Which four-slice toaster is best?
Toast is arguably the most comforting food since, well, sliced bread. Whether slathered in butter and jam or used to create the perfect canvas for your avocado masterpiece, toast is perfect for every meal of the day. But you’ll need a great toaster.
Four-slice toasters are the choice of crusty bread aficionados the world over, and the KitchenAid Toaster with Manual High-Lift Lever is a good option for customizing your slices for a crowd.
What to know before you buy a four-slice toaster
Size of the slot
Each four-slice toaster needs to be able to accommodate many different bread thicknesses. Slots should be either extra-wide or easily adjustable to fit bagels, Texas toast and artisanal, hand-sliced bread. Most toasters have a slot width of 1 1/2 inches, but commercial toasters might be 2 inches or more.
In addition, the length of each slot matters. This is especially important if you are toasting not only packaged bread but also pastries or crusty loaves of odd shapes or sizes. The length of most toaster slots is 5-6 inches, but some commercial toasters have slots up to 10 inches long.
Size of the toaster
Unless you have ample under-counter storage, toasters take up valuable kitchen real estate. If space is at a premium, look for a toaster that fits your counters. If you get one that’s too big, you might not have room for much else on your counter.
With any appliance, you may want to coordinate the finish of your four-slice toaster to your kitchen decor. Look for options that include both colors and metal finishes.
What to look for in a quality four-slice toaster
Because many people make toast bleary-eyed and rushing in the morning, safety features are critical. These might include:
- Automatic shut-off: Toasters that are left on for too long can get hot enough to cause a fire. An automatic shut-off prevents this from happening.
- Stable feet: The last thing you want is a burning hot toaster sliding across the counter. Look for a toaster with rubber pads or feet on the bottom to keep it in one place.
- Stay-cool exterior: While you want the interior of your toaster to be nice and hot, the outside should stay cool to protect everyone around there. While stainless steel toasters can reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, aluminum toasters stay cool on the outside as they work. This might be the best choice for families with small children.
No more reaching in to grab toast with a fork or with toast tongs. A toast lift mechanism pushes the edge of the toast above the slot for easy removal.
Some people like the barest hint of color on their toast, while others prefer a texture that approaches croutons. Adjustable browning allows you to customize toast for each person in your family.
Digital controls for things like time and temperature are generally more accurate and easier to use. These controls might be on a dial, or they may be programmed buttons on the front of the toaster.
Even the most careful cooks make some crumbs with toast. Look for a removable crumb tray that slides out to keep counters clean.
High-end toasters come with a variety of additional controls, including:
- Bagel settings are designed for the irregular shape of a bagel.
- Extra time adds 30 seconds to the toast.
- Cancel stops toasting in its tracks.
- Defrost is designed for frozen waffles.
- Reheat warms toast that has cooled in the toaster.
How much you can expect to spend on a four-slice toaster
Toasters can be as affordable or as expensive as you’d like. Expect to spend $30-$500.
Four-slice toaster FAQ
Can you toast frozen bread or waffles directly out of the freezer?
A. Yes. In some cases, you may need to use the defrost setting first before toasting, but other toasters allow you to simply pop it in the slot and select the setting you like.
How do you care for a toaster?
A. Toasters require limited care, but regular cleaning keeps them in top shape.
- Unplug your toaster before cleaning.
- Regularly empty the crumb tray.
- Wipe off the sides of the toaster after each use.
- Turn your toaster upside down over the sink and gently shake it out to remove any stray crumbs.
- If your toaster has cord storage, keep the cord tucked away when not in use.
What’s the best four-slice toaster to buy?
Top four-slice toaster
What you need to know: The four extra-wide slots and easy controls allow you to customize your toast.
What you’ll love: Make two different levels of toastiness with two control knobs (one knob for each pair of slots). The high-lift lever makes it easy to remove toast and the crumb tray means no more messy bits on the counter. It looks great on the counter.
What you should consider: The outside of the toaster gets hot.
Top four-slice toaster for the money
What you need to know: This is a great option for large families or brunch gatherings.
What you’ll love: The bagel setting is reliable, and the slots are wide to accommodate thick slices of artisanal bread. Toast frozen waffles and pastries directly from the freezer with the defrost setting oh, and use the six levels of browning to customize your toast.
What you should consider: It’s not as durable as other options.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The features on this help you bring your toast to the next level.
What you’ll love: The slots self-adjust to keep toast and bagels stable. The digital countdown allows you to see exactly when your toast is ready, and the bagel option works consistently well. Its stainless steel design is durable and beautiful on the counter.
What you should consider: This toaster also gets very hot on the exterior.
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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