The Best Toasters

These days, many people call on a  toaster oven to deliver crispy toast, bagels, English muffins, and toaster pastries, but it’s no match for a dedicated kitchen appliance. Even a cheap, compact plastic toaster can perfectly brown the foundation of a soul-satisfying meal or quick-as-a-minute snack. Many traditional 2-slice toasters come in a 4-slice version, which offers convenience and efficiency but hogs counter space and costs more. read scores of expert and user reviews to find the best two-slice toasters under $30 and the best four-slice toasters for $50 or less. We also spotted toasters with just a single extra long, extra wide slot. Those save counter space, but no cheap models rated high enough to earn a recommendation.

See full Buying Guide

Our Top Pick

Oster 6332
Our Picks
Oster 6332


  • Does the job well, accurately, and quickly, users say.
  • Illuminated bagel and frozen buttons; cancel button; 7 browning levels.
  • Extra-wide slots; auto-centering guides; high-lift lever to boost bread that remains inside the slots after the toaster pops.
  • Anti-jam function turns off the toaster if something gets stuck.
  • Cool-touch housing.
  • Removable, dishwasher-safe crumb tray.
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 1,000 reviewers on


  • Lacks a warm/reheat function.
  • Some complaints about uneven browning and slots that seem short.
  • Some reports of malfunctions and limited durability.

Takeaway: Users consider this Oster 2 slice toaster a terrific value, citing its simplicity and extra wide slots, giving it the ability to toast bread, bagels, and muffins properly -- for a true bargain price. Some even say this Oster toaster outperforms pricier options. There is also a white version.

Cuisinart CPT-122


  • Above-average performance overall, according to experts and users.
  • Bagel/thick bread, defrost, and reheat buttons with indicator lights; cancel button; 7 browning levels.
  • Extra-wide 1.5-inch slots; high-lift lever.
  • Removable crumb tray; cord storage.
  • Stylish white toaster with stainless steel accents.
  • Unusually long 3-year warranty.


  • Lacks cool-touch housing.
  • Some reviews describe uneven browning, and toast that's a bit on the dark side even at lower levels.
  • Some reports of limited durability.

Takeaway: This 2-slice Cuisinart toaster stands out from others in its class. While its housing is plastic with stainless steel accents, and its durability, while good, isn’t spotless, its long 3-year warranty means that this is anything but a typical cheap compact plastic toaster. Some users dislike the bagel setting, which toasts both sides rather than toasting only the cut side and warming the crust, as most other toasters do. But a strong endorsement from a majority of users for its toasting chops, features, and hard-to-beat price make this model a winner.

Cuisinart CPT-340


  • Applause from most users for performance and build quality.
  • Dual controls; bagel (and thick bread), defrost, and reheat buttons with indicator lights; cancel button; 6 browning levels.
  • Extra-wide 1.5-inch slots; high-lift lever for smaller items.
  • Compact footprint takes up less than 1 square foot of counter space.
  • Removable crumb trays.
  • Stainless steel and black toaster.
  • Unusually long 3-year warranty.
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars from more than 400 reviewers on Amazon.


  • Some users gripe that the bagel setting toasts both sides.
  • A few reviews say the shade settings are inaccurate.
  • Lacks a cool-touch exterior.

Takeaway: It’s hard to argue with the appeal of this budget-priced 4-slice toaster from Cuisinart. Its stylish black and stainless steel appearance is just one reason users commend the CPT-340. Others include its comparatively compact footprint, practical features, extra wide slots, and a finish on toast and bagels with just the right amount of crunch and color.



  • Toast comes out crispy and soft in all the right places, according to user reviews.
  • Illuminated dual controls for cancel, defrost, reheat, and bagel; 6 browning levels.
  • Extra-large and deep self-centering slots; high-lift lever.
  • Removable crumb tray; cord storage.
  • Stainless steel housing for a high-end look.
  • 2-year warranty, twice as long as many other cheap toasters.


  • Neglecting to run the toaster empty several times before putting it to use, per the instruction manual, may allow unpleasant odors to seep into whatever is toasting.
  • Some grousing about long toasting cycles.
  • Scattered reports of uneven browning and inconsistent temperatures.
  • Lacks cool-touch housing.

Takeaway: This 4-slice Krups toaster produces all the hallmarks of excellent toast and looks stylishly modern, to boot. Some complain that it's a bit pokey, but others say the end results are worth waiting for.

Hamilton Beach PerfectToast 22121

Hamilton Beach PerfectToast 22121 Review


  • Good, consistent performance at a modest price, user reviews say.
  • Extra-wide 1.5-inch slots with centering guides; auto boost raises small pieces of bread for easy removal.
  • Illuminated buttons for frozen toast, frozen bagel, bagel, and cancel; 5 browning levels.
  • Automatic shut-off if bread jams.
  • Cool-touch housing.
  • Removable crumb tray.


  • Lacks a warm or reheat function.
  • Slices from some bakery-size loaves may not fit.
  • Scattered complaints about both sides not browning to the same degree.
  • Some reports of limited durability.

Takeaway: This Hamilton Beach toaster gets a daily workout in thousands of homes, toasting bread and frozen bagels and waffles to order. Users appreciate the simple controls and overall value. This basic two-slice model serves up the components of a meal or snack without fuss or bother.



  • Impressively efficient performance for the price, most users say.
  • Toast, bagel, frozen, warm, and cancel buttons backlit with LED lights; 7 browning levels.
  • Extra-wide 1.3-inch slots with auto-adjusting guides; high-lift lever for retrieving bread that remains inside the slots after the toaster pops.
  • Anti-jam function turns off the toaster if something gets stuck.
  • Removable, dishwasher-safe crumb tray.


  • Lacks cool-touch housing.
  • Some reviewers complain about uneven browning.
  • Scattered reports about various malfunctions, such as the "on" lever not staying down.

Takeaway: For a budget toaster, the 2-slice Oster TSSTJC5BBK is loaded with features that users appreciate, including a high lift lever and automatic turn off should something get stuck. Many report that it produces perfect toast, although some grouse that one side or another, or the top or bottom, may not brown to the desired degree. While the slots are extra wide at 1.3 inches, they are not quite as wide as on some other toasters. There is also a silver version, model 6594.

Hamilton Beach Modern Chrome 24791

Hamilton Beach Modern Chrome 24791 Review


  • Generally good performance, according to a majority of user reviews, and excellent toasting in tests by consumer product experts.
  • Dual controls with defrost, cancel, and bagel settings; 7 browning levels.
  • Extra-wide slots with self-adjusting guides; high-lift lever.
  • Removable crumb tray.
  • Stainless steel housing.


  • Lacks cool-touch housing and a warm function.
  • Cannot accommodate toaster pastries.
  • Scattered complaints about uneven browning.
  • Some reviews report problems with the lever and heating elements.

Takeaway: A basic and very inexpensive four-slice toaster, the Hamilton Beach 24791 scores particularly well with experts for toasting consistency but garners qualified support from everyday users. Most say it does more than a decent job toasting breads of all types, but some tell of uneven results. A two-slice version (model 22791) is also available at almost the same price.

Hamilton Beach PerfectToast 24121

Hamilton Beach PerfectToast 24121 Review


  • Produces well-toasted bread and bagels, even from frozen, many reviews say.
  • Dual controls with illuminated frozen toast, frozen bagel, bagel, and cancel functions; 5 browning levels.
  • Extra-wide 1.5-inch slots; auto boost raises small pieces for easy removal.
  • Automatic shut-off if bread jams.
  • Cool-touch housing.
  • Removable crumb tray.


  • Lacks a warm or reheat function.
  • Some complaints about uneven browning or underdone toast.
  • Scattered reports of malfunctioning coils, levers, and settings.

Takeaway: Like its two-slice sibling, the Hamilton Beach PerfectToast 22121, the four-slice PerfectToast 24121 is a budget-friendly toaster that adequately serves the needs of many users. Although some grouse about disappointing results, saying multiple cycles may be needed to reach the desired level of doneness, a majority are pleased with what they get on the first try.

Buying Guide

Choosing a Toaster

As with many countertop kitchen appliances, there’s no shortage of inexpensive options when it comes to finding a bread toaster. Familiar brand names in entry-level toasters include Hamilton Beach, Oster, Cuisinart, and Black & Decker. Krups makes an occasional appearance but more often shows up in the mid-range with models like the Krups Savoy (Est. $50). Other mid-range choices come from Breville, DeLonghi, KitchenAid, and T-fal, while Cuisinart, Black & Decker and other budget players also field mid-price toasters. Higher up the ladder sit names such as Smeg and Dualit.

Pricey vs. Cheap Toasters

It’s certainly possible to spend upward of $150 for a top-of-the-line pop-up toaster. For that, you get sleek and eye-catching aesthetics, chrome and steel construction, speed, and smart toaster features such as digital controls, motorized lift, and heat sensors -- and, some might argue, tastier results. There’s even a smart toaster that connects to your mobile device for control and to let you know your toast is done, though most of the feedback we’ve seen for it focuses more on asking whether we really need a connected smart toaster rather than how well it actually toasts. On the other hand, while it won’t talk to your phone, we saw some pretty good reviews for the Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster BTA820XL (Est. $130). It’s way too pricey to be considered a cheap toaster, but performance is top notch – good enough to finish on top in Good Housekeeping’s toaster testing.

But all of that aside, the best entry-level toasters hold their own. They boast modern (sometimes retro) profiles, sometimes highly stylish exteriors -- for example the Hamilton BeachPioneer Woman toaster (Est. $28) -- often last for years (perhaps, in part, because there is less that can go wrong), and present a host of desirable features once reserved for high-end models, including extra-wide slots, multiple settings, cool touch toaster exteriors, a high lift lever and a removable crumb tray. And many reviews attest that the best budget toasters produce results that rival their upscale counterparts.

What We Considered

To cull the best cheap toasters, we dug deep into expert and consumer reviews. Sources for our research included ecommerce sites such as Amazon,,, and, as well as those maintained by manufacturers. For guidance based on expert product testing, we turned to Top Ten Reviews, TechGearLab, Good Housekeeping, CNET, Consumer Reports and other sites with well-regarded expertise in testing and evaluating kitchen appliances.

No toaster garners an unblemished rating for toasting performance. Uneven browning and crisping, whether top to bottom, side to side, or slot to slot, is the primary complaint lodged against even the best cheap toasters. Another thing to watch for is that some toasters may excel at one or more tasks, while disappointing in others. For example, the OsterJelly Bean Toaster (Est. $28) was a top performer at TechGearLabs when it came to toasting bread – producing perfectly browned toast more consistently than most other toasters tested -- and defrosting frozen item, but its performance as a bagel toaster was a letdown. But, on the whole, the vast majority of reviewers gleefully report how pleased they are with whatever pops out of the toasters on our recommended toaster list.

Browning Controls

People have different preferences when it comes to the shade of their toast, and different types of bread require different amounts of toasting time. Raisin bread, for example, browns rapidly due to the high sugar content, while thick slices and breads with lots of whole seeds and grains take longer to toast to a rich golden brown. The browning controls let users determine the duration of the toasting process.

Digital controls are the most precise but generally available only on high-end toasters. Inexpensive toasters rely on a dial with at least five specific shade settings denoted by numbers or dots. In reality, the choice of shade settings is a continuum along a spectrum from light to dark. Burned and/or under-toasted bread is the bane of every consumer who likes their toast to come out a perfect golden brown. Getting used to a toaster’s eccentricities -- that is, exactly how the browning/shade indicators correspond to degrees of light and dark -- requires some trial and error.


Newer toasters, even those in budget territory, now feature several settings for functions such as bagel, cancel, defrost and more.

  • A bagel setting typically toasts only one side of the bagel and warms the other. In almost all cases, that means the cut side feels the most heat. On some models, however, the bagel setting merely toasts for a longer period, heating both sides to the same degree (so it's also good for very thick bread slices).
  • Many toasters also include either a defrost or frozen function, which adds time to the toasting cycle or defrosts the item before the "toast" order is given.
  • Warm or reheat is another setting that sometimes shows up in the cheap price range. It lets users reheat or keep the toasted item warm for a brief period without toasting it further.
  • A cancel button stops the process in case the bread (or whatever) is toasting more quickly than expected. Some of the cheapest toasters don't sport a cancel button, so we made sure to check for that in making our picks.

Four-slice toasters generally have dual controls, allowing different settings for two sets of two slices. In other words, they essentially function as two independent 2-slice toasters side by side in the same housing.

A single slot toaster is another option. These can toast two slices in a single extra long, extra wide slot. A single slot toaster can be a plus if you often toast artisanal or other extra-long bread slices. However, there are fewer options than we’ve seen in previous years, and we couldn’t find a cheap single slot toaster with strong feedback. That said, though its price is certainly not “cheap,” the KitchenAid2 Slice toaster, KMT3115BM (Est. $80) is one of the better-regarded choices among less expensive single slot models.

Bread Lifter and Slots

One downside of budget toasters is housing that heats up very quickly because of poor insulation or lesser-quality components. Only some models feature cool touch toaster exteriors – Hamilton Beach Cool Wall models, for example -- and reviewers caution that the area around the slots gets very hot regardless of any stay-cool housing.

A high lift lever, found on most toasters, ensures that smaller items like English muffins or sliced buns pop up high enough to avoid having to poke around inside the toaster. The mechanism is either automatic or requires users to lift the lever that starts the toasting process. Many models also are equipped with an anti-jam device that shuts down the toaster in the event something does get stuck.

Unlike the old days when bagels and thick-cut slices invariably got mangled in the narrow slots, forcing users to reach in with bare fingers or yank with a knife or fork (all dangerous!), the best current models feature extra wide slots that measure at least 1.3 inches. This is enough space for English muffins, artisanal bread, and bagel halves, but if you toast those items regularly, a toaster with even a wider extra wide slot (1.5 inches or more) could be a bit more convenient.

Crumb Tray

Bread and muffins tend to crumble and tear during toasting and as they make their way out of the slots, which creates crumbs that collect at the bottom of the toaster, inviting pests and posing a fire risk. A crumb tray that's easy to pull out and empty minimizes such problems. (Remember to do this often.) We looked for toasters with removable trays, because they're more convenient than the hinged variety and now are common at the budget end of the market.

What About a Toaster Oven?

There’s no doubt that the best toaster ovens are versatile kitchen appliances. They toast, of course, but they also bake, broil, and more – and some even feature convection cooking and other features typically found on full sized ovens. However, for an appliance to be that versatile, some features invariably suffer, and in many cases that’s the toasting function on even the best toaster ovens. That said, while they can’t match the performance of the best slice toasters, most toaster ovens do an at least adequate job turning bread, bagels, or what have you to a nice golden brown, and could be the best overall option if counter space is too limited to have both a toaster oven and a toaster. Some of the best pop-up toaster makers, including Black & Decker, Hamilton Beach, Cuisnart and others also make the best toaster ovens as well.

Durability and Warranty

In general, users report that their toasters are easy to clean and maintain, particularly if they have a removable crumb tray. Assorted malfunctions -- such as elements that barely heat up or levers that break -- and limited durability do come up in toaster reviews. A cheap compact plastic toaster can produce terrific results, but also could be more prone to breaking partly because of its economical build and partly because food often gets stuck and messes up the mechanicals. While a one-year warranty is typical, most of our picks for best cheap toaster boast two- or three-year warranties.