The Panasonic Flash Xpress toaster cooks using infrared to warm up your food. When the unit is running, it basically just flashes a bright light on and off to cook the food. Seven years ago, this toaster oven changed my life.
The space oven is pretty much the solution to most of the problems I have with microwaves. I don’t like food reheated in the microwave because it changes the texture of the food from whatever it is supposed to be to soft, chewy, and kind of gross. The space oven on the other hand warms stuff up like warming it up in the oven, but somewhat faster and with no heat up time.
The controls are a little funky. The oven does not come with helpful instructions. The timer on the front also inexplicably only counts time in .5 minute intervals. I’ve had mine for over a year and use it everyday and I’m still not entirely clear how each setting works. The toast setting is straightforward, but I’m not sure how the reheat setting works (other than that it does). You can also just set it at a particular temperature in about 40 degree increments and then a timer in .5 minute increments.
It has an adjustable rack and a pan which fits in the slots, something the old one didn’t have. The interior is a dark(er) non-stick which should keep it at least looking cleaner then the old one. It’s significantly bigger as well, and while I can’t fit a full sized lasagna pan in it I can fit my half sized casserole dishes which won’t fit in the old one, and I would guess a full broiler chicken would fit as well.
The bottom IR “lights” in the new model have been replaced with standard metal conducting coils, but on the top side there are now 3 IR lights as opposed to the one before. The timer now goes up to 2 hours as opposed to the 25 minutes of the last one. It also has a convection fan, which moves air around and it very quiet.
Once you get past the awkwardness of the settings, the toaster oven is hands down the best way to reheat most leftovers. It also works really well for single size things that are usually cooked in the oven. Cook times are typically about twice what you would use with a microwave, but about 75% of the time of an oven. You really just need to use it and get a feel for how it cooks to use it effectively.