The Best Toasters, Tested by Our Experts

Our top choice is the Hamilton Beach Keep Warm 2-Slice Toaster

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Best Toasters

The Spruce Eats / Chloe Jeong

Tested & Approved

Our experts narrowed down the best overall picks for both two- and four-slice toasters, naming the Hamilton Beach Keep Warm 2-Slice Toaster as the top pick for two-slice toasters because of its speed, quality, consistency, and ease of use. The Cuisinart CPT-T40 4-Slice Touchscreen Toaster with a high-lift lever and +30 second feature won the top spot for four-slice toasters.

Today's toasters come in all shapes and sizes—from two-slice to four-slice to long-slice (for fitting slices of your favorite artisanal round loaves) to toaster ovens—and most toasters now feature a variety of settings to meet your needs. Want your bagel with a warmed outside and a toasty inside? Extra time to defrost the waffle that came directly from the freezer? Or do you just want to see how much more browning your toast needs? There's likely a setting for that.

To determine which toasters are truly the best, we tested the most popular models side-by-side at home and 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 toasters, according to our tests.

Best Overall, Two-Slice

Hamilton Beach Keep Warm 2-Slice Toaster (22811)

Hamilton Beach 22811 Keep Warm 2-Slice Toaster


What We Like
  • Chimes when finished toasting

  • Toast boost easily removes food

  • Bagel and defrost settings work well

  • Easy to clean

What We Don't Like
  • Unpleasant smell on first use

  • Stainless steel gets smudged easily

For two-slice toasters, nothing beats the speed, quality, consistency, and ease of use of this Hamilton Beach model. This appliance is the standard for smaller households, and it performed well in all of our tests. The easy-to-operate, illuminated buttons let you choose between regular toasting, a bagel setting, and defrosting, and a numbered dial allows you to choose your desired crispiness level. There's also a "keep warm" setting to maintain the perfect temperature for up to three minutes (it shuts off automatically after that.)

Our tester was happy with how well the appliance toasted both sides of a regular piece of bread, leaving no area untoasted. She also liked that the bagel setting cooks the inside of the bread without making the outside overly crispy. The toaster also has a lift feature called “Toast Boost” that makes your toast easier to remove without burning your fingers. Finally, the exterior of the toaster remains cool to the touch even after making breakfast for the whole family. So you can scoot it across the counter or store it away in the cabinet without having to wait for it to cool down.

Hamilton Beach Toaster Review

The Spruce Eats / Camryn Rabideau

Capacity: 2 slices | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 11.3 x 7.48 x 7.48 inches | Weight: 3.47 pounds | Power: 750 watts | Warranty: 1 year

Price at time of publish: $49

What Our Testers Say

"It performs reliably and has several settings, making it a worthwhile investment for any home."Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester

Best Overall, Four-Slice

Cuisinart CPT-T40 4-Slice Touchscreen Toaster

Cuisinart CPT-T40 4-Slice Touchscreen Toaster

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Touchscreen controls

  • High-lift lever and +30 second feature

  • Single piece feature

What We Don't Like
  • Bagels are a tight fit

The CPT-T40 4-Slice Touchscreen Toaster exceeded expectations in our Lab tests, especially given its price tag. Touchscreen controls on the front of the toaster and six shade settings give precise control whether you’re toasting sandwich bread or English muffins. Features include bagel, defrost, and single-slice toasting, as well as a +30 second button and a cancel button.

Two levers each control a pair of toast slots, and each pair can operate separately, so you can simultaneously toast bagels lightly while toasting bread to a dark shade. This toaster’s display rests in standby mode when it’s not being used and wakes up at the touch of an icon. In our Lab tests, 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 when it comes time for cleaning, though our testers observed the easy-to-wipe exterior easily collected fingerprints.

Cuisinart 4-slice touchscreen toaster spruce eats

The Spruce Eats / Fred Hardy

Capacity: 4 slices | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 11 x 10.35 x 7.2 inches | Weight: 6.0 pounds | Power: 800 watts | Warranty: 3 years

Price at time of publish: $74

Lab Test Takeaway

"It looks so, so sleek. This is a toaster you would be proud to leave on your counter."

Best Toaster Oven

Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven

Breville The Smart Oven 6-slice 1800W


What We Like
  • Temperature calibration is nearly perfect

  • Nine preset functions

  • Includes broil rack, pizza pan, baking pan

What We Don't Like
  • Needs circulation space on both sides

  • Expensive

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading to a tech-savvy toaster oven, the Breville Smart Oven is a perfect pick. The large capacity countertop oven not only fits six pieces of bread or a 12-inch pizza, but can also bake cakes and cookies as well as your regular oven. The Element IQ® transfers heat across five quartz elements.

Our tester was impressed with the oven's temperature calibration in particular. "After using the oven to bake a variety of premade products (using the manufacturer’s suggested time and temperature), every one of them was done on time," she reported. She tried out the oven to make cookies, dinner rolls, store-bought pizza, and homemade pizza. She even broiled a steak, which turned out fine but produced a lot of smoke.

Whether you tend to bake in small batches or don’t want to heat up your kitchen in the summer with your regular oven, this is the ideal model for you.

Breville Smart Oven

The Spruce Eats / Donna Currie

Capacity: 6 slices of bread/12-inch pizza | Dimensions: 15.7 x 18.5 x 11 inches | Weight:  22.8 pounds | Power: 1800 watts | Warranty:  1 year

Price at time of publish: $270

What Our Testers Say

"Breville’s Smart Oven may be compact, but it can do nearly everything a full-size oven can."Donna Currie, Product Tester

Best High-End

Breville Die-Cast Smart Toaster

Breville Die-Cast Smart Toaster

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Fits long, artisanal slices easily

  • Easy to increase toasting time

  • Motorized carriage

  • Sleek and beautiful

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Smart features aren't that impressive

Fitted with extra-long slots for all kinds of bread, this Breville smart toaster is a surprisingly unobtrusive addition to your countertop. You simply set your shade level on the slider, put in your bread, and allow the motorized lift to quietly lower it into the toaster. The LED lights indicate your toasting progress, and when it’s done, the toaster quietly raises your bread and dings (there's an option to lower or mute the sound.)

Our home tester used the toaster with white bread, frozen bagels, and thick artisanal bread, and she found that everything came out perfectly. As for the controls, the Breville Die-Cast has some unique and intuitive button options. Besides the bagel and defrost settings, there are also “Lift and Look” buttons that raise the motorized carriage so you can check your toasting progress without starting over. Lastly, there is an “A Bit More” button, a feature our reviewer praised for being especially handy. While our tester appreciated the extra features, she warned that the "smart" designation might be a bit misleading.

Breville Diecast Smart Toaster Review

The Spruce Eats / Lindsay Boyers

Capacity: 4 slices of sandwich bread or two long slices | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 14.9 x 7.7 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 8.25 pounds | Power: 1600 watts | Warranty: 1 year

Price at time of publish: $200

What Our Testers Say

"You can check on your bread as it toasts without stopping and having to start oversomething that I think sets this model apart from others."Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester

Best Design

Smeg 50s Retro-Style 4-Slice Long-Slot Toaster

Smeg 50's Retro Style Aesthetic 4-Slice Toaster

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Polished, retro design

  • Consistent results

  • Includes bagel and defrost features

What We Don't Like
  • Toast sometimes pops out of toaster

Smeg is coveted for its retro-style appliances and trendy color options that add pizazz to any kitchen. The exterior of this toaster is powder-coated steel with polished chrome accents, but not only is it one of the most attractive designs on the market—it's highly functional, too. Anti-slip feet keep this firm on the counter, and the removable crumb tray makes it simple to clean.

Our testers praised this toaster for its consistent performance across all Lab tests; the brownness corresponded to the toaster's setting every time. 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 too high. It also has reheat and defrost settings. One qualm from the testers was that although they enjoyed the toast popping all the way out of the toaster, the pieces could easily end up on the floor.

smeg 4-slice toaster spruce eats

The Spruce Eats / Fred Hardy

Capacity: 2 slices | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 15.9 x 8.1 x 8.4 inches | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Power: 1400 watts | Warranty: 1 year

Price at time of publish: $269

Lab Test Takeaway

"It performed the sliced-bread test very well, but you're really buying this for the design."

Best for Bagels

KitchenAid KMT4115 4-Slice Toaster



What We Like
  • Extra-wide slots

  • Dings when done

  • Classic color options

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to keep clean

Forcing half a bagel into a too-narrow toaster slot isn't a pleasant experience. To avoid rips and crumbs and jams, it's smart to invest in a toaster with wide slots if you eat a lot of bagels or thicker breads. Our Lab testers had nothing but nice things to say about the KitchenAid 4-Slice Toaster, which is available in three colors, and features five shade settings, a manual high-lift lever, and 1.5-inch-wide slots perfect for fluffy bagels.

In our Lab, this model repeatedly toasted beautiful bagels on all settings. Just put the bagel in, press the bagel function, and when it dings, you'll have a bagel with soft crust and an even, golden-brown crispiness on the inside. Just know that our Lab testers found that this toaster skews a bit darker on the regular settings. It also appeared to show fingerprints, but it was very easy to clean.


The Spruce Eats / Fred Hardy

Capacity: 4 slices | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 11.5 x 12.5 x 8.3 inches | Weight: 7.2 pounds | Power: 1440 watts | Warranty: 1 year

Price at time of publish: $60

Lab Test Takeaway

"When it comes to bagels, the coloring is almost perfect."

Best Budget

BLACK+DECKER TR1278B 2-Slice Extra Wide Slot Toaster

BLACK+DECKER TR1278B 2-Slice Toaster, Bagel Toaster, Black
Courtesy of
What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Lightweight

  • Sleek design

What We Don't Like
  • No settings indicator light

  • Top gets very hot

You don’t have to spend a lot to get a quality toaster; this Black + Decker model is very affordable and delivers reliable results. The toaster has an integrated, easy-to-empty crumb tray to keep things tidy, and the cord can be wrapped around the base for easy storage.

While the controls on this appliance aren’t as high-tech as some of the others on this list, you do still have the option to select whether you’re toasting plain bread, a bagel, or a frozen item, which ensures you get the best results possible. Simply press either the bagel or defrost button before pushing down on the toasting lever to choose between the settings. The shade selecting dial offers seven different toasting levels, ensuring that there’s a right setting for everyone.

Capacity: 2 slices | High-Lift Lever: Yes | Removable Crumb Tray: Yes | Dimensions: 8.58 x 9.09 x 12.32 inches | Weight: 2.77 pounds | Power: 850 watts | Warranty: 2 years

Price at time of publish: $35

Best Small Toaster Oven

Hamilton Beach Toaster Oven (31148)

Hamilton Beach Toaster Oven

 Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Affordable

  • Bagel feature

What We Don't Like
  • Controls aren't very intuitive

If you have limited counter space but still want the versatility of a toaster oven, this Hamilton Beach model is a great compact option that packs all the same functionality of broiling, baking, toasting, and warming in one compact appliance. Some reviewers complain that the controls aren’t very intuitive to use, but most users are extremely pleased with this toaster oven’s performance (especially at this price point). It's an extremely affordable addition to your countertop.

The Hamilton Beach has a four-slice capacity and can fit up to a 9-inch pizza. The single rack and smaller size limit how much you can cook at once, but it’s a great fit for a dorm kitchen or small apartment. There are three knob controls for cook setting, temperature, and timer, as well as an included oven rack and baking pan. It even has a designated bagel toasting feature, so you really do get the full functionality of a regular slice toaster in addition to the baking and broiling capabilities.

Capacity: 4 bread slices or a 9-inch pizza | Dimensions: 8.58 x 9.09 x 12.32 inches inches | Weight: 2.77 pounds | Power: 1100 watts | Warranty: 1 year

Price at time of publish: $58

What Our Editors Say

"I love a small toaster oven because it is only a little bit bigger than a toaster and you can lean on it to help roast things, like a few chicken wings, toasted nuts, or a small pizza."Heather Ramsdell, Editorial Director, The Spruce Eats

Final Verdict

For the best two-slice toaster, we chose the Hamilton Beach 2-Slice Toaster because it's easy to use and performed well in our tests. If you're looking to toast more at once, go with the Cuisinart 4-Slice Classic Metal ToasterCuisinart CPT-T40 4-Slice Touchscreen Toaster, which features a high-lift lever and +30 second feature.

How We Tested

We sent toasters to our home testers and also tested them in our Lab using various types of breads, including bagels, waffles, and more. We tested 20 four-slice toasters in our Lab in addition to over a dozen two-slice toasters. Each toaster was rated on design, performance, features, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Our testers then offered additional insights on each toaster's strengths and weaknesses. The results varied widely, with ratings ranging from 2.4 all the way up to 5.0.

What to Look For When Buying a Toaster

By Sara Tane

Revolution Cooking High-Speed Smart Toaster
The Spruce Eats / Jennifer Burns Bright

Number of Slots

Most toasters offer two or four slots for toasting bread. When choosing what you need, consider how frequently you make toast and how much you like to make. If you’re consistently cooking breakfast for four and only have a toaster that can accommodate two slices of bread, the process will be time-consuming. That said, the more slots you opt for, the more counter space the appliance will take up. If kitchen space is limited, a smaller two-slot toaster may be a better option, despite its smaller capacity.

Size of Slots

Once you’ve decided how many slots you want out of your toaster, the next characteristic to consider is the size of those slots. If you’re just planning to toast up thin pieces of sandwich bread, then a basic-sized slot should be fine. If you’ll be toasting bigger items like bagels, heartier slices of bread, croissants, or waffles, a wider slot is probably your better option.

Typically, the wider and larger the slot, the more likely it is to have settings for toasting on just one side. This is optimal for bagels. Toasters with long slots can toast longer slices of artisan bread or long pieces of French bread for sandwiches. In our Lab tests, toasters that boasted a bagel setting but then had too narrow of slots to actually fit a bagel received low scores.

Revolution Cooking High-Speed Smart Toaster
The Spruce Eats / Jennifer Burns Bright

Custom Features

If you’re just looking for an appliance to crisp up a slice of sandwich bread, then it may not be worth your money, counter space, and mental clarity to have a field of extra buttons to squint at in the morning. If you’re planning to use your toaster for more, however, you may appreciate the special functions for defrosting frozen items, toasting on one side (ideal for bagels), keeping toast warm after it’s done, or gently reheating the toast you forgot about (it happens to the best of us.)

If you want your toast just a tad darker, another common feature of some toasters is “a little bit more,” or +30 seconds to toast your bread for just a little bit longer. Some toasters offer a “high lift” function to ensure that you don’t have to fish out your bread with a metal knife or a pair of tongs (or use your hands and risk burning yourself).

There are toasters that are equipped with motorized levers that can sense when you drop bread into the slot and will lower the lever automatically. While this feature can be nice, most users find that using a manual lever is just as easy. Removable crumb trays also make for a much easier cleaning process.

If you’re very particular about the process of toasting your bread and ultimately how toasted your bread is, then some of these added features may be a nice addition for you. There are still a wide variety of toasters that are available at affordable prices that still offer these additional settings.


The most common flaw with an appliance like a toaster is that it is inevitably going to break down at some point. These are not lifetime investments. That said, you still want a toaster that is durable and going to last you as long as possible. Glass toasters have a bit of a reputation for kicking out earlier than most, followed by plastic.

It’s also worth considering if the toaster you’re buying comes with a warranty. This varies as some brands will offer one year, some three years, or none at all. A toaster that is easy to clean is going to last you a long time, so features like a removable crumb tray will make maintenance easier and prolong the life of the appliance.


The material that your toaster is made of will be a good indicator of how hot it will get while it’s being used. Plastic toasters can tend to feel like they're on the cheaper side, even though these models can still offer the bells and whistles of higher-end versions. Plastic is generally less durable than metal, and when the control buttons and levers are made of plastic, they’re more likely to break.

Metal toasters are the most common because this material is sturdier. It’s important to look for a toaster that will remain cool to the touch during use, especially if you have small children around. The least common material is glass, which allows you to see your food as it’s toasting but often leaves a white rim and vertical lines across the bread.

Revolution Cooking High-Speed Smart Toaster
The Spruce Eats / Jennifer Burns Bright


You can snag a toaster anywhere from $20 to $30, but since a higher price tag doesn't guarantee better results, prior research is key. For example, glass toasters are typically more expensive because you’re mostly paying for aesthetics and the benefit of seeing your toast as it cooks, but they don't tend to yield better results.

Types of Toasters

Toaster Ovens

While the focus of this buying guide is pop-up toasters, it’s worth noting what differentiates a toaster oven. Toaster ovens (which are small countertop ovens) do not have the slots of a classic toaster. Instead, there is a door and a small oven that can handle bread and bagels, roasting vegetables and meats, broiling fish, heating frozen pizza, making baked goods, and warming up leftovers. Some toaster ovens even have air frying and dehydrating functions.

While these typically occupy much more counter space than a slot toaster, with that extra space comes many more functions. This appliance may be worth it to you if you can see yourself relying on the appliance for more than just toast. A regular oven can do everything that most toaster ovens can, but toaster ovens use less electricity, heat up your kitchen less, and are great for smaller items if you don't want to take the time to preheat a full-size oven.

The most common types of slot toasters are two- and four-slot toasters. Obviously, two-slot toasters are more compact, which is ideal for a kitchen that’s short on space. Four-slot toasters are bigger and allow larger families to crank out fresh toast at the same time. The number of slots should not affect the evenness or consistency of the bread that you’re toasting; the quality of toast from a two-slice toaster is just the same as a four-slice toaster. Two-slice toasters are also ideal because they’re lighter and easier to maintain and clean.



If you’re looking for a motorized lift, Breville makes a slot toaster with this feature. While it comes at a pretty penny, this is definitely a nice splurge option. It’s sturdy, sleek, and produces consistent slices of toast. These toasters often come with a “lift and look” feature as well as a “little bit more.”


If you’re looking for a toaster option with wide slots, KitchenAid makes some great options in both two- and four-slice capacities. KitchenAid toasters are compact, stylish, and consistent. While they’re not the cheapest on the market, they have enough features to justify the price tag.


Cuisinart is known for quality across all sort of kitchen appliances. Though the brand offers a wide variety of toasters, some of the most notable include a motorized lift lever and wide slots for bagels. On the other end of the spectrum, it makes manual-level, plastic toasters that are just as efficient at churning out perfectly toasted slices of bread.



If you find yourself with a toaster that doesn’t have a high-lift function, you can always get a pair of bamboo tongs. This way, you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers when it’s time to take your toast out.

Sandwich Cage

A fun accessory for your toaster is a sandwich cage, which helps keep your sandwich together as you lower it down into the toaster slot and let it cook. When you lift it up, your sandwich comes out easily in one piece.

Toaster Brush

If you have a toaster that doesn’t have a removable crumb tray, it might be worthwhile to get a brush to help dust off the hard-to-reach places in the toaster. The last thing you want is a large pile-up of stale crumbs burning at the bottom of your toaster.

Revolution Cooking High-Speed Smart Toaster
The Spruce Eats / Jennifer Burns Bright 


Cleaning your toaster is important if you want your appliance to last as long as possible. The most important thing when it comes to cleaning a toaster is to make sure that it is completely cooled down and unplugged when you begin cleaning. Never put it in a dishwasher or under running water. The frequency that you’ll need to clean your toaster will depend on how often you use it. If you use it on most days, it’s good to get in the habit of clearing out the crumbs every week or two.

Most toasters are designed with a removable crumb tray, which you’ll find near the base. When it’s time to clean your toaster out (and the toaster is cooled down and unplugged), begin by removing and discarding the contents in the crumb tray. This tray is positioned to catch all of the particles that fall as you toast your bread.


What do the numbers on a toaster mean?

The answer to this depends on your toaster; if you purchased a timer-style toaster, the numbers refer to the number of minutes it will toast. These tend to be the more expensive brands, like Smeg.

If your model runs on a capacitor, like a toaster most people own, the numbers refer to a rate of resistance. This correlates to the amount of time it takes the capacitor to charge and pop your toasted item out. Older models operate on a bimetallic strip that bends as they heat up, and the numbers on these types of toasters refer to how much electricity goes through the switch. Lower numbers equate to higher current, which heats up quicker and leaves your toast less toasty.

What does the bagel setting on a toaster do?

Toasters are constructed with two heating elements to toast both sides simultaneously. A bagel setting powers down the outer heating element to produce a crusty inside and just-warmed outside of your bagel.

How does a toaster work?

In the most basic sense, toasters turn electricity into heat. Once they're switched on, the connection forms and the electricity powers the infrared heating elements in the toaster.

The super-hot elements generate over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit of heat inside those little slots, which heats the air around your food up to temperatures around 350 degrees Fahrenheit—the default temperature on a full-size oven. Once the timer or thermostat reaches the programmed level of doneness, your toast pops up and the connection between the electricity and the element cuts off until the next time you push the switch.

What can you cook in a toaster oven? 

As toaster ovens have become bigger, sturdier, and stronger, the world of what you can cook in them has expanded. They are great for reheating foods like leftover pizza and can also bake up a batch of roasted veggies, toasty sandwiches, and even brownies. If you have ramekins, baked eggs are a quick toaster oven breakfast. Basically, anything you would cook in a larger oven can be scaled down for a toaster oven.

How do you clean the inside of a toaster?

Follow these steps:

  • Unplug and cool the toaster
  • Shake crumbs loose
  • Make a cleaning solution (optional)
  • Brush away crumbs from the interior
  • Clean the exterior

How do you clean a toaster oven?

Follow these steps:

  • Unplug the oven
  • Remove and clean components
  • Shake to remove crumbs
  • Mix a cleaning solution
  • Clean the interior
  • Clean the glass door
  • Clean the exterior
  • Reassemble the toaster oven

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Anthony Irizarry is a freelancer who writes roundups for The Spruce Eats. Having previously worked as an appliance reviews editor, he's no stranger to kitchen appliances. In addition to toasters, Anthony has also rounded up our picks of the best ice cream makers and best waffle makers.

This article was updated by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor who has nearly a decade of experience as a professional chef. Katya is a New Yorker and unapologetic carb eater who loves a good toasted bagel, and also loves to toast up slices of sourdough rye bread from her local farmer's market.

Additional reporting by
Carrie Honaker
Carrie Honaker The Spruce Eats
Carrie Honaker is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine, travel, and culture. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Wine Enthusiast, Allrecipes, and more.
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