The Michael Graves Design KT-3390 two-slice toaster, sold exclusively at JCPenney, is one of the niftiest models we've seen in years, with its bread-shaped housing and shiny stainless-steel construction. But does it live up to the claim of being "ready to brown your bread to perfection every time." Not quite. But it's not a total triumph of form over function.
We put the Michael Graves model through the same exacting tests required of all models in our toaster tests. It delivered very good color range, producing toast that was light and dark. It was also capable of producing evenly browned toast over successive batches. And we found the toaster very easy to use, thanks in part to its bagel, defrost, and reheat settings. In fact, the toaster probably would have made our recommended list, if not for its middling performance in our one-slice test, where the results were not quite as consistent.
Given a toaster's high visibility out on the countertop, you might be willing to settle for less-than-pefect performance in exchange for the Michael Graves stylish design. Originally priced at $86, the toaster is on sale on JCPenney's website for $59.99. We also tested the matching coffeemaker, $115 (on sale for $79.99), but that too missed our recommended list due to so-so brewing performance. But it was intuitive and easy to use. Together, they make a comely couple.
There are some other toasters from our tests that are not only eye-catching but make perfect toast too, including the Magimix Vision Toaster from Williams-Sonoma with its see-through walls. We also liked the sleek Cuisinart CPT-420, which trades the familiar push-lever for a push-button-operated motorized lift. Both made our list of top toasters.