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.
The Russell Hobbs Inspire toaster holds four slices of bread. Each side has its own lever and crumb tray with a lift and look feature and a high lift function for easily grabbing smaller items. The central controls include a shading dial that adjusts how brown your toast gets for both sides. Other controls include defrosting, reheat and cancel buttons. The outside of this Russell Hobbs toaster is covered with ribbed plastic that keeps it cool even when cooking. It is lined with chrome accents to give it a high-end look.
The four slots of the Morphy Richards Verve toaster are extra wide to hold thicker pieces of bread, including bagels, without a problem. It has a sliding shade setting rather than a dial, plus function buttons for defrosting and reheating items. There are two crumb trays - one per side - that slide completely out. This makes it easier to empty and clean in between uses. The outside of this toaster is plastic, so you can easily handle it when hot without burning yourself.
This toaster is more compact than four-slice models, but it still has plenty to offer. The slots are wide enough to hold extra-thick slices of bread, pastries, and bagels. The high lift function brings toasted foods up enough to grab without burning your fingers. Settings include both reheat and defrost, plus a dial shade setting for choosing how dark you’d like your toast to be. The Breville toaster also has a lift and look feature that lets you look at your toast while it’s cooking without first canceling the cooking cycle.
Includes warming rack
The IKICH toaster features a long design that holds two slices of bread on a single slot rather than individual side-by-side slots like traditional toasters. It is convenient for toasting longer slices of bread, too. This four-slice toaster has a warming rack that sits over the slots to be used to heat pastries and bread that don’t fit inside the toaster, like croissants and muffins. The IKICH has six browning settings that are set using a dial. It also has button settings for defrosting and reheating toast inside the toaster.
What to look for when buying a toaster
How well a toaster browns your bread, including consistency, bar marks, and burning, are typically at the top of the list when shopping for a toaster. Most models, with few exceptions, do a good job of consistently cooking toast to the perfect done-ness. There is a bit of a learning curve with any new toaster and you figure out where to set the shading dial for the best piece of toast.
Another feature to consider is the slot width, especially if you enjoy toasting bagels and other thicker breads. Most toasters have extra-wide slots to accommodate this, though if you like longer bread, then look for a long-slotted model like the IKICH.
Here are a few other things to think about before buying a new toaster.
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.