Barely golden, practically black, or smothered in PB and J – however you like your toast, a quality toaster will give you perfect results every time. But what sets a great toaster apart from a mediocre one, and how do you select the model that’s right for you? In this quick guide to toasters, we’ll touch on what to consider before you go shopping and what kinds of features to look for. Read on and make all your toast-related dreams come true.
Considerations when choosing toasters
How many people eat toast in your house?
If it’s just one or two of you, a two-slice toaster is likely to suffice, but for families with children, you’ll probably need a four-slice model to put enough toast on the breakfast table.
How often do you eat toast?
Do you eat toast for breakfast daily, regularly toast bread for sandwiches, or often toast buns at dinner time? If so, you’ll probably want to spend more on your toaster than someone who only uses it once or twice a week. Infrequent consumers of toast rarely need anything more than a basic toaster.
Do you often toast irregularly shaped bread?
Toasters are designed to toast standard sliced bread from a precut loaf. However, there is a lot more to the world of toast that that. If you regularly toast large slices of sourdough boule, extra-tall homemade bread, or sliced baguettes, you know the pain of attempting to evenly toast larger-than-average bread in a toaster. But it doesn’t need to be that tricky; you can find toasters with extra-long slots that fit either two regular slices of bread side by side or one long one. The added benefit is that these toasters have slim profiles.
Everyone has their own toast preference. Some people like it so pale it’s basically warm bread; others prefer it so dark it’s verging on burned. A good range of browning settings lets you make toast just how you like it. Most toasters feature a knob that you can turn to select your chosen degree of brownness.
The majority of toasters feature other settings that may or may not be useful to you, depending on what you toast and how you toast it. Common settings include defrost, bagel, pastry, and reheat.
The bread lifter lets you lift your finished toast a little bit higher than usual, so you can easily grab your toast without scalding your fingers. This is especially useful for toasting small slices of bread, burger buns, bagels, and English muffins.
Expect to pay between $15 and $30 for a basic toaster, depending on its size and features. Mid-range toasters are more durable and have more extra features. These tend to cost between $40 and $80. If you’re truly serious about toast, you can find high-end models that cost up to $200 (or even more).
Q. Is there anything I should do to maintain my toaster?
A. Toasters are low-maintenance items. All you need to do it empty the crumb tray underneath every couple of weeks.
Q. Is it easy to burn yourself on a toaster?
A. It’s possible to burn yourself on some toasters if you accidentally brush up against the outside while the appliance is being used. To avoid this problem, seek out a toaster with a cool-touch exterior. Cool-touch toasters are a good idea if you have young children in the house.
Toasters we recommend
Best of the best: Breville BTA830XL Die-Cast 4-Slice Long Slot Smart Toaster
Our take: The extra-long slots mean this toaster can either take four regular slices of bread or a couple of extra-long slices, such as those from homemade boules.
What we like: We love the bagel mode, which perfectly toasts the inside of bagels without burning the outside. Sleek to look at and easy to use.
What we dislike: The high price.
Best bang for your buck: Oster 2-Slice Toaster
Our take: This two-slice toaster may be inexpensive, but it has plenty of features that make it feel high-end.
What we like: Seven easy-to-select toast shade settings plus four modes, including “pastry” and “bagel.”
What we dislike: Larger slices of bread can be too tall to fit inside, leaving you with an untoasted part at the top.
Choice 3: Cuisinart CPT-180 Metal Classic 4-Slice Toaster, Brushed Stainless
Our take: A smart, attractive four-slice toaster of brushed steel that is very reasonably priced considering its size and quality.
What we like: The 1.5-inch slots can accommodate thickly sliced bread. Dual controls are great for families with different toast preferences.
What we dislike: Some users report uneven toasting.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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