nyxie and I have been trying to figure out how to best use some Sears gift certificates we got for Christmas, and one of the possibilities was to get a toaster oven. So we've read some reviews online, and looked at what Sears has available, and are still pretty much right where we started. Why is choosing a toaster oven so hard?
We figured the best place to start would be the middle of the price range -- that leaves out the really flimsy stuff and the ones that are overkill like Kitchenaid. Then we start looking at sizes: half of them are measured in slices (4 or 6), half of them in volume, and there doesn't seem to be much of a relationship between the two outside of "some are bigger than others". Some have digital controls, but then some of the high-end ones still have knobs, and then there are even ones that have digital controls that are knobs. Some of them are convection, but you don't always get convection on the better ones, and I'm not sure how important convection heating is in a 1/4 cubic foot space. There are some obvious no-brainers, like getting one with a temperature control rather than a toast-darkness control, but then some of the expensive ones have darkness controls instead of temperature knobs! And I can't tell if toast darkness is a function of time or temperature or both on those that do have them.
Then you start reading reviews. It seems for every toaster oven I've checked, there are half a dozen people saying "It's great!" and half a dozen saying "It's crap!" and their descriptions don't even seem to be about the same machine. And best as I can tell, there are no buyer's guides out there; the only thing close I found is this one from Good Housekeeping, which talks about models of things that aren't quiiite the same as the ones available in Canada.
Maybe we'll just get an immersion blender instead.