Bigger and better
Nov 17, 2008 (Updated Jan 6, 2011)
Review by Ames100
Rated a Very Helpful Review
I bought this Oster model to replace my last toaster oven, primarily because it was on sale and it seemed to have reasonable capacity and features. My last toaster oven worked fine, but it was a bit small in capacity. It was also very hard to clean the inside, and it had some plastic exterior panels that discolored from the heat, so after a few years it looked much the worse for wear.
Recommend this product?
So, out with old, in with the new Oster:
- Stainless steel exterior
- Large 13” wide x 12” deep x 6.5” high oven capacity
- Digital controls with digital clock display
- Bake, Convection Bake (with fan), Broil and Toast modes
- Time and temperature control settings
- Presets for Pizza, Dehydrate, Defrost
- Interior light
- Bottom crumb tray slides easily out the front for cleaning
- Four big solid plastic feet provide a firm no-slide base
- Fairly slow as a toaster (6-8 minutes)
- Very hot exterior while cooking, can burn hands
- Exterior size is quite big for the internal oven size, and needs extra space on every side due to the exterior getting so hot.
- Digital controls and display are not very well thought out (see below)
The exterior is mostly stainless steel, except for some silver plastic used for the door handle and around the control panel.
The LED display normally shows the time of day in large green digits, plus small red indicators for Power and Clock. Other small red indicators appear on the display to show the cooking mode selected, and they flash to indicate cooking in progress.
The flush control panel has no discrete buttons, and the labels are not very clearly visible - but at least the lettering is reflective silver on a black background, so they become readable in good light.
This oven works well for baking, with a nice consistent temperature provided by the digital temperature control. Convection baking with the fan to circulate hot air past the food speeds up some types of baking significantly, although it can dry out the food if used too long. The fan is not noisy and does not produce a big outflow of hot air from the vents on top.
The oven is big enough to take a 12” pizza (just barely), although it doesn’t have the round pizza bulge on the back that many compact toaster ovens do now for space efficiency. The standard Pizza cooking cycle does a perfect job on frozen pizza – much better than my full size oven at cooking evenly without burning.
Toasting is a bit slow, partly due the size of the oven and the distance from the heating elements to the middle toasting rack, and partly due to the fact that the heating elements are slow to heat up (I compared side by side with my old toaster oven, and they took twice as long to glow and did not glow as brightly). The default setting of 4 takes 8 minutes (!). However, slow toasting seems to be a complaint with all the other large-sized toaster ovens I looked at too, so I guess it's an inherent limitation of the size. I can get decent toast in about 6 minutes, so that’s not a huge difference from the 4.5 minutes that my old toaster oven needed from a cold start, and it will toast 6 slices at once. It does tend to dry toast out a bit more than my old toaster because of the longer toasting time. Bagels and english muffins fare better.
I don’t know why so many manufacturers of consumer appliances have such problems designing digital controls and displays logically. I thought we were a decade past this point, but Oster seems to have designed something that has all the disadvantages of digital controls and few of the advantages:
- It takes too many button presses to set up a cooking cycle (see below).
- Buttons are undistinguished in an array of similar buttons.
- The flush control panel buttons take a firm push to activate, and it doesn’t always work on the first try.
- There’s no memory (e.g., if you don’t like the default Toast setting of 4, you have to change the digital setting each time with multiple button presses), unlike a mechanical dial that stays where you leave it.
- There isn’t a clear and obvious On lamp to show that the oven is turned on and hot, just a small flashing red mode indicator on the display that you would not necessarily notice unless you looked. That seems a little dangerous to me, although it’s not as easy to turn this oven on accidentally as it is with some others.
- There’s no indication when the oven is up to temperature – just a generic recommendation in the manual to pre-heat for 7 minutes. My old toaster oven had a simple indicator lamp that goes on when the oven is on, and brightens when the heating elements are actively heating.
Of course one does get used to the controls over time, so after a month of use most of these things don't bother me as much.
To start baking you have to use the single Bake button to cycle through 3 different modes and then use the Time/Temp toggle button to set cooking time and temperature by multiple presses of the Up/Down buttons, and then press Start, as opposed to just twisting a dial on most non-digital models. However toasting only takes two button presses if you don’t need to adjust the default darkness. A countdown timer is shown on the display during timed baking, but only for the last 60 seconds of toasting for some unfathomable reason. You can’t program baking to start at a future time.
There are 3 shortcut buttons:
- The Pizza button selects a 400 deg F 20 min. bake with one button press (although you can adjust time if you want).
- The Defrost button selects a 150 deg F convection bake for defrosting food, default 30 min.
- The Dehydrate button activates a 185 deg F convection bake for dehydrating food (like dried fruit), default 30 min.
I think most people would prefer to use the microwave for quick defrosting, and dehydrating food doesn’t seem like a very common operation, so it seems a bit of a waste to put these dedicated buttons on the control panel and leave off others that would have been more useful (like maybe a PreHeat button instead of just advising people to give it 7 minutes).
The oven apparently has no insulation, so the outside metal surface gets very hot in operation. That’s both energy-inefficient and a hazard to burn hands. In particular the polished metal strip above the door is the hottest part of the exterior, and being just a fraction of an inch from your fingers on the door handle it’s all too easy to burn your fingers when opening the door. As noted above, the only indication that it is cooking (aside from the heat radiating from it) is a small flashing red mode indicator on the display that you might easily miss. It would have helped not to have the unnecessary red indicators for Power and Clock showing on the display all the time when the oven is off – then anything red on the display would indicate that the oven was active.
You can pause the cooking cycle by pressing Stop/Cancel once, then Start again to resume. Pressing Stop/Cancel a second time cancels the cooking cycle. The oven beeps for about 30 seconds after finishing a cooking cycle, and the display flashes End until the Stop/Cancel button is pressed. It would be nice if it ended automatically when you open the door to avoid the need for one more button press. The beep isn’t very loud, so you might not hear it if you aren’t in the kitchen, and it doesn’t continue beyond 30 sec. However, these signals are always a compromise between too soft/too loud, too long/too short, and this is as good as any. My old toaster oven was no louder, and only beeped 3 times, so this one is better.
A couple of other quirks:
- There’s no AM/PM or 24-hour mode on the clock (the text "12 hr" shows first on the display when you press the clock set button, but it isn't mentioned in tha manual, and there seems to be no way to change it). The clock is just a bit fast, gaining a couple of minutes a month.
- No Celsius temperature option, although this model is sold in Canada.
There is a single slide-out rack. There are 3 rack positions, and the rack can be turned up or down to give half-way positions. The rack slides in and out easily, although it does not automatically slide out a bit when you open the door like with some other models. But on balance I find it helpful to be able to easily slide the whole rack out to remove hot food from the oven without disengaging some complicated door catch.
There’s no non-stick coating on the interior surface, and it doesn't look particularly easy to clean at first glance – there are some holes, corrugated surfaces, and exposed edges and screws, not to mention the exposed heating elements that you could easily damage while cleaning. But at least the bottom crumb tray slides out the front for easy cleaning, and I'm finding it relatively easy to keep the oven clean in practice. The interior wipes down easily with a damp cloth, and food spills don't seem to stick or stain. Caution: the interior surfaces and crumb tray are very soft metal and scratch easily when cleaning with anything rougher than a cloth or sponge.
One potential problem with electronic controls in an oven with little heat insulation like this one is that the electronics may overheat and not survive very long. Indeed I see some reports of premature failure of the electronics on this unit, so it is a concern
Contents and Manual:
The unit comes with a broiling pan with its own internal rack. The only other item in the box is the manual.
The manual is pretty sketchy, just 3 pages describing the basic controls, and a single recommendation to use the rack upturned in the middle position for toasting and for baking frozen pizza – no other cooking recommendations. The manual is for the models 6058 and 6059 - no mention of any differences. The model 6068 also appears identical.
There's a one-year warranty.
Made in China, of course. Hmmm, funny thing: It also looks very similar to this Euro Pro TO21 model in addition to the other Oster models mentioned above. I suppose it's really a generic product made in some factory in China that gets various brand names pasted on the outside for sale in other countries. The Oster brand itself has passed through a tangled chain of ownership in recent years, and is now one of the many consumer brands owned by Jarden Corporation, so I'm not sure how much connection it has to my reliable old Oster appliances.
Update a year later: Continues to work well. I've become accustomed to the awkward digital controls. The interior remains easy to clean with a quick wipe, but I can see a little grease building up on the convection fan blades behind the fan grille which will be impossible to clean without dismantling the oven.
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Amount Paid (US$): 60
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