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Along with your coffeemaker, your toaster might be one of the most important small appliances in your kitchen. After all, a disappointing breakfast can get your day off on the wrong foot.
01 of 09
Best Overall, Four-Slice: KRUPS 4-Slot Toaster
This four-slice toaster will have breakfast ready much faster. The extra large, self-centering slots hold thin slices or thick bagels snugly for even toasting. Each pair of slots has its own toasting control, so mom can have her favorite nearly burned toast while dad opts for golden brown. Or you can toast bagels at the same time you’re making toast.
There are six levels of browning and five buttons for functions including toasting, defrosting, reheating, properly toasting bagels, and canceling the process. A high-lift lever brings short English muffins or other pastries high enough to grab them without burning your fingers.
This has an elegant brushed and chromed stainless steel finish and blue LED lights that indicate the cooking process.
02 of 09
Best Overall, Two-Slice: Hamilton Beach 22811 Keep Warm 2-Slice Toaster
For two-slice toasters nothing beats the speed, quality, consistency, and ease of use of this Hamilton Beach model. A top seller on Amazon, this appliance is the standard for smaller households that only need to make two pieces of toast at a time. 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 just how crispy you want your toast to turn out.
You’ll also see a “Keep Warm” button that's one of the best features of this model. If you need a little extra time to finish making your coffee or frying some eggs, simply press the button, and the toaster will maintain the perfect temperature for your toast for up to three minutes. (It shuts off automatically after that.) The toaster also has a lift feature (called “Toast Boost”) that allows you to raise your slices out of the toaster, making them easier to remove without burning your fingertips.
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.
The only complaint about this model is that the cord isn’t quite long enough for those dealing with inconveniently placed outlets.
03 of 09
Best Design: KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Slot Toaster with High Lift Lever
If you bake your own bread or buy a variety of artisan breads, you’ll love the versatility of this toaster. It has two extra-long slots that will each hold two slices of standard sandwich bread, or you can toast long slices of bread. The slots are 1 1/2 inches wide, so you can also toast thick breads, croissants, or bagels.
The toaster has seven different settings for toast color as well as settings for bagels, defrosting frozen bread products, reheating toast, or keeping the toast warm. The lever is designed to make it easy to lift small breads high enough to easily remove them from the toaster.
A crumb tray makes it easy to clean the toaster, and if you need to store it, the cord stores neatly under the base.
04 of 09
Best Budget: BLACK+DECKER TR1278B 2-Slice Toaster, Black
You don’t have to spend a lot to get a quality toaster. This Black+Decker model costs less than $20 and delivers reliable results every day. No wonder it has top-seller status on Amazon. The simple black and brushed silver design is also universal enough to fit in most modern kitchens.
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 to ensure 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.
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 when you’re done making breakfast.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Best High-End: Breville BTA830XL Smart Toaster
Maybe you’ve been burned (pun intended) by cheap toasters in the past. Or maybe you’re just looking for something a little more advanced — something that toasts with the graceful efficiency of an appliance from the future. In that case, look to the super-sleek Breville BTA830XL, a streamlined appliance with simple controls and some highly intuitive features that you probably haven't seen on a toaster before.
Fitted with extra-long slots for all kinds of bread (or four slices of sandwich bread), the BTA830XL is a surprisingly unobtrusive addition to your countertop. 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 BTA830XL quietly raises your bread (no sudden “popping up”) and dings to let you know it’s done. If you don’t like noise in the morning, there’s an option to lower or entirely mute the sound.
As for those intuitive controls: the BTA830XL has some unique button options. Besides the expected bagel and defrost settings, there is also a “Lift and Look” buttons as well as an “A Bit More” button. The first raises the motorized carriage so you can check your toasting progress without starting over, and “A Bit More” does just that: toasts it a bit more.
06 of 09
Best for Bagels: Cuisinart Countdown Lever-less 4-Slice Toaster
If you like to start your mornings with a toasted bagel and cream cheese, then you’ll want a toaster that can handle more than just sliced sandwich bread. The Cuisinart CPT-440 is your best bet: sliced bagels won’t get stuck in the extra-wide slots, and reviewers love that the “enhanced bagel toasting” feature delivers a perfectly toasted sliced side and a lightly warmed outside, ready for all your favorite spreads. Not to mention the CPT-440 comes with a host of other high-tech features that make this little appliance a true asset to your kitchen.
The CPT-440’s four-slice design is perfect for busy households and caters to everyone’s toasting preferences with independent controls on each side. Just select your shade setting on the easy-to-read digital displays, which also act as a countdown timer once toasting starts. You can also choose from the buttons to enable specialized settings, including “Bagel,” “Defrost,” and “Reheat.” The CPT-440 is also lever-less and designed with a motorized bread lift, so it doesn’t pop up like a traditional toaster — instead, it quietly raises up your perfectly-toasted bagel and beeps to let you know it’s done. (If you’re tired of being startled by your toaster first thing in the morning, this feature can be a blessing.)
07 of 09
Best Toaster Oven: Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven
If you’ve been thinking about upgrading to a toaster oven, now is a great time to do so thanks to the improved technology in the last few years, and the Breville Smart Oven is a perfect pick. The large capacity countertop oven not only toasts six pieces of bread at one time, but it can also bake cakes and cookies as well as your regular oven.
It has two types of heating elements and 10 different preset cooking functions to make it easy to select the right cooking mode. It also uses convection cooking to make sure everything heats evenly. The appliance comes with three baking pans specifically designed to fit inside, but it can also hold up to a 3 ½-quart Dutch oven.
If you tend to bake in small batches, or don’t want to heat up your kitchen in the summer with your regular oven (and you have the counter space), this is the ideal model for you.
08 of 09
Best Budget Toaster Oven: Hamilton Beach Toastation Toaster Oven
This toaster is a two-fer with toast slots along with a toaster oven, so you can make traditional toast or you can reheat your pizza for lunch. The top slot is extra wide to handle your thickest breads and is long enough to handle two slices of bread, a long slice of artisan bread, or a pair of English muffin halves. There is a toast shade selector so your toast is always perfectly browned and a bread lifter lever makes sure you can retrieve small slices easily.
It’s simple to switch from toaster to oven, with a simple lever. A signal lets you know when time is up, and an automatic shutoff turns the toaster off if you step away – no more burned pizza!
A dial makes it easy to set the oven temperature for gently reheating pizza or melting cheese on your nachos. A drop-down crumb tray catches crumbs and drips and pulls out for cleaning, and it’s dishwasher safe. The oven rack slides in and out easily for retrieving food and for cleaning. A baking pan is included.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Best Small Toaster Oven: Hamilton Beach Toaster Oven
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 in a smaller package. Broil, warm, bake and toast all your favorite foods in this compact little appliance.
The Hamilton Beach has a four-slice capacity and can fit up to a nine-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 and an extremely affordable addition to your countertop. 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.
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 comes in both black and charcoal.