Whether it’s bread, frozen waffles, a bagel or English muffins, a toaster can make can make crisping up your favorite baked goods a breeze. Unlike a toaster oven, which is much larger and can perform a variety of functions, a toaster is designed to perform one job: To toast. Because they are much more compact than a toaster oven, they are much easier to store on a kitchen countertop because they take up less room. They also make it much quicker to toast items than it would take in a toaster oven or in a full sized oven because you don’t have to wait for them to heat up; the heating elements immediately start toasting as sun as the item is inserted and the toaster push button is compressed.
There are several different options available when it comes to toasters, which can make it difficult to find the best one for your needs. With that said, we have decided to make the task of buying a toaster a lot easier for you by assembling this buyer’s guide. We conducted a lot of research and checked out the various types of toasters that are on the market, and we have included all of our findings in this buyer’s guide.
Types of Toasters
The types of toasters that are available vary by the amount of items they can hold and toast at the same time and the materials that they are made of. To help you better understand the different types of toasters that are available, here is a look at the different options for you to compare.
Two Slice Toasters
These are the most basic of toasters, as they provide two slots and can toast up to two pieces of bread (or whatever other items you are toasting) at a time. The two slice toaster is usually the most compact, which makes it a great option if you are short on counter space or storage. They are also usually the least expensive.
Four Slice Toasters
As the name suggests, the four slice toaster can toast as many as four slices of toast at one time. They are larger than two slice toasters, which means that they require more counter space. They are also more expensive than two slice toasters. Because they can toast more at one time, the four slice toaster is ideal for medium or large sized families, as they make cooking much more efficient.
Chrome is just one of the materials that are used to make toasters. This material is silver and shiny, adding a nice flashy pop of modern interest to a countertop.
Stainless Steel Toasters
If you are looking for a super durable toaster, look for one that is constructed of stainless steel. This material is resistant to dirt and rust, and they are very easy to clean, which means that they can stay looking good as new for a long time.
Plastic is the most economical material for a toaster. Toasters made out of this material come in a wide range of colors, which make it easier to find the best design to suit your style.
Dual Finish Toasters
Dual finish toasters are comprised of both steel and plastic, which makes them durable, yet highly fashionable, as the color of the plastic can vary, and the durability and contrast of the steel makes for an interesting pop of visual interest.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Toaster
Just like any product that you would purchase, there are certain factors that you should take into consideration when purchasing a toaster. These factors will help you choose the best toaster to meet your particular needs and will ensure that you are happy with your purchase for a long time.
The first factor that you should take into consideration is the size of the toaster. Will you be using it to make small amounts of toast, or will you be using it to make larger quantities? If your family is larger, a four slice toaster may be a better option for you, as it can speed up the time it takes to prepare your food.
Another factor that you should consider when choosing a toaster is your storage space. The amount of storage space that you have will directly affect the size of the toaster that you choose. If you are limited on counter space, but you want a four slice toaster, you do need to make sure that you have enough cabinet space to store it away when it is not in use, otherwise it could take up too much of your valuable countertop space. If you are short on both counter space and cabinet space, a two slice toaster may be the best option, even if you are planning on using the appliance to prepare larger quantities of toast.
The more wattage a toaster offers, the faster it will prepare your toast, which is great if you want to make toast more quickly. However, the more wattage that a toaster offers, the more energy it will consume, which is another important consideration.
The Cord Length
You should also consider the length of the cord. The shorter the cord, the less flexibility you have to plug it into an outlet, which may require you to use an extension cord. If your outlet is close to the area that you plan on using your toaster, this likely won’t be an issue; however, if your outlet is farther away, you will want to have a longer cord.
Ease of Cleaning
The easier it is to clean your toaster, the better. Each time you use your toaster, tiny crumbs will collect inside and underneath the slice openings. This not only makes the toaster messy, but it can also make using the toaster dangerous. As those crumbs collect, there is a higher risk of starting a fire. Make sure you look for a toaster that is easy to clean. Once that features pans that easy slide out from underneath the slice openings is ideal. Also, if the side pull down, it will be easier for you to clean the insides. Do note that you should always unplug your toaster before cleaning it and never insert a metal object inside while it is plugged in.
Toasters can vary widely in price. On the low end, then can cost around $20, but these are the most basic of all toasters. On the higher end, they can cost upwards of $100. The larger the toaster, the fancier the finish (stainless steel or chrome,) and the more features it offers, the more expensive it will be. Keep that in mind when you are shopping so that you can avoid overextending your budget.
Features that Toasters Offer
There are a number of features that toasters can offer. These features are intended to improve the function of the toaster and to make them easier to use. As said above, the more features a toaster offers, the more expensive it will be, so it is important to make sure that you understand what these features are so you can determine whether or not you want to buy a toaster that offers them.
Toasters can feature wider slots than standard toasters. Wider slots makes it easier to accommodate larger items, like frozen Belgium waffles or wider pieces of bread. This could be a handy feature if you toast larger items like these.
To ensure safety, especially if you have little hands in your home, you may want to invest in a toaster that is outfitted with a cool touch feature. This feature keeps the sides of the toaster cool to the touch so that hands are not burned if they do happen to touch the sides. Additionally, this feature prevents anything from burning or melting that may come too close to the sides of the toaster while it is on.
If you want to make sure that your items are evenly toasted, look for a toaster that features auto centering. This feature guides the bread or whatever other item you may be toasting into the center of the toaster so that it can evenly toast, which will avoid having parts that are burned and parts that are not cooked at all.
Auto Shut Off Signal
With this feature, a bell or another signal will sound when the toast has completed cooking, the cycle is complete and the item in the toaster has popped out. It can be handy if you prepare toast in a noisy environment, or if you tend to get sidetracked while cooking.
Bagel Cooking Feature
Toasters that are outfitted with this feature cook one side of a sliced bagel, English muffins or toaster pastries more quickly than the other side. This helps to prevent overcooking on the side that has the crust. In some models, this feature prevents the heating elements from turning on when the option is selected.
A toaster that features this button will allow you to automatically stop the toasting in mid cycle. This can be valuable if you feel like the toast has completed cooking before the cycle has ended, or if it smells like something is burning.
To protect your investment in a toaster, you may want to look for one that comes with a warranty. If you have a warranty, it will protect your investment should anything happen to it or should you be unsatisfied with it during the terms of the warranty. Do make sure that you check the fine print of your warranty to ensure that you understand the terms.
Higher end toasters can feature digital controls, complete with LCD screens. With this feature, you can select the specific type of browning you want the toaster to complete, which can be very useful for achieving the perfect toast.
Best Toaster Brands
There are several manufacturers that make toasters, which can make it difficult to choose the best toaster for your needs. To help you, we have fully assessed all of the different brands, tested the products ourselves, read the instruction manuals and have compared online user reviews. After conducting our research, we have concluded that the following brands of toasters are the best of the best.
This company has been making small kitchen appliances for generations. Their toasters are top of the line and are constructed of the highest quality materials and the most state of the art technologies. They offer a wide range of options, are very easy to use and make excellent toast.
Breville is highly regarded for the quality kitchen appliances that they make, including their toasters. We really liked the variety of options that they had to offer and how durable their toasters are. We also liked that they were extremely easy to clean.
Cuisinart is one of the most highly acclaimed manufacturers of kitchen appliances. Their toasters have some of the most cutting edge designs on the market and their technologies are highly advanced. Their toasters offer an array of options and features, they come in a wide range of price ranges, and they offer all of the safety and convenience features that you could possibly want in a toaster. Of all of the toasters we tried, we were the most impressed with Cuisinart.