The Best Toasters of 2012

What makes a toaster efficient? Read through reviews of popular toasters, and you’ll see that many people seem to care more about the bells and whistles — automatic lowering of bread, pleasant dings when toasting is complete, and the like — than anything else.

But for this list, I focused on three main things: relatively even toasting of bread, ease of use, and potential for long-term use. Hope you find it helpful:

Krups 2-Slice or 4-Slice Toaster

krups-2-slice-toaster

These Krups toasters’ unique efficient feature is its built-in warming rack. As a Slate review points out, “the top of the toaster is slightly concave, so that you can rest rolls or sandwiches on it.”

Toaster Review named Krups 2-Slice Toaster the “Best Toaster Overall” because its many settings give the user a lot of control. Other useful features include a bread lift, a dishwasher-safe crumb tray, and a sleek, partly stainless-steel exterior.

For those with small kitchens though, the toaster’s large size might be a deal breaker: The 2-slice toaster’s 8 x 11 x 7.5 inches and weights 5 pounds, while the 4-slice toaster weighs a hefty 11 pounds. Users also note that this toaster’s slower than some others — and Slate’s reviewer found the control panel too confusing: “It’s not nuclear physics, but I did have to consult the manual.” At Amazon, the Krups 2-Slice Toaster costs $59.99.

KitchenAid KMTT200 2-Slice Toaster

kitchenaid-kmtt200-toaster

If you usually toast just one slice of bread at a time, this KitchenAid toaster’s your best bet. Because heat radiates from empty toaster slots, a single slice in most toasters will brown more on one side than the other. But the opposite happens with KitchenAid KMTT200, according to Fine Cooking: Single slice toasting delivers perfect results, while two slice toasting yields uneven sides.

I especially like that the KitchenAid toaster comes in an all-stainless steel housing option, though red, blue, and black (above) plastic siding options are also available. Like the Krups, KitchenAid has a bread lift and a dishwasher-safe crumb tray — and is similarly bulky, weighing in at 5 pounds. Get it at Amazon for $69.99.

DeLonghi DTT900 Esclusivo or DTT980 Esclusivo

delonghi-dtt900-esclusivo

Love bells and whistles? Go with the DeLonghi Esclusivo (DTT900′s the 2-slice version, DTT980 the 4-slice), a toaster that gets rave reviews for its many cool features. Most notably, the DeLonghi raises and lowers toast automatically, a feature that won Slate’s reviewer over: “If your temperature control has already been set, it’s possible to make toast without ever touching the toaster. It’s magic, I tell you.” The alert chime that signals when toast is ready also had reviewers raving about this machine. And Fine Cooking notes that toast rises well above the slots, rendering a bread lift unnecessary.

However, bells and whistles can break — as some the reviews on Amazon point out — and unique features are tough to fix. And Toaster Review found that the slots, while extra-wide, “still seem inadequate for bigger and longer bagels and rolls.”

Still, I do like the toaster’s rounded edges and sleek design. On a more practical level, the DeLonghi has an efficient crumb tray. The entire bottom of the toaster can be removed to dump out the crumbs.  Amazon sells the DTT900 for $79.95.

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Last but not least: The most efficient toaster of all may be the toaster you already have. If you’re reading this post because you recently broke your toaster, you might want to save yourself a few bucks and try your hand at fixing it first. Here’s a short guide on eHow for fixing small problems, and a longer guide with a complicated diagram if you really want to get into it. Down with planned obsolescence!

Comments

  1. says

    Great info. I like toast, but do you know how much energy that need? I guess not. Tried to find power consumption of all toasters, but didn’t find that on products sites.

    Still not usual to give that information. Power consumption of most toasters is smething between 1500 Watt up to 2500 Watt. It is hard to find correct information on household products like these:

    http://www.stichtingmilieunet.nl/andersbekekenblog/?p=5201

    So, may i suggest that the next time you focus on four things, including power consumption. Thanks.

  2. says

    Waaaay back in high school we had a science teacher who tried to patent a design mod to the standard toaster. It was really just a simple curved cap that would prevent the heat from rising out of the top of the toaster so that the heating elements didn’t have to keep re-heating air pulling in from the bottom. Made the heating elements last longer and toasted in much less time. (and used less energy, but nobody cared about that back then)

    Turns out GE holds that patent already but has never produced it. Presumably because a longer-lasting toaster is counter productive to their goals.

    But really, the design of a standard toaster is more of a space-heater than a toaster. Why would you want a wide open gap at the top to let out all the heat?

  3. John B says

    Since i’ll never figure out how to sell it myself; I may as well give away my idea:

    I simply put a metal lid over the top of the toaster; ideally, I’ll put a hinge and a little push rod connected to the mechanism– then use it backwards; where putting down the lid pushes down the mechanism and it popping up also lifts the lid. I’ve not even bothered to insulate my toaster and it works great as is.

    The results of just covering the lid? it toasts twice as fast; half the energy. If insulated it would do even better (I have that figured out as well.) Some day I’ll get to making my own unless somebody can beat me to it; not hard to make a green toaster that saves power but nobody has come close. Its not profitable to make a toaster with user replaceable parts so they do not… there is no reason the heating elements can’t be on easily removable cards– they are on cards already… I suspect the material used in those cards is not green…

  4. Aaron says

    I’m trying to debate this stuff… we’ve only ever used toaster ovens, never regular toasters. We have an old, small, Black & Decker toaster oven, and it is not great. Is it really worth it to have both a toaster oven and a toaster? The oven seems so much more flexible and useful. But I’m hesitant to buy the much larger toaster ovens they sell today and use it often for just toast. I don’t like the idea of having both, and the kitchen is small… are regular toasters really much more efficient than toaster ovens? What should I do?

  5. says

    Just had my dad (who got a new meter for xmas) run his toaster through the meter to see power consumption. His is a 4 slot toaster and not a particular “energy saver” or anything. Just a regular toaster. 810 watts for 2 pieces of toast. (almost exactly double that for 4).

  6. marinus says

    I thought Erik was a little too kind. You run a website touting metaefficiency and compare toasters without even mentioning power use/efficiency!? Doh! A few more roundups like that and i’ll be heading for the exit….

  7. Nate says

    I know from personal experience that the Hamilton Beach 22708 Toastation Toaster is an awful device. The convenience of having a pop-up toaster and a toaster oven is dwarfed by the fact that it’s awful at both. The toaster oven delivers uneven heat, and even worst *it has no timer*. You can set the temperature, and that’s it. As for the pop-up toaster, it has too much clearance around the wires. Anything smaller than a regular slice of bread falls down into the oven portion, burning it on the way down.

    I got it for free second-hand, and it wasn’t worth it.

  8. Ian says

    I’ll second Christiaan’s comments actually, as nowhere were the superb ‘Dualit‘ British-built and made toasters mentioned. As as has been said, the parts are replaceable, and they have extremely well-made, solid components (similar to Kitchen Aid products in many ways) and have remained the same quality and design for decades. Hence they have a strong following as they are fashionably ‘retro’ now (not that fashion should dictate choices for the practically-minded, but it does at least then appeal to a wider audience).
    In a nutshell, these toasters are stainless and alloy and totally manual! No automatic features at all, but different add-ons like warming racks & sandwich holders.
    Lastly, for those wishing to reduce power consumption, these toasters have dial-controlled slot heating selection: 1-, 2- or 4-slot heating options, so if you’re only wanting 1 or 2 slices, then you don’t need all slots powered. How sensible, basic and utterly simple!

  9. Whymars says

    I believe in Denmark the vertical style of toaster in unheard of, and all toasters are horizontal, more like grills. I wonder if they have a lower energy spend per slice than the rest of us.

  10. john goldman says

    I don’t know how long ago you were in high school, but the maximum amount of time a patent can exist for is 20 years. After which time it enters the public domain and anyone can produce a product using the technique or technology.

    If my assumption that this patent has expired or is an urban legend, its lack of widespread use is most likely the result of market forces (people prefer toasters that are open) or ineffectiveness.

    If keeping the heat in makes it more efficient energy or appliance waste wise, why not use a toaster oven which is closed and can be used to toast bread or heat other foods.

  11. says

    There is already a toaster on the market that has automatically closing upper louvers and thereby gains considerable energy efficiency over traditional toasters (see Energy efficient toaster for a discussion). I tested the theory myself by covering my own cheap toaster for one slice of toast and found it toasted considerably faster than another slice toasted without a cover. Unfortunately the ‘energy efficient’ toaster in question has a vampire load of 2 watts continuously so it will burn far more plugged in all year than it will save by being more efficient.

    Really, this discussion of how energy efficient a toaster can be is kind of missing the point. Say a toaster uses 1,000 watts and you toast an average of four slices of bread a day in it – for about 90 seconds for each two slices. That’s a total of 3 minutes at 1,000 watts, which is the same as 1/20th of a kilowatt hour, or 0.05 kwh. Over a year that ads up to 18.3 kilowatt hours.

    Meanwhile, a typical house in Ontario, where I’m from, uses 35 kilowatt hours a DAY, while we’ve cut our use down to about 8 kilowatt hours (less than a quarter the average). We didn’t do it by buying an energy efficient toaster, that’s for sure!

  12. says

    What a puff piece. Not a word about power draw or even a measurement. Nor a mention of where the units are actually made. This review is sadly inadequate.

    And standby (vampire) power is an issue not to be overlooked, and an unforgiveable sin for something as simple as a toaster.

    Because if your toaster draws 1 watt of standby power, over a year it probably uses more power when it’s “off” than if you toast 2 slices of bread every day.

  13. Josh says

    Oh, you silly fruitcakes with your silly useless comments. Get a Dualit toaster – Though it’ll set you back a few hundred dollars, it’ll be the last toaster you’ll ever buy and it looks purdy too. Screw Eco friendly. Hey, hey, hey!

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