Toaster oven vs Microwave oven – 7 The Notable Differences Between The Two

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Toaster oven vs microwave oven are quite similar than they are different. This is because both of these ovens are ideal for reheating leftovers, defrosting frozen foods, toasting bread and other baked foods, and for warming small amounts of food. As such, you do not need to own both of these ovens in your kitchen as you can use either for tasks that you need to accomplish with the other. In present times, toaster ovens double as smart ovens that are designed to perform more tasks than conventional microwaves do due to their browning properties.

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How does a toaster oven work?

The best description of a toaster oven is a combination of an oven and microwave. As such, a toaster oven is designed to perform tasks that both of these appliances can do. Additionally, a toaster oven features browning capabilities that make it easy to brown toasts as you wish in different shades. It is worth noting that microwaves do not come with browning capabilities.

Toaster ovens use infrared radiations produced by running an electric current through the coils in the ovens. These ovens come with either one, two, or even several coils. The coils generate heat that warms the interior space of the oven and consequently cooks the food from the exterior surface to the interiors. This brings about a browning and crispy effect on the food.

Some toasters come with a toaster at the top and an oven at the bottom for convenience. Such toasters come in handy in a busy kitchen and feature different browning and toasting levels. This allows you to prepare meals according to your preferences and as you love them.

In the West, toaster ovens are used for toasting and baking. They are less frequently utilized for warming, broiling, or defrosting food. In less developed countries, toaster ovens are mostly used for toasting bread only. However, since the recent past, there has been a growing number of people who are using these ovens for baking.

Toaster oven vs Microwave oven
A toaster oven is designed to perform tasks that both of these appliances can do

How does a microwave oven work?

Microwave ovens are limited in terms of the tasks they can accomplish compared to toaster ovens. The most common use of microwave ovens is warming foods and baking. They are also used for toasting bread and other types of baked foods. However, these ovens lack browning capabilities, and thus it is impossible to choose the level of shading in the toast.

Microwave ovens bounce electromagnetic waves in the oven space to warm food by heating the water molecules in the food. These molecules generate heat that in turn thoroughly warms the food but does not crisp or brown the food. These ovens can warm liquid foods like tea and soup as well as foods with high-fat content. It is worth noting that it is impossible to warm or heat such foods using toaster ovens.

Differences between toaster oven vs microwave oven

It is important to note that each of these appliances come with their limitations. As such the appliances differ considerably from each other. Some of the notable differences between toaster oven vs microwave oven are such as:

1. Cooking time

The cooking time in a toaster oven is longer than that of a microwave oven. This is because, in a toaster oven, the heat needs to be considerably high to cook the food while at the same time ensuring that it is sufficiently low to prevent burning on the outside before the inside of the food is cooked. Since you can adjust the level of heat in this oven is adjustable, toaster ovens are good for maintaining low heat on cooked food. This is impossible to achieve when using a microwave.

Microwave ovens are fast since the water molecules heat the food at once. However, the speed of warming food in a microwave depends on the wattage of the appliance. Microwaves with high wattage cook food a lot faster than those with low wattage. This is the first difference between the toaster oven vs microwave oven.

2. Size

The sizing in toaster ovens is done with respect to the number of slices that can be toasted at once. Toaster ovens come in different sizes such as 2-slice, 4-slice, or 6-slice models. Typically, the overall size of these toasters ranges from 16” by 8” to 20” by 10”. However, it is possible to get toaster ovens that are smaller or even larger than this size range.

On the other hand, the sizing of microwave ovens depends on cubic feet and wattage. These ovens range from between 1.6 cubic feet and 2 cubic feet. The wattage of these ovens ranges from between 700W and 1,200W. The typical footprint size of microwave ovens is 24 inches by 19 inches. As such, these ovens are larger than toaster ovens.

3. Energy efficiency

Even though both types of ovens are marketed as being highly energy-efficient, toaster ovens consume more power and energy compared to microwave ovens. Additionally, the cooking time in toaster ovens is longer than that in microwave ovens. As such, you are likely to incur significantly high electricity bills when using toaster ovens than you would if you were using microwave ovens. However, the high power consumption of toasters is compensated for by their browning properties.

4. Countertop convenience

Toaster ovens are lighter than microwave ovens and hence toasters have better countertop convenience. They are easy to carry around and do not require a lot of countertop space. What is more, to note about both of these ovens is that microwave ovens require a bit of headroom; which can be difficult to accomplish if the cabinets in your kitchen are set low.

5. Large meals

Toaster oven vs microwave oven
Should choose a microwave to cook large meals

If you will be constantly cooking large foods and meals, it is advisable to invest in a microwave oven than a toaster oven. This is because if you factor the long cooking times of toaster ovens as well as the fact that they are limited to heating dry food only, then you will realize that their convenience and reliability in a busy kitchen is not the best.  But if you intend to use your oven for occasionally toasting bread slices and heating baked foods, then a toaster oven is your best choice.

6. Browning

Microwave ovens lack the capability of browning foods. On the other hand, toaster ovens are perfect in browning foods to different shades depending on your preferences. The broiler function in toaster ovens provides for even and high-quality browning.

7. Safety

Both of these ovens come with exceedingly amazing safety features. The ovens are designed to prevent burns on fingers and other parts of the body. As a general safety rule for both ovens, you should never use them to warm flammable materials. It is also necessary to ensure that you never touch the exterior surfaces of the oven when heating or warming food. This is because the surfaces become hot fast and hence can inflict severe burn injuries.

It is necessary to follow the manufacturer’s provisions and guidelines when it comes to using these ovens. You should not attempt using microwave ovens when the door is damaged or broken. This is because radiations can you turn on the oven. As with any other electric kitchen appliance, you should never operate these ovens when your hands are wet or if the electrical cord is damaged. This is the last difference between the toaster oven vs microwave oven.

Do you need a microwave if you have a toaster oven?

There is no definite answer to this question. This is because the decision whether or not you will need a microwave when you have a toaster oven will depend on the type of food you want to warm as well as other intended uses. If your toaster oven can comfortably handle all the tasks you intend to do with a microwave, then you do not need to invest in a microwave. However, if you intend to undertake tasks such as warming and heating liquid foods regularly, then you may have to buy a microwave.

Microwave with a toaster oven

The recent advancements in technology have seen a combination of a microwave and toaster oven into one appliance.  The trend of buying microwaves with toaster ovens has been growing incredibly in the last few years as people find them more convenient than separately buying microwaves and toaster ovens.

A microwave with a toaster oven is considerably more expensive than a regular microwave. However, microwaves that come with these ovens are not only convenient but are also energy efficient. If you have limited countertop space in your kitchen and you need to use both a microwave and a toaster, then you should consider investing in a microwave with a toaster oven. This appliance is compact and hence will take up less space compared to a microwave and toaster oven. In addition to this, the maintenance of this combined appliance is affordable than maintaining the two separate appliances.

Which are the benefits of microwaves with toaster ovens?

The microwave toaster oven combination has fast cooking speeds, particularly when heating frozen foods. In addition to this, the combined appliance makes it possible to have evenly heated foods with crispy exterior surfaces. Additionally, a microwave-toaster oven combination is fun and exciting to use.


By weighing the benefits, pros, and cons of each of these appliances, it becomes easy to identify the best appliance for you. It is recommended that the appliance of choice should comfortably and conveniently meet your needs and demands. After investing in the appliance of preference, you need to take care of it, maintain and use the appliance accordingly. This not only gives the appliance a long life with excellent efficiency and reliability but also guarantees excellent results.

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