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Toaster Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on January 15, 2018

Editor's note:
For this update, the Oster Jelly Bean and Smeg are our top picks in the 2-slice toaster category. The Breville BTA840XL and Cuisinart CPT-440 are the best 4-slice toasters. We also recommend some great runners up from Krups, Hamilton Beach and West End, so you can find the right toaster for your budget and breakfast preferences.

Oster Jelly Bean 2-Slice Toaster Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Weight: 4 lbs. Browning levels: 7 Removable crumb tray: Yes

Best two-slice toaster

Experts and owners agree: the Oster Jelly Bean 2-Slice Toaster is a great everyday choice that offers consistent performance in a, cute, affordable package. There are seven different darkness settings as well as options for heating bagels and frozen bread. In testing, the Jelly Bean quickly produces the most evenly-browned slices of toast, with good consistency even across several batches. It comes in gray, red and purple, but not all colors are available at all retailers.

Buy for $34.67
Smeg 2-Slice Toaster Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Weight: 5.4 lbs Browning levels: 6 Removable crumb tray: Yes

Best bagel toaster

Never heard of a Smeg toaster? Neither had we until we spotted it at the top of nearly every expert test we evaluated for this update -- it's also the highest-rated by owners. Yes, it's almost ridiculously pricey (for a toaster), but if you love bagels and have a little extra scratch, the pure joy of its perfect bagel toasting, along with its attractive appearance, will make your mornings. It also does really well on toast, browning evenly and consistently.

Buy for $149.95
Breville BTA840XL Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Weight: 9.5 lbs Browning levels: 5 Removable crumb tray: Yes

Best four-slice toaster

With its sleek, modern design and impressive features, the Breville BTA840XL is a technological marvel. Its intelligent auto-lowering function lowers your bread with a single touch. Other controls include "a bit more" button for additional toasting; a "lift-and-look" feature for monitoring doneness; and bagel and defrost settings. Owners say the toaster is fun and entertaining to use. A two-slice model, the Breville BTA820XL (Est. $120) is also available. Most important, it makes great toast, bagels and frozen pastries.

Buy for $178.95
Cuisinart CPT-440 Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Weight: 6.5 lbs Browning levels: 7 Removable crumb tray: Yes

Best value four-slice toaster

It costs less than the Breville BTA840XL, but the Cuisinart CPT-440 performs nearly as well in expert roundups and reviewers find it just as sturdy and attractive. In testing, it toasts bread evenly and consistently, batch after batch, with distinct doneness results on each setting. The stainless steel housing stays cool to the touch and its leverless design has a "cool" factor that users love. It struggles a bit with frozen items, like waffles and pastries, but excels in bagel toasting.

Buy for $79.99
West Bend TEM4500W Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Weight: 9 lbs Browning levels: 8 Removable crumb tray: Yes

Best breakfast sandwich maker

If a multi-tasking toaster sounds appealing, then the West Bend TEM4500W 4-Slice Egg and Muffin Toaster is the machine for you. It can toast up to four slices of bread or muffins, all while cooking two eggs and warming cooked meat -- all the ingredients for a quick breakfast sandwich. Owners say it's easy to use, very consistent and saves them time and money by avoiding the drive-through.

Buy for $69.99

Types of Toasters

Two-Slice Toasters

Two-slice toasters are perfect if you have a smaller family, don't need to make a lot of toast at once, or can spread toast-making out in the morning because everyone is on a different schedule. They take up less counter space than four-slice toasters and, because they're smaller and lighter, they're also easier to store in a cabinet between uses. These toasters come as basic or as fully featured as you need.

Four-Slice Toasters

Four-slice toasters are ideal for large families or for those who like everyone's toast to be ready at the same time without much fuss. The main consideration here is size -- you need to be sure you have the counter space for a larger unit. Four-slice toasters also come with a wide range of features, whether you want something basic or loaded with bells and whistles.

Breakfast Sandwich Makers

For some, a breakfast sandwich is the ultimate morning meal: It's easy to eat on the run, and it's endlessly customizable. Breakfast sandwich makers let users skip the time and expense of hitting a drive-through. Most include non-stick plates that can cook eggs; warm meat or other fillings; and warm and press bread. Others fuse these features with a traditional toaster, making a portable balanced breakfast possible in several minutes. The main downside here is storage space – it's yet another small appliance that either takes up counter space or needs a home when not in use.

If you want something more versatile than a toaster, but don't want a bunch of small appliances cluttering up your counter, you may prefer a toaster oven, which are covered in their own report. These handy appliances toast, bake, broil, roast and more -- some even have convection features for speedier cooking.

Finding The Best Toasters
Our Sources
"Toaster Ratings"
"Best Toasters of 2018"
"The Best Toaster"

There are a number of solid expert toaster tests and reviews. Most recent and useful are tests conducted by Consumer Reports, Wirecutter, TechGearLab, Top Ten Reviews and Your Best Digs. All conduct thorough, comparative testing and all of their conclusions are well-explained.

However, with that many test sites, it's inevitable that they don't always agree on the best toaster. A model that lands at the top of, say, two different tests, may fail miserably at those same tasks at a different test site. That's why owner reviews are so crucial to break those ties. The hundreds -- sometimes thousands -- of user experiences we evaluated at sites like Amazon, Walmart, Target and others, offer invaluable real-world perspectives from toaster owners about what it's like to actually use that toaster every day -- and how it holds up over many of those days.

Elsewhere In This Report
Recently Updated
Toasters buying guide

What every best Toasters has:

  • Wide slots.
  • Bagel setting.
  • Defrost setting.

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