After toasting countless bagels and slices of bread, we’ve determined the Breville Smart Toaster BTA840XL is the best overall toaster for most people. In our tests, this model toasted evenly and consistently, and it ably toasted frozen bread and bagels too. It has wide and long toast slots to fit various sizes of bread, as well as multiple features that aren’t found on many other toasters.
Breville Smart Toaster BTA840XL
This device made evenly toasted bread in our tests on a consistent basis. Many toasters get hotter and will burn the second or third batch of toast, but the Breville Smart Toaster kept the heat consistent.
Dash Clear View DVTS501RD
This toaster retained consistent heat after several uses and toasted bread evenly during our testing. It is one of the least expensive toasters we reviewed, making it a great value choice.
Smeg 2 Slice TSF01PGUS
This retro-looking appliance toasts bagels wonderfully and looks great on your kitchen counter. But it struggles with consistent heat and burns bread even at a medium setting, so we recommend keeping it at a low temperature.
This is hands-down the best toaster we reviewed. To start, no device is better at toasting bread evenly. In our tests, every slice of bread came out nicely browned on both sides, with minimal visible bar marks and no burning. It also did a great job with defrosting and toasting frozen bread.
In one round of testing, we toasted multiple slices of bread back to back to see if the toaster would get hotter over time and begin to burn bread. This toaster maintained consistent heat and repeatedly made good toast.
It yielded similar results toasting frozen bread. And in our bagel test, it continued to excel. The toaster has a bagel feature that toasts just one side of the bagel so that it’s crunchy on the inner side and soft on the outside.
This toaster comes with some unique features, too. The Lift and Look feature lets you check on the toast midcycle. When you press a single button, the bread pops up for a few seconds and then lowers back into the toaster to finish. The A Bit More function works in tandem with the Lift and Look feature: If you think the bread needs a bit more time, this feature adds another 30 seconds to the toasting time without changing the main timing dial.
The Dash Clear View toaster performed well in our tests, producing toast that was evenly browned on both sides without any burn marks. The device also did an exceptional job toasting frozen bread and bagels.
The glass door on the front of the toaster allows you to watch the browning process. Admittedly, this is a bit of a novelty design. As soon as you become familiar with your toaster, you’ll likely keep the same settings and won’t need to use the glass window all that often. But it’s nice while you learn the sweet-spot settings.
There are a few tradeoffs for this best-value toaster. For one, the crumb tray is awkward to access. Longer than it is wide, the tray is accessed from the side of the toaster. If the toaster sits next to a wall or other objects, you’ll have to move it to fully remove the tray. It is also a bit of a pain to pull out.
The toaster has just one slot, even though it is long enough to fit two slices of bread. If you have two pieces of longer bread – such as sourdough – you might not be able to fit more than one slice in the slot at a time.
Best for Bagels
This toaster could get an award for the best-looking, but we also enjoyed the way the Smeg warms bagels. It looks great on the countertop and comes in a handful of colors, and it makes great toasted bagels. However, it didn’t test well when it came to toasting bread.
This device simply runs hot. After repeated use, it gets hotter and hotter. When you make multiple slices of toast back to back, the later ones become burned even though the settings haven’t changed. But on a low setting, this toaster makes great toasted bagels. In fact, it was better than all others in this category.
Not only does the inside of the toaster get increasingly hot after multiple uses – so does the exterior. The external temperature reached 127.9 degrees Fahrenheit and was the second hottest toaster we tested. This is a bit of a safety concern when you’re reaching in to grab your toast. That said, if you eat more bagels than toast, you’ll want to consider this great-looking toaster.
The Waring WCT 708 is a four-slot toaster with a 5.5-foot cord, making it the easiest toaster to place on your counter.
This toaster is also one of the most expensive models we tested, and it has the least amount of features – a disappointing fact when cheaper models like the Dash Clear View outperformed it for less money.
We really did like the fact that we could plug this toaster in and put if nearly anywhere on our testing counter. This is a great feature for cluttered counters with power outlets in odd places or kitchen islands. Fortunately, the cord is retractable, so it stays out of the way for storage.
Best Digital Toaster
The Cuisinart CPT-440 Touch to Toast is a digital 4-slice toaster that has the longest warranty of all the toasters we tested – three years.
It also has push-button digital controls, including an automatic lift so you can check on the progress of your toast. For a full featured digital toaster, the Touch to Toast toaster is somewhat affordable, although it is much more than a $20 budget model.
Fortunately, this toaster is excellent with bagels, scoring a 98 percent on our tests. The special bagel setting works well, and the toaster consistently produces the same quality, even after continual, repeated testing by our reviewers. The Cuisinart is also one of the safest toasters available as it has an automatic shutoff feature. If the toaster gets jammed, it will turn itself off to prevent overheating and possible fire hazard.
Why Trust Us
We have been researching and testing toasters for seven years. We have watched (and continued to update our testing methods) as toasters have evolved from a relatively simple appliance that you never think about to a versatile one with many settings and features to help create perfect toast and bagels. We’ve toasted many bagels, dry bread slices and frozen bread during our testing to make sure we can tell you exactly how each one performs.
How We Tested
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.
How Much Do Toasters Cost?
Toasters come in a wide variety of styles but spending more is not always a guarantee of better toast. In our tests we found that some of our cheapest toasters made better toast than some high-end models. Toasters can range in price from less than $20 to over $150 and can feature digital or manual controls. Generally speaking, toasters with more cooking slots cost more – depending on the quality of the toaster. Our advice is to purchase a toaster that has enough slots to fit your favorite breads or bagels and fits your budget.
While toasters are simple in function, they can still be a dangerous appliance. We've all laughed as a cartoon character or actor was zapped by putting a fork in the toaster or from dropping their toaster in the bath - but these aren't the only safety considerations for your toaster. Firstly, you should always make sure the crumb tray is regularly cleaned out. This can prevent smoke and burning food. Toasters generate heat, but do you ever think about where that heat goes? It goes up. Use your toaster in an area that doesn't have overhanging cabinets or appliances to avoid possible flames or heat damage.
Other simple safety tips include:
- Keep the toaster and cord away from countertop edges where it could be pulled or bumped off.
- Unplug the toaster and let it cool completely before storing.
- Keep it out of reach of children and teach older children how to properly use the toaster.
- If a piece of bread gets stuck - unplug the unit before attempting to remove it.
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 for 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.
Can You Toast a Croissant in a Toaster?
Because of the flaky, delicate nature of croissants, toasting them in a traditional toaster isn’t the best way to heat them. This is because, first, it is easy for the croissant to catch on the heating elements and tear, both ruining your croissant and creating a possible fire hazard. Second, it’s hard to tell how high to set your heat level to avoid burning. A lot of standard toasters don’t have slots big enough to fit a croissant either.
We suggest using either a traditional oven or a toaster oven for croissants. Both of these have windows that let you watch your croissant to ensure it doesn’t overcook. Both also cook croissants without squishing or tearing them. Using a toaster oven also lets you bypass a tray or baking sheet so you can get a good, golden color on both sides of the croissant without having to flip it over.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Performance||Design||Features||Safety||Help & Support||Depth (inches)||Width (inches)||Weight (pounds)||Height (inches)||Online User Manual||Phone/Email||Warranty||Automatic Shut-Off||Exterior Temperature (Fahrenheit)||Stop/Eject||High Lift||Slot Length (inches)||Hideaway Cord||Cord Length (feet)||Slot Width (inches)||Lowering System||Color Options||Removable Crumb Tray||Slots||Slot Depth (inches)||Number of Shade Settings||Evenness Score||Reheat||Time to Done (minutes:seconds)||Ease of Use Score||Bagel Score||Frozen Score||Consistency Score||Adjustable Settings||Progress Indicator||Audio Alert||Digital Display||Illuminated Buttons||Dual Control||Lift and Look|
|Breville Smart Toaster BTA840XL||View Deal||5/5||10||10||9.8||9.3||8||13.2||13.2||9.5||9.2||✓||✓||1 Year||✓||110.7||✓||✓||5.5||✓||3.1||1.6||Auto||1||Front||2 or 4||5.0||5||100%||✓||2:18||92%||100%||98%||99%||✓||Light||✓||-||✓||✓||✓|
|Cuisinart Touch to Toast CPT-440||View Deal||4.5/5||9||9.5||9.8||10||10||11||10.2||5.5||7.3||✓||✓||3 Years||✓||88.8||✓||✓||5.5||✓||2.6||1.5||Auto||1||Back||2 or 4||5.0||7||80%||✓||2:04||93%||98%||80%||93%||-||Light||✓||✓||✓||✓||-|
|Breville Lift and Look BTA630XL||View Deal||4.5/5||9.3||10||9.5||7.8||8||15.5||8.1||6.1||8.2||✓||✓||1 Year||-||129.3||✓||✓||9.8||✓||3.0||1.5||Auto||1||Front||2||5.0||5||83%||✓||2:34||87%||100%||93%||99%||✓||Light||✓||-||✓||-||✓|
|Cuisinart Classic CPT-180||View Deal||4.5/5||9.5||8.5||8.3||7.3||10||12.5||11.4||6.1||8||✓||✓||3 Years||✓||81.2||✓||-||5.3||✓||2.4||1.4||Manual||5||Back||2 or 4||5.0||6||93%||✓||1:27||86%||95%||88%||89%||✓||-||-||-||✓||✓||-|
|Dash Clear View DVTS501RD||View Deal||4.5/5||9.3||8.8||7.8||6.8||8||8||18||4.4||5.8||✓||✓||1 Year||✓||92.6||✓||-||10.5||✓||3.4||1.5||Manual||4||Back||1||4.0||7||95%||✓||2:15||84%||80%||93%||99%||✓||-||-||-||✓||-||-|
|KRUPS KH 734D||View Deal||4/5||8.5||8.8||8.3||5.8||9||13.5||13.3||5.3||8.6||✓||✓||2 Years||-||95.7||✓||-||5.8||✓||3.2||1.5||Manual||1||Front||2 or 4||4.5||6||73%||✓||2:44||89%||95%||78%||86%||✓||-||-||-||✓||✓||-|
|Smeg 2 Slice TSF01PGUS||View Deal||4/5||9||8.8||7.8||4.8||8||15.5||8.5||7.1||8||✓||✓||1 Year||-||127.9||✓||-||6.0||✓||2.9||1.5||Manual||7||Back||2 or 4||4.3||6||85%||✓||1:24||72%||100%||85%||89%||✓||-||-||-||✓||-||-|
|Waring WCT 708||View Deal||4/5||8||8.8||6.8||5.8||8||4.5||16||7.5||4.5||✓||✓||1 Year||-||91.3||✓||-||5.5||✓||5.5||1.5||Manual||1||Front||2 or 4||4.0||6||78%||-||1:57||85%||63%||68%||86%||✓||-||-||-||-||✓||-|