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How do I Choose the Best Countertop Oven?

By Jillian Peterson
Updated: May 17, 2024

A countertop oven can be a great addition to any kitchen because it cooks food fast and takes up little space, but it can be hard to choose the right oven from the many types and brands available. To choose the right type of stand alone oven for you, you need to consider the space you have for your oven and then compare brands. There are three major types of ovens to choose between: conduction, convection, and infrared. The type that is best for you will depend on your size needs and price range, so these factors should be considered first.

As with any type of kitchen appliance, it is very important to understand how much space you have before you purchase a countertop oven. Measure your counter before shopping to make sure the unit you choose will fit in the space allotted. Most miniature ovens are made to fit small casserole dishes and baking pans for baking a few cookies. When shopping, pay attention to the capacity of the oven as well as the dimensions to ensure that your dishes will fit inside. If you are short on counter space, you can also find miniature ovens that can be mounted under a cabinet, sometimes called a built-in oven.

The most common type of countertop oven is the conduction oven, usually called a toaster oven. This appliance conducts electricity through coils that produce heat. This heat radiates from the coils to warm the food. Conduction ovens generally produce a dry heat that cooks food quickly, but can also burn easily. This type is the most inexpensive type of countertop oven, but conduction ovens can lack versatility.

The convection type of countertop oven circulates heated air around the food inside the oven. Usually, hot air is moved around the food by an internal fan. Convection ovens cook foods at a lower temperature than conduction ovens, but they can also cook food faster than a conventional cooktop oven. Convection ovens are a good choice for those who want quick baking with a low price.

The third option in countertop-oven technology is infrared heating. These ovens are sometimes called halogen ovens or infrared ovens, and they use infrared waves to heat air around the food. In many cases, infrared technology may be combined with convection so that you have an oven that works in different ways to heat food. These types of oven can come with a high price tag, however.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Raynbow — On Sep 29, 2014

Built-in ovens are great, but can be awkward and get in the way even thought they are mounted on the wall. I think that smaller ones are the best choice for most cooks, because they take up less space yet they are still versatile enough to bake a lot of different types of dishes.

By Ocelot60 — On Sep 28, 2014

Toaster ovens are the best type of countertop ovens for people who don't do a lot of cooking. They are easy to use, don't take up a lot of space, and are very inexpensive. They are great for warming up leftovers, baking small items, and cooking frozen dinners.

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