Are you shopping for a toaster but need help deciding which type to buy?
In this guide, I break down the pros and cons of the seven most common types of toasters. You’ll learn how they compare in function, versatility, price, and more.
By the end, you’ll have the facts necessary to decide which toaster is right for your kitchen.
Use the links below to navigate the guide:
- Types of Toasters: Comparison Chart
- Pop-Up Toasters
- Standard Toaster Ovens
- Convection/Air Fryer Toaster Ovens
- Conveyor Belt Toasters
- Panini Press Toasters
- Smart Toasters
- Commercial Pop-Up Toasters
- Bottom Line: Which Type of Toaster Is Right for You?
The chart below shows the pros and cons of each type of toaster so you can quickly compare the options. I go into more detail about each in the following sections.
|Pop-Up Toasters||Small and affordable; easy to use||Limited versatility; hard to clean|
|Toaster Ovens||Versatile; easy to clean||Expensive; large; uneven toasting|
|Convection Toaster Ovens||Versatile; even cooking, acts as a second oven||Expensive; large; noisy|
|Conveyor Belt Toasters||High volume (can toast hundreds of bread slices per hour)||Expensive; large footprint|
|Panini Press Toasters||Small and affordable; easy to clean||Limited versatility; manual operation; flattens soft bread|
|Smart Toasters||Precision control; convenience settings||Expensive; technology bugs|
|Commercial Toasters||Accommodates large families; high-end design||Expensive; large countertop footprint|
Pop-up toasters are the most common type of toaster, and for good reason. These compact, lightweight appliances are easy to use, affordable, and get the job done quickly.
Let’s review the pros and cons of pop-up toasters.
Pop-up toasters are small and compact, making them ideal for kitchens with limited counter space. You can easily fit these toasters in a corner or store them when they aren’t in use.
They’re simple to use, too. Just slide the bread into the slots, select the toast level (usually by turning a knob), and press down the lever. When it’s done, the lever will release, and the toast will pop up.
The pop-up type of toaster works fast. It’s perfect for quick foods like sliced bread or bagels. These toasters don’t require preheating and will toast your food in minutes.
Another advantage of pop-up toasters is that they’re affordable — you can find a decent one for as little as $20.
Pop-up toasters come in a vast assortment of colors and finishes to match your kitchen finishes. You can opt for a sleek and modern stainless steel option or go retro and buy a bright cherry red one. The choices are practically endless.
Finally, pop-up toasters are the most popular and common type, so they’re also easy to find, and dozens of options are available. You can buy them at almost any home goods store or on Amazon.
Since pop-up toasters are small and simple, their functionality is limited. Generally, they’re only intended for one thing: toasting bread (like sliced bread or bagels).
Even then, you can only toast slices of bread that aren’t too thick.
Another common issue with pop-up toasters is that bread gets stuck in them and either cooks unevenly or burns. And if part of the slice or bagel is uneven, it can catch on the sides of the slot and rip.
That leads us to another con of pop-up toasters: they’re hard to clean. Crumbs fall inside the toaster slots, and to get them out, you have to either flip the toaster over and shake it over your trash can or use a thin utensil to get inside the slots and retrieve them.
Most pop-up toasters have a crumb tray, but if larger pieces of food get stuck inside the slots, it won’t help.
The standard toaster oven is another popular and versatile type with several benefits — and a few inconveniences. Let’s discuss these pros and cons.
One of the main benefits of a standard toaster oven is its size. You can toast multiple foods at once, making it useful for families. You won’t have to wait for your turn on busy mornings — an issue you might run into with the pop-up type of toaster.
The chart below shows the dimensions and capacity of several popular toaster ovens.
|Toaster Oven||Dimensions||Capacity||Bread Slices|
|Cuisinart||11.875″D x 15.75″W x 9″H||.5 cu ft||6|
|Oster||14.29″D x 16.65″W x 9.8″H||.2 cu ft||6|
|BLACK + DECKER||14.5″D x 21.5″W x 11.5″H||.3 cu ft||8|
|Mueller||14.84″D x 8.86″W x 11.85″H||.4 cu ft||4|
|Breville||11.1″D x 18.5″W x 15.7″H||.5 cu ft||6|
The versatility of standard toaster ovens is another significant pro. You can use them for more than simply toasting bread or bagels. Many come with bake, broil, roast, and reheat settings, just like a conventional oven.
It’s essentially a mini oven. You can use it for cooking meats, french fries, vegetables, and even bacon.
Reheating food in a toaster oven prevents it from getting soggy the way it would in a microwave, and it can do so without the long wait required by a traditional oven (which takes far longer to preheat).
A toaster oven also uses less energy than a regular oven, so your electric bill and the environment also benefit.
Compared to pop-up toasters, standard toaster ovens are much easier to clean. In most models, the baking racks come out, and the entire front opens up to quickly access the inside to wipe it down and remove any stuck-on food.
One downside of standard toaster ovens is the cost. They’re more expensive than pop-up toasters and can run anywhere from $50 to hundreds of dollars for a more sophisticated model.
The large size of standard toaster ovens is also a con for many households. They usually take up about as much space as a standard microwave.
Although the added size allows you to cook more a once, it also means these toasters are heavy and take up more counter space.
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Although standard toaster ovens are easier to clean than pop-up toasters, they’re still difficult to clean. It’s common for crumbs or stuck-on food to burn if you don’t regularly clean the oven.
Toaster ovens usually have a removable crumb tray to help prevent this issue, but they don’t catch everything. Some food inevitably falls through and ends up under the toaster or gets burned on the tray.
Convection toaster ovens, also referred to as air fryer toasters, are almost the same as standard toaster ovens, but a built-in fan circulates hot air during cooking.
With the rise in popularity of air fryers (essentially mini convection ovens), this type of toaster oven has become the standard. According to Google Trends, searches for the term “air fryer toaster” have rapidly increased since 2017.
It’s almost impossible to find toaster ovens that don’t have a convection or air fry setting these days.
Like standard toaster ovens, convection or air fryer toaster ovens are versatile, can handle more food than a pop-up toaster, feature broil or roast settings, and can reheat food without making it soggy.
The major advantage of a convection toaster oven is that it cooks food more evenly. Unlike standard toaster ovens that radiate heat from the heating elements in one direction, convection toasters have fans and blowers to keep hot air moving during the cooking process.
When the heat flows evenly throughout the oven rather than being concentrated at the top or bottom, food cooks faster and more evenly. You end up with crispier fries and more evenly toasted bread.
With most models, you can turn the convection setting on and off. The blowing air can disrupt the setting and rising process when baking cakes or custards.
Depending on the model, a convection toaster oven can replace other appliances like pod-style air fryers and pop-up toasters. It can serve as a second oven and cook things like rotisserie chicken or casseroles.
While convection/air fryer toaster ovens provide many of the same benefits as standard toaster ovens, they also share several disadvantages.
Size and maintenance are two factors worth considering. Convection toaster ovens have a larger footprint than pop-up toasters and require the same level of cleaning as a standard toaster oven.
The most notable disadvantage, though, is the cost. Expect to paymore for a convection/air fryer toaster oven than you would for a standard model.
How much more?
The chart below shows the current prices of convection and standard toaster ovens so you can compare. Click the price to learn more about each item.
|Toaster Oven||Price||View Details|
|BLACK+DECKER Convection Toaster Oven||Amazon|
|Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven||Amazon|
|Toshiba Convection Toaster Oven||Amazon|
|Oster Convection Toaster Oven||Amazon|
|COSORI Convection Toaster Oven||Amazon|
|Elite Gourmet Standard Toaster Oven||Amazon|
|Hamilton Beach Standard Toaster Oven||Amazon|
|Oster Standard Toaster Oven||Amazon|
|Cuisinart Standard Toaster Oven||Amazon|
Conveyor belt toasters use a rotating conveyor to move food as it cooks. It then deposits the food on a tray below the belt.
This type of toaster is not designed for residential use. You’ll find conveyor belt toasters in restaurants, hotels, dining halls, and catering operations.
The primary benefit of a conveyor belt toaster is that it provides consistent and even results. One area of the food won’t get more direct heat than any other, so it prevents it from burning.
Conveyor belt toasters are suitable for toasting all sorts of foods — not just sliced bread. You can reheat food, finish a dish (broil a casserole, for example), or melt cheese.
Another benefit is volume. Conveyor belt toasters usually require higher voltage (208 to 240 volts) because their heating elements are more powerful. And because of that, most models can toast hundreds of slices of bread per hour.
The chart below shows the number of bread slices several popular conveyor belt toasters can cook per hour.
|Conveyor Belt Toaster||Slices of Bread Per Hour|
|AvaToast Conveyor Toaster||800|
|Dyna-Living Conveyor Toaster||300|
|VEVOR Conveyor Toaster||450|
|Worcest Conveyor Toaster||150|
|Adcraft Conveyor Toaster||300|
Another advantage of conveyor belt toasters is the level of control they provide. You control the speed of the belt and the heat level, which means you can easily adjust and change how your food is toasted throughout the process.
Conveyor belt toasters are large, limiting their practicality for residential use. Unless you have an enormous kitchen or separate walk-in pantry with countertops, this type of toaster isn’t the best option.
Compared to toaster ovens, conveyor toasters’ versatility is limited. You can’t use them for baking, roasting, or broiling. They can toast bread and melt cheese but aren’t usable for meals that require more than a minute to cook.
Another issue with these toasters is the cost. Due to their size and commercial power, they cost significantly more than pop-up or toaster ovens. Prices vary by brand and model, but expect to pay at least $300; some cost over $1000.
Additionally, they use more energy. The chart below shows the wattage of conveyor belt models versus other types of toasters.
|Amazon Basics||Toaster Oven||900|
Panini press toasters function much like a grill but with a lid that covers (presses) the food and heats it from the top and bottom.
Chefs have been using panini presses at restaurants for years, but they became a popular residential appliance when the George Foreman grill (which operates much like a panini press) launched in the mid-1990s.
This Google Trends report shows how the popularity of panini presses has continued to rise over the past two decades.
Panini press toasters are small and lightweight. You can fit them anywhere, and they’re easy to store. They are perfect for anyone living in an apartment or a house with a smaller kitchen.
Panini press toasters allow you to toast thicker pieces of bread and sandwiches. As the name suggests, it’s ideal for making grilled panini sandwiches because the top and bottom of the toaster press directly into the bread.
The bread gets nice and crispy while the cheese inside melts and holds everything together. You can also use panini presses for burgers, french toast, bacon, vegetables, and more. Although, they’re notorious for drying out meat since they apply constant pressure to the top and bond, squeezing out the juices.
Another advantage of panini press toasters is their easy-to-clean design. This type of toaster only has two flat surfaces to clean and no slots or hard-to-reach areas. When you’re done using it, wipe the top and bottom with a damp towel.
And thanks to their simplicity, they are affordable compared to many other types of toasters.
One downside to panini press toasters is their limited versatility. They’re only able to toast flat items like bread or sandwiches. You won’t be able to heat a muffin or a plate of scrambled eggs, for example.
Another issue with panini toasters is that they tend to heat food unevenly. This type of toaster heats foods from the outside in. That can result in the surface of the food burning or overheating while the inside remains cold.
Panini press toasters also tend to flatten food, altering its shape and texture. They can also make a mess if condiments are squeezed out of your sandwich or melted cheese escapes during pressing.
Smart toasters include any toaster with technologically advanced features, such as preset functions, temperature monitors, wifi/bluetooth connectivity, or voice activation.
These toasters can make life easier or, in some cases, give you tech-induced headaches.
The best way to highlight the advantages of smart toasters is by looking at some examples.
Breville specializes in smart appliances and sells a range of smart toasters.
Models like the Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro provide the size benefits of a toaster oven, the speed and precision of a convection oven, the versatility of a full-sized oven, and the sophisticated features – such as touch screens – that we’ve expect from smart appliances.
This toaster includes Breville’s Element iQ® System, an advanced temperature sensing and control system. Essentially, it ensures the entire toaster is heated at the precise temperature for the task and adjusts if necessary.
It features 13 different settings, including toast, bagel, broil, roast, bake, pizza, warm, proof, air fry, reheat, cookies, slow cook, and dehydrate.
In addition, the oven light automatically turns on when the cooking cycle ends — a convenient feature that most toaster ovens don’t include.
If you prefer a pop-up smart toaster, dozens of models are available. One example is the Revolution InstaGLO (R180B model). It has over 60 settings and a touch screen with images of different types of food to help you toast your meal perfectly.
These are just two examples, so if you’re interested in a smart toaster, take some time and explore what’s available.
All smart toasters rely on the “smart” features that make them so appealing. But those extra components mean more parts can break or malfunction.
Smart tech components such as touch screens are also more delicate than the sturdy, analog parts you’ll find in other toaster types. They break more frequently, lowering smart toasters’ life expectancy.
Another significant consideration is the price. Smart toasters are expensive compared to regular models. Expect to pay between 20 and 50% more for a toaster with advanced tech.
Commercial pop-up toasters are larger and more powerful versions of the types you’d usually find in someone’s home. They’re often used in hotels, restaurants, or other commercial locations, but you can also buy them for personal use.
Pros of Commercial Pop-Up Toasters
The primary benefit of commercial toasters is their capacity. You can toast four or even eight slices of bread at once, making them ideal for large households.
In addition to capacity, commercial toasters are fast. They don’t need to preheat, so you can have everyone’s food done in a matter of minutes.
Cons of Commercial Pop-Up Toasters
Commercial toasters have the same limitations as pop-up toasters. They specialize in sliced bread and bagels, so don’t buy one if you plan to use it for various meals.
Another issue with commercial toasters is their size. Since they’re intended for high-capacity use, they’re large and require a lot of space. If you have a small kitchen, this type of toaster isn’t for you.
Commercial toasters are also expensive and can cost hundreds. That kind of investment only makes sense for people who need a large, high-capacity toaster due to the size of their household or workplace.
Now that you know the pros and cons of the seven most common types of toasters, which one should you buy?
Before I share my opinion, let’s take a second to review.
- Pop-up toasters are small, simple, and reliable. They’re also limited and can only be used to make things like sliced toast or bagels.
- Standard toaster ovens provide more capacity and versatility than pop-up toasters. Plus, they’re easier to clean. However, they’re more expensive and take up more countertop space.
- Convection toaster ovens share the same pros and cons as standard toaster ovens but with the added benefit of convection heating. With convection, food cooks faster and more evenly.
- Panini press toasters are small and convenient. They’re ideal for sandwiches, thick toast, meats, and vegetables. But the food has to be flat and reasonably sturdy.
- Smart toasters have high-tech features, like bluetooth, visual displays, or temperature sensors. Smart toasters can be incredibly efficient and helpful, but they’re also expensive and have more components that can break.
- Commercial toasters are large and efficient. But they take up more space and are expensive.
The main factors to consider are your household size, budget, space constraints, and what you plan to cook.
I recommend a convection toaster oven if you have the space and budget. It toasts bread to perfection, but it can also act as a mini oven.
You’ll use it for everyday cooking, and it will come in handy for holidays and large gatherings when you run out of space in your regular oven.
If you’re looking for an appliance just for bread and bagels, you can’t go wrong with a pop-up toaster. They’re compact, affordable, and get the job done.
Avoid conveyor belt or commercial toasters unless you’re buying for a restaurant, hotel, or catering business that requires a high-volume output.
They’re expensive, have a large footprint, and consume more energy than necessary for most residential use.
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