Microwaves and toasters may look similar, and you probably have already used one of them. But you may either want to upgrade your appliance or may want to look for energy-efficient kitchen gear and are confused between a Microwave oven and a toaster oven.
You may have questions in your mind like:
- Which one is energy efficient?
- Which appliance is cost-effective?
- Is a toaster oven better than a microwave oven?
- What is their main difference?
This article will give you an insight into how both kitchen appliances work and their differences.
In This Article
- Quick Comparison of Microwave Vs. Toaster Oven
- Undiscovering the Science Behind Microwave Oven and Toasters
- Wrapping Up!
Quick Comparison of Microwave Vs. Toaster Oven
The main difference between a Microwave and a Toaster oven is the way they produce heat. Microwaves use electromagnetic radiation for reheating food. Toaster ovens have top and bottom heating elements, and the warm air circulates by a fast-spinning fan to crisp, brown, bake, broil, and caramelize the food. Microwave doesn’t brown the food or give a crispy texture due to the way it operates. Apart from that, a microwave is faster than a Toaster oven
These units vary based on their functions, cooking methods, energy consumption, and many other things. Here is a quick comparison table before going into the depth of their differences.
|The top and bottom heating elements radiate the heat and the inside of the toaster oven gets warm and cooks food from outside in.
|It produces waves known as microwaves that are absorbed by the food to heat the water molecules of the food and as a result warm the food.
|Browning, crisping, caramelizing, baking, broiling
|Reheating, only some models can bake, can’t brown and crisp
|Takes more time
|Less cooking time
|Cook food in small quantities
|Cook in large quantities too
|Have small footprint (takes less space)
|Have large footprint
|Can they heat liquid?
|Can thaw frozen food, but takes a long time.
|Best for frozen food
Undiscovering the Science Behind Microwave Oven and Toasters
Foods We Can Cook In Microwave and Toaster
The primary purpose of the microwave was only reheating leftover food and cooking frozen food. Microwaves have now evolved with options for making popcorn, pizza, baked potatoes etc.
The convection microwave oven can now bake, too, while a grill oven can give your food the grilling effect. The basic microwave still can’t brown or crisp the top layer. Choosing the right microwave oven will provide you with options to cook more types of food rather than only simple food.
Toaster ovens are like conventional mini ovens but more versatile. They can cook, grill, roast, bake, brown, crisp, and broil. They can toast the bread, which isn’t possible in the microwave.
They can also thaw food, but it takes longer than the microwave. Its cooking method makes it more efficient in retaining moisture in the food.
ALSO FIND OUT – Which Type Of Microwave Oven Is Best For Home Use?
In the microwave, all the water molecules vibrate simultaneously which produce heat quickly, and the food gets cooked at a much faster rate.
No preheating is required; it also cuts the time of cooking. The determining factor of cooking time in a microwave is the power (wattage). The high wattage means faster cooking and vice versa.
In toaster ovens, the cooking time is slower as compared to microwaves. It is due to the heating element that takes time to heat. This heat then warms the surroundings and then transfers to the food.
The process is long and takes time. Thus, the cooking time increases. Preheating is also required to cook some food.
Which is More Energy-Efficient?
Both are energy efficient as compared to a traditional oven. But if we compare between these two, the microwave wins the race as more energy efficient.
The microwave uses between 700 to 1300 watts of electricity. An average microwave requires 1000 watts, whereas a toaster oven uses 1200 to 1800 watts which is much higher than a microwave oven hence increasing the cost of using the toaster.
You will have to wait for the heating elements to cool down before you can start cleaning.
Furthermore, there is a wire rack, crumb tray, and glass door that requires cleaning at frequent intervals. Therefore, it is hard to clean the toaster oven.
Compared to toasters, a microwave only requires a sponge and cleaning cloth to clean the interior of the microwave.
Countertop models don’t require installation. However, some microwaves can be installed in a drawer with enough clearance space around them to keep the appliance cool.
Toaster ovens are not recommended to be installed in a cabinet as they can get really hot, and air circulation is essential to keep them cool.
Capacity and Countertop Space
The microwave capacity is up to 40 liters, and the interior dimension is up to 2 cubic feet.
There are three methods to measure the capacity of a toaster.
- The number of slices they can toast: You can find wide toaster ovens of up to 8-slice capacity. Toaster oven, this big can bake a whole chicken or a 12-inch pizza.
- Measuring the actual dimensions can also give you an idea of the capacity.
- Cubic foot measurement
The capacity and the dimensions determine the footprint of appliances. Between these two, the countertop microwave oven takes up more space on the counter.
Every cooking method results in losing some of the nutrients of the ingredients.
But which appliance has the most negative effect on nutrients?
Since the microwave cooks faster, fewer nutrients are lost in it, and toaster cooks slower means more nutrients are lost.
Comparing the Safety
Toaster ovens exterior can get rather hot to touch, and they use flammable material. You can also get burnt if you are not careful while taking out food.
You can’t use steel vessels in a microwave. Similarly, you can only use microwave-safe utensils and plastic bowls. Ordinary plastic can leach out chemicals and mix with the food, which is quite dangerous.
Price of both kitchen appliances is almost same. You can find a good microwave under $100 and same goes for the toaster oven.
Is a Toaster Oven Healthier Than a Microwave?
It’s the most controversial question with people grappling in fear because of the radiation of microwaves. The fact is both toaster and microwave ovens work on radiation mechanisms.
However, the radiation type is different. Toasters have infrared radiation, and microwaves use non-ionizing radiation.
Additionally, the microwaves stop emitting the waves or radiation the moment the door of the microwave is opened, making it safer for people.
How Microwave Oven Works?
Microwaves have an electric tube “magnetron,” which produces electromagnetic waves that reflect within the microwave. The food absorbs these waves, and water molecules in the food vibrate and heat up. This heat cooks the food from inside and prevents it from burning from outside, nor does it get brown or crisp.
The food with more water content cooks quickly in the microwave, whereas the food with less water content like bread becomes chewy and dry. The water molecules get evaporated in cooking, so the texture of the meat can get affected.
How Toaster Ovens Work?
A toaster oven has heating elements such as strips, coil, or ribbon that heats up when current passes through them. The heat enclosed in the toaster chamber cooks the food from outside to inside. This dry heat causes bread to be crisp and brown.
A convection toaster oven has a fan that circulates the warm air. The heat from the air absorbs in the food to help it in cooking. A toaster may have more than one heating element – top and bottom. The bottom heat element cooks the food from underneath, and the upper heating element is used for browning, crisping, and caramelizing.
Microwaves and toasters have different functions. So when you intend to buy one of these, consider the factors like what they cook, energy efficiency, space, and cost. Although you can get high-end and pricier microwave models with more features and cooking options, you can still find the best microwave oven under $100 that will suit your needs. Similarly, choosing the best toaster should depend on capacity, cost, and the food you want to cook; if toasters get your vote for the next big buy.