It is a fact that toaster ovens are becoming more popular by the day. More and more people are switching over to a toaster oven to take the place of their regular oven for some of the cooking they do. However, some people are hesitant to switch over to a toaster oven due to fear of the possible safety concerns related to using one. The fact is, there’s no reason to be concerned about this as long as you follow some simple safety precautions.
Toaster ovens get hot — should I be concerned?
The main concern with toaster ovens are the inherent heat issues. Almost all toaster ovens will get considerably hot to the touch on the outside, and you’ve almost certainly heard of a terrible story from someone talking about how their partner hand on the toaster oven. When it comes down to it, a little common sense can go a long way in avoiding any problems like this. Obviously, it toaster oven is going to be hot. You can avoid getting burned by remembering to always wear oven mitts when handling the hot toaster oven. As long as you don’t touch it, it can’t burn. You should keep a pair of oven mitts nearby your toaster oven at all times, just in case.
If this isn’t good enough, you might want to choose a toaster oven that has some built-in features that directly combat this issue. Some toaster ovens have handles on the outside that are designed to stay cool so that you can handle it without worry of burning yourself. Other toaster ovens are designed so that they simply do not get hot at all on the exterior, such as the DeLonghi D01279 which we praised for staying cool to the touch.
Truth be told, cheaper toaster ovens are less likely to have a design that is built around the concept of being safe. If you go for a mid-to-high-end toaster oven, there is a much better chance that it will be well-insulted on the interior and probably not get nearly as as hot on the outside.
My toaster oven isn’t going to cause a fire, right?
Another common concern people have with toaster ovens is the supposed risk that they might cause a fire in your kitchen. Of course, this is true, but there’s no need to jump to a conclusion, because this would happen with your regular oven, too. Although it is definitely possible to burn food inside of a toaster oven, many models do include built-in cooking timers that will avoid such an issue. Such toaster ovens will simply shut the heat off completely when the cooking time is through.
Another precaution you should take to avoid a fire is to routinely clean out both the interior of the toaster oven as well as the crumb tray. Most toaster ovens are designed so that the crum tray is simple to remove and empty, and you should do this on a regular basis to ensure that it stays empty.
You should also make an effort to keep your toaster oven away from anything that may be flammable. Like mentioned earlier, most toaster ovens do tend to get hot on the outside, and keeping it on near a plastic bag or other flammable object is an accident waiting to happen. Some toaster ovens have bumpers or spacers built into the back to keep it away from the wall, but you still need to make an effort to keep external objects away from it. This also applies to the power cord of the toaster oven; it can possibly melt and short out if you let it touch the hot toaster oven, so please be careful to avoid that.
Will your children use the toaster oven?
If you have children that will be using the toaster oven, it is imperative that you take the time to show them the proper way to use it. A toaster oven can be an excellent way to teach children to cook some of their own meals and become a little more independent, but they need some guidance in order to be able to safely operate it. Be sure to not only teach them how to use the toaster oven, but give them instructions on how to remain safe, not burn themselves or other objects, etc. A little precaution will go a long way!
Keep your toaster oven away from water
A concern some people have with their toaster ovens is that there is a possibility of getting an electric shock from using them. You should try to keep your toaster oven plugged into a GFCI outlet as well as keep water away from the toaster oven at all times. Getting your toaster oven wet can be a reciepe for a fatal shock, but a GFCI can go a long way toward keeping you safe from this issue.
Finally, read the manual!
Finally, the most simple but obvious piece of advice I could give to anyone wanting to be safe with their toaster oven is this: read the manual! Most manufacturers have specifically detailed how to safely use their particular model of toaster oven, and what better way is there to get information on the specific model you own? It’s absolutely a good idea to read the included manual and familiarize yourself with all of the features, settings, etc. of the toaster oven.
Toaster ovens can be extremely safe appliances – far more safe than even your conventional oven – as long as you use a little common sense and practice some basic safety.