We Tested the Best 4-Slice Toasters — and These Are Our Favorites

Zwilling’s Enfinigy Cool Touch Toaster earned the top spot on our list.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

best 4-slice toaster
Photo: Fred Hardy II / Food & Wine

Toast is a mealtime champion. A perfectly toasted piece of bread is a tasty choice in and of itself, and whether you want a savory snack, sweet treat, or to double down and make a sandwich, a toaster is a crucial part of the equation. Yes, a toaster oven has versatility, but a slotted toaster can't be beaten for quickly and evenly toasting bread, bagels, waffles, or Pop-Tarts. A two-slot model might suit a single person or a couple, but if you're serving breakfast for a family or making brunch for a crowd, a four-slot toaster is the way to go.

To determine which toaster yielded the most perfectly golden brown and crisp results, we toasted mountains of bread, bagels, and waffles (in over a dozen toasters from nearly as many brands. Tested models ranged from the basic-but-serviceable Proctor Silex 4-Slice Toaster ($37) to the "Tesla of Toasters" KitchenAid Pro Line model ($499). All of the toasters we tested had removable crumb trays and high-lift levers (to give a little extra oomph to shorter pieces of bread that might be otherwise hard to reach). Our favorites produced evenly browned bread, are intuitive to use, and are attractive enough to proudly display on the countertop. The Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch Toaster earns top marks — it's sleek, easy to clean, andproduces evenly golden brown slices of bread batch after batch. Read on for all of our favorite 4-slot toasters.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch Toaster

Best 4-Slice Toasters
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table.

Pros: This toaster delivered the most consistent browning in our tests, both from piece to piece as well as even coverage from edge to edge.

Cons: Crumbs and fingerprints showed easily on the top of the toaster.

The Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch Toaster evenly toasted bread, waffles, and bagels to a beautiful golden brown with a pillowy interior. Other models we tested toasted bread unevenly, with extreme light and dark patches, but on the Zwilling's medium setting, we found that the bread came out to an even brown without any scorching or charring. Each of the numbers correspond to an appropriate level of brownness that you would expect, and the removable crumb tray is easy to find. The slots are also wide enough to easily accommodate bagels or thick slices of bread. The matte black stainless steel casing and simple interface add a nice design, making this toaster worthy of being displayed on your countertop. While we like the uncluttered look of the clean lines, the Zwilling lacks the bells and whistles of other models that have preset functions for bagels, waffles, English muffins, and so on.

  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 11.3 x 8.1 inches
  • Weight: 8.38 pounds
  • Settings: 7
  • Programs: 3
  • zwilling 4-slice toaster
    Fred Hardy II / Food & Wine

Best Value: Cuisinart CPT-640 4-Slice Metal Toaster

Best 4-Slice Toasters
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Macy's.

Pros: This is an affordable toaster that outperformed many of the more expensive models we tested.

Cons: This was not the most attractive toaster we tested. Also, the knob doesn't click at different settings, making it a bit tricky to know what level you're selecting.

The reasonably priced Cuisinart CPT-640 4-Slice Metal Toaster toasted bread better than any other oven under $60 (except for the BUYDEEM, which was a tie). It's worth noting that of the five Cuisinart toasters we tested, two were among our favorites, while the other three were near the bottom of our list. In our tests, the Cuisinart CPT-640 toasted bread evenly and didn't have any hot spots that would cause inconsistent browning. There are a surprising number of extra features for a relatively inexpensive toaster: Beyond the basic bread, bagel, and defrost setting, this toaster also has presets for waffles, pastries, English muffins, and single-slices. We also liked the satisfying click when you push the lever down to lower the bread. However, on the lightest setting the toast was a little too tight, on medium it was slightly too dark, and on high it was a little too brown–but not burned. There is also no click when you turn the knob, so it's a bit harder to know which level you've set. If you make your toast the same every day, however, this wouldn't be much of an issue. And while this wasn't our favorite design-wise, overall it is a solid, consistent toaster at an affordable price point.

  • Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 9.25 inches
  • Weight: 7.3 pounds
  • Settings: 7
  • Programs: 7
  • cuisinart 4-slice toaster
    Fred Hardy II / Food & Wine

Best Splurge: All-Clad TJ824D51 Stainless Steel Digital Toaster

Best 4-Slice Toasters
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Crate & Barrel.

Pros: This is a beautiful countertop toaster that performs well for toasting bread , bagels, and more.

Cons: Our toast had an underdone strip on the bottom of each piece after selecting the medium setting.

All-Clad has a well-earned reputation for making beautiful cookware and appliances, and this 4-slice toaster is no exception. This high-end toaster is on the pricey side, but for the design-conscious, it's certainly a worthwhile splurge. The knobs are sleek, and we found the digital countdown clock to be a helpful, user-friendly feature. There are buttons for reheating, defrosting, bagels, as well as a super handy setting to "add a bit more time" if your toast isn't browned to perfection. The shiny stainless steel is sleek but easily shows fingerprints, and we found it a bit hard to clean without leaving streaks. In testing, the All-Clad toasted bread to a nice golden brown on the medium setting, though the bottom of each piece of toast had an underdone strip indicating uneven toasting. For toasting bagels, there's a helpful diagram showing the proper direction for placing them in the slot, but you can't select the bagel feature until after you've dropped them, which could make it harder to remember to use the feature. The levers are also a little hard to push down. This is a lightweight toaster, but it does require ample counterstop space since it's slightly bulky.

  • Dimensions: 13.3 x 12.9 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 9.53 pounds
  • Settings: 5
  • Programs: 4
  • all clad 4-slice toaster
    Fred Hardy II / Food & Wine

Best with Large Slots: Buydeem DT-640 4-Slice Toaster

Best 4-Slice Toasters
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Wayfair.

Pros: This toaster performed well across the board, and the 1.4-inch slots were wider than any of the other models we tested.

Cons: Its lightweight casing made this toaster feel less sturdy than the other models we tested

The Buydeem was a close runner-up for both the Best Overall and Best Value categories, performing well in the bread and waffle toasting tests with good overall progressions from light to medium to dark at each setting. However, it occasionally unevenly toasted the bagels, and we felt the lightweight casing and plastic buttons looked and felt rather cheap. The design is straightforward with three buttons corresponding to preset functions, though it's unclear what kind of muffin would fit into a toaster slot. If color is your thing, in addition to standard stainless steel, this toaster also comes in minty green and buttery yellow. The crumb tray is not intuitively placed and our testers had to puzzle out how to remove it.

  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 12.2 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 7.63 pounds
  • Settings: 7
  • Programs: 4
  • buydeem 4-slice toaster
    Fred Hardy II / Food & Wine

Best Touchscreen: Cuisinart CPT-T40 Touchscreen 4-Slice Toaster

Best 4-Slice Toasters
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Macy's and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Pros: This toaster has a sleek, modern design that is a head-turner atop any counter.

Cons: Temperatures skewed high, making it easy to burn the bread.

While the design of the Cuisinart CPT-T40 isn't the flashiest we tested, it is perhaps the sleekest and certainly the most clever. When powered off, this toaster looks like a sleek black box, but when you turn it on, the unit lights up to reveal backlit touchscreen buttons. There's also a handy progress bar, and the toaster dings pleasantly when done. Despite advertising 1.5-inch slots, due to the internal construction, we found that bagels were a snugger fit in this model than they were in any of the others (including our Wide Slot pick, which has 1.4-inch slots). And while we were able to achieve desirable levels of even browning, this toaster tended to run hot: "Medium" yielded dark brown toast, and "high" resulted in inedible burnt bread.

  • Dimensions: 11 x 10.4 x 7.2 inches
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Settings: 6
  • Programs: 4
cuisinart touchscreen 4-slice toaster
Fred Hardy II / Food & Wine

Our Favorite

In all of the toasters we tested, it took some fine-tuning to find the perfect setting for perfectly golden-brown toast. Across the board, the lowest setting barely warmed the bread and imparted no color, while the highest setting toasted bread to unappetizing shades of dark brown or, worse, set off the smoke alarm. Overall, the best option is the Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch Toaster.

Factors to Consider

Features

Beyond toasting performance, a good toaster should be intuitive to use, with easily identifiable controls (some models have unintelligible icons for specific settings – for instance, on the Smeg ​​the bagel button more closely resembles a baguette), and easy to use temperature adjuster. The most basic features should include temperature controls (usually between 150°F and 450°F) and adjustable toast-shade settings.

Appearance

Toasters typically live on the countertop full-time, so it's important that you like the way they look. Maybe you favor a bold, colorful design like the Smeg or a sleek, futuristic option like the Cuisinart CPT-T40 Touchscreen. If neutrality is the goal, the Cuisinart CPT-640P1 and All-Clad toasters were both nondescript and attractive.

Ease of cleaning

With regular use, your toaster will attract fingerprints and build up crumbs that fall to the bottom of the slots. In our tests, the Smeg showed no fingerprints at all, and the Zwilling showed very few. Otherwise, most models were restored to their luster with a damp cloth wipe down. One underwhelming exception was the All-Clad, where wiped fingerprints simply turned into stubborn streaks. To tackle crumbs, make sure you get a model with a removable crumb tray (nearly all do). Not only will this make cleaning easier, but turning your toaster upside down to dump out crumbs can damage the delicate heating elements.

bagels 4-slice toaster
Fred Hardy II / Food & Wine

The Tests

The first test for each toaster was, unsurprisingly, bread. We toasted four slices of bread in each toaster at each setting (low, medium, and high) and took notes on the results, evaluating how toasted the bread was, how even the color was, and how long each setting took. We used the same style of testing for bagels, but to gauge how toasters performed, we toasted a single side of the bread. The last test assessed how well each toaster defrosted and reheated frozen waffles. We also scored each toaster on ease of cleaning, the look and feel of its components (buttons, knobs, and casing), and the overall intuitiveness of its features.

zwilling 4 slice toaster
Fred Hardy / Food & Wine

Q+A

How do toasters work?

When you push the lever down on a toaster, a spring-loaded tray lowers the bread into the toaster into the slot between two sets of heating elements. The elements rapidly heat up and toast your bread for a set amount of time. The numbers on your toaster's dial roughly correlate to the number of minutes the bread will toast. When the timer goes off, the spring releases, popping the bread up and out of the toaster.

How long do toasters last?

You can expect your toaster to last for about five years of daily use, though if you use it less often, it will last longer. Modern toasters infamously don't last as long as their vintage predecessors, some of which are still operational after 60-plus years. This is because early toasters used a nickel alloy in their heating coils, which was strong and ductile. Modern heating elements are made with an iron-heavy aluminum alloy which, while corrosive-resistant, is more brittle and less ductile.

How do you clean a toaster?

A removable crumb tray is a crucial part of regular toaster maintenance, both to prevent pests as well as the risks of dried crumbs building up and catching fire. You also shouldn't flip your toaster and shake it to get rid of crumbs, as this can damage the delicate interior heating elements. All of the toasters we recommend include removable crumb trays, and we don't recommend you buy a toaster without one.

What Didn't Make The List

Strong Contenders

  • KitchenAid KMT4203SR Pro Line Series ($500 at Amazon)
  • Smeg Retro-Style 4-Slice Toaster ($270 at Amazon)

Results Still Simmering

  • Proctor Silex 4-Slice Toaster ($45 at Home Depot)
  • Breville BTA830XL Die-Cast Smart Toaster 4-Slice Long Slot Toaster ($200 at Amazon)
  • Sunbeam Wide Slot 4-Slice Toaster ($39 at Amazon)
  • Oster Black Stainless Toaster ($60 at Amazon)

Low Performers

  • Elite Platinum Cool Touch Long Slot Toaster ($35 at Amazon)
  • Cuisinart CPT-435 Countdown 4-Slice Toaster ($80 at Amazon)
  • KitchenAid KMT4115OB Toaster ($80 at Macy's)
  • Cuisinart CPT-142 4-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster ($47 at Amazon)
  • Dualit 4-Slice, 4-Slot Toaster ($300 at Amazon)
  • Hamilton Beach Extra Wide Slot Toaster ($84 at Amazon)
  • KRUPS 4-Slot Toaster ($80 at Amazon)

Our Expertise

Liz Mundle is a writer, editor, and chef in New York City with over a decade of experience in kitchens and magazines. Her writing has appeared in Food & Wine, Saveur, and Domino, among others. She is opening Circus Provisions, a specialty grocery store in Brooklyn, early next year.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles