Our recommendations are made independently through Research & Testing. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links.

Hamilton Beach 31401 Countertop vs Oster TSSTTVMNDG-SHP-2 Toaster Oven Side-by-Side Comparison

Alan Nguyen
Reviewer
Nguyen Ntk
Visual Specialist
Updated
Tested Using Methodology v1.0
Updated Mar 19, 2023
Tested Using Methodology v1.0
Updated Mar 19, 2023
The front of a closed stainless steel Hamilton Beach 31401 4-Slice Capacity Countertop Toaster Oven on a white background.
The front of a closed stainless steel Oster TSSTTVMNDG-SHP-2 6-Slice Digital Convection Toaster Oven on a white background.

Our Verdict

4.6
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    5.1/10
  • Design (25%)
    3.6/10
  • Usability (25%)
    4.6/10
6.7
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    7.0/10
  • Design (25%)
    6.2/10
  • Usability (25%)
    6.6/10

Though not the best, the Oster TSSTTVMNDG-SHP-2 Digital Convection Toaster Oven mopped the floor with the Hamilton Beach 31401 4-Slice Toaster Oven in almost every test. The former costs around twice as much as the latter but is more than twice as large.

The Oster was significantly better than the Hamilton in baking pizza, french fries, and especially roasting a whole chicken. While the Oster’s power draw was only slightly higher than the Hamilton’s, having a convection system really gave the Oster all the necessary advantages in terms of quick and even heat distribution.

The Hamilton did earn a small victory in toasting bread, though, and the score was quite impressive. We believed the Oster could’ve scored higher if its toast presets were designed with better times.

The Oster was easier to use thanks to its LCD, control buttons, and interior light. However, its LCD was quite janky and its flat buttons required quite a bit of force to register. In this instance, we preferred the basic analog dials of the Hamilton.

On the other hand, the Oster’s spacious interior was significantly easier to clean than the Hamilton’s.

Good for Toast Only

Hamilton Beach 4-Slice Toaster Oven Performance

Oster TSSTTVMNDG-SHP-2 6-Slice Convection Toaster Oven Performance
5.1
Performance Scores
  • Toast (40%)7.7/10
  • Pizza (25%)5.5/10
  • Whole Roasted Chicken (25%)1.0/10
  • Baked French Fries (10%)4.0/10
7.0
Performance Scores
  • Toast (40%)6.2/10
  • Pizza (25%)8.0/10
  • Whole Roasted Chicken (25%)7.8/10
  • Baked French Fries (10%)6.0/10
7.7

Toast

6.2
Taste: 8
50% * 8 = 4.0
Even Surface Color: 7.5
20% * 7.5 = 1.5
Consecutive Usability: 7.3
30% * 7.3 = 2.2
  • Function: Toast
  • Number Of Slices: 4
  • Toast Level: Medium
  • Cooking Time: 4m 15s
  • Second Batch: 4m 15s
  • Convection: No

With our Toast test, we determined the best option was right at the position of the Toast icon—around 4 minutes 15 seconds on the timer, scoring a 7.7/10. Turning the knob halfway down would result in no color and turning it halfway up nearly burnt the toast.

With 4m 15s, the Hamilton Beach produced 4 pieces with a light golden brown color on the top and golden on the bottom. Although that was great, the top and the bottom were quite different and they were both only about 80% even throughout. Thus, we gave it a 7.5/10.

The first batch of toast had a nice balance of crispiness on the outside and softness on the inside, deserving an 8/10 for taste. Our head chef Tuyet Pham determined it would go well with pretty much everything including eggs benedict, omelet, and especially sandwiches. It wasn’t as suitable for soup but the second batch was.

The second batch got crispier and more even in color. However, it also became browner so we gave it a 7.3/10 for consecutive usability. If you want the second batch to be the same as the first, remember to only turn the knob to ¾ to Medium—around 3 minutes 40 seconds.

Taste: 7
50% * 7 = 3.5
Even Surface Color: 6
20% * 6 = 1.2
Consecutive Usability: 5
30% * 5 = 1.5
  • Function: Toast
  • Number Of Slices: 4
  • Toast Level: 2/6
  • Cooking Time: 6m 43s
  • Second Batch: 4m18
  • Convection: No

Using the steps of our Toast test, we determined that level 2—6 minutes 43 seconds on the timer—was the best option, scoring a 6.2/10. In comparison, the toast at level 1 had a very light color, and the toast at level 3 had a dark brown color, with some dark patches.

The Toast Level 2 of the Oster produced four pieces with a golden brown color on the top. However, due to the unideal tray position, the toast was dark brown on the bottom. Even though the color was even, the big difference between the top and bottom resulted in a 6/10.

Due to the long cooking time, the first batch of toast was crispy outside but a bit dry inside, so it got a 7/10 for taste. Our head chef, Tuyet Pham, determined they would go well with eggs benedict, omelet, and soup, in particular, but not with sandwiches.

Even though this oven automatically deducted the toast timer to 4m 18s, the second batch was still significantly darker and drier. The color was also uneven, ranging from golden brown to dark, so it got a 5/10 for consecutive usability.

5.5

Pizza

8.0
Cooking Time: 0
20% * 0 = 0.0
Crust: 6
20% * 6 = 1.2
Toppings: 7.5
30% * 7.5 = 2.3
Taste: 7
30% * 7 = 2.1
  • Function: Bake
  • Temperature:  450°F
  • Cooking Time: 10m 30s
  • Convection:  No

The Hamilton didn’t perform well in baking a 9-inch thick-crust meat pizza scoring a 5.6/10.

Compared to the recommended 10 minutes on the label, the oven took only a tad bit longer at 10m 30s. However, this meant that it failed the cooking time criterion with 10 minutes being the time limit for our Pizza test.

For the most part, the crust didn’t have a good toasted coloring and was soft so it got a 6/10. The toppings had pretty good caramelization but some darkened areas of the cheese lowered the score to 7.5/10. After tasting the pizza, our chef gave it a 7/10.

Cooking Time: 8.2
20% * 8.2 = 1.6
Crust: 8
20% * 8 = 1.6
Toppings: 8
30% * 8 = 2.4
Taste: 8
30% * 8 = 2.4
  • Function: Bake
  • Temperature: 450°F
  • Cooking Time: 6m 50s
  • Convection: Yes

The Oster did very well in baking a 9-inch thick-crust meat pizza, but the evenness in caramelization could be improved. Thus, it received an 8/10 in total.

It only took 6m 50s to bake the pizza as opposed to 10 minutes on the label. In comparison to other toaster ovens in our Pizza test, it got a solid 8.2/10.

The crust had a nice golden brown color and since it was neither too soft nor too dry, it scored an 8/10. The cheese was melty and the toppings’ caramelization was about 80% even, so we gave it another 8/10. For its taste, our chef gave the pizza one final 8/10.

1.0

Whole Roasted Chicken

7.8
Cooking Time: 0
20% * 0 = 0.0
Skin: 5
20% * 5 = 1.0
Doneness: 0
20% * 0 = 0.0
Taste: 0
40% * 0 = 0.0
  • Function: Rotisserie
  • Temperature: 350°F
  • Cooking Time: 1h 30m
  • Convection: No

This was one of the rare occasions where an oven failed the entirety of our Whole Roasted Chicken test. Our speculations concerned the instability of the heating elements and the fact that the chicken grazed the upper safeguard during cooking.

After 1h 30m—our time limit, the oven wasn’t able to roast the chicken to a desirable outcome and failed the first criterion. After roasting, the skin had no noticeable caramelization and barely enough for a 5/10.

The chicken reached an internal temperature of 176°F which was quite good. However, the meat itself was undercooked and still pink in a lot of areas. Thus, it was another failure. Due to the meat being undercooked, our chef couldn’t taste it to give a score.

Cooking Time: 8
20% * 8 = 1.6
Skin: 7
20% * 7 = 1.4
Doneness: 8.8
20% * 8.8 = 1.8
Taste: 7.5
40% * 7.5 = 3.0
  • Function: Bake
  • Temperature: 350°F.
  • Cooking Time: 1h
  • Convection: Yes

Thanks to the Oster’s large capacity, we placed a 3 lb chicken on top of its broiling rack which is then set on top of the baking pan before we perform our Whole Roasted Chicken test. The overall score was 7.8/10.

The oven was able to roast the chicken in 1 hour, which was the standard amount of time needed, and deserved an 8/10. Thanks to the broiling rack and the oven’s convection system, the skin got an even golden color throughout. However, even with those advantages, the skin wasn’t able to crisp up much, so it got a 7/10. 

The chicken was fully cooked, but its internal temperature was a tad high at 190-192°F, so we gave it an 8.8/10. The meat was soft and juicy throughout, so it earned a 7.5/10 for taste from our chef.

4.0

Baked French Fries

6.0
Cooking Time: 0
20% * 0 = 0.0
Color: 5
20% * 5 = 1.0
Texture: 5
20% * 5 = 1.0
Taste: 5
40% * 5 = 2.0
  • Function: Bake
  • Temperature: 400°F
  • Cooking Time: 30 m
  • Convection: No

The Hamilton Beach wasn’t suitable for baking 12 oz of french fries scoring only a 4/10.

There were no noticeable changes to the fries after 30 minutes of baking in this oven. Due to our time limit of 25 minutes, this constituted a failure in the cooking time section of our Baked French Fries test.

There was no change in the fries’ color so they received a 5/10. The oven basically thawed and heated the fries so they were very soggy scoring another 5/10. Our chef could only give the fries a minimal score of 5/10 for taste.

Cooking Time: 7.3
20% * 7.3 = 1.5
Color: 6.8
20% * 6.8 = 1.4
Texture: 6
20% * 6 = 1.2
Taste: 5
40% * 5 = 2.0
  • Function: Bake
  • Temperature: 400°F
  • Cooking Time: 20 m
  • Convection: Yes

The Oster left a lot to be desired in baking french fries, thus scoring a 6/10.

The oven took 20 minutes to bake 12 oz of french fries. In comparison to other toaster ovens in our Baked French Fries test, it scored a 7.3/10.

The fries had an uneven color, ranging from almost none to golden and brown on the ends, so they got a 6.8/10. The fries were very soft so they could only get a 6/10 for texture. Our chef gave the fries a 5/10 for taste.

No Stand-Out Features

Hamilton Beach Stainless Steel Toaster Oven Design

Oster 6-Slice Convection Toaster Oven Design: Low Wattage
3.6
design Scores
  • Exterior (20%)4.0/10
  • Interior (30%)1.0/10
  • Build Quality (50%)5.0/10
6.2
design Scores
  • Exterior (20%)7.0/10
  • Interior (30%)6.0/10
  • Build Quality (50%)6.0/10

In the Hamilton Beach Countertop Toaster Oven Box

In the Oster TSSTTVMNDG-SHP-2 Convection Toaster Oven Box
  • Model: 31401
  • Warranty: 1-year limited in the US and 5-year limited in Canada
  • User Manual
  • Baking Rack
  • Baking Pan
  • Removable Crumb Tray

Inside the packaging are the Hamilton Beach oven, a baking rack, a baking pan, a removable crumb tray, and a simple user manual.

  • Model: TSSTTVMNDG-SHP-2
  • Warranty: 1-year limited (US and Canada only)
  • User Manual
  • Baking Rack
  • Baking Pan
  • Rack Clamp
  • Removable Crumb Tray
  • Rotisserie Kit and Lifter
  • Air Fryer Basket

The packaging includes two foam pads to keep the oven firmly in place and the three accessories are wrapped in carton sheets to avoid scratches during transportation. The oven also comes with a user manual.

4.0

Exterior

7.0
  • Weight:
    5.4 lbs (2.4 kg)
  • Length:
    15.0" (38.0 cm)
  • Width:
    12.2" (31.0 cm)
  • Height:
    8.5" (21.6 cm)
  • Material:
    Stainless steel
  • Color:
    Silver
  • Door Handle:
    cool-touch
  • Tray Indicators:
    No
  • Crumb Tray:
    Removable

The Hamilton Beach has a stainless steel exterior, a back buffer to prevent the oven from being too close to the wall, and a cool-touch door handle. However, the back buffer isn’t designed to wrap the power cord around, unlike many other toaster ovens.

  • Weight:
    12.1 lbs (5.5 kg)
  • Length:
    19.7" (50.0 cm)
  • Width:
    15.2" (38.6 cm)
  • Height:
    11.6" (29.5 cm)
  • Material:
    Stainless steel
  • Color:
    Black
  • Door Handle:
    cool-touch
  • Tray Indicators:
    No
  • Crumb Tray:
    Slide-out

The Oster has air ventilation holes on all sides of the convection system, which is a plus. In addition, having a slide-out tray is always helpful because it makes it easier to clean the oven.

Although the back buffers aren’t very sturdy, the bottom stands are and they also act as oven-carrying handles. Our measurements of the oven’s footprints were 19. 68" x 15.19" x 11.61" which were only slightly different in terms of width to the manufacturer’s provided  19.72" x 16.29" x 11.33".

Control Panel

  • Type:
    3 control knobs
  • Temperature:
    100°F - 450°F
  • Timer:
    1 minute - 30 minutes + stay-on
  • Indicator Light:
    Yes
  • Status Bar:
    No
  • Light Toggle:
    No
  • Convection Toggle:
    No
  • Rotation Toggle:
    No
  • Automatic Preheat:
    No
  • Audio Cues:
    No

The Hamilton Beach has three simple control knobs for Temperature, Function, and Timer. Even though the timer is only from 1 minute to 30 minutes, it has a stay-on position. 1 minute to 30 minutes, it has a stay-on position.

  • Type:
    LCD display + 15 buttons
  • Temperature:
    150°F - 450°F
  • Timer:
    1 minute - 90 minutes
  • Indicator Light:
    Yes
  • Status Bar:
    No
  • Light Toggle:
    Yes
  • Convection Toggle:
    No
  • Rotation Toggle:
    No
  • Automatic Preheat:
    No
  • Audio Cues:
    No

The Oster has an LCD digital display and 15 buttons, including 8 functions, 2 to adjust time, 2 to adjust temperature, a light toggle, a clock feature, a stop and a start button. The built-in clock is something you rarely see in a toaster oven, but we’ve seen some comments about it, usually pointing out that the clock is ahead of time by 5 minutes.

Cooking Functions of the Hamilton Beach 31401 Toaster Oven

Cooking Functions of the Oster 6-Slice Toaster Oven
  • Toast
  • Bake
  • Broil

If you know your way around the kitchen, the bake and broil functions will be all you need. The temperature knob has a Min setting which can act as Keep Warm and maintain the oven at around 100°F.

  • Toast
  • Bake
  • Convection Bake
  • Broil
  • Warm
  • Defrost (150°F)
  • Pizza (400°F)

You can only adjust the temperature on the Bake and Convection Bake functions, which should be good enough for experienced cooks. Other functions have their temperature predetermined by the manufacturer, which can be useful for beginners in the kitchen. 

For some reason, the user manual doesn’t specify the predetermined temperature for the Warm function. Nonetheless, we were able to measure it to be around 180°F, which was unfortunately quite high for its purpose. Other toaster ovens with the Warm function usually maintain around 80°F-100°F.

1.0

Interior

6.0
  • Heating Elements:
    2 quartz
  • Convection Fan:
    No
  • Lighting:
    No
  • Tray Levels:
    2
  • Rotisserie:
    No
  • Safety Hook:
    No

The 31401 has 2 quartz heating elements that cook food using infrared light. To avoid direct contact with baking pans and trays, each one has its own safety guard.

Compared to the more common nichrome heating elements, they produce more heat and cool down faster. In addition, they’re easier to clean and more energy-efficient but not as durable. However, if grease splashes onto the heating elements while cooking, it’ll leave permanent stains.

Nonetheless, the oven suffers from a lack of internal lighting and a convection system, similar to most small units like the Mueller MT-175. Moreover, having only two heating elements may not distribute heat evenly as having four.

  • Heating Elements:
    4 nichrome
  • Convection Fan:
    Yes
  • Lighting:
    Yes
  • Tray Levels:
    2
  • Rotisserie:
    No
  • Safety Hook:
    No

The Oster has four standard nichrome heating elements but only two tray levels—unlike the similar-sized Cosori CO130-AO that has three. In addition to a convection system, it has internal lighting which is always useful, especially when you can choose when to turn it on and off.

Capacity

Capacity of the Stainless Steel Oster Digital Countertop Toaster Oven
  • Length:
    10.9" (27.8 cm)
  • Width:
    9.4" (24.0 cm)
  • Height:
    7.1" (18.0 cm)

The Hamilton Beach, with only two tray levels, can accommodate 4 slices of toast, a 9-inch pizza, or barely a 3 lb chicken. We measured the cooking chamber’s volume to be roughly 12 liters which coincided with the manufacturer’s stated capacity.

  • Length:
    14.2" (36.1 cm)
  • Width:
    12.6" (32.0 cm)
  • Height:
    9.4" (24.0 cm)

Its spacious interior can accommodate 6 slices of toast, a 12-inch pizza, and more than a 3 lb chicken. While the manufacturer didn’t state the exact capacity, we measured the cooking chamber’s volume to be around 28 liters.

Power Cord of the Hamilton Beach 31401 Countertop Toaster Oven

Power Cord
  • Length:
    29.9" (76.0 cm)
  • Type:
    2-prong plug
  • Power:
    1200 W
  • Rated Output:
    120 V ~ 60 Hz

The power cord is long enough for household use.

  • Length:
    26.0" (66.0 cm)
  • Type:
    2-prong plug
  • Power:
    1300 W
  • Rated Output:
    120 V ~ 60 Hz

Since the power cord is positioned at the bottom of the oven, it may have some inconvenient bends. The length of roughly 25.98" is adequate for household use but not enough to wrap around the back buffers.

Baking Rack

Accessories

Baking Rack
  • Length:
    10.9" (27.8 cm)
  • Width:
    8.8" (22.3 cm)
  • Height:
    0.9" (2.3 cm)
  • Material:
    Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Yes

The rack fits perfectly with the guide, which helps prevent accidents when placing your food in the oven. Unfortunately, by burning a batch of toast, we left some extremely stubborn burnt bits on some rods.

  • Length:
    14.2" (36.1 cm)
  • Width:
    15.0" (38.1 cm)
  • Height:
    0.2" (0.5 cm)
  • Material:
    Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Yes

The rack fits perfectly with the guide rails and helps reduce the chance of an accident when you put food in the oven.

Baking Pan

Accessories

Baking Pan
  • Length:
    9.3" (23.5 cm)
  • Width:
    8.1" (20.5 cm)
  • Height:
    0.7" (1.8 cm)
  • Material:
    Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Yes

The baking pan rests on the supports of the baking rack to catch any drippings and meat juice, preventing any mess and the risk of fire from dirty heating elements. However, it doesn’t have a good coating and sustained permanent stains after our Baked French Fries and Whole Roasted Chicken test.

  • Length:
    12.9" (32.7 cm)
  • Width:
    10.5" (26.7 cm)
  • Height:
    1.2" (3.0 cm)
  • Material:
    Stainless steel with enamel coating
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Not advisable

The baking pan goes hand-in-hand with the broiling rack to catch the drippings and meat juice. Its enamel coating makes it more resistant to stains and caramelized bits but it is not advisable to put the baking pan in the dishwasher.

However, it’s slightly smaller than the oven’s capacity and therefore, does not make the most of the space. Nonetheless, it still does the job of preventing any hot mess from dirtying the heating elements which can lead to fire danger.

Removable Crumb Tray

Accessories

Broiling Rack
  • Length:
    10.9" (27.8 cm)
  • Width:
    8.1" (20.5 cm)
  • Height:
    0.8" (2.0 cm)
  • Material:
    Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Not advisable

Without a tray, falling crumbs are quite a hassle to clean up. However, some can still fall to the bottom of the oven as you remove the tray.

  • Length:
    10.9" (27.7 cm)
  • Width:
    8.5" (21.7 cm)
  • Height:
    1.2" (3.1 cm)
  • Material:
    Stainless steel
  • Dishwasher Safe:
    Not advisable

The broiling rack has an elevation from the baking pan to allow for heat circulation around the food. However, it’s not firmly attached to the baking pan, so be careful when you move this combo around. In addition, the rack doesn’t have a coating, which may make it prone to caramelized bits, stains, and discoloration.

5.0

Build Quality

6.0

The Hamilton uses durable material but its construction isn’t very sturdy. Even though the control knobs turned smoothly, they felt a bit loose.

Though it is made from durable materials and has a sturdy build, the Oster isn’t heavy for its size. The digital display is clear, but the flat buttons can be irresponsive at times; this seems to be a common problem for Oster units, as the Oster TSSTTVFDDG also suffers from it.

Throughout the testing procedure, we found that the oven’s power output of 1300 W may have offset its large capacity. Our speculation was that its performance efficiency could increase with 1800 W.

Not Much Offered

Hamilton Beach 31401 4-Slice Toaster Oven Usability Review

Oster TSSTTVMNDG-SHP-2 6-Slice Toaster Oven Usability Review: Needs Better Control
4.6
usability Scores
  • User Control (30%)7.0/10
  • Ease of Use (50%)3.0/10
  • Cleanability (20%)5.0/10
6.6
usability Scores
  • User Control (30%)6.0/10
  • Ease of Use (50%)6.0/10
  • Cleanability (20%)9.0/10
7.0

User Control

6.0

Even though the Hamilton Beach only has three simple control knobs, there are a few things to keep in mind. For the timer knob, when setting it to less than 10 minutes, always rotate past 10 minutes and then rotate back to the desired time.

It’s also tricky to precisely adjust time and temperature but we didn’t find this to be an issue. You can use an oven thermometer and an external timer to get familiar before eye-balling it.

For the Oster, the temperature can be adjusted in increments of 10°F. The timer can be adjusted in increments of 30 seconds when it’s below 10 minutes and in increments of 1 minute after 10 minutes. The convection fan isn’t all-applicable, but you can adjust time and temperature according to your preference on Convection Bake.

3.0

Ease of Use

6.0

With three control knobs, it’s very simple to readjust cooking settings. The cooking cycle finishes when the timer reaches Off. When this happens, the oven will ding once and shut off. As it has no digital display, you can freely leave this oven plugged in without worrying about power consumption.

It’s easy to keep the door partially open to let food cool down but be careful as the oven’s exterior gets hot to the touch quite quickly. However, opening the door doesn’t stop the oven, unlike some others.

The Oster doesn’t beep with each press of a button which isn’t normally an issue. However, because the buttons weren’t always responsive, we had to check the display with each press and this required us to do so more than once.

One thing to keep in mind is that the oven requires you to press Cancel before changing the cooking function. After the cooking cycle finishes, the digital display will show END and the oven will sound 4 beeps 3 times. You’ll then need to press Cancel before performing further inputs.

The oven’s exterior only gets hot to the touch after a long period of cooking at a high temperature (> 400°F). The door can easily be kept partially open, but it doesn’t stop the cooking process, unlike some other ovens.

The built-in clock will keep ticking as long as the oven’s plugged in, but the power consumption should be minimal. Thus, it’s up to you to keep the oven plugged in or to remove it.

5.0

Cleanability

9.0

The Hamilton Beach oven’s exterior and interior were easy to clean following the steps of our toaster oven cleaning guide. Due to the chicken touching the upper safeguard during cooking, there were some caramelized bits stuck to it. Nonetheless, they were easy to remove with just dish soap and a sponge.

We accidentally burnt a batch of toast during our test and it caught fire which led to some discoloration on the oven’s exterior. Luckily, we were able to remove most of it with an all-purpose cleaner.

What surprised us the most, however, were the permanent stains left on the baking pan. Even after we applied a paste of baking soda and water and then scrubbed it with diluted vinegar, the stains didn’t budge at all.

The Oster has an internal and external coating. There are no tricky nooks and crannies. The slide-out crumb tray made cleaning up the crumbs very easy but we still had to tilt the oven to remove all of them.

Although some grease splashed inside the oven during our Whole Roasted Chicken test, we could easily clean it up using the instructions in our toaster oven cleaning guide. The baking pan, even with the enamel coating, sustained some stubborn burnt bits and stains that required brushing with a paste of baking soda and water.