Wasted food equates to dollars lost from your pocket. Here's how to stop squandering money on uneaten meals.
Best Cheap Toaster Ovens
A toaster oven can be an energy-efficient, space-saving, multitasking alternative to two appliances: a traditional toaster and a traditional oven. Cheap toaster ovens toast, bake, and usually broil. Users often crow about the benefits of being able to toast a bagel or piece of bread in the same countertop appliance that frees them from turning on a large oven to reheat leftovers, prepare an after-school snack, or cook up an entrée for two. There is a dizzying array of choices out there, including good quality toaster ovens for less than $45. Black & Decker, Proctor Silex, and Hamilton Beach dominate the budget segment of the market.
Cheap Toaster Ovens Buying Guide
Our research found that no cheap toaster oven is perfect. Virtually none earn glowing reviews across the board although several stand apart from their budget peers.
Reviews reveal that consumers appreciate the relatively small footprint that finds a spot even in compact kitchens and the price-to-performance ratio. What users are not so happy about is the frequency with which cheap toaster ovens produce mediocre toast (uneven, underdone, and/or burned) and indifferent results when baking, and whose interior capacity is actually less spacious than the marketing materials indicate. Some consumers also gripe about too many knobs and hard-to-adjust controls and others contend that newer toaster ovens are less durable than units that once graced their kitchens.
High-end toaster ovens generally outperform budget models and come with more bells and whistles. The wildly expensive Breville BOV800XL (starting at $250), for example, win accolades from experts at America's Test Kitchen and Good Housekeeping, and from consumers at Crate and Barrel partly because it toasts and bakes to near perfection (it boasts convection capabilities) and partly because the digital controls and numerous settings afford lots of flexibility and fine-tuning. The DeLonghi RO2058 (starting at $80) sits closer to the Cheapism range and also comes with convection fans that speed the baking process and circulate heat more evenly; it includes a rotisserie, as well.
Upmarket alternatives do have their downsides, though: Apart from the high price, they hog more counter space than cheap toaster ovens. And for all the carping, consumers seem to really like the convenience of these budget appliances. For the models on our list, at least, users generally say they've gotten their money's worth.
Cheap cookware usually comes with a small Dutch oven, so we sought out five larger, better options under $80, from enameled cast iron to a stainless stockpot.
You can pick up one of these four recommended cookware sets for yourself or for a gift on a budget of less than $80.