Best Toasters From Consumer Reports' Tests

Impressive performance and innovative features and design distinguish our latest batch of winners

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three toasters with slices of toast in front of them and toast darkness chart in background Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

For all the talk of multitasking countertop appliances, there's something reassuring about a great toaster. It does one thing and does it really well, consistently serving up a beautifully browned slice of bread. Whether you're making an avocado toast, PB&J, or an egg-and-cheese sandwich, a solid toaster is almost as important as the ingredients themselves.

Test engineers at Consumer Reports toast hundreds of slices of bread to find the best and worst two-slice and four-slice models, scoring every slice against an industry-standard toast-color chart. It includes nine colors, ranging from very light to burnt.

"While set to medium, each toaster is judged on how well it makes a single slice of toast and a full batch—two or four slices— depending on the model," says Cindy Fisher, who oversees CR's toaster tests. "With the best models, results match the evenly browned medium toast on the toast-color chart."

You'll see more than 30 brands represented in our toaster ratings, including Breville, Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, KitchenAid, Oster and more. Prices range from just under $40 into hundreds of dollars.

Of the 100-plus toasters in our ratings, 24 earn an Excellent rating for toasting one slice. Even fewer got top marks for a single slice, a full batch, and color range. Below, we've got reviews of five toasters that sit in that rarefied group, listed in alphabetical order.

CR's take: Gluten-free bread, which is denser than regular bread, doesn't toast quite the same. Bella picked up on this and added a gluten-free setting to the two-slice Bella Pro Series 90062. "It works as promised, turning out nicely browned toast on both sides, and you no longer have to guess when it's done," says Aminata Ndiaye, a CR test engineer. As for regular bread, the Bella earns an Excellent rating in our time tests, putting it among the fastest two-slice models in our ratings. Overall, it combines top performance and a reasonable price, making it a CR Best Buy.

CR's take: Stylish and stainless, the two-slice Breville Bit More BTA720XL garners an Excellent rating in our ease-of-use tests, meaning the controls are clearly presented and easy to set. This toaster has wide slots and settings for cut bagels and frozen bread; it defrosts the bread, then toasts. And if your toast turns out too light? Press the button labeled "A Bit More" and it will toast a little longer.

CR's take: Its outstanding performance in CR's tests make the Breville BTA820XL one of the highest-rated models in our ratings. This toaster is sleek, attractive, and spendy. It utilizes a push-button control and lever to operate. There's even a place to stash the cord. It earns a Very Good rating in our toasting-time tests. Features include settings for bagels and defrosting, as well as a "Lift and Look" button that allows you to make adjustments mid-toast and "A Bit More" button that lets you add a touch more browning before it's done.

CR's take: The Cuisinart Countdown Metal CPT-415 snags an Excellent rating in our color-range tests (as do the other toasters featured here), popping up toast just as you like it. There are settings for bagels, defrost, and reheat, and Cuisinart's three-year warranty is longer than most brands in our ratings.

CR's take: Not only does the Oster 2-slice TSSTTRJB2S turn out terrific toast, it also comes at a low price. This CR Best Buy has a push-button control, and features include settings for bagels, defrosting, and reheating. In our tests, it earns a Very Good rating for ease of cleaning and toasting time.

Headshot of CRO Home Editor Tanya Christian

Tanya A. Christian

I've spent more than a decade covering lifestyle, news, and policy. At Consumer Reports, I'm happy to sit at the intersection of these specialties, writing about appliances, product safety and advocacy, consumer fairness, and the best tools and products to help you spruce up your home. When I'm not putting pen to paper, I'm exploring new cultures through travel and taking on home makeover projects, one room at a time.