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How To Buy The Best Toaster or Toaster Oven

What’s the best toaster oven you can buy?

Well now, that depends.

There are so many toasters, coming in so many shapes, sizes, and colors, with all sorts of fun functions and surprising features. But one thing’s certain: The perfect toaster for you and your kitchen is out there. Let’s find it!

Two-Slice Toasters

This is your basic no-frills toaster. It’s a space saver. And it’s great for single folks, married folks, college kids, small families. The fact is, most simple 2- and 4-slot toasters will toast your bread quicker and more evenly than more expensive toaster ovens or oven toasters. So if it's basic toast you're looking for, give real consideration to these models.

Two Slice Toasters Collage

Two-Slice Toasters | Photos by Meredith

Four-Slice Toasters

What’s the biggest advantage of a 4-slice toaster over a 2-slice toaster? Uhm, more toast. You’ve doubled your toast potential. It’s bigger, of course; so it takes up valuable counter space. Fun Fact: The 2-slice toasters actually outsell the larger 4-slice models by about 3 to 1.

4 Slice Toaster

Photo by Meredith

For 2- and 4-slice toasters, here are some things to consider:

  • A variable control (numbered dials or electronic touchpads are best) for setting the the toasts toastiness (light to dark) is key.
  • Removable crumb trays that slide out make crumb clean-up easy.
  • Bagel lover? Look for a toaster with extra wide slots. Some toasters also have bagel settings, which toast the bagel on the cut side. Wide slots are also good for thicker slices of bread, like Texas toast.
  • A "bread lifter" will do just that: when you press the lever, it will raise the toast slightly so you can reach it.
  • Some toasters have a button that will toast for just a titch longer. Handy when your toast is more tanned than toasted.

Additional bells and whistles. You can also find toasters with fancy LCD displays and timers that give you a countdown to toast time. Not a morning person? For people who can't function before that first cup of coffee in the morning, making toast can be a challenge. Fortunately, some toasters include sensors that know when you want toast; place bread in the slots and the toaster automatically lowers the bread into the chamber of fire! No need to press anything. You can save your brain power for getting the coffee into your cup. Cool, but not essential.

Speaking of essential, you'll probably want to break in your toaster with these Home Made Top Tarts.

Microwave and Toaster Oven Combo

Here's something you may not have considered. The microwave toaster combo is super convenient. The microwave with toaster does what you think it does. It toasts. It waves.

Microwave and Toaster Combo

Photo by Meredith

Toaster Ovens

OK, now we're getting serious. If you have ample counter space, and you want to cook and bake foods in addition to making toast, the toaster oven could be the way you want to go. Oh, and here's a benefit: PIZZA! You can cook a small pizza in the toaster oven, no problem. In fact, a toaster oven could be the only cooking contraption you need in a dorm room or shared apartment. They actually cook dishes. Grilled cheese sandwiches? Of course. Burgers? Yes. You can bake cupcakes and roast a small chicken in there, too. They come with toaster oven pans, occasionally nonstick oven pans. And if you're really playing on the "oven" part of your toaster oven, consider buying toaster tongs. They make easy work of turning, grabbing, and retrieving hot foods. These rigs are so versatile, it's likely that the thing you'll make least in your toaster oven is toast.

Toaster Oven Door Open

Photo by Meredith

Buying the best toaster oven. Some things to consider:

  • A broiler setting means you can cook pork chops, burgers and such in your toaster oven.
  • Convection toaster ovens are a thing, it's true. But for such a small oven, the convection action is not essential.
  • Some toaster ovens include rotisserie attachments for serious toaster oven cooking.
  • Infrared toaster ovens use speedy infrared heatingto help quicken toasting time.
  • Downside. Toaster ovens cost more than basic toasters. But you probably saw that coming.

Related: See our complete collection of Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipes


So those are the basic types of toaster and toaster ovens. Now we're getting down to personal style. Are you a toaster with polka dots kinda person? Or maybe you're a total minimalist who wants to hide the toaster in a cabinet. That's cool.

Toaster in Cabinet

Photo by Meredith

If you prefer your toaster or toaster oven out on the counter loud and proud, there are colors and styles to match any paint or wallpaper pattern, any custom kitchen decor you can conceive of...and maybe even some you can't. In addition to shiny chrome, brushed metal, and copper, you'll find all the colors of the rainbow.

Colorful Toasters

Photos by Meredith

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Carl Hanson

About Carl Hanson

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