The humble toaster is an essential part of any kitchen. Out of breakfast ideas? Toast a bagel. Not sure what to have for lunch? Pop some bread in the toaster and all of your problems will disappear. We’re not sure about using the toaster for your evening meal, but you do you.
What’s strange is that even though the toaster is a respected member of the kitchen team, the purchase process is often not given the consideration is deserves. A lot of shoppers will buy the cheapest model on offer, without thinking about the fact that you’re going to use this device almost every day.
We’re trying to change things and give toasters their well deserved moment in the spotlight, so that you can find a model that works for you and your kitchen. But first, we’re going to answer a few commonly asked questions to help you out.
Should you purchase a two-slice or four-slice toaster?
There are absolutely loads of different toaster models out there, but there is one simple way to categorise everything on offer: two-slice and four-slice toasters.
The question of which type you need really isn’t complicated. Simply consider how many slices of bagels or bread you’re likely to be toasting at the same time. If it’s more than two, you should opt for a four-slice option. If you’re only going to be having one or two slices at a time, purchase a two-slice toaster. This isn’t rocket science, guys.
What are the most important things to consider when buying a toaster?
Before starting this important buying process, there are some things you should consider:
Cooking time settings — Normally you get numbers on the front of the toaster that represents the heat time, but it doesn’t always work like this. Sometimes you get a scale that measures how toasted your bread, bagel, or crumpet is going to be. Both options work just as well as each other, but make sure you know which way your preferred model operates. You don’t want to get confused and end up with something inedible.
Slot width — A lot of toasters have fixed slot widths, which is not generally an issue. The only time this causes problems is when you’re trying to toast something that isn’t a regular size or shape. Maybe you want to toast some homemade bread that’s sliced thickly, or a massive bagel perhaps? In these cases, you would benefit from a toaster with a lever and metal frame arrangement. This type of toaster mechanism can always fit to your slices.
Crumb tray — Cleaning a toaster is not an easy task, unless it has a crumb tray. This handy feature catches all of the debris from the toasting process, and can be removed when you’re cleaning it out.
Defrost setting — Do you keep your bread, bagels, and other toastable items in the freezer so that they last longer? If so, you would benefit from a toaster with a defrost setting. Fortunately, this helpful setting is included on even the most basic models these days.
Keep warm setting — This feature lowers whatever you’re preparing back into the toaster and keeps it warm until you’re ready to eat. There are some models out there that will do this automatically, but it’s not a standard feature.
Digital display — A digital display is really not a necessity, but it’s something that’s nice to have. Some people just prefer to see how long the toaster has left to go with a clear and bright display. If that sounds like you, go for a toaster with a digital display.
There are plenty of other things to consider before buying, like price and style. But these are probably the most important toaster features, so thinking about these things can help you pick a model that you’re going to love.
What is the best toaster?
At this point you should know a little more about what makes a good toaster. To make your purchase process that little bit easier, we have lined up a selection of your best options. We’ve tried to find something to suit everyone and every budget.
We’ve tracked down top models from popular kitchen brands like Morphy Richards and Russell Hobbs. You just need to consider every item and weigh them up against your own set of priorities, and then pick a favourite.
These are the best toasters in 2021.