Today's toasters continue to innovate with features like one-sided toasting for bagels, special lift levers, extra-efficient crumb trays, defrost settings, smart screens, multiple cooking options, sleek designs, and keep-warm modes. At the same time, basic toasters are still available for those whose toast needs are simple.
Here are the best toasters to give you perfectly browned toast, every time.
Smeg Retro Style Aesthetic 2-Slice Toaster
Precise toasting settings
Easy to clean
No lift feature for raising toast higher
There's no doubt about it: This attractive toaster from Smeg will stand out on your counter. Its retro look and unique color aren’t all you’ll love, though. Users praise the solid build, ease of use, and even toasting, too.
This two-slice toaster has six toasting levels, and you can choose a setting halfway between each to tweak the toasting to match your bread type. It also has reheat, defrost, and one-sided toasting settings for bagels and English muffins. The wide slots fit bagels easily, and thin bread self-centers for easy toasting. The crumb tray is made of sturdy stainless steel, and the toaster's 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 hard-to-reach bread slices.
Price at time of publish: $200
Dimensions: 12.25 x 7.75 x 7.75 inches | Toasting Levels: 6 | Presets: Reheat, defrost, bagel, stop | Slot Width: 1.4 inches | Power: 980 watts | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes
On the topic of the most important feature to have in a two-slice toaster, Jesse Ziff Cool, author of "Toast: 60 Ways to Butter Your Bread and Then Some," says, "Even, high heat. I like the option of a bigger opening for thicker slices.”
Runner-Up, Best Overall
Krups 2-Slice Stainless Steel Toaster (KH732D50)
LED light-up buttons
Extra-large slots can fit bagels
High-lift lever for smaller slices
Some say toasting takes longer than expected
Exterior gets hot when in use
This toaster combines aesthetics with quality performance. With an exterior of both brushed and chrome stainless steel, it's sleek, 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 feature to help you retrieve smaller pieces of bread without burning your fingers.
Operation is simple, with a dial to choose from six 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.
Price at time of publish: $50
Dimensions: 13.2 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches | Toasting Levels: 6 | Presets: Defrost, reheat, bagel, cancel | Slot Width: Fits bread up to 1 inch thick | Power: 1,000 watts | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes
Hamilton Beach Extra-Wide Slot 2-Slice Toaster
Chimes when done toasting
"Toast boost" feature for easy removal
Wide slots for easy fit
Stainless steel may smudge
Sometimes it's hard to time your eggs and breakfast sausage with your toast. This toaster by Hamilton Beach helps you out a little there by holding the toast down and keeping it warm for an additional three minutes, giving you extra time to finish cooking the rest of your meal without your bread going cold.
This has seven levels of doneness for perfect toast no matter how you prefer it. The slots are extra-wide to accommodate bagels and thick artisan bread slices, and it's still great for typical sandwich bread. The defrost setting is handy for frozen toaster pastries, and we like the toast boost feature in particular: It lifts toast higher out of the slots, making it easy to grab it safely without tongs.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 7.48 x 7.48 X 11.3 inches | Toasting Levels: 7 | Presets: Bagel, defrost, cancel | Slot Width: Not specified, but designed to fit thick breads, like bagels | Power: 750 watts | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes
Best Toaster Oven
Breville the Mini Smart Oven with Element IQ
Easy-to-read LCD display
Has "a bit more" feature
Top gets hot during use
Larger countertop footprint than a toaster
This toaster oven does so much more than toast. A clearly labeled dial lets you choose bagels, toast, bake, broil, pizza, roast, cookies, and reheat, and you can adjust those settings for perfect results. Four quartz heating elements make sure the oven is heating evenly, no matter which setting you choose, and it comes to temperature quickly, thanks to the 1,800-watt preheat mode. 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 oven, but it can fit an 11-inch pizza, so you won’t need to heat up your large oven for small or medium jobs. The backlit LCD makes it easy to monitor the cooking process since it’s orange when the oven is preheating or cooking and blue when cooking is complete.
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.
Price at time of publish: $160
Dimensions: 17.7 x 12.9 x 10.5 inches | Toasting Levels: Calculated | Presents: 8 | Power: 1,800 watts | Capacity: 11-inch pizza, 4 slices of toast | Temperature: 120 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit | Accessories: 10 x 10-inch enamel baking pan
Cuisinart 2-Slice Motorized Toaster
Sleek and modern design
Lifts toast automatically
Designed with countdown timer
One-sided toasting function
Not for thick slices
Some mention it's a little loud
This is the future of toasters, with a lever-free design that lowers and lifts toast automatically and an audible alert 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, waffles, and English muffins, a defrost setting that first thaws your baked goods 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. If your new style of bread browns too quickly, the cancel feature saves your toast.
Price at time of publish: $80
Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 7.5 inches | Toasting Levels: 7 | Presets: Defrost, +30 seconds, single slice, MemorySet | Slot Width: Not specified | Power: Not specified | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes
On the ideal slice of toast, Jesse Ziff Cool, author of "Toast: 60 Ways to Butter Your Bread and Then Some," says, "Crispy on the outside…moist on the inside. Maybe even a few charred edges—I got that from my mom."
KitchenAid Pro Line Series 2-Slice Automatic Toaster
Lowers bread automatically
Large and heavy
The design is unmistakable, looking much like a classic KitchenAid stand mixer, and the frosted pearl color is elegant and eye-catching (it comes in candy apple red and onyx black, too). This toaster includes features that set it apart, including the ability to automatically keep your toast warm for three minutes without further browning.
The toaster slots lower automatically when bread is sensed, and it lifts automatically when the toast is done. Without a lever, the front controls look 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 toaster is a little slower at making toast than others they've used, but it toasts much more evenly, so they don’t mind the slight wait.
Price at time of publish: $260
Dimensions: 13.7 x 7.1 x 8.9 inches | Toasting levels: 7 | Presets: Bagel, frozen, a little longer, toast/cancel | Slot Width: 1-3.25 inches | Power: 900 watts | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes
Best With Warming Rack
Multifun Stainless Steel 2-Slice Toaster
Includes cleaning brush
Crumb tray is removable
Exterior hot to the touch when in use
This budget-friendly toaster has features you’d expect to find in more expensive models, like the seven levels of toasting; reheat, cancel, and defrost functions; and extra-wide slots that can accommodate bagels and thick slices of bread. The removable crumb tray and included brush make cleaning easy when toast is particularly crumby.
One extra feature is the removable rack that sits above the toaster to keep toast warm for serving or warm pastries, hot dog buns, muffins, croissants, etc., 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.
Dimensions: 9.5 x 5.5 x 7 | Toasting Levels: 7 | Presets: Defrost, reheat, cancel (note: no bagel function) | Slot Width: 1.5 inches | Power: 750 watts | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ease of use, material, or price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources.
What to Look for in a Two-Slice Toaster
Bells and whistles
What are some features you wished your past toasters had? You can find high-tech options at affordable price points these days, many with useful functions like countdown timers, bread warmers, and automatic raising and lowering. Make a list of features you are willing to pay more for—because they're definitely worth it if put to use regularly.
Are you more of a Wonder bread eater, or do you prefer bread with wider and thicker slices, such as artisan breads and bagels? Take into consideration the types of bread you will be toasting, as some toaster slots may be too small for the latter.
If you'll be sharing this toaster with others in the household, consider a toaster with more heating functions, so those who like their breads lightly toasted will be just as happy as those who love it almost burnt. Check for options that include half settings or precise dials so everyone can find their perfect match.
How do you clean a toaster?
Most toasters are designed to be easy to clean, with a crumb tray on the bottom that can be pulled out and emptied. It’s important to clean your toaster regularly to avoid having crumbs collect to the point where they could burn or spill over. The exterior can usually be cleaned with a damp cloth.
How hot do toasters get?
The heating element wires can get surprisingly hot. When they’re glowing red, they’re over 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat dissipates a bit before it reaches the bread, but it’s still hot in that small, enclosed space, which is why it’s not wise to stick fingers into a toaster to retrieve toast when it’s done. This is where a high-lift lever might come in handy.
Do toasters toast on both sides?
Toasters are designed to toast on both sides, but many have an option to toast on one side for bagels or other types of bread that call for single-sided toasting.
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 makes cooking faster and easier. She specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats.
Jesse Ziff Cool is the author of "Toast: 60 Ways to Butter Your Bread and Then Some."