Toasters are easily one of the most utilized tools in the kitchen. From serving up Sunday morning sides of toast to making a makeshift grilled cheese sandwich, the uses for a toaster are virtually limitless.
However, if you are in the market for a new toaster because your trusty old one finally gave out on you or if perhaps you are just looking for an upgrade due to keeping up with the needs of your growing family, you may feel a bit at odds when it comes to the unlimited toaster options available.
My Favorite Toasters
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Criteria for Evaluation
Size and Capacity
Toasters greatly vary by size. Think about you particular needs for your toaster ask yourself the following: do you need to toast 2 slices of bread at a time or 4? Will you be toasting artisan bread or bagels? How much counter space is available? Once you better know, be sure to always check the interior and exterior dimensions on all models prior to purchasing.
Keep Warm Option
The great option of Keep Warm is perfect for those who are always rushing out the door. Certainly not a necessary feature, but definitely a very handy one! Most toasters that boast this option do have an automatic shut off for safety purposes, but always look into that prior to purchase.
If you have trouble remember to grab your bagel on your way to drop the kids off at school or head into work, having a handy audible reminder may be a good option for you. Be sure to take into consideration what other reviews state about beeps and audible sounds, though, as many can be louder than expected.
Ease of Clean-Up
There are a ton of different models of toasters that have significantly different options of ease of overall cleaning. Some models permit the crumb tray to slide out only slightly while other models have a completely removable crumb tray to make cleanup much easier.
These are some small details of which a lot of people tend to overlook. If you do not want your toaster smoking due to a significant amount of crumb build up at the bottom, this is something you will certainly want to consider.
Ease of Use
In terms of ease of use, you will also want to consider this. Are your toasting needs smaller and very basic?
Or are you looking to purchase a toaster for an elderly relative who may struggle with too many options? If so, you will want to be sure to seek out a general, simple toaster that has a limited amount of options for overall ease of use.
Shade control is a huge factor and can allow for better capability of your toaster being able to automatically adjust the temperature and the time to give you the perfect amount of desirable toasting. If you like your bread toasted in a specific way, this is something that you will most certainly want to keep in mind when investing in a toaster.
Bagel, Reheat, and Defrost Features
Depending on your personal needs and desires, you may want to consider additional special features of which will allow you the freedom to select pre-programmed settings with the simple press of a button. While these extra features are most certainly nice, they are definitely not necessary features.
Some will say the extra cost for these features is not worth it when you’re talking about just making toast. They might look amazing sitting on your counter, but the toast they make isn’t so great. A straightforward toaster with a couple of slots, an on/off switch and seven-setting browning selection is really all you need.
This gets the main job done the best. Same is true for the automatic pop-up. This feature simply starts to cool your toast instead of the ideal of keeping it warm with the heat left over from the toasting cycle.
Finally, we come to what is often the most important aspect to consider when it comes to investing in the best toasters on the market. You will, most certainly want to consider the toaster price that you are interested in purchasing. Sure it may have all the best features and comes from a top of the line brand name.
But take heed and read the reviews of any toaster you are interested in, as all too often you will not exactly be getting what you are planning on paying for.
It has often been noted that when it comes to toasters, just because you spend upwards of a hundred dollars on one, does not truly mean it is the best one available. In fact, much to the contrary, many have been found to note that the toaster they paid a minimal amount for actually works far better than one they invested a significant amount in.
Did you Know?
An inventor by the name of Albert Marsh create a nickel-chromium alloy that was able to be heated over an over using an electrical current. General Electric spent four years to make a toasting appliance that was suitable for home use. Later, in the mid 1920s, the Toastmaster company introduced the first pop-up toaster to the general market.
Why is my toaster not toasting food evenly?
If your toast is not evenly toasted, then it will need to be cleaned. Check our Q&A on how to clean your toaster for more information.
Why does my toaster create an odor?
The number one reason your toaster could have an odor can be due to the manufacturing process. During this process, the toaster may be still covered in dust that needs to be removed before you start toasting for the first time.
Here’s what to do if that happens:
- Press the bread lever down (don’t insert anything in it)
- While working for the first time, the toaster will heat up and burn the dust that may have accumulated. The odor you may notice is more than normal during this process.
What does the bagel button do?
This button is used to toast foods such as bagels or English muffins. These foods are thicker than regular bread and take longer to toast. When you use this feature, the toaster will adjust the toasting time for the appropriate food item being toasted.
Which lighter/darker setting to choose?
This feature allows you to choose how to toast, whether just light toasting or crunchy toasting. Make sure to select the lighter settings if you are toasting thin slices and remember that this setting will remain until you don’t change it manually.
What does the frozen button do?
The frozen button is a feature that is used for you to toast your frozen foods. In one simple step, this feature will automatically defrost your food and then toast it. On some toasters, this button is called the defrost button.
What does the warm button do?
The warm button is a feature that is used for warming foods that have already been toasted, but may have become cool. With this feature, your toaster will warm your food without toasting it any further.
Are there different bread slot sizes to consider?
Yes. Because a bagel is a different width than regular bread, for example, you will want to make sure that the toaster that the toaster you choose has bread slot sizes that will accommodate a variety of different bread types and sizes. When selecting a toaster, you want to make sure that you can toast any of your foods; from frozen or club sandwiches.
What is the purpose of the crumb tray?
Most options now-a-days come with crumb trays which are are a great thing because they can be easily removed. Removal allows allows you to get rid of the crumbs stuck inside your toaster and the result of use over a longer period of time.
What is the most durable and/or safest toaster housing material?
Some people find that they are worried about safety when it comes to their toaster. If this is the case what you need to do is take into consideration toaster housing. Options made of metal metal generally retain heat. However options made of plastic or cool reach steel are likely to retain less heat and therefore are perfect for any family with young kids.