This is my first post. In looking for the right toaster oven and questioning TO safety. I've done some research. Here are my concerns.
Nonstick coating - I understand the coatings start breaking down at 500 degrees F, but I've also read that you need to cover most of the bottom surface of the pan with food while cooking to keep the vacant pan surface from reaching 500 F. So, I wonder, what is happening to the nonstick coating located where the quartz heating element plugs into the side of the TO? There's no food on that surface to absorb the heat and keep the temp from climbing to 500+ if you are broiling. So is it breaking down and outgassing toxic vapors? It seems like all but the cheapest toaster ovens have this coating, and the reviews make the cheaper ovens sound more dangerous from fires or shattering glass.
Quartz tube heating elements - I've watched one of these in a space heater crack and burst into flames. I remember my Mom had a TO that lasted for decades heated by wires like a toaster. I'm baffled why the older technology in TOs has been phased out for a seemingly more hazardous one. Do quartz elements crack and flame out in TOs? Or do TOs have some standard mechanism for stopping a fire from quartz tubes? And how important are those little shields that cover the quartz elements? (I've noticed the Breville compact and Mini don't have them. Even many cheapo Walmart TOs have them, for heavens sake.) I've been eyeing a Breville mini -- small kitchen -- but these two concerns are stopping me.
Also, without convection, does the Breville mini cook unevenly, or does the smaller space minimize hot spots? Thanks for any advice you TO veterans can pass on.