Pros: Capacity, toasting performance, convection baking
Cons: Shallow crumb tray, no interior light
We recently went shopping for a new toaster over for my mother, who had been complaining for months that her unit was lousy. We have had a DeLonghi for years, and decided to get her one as a present. When we came across the DeLonghi EO1251 in a warehouse club, we decided to give it a try.
We have owned a DeLonghi Retro toaster oven for about 5 years now. It isn't perfect, but it is the best toaster oven we have ever owned. It still works fine, but is showing signs of age. After we tried it out at my parents house, we went and bought another one for ourselves.
The DeLonghi EO1251 is big -- deep and wide enough to hold a 12" pizza. This is accomplished by making the back of the unit round, sort of bulging out from the otherwise rectangular form. It's an effective setup, and even without the bulge, the main part of the compartment is quite large.
Performance is excellent. Toast is even, and the oven works very well. The convection feature really works, speeding cooking times and ensuring even baking. We have begun using the unit instead of the wall oven for smaller batches (it does a great job on frozen tater-tots).
The oven comes with a large baking pan, a broiling pan, a flat cookie sheet, and two baking racks. Because it has a convection fan, you really can put things on two racks and have them bake evenly.
Operating the DeLonghi may take some getting used to. It is more like a regular oven than a toaster. As with a regular oven, the racks must occasionally be moved depending on whether you are toasting, baking or broiling. You have to set the oven control to toast/bake, broil, or fan bake (convection). Toasting darkness is based on time, not temperature, and when toasting, you have to be sure the temperature is set to toast (which is the equivalent of all the way up).
I have two small complaints. First, there is a crumb tray that slides out of the bottom front. Unfortunately, it has very little clearance, and a large glob of cheese or other food would get scraped by the bottom of the door. We keep a piece of foil on the bottom, just in case. Second, there is no interior light. There is a light on the outside to let you know that the oven is on, but there is not one on the inside to give a better view of the food.
After 5 happy years with the old DeLonghi, we are looking forward to several good years with the new EO1251.