Panasonic revamps the FlashXPress toaster oven

Panasonic’s original FlashXPress toaster oven, with its unique double-infrared technology, attracted many devoted fans before being discontinued in 2006. A revamped version of the oven, the Panasonic FlashXpress NB-G110P, is now back in stores. Based on Consumer Reports’ latest toaster oven Ratings, the $150 countertop cooker is better than ever, though it couldn’t unseat our top-rated Breville.

The FlashXpress looks fairly basic from the outside. But inside, it features quartz and ceramic heating elements, which supposedly cook more efficiently than conventional coil-heated ovens. In our tests, the FlashXpress did eliminate the usual five-minute preheat time for corn muffins and frozen pizza, both of which came out very nicely. Those five minutes might come in handy during meal prep, especially for harried parents.

As for toasting, the FlashXpress didn’t get the job done any faster than other models. And the results, while very good, weren’t quite as even as what we saw with the top-rated Breville Smart Oven BOV800XL, $250. The Breville is also roomier inside, with space for six slices of toast. And its stainless steel housing and beefy controls combine for a sleek, professional look.

Are two functions better than one?
Our latest toaster oven tests also included a pair of combination models with separate
bread slots, in addition to the usual oven cavity. That could be in response to the fact that we’ve generally found toasters to be better at making toast than toaster ovens.

So are combo units the way forward? Probably not. The Hamilton Beach Toastation 22720, $50, was very good overall, especially at toasting, but its undersized oven could only fit half of a 6-muffin pan and about 4½ inches of a 6-inch frozen pizza. That might be fine for bachelors and college kids who like the occasional Hot Pocket or similarly-sized foods, but a large household might be disappointed by the Hamilton Beach.

The Waring Pro WTO150, $100, is another combo unit with much larger dimensions. At 20 inches wide, it takes up more counter space than most models in our Ratings. But for all that breadth, the Waring Pro can’t fit a 12-inch pizza and its relatively low height means tall items may not fit. Worse yet, baking and broiling performance were both subpar.

See our complete toaster oven Ratings for other recommended models, including a CR Best Buy, the Oster TSSTTVMNDG, that sells for just $80.

—Artemis DiBenedetto

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