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Updated Jun 14, 2022 4:34 PM

Toasters have been a mainstay in modern kitchens—and for good reason. Bread is a staple in our breakfasts, lunches, and midnight snacks, and toasting it only makes us love it more. We love crisp, golden-brown carbs so much that companies have created foods specifically to be toasted: Pop-Tarts, grocery-store English muffins, and frozen waffles, among others. And, of course, they can also reheat and refresh aging bread as well. The quest for perfect toast has to start with finding the best toasters. These are the ones we’ve found to date.

How we chose the best toasters

As a freelance journalist for over 10 years, I’ve reviewed home and tech products for publications such as CNN Underscored, NBC News Select, Popular Mechanics, Architectural Digest, Tom’s Guide, The Daily Beast, USA Today’s Reviewed, Apartment Therapy, The Spruce, and Bob Vila. Our extensive selections are based on personal testing, thorough research, recommendations from fellow critics, and user impressions.

What to consider when buying the best toasters

You can probably find dozens—if not hundreds—of toasters for $25 to $30. They’ll probably work well at first but you might find yourself right back here looking for a replacement in a year or two. A bargain toaster isn’t actually a bargain if it stops working after a few hundred toasts. Plus, cheaply built toasters may be a fire hazard. 

That’s why our list is not based on the cheapest toaster that you can find. When choosing the best toaster, you should consider its functionality, size, ease of operation, and browning settings. Your personal preferences may vary but here’s a breakdown of these features, which will help you find the toaster you really want.

Settings

Since we all have preferences regarding how well we like our toast—and some types of bread require more or less browning time than others—browning settings are an important feature to consider. And with 4-slice toasters, a nice feature is the ability to control both sides separately since you may like your toast well, but your partner or kids may prefer a lighter shade.

Toasters can do more than just crisp up sliced bread. Most can toast bagels, frozen waffles, toaster pastries, artisan breads, English muffins, and many other foods that you can put in a slot and heat without melting. While all of the toasters on our list have dedicated reheat and frozen settings, some may be able to do even more. For example, some toasters also have accessories for making Paninis and warming muffins on top of the toaster, while toaster ovens offer a plethora of other functions, including the ability to roast and broil entire meals.  

Size

Size matters. Two-slice toasters tend to be more compact, which makes them invaluable in tight spaces. Also, a 2-slice toaster is obviously not as expensive as its 4-slice counterpart. On the other hand, the toaster can become a bottleneck in the morning if everyone needs it at once. If you need to make toast for more than one person at a time, a 4-slice version can save you some time. 

Size is also an important consideration if you want to toast more than just supermarket-style sliced bread. For example, toasters with longer and/or wider slots are more likely to fit thick artisan breads like sourdough, baguette, ciabatta, focaccia, and brioche.

Interior design

A removable crumb tray is another consideration and it makes cleaning much easier. Some crumb trays are located in the front of the toaster, and some are on the side or on the back, but on models without a removable crumb tray, you’ll need to pick the toaster up and hold the crumb track over the trash can before opening it. Without a crumb tray (assuming those models even exist), you’ll have to turn the toaster upside down and shake it.  

Another convenience feature is a lift function that ensures the bread is high enough that you can get it out without testing your eye-hand coordination like you’re playing the Operation board game—except, instead of a buzzing sound, you’ll know you failed when you burn your fingers!

Ease of operation

Some toasters have touchscreens for selecting functions. Others have buttons. Some stick to the classic dials and sliders. Only you can decide what feels right in your home, but it’s worth thinking about before you make your pick.

The best toasters: Reviews & Recommendations

There are hundreds—if not thousands—of toasters. Picking just one assertively and with confidence can be a challenge. We’ve narrowed the choices down to just a few that we consider the best toasters. One of these should have you spreading grape jam on golden bread in no time. 

Best overall: Breville Bit More 4-Slice Toaster

Breville

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: This toaster can fit any size of bread, toast it well, and serve it up to you (minus the platter).

Specs

  • Dimensions: 15 ¾ x 8 x 7 ¾ inches
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Slots: 4
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Crumb tray: Yes

Pros

  • Extra-long capacity
  • Slide-out crumb tray
  • Sliding browning control
  • Concealed cord storage
  • Lift and look
  • A bit more toasting feature

Cons

  • Not cheap

The Breville Bit More 4-Slice Toaster is immaculately designed. This four-slicer is great for busy mornings and comes with extra-long slots that can hold all kinds of bread. It’s made from stainless steel so you know it’s durable. There’s an LED toasting progress indicator to let you track how close your bread is to toasting, and a lift and look lever that lets you raise and lower the toast to do a visual check without stopping the process. It also has a high lift feature, which raises the toast half an inch higher than the starting position, so you can easily remove English muffins and other small items without burning your fingers.

The toaster has four push-button settings: bagel, frozen, cancel, and … “a bit more.” In the event that the toast comes out lighter than expected, you can use the “a bit more” setting to add a little more toasting time. The browning control slider ranges from 1 (lightest) to 5 (darkest), so you can choose the exact level of browning desired. There’s an audible alert to let you know when the toast is ready, and you can adjust the volume or mute it. Cleaning is also a breeze, with a removable, front crumb tray.

Across the board, though, Breville makes some incredible toasters. Breville also makes a 2-slice version of the Bit More toaster, in case you don’t have room for a larger model. The company also makes the decadent Toast Select Luxe, which has specific settings for different kinds of breads, including white bread, brown bread, grain, fruit, rye, and crumpet. 

Best smart toaster: Revolution R180 InstaGLO Toaster

Revolution

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Revolution R180 InstaGLO does everything but wash your dishes. Maybe that’s the next upgrade?

Specs

  • Dimensions: 11.65 x 6.13 x 8.4 inches
  • Weight: 7.83 pounds
  • Slots: 2
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Crumb tray: Yes

Pros

  • Touchscreen instead of levers and dials
  • Toasts faster
  • Smartphone control
  • Clean crumb tray reminder
  • Doubles as a sleek clock
  • Accessories for Panini press/warming rack

Cons

  • Extremely expensive
  • Only comes in a 2-slice model

Admittedly, $300 is a lot of money for a toaster—but the Revolution InstaGLO is no ordinary toaster. It has a touchscreen interface that visualizes all of the controls: There are no levers to push down, no knobs or dials to turn. It has a countdown timer, so you can check how long it will be until your toast is done, in addition to the usual chime. You select the type of bread from the icons and then select fresh, frozen, or reheat, select from one of the seven settings, then press start. Between uses, the screen also lets the toaster serve as a stainless-steel digital clock.

The Revolution InstaGLO can handle breads, English muffins, bagels, waffles, and toaster pastries. It uses a heating system that powers up quickly, searing the bread so the outside is crispy and the inside is soft. You can expand its functionality even more with optional accessories, including a Panini press and a warming rack to reheat things that wouldn’t fit in a toaster slot. 

And it’s smart. Not just because there’s a smartphone app to control it remotely, either. It automatically adjusts the lift to the height of whatever is being toasted. There’s even a smart reminder that displays on the screen when you need to empty the crumbs at the bottom, and the catch tray releases with a simple push. It really feels like using a toaster from the future.

Best 4-slice: Oster 4-Slice Stainless Steel Digital Touchscreen

Buy used or refurbished: Amazon

Why it made the cut: You can fully control each side of this Oster 4-slice toaster separately for customized results.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 12.99 x 12.83 x 8.66 inches
  • Weight: 6.06 pounds
  • Slots: 4
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Crumb tray: Yes

Pros

  • 6 toast shades
  • Removable crumb tray
  • Touchscreen interface
  • Controls for each side

Cons

  • No concealed cord storage

We love the Oster 4-Slice Stainless Steel Digital Touchscreen Toaster because it’s a high-quality appliance available at a great price. As its name implies, it can toast four slices of bread and has a touchscreen interface, making it easy to select functions and view progress. The digital countdown timer lets you view the toaster’s progress.

It also allows for greater customization and control than your average toaster. There are four functions for each side: Bagel, frozen, reheat, and cancel. Six shade settings provide a variety of browning options, and the quick check lever lets you visually check the toast.

Between uses, the removable crumb tray slides out to make it easy to remove crumbs.  We also appreciate that there’s also a 2-slice version for those of us with smaller kitchens.

Best for fast toasting: Café Express Finish Toaster

Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon

Why it made the cut: Members of the microwave generation will love the hurry-up-and-finish option.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 7.0 x 12.28 x 8.0 inches
  • Weight: 8 pounds
  • Slots: 2
  • Material: Aluminum with stainless steel finish
  • Crumb tray: Yes

Pros

  • Push to release crumb tray
  • Extra-wide slots
  • Extra lift for waffles
  • 8 shading options
  • Cord storage

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Does not come in a 4-slice model

The aptly named Café Express Finish Toaster gets high marks for its unique “express finish” setting that engages extra heating elements to toast the bread extra fast. It’s a gamble: You need to pay attention when using the feature or you’ll end up burning the bread. Still, the setting can be a life-saver if you need to get out the door (or log on asap).

In addition to the express finish setting, there are also settings for bagels, reheating, and defrosting frozen bread. By turning the browning control knob, you can choose up to eight different settings. An LED ring on the front indicates your toast’s browning progress and will blink when it’s ready.

Sometimes, especially when you’re tight on space, you need to turn the toaster in a particular direction to make it fit. The Café Express Finish toaster works especially well in these scenarios since it has a cord channel in the bottom. This means the cord can be used on the backside, left side, or right side of the toaster. 

Lastly, Cafe Express Finish Toaster is undoubtedly one of the most stylish toasters on the list. It comes in three finishes: Stainless steel, matte black, and matte white.

Best budget: Black+Decker 2-Slice Extra-Wide Slot Toaster

Black+Decker

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Black + Decker 2-Slice Extra-Wide Slot Toaster is ideal for budget-conscious buyers.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 8.58 x 9.09 x 12.32 inches
  • Weight: 2.64 pounds
  • Slots: 2
  • Material: Plastic
  • Crumb tray: Yes

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Extra-wide slots
  • Extra lever lift
  • 7 browning choices

Cons

  • Plastic components
  • Drop-down crumb tray

The Black+Decker 2-Slice Extra-Wide Slot Toaster is a remarkably good value. It’s the least expensive toaster on our list, but will definitely get the job done. With extra-wide slots, it can hold bagels and other thick types of bread, and an extra lift feature is perfect for pulling out items that aren’t easy to grab. Its simple controls include a control dial that lets you select one of 7 browning shades, and special settings for bagels and defrosting frozen food. The drop-down crumb tray is not as convenient as those that slide out, but at least it has something. That’s a very small caveat for a comparatively cheap and very effective kitchen appliance.

Best for bagels: Calphalon Precision 2-Slice Toaster

Calphalon

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: Your bagels can fit comfortably in the Calphalon Precision 2-Slice Toaster, with enough space to brown effectively.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 10.55 x 7.6 x 8.35 inches
  • Weight: 5.69 pounds
  • Slots: 2
  • Material: Metal
  • Crumb tray: Yes

Pros

  • Extra-wide slots
  • Removable crumb tray
  • LED Timer
  • Toast lift
  • 6 browning settings

Cons

  • No 4-slice model

The Calphalon Precision 2-Slice Toaster has extra-wide slots to accommodate bagels and other thick bread. The toaster uses Intellicrisp technology to heat bread consistently for a more even toast. Its three buttons—bagel, defrost, and cancel—control the toaster, along with the dial that lets you select from one of 6 browning settings. There’s also an LED timer surrounding the shade dial, and this provides the browning status of the toast in the form of a countdown clock. In addition, the toast lift can elevate the toast so you can visually check it, and it’s also helpful when browning shorter or smaller pieces of toast. A removable crumb tray makes it easy to clean up crumbs, and the toaster has a durable design. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for an option with simple controls.     

Best long slot: Zwilling Enfinity Cool Touch Toaster

Zwilling

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: You won’t have to cut your bread in half to get full coverage with the Zwilling Enfinity Cool Touch Toaster.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 16.75 x 6.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Weight: 6.17 pounds
  • Slots: 2
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Crumb tray: Yes

Pros

  • Extra-long slots
  • Works as a 4-slot toaster
  • 7 toast settings
  • Removable crumb tray
  • Cool to the touch

Cons

  • Expensive

If you like to toast long slices of bread, the Zwilling Enfinity Cool Touch Toaster will fit your kitchen like a glove. Each slot can fit two slices of regular toast (for a total of four slices), or one long slice of bread. It’s also a handy option if you want a 4-slice toaster but don’t have enough counter space for one.

The Enfinity Cool Touch features three settings—Bagel, reheat, and defrost—and you can toast to 7 browning shades. The extra-lift feature ensures your bread won’t get stuck in the toaster, and a removable crumb tray makes the toaster easy to clean. Last, but not least: Its namesake “cool touch” exterior is designed so you don’t have to worry about accidentally touching the toaster and burning yourself while it’s working. 

The Zwilling Enfinity Cool Touch Toaster also comes in standard-depth 2 slot and 4 slot form factors.  Additional accessories, including a toaster bun warmer and toaster sandwich rack, can add additional options for adventurous chefs.

Best with a timer: All-Clad Stainless Steel Digital Toaster

All-Clad

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The All-Clad Stainless Steel Digital Toaster has a digital countdown clock, and lets you add more time to fine-tune your toast.  

Specs

  • Dimensions: 12.9 x 8.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Weight: 2.10 pounds
  • Slots: 2
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Crumb tray: Yes

Pros

  • Adjustable timer
  • Digital display
  • 6 browning levels
  • Crumb tray slides out
  • Wide slots

Cons

  • Crumb tray is in the back

If you are very particular about your toast, you’ll probably like the All-Clad Stainless Steel Digital Toaster. It has four settings: reheat, defrost, bagel, and a button lets you add more time during the toasting process. Plus, the LED screen has a countdown clock that lets you keep track of how long your bread has been toasting. Beyond that, it has many of the hallmark features we look for in a good toaster, including wide slots, 6 browning settings, and a high-lift lever that makes it easy to retrieve items from the toaster.

Best design: Smeg 2-Slice Toaster

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Smeg toaster looks luxurious but it’s more than just a pretty face.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 12.25 x 7.75 x 7.75 inches
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Slots: 2
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Crumb tray: Yes

Pros

  • Retro design
  • Luscious colors
  • Built-in cord wrap
  • Anti-slip feet
  • Extra-wide
  • Crumb tray

Cons

  • Pricey

The SMEG 2-Slice Toaster shows that kitchen appliances can be both functional and beautiful. Its retro aesthetic grabs a lot of attention on kitchen counters, leading it to make frequent appearances on wish lists for housewarming gifts. Since the 2-slice toaster has extra-wide slots, it can be used for toasting artisan and larger-sized bread to one of 6 browning settings. It also has bagel, reheat, and defrost options.

In keeping with its style-forward persona, the Smeg toaster comes in many shapes and colors. For busier homes, you can get 4-slice and 4-slot models. All three versions come in a wide variety of colors, including matte champagne, gold, red, chrome, pastel green, pastel blue, pastel pink, black, and white.

Best toaster oven: Cuisinart CMW-200 Convection Microwave Oven and Grill 

Cuisinart

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Buy it used or refurbished here: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Cuisinart CMW-200 can make toast, but it can also microwave, roast, and bake like a standard oven.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 21.20 x 19 x 12.20
  • Weight: 41.30 pounds
  • Slots: N/A
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Crumb tray: N/A

Pros

  • All-in-one appliance
  • Touchpad controls
  • Convection oven bakes quickly
  • Can be used with or without microwave
  • Can be programmed for multistage cooking

Cons

  • It’s a bit much if you just want toast

The Cuisinart CMW-200 Convection Microwave Oven basically does everything but refrigerate your food and wash your dishes. Not only can you toast bread on the convection bake setting, but you can also actually bake bread. The appliance also lets you microwave, grill, defrost, roast, reheat, and keep food warm. To call it a toaster, or even a toaster oven doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s a countertop smart oven made for all kinds of cooking.

FAQs

Q: Do you need to do anything before using a new toaster?

Before using a new toaster for the first time, you should run it once while it’s empty to burn out any dirt and any chemicals the toaster was treated with during manufacturing. Set it to the highest browning setting, and then turn it on. Don’t be alarmed if it smells a bit–just make sure the room is ventilated.

Q: What are some tips for using the toaster?

Your toaster’s manual can teach you more about cooking than you might think. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific toaster to get the best possible results. For example, different toasters have their own instructions for how to insert some types of breads. When toasting bagels, the Café Express advises that the cut side of the bagels face the outside of the toaster. However, the Black+Decker toaster from our list recommends that the cut side of the bagels face the interior of the toaster. As you use your toaster, you may also find that different types of bread work best on different settings. For example, rye bread may work better on darker settings. On the other hand, raisin bread toast, toaster pastries, and light-textured breads may fare better with lighter browning settings.

Q: How do I clean a toaster?

Before cleaning a toaster, you should first unplug it and let it cool down. Once it’s safe, slide the crumb tray out and empty it, then replace the tray. The body of the toaster can be cleaned with a damp cloth. Do not put your toaster in the sink water or a dishwasher. When cleaning by hand, avoid using scouring pads or abrasive cleaning agents, which can ruin the finish. And don’t use metal scouring pads on the interior since some of those tiny pieces can fall off and may create the potential to get shocked.

Final thoughts on the best toasters

The toaster is a kitchen staple for a reason. Even though it’s usually a single-task appliance, many people get a lot of use out of it. If you’re a toast person, getting a great toaster can enhance the quality of your breakfast and, by extension, the quality of your day.

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