Microwave vs Toaster Oven
What to know

Microwave vs. Toaster Oven: What’s Right For You?

A microwave oven heats up food really fast by vibrating their interior water molecules to boiling, leading to quick internal cooking. A toaster heats up things like bread and baked goods outwards until the heat seeps inwards.

Whenever it’s summer, you can use the ever-excellent microwave in order to heat up your food instead of the kitchen. As the saying goes, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen,” but you don’t need to get too hot in the kitchen, cooking alongside the eggs, bacon, and ham!

However, what about the toaster oven? What does it bring to the table? How does it fare against the much more expensive microwave oven? This is your guide to microwave vs toaster oven!

Microwave vs. Toaster Oven

People put the microwave on a pedestal mostly because it’s a time-efficient machine. Compared to traditional cooking methods, microwave ovens can cook or reheat food at the fraction of the time, sometimes only by a couple of minutes.

Microwaves come with a timer that enables you to set the time when cooking food. Other settings you can control include temperature and power level.

Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven
Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven

The Toaster Advantage over Microwaves

In contrast, while most people know the bread toaster that’s specifically designed to make bread, its oven counterpart is known as the toaster oven can do many things the microwave couldn’t Due to the nature of microwave radiation, it can’t brown, crisp, or toast bread, baked goods, and food effectively.

So even if toaster ovens fall victim to the same pitfalls as the electric or gas oven—it requires preheating, it takes time to cook food inside as well as outside—its toasty results speak for themselves.

See the video below to know more about toaster ovens:

The Argument for the Microwave

A microwave works its “magic” by using microwave radiation or short-frequency radio waves in order to excite the water molecules of food to the point of boiling. You can use its timer to set the time for cooking food. When the timer gets to zero, the oven turns off then beeps to alert you it’s done.

The microwave can cook different food item types using different types. A standard 1-kilowatt microwave can boil water in 1-2 minutes. Cooks will take longer to bake, sometimes at minute-long increments while you stir it from the inside to cook evenly.

The main claim to fame of the microwave? Its quickness. It can boil water in a minute. It can cook pizza bagels and popcorn in 2-3 minutes. If you cooked rice wrong, you can cook it further in the microwave.

The Argument for the Toaster Oven

A toaster mostly cooks toast. A toaster oven also cooks toast but can be used for other things. This is why they’re also referred to as OTG (Oven, Toaster, and Grill).  When you attempt to toast bread in the microwave, it doesn’t get brown and can only end up slightly crispy when push comes to shove.

In contrast a toaster oven or OTG can cook food to be juicy and crispy like toast, tikkas, meats, and kebabs. You can also cook with heated oils using the baking/toasting power of the toaster. It radiates heat using coils that in turn get absorbed by the food.

Some toaster ovens also offer convection oven features by using a fan to distribute the heat that’s mostly dispensed using coils directly below and/or above the food.

Which Is Better? The Microwave or the Toaster Oven?

Certain things, the toaster oven does better than the microwave and vice-versa. A microwave can’t grill, toast, bake, crisp, and brown like a toaster could. A toaster couldn’t match the speed that a microwave can cook food or reach high temperatures without preheating.

Kitchen Footprint

Large toaster models can reach 20 inches by 10 inches while most measure 16 inches by 8 inches. In contrast, you can measure microwave size by wattage since bigger microwaves use more wattage—this along with cubic feet.

Microwaves range from 700 watts to 1.2 kilowatts as well as 1.4 cubic feet to 2 cubic feet. Microwaves tend to be much bigger than an oven toaster of the same wattage range. You can get a microwave with the size of 24 inches by 19 inches.

If you wish to save space, research more on microwave drawers, built-in microwaves, and OTR microwaves. These devices you can place inside cabinets, shelves, and over the gas range.

Preheating Concerns

An oven toaster or OTG requires about 15-20 minutes of preheating before it becomes hot enough to toast, cook, grill, or bake whatever you wish to eat. A microwave heats up anything at normal temperature (i.e., not frozen) within 1-3 minutes. At most 5 minutes or more by incremental heating.

In contrast, a convection oven or oven toaster with fan inside can take around 5 minutes to preheat. Preheating can make or break the lengthiness of your cooking time.

Price or Cost

A 4-slice basic toaster model typically costs $30. The 6-slice model can go from $50 to $70. The more extra abilities a toaster has (like convection fans or grilling options) the more expensive it could get. A toaster that has all the bells and whistles of a high-end model can cost around $80 to $150.

Convection features tend to add $100 to the total cost, so that means $180 to $250. If you were to go for under-cabinet installation, that should cost you extra as well.

The microwave cost, on the other hand, tends to vary even more. A 700-watt to 1.2-kilowatt model can fetch a pretty penny of $50 to $170. As you pile on the wattage the price should only increase. Ditto when it comes to increasing the cubic feet of capacity.

Read this post to find out the best small Microwave for you: The Best Small Microwaves (600 or 700-watt)

Like the toaster, special settings and features will increase the cost, like adding $100 for convection models. For built-ins, add $300. OTR microwaves require a price increase of $50 to $100.

When Everything is Said and Done

The microwave cavity walls are metal in order to reflect the radiation inwards towards the rotating food on the turntable. The food absorbs microwave energy, converting it to heat. The sensors in modern microwaves detect temperature levels or steam to stop cooking at a certain point.

A toaster, on the other hand, cooks by heat conduction alone. You can either get a standalone bread toaster that toasts the bread in minutes or a toaster grill that could also be used to grill various meats such as pork, beef, fish, brisket, meatloaf, and so forth.


  1. Toaster Oven vs. Microwave: Which One Should You Choose?“, ABT.com, Retrieved October 10, 2021

Through the years, the microwave oven has become a standard appliance for all homes. It is safe to say that there is no home without a microwave oven. If you are looking for a microwave oven that best fits your needs, You find the right website.

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