Cuisinart toaster

Buying guide for best cuisinart toasters

Whether you like it with butter, jam, or peanut butter, toast is a quick, easy breakfast that can satisfy everyone in your home. While there are plenty of high-quality toasters on the market, it’s hard to top the options from Cuisinart, which offer a variety of extra functions and features that make getting the perfect slice of toast a breeze.

Cuisinart toasters are pop-up models, the classic countertop appliance most people think of when they hear the word “toaster.” These models typically feature two or four slots in which bread is lowered and exposed to the heating elements. When the bread is fully toasted, it pops up so you can remove it. Cuisinart toasters are designed specifically for making toast, so if you’re looking for a quick, efficient way to fix bread, bagels, or pitas, one may be the ideal appliance for you.

But Cuisinart offers a variety of toaster options, which can make finding the right one for your countertop a challenge. Fortunately, our buying guide has all the information you need. We’ve even included some specific product recommendations to make your shopping as easy as possible.

Key considerations


Cuisinart offers two-slot and four-slot toasters. Either option can work well depending on the size of your household and your toasting habits.

Two-slot toasters: These have two side-by-side slots, giving them a compact design that works well in smaller kitchens and for households of one to two people. These toasters work best if you usually toast standard, pre-sliced bread and not larger or wider bread items.

Four-slot toasters: Cuisinart four-slot toasters have four side-by-side slots, so they’re larger and take up more space on your countertop. These toasters work well for families of three or more, and many feature longer slots that can accommodate larger bread products like baguette slices.

Slot size

In addition to the number of slots in a Cuisinart toaster, the size of the slots is an important detail to consider. If you usually toast standard, pre-sliced bread, a toaster with slots of any size can work well for your needs. However, if you often toast bagels, English muffins, frozen waffles, and other thicker items, choose a Cuisinart toaster with wider slots (1.5 inches wide or wider)that can accommodate thicker slices of bread.

For your safety

Never place buttered bread in your toaster because the butter could burn and catch fire.



Cuisinart toaster features


Most Cuisinart toasters have simple button and/or dial controls, but some higher-end models offer a digital display. While you still use buttons to choose your settings, you’re able to see what settings you’ve chosen and keep track of the progress on a backlit LCD display.


Shade control: All Cuisinart toasters offer options for how dark your finished toast will be. Some models offer three shade options, while others offer up to seven. In most cases, there’s a simple dial for choosing the shade you want, but some higher-end models offer push-button controls.

Bagel: If you like a toasted bagel for breakfast, you’ll appreciate a Cuisinart toaster with a Bagel setting. It toasts the cut side of the bagel while just warming the bottom side to keep it chewy. You can also use the setting for any item you just want to toast on one side.

Reheat: A Cuisinart toaster with a Reheat setting allows you to warm up your toast if you’re not able to eat it right away. That allows you to enjoy warm toast even if it’s ready before the rest of your breakfast is done.

Defrost: If you opt for a Cuisinart toaster with a Defrost setting, you can place frozen bread, waffles, and other items in the toaster and it automatically adds extra cooking time to thaw the bread before it starts the toasting process.

Pause: Some Cuisinart toasters have a Pause button, which allows you to remove the toast to see if it’s as brown as you’d like. If it’s not toasted enough, you simply put the toast back inside and the toasting function engages again.

Cancel: Most Cuisinart toasters have a Cancel button, which lifts the bread and cuts the toasting cycle short.

Leverless design

Some Cuisinart toasters don’t have a lever for lowering the bread. Instead, the toaster automatically lowers the bread when you press a convenient button.

Crumb tray

To make it simpler to clean your toaster, all Cuisinart models feature a removable crumb tray. It slides out easily, so you can empty out the crumbs that have collected in the bottom of the toaster.

Cord storage

Many Cuisinart toasters have a cord wrap feature that prevents the cord from hanging over the edge of the counter and getting snagged. In most cases, there are cleats on the bottom of the toaster that you wind the cord around to keep it out of the way.

"Get creative with your toast toppings! Mashed avocado, goat cheese, ricotta, hummus, and pesto are just a few tasty options. "



Cuisinart toaster prices

Cuisinart toasters vary in price based on the number of slots and special features they offer. Most models range in price from $30 to $100.

Inexpensive: The most affordable Cuisinart toasters are two-slot models. These typically offer just a few basic special features, such as Bagel, Reheat, and Defrost and generally cost between $30 and $50.

Mid-range: These Cuisinart toasters may be two- or four-slot models. They offer basic special features like Bagel, Reheat, and Defrost settings, as well as additional features like extra-wide slots. These toasters typically cost between $50 and $70.

Expensive: Most of the priciest Cuisinart toasters are four-slot models, though you can find some two-slot options. These toasters have all the basic special features plus additional features like extra-wide slots and a digital display and typically cost between $70 and $100.


Never stick a metal fork or knife in a toaster to remove a stuck piece of food. Unplug the toaster and then use a wooden or plastic utensil to work it free.




  • Clean your toaster regularly. This is important to keep your toaster working properly and prevent a fire. Unplug the toaster and let it cool completely before pulling out the crumb tray and emptying it. Gently shake the toaster over a trash can to dislodge any crumbs inside and wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth before replacing the crumb tray.
  • Don’t force bread or other items into the toaster slots. The food should fit easily between the guide wires inside the slots.
  • Adjust the shade setting to the bread. If you’re toasting bread that’s on the dry side, use a lower shade setting than you normally would. Because it contains less moisture, the bread may toast more quickly.
  • Adjust the time to the bread. Thicker pieces of bread and bagels usually take longer to toast because they contain additional moisture. You might need to run the cycle twice to fully toast the items.
  • For safety reasons, always unplug your toaster after use.


Q. What’s the difference between a Cuisinart toaster and a Cuisinart toaster oven?
A Cuisinart toaster is meant for toasting bread and other flat food items like frozen waffles and pastries. A Cuisinart toaster oven can perform a variety of other cooking functions, such as baking, roasting, and broiling. A toaster oven is a more versatile appliance, but a standard Cuisinart pop-up toaster toasts bread more effectively and evenly.

Q. How long does a Cuisinart toaster usually take to toast bread?
It depends on how dark you want your toast to be and how thick the bread is. In general, it usually takes two to three minutes to toast an average slice of bread. If you want the toast to be extremely dark or you’re toasting a thick piece of bread, it may take four to six minutes.

Q. Does Cuisinart offer a warranty with its toasters?
All Cuisinart toasters come with a three-year limited warranty. That means the toasters are covered if a problem arises due to a flaw in the materials or workmanship. If you damage the toaster due to an accident or misuse, the issue likely isn’t covered.


It’s a familiar story. You finally splurge on an expensive toaster in the hope that it will make the toast of your dreams every day without fail. But after a few years, the machine starts getting spotty—or goes kaput. This is frustrating and downright discouraging. Unfortunately, no matter how much you spend, toasters aren’t made to last like they once were. That’s why we recommend the relatively inexpensive Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster. After toasting mountains of carbs in 23 toasters over the years, we think the Cuisinart offers the best balance of performance, quality, and features without asking you to overspend. We can’t guarantee it will toast evenly over time or last for decades (few modern toasters do). But we do think you’ll get your money’s worth.

To understand why most toasters seem prone to failure, we reached out to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. A group of dedicated students disassembled two of our recommended toasters, as well as some vintage toasters, to run analyses on them. The big takeaway isn’t a huge surprise: The delicate electronics and cheaper components found in most modern toasters leave a lot of room for things to go wrong over time. There are a number of variables that can cause a toaster to fail, and it’s hard to predict an exact lifespan. But we recommend spending only what you think is reasonable for something that may last you roughly five years (and knowing that yours could last for longer or shorter than that). You may also want to consider getting a toaster oven instead—they’re far more versatile than a slot toaster, and, in our experience, they’re also more reliable.

Why modern toasters don’t last

The Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster and its four-slot version, the Cuisinart CPT-142 4-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster, both produced some of the finest, most evenly browned bread of all the toasters we tested (this was true in multiple rounds of testing over several years, with more than one of the same model). The Cuisinarts offer a wide range of settings and easy-to-use controls, and they remain cool to the touch batch after batch. That said, we know from research we commissioned that the heating element wires in modern toasters are not as strong as they could be, making them more susceptible to breakage over time. We’ve also read some customer reviews indicating there may be some quality-control issues causing the Cuisinarts to toast unevenly (though we haven’t had any issues with the four models we’ve been long-term testing—two since 2018 and two since 2020). That said, none of these issues are unique to Cuisinart toasters—most competing models seem to be similar, even the more expensive ones. And the Cuisinarts are covered by a generous three-year warranty (versus the one-year warranty that comes with most other toasters), so you have the option to return yours if you end up getting a lemon.

The stainless steel two-slot Breville BTA720XL Bit More Toaster produced the most consistent toast of any model we tested—golden brown all over with no white patches or lines—even after we made several back-to-back batches. It also has a toast-saving “A Bit More” button (which allows you to add a little more time to an underdone slice) and a “Lift & Look” lever (which lets you peek at the doneness of your slice without interrupting the toasting cycle). But we’ve read some customer reviews that say this model begins toasting unevenly after a year or two of use (though we haven’t experienced this in our own long-term testing). After doing further research, we’ve learned that paying more doesn’t always translate to better quality. The Breville is a better-looking toaster with more features and complex circuitry. But it doesn’t have superior heating elements or better-quality electrical components than the Cuisinarts, which cost significantly less. That said, both the Breville and Cuisinart toasters are made well enough that you can reasonably expect them to last about five years (it could be longer or shorter, but the lifespan depends on how the circuitry and the heating elements hold up, and our research suggests five years is a safe bet). Just keep this in mind when deciding whether to spend more on the Breville.

Why you should trust us

We interviewed experts like Peter Reinhart, acclaimed baker and cookbook author, to narrow the selection of toasters to test. Additionally, we read editorial reviews from sites including Good Housekeeping. We also looked at user reviews from online stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Finally, we conducted a reader survey to help us figure out what most people look for in a toaster.

Senior staff writer Michael Sullivan tested six four-slot toasters for our 2016 update and five two-slot toasters for our 2021 update. In the process he ate more toast, bagels, and frozen waffles than he’d care to admit. For our 2018 update, then junior staff writer Sabrina Imbler tested 14 two-slot and four-slot toasters and suffered a similar fate. Freelancer Brendan Nystedt spent 30 hours researching and testing toasters for our original guide.

Who should get this

You’re probably looking for a new toaster because your old one bit the dust. Or maybe it toasts unevenly, burns bread too easily, or can’t accommodate bagels. But before you buy a new toaster, you should know they’re prone to having quality-control issues, cheap mechanisms, brittle heating elements, or delicate electrical connections that are susceptible to breaking—even if they start out great. Our advice is to spend only what you think is reasonable for something that may last for only about five years. Paying more doesn’t necessarily correlate to better quality. Hugh Rushing, former executive vice president of the Cookware Manufacturers Association, told us, “I know you can buy a toaster at your local Dollar General store for eight bucks retail, or you can spend $200 on a Breville or another brand like that, and I think all of them are pretty uniformly crappy after a year or two in my experience.”

Toaster ovens, which can even handle some tasks intended for full-size ovens (such as roasting a whole chicken or cooking pizza), are a more-versatile and capable appliance than two- or four-slot toasters (and they don’t seem as prone to failure). If that versatility appeals to you, and you want to do more than just toast carbs, we recommend getting a toaster oven in lieu of a slot toaster. But if you don’t have room for a large toaster oven, you may be deciding between getting a two- or four-slot toaster. Four-slot toasters offer double the capacity, so you can produce more toast quickly, which is nice for feeding a large family. A two-slot toaster takes up less space and is best for smaller kitchens or households with fewer mouths to feed.

How we picked

Three toasters, one black, one white, and one chrome, that we tested in our quest to find the best toaster.

Aside from a change in the materials used to make their heating elements, toasters haven’t changed much in the past century or so. Even though they can now pop up your bread and offer bagel or frozen-bread settings, the way they toast your carbs is basically the same. And when it comes down to it, the ideal toaster should simply toast bread evenly and consistently without a whole lot of fuss. Every slot should provide a similar performance. And you should be able to toast breads of different types and shapes; this means having a toaster with a big enough slot to handle thick bagels, plus a way to retrieve small English muffins without having to jam a utensil (or your fingers) into the slots.

After speaking with experts and researching the history of toasters, we scanned dozens of best-selling models on Amazon and kitchenware sites to decide which models to test. For the 2020 update we tested five new toasters against our previous picks. Though the technology is simple, many small factors go into making a toaster that’s pleasant to use and churns out evenly browned bread every single time. In our research and testing, here’s what we looked for:

  • Even toasting is the most crucial task of a toaster. It should produce consistently crisped bread with no white spots or burnt edges.
  • A toaster should have accurate toasting settings, so that setting the dial to medium will give you neither ghost-white bread nor a singed black square, but rather golden-brown perfection—or something like it.
  • It should toast consistently from batch to batch, regulating its temperature so that subsequent rounds of toast don’t come out entirely charred. But even the best toasters heat up a bit after one round of toasting, so we recommend turning the dial down slightly when making a second batch.
  • Wide, deep slots can accommodate everything from a simple slice of Wonder bread to a fluffy New York bagel. At the same time, small English muffins shouldn’t get swallowed in slots that are too deep. We looked into long-slot toasters, which can hold larger slices of bread, such as sourdough, or two pieces of toast side by side. But in testing, these models produced bread with raw corners and burnt centers, so we focused on traditional two- and four-slice models. We think cutting longer pieces in half before toasting is an easy solution.
  • A manual lever can help lift toast out of the slot as well as lower it. You shouldn’t have to fish your toast out of the slots with utensils or your fingers. (This is not only dangerous, but you could easily damage the heating elements with sharp objects. We recommend using mini tongs or a pair of chopsticks to safely retrieve smaller pieces of toast.)
  • The exterior should remain cool to the touch even after toasting, so that you don’t burn your fingers by accidentally touching the toaster.
  • Removable crumb trays will make cleaning the toaster much, much easier.
  • Useful buttons or settings can make toasting easier. For example, a cancel button will allow you to stop toasting if you start to smell smoke. And a bagel setting can preserve chewiness by dialing back the heat on the outer part of the bagel while warming the cut side with more-intense heat. That said, we recommend seeking out toasters with settings that are most useful to you, since more circuitry can increase the price while also introducing more possible points of failure.
  • A toaster should toast quickly. Though no model we tested took eons to brown bread, the best ones produced golden toast more than twice as fast as the worst performers.
  • It should be compact. Because a toaster is a single-use kitchen appliance that will most likely stay on the counter, you don’t want it to take up too much space.
  • Price should not be exorbitant, because toasters, unlike toaster ovens, can be used for only one purpose and seem to have significantly shorter lifespans. In our research, we found that many of the high-end toasters that cost upwards of $100 don’t necessarily last longer than those costing less than half the price. We recommend spending only what you think is reasonable for getting about five years’ worth of use out of it.
  • It should have well-constructed exterior parts that can handle normal wear and tear. If the levers feel flimsy or wobbly and the buttons stick or have printed text that easily wears off, these are probably good indications the toaster is cheaply made.

There are also some attributes that we found helpful, but not always necessary:

  • Glass walls allow you to watch your toast brown (and, if necessary, eject toast before it becomes too done). But these toasters tend to be more expensive and aren’t necessarily better at actually toasting. They do allow you to see what’s happening inside the toaster without having to peer into it from above, which may be especially useful for, say, people who use wheelchairs.
  • Motorized levers can lift and lower your toast at the press of a button, which is spiffy. But the process takes longer than just manually pressing down a lever.
  • A defrost mode is meant to help with frozen breads; it extends the toasting cycle, giving the bread some time to thaw before toasting. In our tests, we found little difference between heating up an Eggo waffle on the frozen and normal toast settings. But every single toaster we tested had a defrost setting, so it never came up as a dealbreaker.
  • We liked extra features, such as Breville’s “Lift & Look” button/lever (which allows you to peek at the doneness of your toast and pop it back in if it’s not quite ready) and its “A Bit More” button (which gently darkens your toast a little more without burning it to a crisp). But you’ll have to decide whether these extra features are worth the added cost, knowing that these pricier toasters won’t necessarily last longer.

There’s one thing you can’t expect any toaster to do, and that’s put out perfect toast without supervision. Even the good toasters need help. It appears that toaster makers agree: All of our finalists had a cancel button, which seems like their way of telling us the toaster can’t truly be trusted.

How we tested

Two sheet pans packed with toasted bagel halves, sprinkled with blue post-it notes showing which toaster was used.

We tested toasters using Murray’s bagels, which are the puffiest in New York City. Photo: Michael Hession

Two parallel rows of toasted bagel halves, showing great variation in color, with yellow flags marking which toaster was used.

These are the bagel-toasting results from our 2020 testing. Photo: Michael Sullivan

To see how each toaster handled breads of different shapes and sizes, we toasted dozens of loaves of basic white bread, bagels, frozen waffles, and English muffins. For our white-bread test, we toasted three back-to-back rounds of Wonder bread slices to see how consistent the toast was from model to model and batch to batch. These multiple batches showed us how well each toaster could regulate its temperature after heating up.

In each round, we timed each toaster to see which could brown bread the fastest. We judged the toast itself on its top-to-bottom and side-to-side evenness, and we evaluated the accuracy of the shade settings—would most breakfast eaters consider these results to be medium, or too light, or too burned? We also bit into the toast to evaluate its texture and taste, looking for slices that had a lightly charred and crispy exterior and a warm interior that didn’t feel too dried out or stiff.

For our 2020 update, we revised our testing approach slightly—we toasted bread on the medium-shade setting in back-to-back timed sequences, following the same procedure used by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. We toasted six batches of bread, allowing the toasters to rest for a different amount of time between each batch. In order, the toasters rested 15 seconds, 60 seconds, 15 seconds, 6 minutes, and, finally, 11 minutes. This revealed how well the toasters regulated their temperature from batch to batch. Additionally, we toasted bread on each model’s low-, medium-, and high-shade settings. We also added sourdough bread to the mix of carbs we toasted to see if the tall slices fit into the slots.

A large wire rack filled with golden toast slices, each row marked with a blue post-it note the a toaster model.

We tried each toaster’s bagel mode using Murray’s everything bagels, which we chose because they’re fluffier and thicker than traditional New York–style bagels and would show us where the toasters’ slot widths hit their limit. (We used Thomas’s bagels for our 2020 and 2021 updates because it was too difficult to get Murray’s bagels while testing remotely during the pandemic.) We wanted the results to resemble what you’d get from a deli conveyor belt—lightly toasted on the rounded side and nicely browned on the cut side. We tested the toasters’ frozen modes using Eggo waffles. The waffles, we hoped, would come out crispy and brown but not scorched or soggy. We toasted English muffins to see which toasters made it easiest to retrieve them without having to stick our fingers in the heated slots. We also emptied each model’s crumb tray and noted how easy each was to clean. And we took a look at the size of each model relative to others in its class.

The best toasters: Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice and CPT-142 4-Slice Compact Plastic Toasters

The Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster, our pick for best toaster, loaded with toast slices and flanked by a plate of stacked toast.

The two-slot Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster and its four-slot counterpart, the CPT-142 4-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster, produce the best toast for your money, hands down. These inexpensive toasters browned bread, bagels, and waffles better than all of the competition in their price range. Unlike some other cheap toasters, the Cuisinarts have slots that are wide enough to fit thick, hand-cut bagels without requiring you to push them down yourself. The plastic controls offer a wide range of toasting settings and feel sturdier than the plastic dials and knobs on some other toasters we tested. According to the research done by Ohio State, the Cuisinart toasters’ heating elements were slightly more corrosion-resistant than the Breville’s, which is surprising since the two-slot Cuisinart is usually about $40 cheaper (though electrical malfunctions are probably more likely to cause failure than the heating elements). The two-slot Cuisinart is also one of the tiniest toasters we tested, making it ideal for kitchens with limited counter space.

We’ve tested multiple models of both Cuisinarts over the years, and they consistently toasted evenly from top to bottom and slot to slot, even after we made back-to-back batches. They beautifully browned the entire slice of Wonder bread, whereas other toasters, like the Osters or Hamilton Beaches we tested, left unappetizing raw halos on top. When we filled every slot, the four-slot model made slightly lighter toast than the two-slot, but you can easily fix this by turning up the toasting dial. By comparison, all other similarly priced toasters—and even some pricier machines—left bread even whiter and patchier.

In several successive batches, both Cuisinarts produced toast in pretty similar shades of brown, which is a rare feat for a toaster $50 and under. The medium setting on both Cuisinarts also popped out a fully done piece of toast after 1 minute 20 seconds—almost half the time it took our previous top pick, the Oster Jelly Bean (at 2 minutes 20 seconds).

Two toast slices side by side on a wire rack, the one on the right showing pale, untoasted sections, with blue labels showing the toaster brand use .

Even though the Cuisinart toasters’ bagel setting just adds extra time to the toasting cycle without lowering the heat on the outside of the bagel, it evenly browned a thick bagel without burning the sesame seeds on the exterior. Some models, such as the Black + Decker T2707S 2-Slice Toaster and the Hamilton Beach Keep Warm, left bagels pale white on either side. And the defrost setting on both Cuisinarts produced Eggo waffles that were crispy on the outside but soft and moist on the inside.

The slots on the Cuisinarts were wider and deeper than those on most other toasters we tested. They easily accommodated the puffiest Murray’s bagels, and we didn’t have to force each half down into the machine, as we did with many other toasters. Also, the “high lift” feature on the lever allows you to lift smaller items like English muffins out of the slots without burning your fingertips.

Close view of the setting buttons and dial on the Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice Compact Plastic Toasters, our pick for best toaster.

The Cuisinart toasters’ buttons sit next to printed labels, which means you’re unlikely to rub the labels off with your fingers. Photo: Michael Hession

Side by side top view of the toast slots on the bright white Cuisinart and the shiny purple Oster.

The slots on the Cuisinarts are considerably deeper than those on the Oster Jelly Bean, and they leave no white tops. Photo: Michael Hession

Close view of a single slice of toast in the Cuisinart 4-slice toaster, with a number one and an arrow marking the slot.

The four-slice Cuisinart features a helpful label that indicates which slot should hold a single slice of bread. Photo: Michael Hession

The controls on both Cuisinarts are simple. There’s a knob that adjusts the darkness of the toast (from 1 to 7) and buttons that let you select the mode or cancel the toast cycle. The knob’s settings are accurate, which means setting the dial to 3 will produce toast that’s golden brown. They also have buttons to reheat and defrost your toast, as well as a bagel setting. All the parts you touch and twist stay cool, and they also feel sturdier than the moving parts of other toasters. We didn’t like that you could really wiggle the dial of the Hamilton Beach Classic Chrome 2-Slice Toaster or the Black + Decker T2707S 2-Slice Toaster. And neither Cuisinart felt hot to the touch, even after multiple rounds of toasting, which wasn’t true of some of the metal toasters we tested.

Though the Cuisinarts toasted better than other models in the same price range, they aren’t perfect, and results may vary depending on what you’re toasting. We used Wonder bread—which is practically engineered to toast evenly—for our back-to-back tests, following the same procedure used by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. However, some of our long term testers were frustrated by uneven results. Upon retesting, we found the Cuisinart still performed as well as it did during our earlier tests, but it was important to adjust settings for different items (this is true of any toaster). For instance, English muffins had the most decent color on settings 5.5 to 7, while bagels reached a nice golden brown between settings 2.5 and 3.5. Finding the optimal settings for each carb will vary depending on your preferences, so it will take some trial and error to find out what you like best.

Two parallel rows of golden toast, with yellow flags marking the length of time each batch was toasted plus a label with the Cuisinart model number.

According to the analysis done by Ohio State, the Cuisinart toasters’ mechanisms for timing and popping up toast were similar to those of the Breville BTA720XL Bit More Toaster, our upgrade pick (which costs about $40 more). Thermal data showed that the Cuisinarts heated up faster and reached higher temperatures, whereas the Breville took longer to toast but had better temperature stability overall. And though the Cuisinarts have slightly more brittle heating elements than the Breville, they’re slightly more resistant to corrosion because they contain more chromium and aluminum. (Based on our research, we believe the heating elements in both appliances are probably made well enough to last at least five years. Corrosion will cause heating elements to become more brittle over time, so it’s best to avoid shaking or tapping a toaster, or sticking a utensil into any model. Also keep in mind that circuitry may be more prone to failure than the elements, which is why, when you’re deciding what to spend, we’d bank on getting only five years out of your toaster.)

The Cuisinarts have a simple, boxy design, so the two-slot version takes up less space than some of the flashier toasters we tested, like our previous runner-up, the space-inefficient Cuisinart CPT-3000 ViewPro Glass 2-Slice Toaster (which is now discontinued). If you have a small kitchen and your counter space is at a premium, the Cuisinart two-slice is the way to go. The four-slice Cuisinart is just 4 inches wider than the two-slice model.

Cleaning and maintaining both Cuisinarts is as simple as sliding out the removable crumb tray and wiping it clean (similar to other models we tested). The Cuisinarts come with a limited three-year warranty; only the expensive Magimix matches it for having the longest warranty of any toaster we tested. Our two-slot upgrade pick from Breville comes with a one-year warranty.

We’ve used the Cuisinart CPT-122 in our Wirecutter test kitchen since March 2018 (though it hasn’t been touched since March 2020, when our office closed due to the pandemic). It’s probably gotten less use than it would get at home, but the toaster has held up well so far. All of the printing is still intact, and none of the labels show any signs of wearing off.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The two Cuisinart toasters have virtually no flaws in toasting, aside from occasionally leaving slim pale lines around the edges. But even though you can see these pale edges, they’re so small that you won’t notice any difference in crunch when you’re eating your toast.

The Cuisinart toasters’ plastic levers may be less durable than metal over time, but most stainless steel–bodied toasters we tested also had plastic levers. The labels printed next to the buttons may wear away, but, again, most toasters we looked at had a similar issue. And these labels should last longer than the ones printed directly on the buttons of other toasters (like the Oster Jelly Bean or the Hamilton Beach Keep Warm), where buttery fingers may constantly be pressing.

Unlike the one on the Breville, the bagel setting on the Cuisinarts only adds time to the toasting cycle, without lowering the heat on the outside of the bagel. Although this browns a bagel better than a regular toasting cycle, the Breville’s thoughtfully designed, side-specific bagel setting produces a better bagel, with a crisp cut edge and a chewy middle.

And while the Cuisinart models’ toasting intensity remained impressively consistent across multiple batches of bread, we still recommend adjusting the settings to compensate for the inevitable buildup of heat when making back-to-back toast. When the second batch starts, turn the heat down half a level from your normal setting. The only toasters that came close to fully compensating for that heat buildup were the Breville BTA720XL (our upgrade pick) and the Breville BTA840XL Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster, both of which produced almost identical pieces of toast from the first to third batch.

A number of reviewers on Amazon complain that their Cuisinart didn’t toast evenly or failed after a short period. And although about 90% of the 12,000-plus reviews on Amazon give the two-slice Cuisinart four or five stars, we can’t promise that you won’t run into one of these issues. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case for just about any toaster. But Cuisinart’s three-year warranty at least gives you an added level of insurance that most other models don’t offer.

Upgrade pick: Breville BTA720XL Bit More Toaster

The stainless steel Breville BTA720XL with two pieces of toast in it.

The two-slice Breville BTA720XL Bit More Toaster is a handsome, sturdy machine that toasts better than any other model we tested—with the exception of the even pricier Breville BTA840XL Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster. Though it’s about twice the price of our 2-slice top pick, we found that the Breville Bit More toasts bread and bagels more evenly, with no traces of pale edges. The Bit More also offers more flexible toasting options than our top-pick Cuisinarts. It allows you to check the degree of doneness mid-toast and offers the option to add 30 seconds more to the toasting cycle. Also, the Breville’s steel casing has a classic look that would fit the aesthetic of almost any kitchen. That said, testing done by Ohio State revealed that even though the toaster itself is well constructed, the Breville’s heating elements weren’t as corrosion-resistant as those of the Cuisinarts (however, in either appliance, the electrical components are probably more susceptible to failure than the heating elements). And although the Breville has more-complex circuitry than the Cuisinarts, the quality isn’t necessarily better, so it may not last longer.

Magenta, orange, and white image showing the hottest parts of the Breville BTA720XL Bit More Toaster's heating element.

The Breville toasts more evenly than our top-pick Cuisinarts, with uniform browning from top to bottom. Although the Cuisinart toasters would occasionally turn out toast with pale borders, the Breville’s toast emerged an even, golden brown from crust to center. This may be because the Breville heats up slower and has better temperature stability for more of the toasting cycle than the Cuisinarts (something Ohio State determined in its testing). But this doesn’t mean the Breville’s heating elements are better than those of the Cuisinarts. Even though the Breville’s heating elements are slightly less brittle than the Cuisinart toasters’, they’re slightly more susceptible to corrosion (especially if you live in a humid climate or toast a lot of frozen bread or waffles) because they contain less chromium and aluminum. As with any toaster, to keep the heating elements intact, you should avoid shaking or banging the machine (say, to remove crumbs). But again, electrical failures are probably more likely to occur before the heating elements fail in either model.

Compared with the bagel setting on the Cuisinarts, the Breville’s more-advanced bagel setting produces a better toasted bagel, by increasing the heat to the inner heating elements; this ensures the bagel will have a nicely darkened cut side and a round side that’s warmed but not overdone. The Breville also has a helpful printed icon on the top of the toaster to show you which direction to insert a sliced bagel. (On the Cuisinarts, it doesn’t matter which way you point the slices, since the bagel setting simply extends the toasting time.) The Breville also stays cool to the touch even after multiple rounds of toasting, unlike the steel toasters from Oster or Hamilton Beach.

toasters breville bta720xl controls a bit more button

Spending the extra money for the Breville also gets you two features the other toasters in our tests didn’t have: Breville markets them as the “Lift & Look” lever and the “A Bit More” button. They’re accurately named. “Lift & Look” lets you raise the lever to pull the bread all the way up, so you can peek at your slice without interrupting the toasting cycle. If it’s not done to your satisfaction, the heat stays on and you can lower the lever to finish toasting. The toaster’s namesake “A Bit More” button lets you add a 30-second follow-up round to finish any underdone toast. The Breville also beeps to alert you when your toast is ready. (You can adjust the volume or mute this feature by following the directions in the user manual.)

Two similarlu golden toast slices side by side on a wire rack, with blue post-it notes showing the brand of toaster used.

Although the Cuisinart CPT-122 made nearly perfect toast with the occasional white spot or edge, the Breville Bit More toasted more evenly from edge to edge. Photo: Michael Hession

Two parallel rows of golden toast, with yellow flags marking the length of time each batch was toasted plus a label with the Breville model name.

Toast from the Breville Bit More was impressively consistent from batch to batch. Photo: Michael Sullivan

According to Ohio State, the Breville has a more-robust construction with more fasteners than the Cuisinart. It also has extensive circuitry for its additional features and more wiring for the LED display and “pop-up”  features, all of which adds to its cost. More wiring could mean there’s greater potential for premature failure, though it’s hard to say definitively since many factors can contribute to malfunction. We’d only recommend getting the Breville if these additional features, or the Breville’s overall look or performance, really matter to you. The Breville is covered by a one-year limited warranty; this is standard for most toasters, but it’s not as long as the three-year warranty covering the Cuisinarts.

Signe Brewster and Michael Sullivan have used the Breville toaster in their homes since about October 2018 and March 2018, respectively, and both report that it’s still working well. Signe said, “It’s easy to clean, looks great, and has well-designed buttons. I also really love that the plug has a hole in it for easy grabbing—a nice touch when you plug/unplug it once a day.” (That plug is a patented invention of Breville’s; you’ll find it on all of the company’s appliances.) Both Signe and Michael said they wish the toaster offered a bit more lift. But as a solution, Michael recommends using mini tongs to rescue stuck pieces of toast (just be careful not to hit the heating elements, since this could damage them).

Why we think toasters are prone to failure

To help us understand why modern toasters seem to fail so quickly or start to toast unevenly over time, we wanted to compare them to vintage toasters, which historically have had much longer lifespans—in fact, many of them are still working today. We sent several vintage toasters from about 1918 through the 1930s, along with our pick, the Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster, and our upgrade pick, the Breville BTA720XL Bit More Toaster (2-Slice), to the students in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. They broke apart each toaster to compare their structural design, wiring, thermal output, and heating element alloys.

A white worktop with new toasters in their boxes and antique metal toasters, together with cords and user manuals.

The new and vintage toasters used for analysis at Ohio State University. Photo: Ohio State University

The outer body and inner mechanisms of the Breville BTA720XL Bit More Toaster laid out on a work surface.

Various parts of the Breville BTA720XL Bit More Toaster after deconstruction. Photo: Ohio State University

You can read more about their in-depth work (and see more photos of the insides of toasters) in our blog post, but there were a few main takeaways. For one, they confirmed that the vintage toasters’ heating elements were stronger and less brittle than the modern toasters’ elements. They also found, surprisingly, that the Breville’s heating elements weren’t as corrosion resistant as the Cuisinart’s, even though the two-slot Cuisinart toaster costs about $40 less. That said, the researchers also told us it would be unlikely for the heating elements to be the main (or only) cause of malfunction. Modern toasters also have much more complex electrical connections than toasters of old, and those connections can break with a little rough treatment (say, if you shake the toaster to get crumbs out). With that in mind, we’d expect modern toasters to last about five years (it could be longer or shorter, but the lifespan depends on how well the various components hold up).

Although we’re unable to run this level of analysis on every new toaster we test, based on a combination of Ohio State’s testing, reader feedback, and customer reviews online, we suspect the materials and quality of construction in the Cuisinart and Breville are fairly standard for most modern toasters. While it’s difficult to pinpoint what causes any given toaster to fail, one thing seems certain—a $100 toaster is unlikely to last you much longer than a less expensive one.

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Cuisinart CPT-440 Motorized Metal 4-Slice Toaster review: A steep price for steady performance

The CPT-440 offers a classy-looking stainless-steel build and leverless, "touch-to-toast" design for a toasting experience that truly does feel high-end. That, coupled with consistent performance in our tests, makes the CPT-440 a very good toaster -- but that doesn't make it a very good value, not with so many cheaper alternatives out there that offer similar features, decent designs of their own and strong reviews from people who just want their toaster to, you know, toast things.

The CPT-440 looks and feels luxurious, and as toasters go, it does a great job. But, it's still just a toaster. It toasts. Whether or not you actually care to upgrade your "toasting experience" is up to you, but should you give in to the urge to splurge, you can at least rest assured that the CPT-440 will yield satisfying results.

Design and features

All in all, I think Cuisinart's got a good-looking toaster here. The brushed stainless-steel build feels appropriately high end, and the combination of blue, backlit LCD screens and a leverless design give it a classy, futuristic sheen.

Make no bones about it, though, this is still a toaster. You'll still drop bread in and wait for toast to come out. You've still got the same tried-and-true wired heating element inside. If you're hoping your money will buy you something new and exciting, you'll be disappointed -- Cuisinart isn't re-inventing the wheel.

The CPT-440 lets you select the level of doneness on a seven-point scale, and also comes with the usual presets: bagels, frozen items, and a reheat function. You'll still be able to set the desired level of doneness for each preset, too.

With your settings locked in, the leverless design will have you press the "toast" button to start toasting. As your food toasts, a series of bars on the LCD screen will gradually disappear to give you a visual cue as to how much longer the cycle needs to run.

That leverless bit is really the only feature that even comes close to setting this toaster apart from its cheaper competitors. When you press the button, the CPT-440 will gently lower whatever you're toasting down into the toaster, a bit like Han Solo getting lowered down into his carbonite bath. At the end of the cycle, the toast will gently rise back up. It's a silly thing, but it definitely had us oohing and aahing a little bit the first few times we tested it out.

The practical benefit of this approach is that there's no spring-loaded mechanism to break, and also no getting startled at the end of a toast cycle. One downside, though: without a lever, there's no way to give your toast that extra little lift to help you grab it out at the end. For the most part, I didn't have any trouble snatching stuff out without burning my fingers, but still, it's one of those little things you might end up missing.

If you aren't sold on the leverless design, you should know that Cuisinart sells the same toaster with levers (and without the toast elevator) for a little less. If you don't have many mouths to feed, there are 2-slice versions of both designs that will also save you some money.

Performance and usability

The Cuisinart CPT-440 shines when it comes to usability, which isn't at all surprising given that this is a toaster we're talking about. You put the bread in, you press a button, you get toast. You won't have any difficulty using a preset or changing the doneness, and emptying the dual crumb trays in the back is easy, too.

I give Cuisinart an especially high usability score, though, because of how predictable it proved to be. In all of my tests, I never saw a surprising result. Despite the brawny 1,560 watts powering it (more than any other toaster in this roundup), the CPT-440 never overcooked anything, nor did it undercook anything. It never failed to operate exactly as expected, yielding consistent results in repeated tests. If I left it on my preferred settings, I feel confident that I'd enjoy ideal toast every day.

This held true even when we asked the Cuisinart to do two things at once. In one test, I set the left slots to toast frozen Eggo waffles to a well-done six out of seven. At the same time, I set the right slots to heat a pair of Pop-Tarts to a lightly toasted two out of seven. The waffles came out crispy and slightly browned, while the Pop-Tarts came out hot but only lightly toasted -- exactly what I wanted.

In general, I was also impressed with how evenly the Cuisinart toasted things. This was true within each slot, with mostly uniform browning on each side of each piece of bread, and also true across all four slots, with multiple slices coming out toasted to the same level. The one exception was the bagel preset. It's designed to toast only the insides of your bagel, and while that's just what it did when I tried it out, I can't say that it toasted them all that evenly. It's a minor quibble, though, and not one that stopped me from eating the test results for breakfast.

Another strong result is that I was able to distinguish each of the seven doneness settings from one another. With some toasters, anything toasted to a five or above is going to come out well-done, with only slight differences in the amount of blackness. With Cuisinart, I felt that I had seven distinct doneness settings, all of which yielded predictable and satisfying results. That's a better result than we saw with cheaper models like the Hamilton Beach Classic Chrome Toaster , which tended to overcook just a bit, and also a better result than the ultra-high-end KitchenAid Pro Line Toaster , which left things slightly undertoasted in my opinion.

The chart above shows how each toaster we tested performed across three settings: the lowest doneness setting, the middle doneness setting, and the highest doneness setting. For my tastes, the Cuisinart's spread looks the best to me, with even results on all three settings and nice, golden-brown toast in the middle. The darkest setting is probably blacker than you'd ever want, but the extra oomph of toasting to a seven might come in handy if you're ever toasting bread straight out of the fridge.

Toast times (seconds)

Alessi Electric Toaster82132166Cuisinart Leverless 4-Slice Toaster78155225Hamilton Beach Classic Chrome 2-Slice Toaster82165217KitchenAid Pro Line 4-Slice Toaster80160247KitchenAid KMT42290195300Frigidaire Professional 4-Slice Toaster110219330

One last factor worth considering is toast time. Averaging out our tests, the CPT-440 came out on the speedier side of things, bested only by the Alessi Electric Toaster , which costs more than twice as much. The slowest toaster we tested was the Frigidaire Professional -- a direct competitor of the CPT-440 with an equivalent price point.

Faster toast isn't necessarily better toast, but I was nonetheless impressed with the CPT-440's combination of speed and consistency. It never seemed to toast too fast for its own good, nor did it ever take too long to deliver a simple piece of well-toasted bread. If there's a sweet spot for toaster performance, I think the CPT-440 hits it, or at least comes close.

The verdict

The $100 Cuisinart CPT-440 is a very good toaster, and one that I'd be happy to have sitting on my kitchen counter in the morning. In all of our tests, it handled everything we threw at it, and never produced a result that I would characterize as disappointing. As toasters go, it's about as steady and dependable as they come, and it looks good, too.

Still, hop on Amazon, and you'll find dozens of toasters that cost half as much, or less. That includes models with unique, eye-catching designs, heavily favorable user reviews, room for four slices, and the same general capabilities as you'll find with the CPT-440, which has never sold on Amazon for less than $70. I wouldn't blame you for choosing one of those cheaper alternatives -- I know I probably would. That said, as splurges go, the CPT-440 is one that gets the job done, and you could certainly do a lot worse.


Way Day 2021: This awesome Cuisinart air fryer toaster oven is half off at Wayfair

Snag this top-rated Cuisinart appliance at Wayfair.

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Sound the alarm: Way Day 2021 is officially in full swing, and the savings plentiful. One of the most impressive deals we spotted at the savings event happened to be on the Cuisinart TOA-28 compact air fryer toaster oven, a top-rated small kitchen appliances that can bake, broil, air fry and toast. The catch? The sale ends tonight, April 29 (at 3 a.m. EST April 30), so you'll need to move ASAP to nab this limited-time markdown. 

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Normally priced at $270, this Cuisinart appliance is currently on sale for $149.95, but you can save an additional 10% at checkout when you enter promo code COOK10, dropping the cost down to $134.95. That's a savings of more than $135! 

While we've yet to test out this ultra-popular model, our all-time favorite air fryer toaster oven is the Cuisinart TOA-60 ($199.95), and the two models are very similar. In testing, we dubbed the TOA-60 as both an excellent air fryer and toaster oven, noting that it cooked up everything from French fries to toast with ease. We also loved its large capacity (it can accommodate up to two pounds of fries or six slices of bread), and while the TOA-28 isn't quite as big, the company claims that it can still fit four pieces of bread and can air fry up to 2.5-pounds of food. Additionally, we found the TOA-60's range of toasting options (which the TOA-28 also boasts) to be super useful, allowing you to choose between light, medium and dark. Overall, the TOA-28 is a bit smaller, but just as feature-packed as the TOA-60. 

This Cuisinart air fryer toaster oven was a big winner with customers.

The TOA-28 has a ton of other awesome, user-friendly features that customers adored, including the wide variety of functions (convection bake, convection broil, air fry, toast, bagel and warm) and the adjustable temperature control that goes up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It even has a 4.5-star rating from more than 400 Wayfair buyers, with users hailing this model for its awesome functionality and compact size (it's a petite 15.5-inches wide) that doesn't take up too much countertop space. 

With ample top-notch ratings under its belt, you'll definitely want to grab this Cuisinart air fryer toaster oven while it's marked down. Just make sure you move quickly, since the sale ends tonight! 

Get the Cuisinart TOA-28 Air Fryer Toaster Oven at Wayfair for $134.95 with coupon code COOK10 (Save $135.05)

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Toaster cuisinart

After years of testing toasters, we selected the KRUPS – KH320D50 as the best 2-slice toaster for consistently toasting bread, bagels, and breakfast pastries evenly. Another great 2-slice toaster is the Hamilton Beach – 22816, which is a little bit cheaper and almost as good. For the best 4-slice toaster, we recommend the Cuisinart – CPT-440, which is especially good for toasting multiple batches back-to-back. If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, the best value 4-slice toaster is the Cuisinart – CPT-180 Classic. And if you’re looking to upgrade your toaster to match your new kitchen appliances, go for the Breville – BTA830XL.

Table of contents

(Editor’s note:  In early 2021 we learned that several toasters we previously reviewed had been discontinued: Hamilton Beach 22790 two-slice, Proctor Silex 24216 four-slice, Hamilton Beach 24990 four-slice, Bella Pro Series four-slice, and Black+Decker TR2900SSD. We tested four new toasters for this 2021 update. Reviews follow below.)

The 17 toasters we tested

other toasters

2-slice toasters

4-slice toasters

1. Best 2-slice: KRUPS – KH320D50

Krups - KH320D50 2 slice toaster

The KRUPS – KH320D50 is a moderately priced two-slice toaster that gave the most consistent results than the three other toasters that we tested for this update. Its sleek, modern appearance with stainless-steel trim includes a large, easy-to-read LED digital display that counts down the minutes and seconds as the bread toasts, which is a nice feature when you’re trying to time everything else for breakfast or lunch.

Before we actually tested its toasting performance, as with all toasters, we had to run it through a couple of toast cycles at the highest level to burn off any residue from manufacturing and packaging. The KRUPS did have a strong chemical odor that completely dissipated after the second cycle. After that initial disappointment, it no longer mattered because the KRUPS’ performance in all of our tests was superb.

Best 2-Slice: KRUPS - KH320D50

This sleek and smart 2-slice has accurate pre-set cycles that evenly toast bread and bagels. It also has a memory function for programming your own favorite setting.

The KRUPS has seven pre-set cycles, and for all the toasters, we began testing at the mid-level, in the KRUPS’ case level four, which is set at two minutes, 30 seconds. The toast popped up golden brown on one side, and golden on the opposite side. Both exteriors were crunchy, and the interior was pleasingly soft.

We experimented with the presets — higher and lower — and each one toasted the bread evenly on both sides. Level 3 was perhaps the lightest we’d go for toast, however, since the toast was very lightly toasted. The lowest settings are for toaster pastries, which need warming rather than toasting.

Our favorite function was for bagels, which almost all modern toasters now have. For the KRUPS, the cut side is inserted facing the heating element, just like the other toasters we tested except for the Cuisinart – CPT620. Bagel connoisseurs demand a crunchy cut side and slightly chewy crust. We’re not bagel experts, but the KRUPS’ bagel met those requirements, though the crust was a little crunchy too. Nevertheless, it was delicious.

The KRUPS also has a memory feature, so when you like a certain setting, you can program it, so the toast will come out exactly as you want it every time. The KRUPS has a high pop-up, so you lift the lever and pluck the toast out without burning your fingers.
The KRUPS – KH320D50 is a bit more expensive than other two-slice toasters. But if you’re a toast fanatic and want every slice perfect, then the little extra will be worth it.

Key takeaways:

  • The KRUPS – KH320D50 has seven presets for toast, bagels, and toaster pastry.
  • Its bagel setting was the best of the new toasters we tested.
  • The KRUPS was the most consistent, evenly toasting both sides from top to bottom.
  • It’s a little more expensive than other 2-slice toasters.

2. Also great 2-slice: Hamilton Beach – 22816

Hamilton Beach - 22816 2 slice toaster

About one-third less expensive than the KRUPS is the Hamilton Beach – 22816, which performed nearly as well. It has the same features as the other toasters we tested, but the Hamilton Beach has an additional “keep warm” function. When activated, the toaster holds the toast in the slots for three minutes, so you can have warm toast at the same time you’re getting the eggs on the table.

Another feature we liked is that a few seconds before the toast is ready, the toaster emits an electronic beep, so you can grab the toast as soon as it pops up. The Hamilton Beach has a plastic body that’s accented with thin sheets of stainless steel, and its odd v-shaped design makes it stand out from the overly crowded market for toasters.

Also Great 2-Slice: Hamilton Beach - 22816

This This reasonably priced 2-slicer consistently toasts bread evenly on both sides. Its “keep warm” function is a real bonus.

The Hamilton Beach has seven toasting settings controlled by a dial, which we had to fiddle with before achieving the golden-brown toast we wanted (level 5). Although one side was slightly browner than the other, we were still impressed that the bread was pretty evenly toasted.
As for the bagel test, it’s inserted cut side inward, and at level 5, the cut side was golden brown. The bagel’s crust, however, was barely toasted, more warmed, so we upped the level twice, and finally got a bagel that had a crispy crust with the requisite chew.

When you purchase a toaster, there’s always a learning curve, and you’ll probably have to experiment with a few pieces of bread — as we did — to get the toast you prefer. The Hamilton Beach – 22816 is one of the company’s more recent models, and because it’s such a good performer, it’s likely that this modestly priced model will not be discontinued for some time.

Key takeaways:

  • The Hamilton Beach – 22816 has “keep warm” and “alert” features that other toasters don’t have.
  • It evenly toasted bread and bagels to golden brown in our tests.
  • Its dial for setting toasting levels can be a little tricky at first.

3. Best 4-slice: Cuisinart – CBT-440

cuisinart toaster

Across all of our testing, the Cuisinart – CPT-440 Touch to Toast performed extremely well. It is consistent, very fast, and evenly shades the entire surface of sliced bread. The four slots are wide enough to accommodate large, 1½-inch-wide food, the dual crumb trays catch a large majority of debris, and the stainless steel finish looks sharp. It’s a well-performing appliance and a great addition to any kitchen.

During our test for consistency, the Cuisinart continued to decrease the time bread spent lowered into the slots, ensuring that a medium toast looked the same after five rounds as it did after the first.

The toast was also well-colored from top to bottom and side to side, with just the slightest detectable difference front to back. The outside was hot and crispy while the inside maintained a moistness and chewy mouthfeel that was perfect.

At just two minutes and two seconds to complete the first round of medium toasting, the Cuisinart toaster is the fastest four-slot toaster and matched the fastest two slot, the Oster. Four slices of toast in just over two minutes put the Cuisinart toaster in a league of its own.

Best 4-Slice: Cuisinart - CBT-440

The Cuisinart toaster is our top pick for a 4-slice toaster, thanks to its fast and consistent toasting and simple controls.

Because of the shorter toasting time, the Cuisinart does not accumulate the surface heat that other machines do. In fact, the Cuisinart is the only finalist we tested that stayed below a 90-degree surface temperature after multiple runs. It can safely and easily be moved around the kitchen immediately after use.

The one test the Cuisinart toaster failed to hit out of the park was frozen food. It required a second round of toasting to bring the interior temperature of the toaster strudel up to the desired heat. While that may not be ideal, it still got the job done in a timely manner.

The bagel setting functions as it should, and the bagels we enjoyed from the Cuisinart toaster were expertly crisped on the cut side and warm and soft on the outside. Just place the bagel in the slots as pictured on the machine and press the bagel button.

The extra-large slots can handle food items that are 1½ inches wide, so toasted sandwiches, frozen pretzels, or left-over pizza can easily be accommodated in a toaster bag. Keep in mind that you may want to lower the setting for extra-wide foods, as they do get close to the heated wires.

We also really like the design of the Cuisinart. The push-button automatic chamber feels futuristic and the heating mechanism slowly squeezes the food once it’s lowered to guarantee an even, complete toasting. The large LED screen is easy to view and the settings are intuitive.

cuisinart auto lowering animation

At just under $85 for high-quality components and craftsmanship that make great toast and can handle so many more common cooking tasks, the Cuisinart four-slot toaster is our pick for best overall.

Key takeaways:

  • The Cuisinart – CPT-440 Touch to Toast Leverless consistently produces the same high quality every time it’s used.
  • It creates evenly colored and crisped toast, with settings that are easy to adjust on an LED screen.
  • Its four 1½ -inch-wide slots accommodate a variety of food.
  • It toasted faster than any other four-slot toaster.
  • The push-button mechanical lowering and automatic raising are luxurious and futuristic.

4. Best value 4-slice: Cuisinart – CPT-180 Classic

Cuisinart - CPT-180

Cuisinart has a toaster to fit every budget. The Touch to Toast model above is still the best of the best unless you need to toast something that won’t fit in the slots, but we know some readers want a value-priced toaster instead. The Cuisinart – CPT-180 Classic gets you the impeccable toast quality of the 440, but at a much lower price. (It’s a bit easier to find, too.)

When you drop down from the Touch to Toast model to the Classic, you’re giving up the motorized levers, countdown timer, and a little bit of quality in the parts and finish. That said, the internal parts of Cusinart’s toasters all seem to be very similar, if not identical.

The one test where the stainless-sided Classic model pulls away from its siblings is in the defrost mode: For whatever reason, this was the only Cuisinart toaster we tested that kept heating until a frozen pastry was a piping-hot 157° on the inside. That’s not quite as hot as the Breville or Hamilton Beach results but nearly perfect for a quick snack.

Best Value: Cuisinart - CPT-180

If you're looking for nearly perfect toast out of an affordable toaster, this model is our pick. Evenly toasted results every time. This model works better on the defrost setting, though the slots are narrower.

There are a few things holding this toaster back from the very top spot, however. For one, the slots are slightly narrow, with the wire holders only accepting slices 1.2 inches wide compared to the full 1.5-inch capacity of the CPT-440. The rest of the build quality is a little bit lower than the CPT-180 440 as well, with knobs and buttons that feel more like a $40 toaster than a $60 toaster should. And if we want to be really picky, the toast from this and the other Cuisinart toasters was often a little darker on one side than the other.

When all the crumbs are swept away, the heating element and temperature controls are what count most, and this Cuisinart is as good as it gets.

Key takeaways:

  • The Cuisinart – CPT-180, like the CPT-440, consistently pops out great toast.
  • For defrosting toaster pastries, the CPT-180 was the best among Cuisinart models we tested.
  • Narrower slots make this model slightly less versatile than the CPT-440.
  • The Cuisinart – CPT-180 is not the cheapest toaster we tested, but the price for performance is excellent.

5. Upgrade pick: Breville – BTA-830XL

breville toaster

The Breville – BTA-830XL (about $180) is a two-slot toaster that’s unlike all others. It can fit four regular slices of bread, two bagels or two larger pieces of sourdough within its two 10-by-1.75-inch slots. This can come in handy when toasting irregular slices of bread, making paninis or reheating a slice of pizza with a toaster bag.

Its modern matte stainless-steel design features a motor that slowly lowers and automatically raises the slices when they’re toasted without the user manually pushing down a lever and eliminating the need for a sudden pop-up when the toast is done.

Upgrade Pick: Breville - 4-Slice Long Slot

The Breville is ideal for those who toast breads of all shapes and sizes. If you're updating your kitchen with new appliances, the Breville is for you.

During the evenness tests, we found that the Breville’s toast was close to the same shade across the slice, but the crust was slightly darker than the middle. However, after toasting five consecutive slices, the toast increased in doneness and by the last slice, the edges were burned.

The toaster continued to accumulate heat as our testing progressed and it was hotter to the touch at the end of several rounds than most other toasters we tested. After one toasting, which lasted two minutes and 40 seconds, the outside temperature was 85°, and after the second one-minute and 55-second toasting, it was 91°.

During our frozen pastry test, the Breville performed very well and the Toaster Strudel was perfectly toasted after just one round on the frozen setting — even though the outer edges ended up a bit more toasted than the middle. The outside crust came in at 210° and the inside filling was 162°.

When it came to toasting bagels, we found that the bagel setting performed as it should; the outside was still soft but warmed up, and the sliced inside was browned and toasted. However, the inside of the bagel was a bit too dark on the medium setting. Those who don’t want their bagel too brown should take it down to a lower level.

The Breville can accommodate bread just a bit wider than normal and a slice much longer than any other toaster we tested. However, it did brown the edges of the bread more than the middle, which is a pretty common trait as breads increase in thickness.

The Lift & Look button allows the user to move the slices up and down slightly during the toasting process to observe the shade of the toast. As it toasts, its LED display shows a visual countdown of when the toast will be done. When it’s finished toasting, it slowly raises the slices and emits a soft beep, which is adjustable in volume.

After we finished the testing, it came time to clean the crumb tray. We found that it’s easy to remove but doesn’t cover a large amount of surface area under the toaster. Compared with other toasters, many more crumbs were caught on the floor of the toaster and less ended up in the crumb tray.

Key takeaways:

  • The Breville – BTA-830XL is perfect for artisanal breads like sourdough.
  • Two extra-long slots give this a wider, narrower footprint than other four-slice toasters.
  • LED tracking light that displays the progress of the toast is a great touch on a minimalist design.

Other finalists we tested

(Editor’s note: As several toasters we previously tested are now discontinued, for this 2021 update, we tested two more 2-slice toasters: the the Amazon Basics – 2-Slice and the Cuisinart – CPT-620.)

Amazon Basics – 2-Slice Toaster

Amazon Basics - 2 slice toaster

For a few bucks less than the Hamilton Beach – 22816, you could try the Amazon Basics 2-slice toaster. We were skeptical about Amazon getting into the toaster business, but it wasn’t a bad performer and is actually quite popular with consumers. However, after running the toaster through several cycles, the chemical odor from manufacturing persisted, even while toasting the first piece of bread in our tests, which was definitely not appetizing. It eventually did dissipate, but we did wonder why Amazon’s toaster took longer than the others.

That said, the Amazon Basics did what it’s supposed to do, but we had to increase the levels quite high before we got toast that was golden brown and not pale yellow. For some odd reason, the Amazon toaster is designed to not toast the bagel’s crust side; the outer coils shut down when the bagel function is selected. The cut side was toasted, albeit unevenly, but the crust was barely warm, which means you would have to double toast the bagel if you wanted a crunchy exterior.

Surprisingly, the Amazon Basics 2-slice toaster gave us almost identical results as the much more expensive Cuisinart – CPT-620. We recommend paying a couple of dollars extra for the better Hamilton Beach – 22816.

Cuisinart – CPT-620

Cuisinart - CPT-620 2 slice toaster

Without a doubt, the Cuisinart – CPT-620 is the glamour puss of the toasters we tested for this 2021 update. It’s a beauty, made entirely of stainless steel, with an elegant aesthetic that would belong in a high-end kitchen.

The Cuisinart is user-friendly thanks to its large dial for selecting the type of bread or pastry you want to toast, and it has seven levels for setting toast doneness. Consumer complaints often mention the lever for setting the level as inexact. We didn’t experience that problem; instead, we had to push the lever to the highest level just to achieve golden toast.

The Cuisinart’s bagel function produced less than desirable results: The cut side was very lightly toasted, and the crust side was soft and chewy with not a bit of crunch. It does have a unique “single slice” function for toasting one piece of bread or toaster pastry. But for all of the great design that was put into it, the Cuisinart – CPT-620 isn’t worth the money for such disappointing results.

KitchenAid – KMT2116QG

The KitchenAid – KMT2116QG is an attractive 2-slice toaster that melds modern technology with a retro look.  It doesn’t have a wide range of functions, so it’s very easy to use. Like the Breville, this KitchenAid model has a handy “lift and see” lever that allows you to check on the toast’s shading without interrupting the toasting cycle. It also has a “keep warm” button that holds the toast at a low setting for three minutes.

Of the seven shade settings, the first three were too low and barely colored the bread or bagel. The fourth shade setting was more to our liking and toasted the bread an even golden-brown. We had less success toasting a bagel; at the fourth setting, only the top of the bagel toasted. We turned the bagel upside down and toasted it again, and this way we finally got an evenly toasted bagel.

As we experienced with other toasters, the defrost setting successfully toasted the frozen pastry crust, and although this setting was very hot, the pastry’s filling was cold. The model we tested was KitchenAid’s “liquid graphite” color and sells for $64 (the red and black toasters are about $15 more), which we think is too expensive for a toaster that doesn’t perform as well as the 2-slice Hamilton Beach.

Hamilton Beach – 24990

(Editor’s note: The Hamilton Beach – 24990 is no longer available on Amazon. However, Hamilton Beach is still selling this model on the company’s website.)

The Hamilton Beach – 24990 is s a four-slot toaster made of brushed stainless and would look great in any kitchen. Its four slots are wide and long to accommodate irregularly cut bread. Like other toasters we tested, it has buttons for bagel, defrost, reheat and cancel and two knobs with seven shade settings. Hamilton Beach markets this toaster as “professional,” which is boldly stamped on the toaster’s front. You might find this toaster in a small diner, but besides that, no restaurant would use it.

During our first use, an acrid smell rose up from the slots, which made our first toast test unappetizing. It eventually wore off by the third test. Repeatedly, in all of our tests, the bread and bagels were evenly shaded, but slices facing the right side of the toaster browned darker than the left-facing slices. Also, the outer slots popped up at least 10 seconds before the inner slots.

The top half of the slots seemed to be less hot than the bottom half, as evidenced by our bagel, which popped up two-toned. The Hamilton Beach defrosted the frozen pastry, and the filling was hot, but again, the right-facing side browned more. For $60, we expected more from this toaster.

KRUPS – KH734D 4-Slot

KRUPS toaster

The Krups – KH734D is a four-slot toaster made of mirror-finished stainless steel and has a clean, modern look. Like the other four-slice toasters, it takes up a large amount of counter space, but its rounded edges give a sleeker, more circular appearance. For under $60, this is an impressively well-made toaster.

It proved itself as one of the most consistent toasters when we ran multiple batches. It reliably produced the same shading, texture and temperature across five slices of bread in our consistency test. However, it toasted one side of the bread more than the other and the bottoms of some slices didn’t toast as well as the rest of the slice. Overall, the Krups is also calibrated on the lighter side. Most users will find themselves only using settings four through six.

Bagels toasted perfectly with the Krups toaster. The inside was crunchy and a toasty golden brown and the outside was warm without getting too crisp.  Just remember to set it fairly high if you want to see some actual browning.

On the whole, there are a few more issues holding the Krups back. When it’s done toasting the popping sound is fairly subtle. Then, even when it’s fully raised, smaller slices of bread and our breakfast pastry did not clear the edges of the slot, making pulling them out tricky, with lots of care needed.

As with our top pick, the Krups didn’t heat our frozen toaster pastry through on the defrost setting, and the filling was only 88°. In comparison, the Cusinart – Classic nailed it on the first cycle.


The Oster – TSSTTRJBG1, also called the “Jelly Bean,” is a two-slot toaster that produces a medium toast that looks exactly the same every time. It also toast faster than any four-slot toaster, popping out medium toast in under two minutes in every round after the first.

While the Oster does have a bagel setting, it does not appear to operate any differently from the traditional toast setting. Our bagel came out crispy and a bit dry on both sides.

The Oster’s exterior also heats up much more than our other finalists. After just two cycles on medium, the sides of the machine were 120°, nearly 20 degrees hotter than any other toaster we tested and very hot to the touch.

Proctor Silex – 24216 (Discontinued)

The Proctor Silex – 24216 is a four-slot toaster with a plastic casing and very basic functions. It has six shade settings, but it toasts very lightly with the first three. We increased the shade setting and then tested the two end slots and the two middle slots separately: Both toasted the top half of the toast more than the bottom half.

The Proctor Silex doesn’t have a bagel function, but it actually toasted a bagel evenly with crispy bits on the cut side, and the non-cut side had the requisite chew that bagel lovers love. With the frozen pastry, it was trial and error. We toasted the pastry once, and since it needed more crisping, we flipped it over, lowered the setting and toasted it again. Finally, we got the results we wanted — flaky pastry and hot filling — but it took a lot of trouble to get them. The Proctor Silex is well-priced, but for a few dollars more, the Cuisinart – CBT-180 is a better toaster.

Bella – 90076 Pro Series 4-slice (Discontinued)

Bella had our attention after they cleaned up in our waffle iron review, so we tested the Best-Buy exclusive Bella – 90076 Pro Series 4-slice toaster on account of a second-best overall rank in Consumer Reports’s toaster reviews. It failed to win our hearts.

For about $10 less, the Cuisinart Classic had a more balanced range of toast settings, and the Bella didn’t differentiate enough on the bagel setting. Bella’s settings all ran a little longer than Cuisinart’s, and the toast was always darker on one edge.

Black+Decker – TR2900SSD 2-slice (Discontinued)

We searched far and wide for another reputable, easy-to-find budget toaster, and the Black+Decker – TR2900SSD at Target is a near-miss. This two-slice toaster with a brushed stainless-steel finish is fairly attractive, and they were least trying to be a little bit different with the cancel button in the middle of the control knob.

The Black+Decker delivered a good slice of toast, but the consistency across batches wasn’t as good as Cuisinart and the bagel setting was barely different from the toast setting. It also took 40 seconds longer to toast than the Cuisinart. At about $5 more than the Hamilton Beach, there’s really no reason to prefer this model.

Hamilton Beach – 22790 (Discontinued)

hamiltion beach toaster

If a four-slot toaster gives away too much precious counter space and you’re in the market for something more compact, the Hamilton Beach – 22790 is the right choice. And at under $25, it offers the best value.

The Hamilton Beach toaster offers even shading over the entire surface of bread and the same on both sides. However, it does tend to toast darker in consecutive uses, so you may want to adjust the setting as you go, if you’re making lots of toast or bagels.

Both the defrost setting and the bagel setting operate extremely well. Our breakfast pastry was a hot 225°F on the outside and a warm 185° on the inside, perfect and ready to eat after just one round. Our bagel had the optimal temperature and texture on both the crust side and cut side.

The compact design of the Hamilton Beach toaster means slightly smaller slots, measuring just past 1¼ inch wide. While that may somewhat limit your options, it is a necessary trade for a smaller footprint and a high-quality product.

One thing that the Hamilton Beach does better than any other machine we tested is making it easy to remove your food. The lever can be raised beyond its neutral resting position to bring the food clear of the hot slots. This allows you to get your food out without having to resort to a utensil or worrying about burning your fingers.

KitchenAid – KMT223 2-slice (discontinued)

KitchenAid discontinued the sleek, high-end KMT223 two-slot toaster in 2019. During our initial testing, we observed that the KitchenAid toaster failed to modify the time and heat intensity in consecutive uses. Each slice of toast was darker and drier than the one before. There was also a clear difference between the bottom and top of the bread itself:  The bottom half toasted darker than the top half. The KitchenAid performed very well on both the bagel and the frozen food tests, however.

Cuisinart – CPT-122 (discontinued)

(Editor’s note: Since our review, Cuisinart has discontinued this model, although it is still available at many online retailers.)

Cuisinart’s line is carefully segmented by price and feature set: each retailer has a slightly different model, though most of them produce very similar toast.

The major practical difference between this toaster and the CPT-160 or CPT-180 “Classic” models is the insulating nature of the plastic sides: The hottest spot we could find on the sides of the plastic toaster was 97° after toasting most of a loaf of bread, compared to 130-degree hotspots on other toasters. Safety concerns really aren’t much different, though: Most toasters won’t burn you if you brush your hand against the side, and this plastic model still has metal slots that concentrate the 900 watts of heat up top.

The plastic Cuisinart, like the top-of-the-line digital model, requires multiple runs of “defrost” to actually get the inside of a frozen pastry hot. The Cuisinart – CPT-180 and Hamilton Beach – 24990 toasters fared better in that test.

Frigidaire – Professional 4-slice (discontinued)

We tested this digital-control toaster in our original roundup to see how it stacked up against the other premium models. We liked the reflective stainless steel finish and the digital LED countdown timer, but toast quality was disappointing. Frigidaire has discontinued this model and hasn’t replaced it.

How we selected

We began our quest to find the best toaster by compiling reviews and research from popular sources on home goods like Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping, CNET, and Bon Appetit magazine.

We also read cooking blogs and talked to other consumers to discover how often people use a toaster, what functions are most useful, what the most common complaints are, and what makes a great toaster.

The predominant characteristics that people look for in a good toaster are:

  • Reliability: Does a given setting produce an expected result time after time?
  • Consistency: Is the food item toasted evenly over the entire surface?
  • Versatility: Can the toaster accommodate a wide variety of foods?
  • Aesthetics: How visually attractive is the appliance?
  • Footprint: How much counter space is used?
  • Features: Do special features work accurately and intuitively?
  • Cleaning: How easily can the appliance be cleared of crumbs and debris?
  • Affordability: Do better results necessarily require spending more money?

How we tested

Speed and consistency

toast comparison

We wanted to find out how reliably each toaster produced the same shading and texture on the same medium setting over five toasting cycles. Everyone likes toast a certain way, but can the toaster predictably create that certain way for you every time?

For this test, we used slices of Wonder Bread and set each finalist to its middle setting. We also wanted to see any difference between slots, so we cycled through the slots over the five consecutive toasting cycles.

All of the finalists we tested decrease the amount of time per cycle progressively as the machine gets hotter. The average time to reach a medium toast the first time around was two minutes, 47 seconds. That dropped to an average of two minutes, 15 seconds on the second round, with further incremental drops each round.

The toasters that created the most consistent results adjusted the time that the toast spent in the slots while also altering the intensity of the heat. The toaster with the smallest variance in time between rounds, the Oster -TSSTTRJBG1, also produced some of the most similarly toasted slices round after round. Other toasters that offered close to uniform consistency were the Cuisinart and the Hamilton Beach.

Not only were the Cuisinart and Oster toasters reliable, but they were also the two fastest, both with first-round times of two minutes and two seconds. At just under four minutes, the now-discontinued Frigidaire – Professional was by far the slowest to achieve a medium toast.

Toast quality

toaster evenness

After observing the speed and consistency of multiple rounds, we turned our attention to the quality of the toast itself. We wanted to see bread that had been evenly colored from left to right, top to bottom, and on both sides. The ideal toast would be crispy on the outside without being too dry or flaky all the way through — a bit of a crunch with a warm and light interior.

Many of the toasters provide an evenly shaded slice from left to right on the same side, but there is a discernible difference between the top and bottom, with the bottom almost always being a bit darker. There was also often a large variation from one side of the bread to the other.

Only the toast made with the Hamilton Beach – 22790 was the same on both sides of the bread. All of the others produced toast with a lighter side and a darker side. With some, the difference was very slight, like the KitchenAid and Cuisinart, but many were noticeably darker on one side, as with the KRUPS toaster.

Making a taste comparison between the models is difficult, as everyone has different taste buds, different expectations and different reactions. However, the toast that the Frigidaire toaster made had a clearly different texture than all the others. It seemed denser and compressed: The edges crumbled and flaked with even the most careful handling.



All of the toasters on our list of finalists include a bagel setting. Most also have a decal near the slots that illustrates what direction to face the sliced side of the bagel. The goal is to toast a bagel with a golden brown, crispy cut side and a warmed but still chewy opposite side. We used fresh bagels that we cut in half right before toasting, and we also double-checked the mode with a slice of bread to see how big the difference between sides really was.

The bagel setting works by increasing the heat on just one side of the slot. Clearly, this technology has been well-developed, as we were pleased with most all of the bagels that popped up. The one disappointment was the Oster, which seemed to do the exact same thing to both sides of the bagel. The medium bagel setting was also much darker than we would have expected.

Krups earned some points here with a bagel setting that crisped the inside while only just warming the outside of the bagel.


In order to test the ability of the direct-from-the-freezer setting, we set each toaster to either frozen or defrost and lowered a Pillsbury Toaster Strudel into the slot. The goal was a crispy, flakey exterior and a warm — but not too hot — gooey filling inside. In addition to our texture and taste observations, we used an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of both the outside surface and the inside filling of the pastry after one, and if necessary, two rounds of toasting.

Both the Cuisinart and the Krups needed two rounds on frozen set to medium to cook a finished product that was ready to eat. After just one cycle, the pastry was just barely warm to the touch, with a cool, less-than-delicious center. The other models all succeeded in making a toaster strudel with an interior temperature above 160°F after the first cycle.

Slot size

While all the toasters we tested are marketed as having large, wide slots, we wanted to see how the machines actually handled larger slices of bread. We cut several loaves of french bread into ½-inch, 1-inch, and 1½-inch-wide segments and ran them through our finalists. For reference, a slice of Wonder Bread is about half an inch.

As the slices get wider, they get closer to the heated wires inside the slots and the edges darken quicker and more dramatically than the middle surface area of the bread. If you typically enjoy a traditional sliced toast at any given setting, you may want to decrease the setting for thicker slices since it will toast quicker.

For some of our finalists, 1-inch-thick bread came out a bit uneven in terms of shading and quality. Several toasters, including the Hamilton Beach and the Oster could not accommodate the 1½-inch cut pieces; their slots were simply too narrow. The others performed with varying degrees of success, with the clear winner in this category being the Breville.

Surface heat

Obviously, the inside of the toaster will be hot, but the outside should remain relatively cool to be handled easily after use. Again, we used our infrared thermometer to take the temperature of the outside surface of the toaster after one and two rounds on the medium setting.

Most of our finalists hung around the mid-80s and low-90s (F°) for surface temperature, which is warm but not dangerously hot. However, the Oster shot up above 100° after just one round and to 122° after the second. At this temperature, the toaster was very hot to the touch and couldn’t be moved without oven mitts for several minutes.

Other features

Finally, we tried to take into account all the other aspects of the user experience that are hard to quantify but are still important. We looked at how easily the crumb trays are removed and cleaned and how efficiently they trap crumbs inside the machine. We spent hours assessing how intuitive and easy each toaster is to use.

We observed LED screens, timers, lever lifts that raise the toast higher out of the slots and push buttons that automatically lower and raise the food. We compared dings, beeps and the feeling you get from using and simply looking at the toaster in the kitchen to help determine the best of the best.

Why you need a pop-up toaster

Some may think that there are many ways to heat bread, bagels, and frozen waffles. An oven that can handle a Thanksgiving turkey can surely accommodate a couple of slices of bread and a pan over the stove can also toast bagels. So, why even bother with a slot toaster?

Slot toasters are the best and easiest way to make toast and a lot of other foods quickly and consistently.

Making toast in the oven — or even in one of the winners from our review of the best toaster ovens — makes inferior, dried-out toast. Because of an oven’s size, the heat source is far from the bread and with the volume of air inside, food dries as it cooks, which is why marinate and baste chicken and turkey.

In a slot toaster, the heat source of heat is close and the duration of toasting is quick, so the moisture inside your bagels and bread doesn’t escape. This creates the crispy outside you want but leaves a warm, soft and chewy inside.

You can also make toast on a stovetop or even a portable induction cooktop, and it’s certainly quicker than waiting for the oven to preheat, but the pan has to be actively tended and then washed. The ability to simply push a button or lever and then move on to other tasks makes a slot toaster much more convenient — particularly for those mornings when minutes seem to fly by as you try to get out the door.

Beyond toast

Clearly, the toaster is an ideal tool for making toast, frozen breakfast treats and bagels. But the vertical slots of a toaster make it less versatile than a toaster oven when you’re heating or cooking other food. That is, it was, until someone invented a clever hack.

Toaster bags, made of heat-resistant and food-safe silicone or Teflon, allow you to cook pretty much anything that will fit in the slots. The bags, which trap any crumbs, melting cheese, or loose topping are washable and reusable. This is now the quickest, cleanest and easiest way to reheat last night’s pizza or create gourmet sandwiches.

With the confined shape of toaster bags, you can also add your favorite toppings or spreads before toasting. Grilled cheese or even peanut butter sandwiches come out hot and ready without any extra dishes. During our testing, we even made toaster panini with chicken, pesto and goat cheese.

You can also make hot sandwiches in a waffle maker, but as we found out in our review of the best waffle makers, even a non-stick waffle iron takes much more work to clean up than a toaster bag.

What to look for in a toaster

Number of slots

2 vs 4 slot toaster

A single person or couple will most likely be served well with a two-slot toaster while a larger family would probably benefit from the extra slots, particularly when multiple people need to use it in a short time period.

The size of your kitchen and your aesthetic taste will also dictate how much of your counter space you want to dedicate to a toaster. For a 300-square-foot studio with a small kitchen, a two-slot toaster is probably going to be the right decision.

Crumb tray

toaster crumb tray

The crumb tray — a small, thin, metallic sheet that slides out from the bottom of the toaster — is a crucial feature. The tray catches all of the inevitable crumbs and debris that flake off bread during the toasting process. All of our finalists have crumb trays and we strongly advise against buying a toaster without one.

Slot size

toaster slot width

The length and width of the slots will determine what can actually fit inside and smaller slots limit your ability to toast larger and more varied food items. The emerging standard width is 1½ inches, which is featured in all except one of our finalists. The lengths hover between 5 and 6 inches, with the exception of the Breville – BTA830XL, which sports two unique 10-inch long slots.


toaster features settings and buttons

Beyond simple toasting, there are several other pre-programmed features with which some toasters are equipped that change exactly how the toaster heats a given food item. For example, the most common feature is the bagel setting, which makes a darker, crispier inside and prevents over-cooking the crust of a bagel by changing the intensity of the different heated coils. While all of our finalists have a bagel function, they are not all created equal.

Another popular setting is the frozen or defrost button, which is designed for food coming directly from the freezer. Again, all of our finalists have this feature, but it performs differently from model to model.

Some frozen settings simply increase the time of a given cycle while others actually lower the intensity of the heat or more gradually increase it to prevent burning the outside before the inside is done.

Other popular features to consider are levers, push buttons, LED displays, sound alerts, countdown timers, a cancel function and the ability to lift the food high enough out of the slots to make removing it by hand easy and safe.


More expensive toasters almost always look sharper and sleeker, but they don’t necessarily make drastically better toast. Cheaper options may take a bit longer and produce less even coloring and texture than pricier models, which often have more wattage and more heated wires.

It’s likely that a more expensive model that’s made with higher quality, more durable components will last longer. Some offer warranties while others don’t. In the end, your budget and personal preferences will help determine which one of our top picks will be your favorite.

The bottom line

Slot toasters are incredibly efficient and provide the perfect texture and toast shade quicker, easier, and more reliably than other methods. With the use of reusable toaster bags, a good toaster becomes a versatile and almost essential appliance for any kitchen.

Our pick for the best 2-slice toaster is the KRUPS – KH320D50, a sleek, moderately priced toaster with great features that give consistent results.

If you’re looking for something a little less expensive, we also recommend the Hamilton Beach – 22816, another 2-slice toaster that alerts you when your toast is done and then keeps it warm until you’re ready for it.

The best 4-slice toaster is the Cuisinart – CPT-440 Touch to Toast Leverless because of its consistency, usability and value. The four slots are wide enough to handle almost any food; the pre-programmed settings for bagels and frozen food work exceptionally well, and it looks and feels sharp and modern.

If those premium digital control features aren’t what you’re looking for, the performance from the more conventional Cuisinart – CPT-180 is our value pick 4-slice toaster

For a bit more versatility, our upgrade pick, the Breville – BTA830XL, offers unique 10-inch-long slots that are perfect for artisanal breads or reheating pizza.

Best 2-Slice Toaster: KRUPS - KH320D50

The KRUPS toaster performed best across the board in our updated testing and produced the most consistently and evenly toasted toast and bagels than our other new finalists for 2021.

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Daniel Jackson, Writer

Daniel is a Canadian farm boy who grew up to be a nerd with a literature degree and too many hobbies to count. He emigrated from Canada to California in 2013, and now writes for Your Best Digs full-time. Daniel remains unapologetic about Canadian spelling, serial commas, and the destruction of expensive travel mugs.


Toasters & Toaster Ovens

The Cuisinart CPT-122 is part of the Toasters & Toaster Ovens test program at Consumer Reports. In our lab tests, Toasters models like the CPT-122 are rated on multiple criteria, such as those listed below.

Color range How well the toasters or toaster ovens produced both very light toast and very dark toast.

Full batch Reflects color evenness among all slices in a batch.

One slice We toasted just one slice of large white bread in each model, aiming for medium brown toast.


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