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Best toaster 2021: 12 toasters for bagels and bread

Buy the best toaster for your kitchen with our top 12 two-slice and four-slice toasters from KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Dualit, Smeg, and Breville

best toaster
(Image credit: Dualit)

The best toaster will get more use than almost any other appliance in your kitchen. Our top 12 toasters come from top kitchen brands like KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Dualit, Smeg, Breville, and Café. 

If all you want is something to deliver consistently toasted slices of bread, any one of these top picks will be suitable for you, but there are many different factors to consider before making your choice. For a start, if you like to eat a lot of bagels, it's worth opting for the best toaster with a bagel mode to give you that chewy outside and crisp inside every morning. 

Different households will have a preference between two-slice and four-slice toasters. If you live alone or with a partner or roommate, you may as well go for a two-slice toaster, as it will meet your daily needs without taking too much space. Larger households or those with generous kitchens should opt for a four-slice toaster, as it will toast two slices at two different settings, simultaneously. Of course, for any more than four slices at one time we also have a guide to the best toaster ovens, but for that classic toaster design to make your kitchen counters look complete, these are our top 12. 

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.

Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

3. 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.

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. 

Dualit 4 Slice Newgen Toaster

(Image credit: Dualit)

5. 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)

6. 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 CPT-435 4 slice toaster

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

7. 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)

8. 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)

9. 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)

10. 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.

Cuisinart The Bakery Artisan Bread 2 Slice Toaster

(Image credit: Cusinart)

11. Cuisinart The Bakery Artisan Bread 2 Slice Toaster

Best toaster for artisan bread

Specifications
Dimensions: 13.5 x 6 x 8.25 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
-Bulkier than most two-slice toasters

Artisan breads come in all different sizes, and slices of bread can even vary in size depending on where in the loaf they were cut from. The Cuisinart The Bakery Artisan Bread 2 Slice Toaster is designed to accommodate everything with its long and wide slots built for chunky homemade or artisan loaves.

Why we love it

While this is convenient for artisan bread, the big slots make this two-slice toaster considerably bigger than a regular two-slice mode. If space is at a premium, you may want to look elsewhere. 

Features

Rather than using a dial, the toaster has a chunky slider on the front that lets you choose the toasting level. It’s a clever move, as it’s more obvious which setting you’re using and different artisan breads require different toasting times. As a result, you’ll likely adjust the toasting setting a lot. You also get the standard defrost, reheat and bagel settings that most other toasters have.

Once you get the setting right, this toaster produces excellent toast across a wide range of breads. It’s not going to be for everyone, but if you home bake or buy bread from proper bakeries, this is the toaster for you.

KitchenAid 4-Slice Wide Slot Toaster

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

12. 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 has been with the Homes and Gardens team since early 2021, bringing with her a love of cooking appliances and al fresco entertaining. She writes about stand mixers, blenders, and other small appliances, and loves putting barbecues and pizza ovens to the test. Millie thinks that the kitchen is the most important room in any home, but then, she is very biased.