If space is limited in your small kitchen, a toaster may not be a top priority. However, there are moments when its convenience is unmatched, especially when catering to a toast-loving child. Food and Meal embarked on a quest to find the best toaster oven of 2024, evaluating models ranging from $18 to over $450 in price, in both two-slice and four-slice formats. After extensive testing, we identified four winners that excel in performance, durability, and design, accommodating different space limitations and budgets.
What to look for when shopping for the best toaster
Toaster style is an important consideration when choosing the right toaster for your needs. Here are some key points to consider:
|If you often find yourself in a breakfast rush with multiple people needing toast simultaneously, a four-slice toaster is a convenient choice.
|If counter space is limited, a compact two-slice toaster might be more suitable for your needs.
|Long-slot toasters have become popular, especially with the rise of artisanal bread. These toasters accommodate wider slices like sourdough or other rustic loaves, which would otherwise need to be cut in half to fit in a standard toaster slot.
|Look out for toasters with wider slots, as they make toasting bagels and thicker slices of bread effortless.
The exterior material of the toaster is primarily a matter of personal preference and aesthetics, as it doesn’t significantly impact the quality of the toast.
- Plastic toasters: Generally less expensive, plastic toasters offer a budget-friendly option but may not be as visually appealing.
- Metal toasters: Metal toasters, typically made of brushed steel or stainless steel, can complement your kitchen decor and coordinate with other appliances.
Consider the specific settings offered by the toaster to suit your bread preferences and desired level of toasting.
- Bread settings: Look for settings like bagel, defrost, and reheat. Bagel settings toast the inside while warming the outside, ensuring a perfectly balanced bite. Defrost settings are ideal for frozen items like waffles or bread. Reheat settings quickly warm bread or pastries without excessive toasting.
- Shade selector: To adjust the toasting level from light golden to dark brown, choose a toaster with a slider, dial, or touchscreen interface based on your preference.
While not every toaster will have these additional features, they can enhance your toasting experience.
- Glass window: A toaster with a glass window allows you to monitor the toasting progress, helping to prevent burnt toast.
- Motorized operation: Some toasters offer motorized operation, eliminating the need to manually push down the lever as it automatically operates with the push of a button.
- High-lift lever: A high-lift lever elevates the toasted slice, making it easier to retrieve without struggling or risking burnt fingers.
- Digital interface: Toaster models with a digital interface provide easy readability and operation, offering a sleek look and usually more toasting options.
Consider these factors when selecting a toaster to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences.
Best toaster of 2o24
If you’re tired of waiting around for your morning toast, the TR3500SD will be a game-changer. With its Rapid Toast technology, this toaster ensures that your slices are toasted to perfection in no time. It’s a lifesaver on those busy mornings when every second counts.
One common frustration with toasters is uneven toasting. The TR3500SD tackles this problem effortlessly. Thanks to its extra-wide slots and self-centering guides, your bread gets toasted evenly, from edge to edge. No more half-burnt or under-toasted slices!
We all have different preferences when it comes to toast shade. This toaster offers seven shade settings, allowing you to customize your toast exactly how you like it. Whether you prefer a light golden hue or a deep, crispy brown, this toaster has you covered.
The TR3500SD has a dedicated bagel mode that toasts the cut side of your bagel while gently warming the crust. It’s a thoughtful feature that adds convenience to your morning routine.
Have you ever realized you’ve chosen the wrong setting after you’ve started toasting? The cancel function on this toaster is a handy lifesaver. It allows you to stop toasting mid-cycle, so you can avoid burnt toast mishaps. Cleaning a toaster can be a chore, but not with the TR3500SD. Its removable crumb tray makes cleaning a breeze. Just slide it out, empty the crumbs, and you’re done.
The Hamilton Beach toaster model we tested may be basic, but it offers affordability and functionality. With seven toast shade options, you can easily customize your toast to your preferred level of doneness. What sets this toaster apart is its stainless steel exterior, giving it a touch of elegance compared to other basic toasters that are often made of plastic. Its compact size makes it perfect for apartments, small kitchens, or even motor homes.
While this model lacks specific bread settings found in other toasters, it compensates with extra-wide slots that can accommodate thick-cut Texas toast or bagels. Keep in mind that for thicker or frozen slices of bread, you may need to adjust the shade setting accordingly. For added safety, this toaster features cool-touch sides, making it family-friendly and reducing the risk of burns.
The Breville Die-Cast Two-Slice Toaster stood out as a top performer in our test, although we did not name it the best overall due to its higher price point of nearly $160. However, if you prioritize consistent toast quality, this toaster is a champion. We conducted five consecutive batches of toast, and it consistently delivered perfectly toasted slices each time. One notable feature is the automatic lowering of the bread with just a push of a button, eliminating the need to manually press a lever. The toaster also boasts extra-wide slots, accommodating bagels and thicker slices of bread with ease. We found the “Lift and Look” setting to be particularly convenient, allowing you to check on the progress of your toast without interrupting the toasting process. If your toast requires additional browning, the “A Bit More” setting adds extra time for perfect results.
Cleaning is hassle-free with the pull-out crumb tray located at the base, although it should be noted that the toaster itself is not dishwasher safe. Additionally, the sleek die-cast metal housing with a brushed steel exterior adds a touch of sophistication, making it an attractive addition to any countertop.
With its stainless steel construction, this toaster is a reliable choice for achieving the perfect toast color, whether you prefer a delicate golden shade for white bread or a deeper brown for rye bread. It’s also an excellent option for entertaining, as it can toast up to four slices at once, ensuring consistent browning across multiple batches without the risk of burning. Thanks to its dual independent control panels, you can toast a frozen bagel on one side while toasting a fresh piece of whole grain bread on the other, with each slice cooked to the desired doneness.
The toaster offers six browning settings to cater to your personal taste, along with convenient features like defrost, reheat, and bagel functions. Retrieving smaller pieces of toast is made easier with the high lift lever, ensuring that toast and English muffins pop up high enough for effortless grabbing. During testing, we particularly appreciated the toaster’s ability to deliver toast and English muffins at a height that allowed for easy access.
We were truly impressed by the exceptional combination of performance, features, and affordability offered by this toaster. Priced at around $50, it boasts a long slot design that can accommodate a single piece of artisan sourdough or two slices of sandwich bread placed side by side. Its sleek and narrow profile also ensures it takes up minimal space on your countertop. We particularly love the addition of a clear window, which allows you to keep an eye on the browning progress of your bread. Moreover, this toaster comes in seven vibrant color options (black, white, cream, gray, aqua, red, and yellow) to add a delightful pop of color to your kitchen.
During our testing, we found the removal of the crumb tray to be remarkably easy, facilitating hassle-free maintenance of the toaster’s cleanliness. Additionally, this model scored perfectly in terms of consistency, as each slice of toast emerged with the same lovely shade of golden brown. However, it’s worth noting that the toaster’s forceful ejection of toast did startle us on a couple of occasions. Rest assured, though, you won’t encounter any difficulties retrieving your perfectly toasted slices from this impressive toaster.
This particular toaster offers a more modern and digitized experience, featuring a convenient screen on the front that houses most of the settings. Nicole Papantoniou, Director of the Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, highlights the usefulness of the different bread settings it offers, including options for white, whole grain, bagel, sweet, waffles, English muffin, and gluten-free. This is particularly valuable as people now consume a wider variety of bread types, each requiring different toasting preferences due to variations in sugar and preservatives.
Additionally, the toaster includes a shade selector that allows you to customize the level of toasting, ranging from lightly toasted to dark (with seven levels in between). It also provides defrosting and single-slice toasting options for added versatility.
In our recent testing, we also had the opportunity to evaluate the Cuisinart CPT-540 4-Slice Motorized Toaster, which performed exceptionally well. This model is particularly suitable for larger families or for those who wish to designate separate slots for gluten-free bread to prevent cross-contamination. We were impressed by the toaster’s ability to toast bread evenly and consistently throughout our testing.
Toasting bread may seem straightforward, but the Panasonic Toaster Oven FlashXpress takes it to a whole new level. With its double infrared heating technology, this toaster oven delivers consistent and perfectly browned toast every time. Say goodbye to unevenly toasted slices!
But this toaster oven is not limited to toasting alone. It offers six preset cooking modes, covering everything from toast and waffles to pizza and reheating. Just pop your food in, select the mode, and let the FlashXpress work its magic. It’s like having a personal chef at your disposal.
In today’s compact kitchens, every inch of counter space counts. The Panasonic Toaster Oven FlashXpress is designed with this in mind. Its compact footprint won’t monopolize your counter, leaving you with more room for other kitchen essentials.
Don’t be fooled by its size; this toaster oven can accommodate up to four slices of bread or a 9-inch pizza. The interior is well-designed, allowing you to fit a variety of dishes without compromising on cooking quality.
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the best toaster ovens:
- What is a toaster oven?
- A toaster oven is a small kitchen appliance that combines the features of a toaster and an oven. It is versatile and can be used for toasting, baking, broiling, roasting, and reheating food.
- Why use a toaster oven instead of a traditional toaster?
- Toaster ovens offer more functionality than traditional toasters. They can handle a variety of cooking tasks, including baking and broiling, making them suitable for preparing a wider range of foods.
- What features should I look for in the best toaster oven?
- Consider features such as size, capacity, cooking functions (toasting, baking, broiling, etc.), temperature control, timer settings, ease of cleaning, and additional features like convection cooking or smart technology.
- Can I use a toaster oven for baking?
- Yes, toaster ovens are excellent for baking. They are capable of baking cookies, muffins, small cakes, and other baked goods. Some models come with specific baking functions and temperature settings.
- How does convection cooking in toaster ovens work?
- Convection cooking in toaster ovens involves the use of a fan to circulate hot air. This promotes even cooking and faster cooking times, making it an efficient feature for baking and roasting.
- Are toaster ovens energy-efficient?
- Toaster ovens are generally more energy-efficient than traditional ovens for smaller cooking tasks. They heat up quickly and don’t require preheating for as long, saving energy in comparison to larger appliances.
- Can I use aluminum foil in a toaster oven?
- Yes, you can use aluminum foil in a toaster oven, but it’s essential to follow safety guidelines. Do not allow foil to come into direct contact with heating elements, as it can cause a fire hazard. Use it to line pans or wrap food instead.
- What size toaster oven is suitable for a small kitchen?
- For a small kitchen, consider a compact toaster oven with a capacity of around 4 to 6 slices of bread or 9 to 12 inches in pizza size. Compact models are space-efficient and still offer versatile cooking options.
- Can I cook frozen foods in a toaster oven?
- Yes, toaster ovens are suitable for cooking frozen foods. Many models have specific settings for frozen items, and their smaller size allows for quicker and more even cooking of frozen foods compared to a traditional oven.
- How do I clean a toaster oven?
- Cleaning methods may vary, but typically, you can remove and clean the crumb tray, racks, and other removable parts. Wipe down the interior with a damp cloth. Some toaster ovens also have a non-stick interior for easy cleaning.