Do Toaster Ovens Use Less Energy?

Toaster ovens perform various cooking functions such as toasting, baking, warming, defrosting, and broiling. What’s more, they sit on a kitchen countertop, and that’s all the space they occupy, making them space-saving kitchen appliances. As such, they’re an ideal choice if you’re looking for a versatile yet space-saving kitchen appliance.

Since they are electric kitchen appliances, you can only expect them to function after plugging them into a wall outlet and switching on the power. You can be sure to find two toaster oven types: Fan-forced toaster ovens and conventional electric ovens. A fan-forced toaster oven (convection oven) performs better among the two types and allows you to use multiple shelves simultaneously. But still, you might need to know the amount of energy toaster ovens use.

Toaster ovens usually use up to  less energy if you compare them with conventional electric ovens. As such, your toaster oven saves energy, especially when cooking small meals. Energy star ratings also suggest toaster ovens consume between 600 Watts and 1,400 Watts of electric power to function depending on your chosen cooking function. Be sure to read on for more information on energy consumption.

Power Consumption Depending on The Cooking Function

Toaster ovens are versatile kitchen appliances since they can perform various cooking functions. They can toast, bake, keep warm, broil, and slow bake to cook food. But each cooking function has its energy requirements.

Toasting, baking, and keep-warm cooking functions use more energy compared with broil and slow-bake functions. Your unit will consume electric power ranging from 1,200 Watts – 1,400 Watts. But energy consumption also depends on your cooking habits.

If you usually set higher temperatures because you want the unit to cook your food faster, your toaster oven will use more electricity. That is because your toaster oven requires more electric power to heat to higher temperatures and maintain the temperature throughout the cooking time.

Opening the toaster oven door also increases energy consumption. When you open the glass door amid cooking, some heat will escape to the surrounding air. And your toaster oven will work harder to generate more heat to compensate for the lost heat. As a result, the toaster oven will increase your annual electricity bill significantly.

Baking, toasting, and keeping the food warm are functions that use more electric power. But broiling and slow-baking use less than 1,200 Watts, which is less power if you compare it with what the former cooking functions use. Therefore, energy consumption depends on your chosen cooking function, temperature setting, and cooking time.

How Do Toaster Ovens Cook Food?

A toaster oven runs on electric power, which is clean energy. Toaster ovens heat to your set temperature, and the heat reaches the food through one of all of the following heat transfer methods:

Conduction

Conduction is a process of heat transfer between two objects in contact with each other. When you place your food on the baking pan or toaster oven rack, it means the food and the baking pan (or oven rack) are in contact. Since the cookware such as the oven rack and baking pan also get hot, they transfer some heat to the food they hold by the conduction process. As a result, the toaster oven will cook food.

Convection

When you close the glass door of your toaster oven, you will lock in some air. The heating elements then heat the air until it becomes super-hot. And since a convection oven has a built-in fan, heat from the heating elements reaches your food through convection currents. That’s because the built-in fan circulates the super-hot air to cook the food from all directions for uniformly cooked and crisp food.

Radiation

Radiation is the primary heat transfer method for these kitchen appliances, including the full sized ovens. The electric current causes the heating elements to generate sufficient heat according to your set temperature. Your food then absorbs the direct heat from the hot infrared heating element.

How A Toaster Oven Compares to A Regular Oven

Photo of counter top toaster oven

You can be sure to get the best performance from a toaster oven because of superior insulation. The excellent insulation also ensures the outside of the toaster oven is cooler than the outside of a full size oven for easier handling. Toaster ovens, therefore, maintain the achieved temperature better for more energy-efficient cooking.

Toaster ovens also don’t need installation. But a regular oven will require installation before using it, especially if you plan to use gas or propane as the energy source. With a toaster oven, you only have to unbox it, set it on a flat countertop, and plug the unit into the wall outlet. And this makes it a better option.

Price is also a huge factor that sets these two kitchen appliances apart. Toaster ovens are more affordable since you can be sure to get a basic below $100. On the other hand, you can spend as much as $500 to get basic cooking functions from a regular oven.

Energy efficiency is yet another factor that separates the two kitchen appliances. You could spend as little as $0.03 to run a toaster oven for an hour. But a regular oven using gas will leave your pocket weighing $0.07 less after one hour of usage, which is higher than what you pay for a toaster oven. Electric oven adds up to $0.16 after one hour of usage. Therefore, toaster ovens are more energy efficient.

How Much Electricity Does a Toaster Oven Consume?

Your toaster oven consumes electricity depending on its wattage rating, your set temperature setting, and cooking time. If your unit boasts a 1,200-Watt, for example, and you have set the temperature to 450°F, your unit will consume about 0.9 kilowatt hours kWh of electricity after 50 minutes.

If you select a lower temperature setting or reduce the cooking time, the unit will consume less electricity. A 2,500-Watt toaster oven running for an hour at 350°F could use up to 2 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electric energy. Calculating the energy cost for running your toaster oven then becomes simpler – you multiply the kWh value by the electricity payment rate.

For example, if your energy provider charges 15 cents per kWh of electricity, you multiply 0.9kWh × $0.15 to get $0.014. That is 14 cents to your energy bill in one hour!

Microwave Vs. Oven

A typical microwave oven only uses 925 Watts of electric power to function, while a toaster oven uses about 1,225 Watts of electric power. As such, a microwave is more energy efficient as it uses 20% less electric power. But a toaster oven uses less electricity compared with conventional ovens. As such, they are also an ideal choice if you want to save energy. So, be sure to invest in a toaster oven for excellently toasted bread slices.

Conclusion

A toaster oven uses less energy if you compare it with a regular oven. And that’s because it has better insulation and uses advanced technology to heat. But its energy efficiency depends on your set temperature, cooking function, wattage rating, and the duration for cooking. So, if you want to use less energy, reduce the cooking time and select energy-efficient cooking functions.

Since toaster ovens use less energy, they are more economical. What’s more, they are usually easy to clean as they have removable components. They save more space since your kitchen countertop is all the space they require. Ease of installation is another benefit as these kitchen appliances require no installation. Therefore, they are worth the investment.

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