— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA Today’s newsroom and any business incentives.
Sometimes you want the simple things for breakfast, like a piece of perfectly browned toast, or an english muffin with the nooks and crannies golden-brown.
If you’re in the market for a new toaster though, you may be surprised to learn a perfectly toasted bagel is not as easy to get as it sounds. Bells and whistles abound, the bottom line is that not all toasters can pop up a slice of toast precisely to your liking.
That’s where Reviewed comes in. We tested eight top-sellers to find the best toasters you can buy right now and we feel that we’ve found one for everyone. To do that, we spent more time than you can imagine deliberating about the color of toasted bread, the perfect setting for bagels, and gauging just how difficult it is to grab the smaller half of an English muffin out from between toaster slots.
1. The best toaster of 2019: The Breville Die-Cast 2-slice smart toaster
It’s more than top-notch toasting of bread and bagels. The Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster might actually make you say “I love my toaster” in casual conversation. Taking it out of the box, the first thing you’ll notice is its weight, due to the solid metal housing. Making a product heavier to connote “quality” is an old trick, but in this case it’s accurate.
It’s the little things that make this toaster stand out. You push a button to start toasting rather than pushing down on a lever. The bread lowers and rises in theatrically paced movement. You select your setting by sliding a button on an LED-lighted control.
Breville did an outstanding job designing a toaster that can accommodate itself better to your life in the kitchen. Press “Lift & Lock” button if you want a quick peek. Toast needs a bit more time? Hit the “A Bit More” button. That’s what it actually says. When your toast is done, it beeps. And and the beep can be made louder or muted. Like most Breville products, the electrical cord has a circle behind the prongs that makes it easy to remove from a socket.
It’s pricey, but we recommend it if you want the best.
2. The best value toaster of 2019: The Black & Decker 2-Slice Toaster
You don’t have to spend a bundle to get your toast just the way you like it. The Black + Decker 2-Slice Toaster Model (#TR2900SD) browned and crisped bread as evenly as models more than triple its price, making it our best value. When we toasted 5 batches one after another—as you might when you have a crowd over for brunch—every slice came out looking exactly the same. To select your shade, you turn a small dial and you do have to look close to make out the numbered settings. It has both bagel and frozen buttons.
It’s unlikely that anyone who sees it is going to say, “Wow! Where’d you get that toaster?” But with its unadorned brushed stainless-steel casing, the B + D is unobtrusive and will fit in nicely even in a newly renovated kitchen.
3. The Cuisinart 2-slice compact plastic toaster
In spite of its rock-bottom price, the Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster in basic white is beautifully designed. We love how the gray lettering on the controls really pops against the light background, making it super easy to choose your setting. It was very fast, serving up dark toast in under 3 minutes. When we toasted five 2-slice batches in a row on medium, we got ten slices of identical toast in about 6 minutes. How great when you’re making BLT’s for a bunch of hungry kids! While it did a beautiful job of toasting a bagel on the bagel setting, we found a fat New-York style bagel fit tightly in the slots and neither bagels or English muffins popped up high enough to grab without raising the lever for an extra lift. There’s also defrost and reheat features.
4. The Hamilton Beach Keep Warm toaster
Although it’s not a looker, you can’t beat the price on the Hamilton Beach. And you don’t sacrifice at all when it comes to getting a perfectly browned piece of bread or a bagel. This was one of the few that was able to turn out 5 matching batches of toast one after the other. When you’re making a small item like an English muffin you’ll have to remember to use the lever to raise it above the hot slots. Its bagel, defrost, and keep warm buttons are very well marked so they’re easy to select.
5. The KitchenAid 2-slice toaster with high lift lever
Available in glossy red, black, or silver, the KitchenAid 2-Slice Toaster with High Lift Lever is a stunner. It’s also sturdy, heavy, and has settings that click into place when you turn the dial. We got perfectly even toasting and, of all the toasters we tested, the KitchenAid was the fastest. However, we didn’t see much difference between the medium and dark settings. If you’re a dark rye lover you may find yourself giving it an extra cycle. When you’re toasting smaller items like English muffins and bagels, you’ll have to use the high lift lever to raise them above the slots or risk singeing your fingertips. You’ll find lots of features on this one: Bagel, defrost, reheat, and keep warm.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/reviewedcom/2019/02/08/best-toasters-2019-breville-black-decker-cuisinart-hamilton-beach-kitchenaid/2811043002/