There is nothing more beautiful than a morning that comes with perfectly toasted bread topped with melted butter. However, achieving the perfect toast can be a challenge without the perfect toaster. You can always use an oven but the ability of toasters in delivering golden brown shades in your slices of bread remains unrivaled.
So, what toaster should you get? We got your back.
With the help of our SolidSmack Household Appliance and Tool Research Team and reviewers, we sought Amazon for the best toaster models in the market this 2021. After getting hold of the 10 entries we considered for our shortlist, we conducted a series of observations to first identify their main features. And using the most common types of bread, we performed tests to determine the efficiency of each of their toasting levels and the uniformity of shade they can make across the surface of the bread.
We also considered some of the important features that might make things more convenient for you. In that case, we would suggest the Cuisinart CPT-142P1 that comes with 4 slots and 2 separate sets of heating controls that can work independently. For artisan lovers, the Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 is the leading choice due to its two 10-inch long slots.
Apparently, there are still a lot of choices to consider. With all that, we give you the top 5 toasters that displayed the best performance during our test! By highlighting their best strengths and some of their flaws you should be aware of, we hope to guide you with the right purchase. To check their best deals, just click on the links we prepared below. Let’s start!
1. Cuisinart CPT-142P1
Number of Slots
Bagel, Defrost, Reheat, and Cancel
For families with members who prefer their bread toasted at different degrees, Cuisinart CPT-142P1 is the perfect toaster. It is a 4-slot unit with two heating systems that can work independently. Each system manages two slots and comes with its own 7-shade setting dial and control buttons (Bagel, Defrost, Reheat, and Cancel). There are also two separate crumb trays that slide perfectly smooth.
Despite the separate heating controls, the entire toaster can deliver consistent work. According to our reviewers during our test, the toaster consistently delivered perfect output from run to run. Also, each toast level showed distinct toast results. Even better, the entire surface of the bread we tested came out toasted uniformly. Further, we noticed that adding a half or a quarter turn to the dial can give you significant results in the toasts. That being said, this proves how sophisticated its heating system is, which means better and wider control options for you.
2. Dash Clear View
Number of Slots
1 long slot
Cancel, Defrost, Reheat, and Bagel function
Just like Elite Gourmet ECT-3100, Dash Clear View can cater to artisan bread and other long-cut types of bread due to its long undivided slot. When used with average-sized bread, it can cater to at least two slices simultaneously. However, this isn’t its main highlight: it’s the “Clear View” feature.
Indeed, the Dash Clear View toaster comes with a see-through glass window that allows users to view the bread as it is being toasted to perfection. And since different types of bread don’t toast at the same rate, having a viewing window will lessen the chances of you ruining your bread.
Also, compared to other models with the heating elements spread across the entire slot section, Clear View’s heating system is in the form of two rods. They are about 11 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter. When activated, the rods will heat up and will radiate the heat at the entirety of the slot. Despite this unconventional heating system, it performed perfectly well during our test and the 7 levels showed distinctive toasting performances from each other (though we found #7 a bit too much).
It also sports all the essential functions you need for a modern toaster such as the Defrost, Reheat, and Bagel function. Moreover, we love that the heating levels are imprinted on the dial itself rather than on the front surface of the toaster. With this setup, you don't have to lower your head just to check the levels when the toaster is placed on a low counter.
On the other hand, we were a bit concerned at first when we realized how it releases the bread after the toasting process: it literally pops them out! Depending on the thickness and weight of the bread, they can end up settling back into the slot or on the top of the appliance. When we tested it for bread that was cut in thin slices, the pieces ended up on the counter. That being said, as long as you would use it for bread with average size and weight, we think this feature would benefit you. After all, fishing for toasts in the slots could sometimes be annoying for some.
3. Elite Gourmet ECT-3100
Number of Slots
2 long slots
Cancel/Reject, Reheat, and Defrost
If you are a fan of artisan rye bread, Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 is the best choice to have. It can still cater to a total of 4 average-sized bread slices. However, due to the absence of dividers, there are only basically two 10-inch long slots that are both 1.5” wide. This gives you better flexibility in your choices of types of bread as it can cater to other long-cut bread types. Further, it has a retractable warming rack, allowing you to heat various specialty bread on top of the toaster.
There are 6 toasting levels in the dial and it has three buttons (Cancel/Reject, Reheat, and Defrost). However, we were a bit dismayed that it doesn’t come with a bagel option which seems to be a staple function among toasters nowadays.
On the other hand, there is a self-centering guide mechanism that grabs onto the bread and positions it to get proper toasting. However, it can only cater to cuts that are decently thick. When we tested it together with each toasting level, we found all the settings very consistent in delivering uniform browning on the surface of the bread; particularly with artisan cuts that were golden brown from end to end.
4. Amazon Basics TA1729C-W
Number of Slots
Cancel, Bagel, and Defrost
Amazon Basics TA1729C-W is an ultimately simple toaster. Nonetheless, this is what makes it popular in the market.
It has 2 average-sized slots and offers 6 browning settings that you can access through a dial. There are also 3 button settings: Cancel, Bagel, and Defrost. With all this, there is really no challenge in using it. Very simple. Yet, its performance is uncompromised and can deliver great results.
When we tested TA1729C-W, it managed to toast bread at the right degrees. Our reviewers noted that the numbers of the dial exhibited varying levels of browning, with the #3 setting delivering the perfect golden brown toasting. Besides its great performance in sliced bread, its Bagel button really worked wonders in our test: crispy interior and warm but soft exterior.
Also, we really do love how small it is. With a small footprint, it can be an ideal toaster for a kitchen with limited spaces. Even better, the sides don’t heat that much so you can still touch and move it after use without fuss.
5. Hamilton Beach 22623
Number of Slots
If you need something that is simpler than the Amazon Basics TA1729C-W, Hamilton Beach 22623 is the choice. It is completely stripped of the bells and whistles. It just comes with a lever for activating the toaster, a dial with 7 levels, and a Cancel button. Extremely simple and straightforward. But in terms of its performance, it promises consistency and uniformity in browning your toasts.
It has 2 slots that are 5 ¼” long and 1 ¼” wide. This is just enough to give room for the typical sliced bread and bagel. However, and as said, it doesn’t have particular features for specific types of bread such as a bagel and other specialty bread. But when we tested its ability to toast, it performed exceptionally well. We were particularly pleased with the Level 4 setting which didn’t falter in providing golden brown shade in slices of bread. The said level also did a great job at giving the bagel we tested a light crunch and golden brown shade. We also love the fact that its positioning mechanism is more efficient at keeping the slices of bread in place than others. Overall, it provided us consistent results each time. Even better, both slots produced toasts with an identical degree of shade and crunch.
Best Toasters - Buyer's Guide
Before purchasing a toaster, it is a must to first determine the type of bread you are frequently consuming at home. Toasters commonly come with thick slots to accommodate bagels but not all of them come with long slots for artisan bread.
If you are just planning to use the toaster for personal use, a simple two-slot model would be enough. However, for families with lots of members to feed, it is better to opt for models like Cuisinart CPT-142P1 or Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 that can handle 4 slices simultaneously.
The levels of the toaster should have a distinctive performance from each other. This is why we tested the products above to ensure they are efficient in their jobs in delivering shades of toasts at different degrees. On the other hand, besides the number of toast levels, it is also better to have additional functions such as defrosting and reheating bread. A button for toasting bagels is also getting more and more popular in most models due to its distinctive toast. If you think you can spend a little more to get those features for your convenience, it will be great.
Though it is great to have all the latest features in your toaster, they aren’t a must. This is true, especially if you think you won’t be able to use all of them. After all, no one wants to spend on something that they won’t even enjoy. The bottom line here is picking the one that can offer pure efficiency in its work.
Best Toasters - FAQs
The Frozen/Defrost button will first defrost your food and will run a second process afterward to toast it.
It is normal among toasters and it is the result of the manufacturing process. This is not harmful. Just let the toaster work a couple of times and the odor will disappear.
Yes, you can. However, new toasters could have specs of dust and dirt in the slots, not to mention the burning plastic odor during the first few uses. This is why it is suggested to let it work first without bread to get rid of those things.