- Solid, well-designed inside and out.
- Burners are larger and get hot in seconds.
- Convection fan is large, commercial size..
- Stainless smudges just looking at it.
- Disappearing labels due to paint rubbing off in daily use.
There was a time when buying “a Cuisinart” always referred to one of the food processors for which the company is so well known. Indeed, for over a decade, the company focused exclusively on food processors. Especially among foodie crowds, the use of the company’s name exclusively for its food processors carried on for years after Cuisinart had branched out into other products.
Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven Review
Thanks to appliances like the new Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven, model TOB-260N1, it appears those days are coming to an end. Like many of our in-depth appliance reviews, this model toaster oven was put in use for a full month before the time of this writing, giving us a full picture of how this oven holds up to day to day use.
Capacity and Convenience
This toaster oven is the ideal choice for “big cooking” in small spaces. With 1 cubic foot capacity, its interior is large enough to cook a 13” pizza, or even to hold two 9 x 13 inch baking pans. As a result, for many, this unit would indeed be enough to replace a home oven. For those in small efficiency units or studio apartments with tiny and precious Kitchen space, I highly recommend passing up on all the sub-$100 toaster oven offerings. Many interiors feel flimsy, with little to no insulation and cheap, slow burners.
This Cuisinart toaster oven model, the TOB-260N1, is retailing for around $225 on Amazon. While that’s considerably more than the units you’ll find laid out at Macys and Bed, Bath, and Beyond it’s a different animal altogether. After using it to cook a wide variety of items over the past month or so, I can say this little toaster oven can cook with the best of them.
It’s “Chef’s” moniker is definitely more than just a marketing ploy. When you open it up, the first thing you notice is bigger quartz heating elements than the competitors. They are thick, almost translucent and come alive within seconds. The oven cavity is made of heavy duty steel, and the convection fan is full-sized and oriented sideways, just behind the control panel.
Despite its capacity, the unit is short enough (at just under a foot tall) to fit under standard cabinets with room to spare. This allows you to tuck it away easily when you’re not using it, preserving precious counter space in a small kitchen.
For the sake of comparison, many other toaster ovens (such as Cuisinart’s excellent TOB-135) have a capacity that fits only 12” deep pans instead of 13”. While the difference may not sound like much, remember that it’s this extra inch that allows standard 9 x 13 baking pans to fit inside.
With 15 distinct settings, this Cuisinart toaster oven takes much of the guesswork out of cooking. The +30 seconds option is particularly convenient, allowing you to take that extra moment to finish something off without extra hassle.
Sizing up the competition
Now lets take a look at some of the competition in the Convection Toaster Oven machine category. I tried to pick from the latest units out there that are currently selling in the same price range. So how does the Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven stack up against it’s competitors?
DeLonghi Toaster Oven DO1289 – $200.
Thoughts in comparison:
- DeLonghi unit is a good deal smaller, almost half the interior size
- Digital read out provides little information
- Only 6 cooking mode options
- Insulation non-existent, customers complain about the heat this unit gives off when running.
Verdict: It’s smaller, with far fewer modes, less insulation and smaller heating elements. It’s an easy pass.
KitchenAid KCO275SS Convection Toaster Oven – $249
Only decent competitor at this price range as far as we can see. Thoughts in comparison:
- Digital screen shows even less information than the Cuisinart
- Only 9 cooking modes offered
- The Knobs are better looking and larger
- This 12″ deep unit is not able to fit the larger pans like the Cuisinart unit
- Interior steel cavity is coated with a “CeramaSheild” coating to prevent food sticking to it
- Warranty only up to a year
Verdict: $25 more gets you nicer looking exterior, but a smaller interior with less cooking modes. We still prefer the Cuisinart with the larger interior cavity.
One place this Cuisinart toaster oven really stands out among much of its competition is with its 3-year limited warranty. In comparison, other brands we’ve tested, like the Delonghi and the Kitchenaid offers only a 1-year limited warranty.
The Cuisinart’s interior heating elements support this impression of quality. The five elements (three on the top and two on the bottom) are the thicker-style ones that you would expect to find on more expensive machines and come to life almost instantly.
When it comes to this toaster oven, quality isn’t limited to the appliance itself. Instead, it extends to the choice to include a wide range of accessories rather than forcing you to buy them separately, as the Breville does. With the Cuisinart, you’ll receive in the box:
- (1) Solid 9 x 13 oven rack
- (1) Broiling pan
- (1) Solid 13″ round pizza stone
After over a month of use, we’re happy to report very few things bother us on this machine. However, we did come across one or two shortcomings we’d love to see addressed:
- No internal temperature read-out on the display. While we know this really isn’t very useful on a toaster oven, we thought it would be nice to have the information in real time instead of just waiting for the oven to beep “Ready”.
- It stainless steel finish is the sort that’s gorgeous at first, but collects fingerprints and smudges with enthusiasm. Any real amount of use leaves this appliance covered with smudges and they don’t clean off easily. Cuisinart, we beg you… coat your Stainless Steel with anti-smudge coating.
- The printing on the buttons began rubbing off on our test model before the first month of use. Leaving us to suspect that after 6 months to a year, we’re likely to have completely blank buttons. At this price point, that shouldn’t be happening. A coating on the steel also might help in this regard as well.
At the relatively low and fair $225 price point, we give this toaster oven a BUY rating.