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A Buyer’s Guide on how to choose the best toaster

You have undoubtedly heard that breakfast is the day’s most important meal. Numerous individuals believe that the quality of their first meal affects the rest of their day. While the category of breakfast foods is expansive, toast with eggs and coffee is one of the most common and popular breakfast options. 

If you enjoy toast and, like many Americans, consider it an essential part of each morning, you would likely never question owning a toaster. It is one of those important kitchen items. The actual query is: which one? 

Toasters are available in various shapes and sizes, with a wide price disparity between models. Although the appliance is fundamentally simple, navigating the vast market of toasters can be pretty challenging. Whether it’s time to replace a toaster you’ve had for years or venturing into the world of toasters for the first time, here are the most important things you need to know to find the best toaster for your kitchen. 

Types of Toasters 

There are two primary types of toasters, each available in various sizes, that you will encounter during your search. 

Pop-Up Toasters 

Often, these are referred to without qualification as “toasters.” This is probably what comes to mind when you hear the word “toaster”: a small kitchen appliance with two or four slots where you place your bread (or bagel or English muffin), press a lever, and the toast pops up when it’s done. 

Toasters with a pop-up mechanism come in 2-slice and 4-slice varieties and are designed specifically for toasting. Some are better suited for standard-sized loaves of bread, whereas others have wider slots that more effectively accommodate bagels and Texas toast. 

They are inexpensive, simple to use, and readily available virtually everywhere. Toasting is more straightforward with a pop-up toaster than any other method because it is designed specifically for this purpose. 

Benefits: 

  • Affordable. 
  • Simple to use. 
  • Specifically designed for making toast. 

To Keep in Mind: 

  • You can only prepare two or four slices simultaneously, depending on your chosen model. 
  • It can only be used to toast foods that fit into the slots; it cannot be used for any other type of cooking. 

Countertop Toaster Oven 

Toaster ovens are ideal for making toast, but they can also be used for a variety of other types of cooking. Some people purchase them as an alternative or replacement for conventional ovens, which consume more electricity and require longer cooking times. 

There are compact 4-slice countertop toaster ovens that take up less counter space, but you can also find larger models that can simultaneously cook six or nine slices of toast. If your family is large and has a healthy appetite, a countertop appliance that can make enough toast for everyone will make your mornings easier. 

Countertop ovens typically cost a bit more than pop-up toasters because they have a variety of uses beyond making toast. Many countertop ovens include features beyond toasting, such as the ability to bake pizzas and cookies, and some even have a rotisserie function. If you all need something to make toast, these are likely overkill. But they are a wise investment if you want something that can perform many of the tasks your conventional oven can. 

Benefits:  

  • Have multiple applications beyond making toast. 
  • Available in both small and large sizes. 

To Keep in Mind: 

  • They are more expensive than pop-up toasters. 
  • not as simple in construction 

Considerations When Purchasing a Toaster 

Even in the market for pop-up toasters designed to perform a single function, there is a wide selection of products. Here are the primary factors to consider during your search for the best toaster for your needs: 

Size 

Regarding the optimal size of your toaster, there are three factors to consider: 

  • How many slices of bread can you toast simultaneously?
  • What size would you like the slots to be? 
  • How much available counter space do you have for a toaster? 

You’ll quickly observe that toasters typically include the answer to the first question in their product names or prominently in their product descriptions. There are 2-slice and 4-slice pop-up toasters and four- to nine-slice countertop toaster ovens. 

The second question only applies to pop-up toasters, but it is a crucial consideration if you choose to go in that direction. If you want to make something more significant than a typical bread slice, you must find a model with sufficiently large slots. A toaster with larger slots allows you to toast bagels, English muffins, and Texas toast, among other items. 

The last question must be asked for all new appliances, particularly those that will be added to a kitchen with limited countertop space. Where do you intend to place it? Pop-up toasters are typically small and compact, so they do not require much counter space. The sizes of countertop ovens vary greatly. On the one hand, a larger countertop oven will be more beneficial for cooking pizzas and cookies, but it will also require a substantial amount of counter space. You will need to strike a balance between the capabilities you desire from your countertop oven and the available space in your kitchen. 

Cost 

Depending on the brand and model, the price of a pop-up toaster can range from $20 to over $100. Toaster ovens for countertops begin at a higher price, typically between $50 and $300. In both instances, the price difference between various models is surprisingly vast. 

There are a few factors that typically account for the price variation. You can find fundamental models of pop-up toasters that perform the task of making toast adequately but are made with cheaper materials and may not last very long. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can find models with many features and configuration options that some users will appreciate, but the majority will not require. As with most things, most customers will seek a toaster built to last a reasonable amount of time and perform the task of making toast well. 

With countertop ovens, an even greater variety of features is available. Numerous models use convection cooking, which is popular among home cooks because it is quick. Toaster ovens with a larger capacity or more settings typically cost more than those with a smaller capacity or fewer options. 

Uses 

What you want to use the toaster for is the most crucial factor to consider when selecting the ideal model. If your needs are simple and you only plan to use the toaster to make toast with standard-sized slices of bread, then any toaster should suffice (unless you’re particular about how evenly your bread is toasted, in which case you may want to avoid some of the cheaper toasters). 

Suppose you only intend to use your toaster for toasting but have in mind bagels, English muffins, waffles, various types of pastries, and pop-tarts. In that case, you should keep this list in mind when you begin your search to select a model with large enough slots and the appropriate settings to accommodate your needs. 

Suppose you feel that spending money and counter space on a single-purpose appliance is a waste, and you’d rather have something that functions more like a mini-oven. In that case, it makes the most sense to purchase a toaster that can make toast and prepare various other foods. 

Settings 

Some toasters with basic light, medium, and dark settings are available. These settings are sufficient for most consumers, but some more sophisticated models offer a wider variety of options. It is typical for pop-up toasters to have a bagel setting that browns one side more than the other. A defrost button will be helpful if you frequently freeze your toast or use the toaster to make frozen waffles. If everyone in your household has a slightly different preference for the darkness of their toast, you will appreciate having a variety of dark settings to choose from. 

Toaster ovens have a greater variety of settings because they are capable of much more. A model with numerous presets can facilitate cooking. A convection oven will cook food more quickly and uniformly. You can prepare chickens and turkeys with excellent flavor and texture if you purchase one with a rotisserie function. With so many other options to consider, don’t forget to verify that the toaster oven has the desired toast settings. 

Ease of Use and Cleaning 

Once you’ve determined which setting you prefer for making toast, most toasters will be relatively easy to operate (which may involve some trial and error). Having the proper settings will further simplify the situation. The mornings will be more leisurely if you purchase a toaster of the appropriate size, capable of producing the desired quantity of toast at once. 

Cleaning toasters is somewhat more complex. A crumb tray makes it easier to keep them clean, and a toaster oven with a nonstick interior will be easier to clean than one without one. 

Durability 

A good toaster will last for years; some reviews mentioned customers keeping the same toaster for more than a decade. To determine whether a toaster you’re considering is likely to perform well in terms of durability, you should investigate the brand’s reputation and read customer reviews. Several toasters and countertop ovens include warranties for added peace of mind. Typically, a model with a higher price tag is of higher quality and will last longer, but this is not always the case. Your best bet is simply observing what others say about their experience with a particular toaster. 

Features to Look For: 

  • Self-Adjusting Guides: This feature ensures that your toast is centered adequately, so it toasts evenly. 
  • Cancel Button —This button allows you to cancel the toasting process if you’re concerned that the bread is burning. 
  • Crumb Tray —This catches the crumbs, making it easier to keep your toaster clean. 
  • Convection Heating —Toaster ovens equipped with convection heating can cook food more quickly and uniformly. 
  • Rotisserie: Toaster ovens with a rotisserie function are ideal for preparing whole chickens and turkeys. 

Famous Toaster Brands 

Before purchasing a product, you can get a much clearer idea of what to expect based on the brand’s reputation. To give you an idea of what customers think of the leading brands of toasters, we analyzed customer reviews of toasters manufactured by each brand. 

Avanti  

Avanti’s countertop ovens can bake, broil, and function as a rotisserie; some even include burners to supplement your stovetop. Customers are delighted with the number of uses they receive for the price of their toaster ovens. Toasting was slow, and you cannot use the oven and burners simultaneously, according to a couple of reviewers. You cannot use the oven and burners simultaneously, according to others. Following the trend of other Avanti appliances, their countertop ovens are an excellent option if you want a durable toaster oven that can be used for various additional purposes. 

Black and Decker 

Black and Decker produce a variety of toasters, including 2- and 4-slice pop-up toasters and countertop toaster ovens. All types of their reviews are mainly positive. Their pop-up toasters are available in a variety of attractive colors, and all of their toasters perform admirably. Numerous studies emphasize how affordable their toasters are. The majority of reviewers are pleased with their Black and Decker toasters. There are a few complaints about minor design features, such as the placement of the cord or the design of the timer, but the majority of reviewers are satisfied. Their models are safe if you search for a reasonably-priced option that looks good and toasts evenly. 

Breville 

Breville sells high-end toasters and toaster ovens that receive predominantly positive customer reviews. Their toasters have a high “cool” factor, as they have attractive LED displays and a variety of valuable features, such as a “just a bit more” button. Their countertop toaster ovens are well-liked by reviewers, who report using them frequently for various cooking tasks. Breville’s price is a significant drawback. Their toasters are significantly more expensive than toasters from most other brands. And among the many positive reviews, there are a few complaints that they do not evenly toast bread and do not last very long for the price. 

Cuisinart 

Cuisinart also manufactures pop-up toasters and countertop toaster ovens. Their toasters receive more positive than negative reviews, but there are sufficient negative reviews to cause concern. Many reviewers assert that toasters do not brown evenly, despite the assertions of many toaster owners who are satisfied with their purchases. Many individuals appear to have acquired toasters that only brown bread on one side. Their countertop toaster oven receives a lot of praise for other uses, but it doesn’t seem to toast bread particularly well. Customers are not unanimously satisfied with their Cuisinart toasters, so if you typically like Cuisinart, you may not need to rule them out. 

Hamilton Beach 

Hamilton Beach is yet another manufacturer of toasters of all varieties. Their toasters and toaster ovens are universally praised. Customers report that they are great value, look nice, and perform admirably. They are a solid option for an inexpensive and dependable toaster. 

KitchenAid 

KitchenAid sells toasters and countertop toaster ovens priced at the upper end of the toaster’s price range. Their pop-up toasters fare much better in reviews than their countertop ovens, which have roughly equal numbers of positive and negative reviews. People generally find the pop-up units to be functional and attractive. On the other hand, the countertop oven receives numerous complaints for being too slow, unevenly toasting, and generally not worth the price. If you’re set on a pop-up toaster, KitchenAid is worth a look, but for a countertop toaster oven, many of the other brands we researched received better ratings from customers. 

Oster  

Oster offers a variety of toasters consisting of all the standard types. Their models receive mixed reviews from various sources. Some have praised the appearance of their Oster toasters, as well as their LED timers and frozen food buttons, and have stated that the toast comes out evenly cooked. Others complain about uneven toasting, the slowness of the units, and the fact that they don’t last long enough for the price. Some customers are satisfied with their Oster toasters, but their performance seems unreliable on average. 

Panasonic 

Like many other brands on our list, Panasonic produces pop-up toasters and toaster ovens. Their pop-up models receive less-than-stellar reviews, with customers complaining about their high price and poor performance. Their countertop ovens are rated significantly higher in thoughts, most of which are positive. Customers report that the toasters are effective, quick, simple to use and clean. Panasonic is a reliable brand for countertop toasters, but it does not appear to be the most dependable brand for pop-up toasters. 

Conclusion 

If only it were as simple to find the best toaster as it is to make toast. If you know exactly what you want and are willing to take the time to read what other customers have to say, you should be able to zero in on the model that meets your preferences. If toast is an integral part of your daily life, it is essential to get this right. A well-functioning toaster will provide you with perfectly browned toast every morning with minimal effort. One that does not will give you an additional source of stress each morning. Maintain a pleasant morning routine; find one that works for you. 

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Why Trust Us

You will find what you are looking for at Jody's Bakery. From classic to luxury brands, you'll find both. We will help you to select appliances that fit your needs, budget and lifestyle. Whether you want to stop by to learn more — or plan to make a major purchase — we’ll treat you like family and assist you every step of the way. Shop with us today to receive friendly and experienced help along the way.

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