Nobody will be able to convince me that there is a better midnight snack than PB and J on toast, and that late-night meal (which is also great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, elevenses, afternoon tea, and supper) absolutely requires bread heated to an even, golden crisp. That means I need a great toaster. If yours is so old it takes 15 minutes to heat up a single frozen waffle, it may be time to shop fo ra replacement. Here are some of our favorite options for this kitchen essential.
This stainless steel four-slice toaster has two control panels, so you can simultaneously toast two pairs of bread at different settings. Each side has a six-stage browning dial and lever that allows you to lift toast high enough that you won’t have to dig for it, and each toasting slot is 1.5-inches wide, making it suitable for more rustic slices. Both control panels also have settings for bagels, defrosting, and reheating. When the toaster starts to build up crumbs, you can slide out the crumb tray and clean it easily.
The best toaster: Breville The Bit More 2-Slice Toaster
This two-slice toaster has a five-stage browning dial and buttons for bagel, frozen, cancel, and “a bit more.” That last button allows you to extend the toast time without going overboard. Another special feature of this toaster is the “lift and look” lever, which allows you to check your toast without stopping the heating process. This sturdy stainless steel toaster also has adjustable sound alerts to let you know when your bread is ready.
Don’t let the adorable retro feel of this toaster deceive you: it’s a high-end device you can trust to treat your bread right. It has a six-stage browning dial as well as buttons for bagel, defrost, and reheat. When the device needs cleaning, just slide out its stainless steel crumb tray and dump out those blackened pieces. It comes in seven colors.