My old toaster oven caught fire. I had had it for about 10 years, so it didn’t owe me anything. I had a bit of extra cash from a freelance job, so I decided to splash out on one of the more expensive models.
After about 30 minutes of research (starting at America’s Test Kitchen) I discovered the best in class for what I was looking for was the one I always gave cheeky looks to at appliance stores: The Breville Mini Smart Oven. It has replaced my regular oven in the summertime (with the exception of the odd loaf of bread, pizza on the pizza stone, or hotel pan full of tomatoes to roast for tomato soup.
Quite honestly: you get what you pay for when it comes to toaster ovens.
I have made chicken legs, pies (sweet and savoury,) Detroit style pizza, cookies, cakes, muffins (muffins are cake! Come on, guys,) roasted heads of garlic, and more, and each time, they were done properly with a minimal amount of heat in the kitchen.
It’s also DEAD EASY TO CLEAN.
Cannot express enough how important that is.
I bought another one as a gift for my parents, who tried to get me to take it back, until they tried it. Now my dad cooks salmon in it.