Which toasters are best?
There’s one champion, simple-to-make food in the UK: toast. Whether you want it as the start of a brilliant day, a simple snack to warm you on a cold day, or just as a way of making a sandwich more exciting, toast is the best food you can get, and requires buying the best toaster to get the best combination of crispy outside and soft, textured inside.
We’ve tested lots of toasters from the top brands, but have listed the best that we’ve found here. To formulate this list, we’ve put together a combination of models aimed at different budgets and toasting needs, including four-slot and two-slot toasters, and those that can handle the likes of crumpets. You can read the details of each entry below, but for convenience, we’ve listed our choices here.
- Best overall toaster: Dualit 4 Slot Lite
- Best budget toaster: Swan Fearne 2-Slice
- Best mid-range toaster: Morphy Richards Evoke 4-Slice
- Best small toaster: Dualit Studio 2-Slice
- Best large-slot toaster: Smeg TSF02 4-Slice 2-Slot
How we pick the best toaster
We tested the performance of our toasters by considering speed, evenness of browning, and the level of control on offer. We used a variety of different baked goods, from bagels to crumpets, thick-sliced loaves to English muffins, and looked for even-browning, no matter the product.
We also tried defrosting frozen bread, reheating cold toast, and light warming softer breads. We were satisfied if they toasted a variety of breads quickly and evenly, and were impressed by controls that allowed you to choose your level of browning with precision and ease.
1. Dualit 4 Slot Lite Toaster
The king of toasters: this model is reliable, powerful and cooks evenly
With four extra-wide 36mm slots, the Dualit 4 Slot Lite can handle everything from thick-sliced bread to bagels, muffins and crumpets with ease. Its intelligent controls offer eight browning levels, with five clicks in between each number to make it easy to get the level of browning just right.
We found it consistently produced even results, which is partly down to what Dualit calls its ‘Perfect Toast Technology’, which bases the toasting time on the ambient temperature and the temperature of the toaster. There’s also a great feature called Peek and Pop, which lets you check on progress without cancelling the toasting cycle.
Number of slots: 4, Size: 200 x 280 x 310mm, Slot dimensions: 360 x 120 x 145mm, Defrost option: Yes, Bagel button: Yes
2. Swan Fearne 2-Slice Toaster
A low-cost, high-quality toaster
There’s a single heat control that covers both slots, so you’ll need to cook different types of bread (or bread for different people) separately. As well as the basic heat controls, there’s a defrost option for frozen bread and a reheat button to warm up cold toast.
There are more expensive options with more features, but if you want a simple toaster that produces great results, the Swan Fearne 2-Slice Toaster is the best choice.
Number of slots: 2, Size: 185 x 175 x 300mm, Defrost option: Yes, Bagel button: No
Read our full Swan Fearne 2-Slice Toaster review
3. Morphy Richards Evoke 4-Slice Toaster
A mid-range toaster with excellent build quality
There are two controls, each managing two slots each, giving you some flexibility to toast different breads or to different preferences at the same time. Chunky slots make it easy to fit in even the largest type of breads.
Placing the bread horizontally worked best for us, delivering even results every time. There’s a defrost button for handling frozen bread, and a reheat button, but this model lacks dedicated bagel modes. If you want something basic but good looking, this is the model for you.
Number of slots: 4, Size: 270 x 210 x 295mm, Defrost option: Yes, Bagel button: No
Read our full Morphy Richards Evoke 4-Slice Toaster review
4. Dualit Studio 2-Slice Toaster
A sturdy and effective two-slot toaster
There’s a single set of controls that handles both slots, plus reheat and defrost options for dealing with frozen bread. The slots are big enough to cope with supermarket bread easily enough, with our test slices disappearing completely into the slots when placed horizontally: vertically, bread stuck out a bit at the top as this model doesn’t have deep slots.
With bread all the way in, results were excellent across the board. If you want something small and stylish, this is an excellent choice, but the Dualit Lite 2-Slice is only a touch more expensive and has a bagel function.
Number of slots: 2, Size: 197 x 178 x 273mm, Defrost option: Yes, Bagel button: No
Read our full Dualit Studio 2-Slice Toaster review
5. Smeg TSF02 4-Slice 2-Slot Toaster
A retro-looking two-slot toaster that can handle up to four slices of bread
There’s a single heat control that manages both slots, plus there’s a reheat option, defrost feature and bagel button, too. You can buy a sandwich rack and bun warmer, too.
We couldn’t fit in two slices of supermarket bread per slot horizontally, but bread fits vertically, although a little of the top sticks out of the top. Even results for all types of bread show that this is a quality toaster. With the bagel setting turned on, our bagel came out crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
If you need a toaster with a bit more flexibility to handle odd-shaped bread, the large slots here make the Smeg TSF02 4-Slice 2-Slot Toaster ideal.
Number of slots: 2, Size: 215 x 394 x 208mm, Slot dimensions: , Defrost option: Yes, Bagel button: Yes
Read our full Smeg TSF02 4-Slice 2-Slot Toaster review
That was our pick of the best toasters, for more information on picking the right model, keep reading
Best toasters buying guide
Best toasters – How many slots do I need?
The main choice you have to make with a toaster is the number of slots you want: two or four. Two-slot toasters are smaller and a little cheaper than the four-slot varieties. Two-slot models are good for more compact kitchens, households with fewer people, or occasional use. If you have more space, a larger household or just eat a lot of toast, then a four-slot model would be the better choice.
There are some large two-slot toasters, designed to fit up to four slices of bread. However, these don’t always manage the job, and squeezing the bread in can be tricky.
Best toasters – What other features should I look for?
All toasters will have some kind of dial that sets the toasting time, letting you go between warm bread and very toasty. Beyond that, there are several controls and features that you might find useful.
A defrost setting will first defrost frozen bread, then switch to the toasting cycle. A reheat button uses a short cycle to warm up toast that has gone cold. A keep warm option will toast, then switch the heat down to keep your bread ready until you can eat it. Look out for gluten-free setting, which adjusts heating times to get the most out of gluten-free breads.
A warming rack lifts up above the slots, and gives you a way of warming up the likes of teacakes and croissants, without over-cooking them. Although, it’s just as easy to use an oven for this job.