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Best toasters 2021: Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Breville, and more compared

The best toasters today can do far more than toast.

The truth is that some foods just taste better when they're cooked in a toaster. A toaster preheats significantly faster and can control temperatures far more evenly than the average conventional oven, making it a must-have appliance for your kitchen. Whether you're defrosting Eggo waffles or toasting brioche from the farmer's market, you'll want one of the models below.

Also: Best toaster ovens

Here are our picks for the best toasters of the year:

Breville BTA840XL Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster

Best high-end toaster

breville-toaster.png
Breville

At a glance

The Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster features four extra-wide slots to accommodate a variety of bread types. It's capable of both defrosting and toasting with a one-touch lifting mechanism, along with traditional settings like defrost and bagel. There's also a unique fruit bread setting that is not commonly seen in other models. 

With this toaster, you can choose two different browning levels to work simultaneously, saving you precious time. There's also simple one-touch automation; if you need to toast more without an entire cycle, simply choose "A Bit More" to activate a shortened toasting period. Breville's unique "Lift and Look" feature allows you to monitor progress, so you can stop the toasting process as needed. Plus, the LED indicator helps you monitor your food while it toasts to prevent overcooking and burning. When you're finished, there is a removable crumb tray for easy cleaning. 

A one-year limited warranty is included.

Pros

Cons

  • "Lift and Look" feature

  • Browning level indicator

  • Motorized design

  • Hard to fit four slices

  • Mediocre smart features

  • Lifting mechanism can stick

Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice Compact Toaster

Best compact toaster

cuisinart-toaster.png
Cuisinart

At a glance

The Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice Compact Toaster is a lightweight toaster fashioned from plastic with stainless steel accents. The straightforward design includes toasting slots that are 1.5 inches wide with a shade dial that allows for seven different settings. Three toasting options include reheat, defrost, and bagel controls. There's also a cancel button to stop cooking as needed with a "Hi Lift" lever that makes it easy to grab your items without burning your fingers.

Cuisinart recommends this compact toaster for more than sliced bread and bagels; it's also perfect for frozen pancakes, toaster pastries, and french toast. A removable crumb tray makes for simple cleaning, and there is a convenient cord wrap included when it comes time for storage. You can choose from red, white, or black to add a little personality to your kitchen.

A three-year limited warranty is included.

Pros

Cons

  • Affordable

  • Fits large slices

  • Extra-long warranty

  • Limited capabilities

  • Toaster gets very hot to touch

  • Limited wattage

Hamilton Beach Keep Warm 2-Slice Toaster

Best affordable toaster

hamilton-beach-toaster.png
Hamilton Beach

At a glance

The Keep Warm 2-Slice Toaster by Hamilton Beach is a stainless steel model that still manages to remain lightweight. Its signature Keep Warm feature prevents overcooking while still keeping your toast, well, warm. The three-minute shutoff gives you plenty of time to prepare your dish and accouterments before removing your bagel or bread. 

Designed to remain cool to the touch, the Keep Warm 2-Slice Toaster still incorporates a convenient Toast Boost that allows for easy removal by lifting up the items inside. One of the best parts is the inclusion of extra-long slots that handle thicker bagels and bread slices. Multiple settings allow you to control how long your food toasts with a convenient "beep" that sounds when cooking is complete. At that point, the three-minute toasting period begins. If you happen to find yourself in the dark, there are illuminated buttons to help. An added convenience is the built-in cord wrap feature under the base that simplifies storage and prevents clutter on your countertop.

A one-year warranty is included.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent warming feature

  • Smart button feature

  • Retractable code

  • Short depth

  • Minimal features

  • Limited settings

SMEG 4-Slot TSF03 Toaster

Best design

smeg-pink-toaster.png
Smeg

At a glance

The SMEG 4-Slot TSF03 Toaster does not skimp on style. Its fun 1950's design offers many color options, including pastel blue, pastel green, cream, and pink, and is adorned with stainless steel accents. This is definitely one of the more attractive toasters that still incorporates functionality, such as backlit buttons with illuminated control knobs for easy accessibility.

This toaster has four single compartments that include self-centering racks. It uses independent controls, accompanied by a helpful interface, to allow you to choose between the reheat, defrost, and bagel functions with six different browning levels. To catch any excess food, a stainless steel crumb tray is included. 

A one-year repair or replace warranty is included. 

Pros

Cons

  • Fun retro design

  • Multiple color options

  • Convenient wide slots

  • Very pricey

  • Only three presets

  • Not ideal for households in a rush

Revolution InstaGLO R180 Toaster

Best smart toaster

revolution-toaster.png
Revolution

At a glance

Made of stainless steel, the Revolution InstaGLO® R180 Toaster cooks up to 35% faster while still retaining 30% more moisture than the average toaster. There are more than 60 different smart settings, which automatically adapt to toasting everything from English muffins to Pop-Tarts. 

It only toasts two slices at a time, but the advanced cooking process is well-worth the lost slots when perfectly-toasted items are your goal. Also notable is its signature touchscreen with a built-in countdown clock and a chime notification that sounds when your food is ready. 

A one-year warranty is included. 

Pros

Cons

  • 63 smart settings

  • Convenient touchscreen controls

  • Excellent for even toasting

  • Just 4 settings

  • Struggles to thaw frozen foods

  • Limited slot width

Cuisinart CPT-2400P1 2-Slice Toaster

Best long slot toaster

cuisinart-artisan-toaster.png
Cuisinart

At a glance

Cuisinart is known for its well-made kitchen products, so it is no surprise that it makes an appearance on this list twice. This toaster has four settings, including toast, bagel, reheat, and defrost, with a handy cancel option. Boasting 1500 watts of power, it has seven different settings to create your preferred toast crunchiness. A Hi-Lift lever and removable crumb tray for convenient clean-up also add to its appeal.

This toaster is a bit larger and heavier than other models, largely due to the oversized slots. These self-centering bread slots are long enough to fit a variety of artisan breads, which often get stuck in smaller toasters.

A limited three-year warranty is included.

Pros

Cons

  • Best for over-sized breads

  • Three-year warranty

  • Extra lifting feature

  • Slower to toast

  • The chrome can get very hot to touch

  • Limited durability

How did we choose these products?

While choosing the best toasters of the year, we considered several different factors:

  • Number of slices: While some toasters limit you to just two slots, others may offer four.

  • Slot dimensions: The slot dimensions of your toaster may limit what you cook, especially when there is a more narrow design. Long-slot toasters are recommended for rustic bread styles, while wide-slot toasters work well for bagels, sourdough, and artisan breads. 

  • Material: Different materials impact the price you pay. While plastic toasters are generally affordable, however, they may not offer the same durability as a stainless steel toaster.

  • Settings: Most toasters have multiple setting options that allow you to control the shade and crispiness of your food. While some toasters are restricted to toasting, others may have defrost, reheat, and warming features that provide greater versatility for your cooking needs.

  • Wattage: The number of watts a toaster has speaks to its overall power. A higher-wattage toaster will deliver much more power (and faster toasting times) but will also require more energy.

  • Price: The cost is a major determining factor. While some toasters cost less than $35, other models that are loaded with extra features can cost $300 and more. This list includes a range of price points.

Which toaster is the right one for you?

Toasters may all seem the same at first, but there are many features that vary from one model to another. Before you choose the best toaster for you, consider what factors (listed above) are the most important to you based on your cooking style, needs, and budget.

Are there alternatives worth considering?

In our search for 2021's best toasters, these are some of the other models we considered: 


What does a toaster do?

A toaster is a small kitchen appliance that is used to lightly cook bread slices, bagels, and more. 

How much energy does a toaster need?

Toasters are usually more efficient than larger kitchen appliances. An average toaster uses anywhere from 800 watts to 1,200 watts, depending on its size and features. 

How much does a toaster cost?

The cost of a toaster is determined by several factors, such as wattage, settings, and materials. Our picks for the best toasters in 2021 range from under $30 to nearly $300. 

While shopping for your kitchen, check out our picks for the best food processors and the best kitchen gifts of 2021!