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Toasters are probably the best thing since sliced bread, right? While toasters have been available for home use for generations, today’s models offer features that were innovative at one time, like timed toasting, crumb trays, and the ability to choose different toasting levels.
Toasters continue to innovate, with some of them making crumb trays more efficient, offering one-sided toasting for bagels, and including special features for defrosting or for keeping bread warm.
Basic toasters are still available, for those whose toast needs are simple, while high-end toasters offer attractive designs, multiple cooking options, and even some new features that you might not know that you need.
Smeg, an Italian company founded in the 1940s, has brought its unique designs and quality workmanship to the US market, including this attractive toaster that will stand out on your counter. Its retro look and unique color isn’t all you’ll love, though. Users praised the solid build, ease of use, and even toasting while they also loved the look.
This has six toasting levels and you can choose a setting halfway between each to tweak the toasting to match your bread type, and it has reheat, defrost, and one-sided toasting for bagels and English muffins. The wide slots fit bagels easily and thin bread self-centers for easy toasting. The crumb tray is sturdy stainless steel, and the non-slip-feet keep it steady on the counter. While this does pop the toast up automatically, there’s no lift feature to raise the toast higher, so you may need wooden tongs to retrieve particularly short bread.
This toaster combines aesthetics with quality performance. With an exterior of both brushed and chrome stainless steel, this toaster is sleek and eye-catching and will fit right in beside other stainless steel appliances. It has extra-wide slots that can fit bagels, English muffins, waffles, and even thick buns. The lever has a high-lift to help you lift smaller pieces of bread out of the toaster without burning your fingers.
Operation is simple with a dial to choose from 6 levels of browning, plus push buttons for defrost, reheat, bagel, and cancel functions. The push buttons light up with blue LED lights so you won't accidentally select the wrong function. Owners of this toaster praise its modern design and consistent, even browning.
The price is right on this budget toaster, yet it still has features that bring it a step above the basics. The sides of the toaster are designed to stay cool to the touch, so there’s no worry about accidental burns, while the chrome exterior and colorful accents look attractive on the counter. The slots are wide enough for bagels, and operation is simple, which is great for homes with kids. Just turn the knob to set the toasting level, push the lever down, and wait for the toast to pop up. A cancel button lets you stop the toasting at any point, just in case it’s browning too quickly. You can use the level to lift the toast a bit higher, so it’s easier to grab when it’s done.
This toaster oven does more than toast, so it’s worth the extra cost. Four quartz heating elements make sure the oven is heating evenly, no matter which setting you choose. When you’re in a hurry, it heats quickly, thanks to the 1800 watt preheat mode.
A clearly labeled dial lets you choose bagels, toast, bake, broil, pizza, roast, cookies, and reheat, and you can adjust those settings for the perfect result. The “a bit more” button lets you continue cooking for just a little longer when the food isn’t quite as done as you like.
This is a compact toaster, but can fit a pizza up to 11 inches in diameter, so you won’t need to heat up your large oven when your needs are small. The backlit LCD makes it easy to monitor the cooking process since it’s orange when the oven is preheating or cooking, and it turns blue when cooking is done.
For easy cleaning, the interior of the oven has a nonstick surface. The top of this toaster oven gets hot during use, so you should avoid using it directly under cabinets.
This brand might not be a household name, but it has high praise from users. The design is simple, with a dial to choose the toasting settings from 1-6, and buttons to choose one-sided toasting for bagels and English muffins, a defrost setting, and a little extra toasting when you want slightly more browning.
The brushed stainless steel exterior looks attractive while hiding fingerprints and backlit buttons look attractive when the toaster is in use.
This is the future of toasters, with a lever-free design that lowers and lifts the toast automatically, and an audible alert lets you know when the toast is done. The LCD screen includes a countdown, so you can see at a glance how soon you’ll have toast to butter.
With no lever, this has a clean, attractive front. Buttons let you choose one-sided toasting for bagels and English muffins, a defrost setting that first thaws your baked good before toasting, and a reheat option that warms the bread without further toasting. There are seven different shade settings, so your toast will always be perfect, whether you like a light golden brown or a darker brown. If your new style of bread browns too quickly, the cancel button saves your toast.
The design is unmistakable, looking much like the nose section of a classic KitchenAid stand mixer, and the frosted pearl color is elegant and attractive. But it’s not all about looks. This toaster includes features that set it apart from the usual, including the ability to automatically keep your toast warm without further browning if you don’t retrieve it immediately. It can hold the toast for up to three minutes, so you’ve got plenty of time to finish the eggs.
The bread lowers the bread automatically when bread is sensed, and it lifts automatically when the toast is done. Without a lever, the front controls looks cleaner and more attractive. There are seven toasting shades and options for one-sided toasting for bagels as well as settings for frozen bread and the ability to toast for a little longer when the toast isn’t quite done.
Users have noted that this is a little slower at making toast, but it toasts much more evenly, so they don’t mind the slight wait.
This budget-friendly toaster has features you’d expect to find in more expensive models, like the seven levels of toasting brownness, the reheat, cancel, and defrost functions, and extra-wide slots that can accommodate bagels and thick breads. The removable crumb tray and the included brush make cleaning easy when toast is particularly crumby.
One extra feature is the removable rack that sits above the toaster to keep the toast warm for serving or to warm pastries at the same time the toast is in process. Controls are simple, with a dial to control toast settings, buttons for the features, and a lever to lower the toast. This comes in red or black.
The Smeg Retro Style Aesthetic 2-Slice Toaster is well-built and produces evenly browned breads and baked goods. The retro design is unique and available in nine color choices so you can match it to your kitchen decor. If you prefer stainless steel kitchen appliances, we recommend the Krups 2 Slice Stainless Steel Toaster. It has extra-wide slots to fit bagels, buns, and thick-sliced bread and users praise its consistent performance.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author, as well as a writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats, specializing in all the latest kitchen gadgets. She's tested over 90 products for the brand.
This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who happily makes space for any gadget that make cooking faster and easier. She specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats.