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Which toaster is best?

Toast is a wonderful thing — white or whole wheat, store-bought or homemade, slathered in butter or topped with avocado — and the right toaster makes it easier to get your fix at any time. You deserve better than toasters that don’t fit a standard slice of bread or give shockingly uneven results.

Finding the right one is easier than you might think once you know what to look for. If you want a reliable four-slice toaster, the Cuisinart Metal Classic 4-Slice Toaster is an excellent choice. 

What to know before you buy a toaster

Two-slice toaster vs. four-slice toaster

You can divide toasters into two broad categories: two slice and four slice. As you might guess, two-slice toasters can toast up to two slices of bread simultaneously, while four-slice toasters can toast up to four slices of bread simultaneously. Which is best for you depends on the toast needs of your household. If several people eat breakfast together, you’ll probably need a four-slice toaster, while a two-slice model will suffice for those who usually eat alone.

The great thing about toasters is that they’re far more compact than toaster ovens, so even a four-slice model will have a smaller footprint. If you opt for a four-slice toaster, consider buying one with two sets of controls so you can easily toast one or two slices without wasting energy. 

Slot size

Consider both the length and width of the slots. Extra-long slots can fit two standard slices of bread next to each other or one oversized slice of bread. If you regularly bake your own bread or buy artisan loaves, extra-long slots are the way to go. You may also want extra-wide slots as they can more easily fit bagels, English muffins, burger buns and other thick baked goods. 

Toast shade selection

Most toasters have a simple dial that lets you select the desired shade of your toast, from barely warmed at one end of the scale to blackened at the other. These settings differ between toasters so err on the side of caution until you’ve got the hang of your new toaster. Four-slice toasters may have two shade selection dials so you can make one pair of slices more well-toasted than the other. This is ideal when different household members have different shade preferences. 

What to look for in a quality toaster


The defrost setting adds some extra toasting time so you can toast bread directly from frozen. This is useful to have if you often freeze loaves. 

Bagel setting

The bagel setting is designed for any breads that are thicker than average, such as bagels and English muffins. It extends the toasting time while lowering the temperature, so bagels and other thick breads are warmed through without getting burnt on the outside. 

Cool-touch exterior

Toasters with a cool-touch exterior don’t get hot on the outside during use. This keeps users from accidentally scalding themselves and is great if you have kids in your household who use the toaster. 

How much you can expect to spend on a toaster

Basic two-slice toasters start at around $10, while high-end four-slice toasters can cost up to $75.

Toaster FAQ

What are the best toasters for large slices of bread? 

A. It’s frustrating when large slices of bread won’t fit in the toaster. You’re forced to either cut part of the slice off or turn the slice during toasting which results in the center of the slice being more toasted than the top and bottom. The best toaster for oversized slices are four-slice toasters with two extra long slots rather than four standard side-by-side slots. These can fit wider or taller slices of bread than other types of toaster. You might only be able to fit two slices in a four-slice toaster, but at least they’ll be evenly toasted. 

Why doesn’t my toaster toast evenly on both sides? 

A. If your toaster is toasting extremely unevenly, it might be old and in need of replacing. However, uneven toasting is a common complaint with toasters. If you buy a quality toaster, you shouldn’t have any notable unevenness. That said, a little unevenness of toasting is expected due to heat fluctuations and bread shape. If this bothers you, rotate the bread during toasting. 

What’s the best toaster to buy?

Top toaster

Cuisinart Metal Classic 4 Slice Toaster

Cuisinart Metal Classic 4-Slice Toaster

What you need to know: Perfect for families and serious toast-lovers, this roomy toaster toasts four slices at once. 

What you’ll love: Each pair of slots has independent controls, which is great when making toast for two people with different shade preferences. It has bagel, defrost and reheat settings and an attractive brushed stainless steel finish. 

What you should consider: It has trouble fitting taller-than-average, rectangular slices of bread.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top toaster for the money

Hamilton Beach Extra Wide Slot Toaster

Hamilton Beach Extra-Wide Slot Toaster

What you need to know: An affordable two-slice toaster with extra wide slots perfect for bagels and English muffins.

What you’ll love: It’s simple to use with a shade selection dial and auto-shutoff when your toast has reached the desired shade. You can choose either red or black versions, and both colors feature stainless steel sides.  

What you should consider: It’s a solid toaster for the price, but it doesn’t have any extra settings, such as bagel and defrost settings. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Elite Cuisine Long Slot Cool Touch Toaster

Elite Cuisine Long Slot Cool Touch Toaster

What you need to know: The long slots make it ideal for toasting homemade boules and other oversized slices. 

What you’ll love: It can toast four standard slices or two extra-large slices. The slots are extra-wide to easily fit bagels and similar. You can choose from black, white and stainless steel finishes, and the reheat and defrost settings are handy. 

What you should consider: It toasts darker than you might expect, so be conservative with your shade settings. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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