If you’re like most people, bread is a staple in your everyday diet. Toast is perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and just about every meal in between.
However, inexpensive and low quality toasters wear out quickly, and can end up sparking or completely burning out. The timer might break and lead to a constant game of guess-when-the-toast-is-burnt, or the levers and buttons will stop working entirely.
Toasting in the oven is a waiting game that can easily leave you with burnt bread, and when you’re struggling to keep up with a busy schedule as it is, the minutes wasted attempting to toast a couple pieces of bread each day can eat away at your precious time.
So, what’s the solution going to be? Look for a better toaster.
Today we'll be reviewing these three great products:
While it used to be as simple as going to your local appliance store and grabbing one off the shelf in whatever color and style you wanted, technology has evolved in a way that has led to many more features being put into toasters. And while your toaster might not be a high-tech gadget, there are some features you should consider.
One of those features is a crumb tray that can be pulled out and emptied. Most toasters under $20 lack this feature, and will eventually lead to disgusting crumbs building up inside your toaster that will emanate through your kitchen every time you go to pop in a slice of bread.
Within a few months of use, your cheap toaster will end up costing more due to the need to replace it yet again. While the toaster itself may still be in fine working condition, the inability to clean it out will lead you to spending more money on this seemingly simple kitchen appliance.
Another important aspect, like with any purchase, is durability. Going cheap today usually ends up costing you tomorrow when buyers need to purchase one or multiple replacements. Whereas, if we had invested the time and money initially, we would still have a working toaster and we wouldn’t have to be thinking about what could be building up in the bottom of it. Ew.
So, while buying a toaster isn’t a huge life decision, you should consider the time having a quality toaster will save you and how it can help to make your day-to-day routine just a tad bit simpler.
Even if you only use your toaster once a day, having one that you can confidently plug in and push down each morning, knowing that the bread will pop up when finished (rather than burning to a crisp until you remember to check it) will take one more worry off your busy mind.
Now, as you start looking for a good option, have a look at these three choices:
Black+Decker Two Slice Extra Wide Slot Toaster
Black+Decker is a very well-known brand, and their 2-slice, extra wide toaster comes in classic black with stainless steel accents to fit into any kitchen design. Its cost is minimal and its design is low-frills, so if you don’t have a large budget to invest into your toaster, this might be the way to go.
This toaster has only the bare minimum features. In other words, it pretty much will just toast your bread, bagels, Eggo waffles, etc.
The timer uses a toast-shade selection knob that lets you choose between levels one to seven. The bagel function will toast only one side of whatever you pop in, which is super fancy. With the extra-wide slots, you can also toast thick artisan breads like ciabatta and brioche.
The lever will automatically pop the toast up when the allotted time is complete. And, this does feature a drop-down crumb tray for you to keep it clean (after all, we did say it was a necessity).
It does its job, but keep in mind that it’s a budget toaster and you can only expect so much. The position 3 setting appears to be ideal for most store-bought breads. Bagels and thicker loaves will take a bit of experimenting for you to perfect your routine, but once you know the setting by heart, you’ll be able to pull out a perfectly toasted breakfast each morning.
Here are some points worth mentioning:
- The cord wraps around. There are some people who don't like this type of model because the “cord comes out the front”. There is a groove around the bottom of the toaster so you can wrap the cord halfway around, then it will come out the back.
- The crumb tray slides out. You need to slide it forward to remove it. As long as you push it fully closed, it will stay in place and is easy to empty when needed.
KRUPS Brushed Stainless Steel (KH732D)
This toaster is slightly more expensive than the one above, but it also has some additional features that might lead you to making the switch. It’s competitively priced compared to similar toasters, and it is highly rated by experts and customers alike.
The features include extra-large, self-centering slots. Five functions, including cancel, toast, defrost, reheat, and the infamous bagel setting that will toast just one side. It also has 6 levels of browning to accommodate your tastes and the level will automatically lift the break so you can grab it when it’s done.
There is an additional blue LED indicator for each option so you always know which setting it is on, and finally, there is a 2-year warranty for it.
Some helpful notes regarding the features and settings:
- Some customers complain that the toasting function does not work with the bagel setting active, but it does - you need to set it to about 5 and a half to get it to work properly. The cut side of the bagel is the only side that will be toasted, and for that to happen, each side of the bagel should have the cut side facing inwards. In other words, don’t try the bagel setting on just three or you’ll have a bad day and a warm but not toasted bagel.
- If your toast gets cold while you’re waiting for the rest of your breakfast to cook, there is a re-heat function that works excellently.
Like the other toasters featured in this article, the slots are extra wide to accommodate all sorts of bagels and breads. However, you should experiment a bit with the shade settings to find the one that fits your tastes!
Cuisinart Two-Slice CPT-122
Cuisinart is a household name, trusted in countless American kitchens. This toaster model falls somewhere in the middle of the price range for entry level toasters. The look is a clean white with stainless steel accents (the selection knob and the lever).
It features a seven-shade setting dial along with reheat, defrost, and bagel options. The one-and-a-half inch toasting slot can accommodate most breads and bagels. It also has a slide-out crumb tray so you can keep it clean and keep crumbs off your countertops.
- It’s not a “superb” toaster but it does get the job done. Once you find a setting that works for you, you will have no problem setting it each morning and then waiting for your perfectly done toast to pop up.
- People also use this to heat up waffles, and the re-heat function itself works well. The defrost function may take 1-2 runs, depending on what you’re de-frosting (thickness).
- The bagel function works without issue, just make sure you have the cut sides facing inward and not outwards or flip-flopped.
- The 3-year warranty will replace/repair any damaged toaster if you pay $10 and send it in. There are some reports of defects involving the auto-off and crumb tray but in those rare cases, just return to wherever you purchased it for a refund or replacement.
- One final note is that using the word “compact” to describe this toaster is inaccurate. While it’s no larger than any other toaster, it’s by no means smaller. You should expect to receive an average-sized toaster if you make this purchase, so count on clearing out some counter space accordingly.
A final positive note is that this is one of the few toaster models in this range that comes in a nice clean white, which is ideal for those looking to match other appliances or add a fresh feeling to their kitchen.