Many toasters & toaster ovens contain non-stick coatings made from toxic per & poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on food contact surfaces. These toxic coatings have been known to leach hormone-disrupting chemicals onto the food. So where are the best toaster ovens? You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like the safest cookware without PFAS, the safest blenders without BPA, and the best organic mattresses, now join us for the best toasters & toaster ovens with the safest food contact surfaces.
Disclosure: This post was medically reviewed by Sondra Strand, RN, BSN, PHN. This post also contains affiliate links.
How to Evaluate Toaster & Toaster Ovens
A toaster oven is a smart kitchen appliance that uses its heating properties to cook foods. Typically they are kitchen counter appliances. Some toaster ovens vary in size like extra-wide slots or have a varying toasting cycle. Some smart toasters have bells and whistles like a defrost setting, a cancel button, a special bagel setting, a timer, an interface with preferences, etc. It’s always nice to have a slide-out crumb tray.
All these features are great until you realize your perfect toaster oven may have PFAS “forever chemicals” on food contact surfaces. Toxic toasters contain chemical coatings that may expose your family over time when they break down and emit gases and fumes that may get into your food. We are looking for that happy place where you can find products that work well and also use non-toxic food contact surfaces.
Therefore, to determine the safest toaster and toaster oven, you want to find out the following from the brand that produces your toaster:
- What Your Food Touches: Materials for food contact surfaces. Are these coatings made from PFAS “forever chemicals,” coated ceramic, coated steel, aluminum, zinc coated, or are they just made from stainless steel? This answer will be the most important.
- Inside Walls: Materials for the interior of the toaster. Why the interior? Because some chemicals (like PFAS) can become airborne when heated and then become part of your meal.
- Prop. 65: Does the toaster or toaster oven have a Prop. 65 warning for purchase in California? If so, it’s good to know what the warning is about because if it’s about the cord or feet of the toaster, we are less concerned with that. However, if the warning has something to do with the food contact surfaces or anything else, you want to avoid that product.
Types of Toasters
Mamavation found three basic types of toasters that you can purchase. They range in size, pricing, and what can be cooked inside.
- Toaster: Can handle slices of toast, a bagel, pastries, thick bagels, English muffins, or waffles. Mostly four-slice models. Most brands have a removable crumb tray.
- Toaster Ovens: These models are larger and can accommodate bigger and more complicated food items such as frozen pizza, french fries, cookies, and sometimes air-frying whole chickens.
- Convection Ovens: Convection oven work by using convection fans to circulate hot air around the oven helping food cook faster and more evenly. It also makes what you are cooking very crispy just like an air fryer. You can cook roast vegetables, casseroles, cookies, pie, or anything else you are toasting or dehydrating.
Types of Food Contact Surfaces
The most important piece of information about the toaster is what the food contact surfaces are made of because those surfaces can degrade over time and leach chemicals into your food. Not all food contact surfaces are created equal. Some are very toxic when they leach, while others are more inert. Here’s a breakdown of what can happen if your racks, basket, baking pan, sheet pan, or broil rack contain a coating that breaks down over time based on the coatings.
Teflon PFAS Coatings i.e. a type of “PTFE” Food Contact Surfaces
PFAS “forever chemicals” are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances used as stain-resistant, water-resistant, & oil-resistant chemicals in commerce. They have been used for decades inside consumer products, manufacturing, and building materials and are ubiquitous, toxic, and persistent. It’s important to avoid them as much as possible because they build up in your body over time and are linked to the following health concerns:
- reduction in immunity
- reduced vaccination response
- increased risk of allergies & asthma in young children
- affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- increase cholesterol levels
- metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- cardiovascular disease
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- lowers male fertility
- increase the risk of kidney & testicular cancers
- Causes endocrine disruption
- Disrupts normal thyroid function
Mamavation has commissioned several PFAS consumer studies since to help you navigate the grocery store. They are listed at the bottom of this post.
Aluminum Food Contact Surfaces
Studies have demonstrated that aluminum is toxic to humans and linked to serious health conditions. But how much exposure is really bad? We went to the Food Packaging Forum for answers on how much contact with aluminum was problematic for adults and children.
According to the Food Packaging Forum, The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has set a tolerable weekly intake (TWI) for aluminum at 1 mg/kg body weight for all groups of people, including pregnant women and children. However, this amount is achieved very easily in real life situations.
One study on aluminum in humans looked at the migration of aluminum from drinking bottles and found that drinking from an aluminum bottle may reach 86.6% of the total weekly intake (TWI) for aluminum for adults. For a child weighing 15 kg, they would be getting 145% of their total weekly intake (TWI) of aluminum by drinking from those containers.
Another study evaluated the migration of aluminum from grill pans and other oven and grill utensils, which is more relevant to us here. They observed the transfer limit of 5 mg/L for aluminum grill pans, however, when citric acid was increased, the migration of aluminum dramatically increased reaching 638 mg/L. Heating for 160 °C for 2 hours resulted in an additional increase 2-3 times that amount. For example, a lemon juice containing marinade on chicken could increase that daily weekly intake (DWI) up to 63.8% in an adult and 298% for a child weighing 15 kg. This is over the limit for children very easily.
“Non-Stick” Ceramic Food Contact Surfaces
Now that we know PFAS chemicals are so problematic, lots of brands switched to “non-stick” nano-ceramic coatings. These products are often referred to as “non-toxic” and a safer alternative to PTFE or PFOA coatings, but the truth is several studies have pointed to this type of coating as not so safe.
Nanoparticles also have the potential to inflict great damage because they can translocate to many parts of the body once inside including the brain, heart, lungs, and other organs, and can be easily ingested, inhaled, and absorbed through the skin because of their tiny size.
The scientific peer-reviewed journal Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A reported on the discovery of titanium dioxide nanoparticles leaching from quasi-ceramic non-stick coatings into food via low and high-stress testing and degradation of the coating itself which consists of a silicone polymer matrix with embedded micro and nanosized titanium dioxide particles and quartz silicium dioxide.
It was found that thermal degradation (cooking up to 350° F) had a negligible effect on nanoparticle release, but mechanical degradation studies showed that when the surface begins to scratch and wear and become damaged during normal use, the release of titanium-containing nanoparticles becomes significant.
Chronic oral exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles can result in immune disruption and pre-cancer lesions in the gut, however, such little is known about nanoparticles as a whole, we certainly don’t understand the extent to which they can and do negatively affect the body.
Zinc-Coated Food Contact Surfaces
Lead and zinc are commonly found together inside the Earth and therefore it’s not uncommon for zinc to be contaminated with high levels of lead. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to have zinc-coated food contact surfaces, but having them as part of the interior of the toaster may be more inert provided they are not touching your food. There are also some issues with being exposed to too much zinc.
Stainless Steel Food Contact Surfaces
This is the most inert food contact surface you can find for toasters and toaster ovens. This is especially true when the stainless steel has no coatings whatsoever and is just plain stainless steel.
“Coated” Steel Food Contact Surfaces
The question is, coated with what? Not all brands are giving you that information and being forthcoming about their coatings. And at this point, why? They’ve gone through the trouble of sourcing more expensive stainless steel, why put a mystery coating on it? When we saw this, we moved this product to “better” because we were no longer sure about its safety. Transparency was key.
Prop. 65 Warnings in Box with my Toaster Oven
Did you open up a box the other day and receive a California Prop. 65 warning and are wondering why? First of all, finding one of these inside any small kitchen appliance coming to your door is not the end of the world. It may not even be a worrisome exposure. It all depends on what it’s referring to, but sadly, the answer to that question may take some leg work to find out.
California Proposition 65 is a tool to help Californians make educated decisions about the products they purchase and whether any of the chemicals present are linked to cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm. Products sold in California must display a warning sign if they contain any chemicals found on their naughty list above recommended amounts.
However, the warning signs become confusing to consumers when brands misuse the purpose of the law. In fact, when you see warnings, it’s more common for brands to misuse the law than follow to the letter. Here’s what I mean:
- Generic Warnings with No Real Issues: Some brands use Prop. 65 warnings as general warnings and aren’t actually sure if they really need to be there. Why? Because California has left it up to the private industry to do the enforcement of Prop.65 and that means there’s a cottage industry that sprouted up just to keep brands compliant. The brands REALLY hate this because it means anyone can potentially send their products off to the lab to be evaluated and can bring a lawsuit to them if they are non-compliant. So some brands have just gotten into the habit of using the warning so they won’t get sued.
- Warnings About Low Exposure Issues: Another way this warning sign is not as useful is when the warning is about a chemical that has a low exposure to the consumer. This generic warning is used by many small kitchen appliance companies and most of the time, it’s based on bisphenol-A in the cord or on something in the feet of the product. Those parts of the machine are not really going to expose your family unless someone is putting that part in their mouth. You can, of course, contact the company and ask what specific chemical they are warning you about and where it’s located on the product and they are supposed to tell you if you live in California.
- Warning With No Details: The California Prop. 65 law changed recently and now companies are supposed to give more details with the warning and identify what chemical or chemicals the warning is about. Sometimes when there are more than one chemical, they can focus on one being mostly lead. If this type of disclosure is not happening, that brand is out of compliance with the law. You will see this in lots of generic warnings and if you live in the State of California you can contact the Attorney General’s office to let them know, but this doesn’t work unless you live in California.
When Mamavation saw this warning on a toaster oven product, we tried to discover why it was there. If we were not able to establish what the warning was about, we marked this product down. But if we found the exposure was not concerning, we ignored it.
Mamavation’s Investigation on Toaster Ovens
Not Our Favorite Toasters & Toaster Ovens
These toasters and toaster ovens have non-stick coatings on food contact surfaces that are very likely to be made from a type of PFAS “forever chemical” like Teflon or PTFE. We also put here any brand that monitors customer requests via purchase number and thus denies customer inquiries before purchase. Therefore, this list you’ll find brands with a lack of transparency and hormone-disrupting chemicals on food contact surfaces. We do not recommend you purchase from this list.
- BALMUDA The Toaster
- Breville Toaster Oven/Air Fryer Combo
- Breville Bit More Toaster BTA730XL
- COSORI CS130-AO Air Fryer Toaster Oven Combo
- Instant Vortex Pro Air Fryer & Convection 9-in-1
- Oster 2-Slice Pop-Up Toaster 2097654
- Rosewill Convection Toaster Oven RHTO-20001
- Toshiba 6-Slice Convection Toaster Oven AC25CEW-BS
- Wolf Gourmet Countertop Oven Elite WGO170SR
Better Toasters & Toaster Ovens
These toasters and toaster ovens are in the middle of the road. They do not have any PFAS “forever chemical” non-stick coatings on food contact surfaces, but they may have non-stick coatings in the interior somewhere or they may have a mysterious Prop. 65 warning that we cannot verify and evaluate.In other words, the problematic chemical could just be the chord, but we aren’t sure. We also put in there products with non-stick ceramic food contact surfaces or had an interior that was coated with zinc because zinc sometimes has high levels of lead.
- Black+Decker #TO1313SBD 4-Slice Toaster Oven
- Black+Decker #TO1760SS, 4-Slice Convection Toaster Oven
- Black+Decker #TO3210SSD, 6-Slice Convection Oven
- Black+Decker #TO3280SSD, 6-Slice Convection Oven
- Black+Decker #CTO6335S, 6-Slice Convection Oven
- Black+Decker #TO3290XSD, 8- Slice Convection Oven
- Black+Decker #TR2900SSD 2-Slice Toaster
- Cuisinart Compact Air Fryer Toaster Oven TOA-60
- Cuisinart 4-Slice Metal Toaster CPT-180P1
- Dualit 4-Slice Toaster
- Gourmia GTF7450 Digital Air Fryer Toaster Oven Combo
- Gourmia GDT2650 Digital Toaster
- Hamilton Beach 6-Slice Toaster Oven, Air Fryer with Convection Oven
- Hamilton Beach Toaster Model 22810
- Hamilton Beach 6-Slice Countertop (31127D)
- KitchenAid 4-Slice Toaster KMT4115
- KitchenAid Digital Countertop Toaster Oven KC0211BM
- Ninja Foodi 2-in-1 Flip Compact Toaster Oven ST101
- Ninja Foodi Combo Air Fryer Toaster
Best Toaster & Toaster Ovens without PFAS
These toasters and toaster ovens do not have any non-stick coatings on their food contact surfaces or the interior. The food contact surfaces are not made of any materials we are concerned about. We will also move “better” brands into the “best” slot here when we can decipher their prop.65 warning and have determined its low relevance.
- Cuisinart CPT 2400 Pop-Up Toaster
- Emeril Lagasse Power AirFryer Toaster Oven 360 (Prop. 65 warning is about BPA in the cord)
- Oster Compact Countertop Toaster Oven with Air Fryer
- Oster Toaster Oven Large 6 Slice Capacity
- Oster Toaster Oven 7-n-1 Countertop Fits 2 Large Pizzas
- Wolf Gourmet 2-Slice Extra-Wide Slot Toaster WGTR102S
Additional Mamavation Investigations To Help Your Family
Mamavation has been working hard to discover where to find PFAS “forever chemicals” inside food & other products we purchase and bring inside our homes. This is why we have decided to commission our own consumer studies on indications of PFAS in different consumer categories and share that information with you.
- Pasta & Tomato Sauces
- Nut Butters (Peanut butter, etc.)
- Cooking Oils (olive oil, almond oil, canola oil, etc)
- Activewear (Yoga Pants)
- Sports Bras
- Green Beauty Makeup
- Period Underwear
- Toilet Paper
- Dental Floss
- Parchment Paper
- Bamboo Flooring
- Baby Strollers
We also have other non-toxic investigations on products for your children or the rest of your family. Here are some that we thought you may like.
- Best Yoga mats
- Best Organic Mattresses
- Best Air purifiers
- Best Cookware
- Best Plant-Based Milks
- Best Water Filters for PFAS Filtration
- Best Collagen
- Best Electrolyte Replacement Drinks, Sports Drinks, & Coconut Water
- Best Infrared Saunas
- Best Bubble Bath
Click here for a complete list of product investigations.