While the ENERGY STAR label is affixed to products that meet the specific criteria for energy efficiency, there are many appliances that don’t yet qualify for this label—including toaster ovens.
These small and convenient appliances are used by many homeowners to simplify cooking. Homeowners also might opt to use them in place of a standard oven. These small appliances can still zap electricity, although it’s less than a larger appliance. If toaster ovens don’t qualify for an ENERGY STAR label, how can homeowners find the most energy-efficient toaster oven?
ENERGY STAR Has Notes
The ENERGY STAR label might not be affixed to toaster ovens, but ENERGY STAR released a Market and Industry Scoping Report on this popular household appliance. The report discusses toaster oven use and demographics in detail.
The report noted that “…a toaster oven uses about 1/3-1/2 less energy than a conventional electric oven for cooking small meals.” The report also explained that most homeowners leave their toaster oven plugged into an outlet, which, according to experts, didn’t drain much energy.
The majority of those who own toaster ovens reported that they frequently only used these appliances two to three times per week (37 percent of respondents). However, 19 percent reported using their toaster oven daily, while 11 percent use it more than once per day.
ENERGY STAR proposed a few ways to increase the energy efficiency of toaster ovens. Suggestions included:
- Better insulation
- Improved seals for the door
- Electric controls for the temperature
- Sensors to better detect when the food is fully cooked
Homeowners Looking for Energy-Efficient Toaster Ovens
Homeowners might wonder if they can find more energy-efficient toaster ovens. Currently, toaster ovens don’t include the ENERGY STAR label, so it could be difficult to understand the efficiency of different models.
Some homeowners might feel that convection toaster ovens are more efficient. The report from ENERGY STAR explained that the energy savings from convection technology couldn’t be proven.
Homeowners might choose to use their smaller toaster oven when cooking single serving portions for dinner or other meals. Opting for the smaller toaster oven instead of the standard oven could help homeowners save electricity.
Using a toaster oven could be the more energy-efficient cooking option. However, for larger meals, these appliances aren’t a practical option.
Other Ways to Save Money with a Toaster Oven
While leaving the toaster oven plugged into an outlet doesn’t seem to be incredibly energy draining, it could help homeowners save a little money.
Using the toaster oven less frequently or adjusting the thermostat to ensure that food isn’t overcooked also could help reduce energy. However, the proposed changes to the design of toaster ovens from the ENERGY STAR report could point to the possibility that these popular appliances might become more efficient in the future.
However, using the toaster oven in place of the standard oven could be an energy-efficient choice. These ovens use less energy than the standard oven. They also might add less heat into the home, putting less pressure on the air conditioner.
Since heating and cooling dominates the energy use of the home, appliances that help save money in this regard could make an impact both on energy use and on the monthly utility bills, too.
How Much are Toaster Ovens?
Homeowners might be interested in using a toaster oven in their kitchen to heat up smaller portions and ditch the standard oven. How much do toaster ovens cost?
ENERGY STAR reports that these appliances are fairly inexpensive; they could be around $20. Price also doesn’t correlate to the energy use of the appliance. That means that more expensive toaster ovens aren’t necessarily pricier because they are more efficient.
Almost every major big box home store and retail store sells toaster ovens. Homeowners also could score a deal online.
Those looking for the best toaster oven will find standard and convection options for these appliances. Serious Eats explains that convection toaster ovens are designed with fans that help circulate the heat; this helps cook the food faster. The site also includes recommendations for the best toaster ovens that are priced less than $250.
Some homeowners just want the most basic toaster oven and don’t care about the convection option. They might just search for the most affordable model.
Will Toaster Ovens Include the ENERGY STAR Label?
The scoping report on toaster ovens released by ENERGY STAR was from 2011. While toaster ovens have not yet been included in the list of ENERGY STAR products, it’s still possible that this appliance could be included in the future.
Toaster ovens have become more popular with homeowners. In the future, homeowners could see the proposed energy-efficiency changes mentioned in the report become a reality.