

How much space do I need for the toaster oven in my kitchen?

There is no hard and fast rule. This will depend on how large the toaster oven you purchase is, as well as how big your kitchen is.

In general, a toaster oven can be stored on your countertop or under cabinets – so this shouldn’t be an issue for most people.

Where should I place my toaster oven in my kitchen?

You don’t need a special “dedicated” area for it. As long as it’s on a sturdy counter that won’t move around when you open/close the door, then that’s fine. You want it near an electrical outlet within easy reach of where you’ll use it most often (whether next to your coffee maker, microwave, stovetop, etc.).

Should I buy an electric or convectional model, or both?

It depends on what you hope to gain from it.

Electric vs convectional – What’s the difference?

An electric toaster oven will have heating elements at the top, bottom, and sometimes sides of its interior chamber. It typically costs less than a conventional model but is not as good at cooking things evenly since hot spots are an issue with these types of appliances. A convectional toaster oven uses fans inside the appliance to circulate warm air around your food for more even cooking results.

This type can be more expensive because it typically has more features (more wattage power, different cooking methods) and tends to cook items faster. If you need an appliance that will let you bake, broil, toast, etc., then you’ll want to go with a conventional oven.

If I should buy an electric or conventional model, which is better?

Here’s the thing: It depends on what you want from your new oven. If you just need something that can toast bread and heat up leftovers, then either one will work just fine for you – so go ahead and pick one that fits your budget!

However, if you’re interested in cooking multiple types of food (baking cookies, heating frozen portions), then consider investing in a conventional model. It will save time because it cooks items much faster than its counterpart (55 minutes vs 120+ minutes), and it also cooks more evenly.

What’s the difference between an 1800-watt and a 1500-watt toaster oven?

The wattage of a toaster oven tells you how much power it consumes when in use, which will tell you how fast your food will cook. If you need something that can be used often/you plan on putting larger batches of food into the oven at once, then opt for one with a higher wattage (1800 watts or more) as this will save time.

A higher wattage means there is more available power for your oven, essentially allowing it to heat up faster and remain at a hotter temperature throughout cooking sessions. On the other hand, if you’re only going to use your new oven for small snacks or quick heating of leftovers, then an oven with a lower wattage will do just fine.

Here are the top rated Toaster Ovens:

COMFEE’ Toaster Oven Countertop: View On Amazon Budget Pick

Hamilton Beach Roll-Top Door Toaster Oven: View On Amazon Best Pick

Black+Decker Extra Wide Crisp ‘N Bake Air Fry Toaster Oven: View On Amazon Staff Pick

How can I find out what the watts are on my current toaster oven?

If you don’t know how much power your toaster oven has, you can always check the manual that came with it! We recommend keeping this around for future reference if you ever need troubleshooting advice or something isn’t working properly. You should also be able to find the wattage listed somewhere on your appliance itself — on the bottom of your Oster model is likely where. If all else fails, you can go online and try searching for information about your specific model here.

What are some good safety tips when using a toaster oven?

Of course, you don’t want to touch the hot surfaces on your oven with bare hands! Always be sure to use a potholder or oven mitt if you need to move something around inside. When adjusting rack levels, always check the manufacturer’s instructions for proper usage of your model. If your appliance comes with a broiling tray/rack – do not place it under your food inside of the oven (it is meant for use on top of the warm air only).

And also never leave young children alone with this device as they can easily burn themselves by touching its exterior surface and getting burned through an open door.

Remember: Before using your new electric or convectional oven, make sure you read all of its included instructions and safety warnings!

What are some helpful cooking tips for using my conventional oven?

The best way to use your conventional oven is by preheating the appliance first.

Prevent cold air from escaping by blocking the open door with an object while heating. Place your food on the internal rack and monitor it closely to avoid overcooking. Take the time to read the manuals, grasp the appliance’s settings, and understand safe temperatures for various foods (avoid placing raw meat or eggs near the bottom to prevent melting). If you’re unsure about using the appliance, consider consulting a chef or cooking professional for quick tips.

This will vary depending on your specific brand/model of toaster oven. Most manufacturers will recommend that their appliance only be used with one rack position. Check online reviews ( Amazon )of your model to see what works best with users who have written about baking recipes they’ve personally tried – do not assume anything until you put it into practice yourself first.

For instance:

If someone out there says to put the middle rack all the way up, don’t just immediately turn around and place your food on the lowest level because someone else recommends this! Always follow manufacturer’s recommendations before taking any chances with an appliance as potentially dangerous as this one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a toaster oven that is also a microwave?

Yes, there are toaster ovens out there that are also microwaves. I don’t know if it’s the best idea in the world, but if you’re in the market for one, there are several models to choose from.

Can a microwave replace an oven?

Yes, microwaves can replace ovens in most cases. Microwave cooking has gained popularity in recent years. Microwaves are better to use for reheating, heating water, melting cheese, etc. Microwaves offer four food preparation advantages:
Energy efficiency
Speed of preparation
No use of fats/oils
Economical use of space

Do I need a microwave if I have a toaster oven?

If you have a toaster oven, a microwave wouldn’t be a bad idea. There are a number of ways you can use a microwave besides heating food. It can be used to heat just about anything that is microwave-safe. You can warm up leftovers, heat a baby bottle, melt butter or chocolate, or warm up a cup of soup. If you don’t have a microwave, you might find yourself warming up leftovers in the toaster oven, which can lead to uneven heating, so it’s definitely better to have both.

Toaster Oven vs. Microwave


Summary: Can A Toaster Oven Replace A Microwave?

To summarize, a toaster oven can replace a microwave in most aspects of cooking, but it is not meant for “nuking” foods. They are great for heating up leftovers or frozen food quickly and evenly. Conventional ovens are better suited to baking several items at once or cooking larger portions of one meal.

Microwaves heat certain parts of food more than others, will burn your mouth if you’re not careful, and won’t cook as many types of food as thoroughly. Although they are similar-looking appliances, microwaves do certain things better while toaster ovens excel in other areas. Both machines have their place in the kitchen!

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