Looking for a reliable toaster
April 23, 2010 8:25 AM   Subscribe

looking for a toaster

i currently own this black & decker 2 slice toaster. it worked well for about 1.5yrs, but now it's unusable. the bottom left piece of toast always burns, while the right side hardly toasts at all.

My dream toaster:
* accommodates bagels
* toasts evenly
* modern look
* lasts forever
* less than $100 (the less the better)
* not a toaster oven
posted by askmehow to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have an older one of those and it has lasted nearly forever. But only because I have glued it back together a thousand times.

Check out "America's Test Kitchen" and see if they have done reviews- they seem quite thorough with stuff like that.

The few Kitchen Aid appliances I have seem to be a good balance of sturdiness and price.

(Note to self: invent toaster with optical sensor.)
posted by gjc at 8:32 AM on April 23, 2010

Get a 2nd hand Dualit toaster or a new 2 slice Dualit toaster (the Williams Sonoma).

They can do everything you want apart from "modern look" - and even then I think the stainless steel finish is not exactly dated.

I've had mine for 12 years and it still works perfectly. If the elements go, you can buy replacements from the manufacturer so you don't have to throw the appliance away.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:32 AM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

+1 for the Dualit. This toaster changed my life. Really. I thought all toasters were the same; they're not.

Dualit wins. Hard.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:54 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

This probably isn't at all helpful for you for a variety of reasons but I have to drop it in as a data point. I hardly ever have bread products to toast, but I was just gifted with a loaf of Boudin's Sourdough. I don't own a toaster. I love toasted sourdough. I pop a couple slices on a baking sheet and flip the over to 375 and a few minutes later I have perfectly toasted bread. As long as I have a gas range I'll never buy another toaster.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:54 AM on April 23, 2010

Also, whatever you buy, avoid toasters with the unholy "cancel" button. Seriously, what's up with that?
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:55 AM on April 23, 2010

We recently got a Breville toaster like this one and it is the best toaster I have ever used. It is over your budget but you may be able to find one used or on sale.
posted by TedW at 9:27 AM on April 23, 2010

We've been using a $30 T-Fal Avante for about three years, and it works nicely. It has a bagel mode, the dial adjuster does actually seem like it's connected to the timer, and the ejector pops the bread out nicely. It has a 'stop' button which ends the toasting process, and I've never had a problem with it. Why the hate, jeffamaphone?
posted by workerant at 10:56 AM on April 23, 2010

The Cuisinart CPT-120 Cool Touch 2-slice toaster (what a mouthful!) is great. Would fit a bagel, though not one of those head-sized atrocities that have begun to take over the world.

Best part? Under $30.
posted by charmcityblues at 11:13 AM on April 23, 2010

According to Cook's Illustrated, their top toaster pick from their "Best Small Appliances" article (Nov 2009) was the Michael Graves Design Hamilton Beach 4-Slice Toaster. Looks like it's sold out/unavailable on Amazon and Target, but I'm sure you could find it somewhere. Seems to meet all your criteria.

Honorable mentions include the Kenmore 4-Slice Toaster (Model 81004) and the OSTER INSPIRE 4-SLICE BRUSHED STAINLESS STEEL TOASTER (Model 6330)

Happy toasting!
posted by AAAAAThatsFiveAs at 12:06 PM on April 23, 2010

The ideal toaster is one that has a single button: go—and pushing it makes the perfect toast.

People generally want things that look complicated because they think they get more for their money if stuff has lots of buttons and levers. But they're wrong.

All toasters made prior to the invention of the cancel button automatically stopped when you pushed up on the lever that you push down to start the operation. Toasters with stop buttons require you to figure out which of three or four (or more) buttons is correct to push when smoke starts coming out. When there is smoke in the kitchen, I don't have time for buttons. I want to just eject the thing that is on fire.

No, cancel buttons on toasters are an added needless complexity and total UI design-fail. That's what's so great about the Dualit: it's UI is minimal and it accomplishes all the same things toasters with lots of buttons do.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:14 PM on April 23, 2010

Also recommending the Cuisinart CP-120. This is not a toaster that I personally own, but one that is in the office break room. Seems to be holding up to a lot of use, and it is very cheap.
posted by belau at 4:36 PM on April 23, 2010

Get a 2nd hand Dualit toaster or a new 2 slice Dualit toaster (the Williams Sonoma).
I've had mine for 12 years and it still works perfectly. If the elements go, you can buy replacements from the manufacturer so you don't have to throw the appliance away.

When I was in college, the kitchen in my first-year dorm (shared between about 12 people) had a Dualit 4-slice toaster. The model we had costs about $300 on Amazon. Over the course of 10 months, I would estimate 5 replacement elements had to be fitted.

It had a durable feel about it, but I was unimpressed by its actual reliability.
posted by Mike1024 at 4:56 PM on April 23, 2010

I bought the Bodum Bistro toaster last year, and love it. It meets all of your criteria (except "lasts forever", but so far so good), and is very intuitive to use. We use it at least twice a day, often much more. (I really love toast.)

Crate and Barrel says it's their exclusive, but it also seems to be on Amazon.
posted by Messily at 9:08 AM on May 12, 2010

Have you considered the toaster oven? I have a Black & Decker toaster oven that is going strong after 13 years (wow). I feel like pop-up toasters always have problems though clearly people have some favorites. The toaster oven can do a lot more stuff and takes up only a little more space, though some toasters seem just as large.
posted by amanda at 2:36 PM on May 12, 2010

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