Breakfast is a must-have meal for most people. Many people admit that the quality and even quantity of their first meal from bed has a huge influence on their day ahead.
While breakfast can be pretty any kind of food you love, one of the popular and standard breakfasts means toast accompanied by some great coffee and eggs.
If toast is your go-to meal in the morning or any time of the day, then owning a decent toaster is something you would likely never question.
It is simply one of the most important appliances in any functional kitchen.
But the question is: which toaster would be perfect for you?
Eight Manufactured Home Toaster Shopping Factors
There are numerous types and sizes of toasters in your favorite store, with a price tag range that varies considerably between models.
Although the appliance is a simple one at the base, navigating the different types and models of toasters from different brands can be complicated.
That’s why we have prepared a list of factors to consider if you want to choose the toaster that works for you.
Bear in mind these factors:
- Cost v/s Budget
- Must-have functions & standard features
- Style – does it synch with your style?
- Ease of cleaning
There are two types of toasters out there:
- pop-up toaster
- countertop toaster.
This is the most common type of toaster at home and restaurants.
Pop-up toasters normally come in 4-slice and 2-slice varieties and serve no other purpose besides toasting.
Some of them will work well if you stick with the standard size bread, while others feature wider slots that let you toast different sizes of slices and even accommodate other unique pastries, like Texas toast or bagels.
They are affordable, commonplace, and easy to use. The fact that they are designed specifically for toasting means the whole toasting process is simpler.
- Designed solely for toasting
- Easy to use
- With pop-up toasters, you can only prepare 2 or 4 slices at ago, depending on the specific model you choose.
- Can only be useful for toasting food items that fit into designated slots, you can’t use them for any other type of cooking
This class of toasters consists of large microwave-like units (often referred to as toasters ovens) designed to make toast plus a few other types of cooking.
The likeliest reason why you would go for this kind of toasters is to replace or supplement your standard oven, which takes far more time to cook your food and consumes more electricity.
While you can easily find a four-slice countertop toaster oven that is compact enough to occupy less space on the counter, you can as well find larger models designed to toast six to nine slices at the same time.
If you have a large family at home or you have an appetite for toast, a countertop unit would be just the right choice to meet your needs as it can prepare enough toast for an entire family in one sweep.
Typically, countertop ovens come with a higher price tag than their pop-up counterparts.
That’s partly because they complete other types of cooking besides toasting.
It is not uncommon for an average countertop toast oven to handle more complicated cooking tasks that only a standalone oven would do, such as making pizzas and baking cookies.
Others feature the cherished rotisserie function.
So, if you looking for a simple unit that can simply make toast and nothing else, this class of toaster would be probably an overkill for you.
But if you are out for something that can accomplish many of the cooking jobs you would turn to a conventional oven for, this toaster can be a smart buy.
- Comes in both compact and large sizes
- Have multiple uses beyond toasting
- They are not-so-simple in design.
- Countertop toaster ovens are expensive compared to pop-up toasters
You never really get to know the quality of any product before you purchase it.
However, you can have a clearer picture of the product based on the brand’s reputation, whether online or with your friends and relatives.
Customer reviews can tell you a lot about the reputation of a brand and everything else you need to know about its products.
If customers think that toasters from a certain brand are prone to malfunctions, you’d have second thoughts about that product and even opt for another brand.
We gleaned through online reviews and many buyers seem to rate these toaster brands more favorably:
Panasonic is one of the most recognizable makers of toaster ovens and pop-up toasters.
They are reviewed favorably both on Amazon and other dedicated online review sites.
While all of Panasonic’s products are good performers, the brand is the safest bet if you are looking for a pop-up model rather than a countertop toaster.
Black & Decker
Black & Decker is one of the leaders in this market segment for a reason.
They make quality products that can be easily obtained from a range of retailers nationally, including Amazon.com
- and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Their models often come with not-so-common features, including the frozen pastry 1-touch function button.
This upscale Australian brand is a major supplier of small appliances that have been engineered towards performance.
Most Breville toaster ovens feature the 1-touch A Bit More lever/button for crisping, a defrost function, and a motorized Lift n’ Look control button.
Cuisinart is a small but popular brand that is on the expensive alley of small appliances.
You can find their toaster ovens in specialty channels and department stores.
Cuisinart toasters typically feature a sleek brushed stainless steel body and are equipped with reheat and defrost features alongside LED indicators.
Famous for their large appliances and mixers, KitchenAid makes some of the best toaster ovens and toasters in this market segment.
Their products are common in national chains, department stores, specialty stores, and appliance retailers.
Oster toaster ovens and toasters are value-priced, often starting at $20 all the way to $100.
Practical features like the cool touch function and auto-shutoff can be found on their products.
- Warehouse clubs
- and Walmart.
Hamilton Beach is among the market-share leaders in this segment. Styles vary from the contemporary electric models to classic-styled models with retro looks.
Hamilton Beach products are widely available at
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- department stores
- specialty stores
- and regional outlets.
Even the simplest toaster in the store should feature basic settings that let you decide between dark, medium, or light toast.
For most of us, this is the single most important settings on a toaster, but there are more sophisticated models with a variety of advanced setting options.
Some pop-up toasters feature the bagel option which you can use to brown one side more than the other.
Do you often freeze your toast?
Go for a toaster with a defrost button – you will be able to make frozen waffles fast enough to save some minutes in your morning routine.
If you have a big family in which everyone likes to darken their toast a bit differently, buy a toaster with a Toast Shade function which lets you vary the degree of the scotch from very dark.
4. Cost v/s Budget
The price tag of an average pop-up toaster falls somewhere in the range of $20 and $100. The brand, model, and onboard features can influence the price.
Plenty of other factors have a say in the difference in prices. you can find a pop-up toaster – a very simple model with very limited features onboard – that completes the task as you want, but won’t last long because it is made of cheap materials.
On the other hand, you can find a decent model with a lot of different settings options and features that other buyers may appreciate, but you don’t need them.
As it’s the case with pretty anything else, most buyers want to find a product in the middle –a toaster that can last reasonably longer, toasts perfectly, and has the right combination of features they really need.
Once you have made up your mind about the kind of product you want, with which features, it would be prudent for you to prepare a budget.
A budget helps you consider other complementary items you’d need alongside the toaster oven.
It also helps you set aside the amount of money you’d be willing to splash on even the most advanced product in the store.
5. Must-have functions and standard features
The exact way you’d check whether a car has a manual or automatic transmission and whether it has a back camera before you buy it, you want to ensure the toaster is equipped with the features you cherish.
The best toaster is defined by standard features and settings you don’t want to miss. Ensure the product has these functions and settings before putting it the cart:
We said this earlier: not everyone in your family wants their toast the same shade as yours. You too may want to switch shades as you wish.
These are the reasons why you need to go for a unit with shade settings. These settings often represent the total minutes the toaster should run before popping the toast.
Variable width slots
Some toasters can accommodate different widths of slices. Your toaster of choice better fit thick and thick slices so that you don’t end up being limited to one size of toast.
This feature lets the toaster push the cooked toast higher than they normally pop. This allows you to pick them up without burning your hands.
More and more toasters are starting to come with removable crumb trays often concealed around the bottom of the unit.
The job of this tray is to catch all of the broken crumbs that fall off as you toast. When cleaning your toaster, always start by pulling out the tray and emptying the waste crumbs in the trash bin.
These settings should be on even the simplest toaster you could choose:
With the defrost setting on, you can add your bread to the toaster straight from the cold box.
The toaster will defrost the slices and toast them as you wish.
It will defrost the slices first, then switch immediately to the correct toasting cycle. Most of the toasters you will find in the store have this setting.
This setting lets the toaster warm up the slices which have cooled, without browning them any further.
Additional toasting functions
A big part of the toasters you will find in the store feature alternative programs that perform tasks other than heating the bread.
This ranges from fruit loaf setting to bagel setting, and even crumpet setting.
This differs from your traditional toasting in that they are designed to work for the specific slices in the toaster.
For instance, crumpets and bagels are normally toasted on one side only.
Other things to look for:
Some toasters are equipped with metal racks on top and let you warm such items as rolls or croissants
Other models come with a sandwich rack for clamping and toasting your sandwich.
Products that come with accessories like these normally accompany them with specific settings for each accessory.
A Little Longer/A Bit More
The name of this feature depends on the brand brands, but if you spot a function named “a little longer” or “a bit more” or something like that, it will allow you to toast the bread a little longer if it is not to your usual taste after popping out.
This function will lower the toast back into your toaster and let it stay warm until you are ready for it – newer models do it automatically.
Have you ever wished you could peep in the toaster to see the progress?
This function lets you do just that! You can activate it and check whether the toast is up to your standards instead of waiting for it to pop out and turning it back.
Note that this function will pause the toasting process as you press the lever. The process will resume when you release the lever.
While this type of toasters may look glamorous, bear in mind that they are high maintenance and still easy to keep clean.
The glass exterior will need regular polishing.
The interior can get messy a bit quickly as crumbs dust pile up.
Some of us are addicted to checking the progress of everything on a tiny LCD.
Some toasters do come with displays.
Digital displays are important if you want to know the duration you need to go down with the countdown timer.
6. Style – does it synch with your style?
Consider the décor in your kitchen.
Also, what’s your favorite finish or color? You want a toaster with looks and design that syncs with your taste and style.
Fortunately, most of the toasters sold today come in all imaginable colors, shapes, and sizes.
Because it will be one of the most integral appliances in your kitchen occupying a big part of your countertop most of the time, you may want to opt for a model that flows flawlessly with the design and style of your kitchen —or apartment or house as a whole.
Since they come in a range of sizes and finishes, you will likely find a unit that fits the tiniest nook in your cooking area or can be displayed proudly atop your counter.
As you would expect from a kitchen appliance, default exterior finishes exterior are chrome, brushed metal, and copper, but the color range is very wide.
Some of them even feature clear sides with no specific color so that you focus on toasting your bread.
The wattage of the toaster is directly proportional to its power – higher wattage translates to greater power and also the faster the speed the bread will turn into tasty toast.
However, it is always not just an issue of speed. Low wattage toasters tend to produce inferior, chewier, and less crunchy toast – you don’t want to go down that line.
Instead, look for something rated at about 1000-W or higher for a 2-slice toaster and 1800-W or higher for a 4-slice machine. Yes, it does go with the number of slices!
8. Ease of cleaning
Toasters aren’t the easiest appliances to clean.
If you don’t consider this factor when shopping for one, you are more likely to end up with one of those toasters that look great on the counter but shows every fingerprint and scratch inflicted on them.
Ever realized that fingerprints don’t come off easily on some toasters?
You’d need to perform some good scrubbing with soapy water.
Here’s our advice: confirm that the unit of your liking can be easily wiped clean to sparkle as new.
One with a crumb tray would be great. The crumb tray should be easy to pull out and clean too.
In a nutshell
Don’t go for just any toaster, consider the type, brand, and onboard settings.
Also, put into account the cost and the amount of money you are willing to spend on the unit.
What are the must-have functions do you want in a toaster?
Note them down on a paper before leaving for the store.
The style of the toaster can be a big deal as well. You want something that will flow with your style.