Let’s make a toast to toast – the only thing tempting enough to get some of us out of bed in the morning. Whether you’re spelt bagel barmy or a sliced white loafer, we’ve found some toasters that will make your mornings golden.
Toasting is a combination of drying and grilling, with each type of bread needing different timings. Brown and wholemeal items take longer, as well as fresher bread, which has a higher moisture content.
Look for a toaster with a reheat button if you’ve got lots going on in the kitchen and don’t always grab it when it pops. A defrost option is handy too if you take bread straight from the freezer.
All the models we looked at have removable crumb trays for easy cleaning and wider slots so you can dunk your doorstep with confidence. Here’s our pick of the best.
1. Dualit Classic Copper 4 Slice Toaster: £199.99, Lakeland
A classic British brand, Dualit is known for its hard-wearing, hand-built machines with replaceable parts. This copper edition is a neat way to mix traditional and modern styling. The mechanical wind-up timer isn’t exactly space age technology, but it’s a design that’s been in use since the company manufactured its first toaster in 1952. The lever action means you can quickly check on toast as it’s heating too. There’s no fancy gimmicks either, just a matter of deciding on the length of time you want to toast for, between settings one and three. Slices were very evenly browned. It’s a top-quality toaster that’s worth the investment.
2. DeLonghi Avvolta 4 Slice Toaster: £109.98, DeLonghi
This larger model browned all types of bread evenly and quickly, while scoring highly with our tester for its stylish bands of colour-coded, glossy casing. The slots are wide enough to take chunky slices and there are defrost and warming functions. A few points lost as there’s only one dial for browning control, but if you’re looking for something that looks great on your worktop then the Avvolta should be on your shortlist.
3. AmazonBasics Automatic 4-Slice Toaster: £22.99, Amazon
There’s no messing around with this slimline toaster. Choose your setting, use the stop function button (if needed) and you’ll get pretty evenly toasted bread. That is, if your loaf is of the “small white toastie” variety – larger slices may need to go in sideways. You may not want fancy extras, but have a clever integral bread roll holder anyway. It rises above the slots to warm, rather than toast, bread rolls and croissants. A decent toaster at a bargain price.
4. Dualit Studio Four-Slot Toaster: £69, Dualit
An entry-level toaster, this version has a pop-up action rather than the brand’s traditional lever function. It has a more high-tech look too; the perforated sides and black casing look at home in a contemporary kitchen. There’s a defrost button for toasting bread straight from the freezer and a useful reheat option for busy mornings, which will warm the slices you’ve forgotten to grab without burning them.
5. Breville Impressions 4-Slice Toaster: £29.99, Currys
For a budget toaster, this has a lot going for it. For a start, it has a setting for toasting bread from frozen. The loading handles also have “lift and look” capacity for checking on progress or helping remove smaller items. Like the other models we’ve chosen, it has removable crumb trays for easy cleaning too. One missing feature though is separate settings for each two-slot side, but if you like all four rounds of toast the same colour then this is a bargain.
6. Tefal Maison 4 Slice Toaster: £49.99, Home & Cook
A slanted top makes for quite a different look on this efficient model, and there’s the choice of colours for the end panels – black, dark red, sage green and oatmeal grey. At first glance, it looks like each of the four slots has its own control, but the centre two actually operate the high lift function. When using, the stop button glows red and with the dial controls browning. This one feels like a more traditional family choice.
7. Cuisinart 4 Slice Digital Toaster: £85, Cuisinart
This great-looking model will warm one side of your morning bagel and toast the other. The polished steel looks sleek and expensive, while it comes with a five year guarantee from Cusinart. We like the subtle blue lighting on the controls and the high-lift levers rise up more than other models we tested, making it a cinch to remove misshapen rolls and smaller slices of bread from the slots.
8. Smeg 4-Slice 2-Slot Toaster: £139.95, John Lewis
If you’re short of space on the kitchen worktop then it’s worth considering a slimmer model that loads bread in two long slots rather than four short ones. This Smeg model is available in seven colours and has a stainless steel casing so feels sturdy and good quality. You can also buy a sandwich cage which will hold toasties firmly in place inside the toaster slots and a bun warmer which sits over the openings to gently heat pastries and croissants. The bagel toasting function completes this great all-rounder. All the functions worked exactly as expected and the toaster heated bread quickly and evenly.
9. Morphy Richards Prism Toaster: £47.99, Morphy Richards
This is the most bling toaster we tested, and perhaps its shiny casing and triangular indents are not for traditionalists. If they do excite you, there’s a matching kettle, so fill your boots. This one has an energetic pop-up Morecombe and Wise would have approved of and bread is evenly toasted, though we did find a higher-than-average setting worked best for the results we wanted. A real countertop talking point.
10. Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Smart Toaster 4 Slice: £153, ao.com
We’ve featured this toaster in previous tests, but it’s still top of the list if you want more than just a pop-up. Toast a tad underdone? Usually you’d whack it on again only to remember it when you hear the smoke alarm or smell the carbon. This model’s “A Bit More” button is perfect for a quick boost and its “A Quick Look” control lets you check on progress without starting the cycle all over again. Bright LED sliders show your chosen “toastiness” then count down so you can co-ordinate your cuppa making. Clever stuff.
11. Swan Retro 4 Slice Toaster: £44.99, Swan
You don’t have to blow your budget to find something in a colour to suit your kitchen. This classic-looking toaster comes in eight shades, from subtle cream to zesty orange, and there’s a whole range of matching kitchen appliances too. We liked the high-lift function and the fact the sides of this efficient model didn’t get too hot. A great mid-range buy which had simple controls and was easy to get the right shade of brown on our bread.
The Verdict: 4-Slice toasters
For a toaster that could still be in action long after you’re brown bread, the Dualit Classic is a quality heirloom piece with a timeless design. A great all-rounder, the Cuisinart toaster’s useful tech functions make it worth consideration. But if you like your toasters like your toast – cheap, white and no-nonsense - then AmazonBasics is a bargain with your name on it.
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