To determine the best toaster, we looked at the following specific factors — functionality, settings, cost, and ease of cleanup. While we only looked at pop-up style toasters, we also considered enhanced functionality through additional settings. In addition to adjusting the browning, we also focused on models that offered presets such as bagel, reheat, defrost, and a cancel option. We also considered footprint, favoring smaller toasters. And finally, we looked for toaster models with easy to remove crumb trays (i.e. clean up). Your toaster is amazing and can do things that even the best microwaves can’t do.

Because of these factors, we chose the Cuisinart CPT-180 Metal Classic 4-Slice Toaster as our Top Pick. This model offered dual controls that included a bagel, defrost, and reheat presets as well as a cancel button. And you could customize the browning with the six-setting browning knob. The removable crumb tray also made this an attractive option. Speaking of attractive options, take a look at our guide to the best toaster oven. You will find a number of high-quality alternatives.

Top 7 Best Toasters Compared

 #1  Cuisinart CPT-180 Metal Classic 4-Slice Toaster

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: A luxe stainless steel four-slice pop-up toaster with dual controls for enhanced toast customization. Bagel, defrost, reheat, and cancel controls, plus a six-setting browning dial, removable crumb tray, and 1 ½ inch wide toasting slots to accommodate bagels.

  • 4-slice pop-up toaster
  • Dual control panels
  • 1 ½-inch wide slots
  • Inconsistent heating element

The Cuisinart CPT-180 Metal Classic 4-Slice Toaster is our Top Pick because it prioritizes customization. Instead of using one set of controls for all four slices, this model features dual controls. So with both pairs of slots, you can defrost, reheat, toast bagels, cancel the process, and adjust the browning settings. It has 6 browning settings to take care of the difference in moisture level from one bread to another. A higher setting, for example, would be ideal for very fresh bread or whole wheat bread. Also, breads uneven surfaces like English muffins will need a higher toast setting. This toaster has all the options to make a perfect toast every time. If you like this toaster and need more product options, check out our guide to the best 4 slice toaster oven.

The toasting slots are an inch and a half wide so that you can accommodate thicker bagels. Plus a slide-out crumb tray makes it easier to keep your toaster cleaner. And a brushed stainless steel exterior with chrome accents creates a sleek effect that looks great on your countertop, a big improvement from the Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster. This unit comes with a 3-year warranty. For a unit with more, read our best toaster oven reviews.

 #2  Cuisinart CPT-440P1 Touch to Toast Leverless toaster

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: A digitized four-slot pop-up toaster with motorized lift and countdown timer that makes adjusting browning settings easy to do.

  • Motorized lift
  • Countdown timer
  • Digital controls
  • Inconsistent customer service

Imagine a toaster that gently lifts your toasted bread after the cycle is complete. This is why the Cuisinart CPT-440P1 Touch to Toast Leverless Toaster is our Honorable Mention. The leverless motorized lift makes it easy to remove your toast or bagels without burning your fingers on the sides of the slots.

But this toaster Cuisinart CPT-440P1 four-slice pop-up model also features a digital dual-control panel that allows you to customize the browning settings as well as switch between toast, bagel, defrost, reheat or cancel settings. You’ll also like the countdown timer that notifies you of your toast’s progress. Adjust your browning settings between one of seven choices for the perfect toast, and use the removable crumb tray to keep your toaster clean between uses. It comes with a 3-year warranty. You’ll also want to check out the best waffle maker.

 #3  BLACK+DECKER 2-Slice Extra Wide Slot Toaster

Award: Best Small Toaster

WHY WE LIKE IT: A budget friendly streamlined two-slot pop-up toaster with a space-saving footprint and a cool retro design make this a top pick.

  • Small footprint
  • Budget-friendly
  • 7-setting browning
  • Drop-down crumb tray
  • Lacks reheat option

If your kitchen isn’t that large, you can’t clutter your countertops with appliances that take up too much countertop space. The BLACK+DECKER 2-Slice Extra Wide Slot Toaster is perfect for people with small kitchens with a total length of 10.9 inches and a width of 6.5 inches. This simple 2-slice pop-up toaster still offers plenty of functionality at a modest price.

You’ll enjoy a bagel, defrost, and cancel features like pricier models also have. And you’ll also like that you can control the browning on your toast with the adjustable seven-setting knob. The extra-wide toasting slots can accommodate larger slices of bread, bagels and artisan bread. And this Black+Decker Toaster Black With Stainless Steel Accents has a drop-down crumb tray that makes keeping your toaster clean a breeze. For a breakfast smoothie, read about the best blenders.

 #4  AmazonBasics 2 Slice Extra Wide Slot Toaster

Award: Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: An affordable 2-slice pop-up toaster with simple controls for basic toasting needs. Adjust toast with the six-setting knob, plus bagel, defrost and cancel functionality, extra-lift lever, and removable crumb tray make this a great basic toaster.

  • Small footprint
  • Budget-friendly
  • Extra-lift lever
  • Less browning customization
  • Lacks reheat feature

Even if you eat toast regularly, you might not want to spend a lot if all you need are the most basic of functions. This is why we selected the AmazonBasics 2 Slice Extra Wide Slot Toaster as our Best Budget choice. For a simple price, you get a two-slice pop-up toaster with simplified controls. You’ll like that this features an extra-lift lever so that it’s easier to retrieve smaller items and easier to clean. However, you want to use the best oven cleaner to ensure the job is done properly.

While this model lacks a reheating feature and has slightly less browning settings than other models, you still have access to the bagel, defrost, and cancel settings. Plus the removable crumb tray makes cleanup quick and easy. This and a Hamilton Beach coffee maker are a dream team.

 #5  CUSINAID Wide Slot 2-Slice Toaster

Award: Best Simple Toaster

WHY WE LIKE IT: A sleek and simply designed two-slot pop-up toaster with a small counter footprint. It’s also very easy to use and includes the essential features you would expect to find, plus wider slots for larger bread.

  • Wide slots
  • Budget-friendly
  • Multiple toasting functions
  • Lacks bagel setting
  • Won’t fit bagels

With toasters, there are plenty of affordable models that can meet your needs. The CUSINAID Wide Slot 2-Slice Toaster balances a low price with simple functionality and a small size that will fit on most countertops. You’ll like that the wider inch and a half slots can accommodate larger slices of bread.

Although it lacks a bagel feature — and will not fit bagels — this model still offers six browning settings, plus a reheat and defrost option in addition to a cancel button. And as with many of the other models in this guide, the Cusinaid also comes with a removable crumb tray. It does a great job while you cook your eggs in the best stainless steel cookware.

 #6  Dash DVTS501WH Clear View Extra Wide Slot Toaster

Award: Best Value

WHY WE LIKE IT: A unique twist on the traditional two-slot pop-up toaster with one long extra wide vertical slot, and a viewing window to monitor toast color. The single-slot retro design give this toaster shelf appeal to match even the coolest of kitchens.

  • Extra-wide slot
  • Viewing window
  • Four color options
  • Uneven toasting
  • Lever inconsistency

Maybe you prefer a toaster that has counter appeal and can serve as a conversation piece. If so, the Dash DVTS501WH Clear View Extra Wide Slot Toaster is the perfect choice for you. This unique toaster offers one extra-wide long slot that can accommodate larger slices of bread and bagels. And the wide viewing window lets you precisely control the toasting process so you’re never left with bread that’s too crispy for your tastes.

But it also comes with other standard features like reheat, defrost, and bagel presets a cancel button and a seven-setting browning knob. We liked that the glass window can be removed along with the crumb tray for easy cleaning, but unfortunately this product isn’t one that toasts bread evenly. Speaking of breakfast, the best KitchenAide mixer will help you make pancake batter and fit in with your other KitchenAid appliances.

 #7  LOFTER Stainless Steel Extra Wide 2-Slot Toaster

Award: Best Stainless Steel

WHY WE LIKE IT: A low-priced stainless steel two-slot pop-up toaster with a digital countdown clock. Essential features and an easy to use design make for a straightforward option for no nonsense toast fans.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Stainless steel
  • Digital countdown clock
  • Lacks bagel setting
  • Uneven toasting

You don’t need to pay a pretty penny just to say you have a digital model toaster. The LOFTER Stainless Steel Extra Wide 2-Slot Toaster gives you a precise digital countdown clock along with other core functions and a sleek exterior for a modest price. This two-slot toaster comes with a high-lift lever to help remove smaller slices of bread.

But you also get core features like a reheat, defrost, and cancel button. And the six-setting browning knob lets you control the heating levels on your toast. And as is fairly common with toasters, this model also comes with a removable crumb tray for quick cleanup. The best juicer will take care of the OJ, while the best cookware can make hash browns.

Note: Other kitchen appliances that we haven’t reviewed here that are worth mentioning are the Hamilton Beach 22811 Keep Warm 2 Slice Toaster, the Oster 4 Slice Long Slot Toaster, and the Breville BTA830XL Smart Toaster with the A Bit More button that is handy when toasting frozen bread. The Hamilton Beach 22811 with stainless steel sides has a keep warm setting, 3-minute auto shut off feature, and toast boost to lift toasted bread higher for easy removal. The Breville smart toaster has dual independent toast controls, intelligent one-touch auto lowering, 5 settings, and a 4-slice long slot capacity for thick bagels, large artisan bread, and dense pastries. It is similar to the Oster 4 Slice Long Slot Toaster, except the Oster has 7 settings. There’s also the KRUPS 4-Slot Toaster with brushed and chrome stainless steel and different toasting controls on the slots so you can make nearly burned and golden brown toast at the same time or make thick bagels and toast bread slices evenly browned at the same time. The Breville Strata with the Lift and Look setting for evenly browned toast, is another interesting one, and lastly the Breville New York Collection VTT942 with 9 browning controls makes pretty evenly browned toast. 

How We Decided

Toast is such a standard add-on whether for breakfast or making a BLT for lunch. While there are toasters out there with a wide array of features and functions, most people are only focused on the specifics — making toast, bagels, maybe a frozen waffle, and the ability to customize the browning on their bread. So, to narrow down the selection process, we focused on the following core features: functionality, footprint, cost, settings, and cleanup.

In this guide, we only looked at traditional pop-up toasters. With these models, you’ll usually find two-slot and four-slot models. And you’ll see in our guide, that only our Top Pick and Honorable Mention options are four-slice models while the rest, except for #6, are two-slice options.

But within these categories, we prioritized models with the essential settings: multiple browning settings, presets for bagel, defrost setting, and reheat, and a cancel button. Every toaster offers multiple browning settings, but #1, #4, #5, and #7 offer six browning settings while #2, #3, and #6 offer seven settings. All of the models on our list come standard with defrost and cancel options. But we did notice that the bagel and reheating features could vary across models. And specifically for cheaper models, you are most likely to get one or the other, but not both.

The footprint is another issue as for many people with small kitchens, they need to maximize counter space. Where applicable, we highlighted the models that were ideal for small countertop spaces. Specifically, that included #3 and #5. We also considered the cost. So, for the most part, the bulk of the models on our list are less than $50.

And finally, for cleanup, we focused on the crumb tray. All but one model, #3, featured a fully removable crumb tray. We think this is important because rather than having to completely move the toaster to empty the tray, you can simply remove the tray, wipe it clean and return it to the toaster.

Toasters Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Functionality
    The first question you need to ask when shopping for a toaster is whether you’re only interested in toasting bread, or if you want a model that can also cook other items. A traditional toaster will feature two or four slots where you can toast bread or bagels. But a toaster oven is multifunctional and can be used to cook whole meals, bake sweet treats, or even reheat last night’s dinner. Always use the right tool for the right heating job, just like you wouldn’t use the best chef knife to butter bread.
  2. Footprint
    Toasters and toaster ovens can come in a wide range of styles from space-saving to more intensive models. The style you pick, in addition to matching your functionality needs, also needs to take size into account. Toast is a common add-on for a range of meals so people tend to leave this type of appliance on their countertops. Likewise, you’ll need to think about how much toast you’re trying to make at once. A simple two-slice pop-up toaster is fine if just one person wants toast. But if you’re making toast for many people at once, a four-slice model might be a smarter choice.
  3. Cost
    The best toasters come in a range of price points where the only limit is going to be your budget. If you simply want to make basic toast, then it’s not necessary to splurge unless you decide to pick up a sleek design. But if you want the enhanced benefits of a toaster oven, or a toaster oven model that can be mounted under your cabinets to save space, then expect to spend significantly more because those are in the higher price range.
  4. Settings
    At a minimum, a quality toaster should have settings to determine how dark you want your bread or bagels to be toasted. Some models will only offer simplified light, medium, or dark settings. Meanwhile, other models will offer more customization with a numerical toasting system. But if you’re buying a toaster to heat bagels or frozen waffles, then enhanced features like a defrost option or a specific bagel setting can be useful. And with toaster ovens, you should expect even more options such as preset cooking options for common needs like reheating leftovers or cooking pizza.
  5. Cleanup
    Toasters make crumbs, it’s a fact of life. So, look for models with a removable crumb tray. Likewise, for toaster ovens, look for models with nonstick interiors so that cleaning is as easy as possible.

Toaster FAQs

What is the difference between a toaster and a toaster oven?

A toaster is designed to simply toast bread, whether that’s slices of bread, bagels, English muffins, waffles or even Pop-Tarts. But a toaster oven is designed to double as an oven. While it can be used to simply toast bread, most people find that it’s ideal for cooking meals, reheating dishes, and even baking.

How much do toasters cost?

Toasters vary in price, and the price is directly related to how much functionality they offer. You can easily buy a toaster for less than $20. But that will most likely be a simple 2-slice pop-up model with a few settings to adjust how light or dark your toast will be. If you want more options like defrosting, a bagel setting, or the ability to cook full meals with a toaster oven, then you’re going to spend significantly more.

I need to toast a lot of bread at once, what should I look for?

Traditional pop-up toasters come with a range of slice options. The most common versions that you’ll find in stores or online are 2-slice and 4-slice models. However, if toasting four slices of bread at once isn’t enough, you might be better served with a toaster oven. Toaster ovens range in capacity from toasting four to nine slices of bread at once.

I really want a toaster oven but I don’t know if I have enough counter space for one.

Toaster ovens are larger than traditional toasters, and because of this, they can take up a lot more counter space. Depending on your budget, you can opt for a mountable toaster oven that can be placed under your upper cabinets. This will free up your countertops while still giving you the functionality that you need.
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