I cannot begin to tell you all that I’ve learned over the last few months about kitchen appliances—both major and small. My husband is remodeling our kitchen (yes, lucky me). Now, wouldn’t you assume that selecting new appliances would be the easy, fun part of the planning process? It’s not! In fact, it’s been rather mind-numbing.
Oh, what I have learned—and do intend to share with you in the very near future—is epic. Let me just say that I’m more convinced now than ever that determining the “best inexpensive” option in every category is the way to go; that “most expensive” does not guarantee better longevity or trouble-free performance.
For today, and due to popular demand, let’s tackle basic countertop appliances that toast, roast, bake and broil.
TOASTER. The goal here is to find the Best Inexpensive traditional toaster where you put slices of bread in the slots and in a few minutes up pops toast that is perfectly toasted on both sides. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not really because there are so many options and many of them not good. That’s why you need me to test, research, review and narrow this down to the best, which in this case is also the most inexpensive.
My pick is Cuisinart Compact Plastic Toaster, which comes in a 2-slice option and also 4-slice. The slots are wide enough to accommodate bagels, English muffins, Texas toast but also regular-width slices of bread.This toaster is just the right size, toasts effortlessly and looks nice in any decor. Don’t let the “plastic” part scare you. The toaster remains cool to the touch and is super easy to clean. Cuisinart Compact Plastic Toaster, 2-Slice, about $30; 4-Slice, about $40.
TOASTER OVEN. If you need a toaster that will turn out great toast but also handle pizza, frozen foods, and quick reheat, my pick for a basic toaster oven is Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven.
Granted, there are less expensive toaster ovens out there, but my goal in identifying Everyday Cheapskate’s Best Inexpensive™ options is for you to stop buying junk. You want the lowest price for a quality appliance that will serve you well for at least as long as a much more expensive option.
In my opinion, this toaster oven fits that requirement very well. This oven is compact and attractive. Panasonic Flash Xpress Toaster Oven, about $110.
ALL-IN-ONE COUNTERTOP OVEN. If you need an oven that will do everything—roast, toast, bake, broil, warm, slow cook, convection, air fry (high heat and super convection), dehydrate, reheat and even proof bread dough—because you either need a second oven or have no other oven at all—you need to consider the new Breville Smart Oven Air.
This is a tough decision for me because again, there are so many choices out there. But I have to tell you that most of them fall into the junk category. The doors don’t close right; they do not heat to the set temperature and basically, they just don’t perform to the standard we’re looking for in a true, reliable, countertop oven.
This latest model Breville Smart Oven Air is sweet and it performs! It’s not the cheapest but certainly not the most expensive, either. It’s the only oven many of us who depend on a countertop oven almost exclusively will ever need because it’s spacious and does everything. It will even accommodate a small turkey and roast it to aboslute perfection. Breville BOV900BSS The Smart Oven Air, about $400.