Let's toast to life and new possibilities, like the possibility your beloved toaster will eventually break and you'll find yourself buying yet another replacement. Maybe that replacement will be the Cuisinart Exact Heat Convection Toaster Oven. How many readers have purchased more than five toaster ovens in your adult lifetime? Based on my experience, I'm guessing many of you are toaster-oven-buying veterans. Feel free to comment with your personal best ~ I've probably purchased at least six or seven by now and I'm only 43... but who's counting?
Recommend this product?
As you can see, I'm somewhat jaded when it comes to buying toaster ovens, because eventually they have all broken ~ from my Krups FBC2 Toaster Oven to Black & Decker, Delonghi to GE. So why should I get excited about a purchase that drained my wallet of $150? Well, I've been toasting, baking and broiling foods in my Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven Broiler TOB-195 for several months, which is long enough for me to recommend it as a solid performer in the small appliance world.
Looks and Size ~ a nice package
Cuisinart model TOB-195 looks as good in person as it does in the box. Its stainless exterior is shiny enough, and I like that the sleek control panel is silver colored (mine is more grey than silver, but it still matches). The toaster looks modern and matches my other stainless appliances nicely. The inside is covered with black, non-stick coating, with a removable, metallic crumb tray at the bottom and a fairly sturdy rack. The dishwasher-safe crumb tray is decent, but I wish you did not have to turn the toaster around to remove it. There are two slots to position the wire rack, which can be inserted either upside down (concave) or right side up (convex) to raise or lower your food from the burners. There are two slender heating rods on both the top and bottom of the oven. These rods are smaller than the rods in my former Krups, but they appear sturdy enough. Finally, the oven comes with a heavy-duty metallic broiler pan and broiler rack, which is square instead of rectangular. The dimensions of the pan are about 12" by 12", which reveals that this oven's width is equal to its depth. This ample footprint confirms Cuisinart's promise that you can:
"Broil a salmon fillet, bake a 12" pizza or an apple pie. The extra-large .6 cubic-foot capacity even has room to toast 6 bagel halves!"
Overall, this Cuisinart fits nicely on my countertop, being large enough for the things I want to toast or broil, and small enough to leave plenty of room for maneuvering.
Functionality ~ a solid performer.
Toasting~ I've been very pleased with this Cuisinart's efficiency and ability to heat up quickly and toast my food accurately. The toaster is very simple to operate ~ you don't need a college degree, or even to read the manual, to use this toaster! We've been toasting bagels, bread and English Muffins practically every morning, and I've yet to burn a single piece of toast in my Cuisinart. There are seven levels of browning to choose from, with the default being 4. And, the toaster remembers what level you chose previously, so you can keep your preferred setting. The five beeps that signal completion are neither loud nor obnoxious. For bagels, just touch "bagel" ~ this setting is every bagel lover's dream. Also, there's a button which increases the time for 4-6 slices, ensuring they are not underdone. According to Cuisinart, they have upped the technology on this model to "electronically monitor and adjust the oven's internal temperature to provide consistent toasting results from one use to the next." I agree, I've been very pleased with perfectly browned toast every single morning. The only minor nuisance is that toast doesn't slide off the oven rack easily (when inverted), being impeded by the rim. I get around this inconvenience by using tongs, though.
Baking ~ Regular or Convection: The regular bake option is the setting to use for baking pizzas and other savory items (they include recipes for roast chicken, pork chops and cornish hens). You can adjust the temperature in 25 degree increments. I have used the bake function to heat up french bread, croissants and apple turnovers. I often prefer the convection setting because it circulates hot air around the oven chamber for quicker cooking, although it's definitely a bit noisy. I find convection useful for baking potatoes and reheating frozen pizza, which have both turned out perfectly in this model. The user guide comes with over a dozen tasty-sounding recipes that I may actually try, like Lemon Blueberry Loaf Cake and Simply Roasted Salmon and Fennel.
Broiling: Automatically sets the oven to broil at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. I've used this setting for browning the top of my macaroni and cheese casserole, and the result was an evenly browned and crispy crust. I also used the broil setting to brown a tuna-noodle casserole, but my family nearly disowned me for making that, and I promised to never make or mention said dish again.
Longevity ~ That is the question.
This is a tricky question to answer. By the time this oven croaks, and they all seem to die eventually, the model will probably no longer be available. The oven has several features that imply durability ~ it's pretty heavy and stays put on the countertop. It didn't come with any moving parts or plastic to break. The touch controls are easy to press and don't have any gaps where food residue could collect. It also comes with a Limited Three-Year Warranty, which means that:
"If your Cuisinart Exact Heat Convection Toaster Oven Broiler should prove to be defective within the warranty period, we will repair it, or if we think necessary, replace it." However, you must send the toaster to them with proof of purchase and an additional $10 payment for this warranty service. If you're lucky enough to live in California, you can bring the toaster oven back to the store where you purchased it for warranty service.
Upon reflection, this warranty seems as good or better than most I've seen on the market. I generally purchase small appliances at my neighborhood Bed & Beyond store, because I can return the product for a full refund within one year, should it fail to work properly in any way. Believe me, I have returned many a failed or poorly functioning product (including several toasters), and if this toaster should fail within the year, it's going back from whence it came.
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