The toaster has made our way into our homes in 1893 and has since then been a delicious part or our lives. Before it was invented we had to place manually toast our bread over a fire or grill with metal frames or toasting forks. Toasters continued to develop over the years. The first successfully commercial electric toaster was not made available until 1909 by General Electric. Before today’s toasters we had to flip the bread by hand just to toast both sides. It was not until 1913 when toasters were able to toast both sides of the bread on its own and in 1919 when the automatic pop-up was invented. In 1925, toasters were now able to brown bread on both sides simultaneously, set the heating element on a timer, and eject the toast when finished.
Toasting technology evolved further after the 1940s. They featured lowering and raising of the toast automatically — you can simply drop your slice of bread and the machine will work its magic. A few additions were made that included wider slots for bagels and thick breads, the ability to toast frozen breads, and an option to heat a single side or slot of the machine. Most toasters were not limited to toasting bread as it can also toast teacakes, Pop Tarts, potato waffles and crumpets.
Today’s toasters are either one of three varieties: pop-up toasters, toaster ovens, and conveyor belt toasters. Consumers can typically choose toasters for their intended use. Pop-up toasters are a better fit for making evenly-toasted toast than toaster ovens, but toaster ovens can bake and broil while the pop-up can’t. Conveyor belt toasters toast in quick and large quantities which are used in restaurants or catering services. You can check out great deals on toasters over at Amazon.
The ideal toaster should be able to provide even toasting and do this throughout its lifetime. The machine should be able to process different kinds of bread (bagels and muffins for example). You should be able to choose how brown your toast is. It should be easy to handle, easy to clean crumbs (must have crumb tray), viable cord placement/functionality. You can opt to toast one side or one slot. Wide and deep slots are very helpful. Must have safety features (an example would be an auto-off feature). Lift features are a bonus.
Toaster Buyers Guide
A toaster is one of the most frequently used countertop appliances. From crisping bread to making tuna melts, you’ll find that a toaster is something that will get a lot of use in your kitchen. Whether you are setting out to replace an old toaster or you are just getting your very first one, you might be overwhelmed when you start shopping. There are so many different types of toasters on the market that trying to choose the one that best meets your needs can be a bit confusing.
In order to help you through the process, here’s a look at some valuable information that will make choosing the right toaster for your needs a much simpler process.
Types of Toasters
There are several different types of toasters on the market. From small, basic toasters to larger and more elaborate toaster ovens, there is literally a type of toaster available to suit everyone’s needs.
Here’s a rundown on the different types of toasters that are available.
- The Basic toaster. In the most basic form, a toaster is a countertop appliance that has slots that are designed to hold bread, bagels, English muffins (you get the idea). Once the item you want to toast is inserted into the toaster, all you have to do is select how toasted you want your item to be, push down the lever and within a few minutes, your toasted item will pop up.
Now, there are a few different features that a basic toaster can have. It can have two, four, six or even eight slots to hold the items you want to toast. It can also have wider slots to accommodate larger items, like big bagels. They can also have different toasting options.
The toaster oven. A toaster oven is very much like a traditional oven, only smaller. It has a door that opens and a rack that you can place your items on to cook. You can either place your food directly onto the rack, or you can place them on a pan and place the pan on top of the rack. Toaster ovens are great for cooking things like tuna melts, English muffin pizzas and even small servings of French fries. In fact, a toaster oven can be used to cook pretty much anything that you would bake in a regular oven, only in a smaller quantity.
Like the traditional toaster, toaster ovens can have a variety of features. Of course, there are different sizes, some have a two or more racks, and there are also different types of settings available.
- The conveyor toaster. If you are going to be toasting a lot of items at once, you might want to consider a conveyor toaster. As the name suggests, the food is placed directly onto a conveyor belt, which then passes the food through the heating element. Conveyor toasters come in several different sizes. However, while these toasters are great for toasting several items at once, they don’t really do much else.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Toaster
So, there are definitely some considerations you are going to want to make when you purchase a toaster. With so many different options, you might find yourself feeling a little confused when you set out to buy your toaster. By making the following considerations, you’ll be able to find the toaster that will best suit your needs.
The type of toaster. Obviously, the first consideration you are going to want to make is the type of toaster. If you are going to just be toasting bread, then a traditional toaster oven will probably work for you. If you want to make several different food items, you will probably do better with a toaster oven.
The size of the toaster matters. You are also going to want to consider the size of the toaster. When choosing the size, think about how much space you have to accommodate the toaster. If you are limited on space, obviously you’ll want to choose one that can fit into the space you have available. You are also going to want to think about how much you are going to want to toast, as this will help you select the right sized toaster for your needs.
The features. If you just want to brown some bread, you’ll do fine with a toaster that has a basic temperature control. The lower you set the control, the less toasted your bread will be and the higher you set the control, the more toasted your bread will be. If you are going to be toasting bigger items, like Texas toast or garlic bread, you should consider a toaster that has wide slots to accommodate these larger items.
The materials. You should also consider the materials the toaster is made out of. Though this won’t have any impact on the function of the toaster, it will have an impact on your kitchen. You don’t want to have a toaster that will stick out like a sore thumb (unless that is cool with you.) So, if you have a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances, a stainless steel toaster will be a great choice for you. If your kitchen is more country, you might want to pick one that is white.
Crumb catcher. There’s no doubt about it, you are going to encounter crumbs when you use a toaster. In order to collect these crumbs, toasters are designed with crumb catchers. You want to make sure that the crumb catcher is easy to access so that you can easily clean it out when needed. And remember, cleaning out the crumb catcher is extremely important. If you let too many crumbs accumulate, you could potentially create a hazardous situation.
The price. Of course, the price of the toaster is another important factor that you are going to want to take into consideration. These appliances can range in price from under $20 to a over $100. When you are buying a new toaster, you want to make sure that you know how much you can comfortably afford to spend. And, of course, if your budget allows you to spend more, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should spend more. There’s really no need to buy an expensive toaster if you aren’t going to use all of the features. Doing so is just a waste of money.
With the information presented in this buyers guide, you should be able to find a toaster that meets your specific needs and one that you will be able to enjoy using for years to come. Now, go ahead and enjoy making your toast, your tuna melts and whatever else it is that you want to make in your toaster.
- Sleek and gently curved sides
- Chrome buttons
- LED indicators
- Die-cast, brushed metal body
- Five browning settings
- Two extra-long slots
- Easy topside cleaning
- One touch lift and look carriage
- One touch ‘A Bit More’ that allows you to add a little extra time to the toasting
- Motorized carriage with push button controls
- Bagel setting and Frozen setting
- Audible alert
- Auto-off feature
- Heat resistant, heavy-die cast plastic housing
- Priced at $179.95
For $179 you get a toaster that has a sleek design with gently curved sides and die-cast, brushed metal body that is heat resistant. The chrome buttons are placed neatly at the surface coupled with LED indicators that lets you know how your toast is progressing. Although called a four-slice toaster, it actually offers just two extra-long slots that can toast 4 slices of regular bread or two long slices, perfect for those outdoor sandwich rolls. This machine can toast both ordinary and specialty sliced breads with five browning settings, a cancel button and bagel setting. It also has a one touch lift and look carriage that automatically moves up and down showing the browning process without interrupting the toasting cycle. With the auto-off feature, you won’t have to worry about forgetting to unplug it.
- Black and Chrome Color
- Angled Front
- Clear and Uncluttered controls
- Carrying Handle
- Six browning settings
- Cancel function
- Bagel function
- Stays cool to the touch even when in use
- Browning settings enables a precise and adjustable browning control
- Bagel function that toasts the outside and gently warms the inside
- Slanted design
- High lift lever
- Built in crumb-door for easy cleaning
- Priced at $123.00
The T-Fal has black and chrome color. Its angled front is complemented with the chrome highlights giving it a retro look. The controls are clear and uncluttered and have a carrying handle on its back that was molded into the body. It has a choice of six browning settings and a cancel function, which is very useful in cases you don’t want your toast too dark. The bagel function keeps the inside of the bread warm and the outside crisp. It does not heat up fast that allows perfect toasting on both sides. The whole toaster stays cool to the touch even when in use. The T-Fal has 6 different browning settings enables a precise and adjustable browning control, a Bagel function that toasts the outside and gently warms the inside – the way a bagel should be toasted. You can effortlessly view the bread while toasting due to its slanted design which comes in handy when you are toasting different kinds of bread. You can safely remove the toast with a high lift lever and a built in crumb-door for easy cleaning.
- Stainless steel exterior
- Blue LED indicating the heat settings and cooking time
- Modern Look
- Seven browning options
- Bagel function
- Two independent heat zones
- Darkest setting for toast only takes two and a half minutes
- Does not get too hot when in use
- Seven browning settings and self-adjusting slots
- Separate controls defrost waffles before toasting
- Reheat toast without more browning
- Reduce heat on uncut side of bagels
- LCD countdown toasting-time bar
- Pushup feature
- Priced at $79.00
Cuisinart comes in a classy, stainless steel exterior with blue LED indicating the heat settings and cooking time. It has a modern look and an appeal that would not lose to KRUPS and will look nice on your countertop. It has seven browning options, a separate bagel setting, and two independent heat zones as well as five inches of slot space for added flexibility. Separate controls defrost waffles before toasting, reheat toast without more browning and reduce heat on uncut side of bagels. Seven browning settings and self-adjusting slots mean thick and thin slices are toasted as desired. The LCD countdown toasting-time bar display makes it easy to keep track. The pushup feature allows you to remove smaller items. The darkest setting for toast only takes two and a half minutes. You can use the bagel option on English muffins which makes the inside crunchy but the outside soft.
- Brush and Chrome stainless steel housing
- Outer body made of real metal
- Larger Size
- Six browning settings
- Cancel function
- Bagel function
- 4-slice model
- Can program each pair of slots independently
- Crumb tray easily slides out
- “Defrost” function
- Reheat function
- High-lift lever
- Two crumb trays
- Built-in cord storage that means less clutter
- Priced at $69.48
KRUPS has a brush and chrome stainless steel housing. You would probably mistake this for a commercial toaster due to its larger size compared to the other four. It is a 4-slice model with six browning settings and a separate bagel function and like the T-fal has a cancel option to prevent the bread from burning. You can program each pair of the slots independently. You can toast your bagel on one pair and the bread on the other. It can hold a bagel with room to spare. It has a “defrost” function, a reheat function, a high-lift lever for toast removal, two crumb trays (because it’s a four-slice toaster), and built-in cord storage that means less clutter for you counter top and more safe. With separate heating zones, it can toast a bagel to perfection on one side and two slices of whole-grain bread on the other.
- Purple color(Grey available)
- Smooth curves and friendly look
- Easy to read controls
- Seven browning settings
- Bagel function
- Advanced toasting technology and settings
- Setting for frozen bread
- Warm/reheat function
- Removable crumb tray
- Anti-jam feature that automatically shuts the machine off if it fails to eject at the end of a cooking sequence
- Priced at $30.00
Oster has a funky purple color that is also available in gray with smooth curves giving it a friendly look which is reminiscent of a Volkswagen Beetle. The controls are easy to read and the metallic sheen of its body is a picture of high quality. It has seven browning settings and also has a bagel option like the T-Fal and slightly larger. It has thicker bagel openings unlike others. The Oster has advanced toasting technology and settings provide consistent results every time which results in a perfect texture and shade of toast, bagel, waffle or English muffin. The Oster features a setting for frozen bread in addition to the warm/reheat function. It has a cool-touch outer body, a removable crumb tray, and an anti-jam feature that automatically shuts the machine off if it fails to eject at the end of a cooking sequence.
You can view the best deals for these products on Amazon.