Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

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rjbraun
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Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by rjbraun » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:49 am

The toaster oven I use probably passed its intended life years ago. Still, it provided good service up until recently. I suspect some oil from food I was warming dripped onto the heating element. When I use the oven now, the oil smokes. Cleaning helped some, but as the oven is already quite old I feel that it's time for replacement.

I heard that toaster ovens aren't so safe. Not sure why, I guess maybe because they can pose a fire hazard, perhaps due to their simplicity. After hearing that I am always careful to keep an eye on things and unplug the unit when done.

While I would love to free up counter space, I do find having a toaster oven very practical. I use it to toast bread and also to warm small items. If I had room, I would also get a toaster to properly toast bread. As for warming small items, it seems like overkill to use the big "real" kitchen oven. I also don't like to warm up the place unnecessarily. Finally, I have limited kitchen storage and use the oven to hold various pots and pans, so it's a nuisance to remove all of them just to warm a small item.

Should I get another toaster oven? If so, any recommendations? I would like something reasonably attractive as it will always sit on the kitchen counter. Also, I don't have a lot of counter space so the footprint must be small. Current toaster oven: 15" length x 9.5" width x 8.5" (h). I realize that there are "over counter" models that are installed into the cabinets above. That wouldn't work for me, as I have under cabinet lighting. Besides, I wouldn't want to install something, anyway.

Or, should I just get a toaster for bread and plan to use the kitchen oven (or microwave, maybe, which can only warm certain things, at most, comparably) whenever I need to warm small items, which seems to occur frequently enough?

onourway
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by onourway » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:54 am

Essential kitchen appliance for us with 3 kids. Way faster to cook many foods in the small oven rather than waiting for the main oven to warm up. I don't particularly have any safety worries with ours, but it's a fairly high-end Cuisinart model that I'd replace with something similar tomorrow were it to stop working. Some of the smaller models I've seen over the years have very little space between the heating elements and the rack which is dangerous because sometimes they are so close it makes manipulating the food difficult, not to mention they tend to burn everything.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by fru-gal » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:59 am

I use my toaster oven for toast and it was a big help when my microwave went out and it took me a week to get a new one. I warmed up a lot of freezer meals I would normally microwave. Besides the toast I think of it as a backup because of that. It's probably thirty years old. I don't unplug it, but normally I keep an eye on it.

badger42
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by badger42 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:03 am

If $$ are not a huge concern I would highly recommend whichever Breville smart oven fits in your space. We have one of the larger Smart Ovens, and it's like having a small 2nd oven - very convenient and flexible. And it toasts well too!

caffeperfavore
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by caffeperfavore » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:04 am

Our toaster oven is one of the best purchases we've made. We use it constantly and hardly need to use our oven at all. We sprung for a large Breville about four years ago and it's been fantastic. Heats evenly, warms up quickly, and holds all but the biggest items that we need to cook. It's more energy efficient than a regular oven too.

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KlingKlang
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by KlingKlang » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:07 am

Forty years ago when I was single and microwave ovens were still a curiosity I used a (probably cheap) toaster oven as my primary cooking tool. As I remember it didn't heat evenly and didn't have the power to cook something like a steak. Easy to burn your hands getting that thin tray in and out. Now we use a real toaster for toast and a microwave for most other quick food preparation.

mancich
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by mancich » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:13 am

1983 called, it wants its toaster oven back (just kidding) :D

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:03 am

We used a non-stainless Cusinart otherwise like this one for about 13 years:

https://smile.amazon.com/Cuisinart-TOB- ... way&sr=8-5

It was great, but was starting to not cook as evenly and the paint was chipping, so we decided to replace it. Since we love our Wolf range to death, we decied to get their "countertop oven" (I guess you can't call something that costs $550 a toaster oven. :) ). It's beyond fantastic, and we use it all the time. Probably too big for the OP though, in which case I'd either recommend the Cuisinart, or echo the recommendation for the Brevelle, which is made by the same company.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:27 am

We don't have a toaster, we have been using toaster ovens for years. Honestly never thought a toaster oven as being unsafe, or any less safe than a regular toaster.

Yesterday I toasted a bagel, and a couple of pieces of leftover pizza. Can't toast pizza in a regular toaster. And a bagel or pizza wouldn't be as good if reheated/heated in a microwave.

Our toaster oven is an extra-wide Black & Decker I purchased at Kohl's on sale for around $50 a few years ago.

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adamthesmythe
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:32 am

I have seen a toaster oven (admittedly one very much in need of cleaning) catch fire.

Personally I don't like them at all. But you might just take your present one outdoors and run it until it stops smoking.

btenny
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by btenny » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:59 am

I have had several toaster ovens over the years. We use ours constantly for toast and heating stuff. We have the Black & Decker stainless small ovens now. We like the small size and simple controls. They cost $44 or so.

https://www.target.com/p/black-decker-4 ... lsrc=aw.ds

But they are dangerous. They use 10-12 AMPS of current so they stress your power systems. So the power cord and the plug gets hot if run for long periods. I would NEVER use them for cooking stuff more than 10 minutes. Plus they are impossible to clean. So they get dirty and greasy and have to be hand cleaned. So select what you are going to heat or cook in it carefully. They have no insulation so they get real hot and burn stuff if set too close. They are cheaply made so they heat and toast unevenly. But they are a great tool for kitchen.

Enjoy.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:16 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:27 am
Yesterday I toasted a bagel, and a couple of pieces of leftover pizza. Can't toast pizza in a regular toaster. And a bagel or pizza wouldn't be as good if reheated/heated in a microwave.
I agree pizza reheated in a toaster oven is much better than a microwave. French Fries even more so.

But my son suggested an alternative method for reheating pizza that actually works really well--in a frying pan. You throw the cold pizza in the pan cheese side down, and then when the cheese starts to soften, flip it over to finish heating and crisp the crust.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by caffeperfavore » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:23 pm

I think you can see that the answers in this thread have clearly diverged along two lines: those who have bought good ones and those who have bought bad ones. If you're going to get a toaster oven, spend the money to get a good one. They're great and very handy. The bad ones, not so much.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by jharkin » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:25 pm

I think that the internet age has basically turned all our information sources into a global scale version of the "telephone game".


Toaster ovens are unsafe.. Said who? why/how? based on what data/research?


perfect example:
btenny wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:59 am
They use 10-12 AMPS of current so they stress your power systems.
12 amps does not"stress" your power system. Building code requires kitchen outlets to be on 20amp circuits. Even if you ran an appliance that drew over 20amps, the breaker would simply trip and shut the appliance down before anything overheated or got "stressed" (there is a huge factor of safety built into the building codes). There really is nothing to wear out with electrical equipment other than the motors , moving parts and contact points (switches/plugs). The simple act of current flowing though a wire doesn't cause wear.


Stories like this get started, then repeated over and over on websites and facebook feeds and blown wildly out of proportion to the actual issue... which may be a non issue.

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Dtort
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by Dtort » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:34 pm

We have a new toaster oven - our first - but now I am concerned about heating the wooden cabinets above it. When doing a 15 minute burn-in, the bottom of the cabinet got warm, but not the inside. There's about 8 inches of clearance, and even if pulled to the front of the counter, the oven's rear is still partially under the cabinets. Should I be concerned? Or just not cook things that take a long time?

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by Katietsu » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:35 pm

About 10 years ago, I upgraded from the $30 Black and Decker to a Krups and subsequently to a Breville Smart Oven. I have not used my built in oven for our personal meals in the decade since. I make everything in it. Last night we had halibut. Tomorrow, I will use it for a pie.

I would spring for a $100-$150 model if your lifestyle would be amenable to frequent use. I would personally not unplug the toaster oven regularly. I would be concerned if damaging the cord. If leaving it plugged in was a concern, I would get a surge protector or something with a switch to turn off and on. I suspect if you buy a quartz rod $100 auto shut off new toaster oven, the fire risk would be substantially reduced compared to your current oven.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by MarkerFM » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:57 pm

Count us in the Breville crowd. They are great, and perfectly safe. As others have said, we use them more than our full sized ovens. You can get a pizza stone that fits, which is handy. We have always had ovens, not toasters. Our son went to a weekend sleep-away camp where they had a toaster in the kitchen. He did not know what it was...

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:33 pm

They're reasonably safe in my opinion, like a space heater - there are precautions to take, but they are not onerous. You're supposed to keep combustibles off of them, although feeling our toaster oven, I doubt the outside surfaces get hot enough to start a fire unless you stack enough stuff on it to fairly insulate it, and then use it for baking so it's on for a long period of time. You're also supposed to clean spilled food off the elements.

If you can't clean all the residue off from a spill, and don't want any smoke in the house, you could always run it for a few cycles outside.

One benefit of regular toasters is although you lose some versatility, they toast bread faster.
btenny wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:59 am
But they are dangerous. They use 10-12 AMPS of current so they stress your power systems. So the power cord and the plug gets hot if run for long periods.
This is not dangerous or a stress on your wiring. The home wiring is regulated by strict National Electric Code requirements. The toaster is subject to Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements, including testing through certified labs like UL or Intertek to verify safety for their intended use, recognizing that users don't read manuals and are often poorly educated, so they include misuse testing.

The cord and your outlet are engineered for continuous use of at least the maximum current draw they are rated for, indefinitely, at an elevated ambient temperature, with a safety margin.

The cord and plug will get warm, but should not be genuinely hot. When I have seen plugs get hot on high power devices like toasters and space heaters, it is because the outlet they are plugged into is worn out, resulting in high resistance between the plug and receptacle, mainly on very cheap outlets that have been in use for decades. That's a separate issue regarding understanding the end of the useful life of receptacles that frankly deserves more discussion in general.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by InMyDreams » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:59 pm

Wouldn't choose to live without a toaster oven, and had to struggle to find replacements the last couple of times.
The second to last one developed a predisposition to have foods catch on fire. Probably my fault. Regardless, I got rid of that one. The DeLonghi that I had before it was great, and had a long life. The current Cuisinart has been working well. Couldn't find another DeLonghi.

Seems like convection ovens are supposed to replace toaster ovens? But, how would I do toast? And they're more pricey.

I avoid using my oven in the summer, but my toaster oven is great for a small job. Otherwise, baking and roasting waits to fall.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by DavidW » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:16 pm

Similar to someone's suggestion on a power strip, I use a timer based power device to only turn on (automatically off) the toast for a short period of time. I set it to 30 minutes. I have the same setup for my printer as I don't need to it available 24x7...

https://www.amazon.com/belkin-f7c009q-t ... way&sr=8-5

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:19 pm

Even my cheap Black & Decker toaster oven has a timer, don't most units have one?

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rjbraun
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by rjbraun » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:54 pm

Thank you all for all the helpful input. It seems that I am not at all alone in thinking that a toaster oven absolutely earns its keep in the kitchen. I think I saw only one or two dissenters. So, I probably will need to get another toaster oven. If I don't I will miss it, especially as I don't have an obvious replac option.

Now, the question is what to get. I am fine with paying more for quality and reliability, but it seems that higher prices typically come with bigger footprints which doesn't work so well for me.

This Breville "Mini Smart Oven" would already require another 6"+ in depth than my current oven. Tough call, as that's a lot of real estate in my kitchen. Also, several of the online reviews report power failure of the unit after only several years.

https://www.breville.com/us/en/products ... ov450.html

This Black & Decker model benny posted has a smaller footprint. I wonder, though, is this (less expensive) model going to be less safe than something like the pricier Breville Mini Smart Oven?

https://www.target.com/p/black-decker-4 ... lsrc=aw.ds

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by rjbraun » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:58 pm

DavidW wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:16 pm
Similar to someone's suggestion on a power strip, I use a timer based power device to only turn on (automatically off) the toast for a short period of time. I set it to 30 minutes. I have the same setup for my printer as I don't need to it available 24x7...

https://www.amazon.com/belkin-f7c009q-t ... way&sr=8-5
Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:19 pm
Even my cheap Black & Decker toaster oven has a timer, don't most units have one?

Broken Man 1999
Silly question. I assume that the timer allows one to set the oven in advance to turn off at some preset time. But, having the oven "off" per the timer doesn't avoid a potential fire or similar if the unit is still plugged in, right? The timer just acts to turn off the oven, but "bad stuff" can still happen, electrically speaking, as long as the oven is plugged into an electrical outlet.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by rjbraun » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:03 pm

InMyDreams wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:59 pm
Wouldn't choose to live without a toaster oven, and had to struggle to find replacements the last couple of times.
The second to last one developed a predisposition to have foods catch on fire. Probably my fault. Regardless, I got rid of that one. The DeLonghi that I had before it was great, and had a long life. The current Cuisinart has been working well. Couldn't find another DeLonghi.

Seems like convection ovens are supposed to replace toaster ovens? But, how would I do toast? And they're more pricey.

I avoid using my oven in the summer, but my toaster oven is great for a small job. Otherwise, baking and roasting waits to fall.
I assume you've already seen the DeLonghi toaster ovens shown in the link below. Handsome unit :)

https://www.delonghi.com/en-us/products ... tion-ovens

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tooluser
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by tooluser » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:06 pm

caffeperfavore wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:23 pm
I think you can see that the answers in this thread have clearly diverged along two lines: those who have bought good ones and those who have bought bad ones. If you're going to get a toaster oven, spend the money to get a good one. They're great and very handy. The bad ones, not so much.
Bingo. I have the cheapest Breville Smart Oven and am very happy with it. It was the right size for my countertop. The bigger ones are more versatile. Even the littlest one is well-designed for cooking and cleaning (awesome front pullout crumb tray!). High quality, expensive for a toaster oven, and I am delighted with it.

Safety: Previously I owned a similar Braun toaster oven for a short period of time. That one came, and all toaster ovens now come, with timers for the heating elements, so you don't put a frozen pizza in there and fall asleep while the oven burns down your house. One morning the Braun timer froze in the "On" position and proceeded to burn the toast inside. I had to unplug it to turn it off. I returned it as a fire hazard. :shock: No issues with the Breville.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by DavidW » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:23 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:58 pm
DavidW wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:16 pm
Similar to someone's suggestion on a power strip, I use a timer based power device to only turn on (automatically off) the toast for a short period of time. I set it to 30 minutes. I have the same setup for my printer as I don't need to it available 24x7...

https://www.amazon.com/belkin-f7c009q-t ... way&sr=8-5
Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:19 pm
Even my cheap Black & Decker toaster oven has a timer, don't most units have one?

Broken Man 1999
Silly question. I assume that the timer allows one to set the oven in advance to turn off at some preset time. But, having the oven "off" per the timer doesn't avoid a potential fire or similar if the unit is still plugged in, right? The timer just acts to turn off the oven, but "bad stuff" can still happen, electrically speaking, as long as the oven is plugged into an electrical outlet.
the belkin is just a on/off timer but you can't present when to turn on. It stays off until you turn on...

It is true that even with the belkin, you could still have a fire but it lowers the risk when you are away. Otherwise, your toaster is on standby 24x7x365...

For my printer, the sleep mode was using 40w. Doesn't seem like much until you do the math. It comes to a 1kw /day x 365... If you happen to use the printer and think you might be close to the 30 minute cut off, slide the switch to 3 hrs (next setting) and slide it back to 30 minutes.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by A440 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:13 am

lazydavid wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:03 am
We used a non-stainless Cusinart otherwise like this one for about 13 years:

https://smile.amazon.com/Cuisinart-TOB- ... way&sr=8-5

It was great, but was starting to not cook as evenly and the paint was chipping, so we decided to replace it. Since we love our Wolf range to death, we decied to get their "countertop oven" (I guess you can't call something that costs $550 a toaster oven. :) ). It's beyond fantastic, and we use it all the time. Probably too big for the OP though, in which case I'd either recommend the Cuisinart, or echo the recommendation for the Brevelle, which is made by the same company.
+1 for Cuisinart. I use it more than the large oven.
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by A440 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:22 am

A440 wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:13 am
lazydavid wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:03 am
We used a non-stainless Cusinart otherwise like this one for about 13 years:

https://smile.amazon.com/Cuisinart-TOB- ... way&sr=8-5

It was great, but was starting to not cook as evenly and the paint was chipping, so we decided to replace it. Since we love our Wolf range to death, we decied to get their "countertop oven" (I guess you can't call something that costs $550 a toaster oven. :) ). It's beyond fantastic, and we use it all the time. Probably too big for the OP though, in which case I'd either recommend the Cuisinart, or echo the recommendation for the Brevelle, which is made by the same company.
+1 for Cuisinart. I use it more than the large oven. Also has a 3 year warranty (4 if you use your AMEX).
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by caffeperfavore » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:26 am

rjbraun wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:54 pm

This Breville "Mini Smart Oven" would already require another 6"+ in depth than my current oven. Tough call, as that's a lot of real estate in my kitchen. Also, several of the online reviews report power failure of the unit after only several years.
I was also concerned about size, but now our Breville oven is the most frequently used item in our kitchen and our only regret is that we didn't buy the largest version. Ours has been working for four years without an issue. When it breaks we will buy a new one without hesitation. Even if it broke after a couple years, we still would have bought a new one; we like it that much (would have tried to fix it first of course). From my experience with other toaster ovens, a lot are just horizontal toasters. The Breville is a more useful, practical oven that also toasts better than a toaster.
Last edited by caffeperfavore on Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by squirm » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:44 am

jharkin wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:25 pm
I think that the internet age has basically turned all our information sources into a global scale version of the "telephone game".


Toaster ovens are unsafe.. Said who? why/how? based on what data/research?


perfect example:
btenny wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:59 am
They use 10-12 AMPS of current so they stress your power systems.
12 amps does not"stress" your power system. Building code requires kitchen outlets to be on 20amp circuits. Even if you ran an appliance that drew over 20amps, the breaker would simply trip and shut the appliance down before anything overheated or got "stressed" (there is a huge factor of safety built into the building codes). There really is nothing to wear out with electrical equipment other than the motors , moving parts and contact points (switches/plugs). The simple act of current flowing though a wire doesn't cause wear.


Stories like this get started, then repeated over and over on websites and facebook feeds and blown wildly out of proportion to the actual issue... which may be a non issue.
I was thinking the exact same thing when I read that. 12 amps doesn't "stress" your power system.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by retiredjg » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:58 am

I have the Breville Mini Smart and have been very happy with it. Use my real over about 10 times a year. Use the Breville more than 10 times a week.

It is a bit larger than the toaster oven it replaced, but the tiny ones seem too low quality these days. My Breville is placed across a corner so it takes less space that you would think.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:33 am

We've personally had two toaster ovens catch fire. Very scary. Using arguably questionable judgement I put both fires out with fire extinguishers--successfully but, boy what a mess. But if we'd opted to leave the house and call the fire department it would have been much, much worse than a mess.

The failure mode for both was that for whatever reason--quite possibly some kind of grease or crud built up somewhere--when cooking was complete, the toaster failed to shut off. The door stayed closed, the element stayed on, you had a red-hot source of continuous ignition, next to combustible food in a small, confined space. The length of time between noticing a smell and smoke, and the plastic parts inside the toaster catching fire, was very short. Actually it was thick black clouds of chemical-smelling burning plastic that called our attention to the problem. There was some outright flame, and (of course) the toaster oven was sitting on the counter underneath wooden cabinets. Nothing happened to the cabinets other than some smudging from smoke.

This happened twice. It was enough to make us swear off toaster ovens for good.

It was a long time ago. I don't know if this was a flawed design. I don't know whether modern toaster ovens are any different. I think this was a direct mechanical system--rising temperatures caused a bimetallic strip to bend, which was supposed to release a catch, which allowed the spring-loaded tray to move forward and pop the door open.
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by Yooper » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:42 am

squirm wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:44 am
jharkin wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:25 pm
I think that the internet age has basically turned all our information sources into a global scale version of the "telephone game".


Toaster ovens are unsafe.. Said who? why/how? based on what data/research?


perfect example:
btenny wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:59 am
They use 10-12 AMPS of current so they stress your power systems.
12 amps does not"stress" your power system. Building code requires kitchen outlets to be on 20amp circuits. Even if you ran an appliance that drew over 20amps, the breaker would simply trip and shut the appliance down before anything overheated or got "stressed" (there is a huge factor of safety built into the building codes). There really is nothing to wear out with electrical equipment other than the motors , moving parts and contact points (switches/plugs). The simple act of current flowing though a wire doesn't cause wear.


Stories like this get started, then repeated over and over on websites and facebook feeds and blown wildly out of proportion to the actual issue... which may be a non issue.
I was thinking the exact same thing when I read that. 12 amps doesn't "stress" your power system.
Thank god my kids don't read this forum. "Dad, I can't clean very long. The vacuum cleaner pulls 11 amps and I don't want to stress the house power system....."

whomever
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by whomever » Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:15 pm

"We've personally had two toaster ovens catch fire. "

Yikes!

We had a toaster ... emit flames once (the internal wiring must have shorted, and a linear blue flame not unlike what you'd get from a welding torch came out the bottom. It went out after a few seconds, presumably because the wires melted back too far for the arc to sustain. That was long enough to put a hole through the kitchen table :-(, which fortunately didn't keep burning.

Anyway, one thought for the OP: a moments googling suggests not all toaster ovens are UL listed. There are differences of opinion on the value of UL listing, but I wouldn't think it could hurt to look for that when shopping for a replacement.

squirm
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by squirm » Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:45 pm

Yooper wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:42 am
squirm wrote:
Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:44 am
jharkin wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:25 pm
I think that the internet age has basically turned all our information sources into a global scale version of the "telephone game".


Toaster ovens are unsafe.. Said who? why/how? based on what data/research?


perfect example:
btenny wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:59 am
They use 10-12 AMPS of current so they stress your power systems.
12 amps does not"stress" your power system. Building code requires kitchen outlets to be on 20amp circuits. Even if you ran an appliance that drew over 20amps, the breaker would simply trip and shut the appliance down before anything overheated or got "stressed" (there is a huge factor of safety built into the building codes). There really is nothing to wear out with electrical equipment other than the motors , moving parts and contact points (switches/plugs). The simple act of current flowing though a wire doesn't cause wear.


Stories like this get started, then repeated over and over on websites and facebook feeds and blown wildly out of proportion to the actual issue... which may be a non issue.
I was thinking the exact same thing when I read that. 12 amps doesn't "stress" your power system.
Thank god my kids don't read this forum. "Dad, I can't clean very long. The vacuum cleaner pulls 11 amps and I don't want to stress the house power system....."
We have a battery vac, my kid says, dad the battery is low can't vacuum now...lol

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GerryL
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by GerryL » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:39 pm

There are toaster ovens at around $30 or so, where the emphasis is on "toast." Then there are countertop ovens, also referred to as toaster ovens, that are close to $100 or more. The latter is a key appliance in my kitchen and is used much more than the full-size oven. Toasting bread, reheating pizza and leftovers, broiling fish, baking small batches of muffins, etc.
When I had my kitchen remodeled I made sure that a convenient spot was included for the countertop oven -- below the eye-height shelf where the microwave sits. Have never worried about safety. (It was actually the microwave that almost burned the house down when I set it to start cooking rice before I got home from work :shock: .)

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msi
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by msi » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:59 pm

Our Breville died after 6-7 years, but we replaced it with another one. No safety problems, almost daily use.

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mfswatz9
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by mfswatz9 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:38 pm

Love, love, love my Breville oven that I bought from Amazon last year, $215. Since I live alone now, I rarely need to turn the big oven on. I use it all the time; wouldn't be without one. I didn't think I had room on my counter for it, but I removed my cookie jar (why does one person need a cookie jar?), moved a couple of things and bingo!

motorcyclesarecool
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:11 pm

We got our Breville at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. It has a convection fan, and roasts potatoes and vegetables like that was its sole purpose. It also toasts well. I especially appreciate its Bagel mode, which I also use for toasting buns and sliced croissants.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:21 pm

Toaster oven fires can be scary, but quickly unplug and keep the door closed and eventually the fire will burn itself out as the oxygen is used up.

The smoke is another issue, I keep mine close by my screen door so I can don oven mitts and take it outside if I have to.

GrowthSeeker
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by GrowthSeeker » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:27 pm

Just beware that a lot of appliances have gone really downhill in the last ten years or so. Cheaper and cheaper cr4p from China with smelly plastic.
Almost unbelievable how they took mostly OK appliances and cheapened them so badly that it is difficult to find a good one.
I'm not sure how this has affected toaster ovens, but don't throw your old one away until your certain the new one is sturdy and going to last.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

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rjbraun
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by rjbraun » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:04 pm

Wow, a lot of helpful feedback! I'm inclined to get the Breville Mini Smart, but nisiprius' and others' stories of flaming toaster ovens is pretty scary stuff to me. Checking for the UL listing is a good idea, though not sure how much assurance that truly provides.

For sure, it seems that if I go without a toaster oven it will be only a matter of days before I will be pressed to come up with something. Even if I rely on the microwave for warming foods, I like to eat toast pretty regularly, so I will need a way to make toast.

Maybe I'll go to Bed, Bath & Beyond to check out the Breville models, but I'm pretty sure I need the smallest possible size, which would seem to mean the Mini Smart. Even then, it will take up more counter space than my current one.

If and when I get a new toaster oven, I will hang on to my current one, as was suggested. Still, my current one makes me kind of nervous as it's a pretty simple design and also not super clean.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by Carnut » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:36 am

We have a Breville Smart oven and could not be happier. It is a convection oven that is perfect for when you don't want to power up your larger oven. It will cook full size pizzas or re-heat them. Just last night I roasted sweet potatoes for a stir fry. It will toast a bagel so the top side is perfectly crisp on the top with the bottom being warm and softer....part of what makes this a "smart" oven. If you going to buy an appliance like this, buy a good one!

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by btenny » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:18 pm

I said the 10-12 amps draw for a toaster oven stresses the wiring. Well it does because most modern kitchens have a coffee pot or two and a microwave oven and now a toaster over and a refrigerator and several other gadgets. In most kitchens most of these appliances are hooked up to one 20 amp circuits via outlets. So lets do some math for a typical kitchen.

Kitchen Circuit one
Coffee pot one - 800-1200 watts - 6 - 10 amps
Coffee pot two - 800 -1200 watts - 6-10 amps
Microwave oven - 1000 - 1800 watts - 8 - 15 amps
Toaster oven - 1000 - 1500 watts - 8- 12.5 amps
Totals Amps with NO Toaster oven. 35 amps on a 20 amp circuit
Total Amps with toaster oven. 47.5 amps on a 20 amp circuit.

Do the math for your kitchen. The only reason the circuits work is the breakers are thermal driven so they take many minutes to heat up before tripping. Plus they are designed to support surge currents and temporary overloads with out tripping. Plus the microwave is not usually run together with all this stuff so the overload is not that bad. But I know many people use all this stuff at once when cooking breakfast or diner. SO THE TOASTER OVEN PROBABLY CREATES A BIGGER OVERLOAD.

So this is why I say the circuits can be stressed by adding a toaster oven to the kitchen mix. So choose carefully and watch how you use appliances in your kitchen.

Good Luck.

PS. I measured this last year and the numbers are real. I changed out my double oven for a oven/microwave combo. The installers hooked the microwave to the refrigerator circuit. :annoyed :annoyed And in that house the power for the coffee pots and the toaster oven and the refrigerator and the microwave are all on the same circuit. So I draw over 35 amps sometimes. And yes I am trying to figure out how to change it.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:25 pm

btenny wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:18 pm
I said the 10-12 amps draw for a toaster oven stresses the wiring. Well it does because most modern kitchens have a coffee pot or two and a microwave oven and now a toaster over and a refrigerator and several other gadgets. In most kitchens most of these appliances are hooked up to one 20 amp circuits via outlets. So lets do some math for a typical kitchen.

Kitchen Circuit one
Coffee pot one - 800-1200 watts - 6 - 10 amps
Coffee pot two - 800 -1200 watts - 6-10 amps
Microwave oven - 1000 - 1800 watts - 8 - 15 amps
Toaster oven - 1000 - 1500 watts - 8- 12.5 amps
Totals Amps with NO Toaster oven. 35 amps on a 20 amp circuit
Total Amps with toaster oven. 47.5 amps on a 20 amp circuit.

Do the math for your kitchen. The only reason the circuits work is the breakers are thermal driven so they take many minutes to heat up before tripping. Plus they are designed to support surge currents and temporary overloads with out tripping. Plus the microwave is not usually run together with all this stuff so the overload is not that bad. But I know many people use all this stuff at once when cooking breakfast or diner. SO THE TOASTER OVEN PROBABLY CREATES A BIGGER OVERLOAD.

So this is why I say the circuits can be stressed by adding a toaster oven to the kitchen mix. So choose carefully and watch how you use appliances in your kitchen.

Good Luck.

PS. I measured this last year and the numbers are real. I changed out my double oven for a oven/microwave combo. The installers hooked the microwave to the refrigerator circuit. :annoyed :annoyed And in that house the power for the coffee pots and the toaster oven and the refrigerator and the microwave are all on the same circuit. So I draw over 35 amps sometimes. And yes I am trying to figure out how to change it.
Where do you live? You might have some serious code violations. In our recent remodel we had to install two home run circuits, and we added no extra fixtures or appliances. Sounds like a toaster oven is the least of your problems! :shock:

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

mrc
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by mrc » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:49 pm

btenny wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:18 pm
I said the 10-12 amps draw for a toaster oven stresses the wiring. Well it does because most modern kitchens have a coffee pot or two and a microwave oven and now a toaster over and a refrigerator and several other gadgets. In most kitchens most of these appliances are hooked up to one 20 amp circuits via outlets. So lets do some math for a typical kitchen.

Kitchen Circuit one
Coffee pot one - 800-1200 watts - 6 - 10 amps
Coffee pot two - 800 -1200 watts - 6-10 amps
Microwave oven - 1000 - 1800 watts - 8 - 15 amps
Toaster oven - 1000 - 1500 watts - 8- 12.5 amps
Totals Amps with NO Toaster oven. 35 amps on a 20 amp circuit
Total Amps with toaster oven. 47.5 amps on a 20 amp circuit.

Do the math for your kitchen. The only reason the circuits work is the breakers are thermal driven so they take many minutes to heat up before tripping. Plus they are designed to support surge currents and temporary overloads with out tripping. Plus the microwave is not usually run together with all this stuff so the overload is not that bad. But I know many people use all this stuff at once when cooking breakfast or diner. SO THE TOASTER OVEN PROBABLY CREATES A BIGGER OVERLOAD.

So this is why I say the circuits can be stressed by adding a toaster oven to the kitchen mix. So choose carefully and watch how you use appliances in your kitchen.

Good Luck.

PS. I measured this last year and the numbers are real. I changed out my double oven for a oven/microwave combo. The installers hooked the microwave to the refrigerator circuit. :annoyed :annoyed And in that house the power for the coffee pots and the toaster oven and the refrigerator and the microwave are all on the same circuit. So I draw over 35 amps sometimes. And yes I am trying to figure out how to change it.
Most modern homes have at least two separate 20A circuits for countertop outlets, and a dedicated MW circuit. If your kitchen is wired with all these receptacles on one circuit, you should call in an electrician first thing in the morning. 35A over a 20A circuit suggests the breakers are bad, and that you need to run another wire or two!
Science is about the pursuit of truth. That always threatens someone.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by michaelingp » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:46 am

We replaced an ancient toaster oven with a Panasonic Toaster Oven NB-G110P (around $90). It is reasonably small and very simple in operation. I've started to use it for almost anything that fits in it, like tater tots, frozen pizza (a couple of slices), etc. The toast function is timed, but seems to work fine. The best part compared to the regular oven is that there is no pre-heating, it heats up pretty much instantaneously.

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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by michaelingp » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:07 pm

btenny wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:18 pm
Do the math for your kitchen. The only reason the circuits work is the breakers are thermal driven so they take many minutes to heat up before tripping. Plus they are designed to support surge currents and temporary overloads with out tripping.
This statement got me thinking, so I looked up the specs on Square D residential circuit breakers. If I'm reading the graph correctly, a 35 amp load on a 20 amp breaker should trip in between 10 to 70 seconds. Longer than I expected, but much shorter than "many minutes".

Also, current code (and it's been this way for decades I think) require TWO 20 amp circuits (or more) in a kitchen, so I would think as people remodel and new construction is built, having all your kitchen outlets on one circuit is going to be pretty rare. If you do have just one circuit, you probably already know that and just run one appliance at a time.

Something that people don't realize is that circuit breakers don't have an indefinite life time. They are rated for a certain number of trips, I think around 25. So if you are tripping breakers frequently, you are using up their rated life, and should hire an electrician asap.

btenny
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by btenny » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:43 pm

All this "which circuit and current analysis stuff" is why I think just buying any old high power Toaster Oven may cause issues. Even if you have a brand new house and kitchen, the toaster oven may overload the circuits. SO BE CAREFUL where you plug in that new toaster oven vs the other appliances. .

Yes most modern houses have two 20 amp circuits for the kitchen. BUT one of those circuits is for the refrigerator (which also draws big power on start up) and maybe one extra plug. Then the other circuit is for the rest of the kitchen via 2-4 sockets. So adding a toaster oven to the same circuit as the counter top microwave and coffee pot will likely stress the circuit. But some houses put the MWave and fan over the stove and put that unit as a separate circuit. So in that case adding a toaster oven is OK.

So people need to figure out how their house is wired and which circuit supplies what appliances. This is the only way I know to make sure all this stuff does not cause problems.

And yes I know this house has issues if we run all my appliances at once. So for now we are very careful to not run the MW or the toaster oven if both coffee pots are running as well. And I am trying to figure out how to redo the wiring.

Good Luck.

mrc
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Re: Toaster ovens - safe? better alternative?

Post by mrc » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:36 pm

btenny wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:43 pm
Yes most modern houses have two 20 amp circuits for the kitchen. BUT one of those circuits is for the refrigerator (which also draws big power on start up) and maybe one extra plug. Then the other circuit is for the rest of the kitchen via 2-4 sockets. So adding a toaster oven to the same circuit as the counter top microwave and coffee pot will likely stress the circuit. But some houses put the MWave and fan over the stove and put that unit as a separate circuit. So in that case adding a toaster oven is OK.

The NEC specifies: The two separate kitchen counter top circuits are also separate from additional circuit requirements for items such as the refrigerator, dishwasher and the disposal, microwave, range (of course). These items all have their own separate circuit requirements.

If the wiring doesn't meet code, OP should address that.
Science is about the pursuit of truth. That always threatens someone.

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