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Small Dumb Toaster Oven


paulraphael
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Any recommendations? It will be used for toast and for reheating small portions of things that need to stay crisp. We won't use for cakes, tarts, bread, or chickens. We don't need convection, steam, rotisseries, or combi-oven features. Small is good. Simple is good. Cheap is good. Analog controls are good. Pushbuttons and computerized interfaces designed by bottom-tier engineers with Aspberger's syndrome who never see daylight or talk to other humans are a deal breaker.

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43 minutes ago, paulraphael said:

Any recommendations? It will be used for toast and for reheating small portions of things that need to stay crisp. We won't use for cakes, tarts, bread, or chickens. We don't need convection, steam, rotisseries, or combi-oven features. Small is good. Simple is good. Cheap is good. Analog controls are good. Pushbuttons and computerized interfaces designed by bottom-tier engineers with Aspberger's syndrome who never see daylight or talk to other humans are a deal breaker.


That doesn't even sound like it needs recommendations... just go to the ol' Mart de Wal and pick one up for next to nothing. If it burns out in a couple years or so, go grab another for another next to nothing and onward and forward you go.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Maybe, but it seems like some of these simple ones are nicely designed and made. Others (like the Black+Decker one we're getting rid of) aren't. 

I also had two different samples of a medium-complicated Cuisinart convection toaster oven, that looked like it ticked all the boxes, but was complete trash. Took forever to toast toast, did it unevenly, and the oven thermostat was off by 50 degrees in both directions.

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17 minutes ago, paulraphael said:

Maybe, but it seems like some of these simple ones are nicely designed and made. Others (like the Black+Decker one we're getting rid of) aren't. 

I also had two different samples of a medium-complicated Cuisinart convection toaster oven, that looked like it ticked all the boxes, but was complete trash. Took forever to toast toast, did it unevenly, and the oven thermostat was off by 50 degrees in both directions.


Small, simple and cheap combined with fast, accurate and sturdy. I think you may have pick one... but hopefully somebody knows about a machine that will fit those needs.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Ok, reasonably fast, reasonably sturdy, reasonably cheap. And simple. 

I'll let go of accurate. The inaccuracy bummed me out with the cuisinart because I was hoping to bake with the convenction feature. I don't care about that anymore (but I don't want to pay for the feature).

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2 hours ago, paulraphael said:

Any recommendations? It will be used for toast and for reheating small portions of things that need to stay crisp. We won't use for cakes, tarts, bread, or chickens. We don't need convection, steam, rotisseries, or combi-oven features. Small is good. Simple is good. Cheap is good. Analog controls are good. Pushbuttons and computerized interfaces designed by bottom-tier engineers with Aspberger's syndrome who never see daylight or talk to other humans are a deal breaker.

 

It sounds like you need a toaster and something else for reheating small portions of things that need to stay crisp.  What are the things that need to stay crisp?

 

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I recommend the small Breville.  We had one in our DC apartment, and it was just fine.  I even sold it when we sold that apartment, 5 years old, and never a problem.

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008C9UFDI/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

The Panasonic oven isn't so cheap, but it's small and extremely straightforward to use. My second one's going strong on 5 years ; I cracked the heating element of my first one after about 8 years, and waited around dallying with lesser ovens until Panasonic started exporting them into the U.S. again. It's one of the few toaster ovens I've used that actually makes good toast. It uses a quartz heating element that's the same basic technology as the Breville, but seems to have a slight edge on reliability based on all the Amazon reviews.

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That Panasonic has the exact kind of user interface that makes me want to scream. I realize anyone can adapt to anything, but I don't want to adapt to a toaster. I want analog dials that are obvious at first glance when I'm sleepy and caffeinated. This isn't a lot to ask for, because it's a f'ing toaster. My microwave is like that but worse. Give me dials or give me death.

 

I'm leaning toward the Hamilton Beach model at the bottom of the Wirecutter review. They said it made toast better than anything else under $100, and it has an interface which while still plagued by some utter stupidity, is at least simple.

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 Cheapest and most reliable of all:

 

Skillet toast.  

 

Click.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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7 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Plus you then have a pan to wash!

 

No you don’t. I made my toast this morning this way in a well seasoned cast iron pan and wiped it out with a paper towel — done and done!xD

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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  • 3 months later...

Our many decades-old black + decker dumb oven finally burst into flames, so it was time to act. I picked out a couple of great looking sub-$50 toaster ovens by Toshiba and Hamilton Beach, and we were about to pull the trigger, when my girlfriend spotted deep in the reviews that they have mechanical timers that make a ticking noise while toasting. I thought "who cares?" She thought "I'd rather die." So we descended back to the lower basements of the internet for more research. 

 

And what did we find but a smaller, less smart smart oven by Breville. The interface is straightforward and pretty intuitive. It has annoying presets ("Pizza") but you can ignore them and just use toast, bake, broil, etc. There's no convection feature, and I don't care. This will be used 90% for toast, and the rest of the time for reheating, for broiling things like croque monsieurs, and maybe for warming plates. I don't need to roast a cornish hen or bake a cake in my toaster.

 

The thing is about halfway between the size of our old toaster oven and the full size ones that will fit a 12" pizza or full chicken. About right for us. The 1800 watt quartz elements cook toast evenly and reasonably quickly. Haven't used it for anything else yet. I'm especially impressed by the design of the crumb tray. Trivially easy to pull out and clean. Its biggest weakness so far is a complete lack of insulation. You could probably make pancakes on the top surface

 

 

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I used to have a wonderful little oven that was sold by our Superstore grocery chain under its own President's Choice brand. It was (perhaps) slightly smaller than the french-door Oster, but had two racks, convection, a rotisserie, and digital controls. It sold for $89.99 Canadian, which even then was a ridiculously low price for its features.

 

My late wife smashed it with a hammer one day in a fit of rage (not at the oven) and was very unhappy with herself when she learned they were no longer available. I've not seen anything since with the same features for anything under the $150 range.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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  • 3 years later...
1 hour ago, lauras said:

I recommend Nostalgia BST3AQ 3-in-1, I really like this toaster oven. The grill and coffee portion was great, very quick to have a breakfast. 

Ooh, 3 in one, pretty cool design, I see it as a space saver for camping/motor homing, but for home, as any appliance that has multi functions, what to do when one function dies?  I do like the idea and at under $100, good gamble.

That wasn't chicken

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Serendipitous timing that this thread is back from the dead. 3 years later our Breville smart(ish) oven is dying. The bottom heating elements only come on when they feel like it, resulting in jeckyl/hyde slices of toast. And it's started shrieking at us. It sounds like a bad fan bearing, but we see no evidence that there's a fan anywhere in there. It's not a convection model. Nothing deep in the bowels looks fan-like. So I can only conclude that it's either haunted, angry, or in some kind of deep psychic pain. 

 

At first we could distract it back into quiet servitude with a crisp zen slap. But after a while it needed multiple slaps. Eventually it needed one or more full-on haymaker punches, right to the midsection. Now it's dented, madder than ever, and defiant—violence no longer works at all. 

 

The happy news: Breville has offered to fix it. It's way out of warranty, but our story must have made them feel sorry for us. I suspect fixing it will take a long time, and we don't want to be without a toaster oven (the untoasted life being not worth living, etc.). So we've ordered a new one. Same model, to test our luck. When it shows up, we'll send the old one for repairs, and when that eventually comes back we'll give it to someone.

 

Someone who likes toast, and doesn't mind a slight fist-shaped dent. 

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Been through a few but they were all "found" in the garage so who knows their life story. With your GF on that mechanical timer clicking away. Finally they all died so I used AMEX points and free Prime and got this little job. Lives in garage on workbench and works just simply as needed. $25 or so but I paid zero. 

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6 hours ago, heidih said:

Been through a few but they were all "found" in the garage so who knows their life story. With your GF on that mechanical timer clicking away. Finally they all died so I used AMEX points and free Prime and got this little job. Lives in garage on workbench and works just simply as needed. $25 or so but I paid zero. 

to ov.JPG

My mom has the identical model. No interesting features to speak of, but it makes perfectly decent toast and I've used it to bake/reheat a variety of small items.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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9 hours ago, weinoo said:

 

I need more than perfectly decent if something is gonna take up that much room.

 

My favorite feature on these things is the broiler. It's great for crisping things up in a hurry, especially the kinds of leftovers that will come out too steamed and soggy in the microwave. Also great for things like grilled cheese / croquet Monsieurs. The bake feature is nice for small portions when you don't want to fire up the real oven.

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As to taking up space, the one I have and showed has a small footprint and as I said lives in the garage on a not used workbench. I toast, re-crisp, sometimes roast a few odd bones for quick stock or some root vegetables.. Works for me but I am not space challenged. Cheese toast it does beautifully. 

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11 hours ago, weinoo said:

 

I need more than perfectly decent if something is gonna take up that much room.

It has just about exactly the same footprint as my conventional pop-up four-slice toaster, so for me it's a wash.

That being said, I don't content with NYC space constraints either. And I'm probably not as picky about my toast.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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