The Best Toaster for Your Kitchen, According to the Pros

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What's the best toaster to accompany your breakfast routine? Our Test Kitchen put seven brands to the test to see which is perfect for your bread, toaster pastries, frozen waffles and more.

Test Kitchen Preferred the best Toaster TKPTaste of Home

For many of us, toast is part of our daily routine. We wake up, brew a pot of coffee and pop a few slices of bread in the toaster for an easy breakfast. If you’ve got a good toaster on your hands, you’ll have a perfectly golden slice ready to top with homemade jam or a few slices of avocado. But if your toaster isn’t so hot, well, that toast can be burnt, unevenly toasted or downright disappointing.

So what’s really the best toaster to keep on your kitchen counter? Our Test Kitchen had to find out so your morning routine can be satisfying and delicious.

How We Found the Best Toaster Brands

To find the best toaster for your kitchens at home, our pros grabbed seven brands—some high-tech, some basic and some that landed in between. Each toaster was put through its paces crisping up the following: white bread, multigrain bread, oat bran bread, Italian bread, sourdough, bagels and frozen waffles.

Our testers paid attention to how long each slice took to toast, how evenly the toast looked and how crisp. We also kept these criteria in mind as we slathered slice after slice with butter.

  • Even browning: Are items browned evenly? Do you achieve consistent results every time you toast?
  • Toast time: How long does it take to reach the ideal medium brown toast?
  • Slots: Are the toaster slots wide enough to accommodate all kinds of bread like bakery-style bagels and larger slices of artisan bread?
  • Crumb removal: Does the toaster have a crumb tray? Is it easy to remove? Is it messy to empty?
  • Price: Are the features, functionality and appearance worth the cost?

Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Toasters

Our Test Kitchen went through a few loaves of bread and a couple of boxes of frozen waffles for this test. In the end, four brands popped.

For Impatient Toast-Lovers: Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster

BREVILLE DIE-CAST TOASTER, 2-SLICE TKPVia surlatable.com

There are two kinds of breakfast-makers out there: People that push down the level on the toaster and let it go and people that have to peek at their bread every 30 seconds. If you’re one of the latter, this Breville Die-Cast Smart Toaster is the best toaster for you.

This toaster has a wealth of features ideal for the impatient among us, first of which is a progress bar. You can see how long you’ve got left on your toast giving you time to make a quick cafe-style drink or wash up a few dishes. Breville’s toaster also includes a “Lift and Look” button so you can peek on the status of your toast without having to cancel the cycle.

As far as this toaster’s performance, our Test Kitchen had no issues. Every bread and waffle we popped into the large slots turned out a nice even brown color—no obvious streaks and no burning.

  • Capacity: Two slices; you can also get the same toaster in a four-slice model
  • Settings: Toast, bagel and defrost
  • Additional features: Progress bar, Smart Toasting technology that adjusts the time and temperature for your selections, “A Bit More” button for a touch more toasting, “Lift and Look” function, removable crumb tray
  • Price: $130

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Best Splurge: Wolf Gourmet 2-Slice Toaster

Wolf Gourmet 2-Slice Toaster TKPVia subzero-wolf.com

Serious cooks know that Wolf is one of the big names in premier appliances. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever ogled a Wolf range at the appliance store!) Rest assured that the company also produces great small appliances, like this Wolf Gourmet Toaster.

This toaster was one of our Test Kitchen’s favorites for many reasons, including the generously sized slots. At more than six inches long, you can easily toast long slices of ciabatta and sourdough without having any bread peeking out of the top untoasted.  As for those slices of artisan bread, it came out perfectly toasted every time—no burnt toast here! The Wolf toaster did take a bit more time to toast up our bread and waffles, but our Test Kitchen thought the flawless performance was worth the extra 15 seconds of time.

One last notable characteristic of this toaster: It is heavy-duty. Our testing crew noted time and time again that you could feel the strength and quality of the materials used in making this toaster. Everything from the carriage that carries the toast to the knob felt like it would last for ages. This durability and performance make it worth the price.

  • Capacity: Two slices, also available as a four-slice toaster
  • Settings: Toast, bagel and defrost
  • Additional features: Keep warm option, removable crumb tray
  • Price: $300

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Best Basic Model: GE 2-Slice Stainless Steel Toaster

GE 2-Slice Toaster, Easy-to Use Toaster with Pre-Set Controls for 7 Shade Settings, Bagels & Frozen Items, Stainless Steel, G9TMA2SSPSS TKPVia amazon.com

Not all of us want or need the fanciest appliance out there. If you’re looking for a basic model that crisps up bread just right, opt for a GE 2-Slice Stainless Steel Toaster. This sleek toaster is compact and does the job well—not to mention it’s a great bargain from a notable brand.

The slots, while smaller than some brands we tested, were still large enough to accommodate generously sized bagels. As for toasting, this GE appliance crisped up bread evenly, though our testers noticed that what would be considered “medium” on this appliance was a bit lighter than what most would consider a medium-hued toast. No worries though—just crank up the dial a bit to compensate.

  • Capacity: Two slices, though a four-slice model is also available
  • Settings: Toast, bagel and defrost
  • Additional features: Removable crumb tray
  • Price: $49

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For Smart Kitchens: Revolution Toaster

Revolution R180 High Speed Smart Toaster TKPVia revcook.com

If you love techie kitchen gadgets and have a home full of smart appliances, you’ll want to check out the Revolution Toaster. This touchscreen toaster is the first of its kind. You make all your selections on the full-color screen by swiping and tapping, which our testers thought was pretty darn nifty (and even kind of fun!).

Besides being very cool, this toaster was speedy! Slices of oat bran bread popped up golden brown after just 90 seconds with an “enjoy” message on the screen. If you prefer your toast on the darker side, this might not be the best option for you. Well done toast came up a bit uneven.

One last thing: When it’s time to empty the crumb tray on this model, the toaster will tell you “it’s time!” That’s pretty nifty since many of us can’t remember the last time (if ever) we cleaned out our crumb trays.

  • Capacity: Two slices
  • Settings: Toast, bagels, toaster pastry, English muffin, waffle and defrost
  • Additional features: Touchscreen, smart sensors and removable crumb tray
  • Price: $300

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Make the Most of Your Toast

When it comes to making use of the best toaster options, don’t limit yourself to just breakfast. Use that toaster to crisp up bread for every sandwich you make, use it to heat up frozen waffles for all kinds of treats like ice cream waffle-wiches or quick Monte Cristos.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.