If you’d asked me three years ago whether I thought a $300 toaster oven was worth the investment, I would have laughed. Although I understood the need for nontoxic pans and chef-approved knives, you couldn’t convince me that a toaster oven was worth the same fuss. 

After all, the $25 toaster gracing my countertops got the job done, and it only occasionally smelled like the leftover remnants of an everything bagel. It wasn’t until my roommate walked through the door carrying the Balmuda Toaster that I finally grasped the shortcomings of my old appliance. 

My very first impression of Balmuda was that it was good looking, which is the last compliment I ever thought I’d give a toaster. The design meets the perfect midway between retro and modern with minimal dials, no screens, and a single window into the unit. Without context, it would have seemed like a Smeg appliance; a product focused on looks rather than innovation.

But I soon realized the kitchen appliance served a greater purpose: It replaced my toaster and oven to make cooking delicious and nutritious meals so easy. When I wanted avocado toast, it could transform my frozen whole gain loaf into a soft-but-still-toasted bed for my avocado. When I wanted roasted veggies, I could simple opt for the heat settings—350, 400 or 450 degrees Fahrenheit—to get the perfect roast. What’s more, the compact size takes way less time to heat up than my actual oven, so it’s far more efficient.

In fact, my only real complaint about the Balmuda is that the timer on the bake settings caps out at 15 minutes, so I often have to return to the kitchen to reset it a second time to finish cooking certain foods (like root vegetables or frozen meals).

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