Tuesday, May 21, 2024

4 Best Toasters (2024), Reviewed by Our Experts

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Toasters seem like such simple little gadgets, especially compared to all those shiny, multi-use toaster ovens. But one problem with the best toaster ovens: They take up a lot of space—some of our top picks comfortably hold a small turkey. And while they can do a lot, not everyone needs a countertop device that can broil, air fry, reheat a whole pizza, and do your son’s math homework. Sometimes you just need toast.

The best toasters

Breville ‘A Bit More’ 2-Slice Toaster

Professional Series 2-Slice Stainless Steel Wide Slot Toaster

Cuisinart CPT-620 2-Slice Custom Select Toaster

Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster

Our favorite toasters, even the biggest one on this list, are relatively compact, reliable, and easy-to-use. They’ll deliver all the crispy carbs you want in the morning: pieces of toast, English muffins, frozen waffles, and bagels.

Best two-slice toaster: Breville A Bit More

Breville ‘A Bit More’ 2-Slice Toaster

When our sister publication Epicurious tested more than two dozen toasters, they found that Breville actually makes the best two and four-slice toasters. They’re weighty, durable, and have that slick, stainless steel, quasi-industrial look that Breville is famous for across their whole range including the ovens, food processors, and coffee makers they produce.

The two-slice “A Bit More” toaster has easy-to-use digital controls including a slider with five doneness settings. It also has toast, bagel, and cancel buttons along with the eponymous feature, which allows you to extend your toasting time just slightly if your bread looks a little underdone when it pops out.

Another nice feature: The lights that indicate the doneness setting black out one by one, serving as a countdown to let you know your toast is almost ready. Testers used this model on white bread, sourdough, frozen waffles, and bagels; it performed consistently across all of them. It did take longer (about three minutes and 45 seconds on toast level four) than other toasters in the test, but our patience was rewarded with evenly browned toast.

There’s one real potential negative here: This two-slice model is oriented horizontally, meaning the buttons and sliders are on the long side of the toaster. So it might not be a fit for a small kitchen with tight counter space. If you’re looking for a better toaster for small spaces, check out the pick from food editor Shilpa Uskokvic below.

Best four-slice toaster: Breville Die Cast

Pros: feels sturdy, extra-wide slots, easy-to-use controls, consistent toasting
Cons: high price tag, the size and orientation cause it to take up more space

Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster

While the Breville “A Bit More“ does come in a four-slice version, we liked Breville’s other 4-slice toaster, the Die Cast, more. Both toasters have a four-slice capacity, but the Die Cast has four individual slots, while the Bit More is a long-slot toaster and just has two. That means the Die Cast model is more flexible: “If one person wants a bagel and the other a waffle, or if one likes toast barely browned and the other likes toast as dark as a carbon shingle, that can all get done at the same time,“ notes producer Alaina Chou, who most recently tested all of these toasters. Instead of a regular manual lever, the Die Cast also has a luxurious motorized “lift and look” function that slowly raises your toast like baby Simba from the Lion King. If that sounds a little ostentatious, it is, but it feels good to watch.

Best budget toaster: Professional Series Wide Slot

Pros: affordable, wide slots that’ll fit almost any slice of bread, removable crumb tray, symmetrical toasting
Cons: the lift mechanism may be strong than you’d want

Professional Series 2-Slice Stainless Steel Wide Slot Toaster

Not everyone has the budget for a $100 toaster (or wants to spend $100 on a toaster even if they do). For high performance at a low price we’d point you to this budget model from Professional Series. It doesn’t include some of the Breville’s luxury features, like a light-up interface or slow motion toast presentation, but it’s still a high-quality kitchen appliance that, at the time of writing, cost a cool $44. At this price point, you’re often left with a plastic toaster as opposed to a stainless steel one like this. The Professional Series browns both thin and thick slices of bread to symmetrical golden brown beauty in under two minutes. The removable crumb tray makes clean-up a breeze, but the pop-up lift mechanism can get a bit “aggressive” as the Epicurious reviewers found—“springing lighter pieces of bread right out of the slot on occasion.” Aside from that, this is a terrific little toaster for the money, and at only nine inches across fits nicely even on smaller countertops.

Best toaster for small kitchens: Cuisinart CPT-620 2-Slice Custom Select Toaster

Pros: affordable, toasts evenly, variety of toast settings, compact
Cons: sometimes takes slightly longer to toast, slightly shorter slots

Cuisinart CPT-620 2-Slice Custom Select Toaster

Senior food editor Shilpa Uskokovic had never owned a toaster as an adult until January of 2024. For the longest time she just used a panini press if she wanted to toast bread for breakfast or a sandwich. But recently she began to feel that the panini press wasn’t delivering the heat she wanted and decided it was time to buy a toaster. Originally she had her eyes on a retro Smeg model or even an air-fryer-toaster-oven combo—but, after being unconvinced by her research that they’d fit her particular kitchen and needs, she finally impulse-bought this toaster from Cuisinart at Costco.

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