Choosing The Best Toaster For Your Kitchen

Choosing The Best Toaster For Your Kitchen

The toaster has been a part of American kitchens for close to 100 years, and this beloved appliance doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Offering a simple way to turn your bread into warm and crispy toast, this is one simple appliance that every home should have.

However, if you’re ready to upgrade your old toaster or find yourself suddenly without one due to a breakdown, the sheer range available can be confusing enough to put you off. With so many features now available, it seems it’s hard to find a quality toaster that does the basic stuff but does it well.

We’ve helped to narrow down that search a little further with our handing toaster buying guide, after carefully going through countless of the best toaster reviews to find our top picks.

Before you can decide on the best toaster for your home, though, you need to know a little more about what you expect from a toaster and how many mouths you have to feed each morning.

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What Is A Toaster?

The question might seem simple enough, but the modern toaster has adapted quite a bit since its first invention. A toaster is a kitchen appliance that features a number of slots where bread is placed. You push down the lever, the toaster heats up your toast with heating elements, and when it’s done it pops up to give you warm and cooked toast.

Although this covers the basics, there is actually a lot more to consider when looking for the best toaster. To avoid yourself confusion from the beginning, though, it’s essential to differentiate between a toaster and toaster oven, as this is a common mistake people make.

In regards to the toaster vs toaster oven discussion, a toaster is the simpler of the devices and usually, the one found sitting on the countertop. You put the toast in the slots and it comes out cooked, so it’s easy enough to use.

A toaster oven, on the other hand, is more like a grill that allows you to make toast, grill cheese, broil a hamburger, and more. They heat up inside like a convection oven but in a smaller and more portable package.

Several toasters on the table.

For the purpose of this buying guide, though we are focusing solely on the classic toaster. Coming in either a four or two slice variety, these are the most common kitchen appliance found in America and capable of helping you create meals and snacks that are convenient and tasty.

Why A Quality Toaster Is Essential

You might be wondering why it’s such a big deal to choose the best toaster, and you’d be right in misunderstanding just how important this is as a kitchen appliance. Many families use inferior brands and cheaper toasters that were either gifted to them or picked up for a cheap price in the store, and eat their lesser quality toast without knowing any better.

When you have a good toaster, there’s no limit to how you can use it. Perfectly cooked toast can be eaten on its own, used for French toast, heat up defrosted bread, cook bagels to perfection, make club sandwiches, and so much more.

This is why it’s important to choose one that can heat evenly through, take little time to get your toast cooked, and has been built with quality materials and construction to last your kitchen for years.

Once you have a quality kitchen at home, you’ll be surprised by how much you start to use it, and with just one simple appliance you can feed the family exactly to their liking. Provided you choose the right features to meet your needs, there isn’t much these convenience little appliances can’t do.

The Top Features Of A Toaster

Toasters are no longer the simple appliances they used to be, with the modern toaster placing a bigger focus on convenience and style. Here are a few things you should look out for when figuring out what is the best toaster for your home, and some which may be more important to you than others.

  • Capacity - For domestic toasters, there are usually two sizes to choose from. First, the two slice toaster is the most common, however, once it was established that households need more toast cooking at once, the four slice toaster was invented. There is the possibility to get more than four slices, but this falls into the commercial toaster category.
  • Size - The size of a toaster is usually divided into two parts: the slot size and the appliance size. For those homes with less space, a more compact device is preferred, but many of the newer models can fit quite a lot into a little space. The slot width is measured in inches, with 1 ½ being fairly standard these days to fit bagels in also.
  • Power - The power refers to how many watts of electricity the toaster uses, and this can be helpful in indicating how quick the heating elements are at browning the toast, however, it’s not always a direct indication.
  • Materials - Toasters have become quite a trendy appliance, and many of them come nowadays with brushed metal or chrome finishes. Either a plastic or metal housing is most common with toasters, depending on the style you prefer.
  • Safety - As one of the more dangerous appliances found in the home, toaster makers have put a lot of effort into ensuring their modern devices are a lot safer. Cool touch casing, covered heating elements, and no shock exteriors are just a few safety features you might find on toasters today.
  • Extra Features - Additions to the modern toaster can customize your toast to perfection. Some popular settings include bagel, defrost, and reheat. The design of toasters has now changed to incorporate LED lights, LCD screens, and lift-and-look functions that let you check the progress of your toast without stopping the cooking process.

Our Recommendations For Best Toaster

As one of the most used kitchen appliances at home, you need to ensure you’re choosing the very best toaster for your needs. After weighing up the features that matter most, you should find it easier to choose from one of these that will suit what you want, and how to get a toaster that will match your family’s needs also.

We’ve narrowed down the search of the best 2 and 4 slice toasters so you can choose one that suits your home perfectly.

Best 2 Slice Toasters

Most toasters come in the two slice style, favored for their compact size. For those with smaller families or less toast consumption than average, a two slice toaster is the best style to choose from.

Oster Jelly Bean Toaster

If you’re looking for a budget friendly toaster but don’t want to get something inferior in quality, the Oster Jelly Bean 2 Slice Toaster is our top choice. This toaster covers the basics of what you need in a toaster without having too many complicated functions, and it’s affordable for families of all kinds of budgets.

Coming in either black of purple, this cute Oster toaster makes a great addition to all styles of décor. It’s made with a metallic finish which gives it a modern look and the slots are extra wide to accommodate all kinds of bread and bagels.

Be warned, though, that when cooking thicker items it’s advised to turn the heat down and give it longer to cook otherwise it won’t cook all the way through.

Oster TSSTTRJBP1 Jelly Bean 2-Slice Toaster

source: oster.com

Our Rating

There are four separate settings on the Oster Jelly Bean Toaster so you get a greater range of capabilities than you’d expect to find on an appliance this prize. You can select either toast, bagels, warm, or defrost to meet all of the needs you have while cooking toast.

Many reviews have commented it can take a little longer than usual to cook, but it will get it done perfectly every time.

The Oster Jelly Bean Toaster also allows you to adjust the bread guides to suit and comes with extra wide slots to get you started. These are features you wouldn’t expect to find on a more budget friendly toaster, so it has really made this a stand out when compared to cheaper models in the same price range.

Overall, the Oster Jelly Bean Toaster is great value for money without compromising on convenience and features.


Breville 2 Slice Smart Toaster

For a toaster that’s as stylish as it is functional, you can’t go wrong with the Breville 2 Slice Smart Toaster. This is an exceptional appliance that stands miles ahead of others, provided you’re happy to spend a little extra just to get this quality. Breville has always been known for making the greatest kitchen products, and that’s clearly evident with the 2 Slice Smart Toaster.

There’s no doubt that the Breville toaster is one of the more stylish toasters available, made from a brushed die-cast metal housing, giving your kitchen an instant makeover while it sits on your bench. It features an LED panel which illuminates to show the setting you’re on, so you’ll never end up with burnt toast again.

Breville 2-Slice Smart Toaster

Source: brevilleusa.com

Our Rating

The only real complaint that online reviewers had with this toaster was about the initial stage of getting used to the settings.

What many people thought would be darker toast ended up being a lot less light, so be prepared to waste a few pieces of bread until you get it right. However, once you do, you’ll get the most evenly cooked and perfect tasting toast you have ever tried.

There are a few settings to choose from on the Breville 2 Slice Smart Toaster, including toast, bagel, a bit more, defrost, and lift-and-look, which allows you to check on the progress of the toast as it’s cooking. The slots are 1 ½ inches wide so it can fit many different types of bread and bagels without burning them on the edges.

If you’re happy to spend a little more for a toaster that will last your family for years, the Breville 2 Slice Smart Toaster is an excellent choice. It’s easy to use and can get your toast cooked to perfection like no other, so it’s seriously worth considering making the initial investment in.

As one of the most stylish and functional toasters available, it’s well worth the extra money.


Kitchen Aid 2 Slice Toaster

When you take a look around your kitchen, you’ll likely find a product or two from Kitchen Aid. This brand specializes in making products just for the kitchen, which is why it’s not surprising their range of toasters are considered some of the best.

The Kitchen Aid 2 Slice Toaster has been built with the modern family in mind, designed to take some of the hard work and second guessing out of cooking your favorite breakfast.

The coolest thing by far about the Kitchen Aid Toaster is the one touch button which allows you to simply push it and your toast will lower down. When it’s done it will come back up unless of course, you want to check on the progress through the cooking and in that case you can use the lift and look function.

KitchenAid KMT223 Toaster

Source: kitchenaid.com

Our Rating

These two simple features might sound basic enough, but they make a world of difference during the morning rush when you’re trying to get breakfast organized.

As one of the more futuristic looking toasters, the Kitchen Aid 2 Slice Toaster will look amazing in any style of home. With a stainless steel finish and LCD screen, you’ll be mistaken in thinking this can do more than just toast bread.

Looks aside, it can toast your bread evenly and perfect but you'll need to keep the setting quite low to ensure it doesn’t come out burnt to a crisp.

The Kitchen Aid 2 Slice Toaster is definitely one of the more prestigious toasters available, so you have to be prepared to pay a little more, but the appliance will repay you with years of quality toast and a stunning addition to your home décor. If you want more from your toaster than just a simple push and pop up device, this is definitely one of the better options.


Best 4 Slice Toasters

For the family who loves their toast, you will want to find the best kitchen appliances to suit your growing needs. Four slice toasters can help more people eat breakfast on time, and with some having individual settings, you won’t need to give up on having toast cooked to your liking.

Cuisinart Classic 4 Slice Toaster

Cuisinart knows how to make quality kitchen appliances, so it’s no surprise that they’ve made one of the best four slice toasters ever seen. Their Classic 4 Slice Toaster comes in a beautiful brushed metal design that can add sleekness to any countertop, and its classic design means it fits in with all types of modern or older décor.

The options are endless with the Cuisinart Classic 4 Slice Toaster, with plenty of ways to customize your toast to perfection. There is a dual reheat, defrost, and bagel options if you’re not just cooking standard toast, and six different browning settings you can choose from.

Although there are numerous options, you won’t find it complicated or too futuristic looking as everything is controlled with classic dials and buttons.

There are four 1 ½ inch slots on the Cuisinart Toaster, and each side has its own control panel. If you’ve ever had a four slice toaster before that had just one control panel, you’ll realize how hard it is to get everyone their toast cooked to perfection because everyone had to eat it the same. With this toaster, you’ll never have that problem again.

Cuisinart CPT-180 Toaster

Source: cuisinart.com

Our Rating

Cuisinart offers a three-year warranty on this toaster, which is phenomenal when compared to other kitchen appliances. Another great addition that you can’t find on many toasters is the Hi-Lift function.

This allows you to push the toast up when it’s done so you can easily grab it out without needing to stick your fingers into the toaster, which has always been a hassle with traditional toasters.

Some people have said that they would prefer a little more evenness on their toast, but it depends on the type of bread you use. When you consider the low cost, especially for a toaster than can do four slices, these kinds of smaller issues probably won’t be a bother. Overall, this is one of the better-made toasters of all the varieties we have found.


Hamilton Beach Smart Toaster

Although relatively new to the kitchen appliance market when compared to other brands, there are many American homes nowadays that have at least one Hamilton Beach product at home. The Hamilton Beach toaster can fit four slices of bread but has been specifically designed to be a wide slot toaster so it’s even better at cooking bagels.

The best thing about this toaster is it’s been designed with plenty of safety features included, so it’s great for homes with children or those who might be worried about the safety of their kitchen appliances.

With SureGuard shock resistant concealed heating elements, there’s no risk of electrocution or burns as you find with many other toasters, so it can give you great peace of mind if you have small children around.

Hamilton Beach Smart Toast

source: hamiltonbeach.com

Our Rating

Although these safety features might be appealing, some have stated that the concealed heating elements cause it to be unpredictable when cooking toast. Some days the toast will be burnt and others undercooked, but it depends on each machine and the settings you’re using. If safety is key, though, this will be something you can easily overlook.

In terms of price, this would suit the family who needs a four slice toaster but can’t afford to spend too much. You get the trusted name of Hamilton Beach on it which can prove just how quality it is, and it looks great sitting on any kitchen countertop.

Especially for homes who enjoy thicker slices of toast and the occasional bagel, you can’t go wrong with the Hamilton Beach Smart Toaster.


The Verdict

Having the right toaster is essential for your kitchen, due to the sheer use it gets from the average family. For that reason, selecting the best one for your needs will mean you get years of use out of it and enjoy perfectly cooked toast every time. From our top choices, we’ve narrowed down the search to find you the best four and two slice toasters.

The winner of the two slice toaster top pick has to be the Kitchen Aid 2 Slice Toaster. It not only looks great and performs like a modern appliance should, but it will cook your toast to absolute perfection each and every time. If this is a little too costly, the best budget choice is the Oster Jelly Bean toaster, offering a cute but quality appliance.

KitchenAid KMT223 Toaster On Table

In the four slice toaster category, the clear winner is the Cuisinart Classic Four Slice Toaster. With everything from its classic retro look to the capabilities it offers for how to cook your toast just the way you like it, you and your family won’t be disappointed with this sitting on your countertop.

As one of the most loved kitchen appliances of all time, we never really put as much thought into buying the best toaster as we should. However, with a little knowledge on what modern toasters can now offer, you’ll be more inclined than ever to upgrade to a model that can perfect your favorite breakfast each and every time.

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