A crisp slice of toast is an essential part of most people’s breakfast, and the perfect accompaniment for everything from avocado to poached eggs.
But getting that perfect slice is trickier than it should be, with many cheap toasters doling out uneven cooking, poor controls – and, in general, being pretty sub-par.
To save you the horror of having to eat unevenly browned or, God forbid, blackened toast with your morning cuppa, we’ve tested all the big-name brand toasters currently available to offer a definitive list of the best on the market.
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- 4 slots
- 21.5 x 21 x 39.5cm
- 90cm cable
You have to admire Smeg. The Italian company is nothing if not consistent in everything it does. Its styling is consistently ’50s-chic, and its products consistently perform well.
This two-slot, four-slice toaster is another winner. It looks gorgeous in any of the beautifully glossy paint finishes, feels like it’s built to last WW3, and browns bread to perfection. Functions include the usual defrost and bagel settings, as well as a reheat feature for gone-cold toast.
The only slight criticism might be that the heat control has a click-stop at every half-level, so it’s not infinitely variable. That said, we didn’t have a problem finding the perfect settings from those available.
The Smeg TSF02 is a thing of beauty, and deserving of price of place on your worktop.
At the time of the review the Smeg TSF02 was available for £149.95
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- 4 slots
- 20 x 28 x 31cm
- 90cm cable
- ‘Peek and Pop’ feature
Classic Dualit styling combined with modern controls makes the Dualit 4 Slot Lite an attractive addition to both retro or contemporary kitchens. But beyond looks, it’s a brilliant performing toaster that gives you incredibly precise control over the toasting process.
With four extra-wide 36mm slot, 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 gave a lovely even toast, 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.
At the time of the review the Dualit 4 Slot Lite was available for £100.
- 4 slots
- 26 x 32 x 27cm
- 95cm cable
- Warming racks
The Hotpoint Ultimate Collection 4 Slot Digital Toaster is a chunky toasting monster that dominates the kitchen worktop with its polished chrome body and clean art deco lines. Its warming racks are a bit flimsy, but other than that it’s a solid performer with some clever features to give a nice even toast.
Its controls are digital, offering options such as defrost, reheat, and sandwich/bagel function – the latter of which will simply toast one side of your breaded treats. It offers eight levels of browning, and there’s a digital display on each side that counts down the remaining toasting time for each pair of slices.
One clever trick is that if you go to put on more toast straight away, the timer automatically sets a bit less time, to account for the fact that the elements are already warm. There are two crumb trays underneath to keep the machine clutter-free. If you liked the sound of the Dualit 4 Slot Lite, also in this round-up, but were put off by the price, the Ultimate Collection 4 Slot Digital is a more affordable alternative.
At the time of the review the Hotpoint Ultimate Collection 4 Slot Digital Toaster was available for £79.99.
- 2 slots
- 23 x 18 x 33cm
- 145cm cable
- Sensor toasting feature
If money’s no object, then the luxurious KitchenAid Artisan Toaster is the toasting maestro for you. As well as a bold, curvaceous design for added worktop appeal, the Artisan packs in some incredibly smart features to make toasting a joy.
Its most clever trick is bread-sensing. It knows as soon as there’s bread – or any other toastable snack – in its slots and automatically lowers it down to begin toasting. When your toast is ready, it’ll bring it back up – or lower it back down to keep it warm if you don’t get there first within 45 seconds.
Controls-wise, there’s a slider to select from seven browning levels, and four buttons to choose between bagels, defrosting, sandwiches and straight-up toasting. We were a little bit disappointed that there’s no high lift lever to let you get at your crumpets, but the Artisan’s impressively even browning skills, solid build and stunning looks make it a winner for big (we mean really big) budgets.
At the time of the review the KitchenAid Artisan Toaster was available for £179.99.
- 4 slots
- 21 x 28 x 28cm
- 80cm cable
- Rose gold trim
If you’re a fashion-forward kitchenista who likes their appliances to reflect their style, then the Morphy Richards Rose Gold Four Slice Toaster is about to go straight on your Wish List. If you hadn’t already guessed, the toaster’s main design quirk is its rose gold trimmings, which add a chic accent whether you choose the toaster in brushed stainless steel, matte black or matte white.
The toaster’s only foible is being lightweight enough to tip over if you push the levers down too hard, but if you’re gentle with it, it’ll serve you well. There are seven browning levels with a dozen clicks between each number for finer toasting control, and three buttons that light up when in action for defrosting, reheating and cancelling.
Toasting is very even, and the 3cm-wide slots can narrow to less than 1.5cm to grip even the thinnest bread. Another design triumph is the already raised slots, meaning you don’t have to lift up toastables after they’ve popped up because they sit high enough to reach.
At the time of the review the Morphy Richards Rose Gold Four Slice Toaster was available for £64.99.
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- 2 slots
- 20 x 27 x 19cm
- 100cm cable
- Crumpet/Fruit Loaf button
The Sage A Bit More 2 Slice makes incredibly tasty toast with a helping hand from some clever features. We liked its boxy, industrial design in brushed stainless steel – it’d look at home on any kitchen worktop, despite being something of a fingerprint magnet.
The Sage gives an even finish, making toast perfectly crisp on the outside but light and soft on the inside. The two slots can grip toastables down to 2cm wide or up to an incredibly thick 4cm wide, so the Sage is ideal if you like your bread thick-cut and fluffy. The temperature slider goes from one to five, but there are 12 levels of browning within that range for finer control.
While there’s no button for reheating toast like with other toasters in this price range, you do get a decent range of options: a bit more, crumpet/fruit loaf, frozen and cancel. That crumpet/fruit loaf is pretty much a bagel button in disguise, only toasting one side of your snack. You can push the lever up at any time to inspect progress without halting toasting, and there’s a high lift for reaching awkward stuff like crumpets and small slices of bread.
At the time of the review the Sage A Bit More 2 Slice was available for £79.99.
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- 2 slots
- 20 x 17 x 29cm
- 80-100cm cable
- ‘A Bit More’ feature
If you’ve got high standards when it comes to the browning of your breakfast, then the Sage Smart Toast 2 Slice is one to consider – even if its price tag is on the more painful side of £100. It’s slick and attractive in brushed metal, gives an impressively even toast, and has some flashy features that will appeal to high-end appliance appreciators.
Its crowning glory is a motorised lift, making your bread descend smoothly at the touch of a button, then ascend again in its toasted form. It has Sage’s famous A Bit More feature, as well as a Quick Look feature to give you a sneak peak at progress part way through toasting.
We were initially a little worried when we realised the Sage Smart Slice 2 isn’t quite big enough to accommodate some slices of bread horizontally. However, it still managed to toast an entire slice of bread in a vertical position, which is no mean feat in the toaster world. Buttons for defrosting/toasting from frozen and toasting crumpets are all present and correct.
At the time of the review the Sage Smart Toast 2 Slice was available for £129.99.
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- Two-slot, four-slice toaster
- Reheat, defrost and toast from frozen
- 19 x 40 x 17cm
- Review Price: £34.99
There’s nothing fancy about this Kenwood TTP210, but it’s good-looking, effective and cheap – a good upgrade on the basic no brand toasters you can buy for £10 or £15. We love its curvy retro design, which proves cheap kitchen appliances don’t have to be ugly.
Sure, toasting four slices of bread can be a tight squeeze sometimes, and the browning isn’t 100% even, but it’s the best toaster we’ve taken for a spin in this price range.
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- Four-slot toaster with digital controls
- Settings for reheating, defrosting and bagels
- Warming rack
- Review Price: £50
The Hotpoint TT44EAX0 isn’t the fanciest looking machine, but it’s great value for a four-slot toaster that also features a useful warming rack. This makes it ideal for big families as you could conceivably toast four slices of bread and warm pastries at the same time. Continental breakfast, anyone?
Each slot is 3cm wide, making it easy to fit a doorstop bread slice in. There’s also dedicated bagel mode, which only toasts one side of the bagel. It isn’t the best at bagels we’ve seen, but it’s pretty good considering how affordable this toaster is.
Browning on ordinary toast was good. Again, we’ve seen better, but not at this price and not with the useful warming rack.
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- Two-slice toaster with egg frying and boiling pot
- Can boil, poach and fry eggs
- Can also warm beans
- Review Price: £40
This might seem a bit gimmicky, but the Tefal Toast n’ Egg is actually rather impressive. It isn’t the best toaster around as browning can be a little uneven at times, but the sheer versatility and convenience is great. If you love eggs in the morning, the Toast n’ Egg is what you need.
We found it does an incredible job at cooking eggs, too. It can boil four eggs, or poach/fry a single egg at a time. It can also heat up beans if you prefer. Vitally, it’ll toast and do your eggs at the same time, and it’s easy to use. What could have been a dreadful gimmick is actually a handy, innovative option for a protein-rich breakfast.
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- 2-slice toaster
- Glass sides
- Bagel setting
- warm up toast setting
- Review Price: £160
The first thing you notice about the Magimix Vision is that you can see right through it – the sides are made of glass panels that give you a sneak preview into the progress of your toast. How cool is that?
It has a single long slot for a maximum of two slices of bread, which allows it to toast more fiddly bread products, like pitta breads, without having to cut them in half.
There are eight settings for toasting, with the middle one providing just the right level of browning. It will also toast bagels on just one side. We found the Vision gave a lovely even toast.
Instead of many thin elements that run from throughout most toasters it has thick heating element bars, two at the top and two at the bottom. This makes the Vision one of the fastest toasters we’ve ever tested, clocking an average 2 minutes and 38 seconds. If you’ve got the space, this stylish speedster is an excellent choice.
- Two-slice toaster with motorised lift
- See-through glass exterior
- 23 x 40 x 14cm, 65cm cable
- Review Price: £199.99
Just like the Magimix Vision, the Morphy Richards Redefine Glass Toaster has glass sides for ogling at your toast. A clever motorised lift means you won’t burn your fingers extracting your toast – especially handy for smaller items like Crumpets.
The toasting results are great, too. The Morphy Richards uses a thermoglass coating that ensures a nice, even browning. We managed to fit a 3cm doorstop slice of bread inside, which is pretty good.
This is clearly a luxury purchase given the design and the price, but if that’s what you’re after, you’ll be incredibly happy making the purchase.