Here are the best toasters from designs to be a permanent fixture on your countertop to lightweight options that are easy to put away. Look for a toaster with a removable crumb tray for easy maintenance and multiple settings to ensure you get the shade of bread you’re looking for. With two-slice and four-slice toasters to choose from and an array of different features, there’s sure to be an appliance to suit your bread-based output.
This beautiful toaster by Cuisinart has all the features and functionality your need to prepare perfectly even and toaster bread for any occasion. The extra-wide slots fit bagels and other thick bread while the turn dial lets you decide how light or dark your toast should be. It has a specific bagel setting, a reheat function, and a cancel feature. The stainless steel toast is easy to wipe clean and the crumb tray slides out so it can be thoroughly cleaned. Though this Cuisinart toaster holds two slices, four-slice options are also available.
Great for bagels
The Hamilton Beach toast is simple, but it has extra-wide slots to fit thick pieces of bread or even bagels without a problem. It has a turn dial for setting the shade level and makes your toast as light or as dark and you’d like. The crumb tray swings open and there is a convenient cord storage slot in the back. The Hamilton Beach toaster doesn’t have a lot of extra features, but this basic appliance doesn’t need too much to get the job done.
Long slice toaster
This four-slice toaster holds bread slices length wide instead of side-by-side. This gives you extra room on your countertop to use and store the Elite Gourmet Maxi-Matic toaster. It has a dial shade setting, but function buttons for canceling the toaster and for defrosting bread without toasting it. It also has a reheat setting which is great for warming up toast without getting it darker or drying it out.
The Cuisinart CPT-435 toaster is a digital four-slice toaster that two separate display screens for each side. It has push-button controls, including an automatic list so you can check on the progress of your toast. It has settings for defrosting, reheat, and bagels. You can set each side separately so you can toast bread and bagels at the same time with their own settings. This Cuisinart toaster has a blue backlit countdown feature as part of its smart digital display.
The glass window of the Dash Clear View toaster lets you watch your bread toast. While this may be a bit of a novelty design, it is helpful when there are multiple people in the house with a variety of toast preferences. This toaster evenly brows bread on both sides without burn marks and is exceptionally good at toasting frozen bread and bagels. The longer design is a bit awkward and the crumb tray takes a bit more time to empty compared to more traditionally designed toasters.
The Breville Smart toaster evenly browns toast on all sides with minimal visible bar marks and no burning regardless of the shade setting you choose. This is true even when toasting frozen bread. Its bagel feature toasts just one side of the bagel to give you a crunchy inside and a soft outside. The Lift and Look feature lets you check on the toast mid-cycle while the A Bit More function adds another 30 seconds to the toasting time without changing the main timing dial.
How we tested toasters
To evaluate each toaster’s performance, we conducted four tests:
The evenness test was the most critical and heavily weighted test we performed. We set the toaster on the medium heat level and toasted a slice of white bread. We checked for evenness on both sides of the bread, as well as for burn marks.
Some toasters get hotter after repeated use. The toaster will toast the first batch of bread evenly, but the second and third batches progressively become more burnt. We toasted several slices back-to-back on a medium setting and in the same slot to determine heat consistency. Toasters that maintained evenly toasted bread after several uses received high scores.
If you freeze bread for longer storage, you’ll want a toaster that can cook frozen bread. We tested how well the appliance toasted frozen bread by setting the toaster on the medium level. If the toaster offered a defrost setting, we used it for the tests. We looked for evenness and consistency in the toast. We noticed that toasters with a defrost setting did much better than ones without it.
Finally, we checked to see how well each model toasted bagels on a medium setting. If the toaster had a bagel setting – to toast just one side of the bagel – we used that.
Other important considerations
Cleaning & Reliability
If you are looking for a toaster that won’t leave a mess, find one that has an easy-to-remove crumb tray. A crumb tray that can be removed from the front is the most convenient and easiest to clean and replace. When we spoke with Alexus, an appliance associate at Best Buy, she told us that the number one reason toasters were returned – surprisingly enough – was because the crumb trays were difficult to remove. “You get what you pay for. The cheaper ones won’t cost as much, but they might be plastic or require a manual to know how to remove [the crumb tray].” She went on to say that the more expensive devices, while they do cost more, are typically better designed and easier to use.
We contacted multiple restaurant locations of a well-known breakfast franchise to get a better idea of the reliability of these appliances. The general managers from each location told us that they have never had an issue with their toasters even though they typically use their devices at least 20 times a day. This isn’t very surprising since toasters are relatively simple machines. They did note, however, that cleaning the crumb trays regularly helps the toaster work better and prevents them from giving off any smells.
2-Slice vs. 4-Slice Toasters
If you’re in college or live on your own, you will likely only need a two-slot toaster. These are typically cheaper and take up less counter space. However, if you have kids or usually have breakfast at the same time as someone else in your household, having a four-slice toaster can help make your mornings run more smoothly. The best four-slice toasters have dual control, meaning that the two sets of toaster slots operate independently of each other so you can perfectly toast your bread while your significant other toasts their bread at a different setting. This way if you and someone else want to use the toaster at the same time, you can. These machines are often twice the size of the two-slice toasters so you will want to make sure you have counter space available.
Checking on Your Toast
Another design feature to look for is an automatic lift. Rather than pulling down a lever to lower your bread, all you need to do is press a button. The toaster then smoothly lowers the bread for you and lifts it when it’s finished. Although this feature doesn’t affect the functionality of the toaster, it gives it a luxurious and impressive feel.