Most cooks have a love-hate relationship with the oven. For many cooks, the oven is a kitchen’s important appliance, critical for preparing family dinners, baking, and executing large cooking projects, like roasting meat. But when in many cases, the oven can be a cook’s worst nightmare. All that heat comes at a price: ovens contribute significantly to home energy costs, directly via electric or gas usage and indirectly due to increased air conditioning used to mitigate heat ovens emit.

toaster-oven

 Once the roasting is done, the oven needs to be cleaned–no small task. So what’s a cook to do? Two words: toaster oven. Energy-efficient, powerful, and convenient, the toaster oven is a great option for smaller cooking projects. Not convinced? Here’s 10 reasons to give the oven a rest and try its smaller cousin.

Energy Conservational toaster oven consumes one-third to one-half less energy than a conventional electric oven, so you can help the environment while you bake! Most models are 1,200 to 1,700, thought power usage varies depending on the function. For example, slow bake uses less energy than broil. Unplug the toaster oven when not in use for added energy savings.

  1. Cost Savings obviously, energy savings equal cost savings. Use a toaster oven in place of a conventional oven and you’ll see a significant reduction in your energy bill. Of course, you have to buy the toaster oven. Look for energy efficient EnergyStar models, or minimize consumption by purchasing a used toaster oven.
  2. Less Heat Transmission High-wattage conventional ovens emit heat that warms up the kitchen, if not the whole house–not fun if you’re baking on a hot day. Toaster ovens are not powerful enough to emit significant amounts of heat, so no need to turn up the air conditioner.
  3. Faster Cook Time because toaster ovens are smaller than conventional ovens, they preheat much faster, and reducing the time it takes to complete your project. Some toaster ovens are made with a convection heating feature in which a small fan moves hot air through the machine. This bakes food faster and more evenly without using much additional electricity.
  1. Easy Cleaning because a toaster oven is smaller than a conventional oven, cleaning it is less daunting. The inside of a toaster oven can be cleaned with soap and water or a kitchen spray cleaner. Most toaster ovens have a pull-out crumb tray, which catches stray food particles. Many deluxe models include a self-cleaning feature.
  1. Simple Cooking Toaster ovens are great for apartment dwellers or those with small kitchens. Most toaster ovens come with a variety of racks and trays perfectly suited to different cooking tasks. Fill a roasting pan with vegetables and slide it in, or make perfect grilled cheese sandwiches on the racks. Toaster ovens are also great for reheating leftovers, defrosting, baked potatoes, small batches of cookies, and toasting nuts.

Citations: Amy S. writes on behalf of Interchange, a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that helps nonprofits save money by saving energy. Interchange offers free energy audits to help implement best practices in energy conservation.

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