Updated January 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Cuisinart CPT-435/Brushed Stainless Steel Toaster
CPT-435 Countdown 4-Slice Brushed Stainless Steel Toaster
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Bottom Line

Great for keeping your kitchen in high-tech function, and matches all stainless steel kitchen appliances.


Features an LCD countdown display and blue LED buttons for better visibility. Also sports a self-adjusting toaster slot to evenly toast a wide variety of bread thicknesses. We really love the number of settings this provided.


Gives off a buzzing sound when on.

Best Bang for the Buck
Oster Jelly Bean 2-Slice
Jelly Bean 2-Slice
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Most Stylish
Bottom Line

A functional toaster with a sleek, retro look that earns it our cooking expert's approval.


Smooth retro look. Seven browning settings as well as settings for bagel, frozen, and warming. Slide-out crumb tray makes it easy to keep the toaster clean. Slots are extra wide to accommodate artisan breads.


Some types of bread are too tall for the slots in this machine.

REDMOND ST028/2-Slice Retro Stainless Steel Toaster
ST028/2-Slice Retro Stainless Steel Toaster
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Unique Design
Bottom Line

A retro model that brings a functional antique feel to your kitchen.


Made with BPA-free, nontoxic, food-grade stainless steel that is durable. Has 6 toasting settings to cater to everyone’s specific needs. Features detachable pallets for easier and better cleaning.


Over time, springs have trouble bringing up bread when finished.

Elite Gourmet Maxi-Matic Long Slot Toaster
Elite Gourmet
Maxi-Matic Long Slot Toaster
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Built to Last
Bottom Line

Our cooking expert prefers the large-capacity style of this model.


Extra-long slots to accommodate artisan breads. The design "fully immerses” bread to deliver evenly browned/crispy toast. Operation is easy with 3 buttons and a 6-shade knob. Crisps up waffles better than other toasters.


Occasional reports that the pop lever isn't very reliable.

KitchenAid 4-Slice Toaster with Manual High-Lift Lever
4-Slice Toaster with Manual High-Lift Lever
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Intuitive to Use
Bottom Line

This toaster was among the easiest to use, easiest to clean and most consistent, in our user testing.


Offers 4 extra-wide slots to fit thick-sliced bread and bagels. Has a bagel heating option to toast inside more than outside. The manual lift lever prevents having to reach inside for your toast. Evenly toasts every single piece.


The stainless steel finish attracted fingerprints.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best toasters

How you like your toast is almost as unique as your fingerprint. But if you don't have a quality toaster with the right features, you lose the ability to achieve the perfect color and texture and might have to settle for either burnt or not burnt.

You want your toaster to have a browning control, an automatic shutoff, and wide slots that allow you to toast bagels. A retractable cord is desirable, but a crumb tray and cool-touch housing are essential for safety. Additionally, a toaster that has deeper slots and a reheat button will be greatly appreciated.

According to food scientists, the perfect slice of toast is 12 times crunchier on the outside than it is in the middle.

Toaster science

The toasters covered in this shopping guide are pop-up toasters. They differ from toaster ovens in that they’re simple appliances with just one function.

Pop-up toaster boxes contain a metal heating element commonly made of a nickel-chromium alloy. This heating element radiates intense heat on one or both sides of the bread slice. When the temperature of the bread reaches approximately 310°F, a chemical reaction (called the Maillard reaction) takes place, caramelizing the sugars and starches in the bread and creating a golden color and that characteristic taste.

If the heat rises too far, however, carbonization takes place, leaving you with the strong smell and blackened waste of burnt toast.

Key toaster features

The following features will allow you to enjoy the bounty of your toaster to the fullest.

Automatic shutoff

Standard in most toasters today, automatic shutoff is a safety feature that turns off the heating element if toast gets stuck inside or the appliance overheats.

Bagel setting

A bagel setting applies heat to only one side of the bread. This is good if you want a bagel or English muffin to be toasted on the cut side and just warmed on top.

Bread lifter

This common feature lets you lift the finished toast a little higher than regular pop-up toasters do, making it easy to grab the toast without burning your fingers.

Expert Tip
Consider the size and location of where you plan to store and use the toaster when purchasing. Will it fit comfortably on your countertop? Is it away from a splashy water source like the kitchen sink?
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Browning control

Browning control usually comes in the form of a dial or knob on the toaster. This control allows you to select your desired level of toasting, from very light to very dark. Some toasters use a range of colors to indicate browning level; others use LED lights to indicate the toasting level. You may (or may not) prefer a numbered control system, which is more precise.


The cancel button allows you to end the toasting cycle prematurely.

Cool-touch housing

The exterior of some toasters does not grow hot to the touch, even when in use. The outer wall is insulated to prevent heat-related accidents and injuries. A toaster with a cool-touch housing is especially valuable if you have children in your home.

Countdown timer

Is the toast ready yet? This handy feature lets you know exactly how much longer you’ll have to wait for your toast to finish.

Crumb tray

Toasters tend to fill with breadcrumbs. To avoid fire danger, these crumbs should be frequently cleaned away. A slide-out crumb tray makes it easy to clean your toaster. Hinged trays require you to hold the entire toaster over the sink during cleaning, which is much less convenient.

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Expert Tip
Never use a metal utensil to retrieve a stuck piece of bread from inside the toaster slots. You can damage the toaster or worse, get an electrical shock.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Frozen button

This feature adds a bit of heating time to your toasting session, which may be appropriate if you’re starting with frozen bread. While convenient, you can accomplish the same thing by simply leaving your toast in longer.

Long or deep slots

If you eat a lot of bread that comes in a round or wide loaf (like sourdough), a toaster with extra-long or deep slots will eliminate the common yet belabored practice of toasting the bread halfway, then flipping it over to toast the other half.

Number of slots

The most common toaster configuration includes two slots for bread. If you have a large household, however, you might appreciate a four-slot toaster. A four-slot toaster cuts down the morning competition and wait time for breakfast.

Reheat button

This is a setting for rewarming toast that might have cooled off. It’s best to eat toast right away, but even if your toaster doesn’t have a reheat button, you can set the toaster to the lightest setting for several seconds to achieve the same reheated result.

Retractable or wrap-around cords

Like all appliances with heating elements, it’s best to unplug your toaster when not in use. A retractable or wrap-around cord makes it easy to keep your toaster out of the way and unobtrusive on the counter.

Wide slots

If you like toasting bagels or if you make your own bread, a wide-slot toaster will easily accommodate the thicker slices you may wish to prepare.

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Expert Tip
Some toasters come with a sandwich basket or rack – a wire clamp that goes around a sandwich and can be slipped into a toaster slot. Consider this if you prefer your sandwiches toasted.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Toaster styles

Toasters aren’t just plain, unadorned boxes anymore – at least some of them aren’t. Today, you can find toasters that add style and verve to your countertop.

For example, stainless steel toasters exude a sleek, contemporary look on your countertop. Vintage designs (often with a 1940s look) can lend a bit of character to any kitchen. And you’re not limited to metallic-looking toasters anymore, either. During our research, we found toaster options in several different colors, including red and purple.

Toaster style is a matter of preference, but be prepared to spend more for a high-fashion toaster. Whatever finish you choose, your toaster should be easy to wipe clean.

Toaster prices

How much does a good toaster cost? You can find a quality toaster at a wide range of price points.

A reliable, no-frills toaster would probably cost you $30 or so, whereas a toaster with all the bells and whistles – including a stylish appearance – may cost upwards of $100.

A toaster from a reputable manufacturer might cost you more, but the money you spend upfront may grant you some peace of mind down the road. After all, most people don’t feel like shopping for a new toaster every year.

Tips for perfect toast

There are so many delicious types of bread just waiting to be toasted: rye, sourdough, white, whole grain, even gluten-free bread. And don’t forget the English muffins, bagels, Pop-Tarts, and artisan breads.

No matter what you’re toasting, you undoubtedly want to achieve just the right level of golden goodness with your toaster.

These tips will help you reach that goal:

  • Start with room-temperature bread for the best results.

  • If you want quality toast, use quality bread.

  • If you’re making multiple batches of toast, remember to turn the browning setting down after the first batch, as an already-hot toaster cooks faster.

  • The denser the bread, the higher heat it can withstand before burning.

  • After you toast your bread, slather on butter before any other desired toppings.

  • Quality counts when it comes to your spread, as well. Nothing beats real butter for the best-tasting toast.

  • Eat your toast right away. It quickly becomes damp and soggy if allowed to sit uneaten.

  • Contrary to common misconception, it’s better to toast fresh bread, not stale bread.

  • If you like to store your bread in the freezer, make sure to freeze it while it’s as fresh as possible.

  • Clean your toaster’s crumb tray and wipe down the outside surfaces weekly if you use it frequently. Do so at least once per month if you only use the toaster occasionally.

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