Pros / This is the most energy-efficient toaster oven in our lineup.
Cons / It doesn't toast as evenly as other toaster ovens.
Verdict / This is a lightweight, affordable toaster oven that's best for reheating or toasting food, but you have to keep watch to make sure your food doesn't burn.
The Hamilton Beach 4-Slice Toaster Oven uses 1,050 watts of power, which is less wattage than any other toaster oven we tested. The lower wattage means it uses less electricity, which means a lower power bill. On the downside, we tried to preheat the toaster oven to 350 degrees, but it didn't budge past 325 until we turned the dial up to 375. According to the manual, it should only take five minutes, but it took more than 19 minutes to get hot enough to bake cookies and burritos and to reheat pizza.
We toasted bread using the three different toast settings: light, medium and dark. At the lightest setting, the bread toasted evenly but very lightly. On medium and dark, the bread was toasted quite a bit more, but it wasn't even – the corners of the four slices that met in the center of the oven were much darker.
This small toaster oven's design doesn't stand up to its competitors. The dial controls use symbols rather than words, so it may take a while to get used to what they mean. There is no digital screen to tell you what setting you're using or how much time is left, which leaves you to guess how much time is left. You'll need to read the instruction manual thoroughly so you understand how to properly operate this countertop oven.
The safety features of this toaster oven are limited to an automatic shut-off for when the set time ends and a handle that is safe to touch when the oven is on. The top of the oven nearly reached 150 degrees Fahrenheit in our tests, and 98.4 on the side, so it's not the best toaster oven to use around wandering children. The handle was only 80 degrees, but the glass door's temperature climbed to 265.1 degrees.
You only have three choices for cooking with this toaster oven: toast, bake or broil. Hamilton Beach includes a bake pan and a broiling rack to help with these functions. The single rack is adjustable – in a way. You can turn it over and insert it in the toaster oven to get the rack either higher to the top heating element for broiling or lower for baking.
- Bread Slice Capacity
- Preheat Time
- Exterior Temperature
Although the Hamilton Beach 4-Slice isn't one of the best toaster ovens we tested, it's a good basic appliance for toasting and reheating food. While this toaster oven is usually off from the set temperature by about 25 degrees, it still gets very hot and can potentially burn your toast – so you'll have to keep an eye on your food.