Can a Toaster Oven Replace a Microwave?
If you are stuck between a microwave and a toaster, you might be asking;can a toaster oven replace a microwave? Well, there is scarcely a straightforward answer to the question.
There are many differences associated with these appliances, and a direct comparison may not suffice.
Consequently, we can only give several highlights regarding these two products.
You will therefore be in a better position to make your own opinion based on your needs.
It is indisputable that toaster ovens and microwaves perform similar tasks in your kitchen. However, it would be incorrect to say that these appliances are identical.
A closer look at how both appliances perform their tasks will shed more light on the appropriateness of either in specific conditions.
How Do Toaster Ovens Work?
A toaster oven has a heating element both at the bottom and at the top that heats the food.
The price at which you buy a toaster oven will vary depending on the type that you prefer.
Mostly, the price at which you buy a toaster oven will be dictated by the number of heating elements in the oven.
Toaster ovens have inbuilt fans that help in distributing the heat evenly.
This way, all parts in the oven get the same heat level, ensuring that food is cooked at uniform temperatures.
However, other toaster ovens use quartz and ceramic heating elements to improve their heating operation.
Toaster ovens are great for broiling, baking, and toasting tasks. Additionally, some also have additional features like roasting and defrosting.
A toaster oven does not take the same time as a microwave to cook the same type of food.
How Do Microwaves Work?
Microwaves make use of electromagnetic waves in heating food.The appliance beams electromagnetic waves that penetrate the food.
As electromagnetic waves heat water molecules collectively and even manner, these molecules vibrate, emitting heat within a shorter time.
As a result, cooking takes lesser time when using a microwave. This has been the reason that has seen microwaves preferred as faster appliances in heating.
Although microwaves are either plastic or glass cookware, electromagnetic heating does not damage the appliance.
What Are The Differences Between A Toaster And An Oven?
When certain types of food are being cooked in a toaster oven, they naturally cook best—however, other types of food heat best in a microwave.
Just like conventional ovens, toaster ovens produce heat that radiates into the food inside.
On the other hand, microwaves heat water molecules present in the food inside the appliance, arriving at the desired end in a shorter time.
Although food cooks faster, the tray does not get as hot as that in a toaster oven since heating in a microwave primarily affects water molecules in the food.
On the same note, due to the high heat in a toaster oven’s tray, it is advisable to avoid some containers like plastic or paper to avoid causing a fire inside your toaster oven.
When pointing at the real distinction between a microwave and a toaster oven, it is not easy since there are particular cases where either of them cannot be used.
For instance, it is not possible to pop popcorn utilizing an oven. Therefore, it is best to break the comparison in energy consumption, cooking, health, and maintenance.
Does A Microwave Consume More Energy Than A Toaster Oven?
No. Microwaves use lesser energy than toaster ovens.
Although both microwaves and toaster ovens are more heat efficient than traditional ovens, the resultant power consumption in both appliances is different.
Although the variation between a microwave and toaster in terms of energy consumption may be seen as insignificant, it is important to note that a toaster oven consumes more energy.
Toaster ovens are generally rated between 1200-1800 Watts, while regular microwaves are rated between 700-1300 Watts.
As we continue to witness more inventions and advancements in kitchen appliances, we should expect more environmentally friendly microwaves and toaster ovens in the near future.
Do Microwaves And Toaster Ovens Produce The Same Cooking Results?
No. Since heating techniques are fundamentally different in both appliances, it is impossible to get the same cooking results.
Additionally, because food quality is a critical factor when shopping for a kitchen appliance, it is important to look at these differences between the foods cooked by both appliances.
Toaster ovens are excellent for baking due to the direct heat from the elements, heating the food itself.
The Maillard reaction produced by the direct heat adds some new odor and flavor to create a caramel-like taste, as evident in scones and sandwiches.
Foods and meats cooked in toaster ovens enjoy a more even browning. On the other hand, a microwave does not have this attribute on its sleeve.
All the same, this does not mean that microwaves are inappropriate to be used in baking.
No! you can use a microwave for baking almost anything, including pizza, bread, cake, etc., as long as you have the correct recipe at hand.
Since a microwave does not heat food directly but heat water molecules in the food, foods cooked this way will have a soft and soggy feel.
It is not possible to get crispy results from microwaves as the water molecules are retained in the foods.
If you want to prepare crispy dishes like pizza, bacon, and chicken skin to perfection, it is best to use a toaster oven.
When it comes to boiling, microwaves are not only the best suited but also the most convenient.
For this reason, you will agree that coffee and milk heat perfectly in microwaves.
Does A Microwave Have An Advantage Over A Toaster Oven In Terms Of Size?
Not really! Although most conventional microwaves and toaster ovens easily fit on countertops, toaster ovens are smaller in size.
Size may not matter much if you have a large kitchen. However, if your kitchen space is small, you want to enjoy the same services with smaller appliances.
In this case, the smaller size of a toaster oven will be more appealing to you.
However, remember that it is not easy to practically replace a microwave oven with a toaster oven and expect perfect results for all your dishes.
Maximization of your space needs to factor other issues as well, and one of these issues is the foods you commonly prefer and their taste as well.
It is a hard choice to make, but you will be guided by your needs and preferences.
Countertop convenience is something you will want to consider when acquiring a new appliance, getting an additional one, or maintaining the current one.
Therefore, you might consider that toaster ovens are lighter and compact, consequently taking little space.
In addition to this, toaster ovens are convenient and easy to move around.
However, size is tentative since it is also dependent on the number of slices that you will be able to toast at once in a particular toaster oven.
Currently, there are two main types of toaster ovens in the market, and these are the six and the two-slice toaster oven models.
Obviously, the six-slice version is larger and also costlier than the two-slice toaster oven. However, both are still comparatively smaller when compared to a microwave.
A countertop is sufficient to host a typical toaster oven. A microwave will take more counter space as it is relatively large.
How Does The Maintenance Of A Toaster Oven Compare To The Maintenance Of A Microwave?
It is very critical to keep all kitchen appliances clean.
This being the most important part of the maintenance of a toaster oven and a microwave, it is important to note that microwaves are easier to clean the exterior and the interior.
You can use a sponge and soapy water to wash both surfaces (exterior and interior) of a microwave since most models are fitted with a removable glass plate easy to be washed in your dishwasher or sink.
On the other hand, a toaster oven cannot be washed that easily.To wash it, you will need first to remove crumb trays and baking pans.
After you remove them, you will wash them externally. Unfortunately, you will still be required to take care of the delicate heating elements lest you damage them with your washing.
Perhaps, you can mitigate this risk by avoiding spillage.You can limit spillage by wiping the interior and exterior after every use.
Are There Health Implications Associated With Either A Microwave Or A Toaster Oven?
Apparently, Yes! Since the discovery of microwaves, there have been concerns that the electric waves in them may pose a health risk to those who eat food cooked in them.
Although there is no compelling evidence that has been tabled against them, it is best to practice caution in their use as we await more research.
As microwaves cook, they produce electromagnetic radiation.This sounds like a risky thing since radiation is always perceived negatively in terms of health.
However,the type of radiation here is different from the one associated with nuclear disasters and atomic bombs.
The radiation is non-ionizing, very similar to your phone’s radiation.All radiation is not bad since light is also a form of electromagnetic radiation.
Additionally, there is a metal screen and metal shields in microwaves that prevent any radiation in the microwave from leaving the appliance to the outside environment.
However, since radiation decreases with distance, operating your appliance keeping a one-foot distance is enough.
If you find that your microwave’s door doesn’t close properly, it is best to look for a replacement.
Regarding a toaster oven, there are no health concerns.
Are There Any Nutrient Concerns When Food Is Cooked With A Microwave?
Yes. With any method of cooking, nutrient loss is a concern when cooking.
Nutrient loss is a reality due to cooking time, cooking temperature, and cooking method.
When you boil your food, water-soluble nutrients may be lost—however, a microwave cooks at a shorter time and at lower temperatures.
Additionally, food in a microwave is not boiled. As a consequence, more nutrients will be retained than most of the other cooking methods.
Can I Buy A Microwave Toaster Oven Combo?
Yes. There are microwave toaster ovens in the market.This is a great way for you to have one appliance that will perform as a microwave and at the same time as a toaster oven.
Unfortunately, the devices do not perfectly combine the microwave electromagnetic waves with the toaster oven’s heating element.
In their stead, microwave toaster combos use infrared light for cooking the food at about 40% less time than a traditional toaster oven.
There are features that most of the available brands have.
A microwave toaster combo boasts features like a digital timer, inner lighting, bread preset, reheating leftovers, and no pre-heating requirement.
The temperature setting for a microwave toaster combo is 250° – 500°. It has a hinged door that opens down.
Several modes can be enjoyed with a microwave toaster combo, including reheating, baking, and more.
It may appear complex to master the difference between a microwave and a toaster oven.
But the easiest way is to remember is that a microwave cooks from inside to outside while a toaster oven cooks from outside to inside.
Also,consider that a toaster oven cooks at a cost range of $0.15 and $0.22 per hour (using between 1200 and1800 watts), while a microwave cooks at between $0.08 to $0.16 per hour (using between 700 and 1300 Watts).
As to whether a toaster can replace a microwave or not, it is not very likely. Both devices are unique, and none of the two can replace the other.
Indeed, a microwave oven and a toaster oven can both be used to heat and cook food; however, the results you get from using either of the devices are significantly different.
Fortunately, some devices have both features of a microwave oven and a conventional oven. This is a sure way to enjoy the best from both worlds.