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Whether you use one to crisp a burger bun, build the perfect breakfast sandwich, heat frozen waffles for breakfast, or warm a few slices of an artisanal bread to pair with dinner, a toaster is an essential kitchen appliance to heat, crisp, and caramelize your favorite breads, bagels, and English muffins.
Extensive Lab testing had the Cuisinart CPT-T40 4-Slice Touchscreen Toaster placed in the top-ranking overall spot based on design, performance, features, overall value, and more. While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, the Proctor Silex 4-Slice Wide Slot Toaster was a favorite of our Lab testers based on its affordability and performance.
When it comes to the best toasters, there are models ranging from basic to fancy and everything in between. Four-slice toasters take up just a little more space than their two-slice cousins, so they’re worth considering even if you don’t always need four slices. You'll want to consider the settings and the size of the slots to make sure they can accommodate what you toast the most. Trying to cram a thick bagel or waffle into a too-small toaster slot can result in a crumbly mess.
To determine which toasters won't ruin your mornings, we tested 20 of the most popular models side-by-side in our Lab. We toasted bread, bagels, and waffles, and then rated each model on design, performance, features, ease of cleaning, and overall value.
Here are the best four-slice toasters, according to our tests.
Best Overall: Cuisinart CPT-T40 4-Slice Touchscreen Toaster
High-lift lever and +30 second feature
Single piece feature
Bagels are a tight fit
The CPT-T40 4-Slice Touchscreen Toaster outperformed the competition in our Lab tests, particularly when you factor in its price. Touchscreen controls on the front of the toaster and six shade settings give precise control of toasting, no matter if you’re using sandwich bread or English muffins. Features include bagel, defrost, single-slice toasting, a +30 second option when the toast needs just a little more time, and a cancel button that stops the toasting right away.
Two levers each control a pair of toast slots, and each pair can operate separately, so it’s easy to toast bagels lightly while toasting bread to a dark shade at the same time. This toaster’s display rests in standby mode when it’s not being used and wakes up at the touch of an icon, ready to help with breakfast tasks.
The usefulness of this toaster's different features, as well as how well it toasts bagels, earned it praise from our Lab testers. Bread toasted to a nice golden brown on medium and high settings, with the highest coming out evenly dark without being burned. The testers did have to manually help thick bagels into the slots, but they came out with a golden brown cut-side and a soft crust, even on the highest setting. The crumb tray is removable for easy cleaning, though our testers observed the easy-to-wipe exterior tended to capture fingerprints.
Number of Slots: 4 | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 11 x 10.35 x 7.2 inches | Weight: 8 pounds | Warranty: 3 years
"It looks so, so sleek. This is a toaster you would be proud to leave on your counter."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Buydeem DT640 4-Slice Toaster
Available in mint green and pale yellow
Highest setting runs hot
Let's face it, most toasters look the same: a smooth black or silver box. Some may be made with better material, or have a sleeker appearance, but few offer a distinguishing characteristic. This led our testers to seek out a few design-forward four-slice toasters. The Smeg was one, as was this one, a curved and colorful retro-style toaster from Buydeem.
Though this looks like it belongs in a midcentury modern house, the Buydeem has all the modern trappings of a 21st-century toaster. There are bagel/muffin, reheat, and defrost options, plus seven shade settings. The two sides are independently controlled, and it comes with a high-lift lever for smaller breakfast carbs. Its performance while testing is what led to its inclusion in our recommendations. The Lab testers found this performed well across the board. It dependably toasted up bagels and bread to a golden brown in the medium settings, with the high setting getting very toasty but not inedible.
When you're done, the exterior is easy to wipe down and the 40-inch cord has concealed storage, so you can keep this statement piece on your counter. And as a bonus, one tester noted a very satisfying click when you push the levers down.
Number of Slots: 4 | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 12.2 x 7 x 11 inches | Weight: 7.2 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
"We felt like this one hit every level of brownness that one would want from a toaster."
Best High-End: Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch 4-Slice Toaster
Easy to keep clean
Sleek design and high-quality appliances are what Zwilling is known for, and our testers were not disappointed in its four-slice toaster. It comes with seven browning settings, plus defrost, reheat, and bagel functions, all easily viewable with LED-lit controls. When your bread is done, you have both a soft lift and a high lift option.
The slots are engineered to position each bread slice for even browning, and our testers found this element over-delivered. No matter the setting or type of bread, everything came out of this toaster perfectly, evenly browned, and ready for butter. The testers excitedly noted that it provided the most coverage of toastiness—no outer border of un-toasted bread to be found. When they dropped in bagels, the wide slots fit them perfectly with the highest setting keeping the crust soft and the interior dark but not burnt. Lastly, our testers felt this toaster's very modern aesthetic will look good on any countertop.
Number of Slots: 4 | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 12.2 x 11.3 x 8.1 inches | Weight: 8.8 pounds | Warranty: 5 years
"This is a gorgeous toaster that will consistently deliver the brown level that you would expect on each of the numbers."
Best Budget: Proctor Silex 4-Slice Wide Slot Toaster
Easy to clean
If you're looking for a very affordable, no-frills toaster, there are tons of options. But one thing our testing proved is that there aren't a lot of basic four-slice toasters that won't regularly burn your toast or malfunction and leave you with no toast. A simple design and efficiency are what made the Procter Silex 4-Slice Wide Slot Toaster stand out in our Lab.
The only extra features this barebones, slightly compact model has are seven browning settings, a high-lift lever for English muffins and the like, and a cancel button for when you don't want to wait. During testing, this did get very hot when on the hottest setting, with the bread closest to the heating element (the farthest left slot) coming out a little darker than expected. The unevenness across the four slots was consistently noted, but it does serve up golden brown toast when you figure out the learning curve.
Number of Slots: 4 | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 11 x 10.5 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 4.1 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
"This is a no-frills toaster, but it's very efficient."
Best for Bagels: KitchenAid KMT4115 4-Slice Toaster
Dings when done
Classic color options
Hard to keep clean
Even if you're not toasting overly fluffy New York-style bagels, forcing half a bagel into a too-narrow toaster slot can put a damper on your weekend brunch. If this is a regular occurrence in your kitchen, you need to buy a wide-slot toaster that is ideal for bagels. Our Lab testers found just the one with this KitchenAid 4-Slice Toaster.
This model, which is available in three colors, features five shade settings, a manual high-lift lever, and, most importantly, 1.5-inch wide, great-for-fitting-bagels slots. In our Lab, it repeatedly toasted up picture-perfect bagels on all the settings. Just pop the bagel in, press the bagel function, and when it dings, you'll have a bagel with a still-soft crust and even, golden brown crispiness on the inside.
The testers did find that this toaster skews a bit darker on the regular settings, so keep that in mind. It also appeared to show fingerprints, but it was very easy to bring back the shine.
Number of Slots: 4 | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 11.5 x 12.5 x 8.3 inches | Weight: 7.2 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
"When it comes to bagels, the coloring is almost perfect."
Best Design: Smeg 50s Retro-Style 4-Slice Long-Slot Toaster
Includes bagel and defrost features
Toast sometimes pops out of toaster
Smeg, an Italian company, has been making inroads in the American market and gaining a following thanks to the retro look of its appliances and unique color options that will make a statement in any kitchen. The exterior of this toaster is powder-coated steel with polished chrome accents, but its accolades go beyond just its good looks.
In addition to the toaster's retro design, our testers gave this toaster high marks for its consistent performance, whether they toasted four slices of regular toast, two extra long slices, or two split bagels. The brownness corresponded to the toaster's setting time and time again. The testers did note that when you’re using the bagel setting, it toasts slightly lighter, but does get a great golden brown color on the cut-side if you crank it up to high. This also has reheat and defrost settings.
One caveat from the testers: They enjoyed the toast popping all the way out of the toaster, though these pieces could easily end up on the floor. Anti-slip feet keep this steady on the counter, and the removable crumb tray makes it easy to clean.
Number of Slots: 2 | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 15.9 x 8.1 x 8.4 inches | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
"It performed the slice-bread test very well, but you're really buying this for the design."
Best for Waffles: Cuisinart CPT-640 4-Slice Custom Select Toaster
Waffle, pastry, and English muffin settings
Hard to keep exterior shiny
Similar to bagels, if popping frozen waffles into your toaster is a frequent event in your kitchen, life will be much more enjoyable if your toaster excels at it. Whether you top yours with homemade whipped cream or need a base for a weekly waffle sundae, the Cuisinart 4-Slice Custom Select Toaster performed the best in our tests when it came to waffles.
Before our testers got to the waffle test, they found this Cuisinart model achieved evenly golden toast, with a decent gradation between the settings. If you do enjoy bagels every now and then, it did also pass the bagel test, though you'll want to have it on a higher setting for a crispier breakfast. When the Lab tested this model's extra features, the waffle setting produced golden brown crispy waffles on par with your favorite diner breakfast.
In addition to the waffle setting, this toaster has a setting for pastries and English muffins, as well as defrost and for a single slice. This translates to a lot of bang for your buck. One caveat from our testers is that this is hard to wipe down and does show fingerprints easily.
Number of Slots: 4 | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 9.25 inches | Weight: 7.6 pounds | Warranty: 3 years
"The waffle came out a nice golden brown, crispy exterior, soft inside—great job."
How We Tested
We tested 20 of the top 4-slice toasters in our Lab by seeing how well they toasted up regular white bread, bagels, and frozen waffles. We ran each test on three settings: light, medium, and high, to accurately gauge both the toaster's heat level and how evenly it toasted. The testers also wiped down each machine repeatedly and emptied the crumb trays. All of our reviewers evaluated the four-slice toasters on design, performance, features, ease of cleaning, and overall value.
We also sent some four-slice toasters to the homes of our experienced food writers so they could spend weeks testing their capabilities. They used the machines to toast a variety of bread, frozen waffles, and ready-to-eat breakfast pastries, plus tried out all the functions and features, cleaned them, stored them, and ultimately decided what their strengths and weaknesses were.
Other Options We Tested
- Cuisinart CPT-180P1 4-Slice Classic Metal Toaster: Our home tester generally enjoyed our former best overall pick, since it's easy to clean, has independent settings, and is relatively affordable. But the negatives she observed became even more apparent when tested in the Lab. Our editors observed inconsistent results and uneven browning. When using the bagel function, the toaster doesn't turn off one side, which could result in a burnt exterior.
- KRUPS KH734D Breakfast Set 4-Slot Toaster: With six browning settings, a sleek design, and built-in cord storage, this Krups four-slice toaster was one of our favorites for a long time. When we tested it in our Lab, our testers found it left a lot to be desired. The shading was inconsistent and very uneven across the functions. Toasting bread skewed toward very dark browning while toasting bagels skewed very light. On top of that, it was a "fingerprint nightmare."
- Breville BTA830XL Die-Cast Smart Toaster 4-Slice Toaster: The Breville Die-Cast Smart Toaster is one of the more expensive models on the market, so we sent it to a home tester as well as to the Lab to be tested as a contender for Best High-End. Our testers found that its automated lowering/rising function was very fun to use, but it didn't serve a real purpose and your toast future will rely on the toaster's motor. The bagel even got caught a few times in Lab testing, so it doesn't work perfectly. But what really took this off our recommendations was the overly hot highest setting that burned toast and bagels.
- Cuisinart CPT-142 4-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster: We initially liked this Cuisinart for its space-saving design and affordability, so it was included in our round of Lab testing. During the tests, it skewed very hot, burning both bread and bagels, and even warping some of its plastic casing. It led one of our testers to state that an oven broiler would work better than this. Needless to say, we don't recommend it.
- Breville BTA730XL Bit More 4-Slice Toaster: Breville is one of the most respected countertop appliance brands, and we expected its Bit More Toaster to be one of our top picks. This ultimately let us down, though. During testing, only the medium setting produced decent toast and an evenly browned bagel. The highest setting, though, yielded burnt toast. Things got even worse with the bagel test when both sides ended up charred and inedible.
- Dualit Vario Four-Slice Toaster: Our Lab testers found this Best High-End contender looked slightly European in design and definitely the most fun to toast with. Its very powerful lift lever was one of the few toasters to give a true cartoon-like pop up and out of the toaster. Beyond that though, we couldn't find other features to justify the cost. The toast settings need to be fine-tuned or you'll end up with too light or too dark toast, with inconsistent browning, and the exterior was hard to keep clean.
What to Look for in a 4-Slice Toaster
These adjustable settings indicate the shade level, or how toasted your bread will be. These are either shown in numbers going up to 6 or 7, indicating the brownness of the toast (from light brown to dark brown) or in minutes counting down before the toast pops up.
Features found in most four-slice toasters include a crumb tray, lift lever (allowing you to lift the finished toast even higher to avoid getting burned), and width slots, which, depending on how wide they are, will allow you to fit and evenly toast more than just a regular slice of toast, such as bagels, artisan bread slices, pastries, and more.
Many four-slice toasters also include extra settings and features that may prove useful depending on your needs. Examples include defrost, reheat, and keep-warm settings; a "lift and look" feature that lets you pause toasting to check doneness; "a bit more" option that lets you toast a little longer if the bread wasn't toasted to your liking; and a digital display.
Different types of bread brown at different speeds. Depending on what type of bread you're toasting, you'll need to adjust the browning setting to get your favorite amount of doneness. Lighter bread, like white or potato, tends to brown faster and might require a lower browning setting than a sprouted bread that has a lot of seeds and whole grains in it. The best way to find your perfect slice is to experiment with your favorite bread and then remember that setting.
How do you clean a toaster?
Before cleaning your toaster, unplug it and make sure it's completely cooled down. Then, remove the crumb tray and shake loose crumbs from the tray into a trashcan or the sink. The tray can be washed by hand, if needed, and should be completely dry before returning it to the toaster.
It's also a good idea to turn the actual toaster upside down and give it a shake over the trash can or sink to dislodge any additional crumbs. If any crumbs remain, you can use a small brush to clean them from the toaster slots.
The outside of the toaster and controls can be wiped down with a damp cloth.
What do the numbers on a toaster mean?
The numbers on a toaster are meant to be a guide to level of toast doneness, but they vary from toaster to toaster. Turning the dial to "2" on different toasters will likely result in very different levels of browned toast.
On high-end toaster models, the numbers sometimes correlate to actual time, but again, that's not the case on all toasters.
It's best to experiment with a few slices of bread to figure out what each setting on your toaster produces and find the settings that meet your preferences.
What does the bagel setting on a toaster do?
The bagel setting lets the toaster know you're toasting something thicker, like a bagel or English muffin, which requires more time to heat through and toast evenly. The toaster automatically increases the toasting time when this function is used.
Can you put foil in a toaster?
Even though aluminum foil is designed to withstand heat, it's not a good idea to use it in a toaster. There just isn't enough clearance in toaster slots to make sure the foil isn't touching the heating elements. Save the foil for a toaster oven or standard oven.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie knows a thing or two about bread, toasted or not. The Spruce Eats writer and reviewer not only wrote a book about the bread-making process ("Make Ahead Bread") but she's also written roundups on various kinds of toasters and toaster ovens for our site. Check out her picks of the best two-slice toasters.
The Spruce Eats Editor Siobhan Wallace compiled testing data from our official Lab as well as insights from our home testers' full product reviews to update this roundup.