When choosing the best toaster we took into account the quality and functions offered in each option, but style is also a major factor. After all, a toaster will typically sit on your counter each and every day, and if you choose the right one, it can last decades.  If you need to serve toast for more than four people at once or looking for even more versatility, you can also take a look at the best toaster ovens, which cook a lot more than just bread — some even air fry. 

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Best toaster 2023

Tried and loved by the Homes & Gardens team, the Cuisinart CPT-180 Classic Toaster has four slots and comes in at a reasonable price for families and those who take their breakfasts very seriously.  Why we love it It’s easy to select your chosen setting, be it Bagel, Reheat, or Defrost. It’s also possible to choose from 12 brownness settings, with up to 6 notches as well as halves for the extra picky members of your family.  The design feels high quality, with a stainless steel exterior and sleek matching levers. You can also pull out two crumb trays independently to empty out the toaster and keep it clean in-between uses.  Features We enjoyed the bagel setting, but keep in mind that you need to place the two slices facing away from each other to use this mode, which feels counter-intuitive.  The levers have some added lift, which is great for pop tarts and other smaller toasted goods, but it doesn’t have the added lift of some other toasters, so it’s not the best for seriously small slices. If you’re really serious about toast, the Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster is for you. Packed with clever toasting tech, this machine is the 21st century’s answer to getting the perfect slice of toast. Why we love it There are dual slider controls (each control has two slots) for the toast level. Once you’ve loaded the toast into a slot and have hit the Toast button, the toast is automatically lowered and LEDs on the front show the toasting progress. It’s a totally seamless process.  Want to see how well your toast is doing? Press Lift and look, and your toast is raised automatically to give you a sneak peek, before dropping down. If your chosen setting wasn’t quite good enough the ‘A Bit More’ button toasts for a little longer. Features Wide slots accommodate most bread sizes, and there are special modes for dealing with frozen bread and bagels. Toasting is excellent, producing consistent results time after time.   It misses out on being our absolute top pick due to the price. Zwilling is known for quality construction and sleek, simple designs, and the Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch 2 Long Slot Toaster is no exception. It comes in two colors and has a compact frame that makes it suitable for understated designs.  Why we love it It has extra-long and wide slots that make it perfect for those who like their artisanal bread fresh from the bakery, often with long slices from the midsection of a sourdough loaf, or a generous wide wedge of some brioche.  Features Simplicity is key here, so while you will not have large dials and Smeg-style funky button controls, there is everything you need to defrost, reheat, or cancel your setting.  You can turn the dial at the front of the toaster to increase the toasting time. There is also an insert at the top of the toaster which can be used to heat up pastries without forcing them into the toaster slot.  A four-slice toaster doesn’t have to be too expensive, and this wide-slot toaster from KitchenAid comes from a reliable family brand too.  Why we love it If you’ve got a KitchenAid mixer in your home, this four-slot toaster will match beautifully. It comes in silver, black and red.  The sleek finish is complete with sturdy dials to adjust brownness, and the independent controls will be useful for different family members with different preferences.  Features You can adjust the brownness of either side independently, and there’s a button for bagels or to eject your toast when you suspect it’s done. The slots also lift with an impressive clearance for shorter slices. The slots are very wide- perfect for thick slices. However, as someone who is known to take bread straight from the freezer into the toaster, the lack of a defrost button is a missed opportunity.  Four-slot toasters tend to be quite big and bulky, so if you need something smaller and less obtrusive, the Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster is for you. Why we love it This tiny model is designed to sit face-on, so it doesn’t take up much width on a counter. Although the product name has the word ‘plastic’ in it, the exterior is neat and clean, looking far better than you might expect. Controls are simple, with a dial labeled one to seven for the toast setting, defrost, reheat, and bagel settings. The slots are a good size, too, and should take most store-bought slices. Features Toasting is generally very good, although some complain that the toaster quickly moves into burnt territory, so try with the lower settings first. There are some complaints about uneven toasting, but turning bread part way through can fix that issue. Stylish kitchens deserve a stylish toaster to match, and the Alessi Plissé Toaster is just the option for this. It comes with a striking exterior that wraps around the entirety of the toaster, and subtle controls for defrosting and cooking bagels.  Why we love it Gorgeous looks aside, the Alessi Plissé Toaster is neat and compact while still making a statement. It has two slots, and there are six browning levels for perfect toast every time.  You will have to pay extra for toasting racks, but they have striking handles that pair with the toaster and are great for more delicate items such as pastries.  Features Buy the Alessi Plissé Toaster in white, red, black, or grey. It can also be paired with a juicer, kettle, and immersion blender.  We loved the Smeg 4 Slice Toaster TSF03 from the second we took it out of the box. We tested it in a fetching pastel blue but it comes in all sorts of colorways, including black, pink, silver, cream, and much more.  Why we love it The controls are very tactile, with metallic levers that have added lift to elevate even the smallest slices clear of the toaster. We also enjoy the controls, with a light-up button for defrosting and reheating as well as a simple dial to increase or decrease the brownness settings. Our toast came out beautifully toasted with consistency across both sides of the slice, but we did miss a bagel setting. Features The crumb trays pop out when pressed, and make cleaning very easy indeed. It goes without saying that the stainless steel design is incredibly high quality. It’s expensive, but the Smeg 4 Slice Toaster TSF03 is an investment that will last for years. We’ve also tried and enjoyed its two-slice counterpart, the TSF01 (opens in new tab).  Our Smeg 4 Slice Toaster TSF03 review has more details.  Want all the style of the best toaster but in a two-slice option? The Café Specialty 2-Slice Toaster has rose gold accents and comes in either a white, silver or black option. We love the simple curved design, and it’s a compact option for smaller kitchens or households. There’s even a matching coffee maker, and toaster oven with an air fryer, among others to coordinate the look with.  Why we love it This toaster not only looks great, but it’s also a treat to use as well. There’s an express finish option for rushed mornings and eight intensity settings to choose from, for that perfect toast every time.  Features Other settings include a frozen, reheated, and bagel setting. A more expensive option for a two-slice, but this toaster ticks every box when it comes to building, quality, and style.  Dualit builds its toasters to be rugged and reliable, and are admired for their ability to be repaired and replaced, bringing longevity to your small appliance. The Dualit 4 Slice Newgen Toaster follows the traditional looks of toasters past but has new features that set it apart. Why we love it In addition to just heating, this new model has a proper defrost setting and a setting for heating up bagels. Otherwise, it’s business as usual, with the option to choose how many slots you want to use (one to four) to save on running costs and a mechanical timer dial. Extra deep and wide slots let this toaster take most types of bread, and you can buy an optional warming rack or sandwich cage. Features With a mechanical dial, timings aren’t as precise, so there’s a bit of a learning curve with this model. With a little practice, though, you can get even results every time. Dualit’s heating element uses a series of flat bars behind a smooth, transparent casing, which extends life. And, should a heating element go, you can replace the part.

What is the best toaster? 

The Cuisinart CPT-180 Classic Toaster (opens in new tab) is our top pick of the best toasters, thanks to its reasonable price and classic design. We also enjoyed its bagel setting and the ability to control both sides independently.  The Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster (opens in new tab) is the best two-slice toaster you can buy, especially if you’re looking for something affordable, and if you want something more premium, we love the Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster (opens in new tab).

How we review the best toasters

In our guide to the best toasters, we tried as many toasters as we could hands-on. We considered the design, functions, and cost of toasters to decide if they were worth the investment. You’ll know if we tested something hands-on because we give all the toasters we try a rating out of five. If there’s no rating, we decided to include the toaster in our guide based on online reviews and the design but did not get the chance to try it ourselves. We’re always testing new toasters to make sure our best toaster guide features the very top options you can buy, so we update this guide on a regular basis to make sure it includes all our picks.  For more insight into our hands-on review process, refer to our dedicated page about how we test.

Best features to look for in a toaster

Although toasters do the same thing, there’s a huge amount of variance in them, largely dependent on your needs and the type of bread that you cook.  Take notice of the size and types of slots to make sure that you’ll be able to fit in the type of bread that you use. This is particularly true if you use artisan bread. While toasters all have a setting for how toasted they’ll make your bread, many have additional features and modes. Some models have a defrost option. This usually doesn’t mean that your bread will be defrosted (although some have this feature) but that your frozen slices will be defrosted and then toasted. This latter mode can be called ‘frozen’ on some toasters. A bagel setting can be good, too. What this mode does varies between toasters, but generally only one element is used, so that the underside gets cooked, leaving the top alone. With some other models, the second element may be heated to a lower temperature. Make sure you read the manual so that you know which way to insert your bagel. A reheat mode is useful if you like your toast warm, as you can stick it back in without overheating it. Look out for any optional accessories: a sandwich cage lets you make toasted sandwiches, and a warming rack sits on top and is good for pastries and croissants.  Take note of the configuration of the toaster. Some four-slice toasters use two long slots instead of four slots. The downside is that you may not fit in two slices side-by-side; the upside is that the longer slots can be better for artisanal bread. Many models have energy-saving features. Toasters with four slots, for example, will generally have two sets of controls, each controlling two slots. When you only use two slots, you’re using half of the total power; you only run the toaster at full capacity when all four slots are in operation. 

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