RS Recommends: We Tested the Best Toasters for Any Kitchen
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Toasters have become an integral part of any modern kitchen. And while the basic ones still get the job done, there are now more options than ever to customize your perfect piece to perfection. These ones range from smart and roomy to budget-friendly options, and all fit nicely into even smaller-sized cooking spaces. Read on for what to know before purchasing yours.
What to Know When Purchasing a Toaster
Here are the features we considered when looking for the best new toasters.
Slots: Toasters aren’t just for regular-sized bread anymore either. With artisan, bakery, and homemade loaves becoming more popular, you may need something that can accommodate a larger slice. This includes bagels and English muffins and pastries too, so go for a lengthy and thick slot if you know you’ll be toasting a wide array of sizes and shapes, about 10-11 inches long, or more if you want to fit two standard slices in one slot simultaneously.
For depth, six inches should be enough to cover the whole slice with heat, whereas four inches left a piece peeking above the rim during our testing. We were also surprised to find out that not every toaster heats both sides of the slice at once – on some models, it’s required to flip it after the first round of toasting is done.
Settings: Getting your slice exactly the way you want it has never been easier. Not only are there exact, precise settings that come standard with all of these, but there are even additional buttons for specific types of breads. Some even come with more features to extend the toasting cycle or even interrupt it to check on your slice and pick up right where it left off if you want to continue. Settings can also vary widely across the spectrum of toasters out there – “light” can mean barely warmed up, while “dark” can mean burned beyond recognition. Depending on what your ideal go-to setting is, take a look at the reviews first.
Cleaning: Toast crumbs get everywhere, and those are just the ones you see. The bunch that fall to the bottom and accumulate (and we all ignore until it’s a mess down there) require an easy way to clean without making even more of a mess. The usual is a pull-out crumb tray, which gets most of them. But some newer models have taken it another step and made crumb trays that flip down, are fully removable, or even self-cleaning.
What Are the Best Toasters?
We found the best toasters for any size of kitchen from top brands including Galanz to Hamilton Beach.
1. Revolution InstaGlo R180B
This high-tech toaster has a large touchscreen and a ton of features. The design and functionality were carefully thought out here, as the screen is your only control with a simple user interface. Choose what you want to toast with options like bread, waffles, English muffins, and bagels. Select from fresh/frozen/reheat, then pick from one of the seven intensity settings, even showing you what your finished product will look like. It claims to toast up to 35 percent faster than other brands, though some users say it wasn’t deep enough to handle gourmet, bakery, or odd-shaped slices. One of our favorite features was a pretty simple one: a countdown to your toast being done and slowly raising it out. No more being startled by the pop-up moment.
Buy Revolution InstaGlo Toaster $349.95
2. Galanz 2 Slice Retro Red Wide Slot Toaster
It may have a timeless retro look with its eye-catching red color, but this toaster still includes modern functionality, and has one of the widest openings we tested (at 1.5 inches) – ideal for the thickest of thick slices.
A defrost button makes it easy to pop your slice in right from the freezer, thawing it out before toasting it to retain the crispiness you want. For bagel aficionados especially, one of the few buttons here is devoted to toasting the perfectly balanced bagel. The unit is cool to the touch even when in mid-toasting. The high-lift lever feels solid and smooth to control, and this comes with a dust cover as well to keep it clean when not in use.
The six-setting browning knob lets you choose from lightly browned and beyond, and a designated cancel button that lets you bail out at any time during the process.
Buy Galanz 2 Slice Toaster $43.83
3. Elite Gourmet Toaster
One of Amazon’s top budget-option sellers, this toaster is long enough to hold two pieces on each side, or one piece of a wide sliced loaf like challah or rye. It comes with six settings, including defrosting and reheating, and a slide-out crumb tray for easy cleanup. We found this to toast evenly on both sides thanks to its balanced heat distribution each time.
4. Hamilton Beach 2 Slice Toaster
This simple but reliable toaster has all the basics you need, and even some extra helpful features, like built-in cord storage and a drop-down crumb tray. The auto-shutoff at the end of the cycle still functions even if the toast gets jammed, and the slots are wide enough to retrieve smaller pieces that get stuck like English muffins. It also includes seven toast shades to choose from, and the entire unit weighs less than 3 pounds.
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