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Best toaster 2021: for the perfect slice, every morning

Buy the best toaster for your home with our top picks from Dualit, Breville, Smeg, KitchenAid, Alessi, and Cuisinart

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best toaster
(Image credit: Cuisinart)

Choose the best toaster for your kitchen with our top 12 picks from KitchenAid, Breville, Dualit, Smeg, and Cuisinart. While toasters all have the same job, they look and function very differently depending on which model you buy. That's why we've chosen the best toasters for those who prefer bagels, artisanal bread, or who just want a stylish option they can rely on every day.

The best toaster can come in two-slice or four-slice dimensions. While a four-slice toaster will give you double the toasting capacity, it can also take up twice as much space, so consider whether or not you need a four-slice toaster before committing to a larger appliance. After all, it will sit on your counters for years to come, so it's worth choosing a toaster that ticks every box. 

Many of the best toasters in our guide have been tried and tested by members of the Homes & Gardens team. We've made sure that they toast evenly, and straightforward to use and clean, and have the right depth and width to accommodate all types of bread. Of course, if you do want to buy a toaster that can toast more than four slices at once, buying the best toaster oven is a suitable (but less stylish) alternative.

What is the best toaster? 

The Cuisinart CPT-180 Classic Toaster is our top pick of the best toasters, thanks to its reasonable price and classic design. We also enjoyed its bagel setting and the ability to control both sides independently. 

The Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster is the best two-slice toaster you can buy, and if you want something more premium, we love the Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster.

Best toaster 2021

Cuisinart CPT-180 Classic ToasterH&G gold badge

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

1. Cuisinart CPT-180 Classic Toaster

Best toaster overall

Specifications
Dimensions: 11.15 x 10.65 x 7.5 inches
Slots: 4
Settings: Bagel, Defrost, Reheat, Cancel
Reasons to buy
+Reasonably priced+Great bagel setting+Easy to clean+Comes in a selection of colors
Reasons to avoid
-Extra lift is limited

Tried and loved by the Homes & Gardens team, the Cuisinart CPT-180 Classic Toaster has four slots and comes in at a reasonable price for families and those who take their breakfasts very seriously. 

Why we love it

It's easy to select your chosen setting, be it Bagel, Reheat, or Defrost. It's also possible to choose from 12 brownness settings, with up to 6 notches as well as halves for the extra picky members of your family. 

The design feels high quality, with a stainless steel exterior and sleek matching levers. You can also pull out two crumb trays independently to empty out the toaster and keep it clean in-between uses. 

Features

We enjoyed the bagel setting, but keep in mind that you need to place the two slices facing away from each other to use this mode, which feels counter-intuitive. 

The levers have some added lift, which is great for pop tarts and other smaller toasted goods, but it doesn't have the added lift of some other toasters, so it's not the best for seriously small slices. 

Homes & Gardens rated 4.5 out of 5 stars

Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster

(Image credit: Breville)

2. Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster

Best toaster for high quality specs

Specifications
Dimensions: 10.9 x 11.9 x 7.7
Slots: 4
Settings: Bagel, frozen, A Bit More
Reasons to buy
+Smart auto lift+Take a peek at your toast as it cooks+Countdown indicator+Excellent results
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-More to go wrong

If you’re really serious about toast, the Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster is for you. Packed with clever toasting tech, this machine is the 21st century’s answer to getting the perfect slice of toast.

Why we love it

There are dual slider controls (each control two slots) for the toast level. Once you’ve loaded the toast into a slot and have hit the Toast button, the toast is automatically lowered and LEDs on the front show the toasting progress.

Want to see how well your toast is doing? Press Lift and look, and your toast is raised automatically to give you a sneak peek, before dropping down. If your chosen setting wasn’t quite good enough the ‘A Bit More’ button toasts for a little longer.

Features

Wide slots accommodate most bread sizes, and there are special modes for dealing with frozen bread and bagels. Toasting is excellent, producing consistent results time after time.

The big issues are the price and that the automated features mean that there’s a lot more that can go wrong with this model.

Alessi Plisse Toaster

(Image credit: Alessi)

3. Alessi Plissé Toaster

Best toaster for designer looks

Specifications
Dimensions: 7.48'' H x 13.39'' W x 7.48'' D
Slots: 2
Settings: Bagel, frozen
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous plissé exterior+Comes in a classic range of shades+Quality construction
Reasons to avoid
-Only available in two-slice design-Toaster racks cost extra

Stylish kitchens deserve a stylish toaster to match, and the Alessi Plissé Toaster is just the option for this. It comes with a striking exterior that wraps around the entirety of the toaster, and subtle controls for defrosting and cooking bagels. 

Why we love it

Gorgeous looks aside, the Alessi Plissé Toaster is neat and compact while still making a statement. It has two slots, and there are six browning levels for perfect toast every time. 

You will have to pay extra for toasting racks, but they have striking handles that pair with the toaster and are great for more delicate items such as pastries. 

Features

Buy the Alessi Plissé Toaster in white, red, black, or grey. It can also be paired with a juicer, kettle, and immersion blender

Smeg 4 Slice Toaster TSF03H&G silver badge

(Image credit: Smeg)

4. Smeg 4 Slice Toaster TSF03

Best toaster for retro design

Specifications
Dimensions: 13 x 11.77 x 7.72 inches
Slots: 4
Settings: Defrost, Reheat
Reasons to buy
+Classic retro style+So many color options+Tactile levers with added lift+Press-touch crumb trays+Wide slots
Reasons to avoid
-No bagel mode

We loved the Smeg 4 Slice Toaster TSF03 from the second we took it out of the box. We tested it in a fetching pastel blue but it comes in all sorts of colorways, including black, pink, silver, cream, and much more. 

Why we love it

The controls are very tactile, with metallic levers that have added lift to elevate even the smallest slices clear of the toaster.

We also enjoy the controls, with a light-up button for defrosting and reheating as well as a simple dial to increase or decrease the brownness settings. Our toast came out beautifully toasted with consistency across both sides of the slice, but we did miss a bagel setting.

Features

The crumb trays pop out when pressed, and make cleaning very easy indeed. It goes without saying that the stainless steel design is incredibly high quality. It's expensive, but the Smeg 4 Slice Toaster TSF03 is an investment that will last for years. 

Homes & Gardens rated 4 out of 5 stars. Our Smeg 4 Slice Toaster TSF03 review has more details. 

Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch 2 Long Slot Toaster

(Image credit: Zwilling)

5. Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch 2 Long Slot Toaster

Best long toaster for artisan bread

Specifications
Dimensions: 16.75 x 6.6 x 8.2 inches
Slots: 2
Settings: Reheat, Bagel, Defrost
Reasons to buy
+Very wide and longs slots+Intuitive toasting controls+Excellent results on different breads
Reasons to avoid
-Only two colors

Zwilling known for quality construction and sleek, simple designs, and the Zwilling Enfinigy Cool Touch 2 Long Slot Toaster is no exception. It comes in two colors and has a compact frame that makes it suitable for understated designs. 

Why we love it

It has extra-long and wide slots that make it perfect for those who like their artisanal bread fresh from the bakery, often with long slices from the midsection of a sourdough loaf, or a generous wide wedge of some brioche. 

Features

Simplicity is key here, so while you will not have large dials and Smeg-style funky button controls, there is everything you need to defrost, reheat, or cancel your setting. 

You can turn the dial at the front of the toaster to increase the toasting time. There is also an insert at the top of the toaster which can be used to heat up pastries without forcing them into the toaster slot. 

Dualit 4 Slice Newgen Toaster

(Image credit: Dualit)

6. Dualit 4 Slice Newgen Toaster

Best toaster for advanced functions

Specifications
Dimensions: 15.30 x 10.30 x 10.10 inches
Slots: 4
Settings: Defrost, Bagel
Reasons to buy
+Tough+Replaceable parts+Excellent and even toasting+Large slots+Can choose how many slots to use
Reasons to avoid
-Manual controls are fiddly-Expensive given the features

Dualit builds its toasters to be rugged and reliable. For the Dualit 4 Slice Newgen Toaster, the company has kept the same design of old but has added a few new features.

Why we love it

In addition to just heating, this new model has a proper defrost setting and a setting for heating up bagels. Otherwise, it’s business as usual, with the option to choose how many slots you want to use (one to four) to save on running costs, and a mechanical timer dial. Extra deep and wide slots let this toaster take most types of bread, and you can buy an optional warming wrack or sandwich cage.

Features

With a mechanical dial, timings aren’t as precise, so there’s a bit of a learning curve with this model. With a little practice, though, you can get even results every time. Dualit’s heating element uses a series of flat bars behind a smooth, transparent casing, which extends life. And, should a heating element go, you can replace the part.

Smeg TSF01 toaster

(Image credit: Smeg)

7. Smeg TSF01 toaster

Best toaster for style

Specifications
Dimensions: 12.68 x 7.6 x 7.72 inches
Slots: 2
Settings: Defrost, Bagel, Reheat
Reasons to buy
+Looks gorgeous+Well built+Simple control dial+Wide slots fit most bread
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive

If you have an open kitchen where everything is on display, the Smeg TSF01 is the toaster for you. With its 50s design and amazing range of colours, this is one of the best-looking kitchen accessories that you can buy.

Why we love it

There’s a two-slice or four-slice version (TSF02). We’re covering the two-slice toaster here, but the four-slice version still has two slots, just that they’re longer. The four-slice could be good if you have artisan breads that may not fit in the two-slice. Most regular bread will fit in the TSF02 thanks to its wide and deep slots. There’s a simple dial for choosing the toasting level, plus the special defrost, bagel and reheat settings.

Features

Durable and reliable, most report that the Smeg TSF01 cooks toast quickly and beautifully. The main downside is the price. If you have a beautiful kitchen and your toaster is on display, it may just be worth the price.

Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

8. Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster

Best toaster for small kitchens

Specifications
Dimensions: 6.5 x 11 x 7 inches
Slots: 2
Settings: Bagel, Defrost, Reheat
Reasons to buy
+Excellent value+Neat and easy-to-clean body+Simple controls+Good toast
Reasons to avoid
-Some report uneven toasting-Higher settings burn fast

Four-slot toasters tend to be quite big and bulky, so if you need something smaller and less obtrusive, the Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster is for you.

Why we love it

This tiny model is designed to sit face-on, so it doesn’t take up much width on a counter. Although the product name has the word ‘plastic’ in it, the exterior is neat and clean, looking far better than you might expect.

Controls are simple, with a dial labelled one to seven for the toast setting, defrost, reheat and bagel settings. The slots are a good size, too, and should take most shop-bought slices.

Features

Toasting is generally very good, although some complain that the toaster quickly moves into burnt territory, so try with the lower settings first. There are some complaints about uneven toasting, but turning bread part way through can fix that issue.

Cuisinart CPT-435 4 slice toaster

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

9. Cuisinart CPT-435 4 slice toaster

Best leverless toaster

Specifications
Dimensions: 11.42 x 10.08 x 7.75 inches
Slots: 4
Settings: Bagel, Reheat, Defrost
Reasons to buy
+Simple controls+LED screen+Control either side independently+Digital countdown timer
Reasons to avoid
-Limited design options

The Cuisinart CPT-435 is a smart toaster with an in-built LED screen. It houses four slices at once, and you can operate either two-slice side independently from the other. 

Why we love it

This is perfect for those who have different preferred levels of browning from their partners, and it will also allow you to toast a bagel alongside your bread using the bespoke bagel setting. 

Features

You can easily increase the browning level using the plus and minus buttons, and simply press toast to start the process. If you like the traditional lever element of a toaster you may not want this Cuisinart model, but it does come with Bagel, Reheat, and Defrost settings.

KitchenAid 2 Slice Long Slot Toaster with High-Lift Lever

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

10. KitchenAid Artisan 2-Slice Toaster

Best toaster for saving space

Specifications
Dimensions: 16 x 5.4 x 7.9 inches
Slots: 1
Settings: Bagel, Reheat, Defrost
Reasons to buy
+One slot only+Super compact profile+Intelligent design
Reasons to avoid
-An expensive one slot option

Two slices, one slot. The KitchenAid Artisan 2-Slice Long Slot Toaster is an attractive retro-style toaster that's perfect for small and narrow kitchens. 

Why we love it

KitchenAid's unconventional 2-slice long slot toaster is a smart solution for those who want a toaster that can sit along the side or back of a counter, but still cater to a crowd. It's also ideally designed to toast really long slices of bread, which is a win for those who've been baking with the best stand mixer

It's got a width of only 5.4 inches, but the depth is 16 inches so prepare to set aside a corner of the kitchen to it.

Features

Functions include a 'little longer' button, as well as bagel and frozen options for just about any type of bread or baked good. It comes in the classic KitchenAid Artisan Empire Red, or a matte black. 

Café - Specialty 2-Slice Toaster

(Image credit: Café)

11. Café Specialty 2-Slice Toaster

Best two slice toaster

Specifications
Dimensions: 7 x 12 x 8 inches
Slots : 2
Settings: Reheat, Frozen, Bagel
Reasons to buy
+Compact+Sleek look+Has an express setting+Matching appliances available 
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Only neutral colors available 

Want all the style of the best toaster but in a two slice option? The Café Specialty 2-Slice Toaster has rose gold accents and comes in either a white, silver or black option. We love the simple curved design, and it's a compact option for smaller kitchens or households. You can also buy a matching drip coffee maker

Why we love it

This toaster not only looks great, it's a treat to use as well. There's an express finish option for rushed mornings and eight intensity settings to choose from, for that perfect toast every time. 

Features

Other settings include a frozen, reheat, and bagel setting. A more expensive option for a two-slice, but this toaster ticks every box when it comes to build, quality and style. 

Dash Clear View Toaster

(Image credit: Dash)

12. Dash Clear View Toaster

Best toaster with glass panels

Specifications
Dimensions: 15.7 x 7.8 x 6.6
Slots: 1
Settings: Defrost, Reheat, Bagel
Reasons to buy
+You can see your toast as it cooks+One large slot for all types of bread+Simple controls+Even results every time
Reasons to avoid
-Overenthusiastic ejection-Can be hard to fit two slices in

You know how it is: you put your bread into the toaster but have no idea how well it’s cooked until you eject the final slice. With the Dash Clear View Toaster, the guesswork has gone, as you can see your bread toasting through the viewing window.

Why we love it

For those more obsessed with toast, the window is a game-changer, giving you the chance to eject your bread at exactly the right point. Just be careful when you hit the eject button, as the toaster can fling the contents out rather enthusiastically.

Features

This toaster has a single slot, but it’s a very wide one. For smaller loaves, you can fit in two slices but you may struggle with larger loaves. The wide slot is better for artisan bread, as you can fit in pretty much any-sized single slice. 

Having to have what’s effectively a two-slot toaster sideways on can mean taking up a lot of counter space. Still, if you want your toast to come out at the point of perfection, this toaster lets you step in at the right time.

KitchenAid 4-Slice Wide Slot Toaster

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

13. KitchenAid 4-Slice Wide Slot Toaster

Best toaster with wide slots

Specifications
Dimensions: 11.4 x 11.62 x 7.48 inches
Slots: 4
Settings: Bagel
Reasons to buy
+Inexpensive+Wide slots for bagels and more+Three classic colors
Reasons to avoid
-No frozen setting

A four-slice toaster doesn't have to be too expensive, and this wide-slot choice from KitchenAid comes from a reliable family brand too. 

Why we love it

If you've got a KitchenAid mixer in your home, this four-slot toaster will match beautifully. It comes in silver, black and red. 

Features

You can adjust the brownness of either side independently, and there's a button for bagels or to eject your toast when you suspect it's done. The slots also lift with an impressive clearance for shorter slices. 

How to choose the best toaster

Although toasters do the same thing, there’s a huge amount of variance in them, largely dependent on your needs and the type of bread that you cook. 

Take notice of the size and types of slot to make sure that you’ll be able to fit in the type of bread that you use. This is particularly true if you use artisan bread.

While toasters all have a setting for how well done they’ll make your bread, many have additional features and modes.

Some models have a defrost option. This usually doesn’t mean that your bread will be defrosted (although some have this feature) but that your frozen slices will be defrosted and then toasted. This latter mode can be called ‘frozen’ on some toasters.

A bagel setting can be good, too. What this mode does varies between toasters, but generally only one element is used, so that the underside gets cooked, leaving the top alone. With some other models, the second element may be heated to a lower temperature. Make sure you read the manual so that you know which way round to insert your bagel.

A reheat mode is useful if you like your toast warm, as you can stick it back in without overheating it.

Look out for any optional accessories: a sandwich cage lets you make toasted sandwiches, and a warming rack sits on top and is good for pastries and croissants. 

Should I buy a two- or four-slice toaster?

If you go through a lot of bread or have a larger family, then a four-slice toaster is generally the best bet. If you don’t eat a lot of toast or don’t have much room, then go for a smaller two-slice model.

Take note of the configuration of the toaster. Some four-slice toasters use two long slots instead of four slots. The downside is that you may not fit in two slices side-by-side; the upside is that the longer slots can be better for artisanal bread.

How much energy does a toaster use?

Most toasters will use around 800 to 1200W on average, with four-slice toasters using towards the top of the scale, and two-slice models using less. That’s a rough guide, but as they’re small and dedicated, toasters are more energy-efficient than using your oven’s grill to do the job.

Many models have energy-saving features. Toasters with four slots, for example, will generally have two sets of controls, each controlling two slots. When you only use two slots, you’re using half of the total power; you only run the toaster at full capacity when all four slots are in operation. 

How much does a toaster cost? 

Price depends on features and how often you make toast. For occasional users that need a two-slice model, you can pick up a good toaster for less than $30. A higher-quality more durable model can cost around $50 but you can spend over $100 on the best models.

Millie Fender
Millie Fender

Millie Fender is the Small Appliance and Cooking Editor on the Homes and Gardens Ecommerce team. She specializes in cooking appliances and also reviews outdoor grills and pizza ovens. Millie loves to bake, so she will take any excuse to review stand mixers and other baking essentials. All of Millie's reviews are conducted at home, meaning she uses these products in her own kitchen, the way they're designed to be used. 

Millie is from Bath, England, and she grew up surrounded by classic Georgian architecture and interiors. She dreams of buying her own house and filling it with antiques, but for now, she lives in a sunny London flat with a very busy kitchen.