Toasters have come a long way from their days of basic toasting, which makes it harder to pick the best one. But with life as busy as it is, buying a great toaster can help you serve up nutritious meals in a heartbeat without having to cook.
Popular appliance companies like Cuisinart and KitchenAid offer products with features like extra-wide and extra-long slots, 4-slot models, and even smart models with automatic timed capabilities.
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But they're not all worth the hype. For the real scoop on which toasters are actually the best, we consulted food experts who shared their recommendations and thoughts. So even if you're on a budget, need to feed several mouths or want one big enough for your favorite extra-long slice of artisan bread, there's a toaster here for everyone.
The 9 Best Toasters of 2023
- Best Overall: Cuisinart 4-Slice Toaster ($79.90, Amazon)
- Best on a Budget: Cuisinart Compact 2-Slice Toaster ($29.95, Amazon)
- Best Luxury: Balmuda Toaster ($299, Amazon)
- Best Four-Slot: Cuisinart 4-Slice Toaster ($69.95, Amazon)
- Best Smart: Revolution Instaglo R270 Toaster ($399, Revolution Cooking)
- Best for Bagels: Black and Decker Extra-Wide Toaster ($23, Amazon)
- Best Toaster Oven: Cuisinart Toaster Oven ($129.95, Crate & Barrel)
- Best Toaster Oven (runner-up): Black and Decker 4-slice Toaster Oven ($79.99, Walmart)
- Best Extra-long: Breville ‘Lift and Look’ Toaster ($89.95, Breville)
How We Chose
We talked to four dietitians and foodies about their top choices of toasters, and how to choose one based on the following criteria:
- Shade satisfaction
- Special features
- Number of slots
1. Best Overall: Cuisinart 4-Slice Countdown Metal Toaster
Cuisinart is known as one of the top appliance brands out there, so it's no surprise that the CPT-435P1 Four-Slice Countdown Toaster is nothing less than extraordinary. With digital countdown and dual cooking features, this stainless steel toaster takes toasting to a new level.
Both sides can be used independently, and you can set each one to any of seven different browning settings on the digital screen.
Once you begin toasting, bars will appear on the screen displaying a countdown of your cooking time. When it's ready, it will beep to let you know your toast is done to perfection.
The extra-wide slots are perfect for those who prefer thick slices of bread and bagels, like Julia Zakrzewski, RD, a dietitian whose go-to weekend brunch features a toasted bagel with cream cheese, capers, red onion, and lox.
"As far as toasters go, this small stainless steel appliance feels modern and luxurious," she says. The CPT-435P1 is the perfect toaster to own for those who want a quality product yet simple enough that anyone can operate it.
2. Best Budget-Friendly: Cuisinart CPT-122 Compact Plastic 2-Slice Toaster
While it may be budget-friendly, don't be fooled by the material or price. Like all of Cuisinart's appliances, this compact plastic toaster is a winner according to more than 17,000 five-star ratings on Amazon.
Similar to the CPT-180P1, this toaster also offers seven different browning shades on a dial along with a bagel, defrost, and reheat button. The toaster only comes with two slots, but depending on your household size, two slots might be just what you need. (They are also extra-wide for a variety of bread sizes.)
If you are looking for simplicity on a budget, this toaster is the way to go.
3. Best Luxury: Balmuda 'The Toaster'
The Balmuda toaster is a complete game changer. As someone that rarely uses a toaster, I want to go out and buy this one immediately after learning more about this impressive kitchen appliance.
The incredible science behind the perfect toast all comes down to just five cc's of water. The manual instructs you to add five cc's of water before every toast, initiating the steam technology in the toaster, which keeps the moisture and flavor in the bread while perfectly toasting the outside surface.
With this luxury toaster, there are five mode options to choose from based on what you're making:
- Sandwich bread mode
- Artisan bread mode
- Pizza mode
- Pastry mode
- Oven mode (which has three temperature options)
If you love toast, pastries, and other bread products, you may want to upgrade to a Balmuda toaster.
4. Best Four-Slot: Cuisinart Classic 4-Slice Toaster
Aside from our best overall, the Cuisinart CPT-180BKS model may be the best four-slot toaster money can buy.
This toaster has a dial on each side to select your preferred shade setting (up to six), and it offers multiple functions, including an option for bagel toasting, defrosting, and reheating. The extra-wide slots are perfect for bagels and other thick pastries, but if you do happen to run into a snug fit, the high-lift levers help you get your food out safely.
"I like the price of this toaster, and its versatility when it comes to toasting different types of bread such as toast, bagels, and waffles," says registered dietitian and Founder of Glow+Greens, Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN. "One of my favorite breakfast foods is toasting thick-cut sourdough, adding a lime and avocado spread and topping with Everything But The Bagel seasoning and an over medium egg."
This Cuisinart toaster is a great model for larger households or those who like two different settings but want to toast simultaneously.
5. Best Smart Toaster: Revolution Instaglo R270
Not only is the Revolution Instaglo R270 the best smart toaster on the market, but if we had to choose a runner-up for luxury, this toaster would fall under both categories.
While most toasters toast the basic bread, bagels, and English muffins, this smart and luxurious appliance toasts 34 different types of bread, including an additional 16 gluten-free options and two accessory modes. In addition, it has seven shade settings depending on your toasting preferences, the ability to reheat and defrost.
There are two accessory modes that you can purchase and add if you'd like to use your toaster to make sandwiches: panini mode and warming rack mode. Make paninis grilled to perfection without the frying pan or bulky panini press. The warming rack is the perfect alternative to microwaving pastries without drying them out.
The brand is now promoting $75 off their bundle if you buy the toaster, panini press, and warming rack in the same order. For those willing to make the jump, it's worth every penny.
6. Best for Bagels: Black and Decker 2-Slice Toaster
When you're shopping for toasters online, a frequent complaint you might find in reviews is that they are not wide enough to fit a sliced bagel. If you're tired of digging bagels out of your toaster and trying not to burn yourself, put this one in your cart.
This Black and Decker Two-Slice Toaster is compact and yet perfectly sized for toasting bagels or other thick pastries with extra-wide slots that comfortably fit any toast, bagel, or other thick slices of bread. You can even defrost and toast bread and bagels right out of the freezer!
The simple and sleek design features a dial and three buttons. Turn the dial to choose between six shade settings or press the bagel button to give you that golden crisp on the outside and soft, chewy heaven on the inside.
Reviewers love this toaster because the slots are big and lead to fewer crummy messes in their kitchens. Plus, the design is simple enough for kids and older adults to use, and the device itself is easy to clean.
7. Best Toaster Oven: Cuisinart Toaster Oven Broiler
You can make full-blown meals with the Cuisinart TOB-60N Toaster Oven Broiler. Not only is there a precise shade control for toasting, but it also includes baking, broiling, warming, convection baking, and convection broiling functions. That means this thing gets up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit!
Toaster ovens allow you to make several dishes at the same time, which is ideal for assembling quick and healthy weeknight dinners. This model can fit up to six slices of toast, a small casserole dish, and even a 12-inch pizza.
"It not only makes my toast perfectly golden brown but it's also a convection oven. I can make so many meals using the oven portion when I don't feel like using my big oven," says Linda Stephens, CPT, a pro athlete who prioritizes making nutritious meals for herself and her family.
Her favorite simple meal to make in her toaster oven is Ezekiel bread pizza: Just toast your bread then top it with warm tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and any other fix-ins you like!
All that said, this one may not be the right choice if you're just looking for basic toasting or don't have too much counter space.
8. Best Toaster Oven (Runner-Up): Black and Decker 4-Slice Toaster Oven
This Black and Decker Four-Slice Toaster Oven is another fan favorite. The even-toast technology ensures perfectly toasted bread every time. You can also use it for baking, broiling, or simply keeping food warm.
"Several years ago, I ditched my toaster for a toaster oven and have never looked back," says Debbie Murphy, RDN, a dietitian and recipe developer. "My family uses it for just about everything, like reheating leftovers or cooking plant-based sausages. It's also handy for melting cheese on toast for a grilled cheese or an English muffin for a mini pizza."
Murphy also suggests reheating leftover roasted vegetables in the toaster oven. "Microwaving leftover roasted vegetables often makes them soft and soggy, but when I toss them in the toaster oven, they crisp up again, so they are just as delicious as they were the night before."
9. Best Extra-long: Breville Touch Toaster
The Breville "Lift and Look" Touch Toaster is one of the longest on the market, this toaster offers large, 15-inch-slots for those extra-long slices of freshly baked artisan bread. Just touch the button to toast, and to ensure perfect doneness, you can tap the lift-and-look button to take a peek.
This toaster also features five shade settings and five different buttons for toasting, frozen items, bagels, 'a bit more' (for when it's not quite toasted enough), and a 'lift and look' button. The 'lift and look' and 'a bit more' buttons are great for this type of toaster as longer slices of bread (such as artisan bread) can be a little thicker and may need a slightly longer cooking time while still keeping an eye on.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Toaster
Every home has different needs, so if you truly want to buy the best toaster for your family's needs, consider these factors first:
1. Your Household Size
If you have a larger household that typically eats breakfast around the same time, opting for a four-slot toaster like the Cuisinart CPT-435P1 or Cuisinart CPT-180BKS might be the best option. "Upgrading from a two-slice to a four-slice toaster was the best move for our family," Zakrzewski says.
On the other hand, if you don't use your toaster often, don't have much free counter space, or you have fewer mouths to feed, a two-slot toaster might better suit you.
2. Special Features
If you use your toaster multiple times a day or are looking to do more than the basic toasting, you might consider upgrading your appliance to a model with additional special features. Adding the Revolution Instaglo or Balmuda toaster to your kitchen collection will instantly up your toaster game.
While most toasters can do the basic job of toasting, not all of them can get the job done successfully. Think about what you plan on using the toaster for, and go from there.
So, if you toast bagels often or love a thick slice of sourdough bread, consider opting for an extra-wide toaster like the Black and Decker T2569B so that it won't get stuck going in or coming out. The same goes for the length.
If you find yourself cramming long slices of bread into your toaster, it might be worth your while to upgrade to an extra-long slot toaster like Breville's Lift and Look Touch Toaster. The best part is even if you don't always need the long slots, you can still fit two regular slices in each space.
Shopping for any appliance typically means investing in something you plan to own for some time. If it's within the budget, opt for a stainless steel toaster, which will deliver on durability.