As of 2015, toaster ovens have heating elements as part of their basic design. The basic design of a modern toaster oven typically includes two heating elements placed at the upper and lower sections of the machine. The heating elements allow the oven to toast bread horizontally.
A toaster oven can also be used to toast other types of food products that are similar to bread. Certain models can also operate as a miniature oven and can include a broil setting. Toaster ovens with this feature generally require more wattage to operate and have slightly different control systems. Toaster ovens that can both broil and bake, for example, typically allow users to control temperature to a more precise degree.