It's toast — how hard can it be? Medium hard, actually! Sure, you can get a two-slice toaster for around $30, but you can also shell out a couple hundred bucks on a toaster oven that puts your real oven to shame. How do you decide which option is best for you? Answer these five questions and you'll see the way.
1. Do you want a toaster or a toaster oven? Or both?
Ah, this great debate. So many households are divided over this issue. I've actually seen his and hers toasters and toasters ovens, respectively. While you probably don't really need to own both (who has the space, anyway?), there's really no wrong answer, as they each do different things. So it all depends on what you really want to use it for.
Toasters really just do bread (and other similarly shaped carbs), whereas you can use a toaster oven for things like small pizzas, a handful of French fries, leftovers, and more. Toaster ovens can really handle most of what your actual oven does, just on a smaller scale, so it's great for when you just don't want to turn on the big guy.
2. How many slices of bread will you need to toast at once?
If it's just you making toast for yourself, then you can probably get by with a regular toaster. If it's your family of four (or if your roommate really loves toast), you might want to get a toaster oven, many of which can fit 12 slices of bread at once.
3. Where will it live in your kitchen?
Are you thinking you'll keep the small appliance out on the counter at all times? Or will you stash it away in a cabinet when not in use? If you're leaving it out, you might want to consider its looks and how it meshes with the rest of your kitchen. If you're putting it away, think about how much cabinet space it will take up and how easy it will be for you to move on demand.
If you picked the former: 10 Design-Friendly Toasters You'll Be Happy to Have on Your Counter
4. Do you want the bells and whistles?
Some toasters have bagel settings that only toast the cut side of the bagel. Some raise and lower your bread, so you never have to riskily stick a knife in to stab at your fallen-behind toast. Some have a defrost button, which allows you to turn a frozen block of bread into perfectly warm toast in minutes. Some toaster ovens are also convection ovens. If any of these features are important to you, decide that now.
5. Are the controls easy to use?
Congrats — you found a toaster (oven or regular!) that you like. Before you buy it, though, take a good look at the controls. Do all the dials, buttons, and screens make sense to you? Can you handle them when you're under-caffeinated and your fingers are covered in butter? If yes, you have found yourself a winner. If no, keep looking!
What kind of toaster or toaster oven do you have? Do you love it?