The Toaster Oven Vs Microwave Debate: Who Wins?
It was happening...
Halfway through our registry and my fiancé and I were stuck. Should we register for a microwave or a toaster oven?
After reading countless tags describing the abilities of this model vs that, swapping stories about what we’ve done with a toaster oven vs a microwave in the past, and hearing the sales pitch for one vs another from the salesperson, we could see that both of them have separate advantages, but in the end we could see there was a clear winner.
So, how did we choose between these two handy devices? Here’s how we broke things down:
TOASTER OVEN PROS AND CONS
PROS: Let’s face it, there’s no way around the fact that a toaster oven produces a better “end product” than a microwave does. Take pizza for example. I could take two of the same pizza and cook one in the toaster oven and one in the microwave and end up with two very different tasting pizzas. The toaster oven pizza is guaranteed to be crispy, firm, and fresh.
On the other hand, the microwave pizza ends up with the consistency of semi-wet cardboard, and the flavor’s not much better. Overall, the toaster oven delivers a fresher taste and better texture than the microwave. The second big pro on our toaster oven vs. microwave list was that the toaster oven has greater capabilities than a microwave.
The size, possibility of convection cooking, and the use of interior heating elements vs. the electromagnetic waves that a microwave uses to heat food makes it so that you have a lot more options when it comes to making more than just a frozen meal. After all, there’s just something about a nice crispy, buttery piece of toast with your morning cup of coffee.
CONS: Here’s the major fault when it comes to toaster ovens, time. Convection heating or not, there’s no way around the fact that a toaster oven just can’t cook or reheat things as quickly as a microwave can.
After a long day at the office, chasing the kids, and/or just needing a night away from spending hours making dinner, it is so nice to be able to rely on the speed of the microwave to get the job done. The other major downside to using a toaster oven vs. a microwave is the cleanup.
With a microwave, you can usually just take out the glass circle that rotates, wipe it off, wipe down the walls and call it a day.
On the other hand, with a toaster oven you have to worry about finicky heating elements, hard to reach grooves, and crumbs stuck in crevices they may never come out of.
So, now that you’ve seen the highlighted version of our great microwave or toaster oven debate, how did the microwave fair?
MICROWAVE PROS AND CONS
PROS: The nicest thing about a microwave is how quick and easy it is to use. Need to defrost something? There’s a button for that. Want some popcorn? There’s a button for that. Your frozen meal or leftovers need to be heated for three minutes?
Well, just punch in how long you want the microwave to cook it and off it goes. Let’s go back to the pizza example for a moment. Even though the pizza may not taste as scrumptious if you heat it in a microwave, at the end of the day it’s ready faster and its still pizza (sounds like a winning combination to me.)
Here’s the next best thing, it’s more energy efficient, which means it’s going to cost you less to use a microwave vs. a toaster oven. Faster and less expensive? I think it’s safe to say that that’s part of the reason that 90% of US households have a microwave.
CONS: Well, we already know that there are limits to what you can cook using a microwave and how fresh/crisp the “end product” is, so let’s those points in mind as we look at the other con to using a microwave rather than a toaster oven.
What happens if you just need to keep something warm but you don’t want to turn on your main oven? Doesn’t look like the microwave is your go to for this one.
The thing with microwaves if your either reheating, defrosting, or cooking, there’s no way to modify the temperature enough so you could leave something simmering while you wrap up the rest of your dinner prep. etc.
All in all, my money (or my wedding guests’ money) goes towards a microwave. While it may not be able to make me a crisp piece of toast or maintain the temperature of my casserole, the chances are I’m not going to use it for my dinner needs from start to finish and I can buy an inexpensive toaster or throw a piece of bread in my regular oven if I want a piece of toast that badly.
One thing you can consider, if you like both options, is to take a look at microwave toaster oven combination models. Although these carry a higher price tag than the average toaster oven or microwave, they combine the best features of both of these great appliances.
The most important aspect of the microwave or toaster oven debate comes to down to ease, convenience, and time, and the microwave never fails to give me what I need while staying within those three parameters