Small Electrics Part 1 — Toastmaster Lightwave Oven

In honor of the holidays and the shortening shopping season I thought I’d write up a few reviews from my personal experience with a variety of small electric kitchen gadgets that no house should be without. Some of these I own, some I’ve just used (and want to own). So over the next few days there will be several reviews for your reading pleasure.

Today’s review is of the Toastmaster Lightwave Oven. We bought this toaster oven when we moved to Springfield and thought it was great. Now however we’ve been without it for over a month with no end in sight. The bulb that is the main heat source in the oven stopped working in early November. The device was sent to Toastmaster for warranty replacement and there is no indication when it will be shipped. The Toastmaster customer service people tell me the item is backordered and will ship when they receive them. I’m dismayed by this as I could go buy a replacement at Target today. I’m pondering doing that and sending a bill to Toastmaster rather than waiting for the replacement unit.

All difficulties aside the Lightwave Oven is a great little toaster oven. The Lightwave uses a halogen heating element on the top and infrared elements on the bottom. It heats up quickly (I wouldn’t say instantly, but VERY quickly), it cooks evenly, and the controls are easy to use. I’ve baked bread, cookies, beans, casseroles, pizza, and other items in this little oven. My favorite item to cook is frozen french fries. I know this isn’t healthy nor is it the best way to make fries, but I can pop a serving of fries on the baking pan, set the oven to potato for 8 minutes and have crunchy warm fries with almost no effort.

The toasting leaves a bit to be desired as there are only three settings for toast — Light, Medium, and Charred (er, Dark). I wish that Toastmaster had included intermediate settings. Light is a bit too light and medium is great with homemade breads, but purchased bread tends to be a bit to dark. Dark may as well be called charcoal. If there were five settings rather than three this oven would be perfect.

My other gripe is that you can’t set the temperature for each cooking mode. I’ve never had a problem with this, but a little chart that says what temperature each mode uses would be handy for recipe conversion.

Overall this is a nice toaster oven (aside from the fact that we don’t have one any more). If you want great toast you should buy a toaster, but if you’re in the market for a toaster oven the Lightwave works well.

Rating: 4 of 5 (it would be 5 of 5 except for crappy customer service)