One of my most prized possessions is a weird little Panasonic toaster—the NB-G110P, otherwise known as the FlashXPress. I’m not alone: Professional and user reviewers alike sing the praises of this unique product, which uses infrared heating elements to cook a lot faster than conventional toaster ovens.
But the FlashXPress is undeniably... quirky. Its temperature settings are only calibrated for Celsius presets, its cooking modes are bizarrely chosen (there’s a dedicated “Hash Brown” setting), it looks dated and cheaply built, and it isn’t tall enough to fit large items.
That’s why I was so excited to check out the new line of Panasonic Insta-Heat countertop toaster ovens, which feature sleek designs and new technology. I only spent time with prototypes, but even as a FlashXPress devotee, I’m convinced these new models will be the best toasters money can buy.
The underlying technology used by the classic FlashXPress is sound: It cooks faster and more evenly than any compact oven I’ve ever used, and it requires zero preheat time. I frequently use it in lieu of my oven when I’m in a hurry or just don’t feel like waiting.
The new models, however, fix all the nagging flaws that kept the original from being a bigger hit. The least expensive Insta-Heat toaster oven is expected to cost just $149, yet it’s fashionable, can fit a 12-inch pizza, and has one of the simplest user interfaces we’ve ever used.
Larger models cost $249 and $349, adding options like a temperature probe and an LCD control panel that tells you where racks should go based on what you’re cooking.
All of them have unique silicone interiors, so you can forget about crumb trays and just wipe the inside down with a sponge. (I can't believe it's taken this long for that infernal contraption to disappear.)
Panasonic’s infrared cooking technology shouldn’t be one of the best-kept secrets in the world of small appliances, and I suspect the new Insta-Heat models will grab a significantly larger slice of the market when they go on sale next Spring.
They’ve certainly piqued my interest, anyway. So if you’re looking for a clean, used FlashXPress, make me an offer.