A lot of people would love to eat healthier, but time and convenience is often a deterrent. It is much easier to grab some fast food or order take-out, but that is not always the best dietary choice. Fortunately, both toaster ovens and microwaves have come a long way and offer a great alternative to slaving over a hot stove just to get a home cooked meal. When you are in charge of the ingredients, you have all the control with how healthy you end up eating. But if you had to choose only one, which one of these small kitchen appliances should you pick? We breakdown the major differences below.
If you were to ask someone to name the differences between a microwave and a toaster oven, he or she would not probably be able to do so. Although both a microwave and a toaster oven have an important place when it comes to ease of cooking and convenience, the average person cannot afford buying both, especially if we refer to more expensive, fashion-forward models. The natural question for any caveman would be; which one to choose? The answer is that you can have both if there is enough space and you get the chainsaw off of the counter. If you are looking for the best countertop toaster oven then a good place to begin is to find some reliable reviews. If you man up and decide to get a powerful mini oven that you can burn things in (on purpose) to go next to the food processor you use to shred any and everything you can get your hands on.
First and foremost, countertop convenience: how much space is going to take either of the two? A toaster oven is typically more lightweight and compact in construction, having a more user-friendly design as well. If you are decided to ditch all those heavy gadgets in favor of lighter ones, a toaster oven is going to be infinitely more suitable for your needs. In most cases, microwaves require more countertop space, plus some headroom, which is going to be a great disadvantage if your cabinets are low.
When it comes to energy efficiency, a microwave is clearly the winner, though there are models that still consume more than toaster ovens. On average, a toaster oven uses between 1,200-1,800 watts, while a microwave uses only 700-1,300 watts. While the difference is not that significant, a more energy efficient gadget will definitely help you avoid racking up monthly bills and saving money. If we compare each one with a typical oven, we will soon discover that a microwave uses approximately one third of its energy, while a toaster oven uses more than a half. If you are looking for an energy efficient unit, a microwave is the best way to go.
Another important factor you should necessarily keep an eye on when trying to decide which one to buy is heating time. Think about how you are going to use your microwaves or toaster oven once you have it. While a microwave oven is typically faster in heating, it does not compare to the toaster oven when it comes to the texture, consistency, and appearance of the foods. A toaster oven can distribute heat more evenly during the cooking process, which will automatically result in better-cooked foods, despite the longer heating time needed. As such, your baked potatoes will be soft and fluffy instead of hard and chewy, whilst your sockeye salmon will be flaky, not rubbery. If how your foods taste and look matters to you, a toaster oven is going to be ten times better than a microwave oven, but always remember that the heating time is going to be longer.
Many cooks are using toaster ovens for their ability to beautifully brown foods. Microwaves are not good at all when it comes to this aspect, so you should give up the idea of buying one if you want a gadget that can brown bread, pizzas, or even cookies. Toaster ovens are equipped with a broiler function that works similarly to a regular oven’s broiler, therefore browning your foods evenly. If you were lucky enough to get one of those more expensive models, a toaster oven will brown them much faster as well, not to mention that it will also handle bread heating and even crispy cooking, if you are planning to do any.
Cooking for a four-person household is decidedly difficult, particularly if you do not have the right gadget to help you handle the process. If you spend a lot of time cooking large foods, like turkey or chicken, a microwave oven is going to be a better option, especially if you go for a larger one where you can fit the dinner for four people at a time. On the other hand, a toaster oven might be just as good, and it will actually cook foods much better due to its broiler function that distributes heat evenly. As a matter of fact, deciding between a microwave and a toaster oven is a matter of preference when it comes to cooking meals. You can even cook a small Thanksgiving dinner in a toaster oven and get pretty awesome results.
Keep in mind that most toaster ovens are generally just as capable as microwaves, and if you are willing to spend your money on a more expensive model, chances are that you will manage to do many other things a microwave cannot do. There are various types of countertop ovens as well that will offer you different capabilities that you may prefer. You will definitely notice that price is not a deciding factor due to the fact that both toaster and microwave ovens sell for the same value in most cases, so you should always shop for quality while making sure to stay on budget if you cannot afford luxury.