I’ve Tested Nearly Every Toaster on the Market. These Are the 5 Best for Most Home Cooks.
If there’s one thing people are super passionate about, it’s toast. I hear more complaints about toasters than any other appliance. From listening to all of you, I know you want evenly browned toast — at every setting because, after all, you like yours just one shade short of burnt and your husband prefers his lightly golden brown. And not only that, when you’re making a second round, you don’t want it to come out darker or lighter than the first one.
I’ve tested just about every toaster out there and here are the ones that will make your breakfast.
Why You Should Trust Our Gear Pro
For more than 30 years, I was in charge of testing and reporting on everything from wooden spoons to connected refrigerators at the Good Housekeeping Institute. I’ve walked the floors of every trade show and read every new product release for longer than most digital publications have existed!
My street cred? I also worked as a chef in New York City restaurants for seven years.
I’ve tested, used, and played with nearly every piece of kitchen gear (including toasters) to come on the market for years. When it comes to gear, it takes a lot to impress me, and I know what actually works.
Picked by a Pro. Tested by Real Home Cooks.
I’ve tested what feels like every toaster on the market (at all the price points, low to high!) and these are my all-time favorites. But you don’t have to take my word and my word alone, either. Kitchn editors — a unique hybrid of professionals and home cooks, who develop and test great recipes in real home kitchens — and real Amazon shoppers weighed in on some of these picks too, testing my favorites in the context of their actual home cooking.
After all, when it comes to kitchen gear, what matters is that it works for a home cook — not just that a chef endorses it, or that it passed some high-flying bar in a sterile test kitchen. You want gear that is, above all, practical, long-lasting, and mindful of real cooks, real kitchens, and real budgets.
The Best 2-Slice Toaster: Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster
This sturdy model doesn’t come cheap, but it’s the best toaster out there. While I say this primarily because it’s great at toasting, it also comes with lots of fancy features that make it a pleasure to use. Instead of pushing down a lever, you press a button to start toasting. The bread then slowly lowers into the slots and then rises up gradually when it’s done. There’s a light-up band above the toast settings which counts down as your bread toasts, so you can gauge how much time is left. To check your toast without interrupting the cycle, you can press the “Lift and Look” button and, to get your toaster just a tad browner, simply press the “A Bit More” button.
Buy: Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster, $105
“I don’t own this toaster (hint, hint to any friends and family who may still be looking for a last-minute holiday gift for me!), but I’ve seen it used in a demonstration and eaten toast from it. And I’ve been impressed,” says Lisa Freedman, our Lifestyle Director. “I watched as slice after slice came out with the same level of toasty-ness (something that’s hard to do once the toaster is used a few times in a row) and was surprised to see that the buttons actually did what they’re supposed to (so many actually just do nothing!). We’re pretty serious about our toast and toasted bagels in my house, so this is on the top of my wish list.”
The Best Cheap 2-Slice Toaster: Black + Decker 2-Slice Toaster
For a third of the price, you’ll get results that are almost as good as from the Breville. I made five batches of oversized honey-wheat slices in a row, and all 10 pieces of toast came out looking exactly the same. There’s a plastic-cased version, but I’d vote for the stainless steel finish, which is probably more likely to match your kitchen and also feels a bit more high-end. Note: While this model works just as well as the Breville, it doesn’t have nearly as many bells and whistles. It has bagel and frozen buttons (and various settings), but that’s it.
Buy: Black + Decker 2-Slice Toaster, $30 at Target
“For the price, you really can’t beat this toaster,” says Kelli Foster, our Associate Food Editor. “And I should know because I tested it out a while back. In addition to the compact size, I love the stainless steel finish, which makes this toaster feel a little more fancy than it really is. It has wide slots so there’s no cramming bagels or thick slices of bread in there, and it works remarkably fast.”
The Best Long-Slot Toaster: Cuisinart The Bakery Artisan Bread Toaster
If you’re more likely to be sawing off a thick slice of a country-style loaf than taking pre-cut slices out of a package, you need a toaster with both wide and extra-long slots. This Cuisinart model has slots that can handle either oversized slices or four regular pieces of bread. Although it’s a little slower than my other picks, it provides a good range of colors and is consistent from one batch to another. Just keep in mind that it’s big and bulky so will take up a bit of space on your countertop.
“Finally a toaster that toasts bread evenly and can accommodate just about any size or type of bread,” says one Amazon reviewer. “It’s a toaster and amazingly enough actually toasts bread! AMAZING! It also handles long artisan bread, bagels, etc. and the temperature control is accurate. A keeper!” says another.
The Best-Looking 2-Slice Toaster: Smeg 2-Slice Toaster
Is form just as important to you as function? Is it so important that you’re willing to splurge on a model with a finish that rivals the ones you’ll find on an Italian sports car? If so, you’ll love the Smeg. It comes in eight glossy colors including bright red, hot pink, and lovely shades of baby blue and aqua. When you shift the gear, oops, I mean turn the dial, to select a setting, it locks into place. And yes, of course it’s good at toasting. Just be careful when you pluck your English muffin out of the toaster, as it won’t pop up as high as it does with most other models.
Buy: Smeg 2-Slice Toaster, $150
“I really love my Smeg toaster,” says News & Culture Editor, Ariel Knutson. “Until I got a Smeg, I thought toasters weren’t worth the valuable counter space in a New York City kitchen. I thought I could just fry some bread on the stovetop and it would be the same thing. Reader, I was wrong. This toaster is fast and efficient and makes dreamy toasted bread. Also, hello, this thing is the most gorgeous appliance in my kitchen. I would keep it out even if it broke down because it’s THAT pretty.”
The Best 4-Slice Toaster: Cuisinart 4-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster
This chubby white plastic toaster is my choice for families that breakfast together. It makes four slices at once and has separate controls for each side so you can make yourself a bagel and frozen waffles for the kiddies at the same time. And it works quickly, which means less time that you have to listen to everyone complain that they’re hungry! You’ll find it particularly convenient to use, as the large lettering is easy to read and even the ends of the loaf rise high enough to grab without burning a fingertip.
“This is THE best toaster I’ve ever bought. If I could give it more stars, I would,” says one Amazon reviewer. “If you’re a bagel lover, then you need to buy this. It browns perfectly on the outside yet stays softer on the inside. I never realized that some toast could taste differently than other toast, but this takes it to a whole new level. Who would have thought there could be this many accolades for an appliance?”