Using a four-slot toaster is a timesaver for a big family trying to get breakfast on the table. But it also appeals to couples who simply want their toast to be done at the same time so they sit down to a meal together.
Now imagine a four-slot toaster that will cook that entire meal for you and you've got the West Bend 4-Slice Egg and Muffin Toaster TEM4500W (Est. $60) . Consumer reviewers seem pleasantly surprised that this toaster does exactly what it is supposed to do -- toast bread, cook eggs and warm pre-cooked meat. In one reviewer's words: It's the best thing since sliced bread. In addition to toasting up to four slices of bread, it can poach or scramble two eggs or hard/soft boil eight eggs at a time. The TEM4500W has bagel, defrost, egg and egg/toast settings. Its wide slots enable the toaster to cook a variety of breads. When cooking toast and eggs, the TEM4500W keeps the toast warm until the eggs are done. It has a high-carriage bread lifter, which makes it easy to remove smaller breads, and dual independent controls for the slots on the left and right sides.
We found only two consistent complaints about the West Bend TEM4500W. Owners say it's very large and takes up a lot of real estate on the counter. It also gets mixed reviews for ease of cleaning. Some say it's a breeze because the steaming, poaching and warming trays and lid can be washed in a dishwasher's top rack. Others say when the fat from the meat drips on the heating element, or when the poached eggs stick, it becomes more problematic. However, even those customers say they would buy this toaster again anyway simply because it's such a great appliance.
The Black & Decker 4-Slice Toaster TR1400SB (Est. $35) has many of the same toaster attributes as the West Bend TEM4500W, but it does not cook eggs or warm meat; it is simply a four-slot toaster. It has dual independent controls, browning-control settings and extra-wide, self-centering slots. This toaster also has bagel, defrost, reheat and cancel functions as well as a high-carriage bread lifter. Consumer reviewers especially like its retractable power cord and auto-eject crumb tray.
The West Bend 4-Slice Egg and Muffin Toaster TEM4500W and its two-slice counterpart are the highest-rated toasters on Amazon.com for a reason: It adds a twist to the toaster world with its ability to cook eggs and warm meats. You can cook an entire breakfast or create a breakfast sandwich in an appliance that likely will quickly pay for itself in replacing your drive-through habit.