The 10 Best Toasters
This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in February of 2016. Speed up your morning routine with one of these toasters that will add a classy touch to your kitchen while browning your bread, bagel, or waffle to the perfect shade. We've included something for everyone, from the economical to the highly advanced to the stylish, and in both 2- and 4-slice options. Whichever you choose, remember to keep it clean, as built-up crumbs can become a fire hazard. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 16, 2021:
We made a major change during this update and have decided to consolidate a couple of our lists. Rather than having separate pages for 2- and 4-slice options as we did previously, we have decided to merge them to make things a bit more convenient for our readers. This way, you'll no longer have to check separate rankings to figure out which models is best for you. You'll also notice that many of our recommendations, such as the Hamilton Beach 22796, Dualit NewGen, Cuisinart CPT-180, among others, are available in both sizes, so compiling them all onto a single list just made sense.
Of course, in addition to compiling our lists, we also made some changes to our recommendations and found some great new models to include. The modern Revolution Cooking R180 is one such item. Its large touchscreen makes it a great choice for anyone who leans towards modern appliances, and its proprietary elements heat up and cook bread quickly, which can save you a few precious minutes on those mornings you wake up late. On the other end of the spectrum are models like the Dualit NewGen and Keenstone WT-330, which have a very retro look that brings to mind images of a 1950's dinner.
We have included 4-slice recommendations in two styles, those that actually have four individual slots, like the Dualit NewGen, KitchenAid KMT4115, and Black+Decker T4030, as well as those that have two elongated slots, such as the Breville BTA830XL. In addition to cooking four standard grocery-store sliced breads, these latter kind also accept long artesian slices that don't fit in many other models.
December 02, 2019:
While two-slice toasters are convenient and don’t take up a lot of counter space, sometimes they just won’t cut it when you’ve got a household of mouths to feed. That’s where these 4-slice models come in handy, and some actually feature a surprisingly small footprint, whether you keep them on the counter or choose to store them in a cabinet in between use.
New to the list is the KitchenAid KMT4115, which is from a popular brand in home appliances and a manufacturer that’s been around for a century. It’s offered in several color choices, including neutral stainless steel or the company’s signature Empire Red. (Many users go with the signature red color as it matches their KitchenAid mixer.) It features two easy-to-clean crumb trays that pop out from the back and emits a friendly beep when your toast is popping up. It’s easy to select your desired shade by turning the dial knob.
Although its manufacturer is better known for hardware and power tools, the Black+Decker T4030 offers a reliable performance and a host of handy toasting options, including one which thaws and browns bread, waffles, or pancakes straight from the freezer. Just select “Bagel” for a setting that will make the top (the cut side) crispy while ensuring the bottom side is warm but soft. It’s got handy light-up status indicators and extra-lift levers to keep your hands away from its hot surface when you retrieve your toast or bagel.
Another new addition is the Proctor Silex 24216, which comes at a budget-friendly price yet affords the reliability and performance any regular toast-eater comes to expect. Just pop in your bread, set the browning level, press down the slider, and it takes it from there. It’s built with safety in mind, with an exterior that stays cool to the touch.
For an innovative model that ensures you’ll have your breakfast sandwich ready in no time, look to the West Bend TEM4500W which not only can toast four slices or English muffin pieces, but can also cook an egg and heat up pre-cooked meat at the same time, thanks to the included tray-pans. It’s also capable of hard- or soft-boiling up to eight eggs at a time with the included basket. This appliance can really come in handy on road trips when you’re staying at a hotel and want an affordable breakfast, and no matter where you’re using it, it has a handy automatic shutoff feature for safety.
Speaking of safety, some general rules involving toasters include always unplugging them when they're not in use to minimize the risk of a fire. Also, never attempt to remove anything that's jammed in a toaster while it is plugged in, as this can deliver an electric shock; rather, unplug the toaster and wait until it has completely cooled before removing any food that has become lodged inside.
Cafe Express Finish Toaster Almost as much a decorative item as a functional one, the Cafe Express Finish Toaster is ideal for those who want their appliances to have some stylistic flair. It features eye-catching copper accents and has all the features you need, but allows you to manage them from an uncomplicated and somewhat minimalistic interface. cafeappliances.com
Hobart ET27 Commercial Pop Up Toaster This industrial-grade appliance is great for toasting regular bread, English muffins, and even wide slices of Texas Toast, thanks to its four 1-inch-wide openings. Its sturdy, stainless steel exterior features a modern design with a single-piece top and front. Its solid-state controls adjust the browning time and automatically compensate for factors like voltage fluctuations and ambient temperature. It’s ideal for commercial environments in which continuous use is often needed. abmfoodequipment.com
Williams Sonoma Signature Touch 4-Slice Toaster This intuitive four-slice model will help you toast your bread, bagels, and more exactly how you like them. It’s easy to select from five functions and seven levels of browning, thanks to the advanced touchscreen that offers 11 lighted buttons. The slots feature self-centering guides for even toasting every time. The functions include “Toast,” “Bagel,” “Defrost,” “Keep Warm,” and “Cancel.” Its motorized lift automatically lowers and raises your bread, without the need for any mechanical levers. williams-sonoma.com
A Four Slice Toaster: The Appliance You Didn't Know You Were Missing
With a good four slice toaster, on the other hand, your breakfast platter or club sandwich lunch will be ready twice as fast.
This might come as something of a surprise, but the average toaster requires at least three and a half minutes to toast a decent slice of bread. In fact, a group of scientists even conducted a study testing thousands of slices of toast made in dozens of toasters and concluded that, based on an array of metrics including everything from golden-brown color to external crunch and internal softness, the ideal slice of toast cooks in a toaster for exactly 216 seconds.
That's the better part of four minutes, meaning that if you would like to serve two people two slices of toast each, you will have to wait around for no fewer than seven minutes and 12 seconds for all four pieces of bread to be ready. That is, assuming you are using a standard two slice toaster. With a good four slice toaster, on the other hand, your breakfast platter or club sandwich lunch will be ready twice as fast.
One important to thing to keep in mind is that four slice toasters are never twice as expensive as two slice options; in fact, on average they are only about 30 percent higher in cost. Most two slice toasters operate at an average power consumption of around 1,200 watts. While a four slice model certainly uses more power, it does not use twice as much energy as its smaller counterpart. So, ultimately, preparing four slices of toast (or four waffles or two sliced bagels) at once is not only more efficient in terms of time saved, but also in reduced energy consumption and operating cost — that's good for the planet and for your bank account, too.
Once you are convinced that a toaster with four slots is the right appliance for your household, it's time to choose the right device. In most cases, there's little need for a toaster at the very top end of the price range, but if you regularly prepare bagels, waffles, toasted tarts, and bread, buying at least a midrange toaster is generally advised. Any decent toaster will have a dial to control its heating time and a removable tray for cleaning fallen crumbs from the unit. Also, look for features such as pre-set bagel or frozen food programs that will remove much of the guesswork from the toasting process.
Ultimately, you will likely find several toasters with similar functions in similar price brackets. If your toaster will usually live on the kitchen counter, then it's easy to justify spending extra cash for an appliance that looks handsome. A unit with a brushed stainless steel exterior is always a fine choice. For the toaster that will spend most of the time in a drawer or cabinet, looks are an afterthought; find the unit with the right features and the lowest cost.
Toaster Safety 101
Under normal conditions, using a toaster is a safe and simple affair. But as logic would dictate, any appliance that uses copious amounts of electricity and produces a high volume of heat can indeed be a safety hazard. So, take a few simple precautions to ensure that your toaster helps you make plenty of warm, tasty bagels and breads and never presents a danger to your home, friends, and family.
This includes napkins, wooden knife blocks and cutting boards, and other common kitchen items.
The first step to toaster safety is also the simplest: when you are not actively using your toaster, it should always be unplugged. This removes the possibility for the appliance to be accidentally activated, possibly while in close proximity to flammable materials like paper towels or cereal boxes, and it removes the chance of electric shock or an electrical fire. Also, be sure to move any and all potentially flammable materials away from your toaster before activating it. This includes napkins, wooden knife blocks and cutting boards, and other common kitchen items.
In the rare instance that a toaster does produce a fire, it's a wise idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand.. (Of course it's wise to have an extinguisher in any kitchen in general.)
Never try to clear a jam or clean out a toaster that is plugged into the wall, and always give a toaster at least four or five minutes after it has been disconnected from its power source before you attempt to service or clean it. A toaster can deliver a severe shock if its internal components are touched while it is plugged in, and lingering heat can cause an injury even well after the device was last used.
A Brief History Of Toasting Bread
Human beings have been baking and enjoying bread for tens of thousands of years. Heating prepared bread further, until it takes on a pleasant, toasted character is likewise not a recent development, with references to toasted bread dating back at least as far as the Middle Ages.
Early toasters were essentially nothing more than wire baskets with handles that allowed a slice of bread to be held over an open fire or slid into a heated oven.
The popularity of toast as an everyday foodstuff grew greatly during the 1800s, and many devices were developed to aid in the preparation of this enjoyable source of carbohydrates. Early toasters were essentially nothing more than wire baskets with handles that allowed a slice of bread to be held over an open fire or slid into a heated oven. The results were much the same as we know toast today, but the process was labor-intensive in the utmost.
The world's first recognized electric toaster was developed by a Scotsman named Alan MacMasters in the year 1893. His appliance was effective, but not durable, with the heating elements -- often made of iron -- subject to accidental melting. Developments in ever better elements using alloys led to safer, more stable toasters released in the early years of the 20th century.
The first pop-up toaster was developed by an American named Charles Strite who patented his now ubiquitous device in 1921. Toaster development throughout the rest of the century (and into the current era) mirrored other advances in technology at large, including the use of digital controls, LED indication lights, and ever-safer electrical components.