Black & Decker Toaster Oven, 4 Slice

Toast-R-Oven Energy Efficient, Chrome TRO480BS

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Black & Decker Toaster Oven, 4 Slice This Black & Decker 4-slice Toast-R-Oven is a frequent best-seller due to its relatively low retail price -- and the fact that it's pretty easy to find on sale. If you look around long enough, you should be able to find this toaster oven for under 30 bucks. To me, that's a no-brainer.

Or is it?

Well... it is if you don't expect much for the price you paid. I'd recommend another model instead (see below). Allow me to explain:

The Toast-R-Oven at least comes with all the basic, essential features that a toaster oven should have. It can toast, broil, and bake up to 450 degrees. It has a bagel setting for only toasting one side, and a keep-warm setting once the food's done. Cooking can be done either via timer (which goes up to 30 minutes) or a dial that keeps the toaster oven continuously on. And for easy cleanup, there's a crumb tray and baking pan included.

A feature that stands out from the norm is that the walls are slightly curved inside to accomodate a personal pizza. It'll be a small pizza; the oven measures about 12x19x15 inches, and that's on the small side for a toaster oven.

If only that were the biggest complaint...

User-friendly? Not so much. While the Toast-R-Oven does have three adjustable dials to accomodate toast darkness, time, heating functions, etc., the precise tuning can be difficult to master. Otherwise, you end up with burnt toast, or heat that doesn't turn off once the timer's done. The functions can be done if you take the time to figure stuff out.

Other complaints include a longer-than average toasting time and an unpredictable "ticking" sound. But the most concerning issue for me is the exposure to unsafe heat. While 1200 W is plenty hot enough for a toaster oven, the surface of the unit gets extremely hot when it's on, stay-cool handle notwithstanding. This toaster oven should not be stored by anything flammable; make sure it's out of the way where kids and pets won't accidentally touch it when it's on -- and don't rest anything on top of it, either. Ow.

There are too many cautions for me to enthusiastically recommend this 4-slice Toast-R-Oven TRO480BS. Instead, I'd recommend the digital 6-slice model. Black & Decker seem to have rectified a lot of the above problems with the Toast-R-Oven CTO6301.

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