The Best Toasters to Get the Perfect Crunch, Every Time

You know just how you like your toast, and you can make that happen with one of these top-rated toasters, including our top pick: the Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster.

In This Article

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Breville BTA820XL Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster
Courtesy of Amazon

When it comes to breakfast staples, toast is right up there with eggs and bacon. However humble it may seem, a piece of bread toasted just the way you like makes for the perfect foundation for all sorts of spreads, from salted butter to sweet fruit jam to avocado. The key to making all these delicious-yet-simple recipes is having a dependable toaster: One that can handle whatever foods you like to toast, whether it be sliced bread, bagels, or waffles, as well as achieve your ideal level of doneness (we all have our ideas about what that is).

We rounded up the best toasters based on their size, design, extra features, and overall value. After weighing the pros and cons of each model, we chose the Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster as our overall winner for its user-friendly innovations. Keep scrolling to learn more about every toaster on our list.

Best Overall: Breville BTA820XL Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster

Breville-BTA820XL-Die-Cast-2-Slice-Smart-Toaster

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: We love its "lift and look" and "a bit more" buttons and its larger slots.

Cons: It's on the pricier side.

This sleek, smart toaster makes it feel like you're living in the future, and you may become spoiled after using its special features. There's the handy "lift and look" button that you can press to check on how your toast is looking instead of having to stop the cycle just to get a peek. You'll also find a button labeled "a bit more," which you can use to add a little extra time to your toasting session; it's easily seen on the front LED display. Then, there's the handy defrost setting so you can transform your frozen hunk of bread (after all, the freezer keeps it fresher, longer) into the perfect, warm toast.

This easy-to-use toaster has the standard number of slots, but you'll see that they're wider than average, enabling you to fit thicker items, like bagels. Even with all of these capabilities, it's still a compact size that won't take up a ton of space on your counter. When it's time to clean, simply pull out the crumb tray in the front. It's not the cheapest toaster you can find, but its modern, user-friendly features make it worth the price.

Price at time of publish: $148

  • Dimensions: 7 x 11.25 x 7.75 inches
  • Capacity: Two slices
  • Power: 900 watts

Best Value: Cuisinart CPT-122 Compact Plastic 2-Slice Toaster

Toaster

Cuisinart

Pros: This toaster is compact and affordable and has multiple functions.

Cons: You may need to adjust for uneven toasting.

You don't need to spend three figures on a quality toaster: This toaster is less than $50 and delivers good results. It has a pretty standard setup with a seven-setting dial you can adjust for how light or dark you like your toast. Bagel lovers will appreciate the toaster's bagel function that makes the outside crispy and keeps the middle soft and chewy; just put the cut sides of the bagel facing the middle.

Other notable features include the defrost setting for sliced bread right out of the freezer, and the reheat setting for when you need a little warming up — no serious browning. On the off-chance you experience some uneven toasting, which could happen with some budget toasters, you have the toaster's limited three-year warranty to fall back on.

Along with being affordable, the toaster is also a compact size, so it's a good choice for anyone who doesn't have much room to work within their budget or in their kitchen. Wherever you do happen to place this toaster, it shouldn't stick out given its simple, classic design.

Price at time of publish: $30

  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 11 x 7 inches
  • Capacity: 2-slice capacity
  • Power: 900 watts

Best Four-Slice: Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch 4-Slice Toaster

4.8
Zwilling-Enfinigy-Cool-Touch-4-Slice-Toaster

Amazon

Pros: It has an automatic shutoff to prevent burning, wide slots, and a sleek design.

Cons: It's fairly pricey.

When you go from toasters with two-slice capacity to four-slice capacity, things can start to get bulky and industrial-looking. Not with this toaster, though. Even though the four toasting slots are wide enough to fit your morning bagels and muffins, this option won't look like a hulking eyesore on your kitchen counter. Its box-like shape and minimalist design (it's all simple icons rather than any words or numbers) keep it looking sleek. We also appreciate how you can set two slices to one toasting level and the other two slices to another, making it easy to satisfy the light toast and dark toast lovers in your family all at once.

While this toaster may be one of the most expensive on our list, it does have features aside from being able to handle double the slices that make it a good value. The automatic shutoff safety function prevents you from having burnt toast on your hands, and there are convenient settings for defrosting, reheating, and bagel. The built-in extra lift lets you safely grab your toast out of the machine without the temptation to stick your fingers or a fork in there (that's a no-go!).

Price at time of publish: $215

  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 11.3 x 8.1 inches
  • Capacity: Four slices
  • Power: 1710 watts

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

Best Toaster Oven: Cuisinart Convection Air Fryer Toaster Oven

Cuisinart Convection AirFryer Toaster Oven

Amazon

Pros It can toast, bake, broil, and air-fry and stays quiet while operating.

Cons: It requires much more counter space.

Consider buying a toaster oven to get more uses out of one countertop appliance. This Cuisinart model is our favorite of those for a few reasons. For starters, this multipurpose toaster oven can do far more than just toast: It has cooking functions for baking, broiling, warming, and air-frying, and it comes with a sheet pan, wire rack, and air-frying basket, so you have everything you need for a variety of recipes. The cooking control continues with its temperature dial and toast shade selector, and there's also a 60-minute timer.

When you think of toaster ovens, you may think of that distinct, loud whirring noise that most make when cooking. However, one of the best things about this one is that it keeps quiet, so you don't have to alert the whole house that you're making food. It takes up more space than your average toaster, but because it can fit six slices of bread (or a four-pound chicken), it's an excellent option for larger families.

Price at time of publish: $230

  • Dimensions: 16 x 15.5 x 14 inches
  • Capacity: Six slices
  • Power: 1800 watts

Best for Bagels: Hamilton Beach Expert-Toast 2 Slice Toaster

Hamilton Beach Expert-Toast 2 Slice Toaster

Walmart

Pros: It has extra wide, long slots and presets for six types of bread.

Cons: It doesn't have the most modern design.

If you're the type of person to choose bagels over toast any day of the week, then you'll want a toaster that can handle thicker bread with no problem. Luckily, this toaster was designed with specialty bread in mind. The slots are wider and longer than what you'll find on many other toasters, so you don't have to cut or smash your bread to fit. Along with the seven-setting temperature knob, there's a whole other dial to select what type of bread you're toasting: white, sweet, artisan, whole grain, gluten-free, and, of course, bagel. When you toast bagels, the machine toasts one side for a nice crunch and then just warms the other for a perfect balance.

Another cool feature is that you can push the one-slice button so that even if you're hungry for a single piece of toast, you can count on the toaster to deliver an even browning. You may think that with all of those unique features, this toaster would cost a pretty penny, but it's actually one of the cheapest on this whole list. So while this one may not be the most stylish toaster, it certainly redeems itself with its functionality and affordable price.

Price at time of publish: $31

  • Dimensions: 13 x 7.5 x 9.13 inches
  • Capacity: Two slices
  • Power: 900 watts

Best with Long Slots: Elite Gourmet ECT-4829B Long Slot Toaster

Elite Platinum Cool Touch Long Slot Toaster

Amazon

Pros: It has extra long slots for double the toasting and a built-in warming rack.

Cons: It has pretty basic functions.

Some toasters have slots designed to accommodate unique styles of breads, but this toaster's slots are so long that you can actually fit two slices in each side right next to one another. Basically, it's a two-slot toaster that does the job of a standard four-slice model. Plus, the slots are wide enough to put your Texas Toast and bagel halves inside fuss-free. Considering how expensive some four-slice toasters can be, the price on this one is pretty appealing. It also has a slim design, so you can easily tuck it aside even if you have limited counter space.

The toaster's settings are pretty basic (there's a number dial, reheat button, and defrost button), but you can find more unique features in other areas. It features self-centering guides, which means that once you push down the lever, it'll center your bread to ensure more even toasting. Another feature you won't see in your run-of-the-mill toaster is that this one comes with a built-in warming rack that you can open up over the slots to heat up those more delicate croissants and pastries.

Price at time of publish: $30

  • Dimensions: 7.13 x 14.68 x 7.68 inches
  • Capacity: Four slices
  • Power: 1300 watts

Related: These Are the Best Bread Cloches for Crispy Sourdough, Based on Our Tests

Best Retro: Smeg Retro Style Aesthetic 2-Slice Toaster

4.7
Smeg 50's Retro Style 2 Slice Toaster

Amazon

Pros: This adorable toaster comes in different colors and features self-centering racks.

Cons: It doesn't have any special functions.

The Smeg brand is famous for its retro kitchen appliances, and its vintage-inspired toaster doesn't disappoint when it comes to charm. Looking like something out of a '50s kitchen, the rounded toaster with chrome and steel accents comes in four attractive colors (pastel green, rose gold, matte champagne, and chrome), so you can decide on a suitable option depending on your home's aesthetic. You may be too busy looking at the overall design to notice that there's also a removable crumb tray to make cleanup a bit easier. You also can't see it, but the heating racks inside the slots are self-centering to help foods toast more evenly.

Speaking of the actual toasting aspect: This product has six browning levels, a defrost program, and a reheat setting. In other words, you won't have a wide range of settings to play with if you're looking for lots of customization, but it has the basic functions that anyone who's not so picky about their toast would need.

Price at time of publish: $200

  • Dimensions: 7.6 x 12.74 x 7.72 inches
  • Capacity: Two slices
  • Power: 950 watts

Our Favorite

The Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster won our best overall award because of its modern design and innovative features. For those who could really use the convenience of a four-slice toaster, we recommend the Zwilling Enfinigy 4-Slot Toaster due to its balance of added capacity and simple, compact design.

Factors to Consider

Size

Since your toaster will most likely live on your kitchen counter, you'll want to check whether its dimensions suit your space. Some toasters are longer than they are wide, and vice versa. If available counter space in your kitchen is an issue, opt for a compact toaster. Along with its overall size, look closely at the size of the slots. If you're toasting thicker items, like bagels, you'll want an appliance with long, wide slots to accommodate those types of bread, too.

Number of Slots

While two slots is the norm with toasters, there are also many four-slice options. Which one is right for you depends on how much toast you're making at one time and how much kitchen space you have. For those preparing toast for a large family, it can feel like a nuisance to only be able to toast two slices at a time. On the other hand, a four-slot toaster takes up more room on the counter, so some people with smaller kitchens may prefer a two-slice toaster. Keep in mind that some toasters with two slots are extra long, so you can actually heat up four slices simultaneously, but the tradeoff is that the appliance will be longer.

Features

As simple as toast is, you may be surprised at how different the features can be between toasters. For example, some toasters include extra buttons for defrosting or warming. Then there are some toasters that have presets for specific types of bread, so you can achieve the perfect toast whether you're working with a slice of white bread or a multigrain bagel. If you're using your toaster for one type of thing and you're not so particular about how it gets toasted, then you don't necessarily need a model with all the bells and whistles. But if you want more control over your toast, go for a model with the settings that are most useful to your day-to-day life.

Price

Toasters have a fairly wide price range, with some costing as little as $25 and some costing over $200. Many cheaper toasters will still get the job done well, so it's worth checking if a higher-priced toaster offers additional features beyond your standard toast shade dial or attractive aesthetics that make it worth it.

Q + A

How long do toasters last?

On average, toasters last around six to eight years with proper care and maintenance (more on that below). The lifespan is a little lower for toaster ovens, lasting about five years. To keep your toaster in good shape for as long as possible, follow the usage instructions in the product's manual. You also shouldn't stick sharp objects like forks or knives in the slots since that can lead to damage and your toaster failing sooner rather than later.

How do you clean a toaster?

First, unplug your toaster and make sure it's cool before cleaning. Next, remove the crumb tray if your toaster has one, dump the crumbs in the trash, and wash the tray with warm water and soap. Turn the toaster upside down and gently shake out any crumbs still stuck in the slots. Then, you can use an old toothbrush or small cleaning brush to scrub any remaining crumbs on the heating coils. Before putting the crumb tray back in the toaster, make sure it's completely dry. To clean the outside of a toaster, use a damp sponge or dishcloth.

Are expensive toasters worth it?

You can find toasters for $20, and you can find toasters for $200 or more. Whether or not it's worth investing in one of the more expensive models depends on how often you would use it. If you're making the occasional toast from run-of-the-mill sliced bread, you can probably live without an expensive toaster. If you're planning on using your toaster every day for a variety of foods, a pricier one with extra features might be a good fit for you. In general, a more expensive toaster should deliver something extra in terms of its design and toasting quality/capability.

Our Expertise

This piece was written by Cindy Brzostowski, a freelance writer and avid home cook who has previous experience in cookbook publishing. Her work has been published in Blue Apron, The Kitchn, and EatingWell among others, and she used her background in food to guide her research through the many different toasters available at retailers today. She selected the best toasters based on their size, design, extra features, and overall value.

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