Item: Cuisinart 2-Slice Compact Stainless Toaster
Overall Impression: If you want a toaster that doesn't take up a lot of space, stays cool to the touch while performing basic functions, and carries a name brand at a low price, this one is for you.
Cuisinart, made famous by its food processors, has a reputation for good-quality appliances. I have several Cuisinart appliances I use regularly and am very happy with, although I've never used one of their toasters. I was curious to see how this lower-priced two-slot toaster stacked up.
The Quick Facts
Characteristics and specs
- Dimensions: 6.5" wide x 11" deep x 7" high
- Weight: 3.7 pounds
- Capacity: 2-slot
- Slot width: 1.5 inches
- Construction: Stainless steel
- Shade settings: 6 settings
- Special features: Bagel, defrost, reheat, cancel
- Cleaning: Rear slide-out crumb tray
- Warranty: 3-year warranty
Favorite details: I don't have to worry about burning my hands on this toaster. Even on the highest setting, the outside was still relatively cool enough to touch.
Potential problems: While there were even levels of browning on a single piece of bread, the level of toasting when using both slots was consistently uneven. Items in one slot toasted to a darker color than items in the other slot.
Who would love this? Those who value name-brand appliances at a low price, and want a basic toaster that doesn't take up too much space.
I put the Cuisinart toaster through four different tests, and here's how it did:
1. Toasting a single slice of bread
- The test: I toasted a single piece of white bread in the right slot of the toaster over rounds of testing — once on the lightest setting, once on the middle setting, and once on the darkest setting.
- Result: Bread toasted at the lightest setting popped up after 1:18, and while it started to dry out, it didn't get any color. Bread toasted at the medium setting popped up after 1:48, and started to get a light brown color on the inside of the bread, although it didn't get any color on the outside of the bread. Bread toasted at the darkest setting popped up after 2:13, and had a much deeper toasted color on the inside of the bread than the outside.
2. Toasting two slices of bread
- The test: I toasted two pieces of white bread, one in each slot of the toaster over three rounds of testing — once on the lightest setting, once on the middle setting, and once on the darkest setting.
- Result: The bread toasted on the lightest setting popped up after 1:10; it started to dry out, but still had soft spots, and no color. The bread toasted on the medium setting popped up after 1:42; it was lightly toasted, had more browning on the inside than the outside, and the bread in the left slot got more color than the one on the right. The bread toasted on the darkest setting popped up after 2:30; it had even, medium toasting on each side of the bread, although again, the bread in the left slot got more color than the slice in the right slot.
3. Defrosting and toasting a frozen bagel
- The test: I followed the instructions in the product manual for toasting frozen bagels. I set the browning control to level five, lowered the bagels into the toaster, and pressed the "defrost" and "bagel" buttons.
- Result: With a cycle that took just over three minutes, the bagel was well-toasted and mostly golden-brown with some extra dark-to-burnt spots around the edges.
4. Toasting an English muffin
- The test: A split English muffin toasted at the darkest setting. Can it reach medium, golden-brown in one setting? If not, how long will it take?
- Result: One toasting cycle on the darkest setting finished at 2:30. The English muffin was very lightly toasted, and definitely need more time. I started a second cycle, which continued until the English muffin took on a medium brown color (at 4:07).
Design and Functions
Cuisinart has a line of toasters that include six different models. I chose to test a compact, lower-priced, modern, stainless steel model with plastic sides.
The toaster offers six browning levels to achieve a toast color from light to dark, with extra features to accommodate bagels by adding extra time to the toasting cycle. There's also a defrost function which first defrosts, then toasts frozen items, and a reheat function which reheats food without browning or toasting.
The control lever (used to push items into the toaster), can also be pushed upwards, which makes it easier to remove smaller items. The slots each measure 1.5 inches wide, which proves wide enough for most bagels.
Even when used on the highest setting, this toaster had good temperature control. Even though the sides and top got very warm, even a little hot, it was never burning hot.
If you like a golden-brown piece of toast, it seems like the ideal setting is somewhere between the middle and darkest setting.
When toasting a single slice of bread, the results were uneven, with each side of the bread obtaining a different color. The heating unit on the inside of the machine was hotter, toasting that side of the bread to a darker color than the side facing the outer heating unit.
While each side of the bread seemed to get about the same amount of browning when toasting two slices at the same time, there was a discrepancy in color between the two slots. The toast cooked on one side consistently came out darker than the one on the other side.
Despite some dark areas around the edges, this toaster does a good job with bagels. The ones I used were a little on the small side, so I think larger bagels would fare a little better.
I was curious to see if one toasting cycle at the darkest shade setting would be enough to cook an English muffin to golden-brown perfection; it wasn't. While the English muffin was lightly toasted, it was in need of a partial second cycle.
This part seems relatively simple. As is the case with all toasters, this model should be cool and unplugged before cleaning.
There's a crumb tray, which slides out of the back side of the toaster to easily remove the crumbs. The manual suggests removing any remaining pieces of bread by turning the toaster upside down and gently shaking it.
The outside of the toaster seems prone to fingerprints, which can be cleaned by wiping it with a damp cloth and using a non-abrasive cleaner, if necessary.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.