Touch screen is easy to use
Innovative system heats fast
Frozen products don't thaw completely
Slots are too small
We purchased the Revolution R180 High-Speed Smart Toaster so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Billed as “the world’s first high-speed smart toaster” and “the biggest advancement in heating technology for over one hundred years” in the company’s marketing video, Revolution's R180 High-Speed Smart Toaster promises fast toasting, digitally calibrated to different types of bread products. This sounds great in theory, but only if it “revolutionizes” toasting in ways that really matter.
We were especially curious if it could solve a few problems in conventional toasting. Could large, homemade bread slices fit? Would it completely defrost and toast frozen bagels? Would we be able to remove slices without burning our fingers? In short, what would be the justification for this unit’s extraordinarily high price? After testing, we are not sure we had a satisfactory answer. Read on to find out why.
Design: Modern touch
Evident at first glance, this toaster is a beauty. With a classic box shape and brushed stainless finish, it features a slanted front with a glass touch screen edged in chrome and black plastic accents. It has a moderately slim profile and the minimalist style would fit in most kitchens.
Two wide slots on the top are engineered to grab onto sliced bread products, automatically lower them into place, and bring them up again when toasted. We found the smooth, controlled lift-and-lower function cool and fun to use. A shallow crumb tray emerges when you press a bar underneath the screen.
If it lives on the counter, a handy clock (with analog or digital display options) functions as a screen saver. If you unplug the toaster to store it between uses, however, the clock must be reset. The chime at the end of toasting is much more appealing than the old-fashioned “ding!” Even better, its volume can be adjusted in the settings.
Features: Smart and fast
Using the Revolution toaster couldn’t be more simple, even for the technologically challenged. The high-resolution screen on the face of the toaster, about the size of a large smartphone, springs to life with a touch. If there are problems booting up the program, users are advised to unplug the toaster, wait 30 seconds, and try again. (We didn’t have any problems, but other reviewers mentioned some.)
According to the manufacturer's website, the toaster uses “smart sensor technology” to assess moisture levels in bread products to adjust its toasting times, but it is unclear whether the sensor calibrates individual slices, or if it uses an algorithm for, say, what an average frozen waffle should need to toast properly. It replaces the heating coils of conventional toasters with “InstaGlo technology,” a proprietary, helix-shaped, etched metal heating element that glows red hot almost instantly.
So how fast is fast? Toaster pastries and bread toast in about a minute and ten seconds, which is barely enough time to get out the butter dish and a knife. Frozen goods take just a little longer. In the last few seconds, the toaster shows a countdown to maximize the toaster-to-table interval.
Pictures of five different types of starches—bread, bagels, English muffins, frozen waffles, and toaster pastries—are displayed so even younger users can easily identify a choice. You can also toggle to select large bakery-style bagels and adjust the brightness and volume of the alert chimes.
Performance: Mixed results
Though toasting seemed foolproof, we discovered a few issues. After placing the object we wanted to toast into the slots, we selected the type of bread product to be toasted and chose whether it was frozen or fresh. Then, we had to pick the desired browning on a seven-point scale of light (one) to dark (seven).
Unfortunately, even the default setting (four) turned all of our test products (except for the toaster pastries) dark brown, too overdone for our relatively flexible tastes. However, we received better results on the second lightest setting (two). Level two made darn good toast, pleasantly striped, golden brown, and crispy. Even so, having fewer than half of the settings on the toaster be basically inoperable is not desirable.
This toaster is priced for the luxury market.
Another option is a 15-second reheat, which did not brown our bread properly. This feature proved to be helpful for reheating cold toast during the trials, and crucial to solving another flaw: our standard-sized frozen bagels and English muffins remained frozen at the core when we toasted them on normal settings. This problem was compounded when the exterior of the bagels browned too much because we couldn’t re-toast them without burning them. But if we simply used the reheat setting, everything was cooked just enough in the center to be satisfactory.
More frustratingly, the toaster slots are a generous 1 x 5.25 inches, but not wide enough for slices of homemade bread or even the store-bought oval rye loaf we had on hand. This is disappointing because it relegates the toaster for only the shelf-stable square bread style.
Although we tried, we could not get the toast slices stuck for troubleshooting purposes, which is a good thing. If this occurs, the Revolution Cooking website provides a resources section that instructs you to unplug the toaster, wait until it is cool, and then figure out how to retrieve it on your own.
The company recommends wiping the toaster with a soft, damp cloth to clean it, and then buffing it with a dry cloth. As with many stainless steel finishes, fingerprints tend to show up on the sides and front, as well as on the glass touch screen. A quick polish with a towel removes them.
Because the small crumb tray is in the front of the unit, it’s very easy to remove it, toss food remnants, and handwash it in the sink. If you do tend to forget about such things, a handy alert periodically pops up on the touchscreen with a reminder.
Price: Very expensive
With a retail price of around $300, the Revolution toaster is priced for the luxury market. If you want a toaster that can toast your food quickly or one that will look good on your kitchen counter, the high price may be worth it. But if you only need a toaster that will brown your food evenly, even if it takes multiple rounds in the toaster, then you should consider less expensive models.
Toaster pastries and bread toast in about a minute and ten seconds.
Competition: Longer slots or toaster oven
Although the toaster has a definite edge over its competition due to its smart screen and speedy toasting, its price may be the inhibiting factor for most shoppers. If you are willing to overlook some of the limitations and want to toast mostly store-bought bread and pastries, it is admittedly fun to use and it looks great on the counter.
KitchenAid 4-Slice Long Shot Toaster: If you bake your own bread or tend to buy bakery loaves that are wider than average, a wiser choice might be a toaster that features extra-wide slots, such as KitchenAid's 4-Slice Long Shot Toaster. This toaster allows users to toast entire slices of longer bread on a range of browning settings.
Oster Large Capacity Toaster Oven: Consider the Oster Large Capacity Toaster Oven for increased functionality over any toaster. Although it might take longer to toast, it’s much easier to see what’s happening through the glass door and it has the added functionality of being able to toast bread with cheese or other toppings. Slice size is also not an issue.
The Revolution R180 High-Speed Smart Toaster is a good luxury buy if you want to shave seconds off your breakfast routine or if you mainly eat store-bought bread and pastries; otherwise, other options may seem more practical.
- Product Name R180 High-Speed Smart Toaster
- Product Brand Revolution Cooking
- Price $299.95
- Weight 6.4 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 11.6 x 6.1 x 8.4 in.
- ASIN B086H69SJ2
- Watts 1500
- Capacity two slices
- Color Brushed stainless exterior with glass screen, chrome and black accents
- Material Stainless steel, glass, plastic
- Cleaning Soft damp cloth for exterior, removable crumb tray
- What’s included toaster and instruction booklet
- Warranty one-year limited, with option to buy four-year extended