Pros / The roll-top door makes it very easy to place and remove food without burning yourself.
Cons / It doesn't have a nonstick interior and it failed our cookie cooking test.
Verdict / While this simple toaster lacks some of the conveniences brought about by more expensive purposes, it works very well and at a fraction of the cost.
Hamilton Beach 31334 is a small four slice toaster oven that can fit a nine-inch pizza, and its wide opening makes it easier to clean and cook with. This device performed well in most of our cooking tests and it is the least expensive option in our comparison, which makes it a great choice for anyone on a budget.
Hamilton Beach sells this toaster oven for roughly $30, making it the most affordable option we tested. Plus, you might be able to find it for a few dollars cheaper on Amazon if you’re lucky. This is a very basic toaster oven, but its roll-top design makes it easier to use than many other units, which helps make this a great choice for a bargain unit.
This was one of the most even toasting machines in our comparison. The bread and bagel slices came out equally toasted whether they were in the back or the front of the rack. The frozen burrito turned out slightly browner around the edges than we would have liked but there were no cold parts inside. When performing our cookie dough test, we set the machine to 350 degrees and allowed the dough to cook for 10 minutes, like we did with the other units. The doughballs weren't done cooking within the allotted time, barely even holding a together. We had to cook them for a few minutes longer before they could be called cookies. If you make cookies or other baked goodies often and want a toaster oven that can help you make perfect cookies in little time, you might be interested in KitchenAid KCO253CU.
Finally, we reheated day-old pizza slices following the instructions in the manual. Our taste testers told us that the pizza was perfectly cooked, having a crispy texture without being burnt. We also noted that the cheese and pepperoni were thoroughly cooked and didn't show any sign of charcoal. During the temperature accuracy test, we discovered that this unit was 13 degrees hotter than what we had set it to, but it was far from being the worst accuracy in our testing. It's good to note that temperatures fluctuate while the toaster oven runs so that it can maintain the temperature you select. Few toaster ovens are ever perfectly accurate. You can set this toaster oven between 200 and 450 degrees, which is a standard range.
This is a simple toaster oven and as such doesn't offer as many conveniences as more costly options. It doesn't include a convection fan, nor does it have a nonstick interior. But the design does provide conveniences that other toasters don't. The roll-top door gives you plenty of space so you can place or remove food without burning your fingers. You can even remove the door simply by opening it and pulling straight up on the handle, which makes it easier to clean and replace the crumb tray. In the toaster we ordered, we discovered that there was a decent gap between the door's right side and the interior of the device, which allowed some hot air to escape during cooking. This proved to be more of an aesthetic deficiency as the toaster oven produced fabulous cooking results.
The timer can only be set up to 30 minutes, but there is a stay on feature which allows you to cook for longer periods. The device will automatically shut off when the timer finishes counting down. There are no broil, warm or bake settings so everything will need to be cooked in the basic toast setting. It comes with one rack and one baking pan, which you can place in two different positions to better cook your food.
The toaster oven is only covered for one year with Hamilton Beach's warranty, which is average. When we measured the exterior temperature levels of this unit, we found that the handle stayed at room temperature, but the sides reached 170 degrees while the back reached 119 degrees. This definitely wasn't the hottest toaster oven, but it can get warm enough to burn fingers so you'll want to keep children and pets away from it. It’s always a good idea to have the toaster oven away from the wall as well to provide ventilation.
The Hamilton Beach 31334 is a basic toaster oven that provides decent cooking results. While it lacks some of the conveniences offered by more expensive toasters, the wide opening and easy cleaning abilities make this a desirable appliance for anyone. If nothing else, if you're on a budget, it will find be hard to beat the low cost.