Toastie makers have never lost their popularity. We put electronic sandwich toasters through their paces to find the top five machines for making melty, cheesy grilled sarnies.
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Sandwich toasters will certainly make you a cracking toastie, but they can help with other kitchen tasks too. Before making your purchase, consider whether you want a straight-up toastie maker or a machine that has a more extensive repertoire. Several of the machines we tested also make waffles, and you can even grill a chicken breast on one of them.
You might just want to make bog-standard cheese toasties with sliced white bread, or you may hanker after a BLT panini. If you like thick breads or lots of fillings, look for a sandwich toaster that is 'deeper fill'. Some specifically say they are suitable for larger sandwiches, like paninis.
On the size front, consider how many people are in your household and how much space you have. There are compact sandwich toasters that will make just one at a time, but others can cook two at once.
One thing to be aware of is that some of the machines we tested have plates that won’t fit a large slice of bread. If you're making a big sandwich for one, that’s not a problem, as you can lay your bread across the second plate of a double toaster. But you can’t do that if your machine is designed to make just one sandwich at a time. If you’re only intending to cook single sandwiches but you like a bigger sandwich, check the size before you buy or invest in a standard double machine if you have the extra space.
Take into account how easy it will be to clean off all that molten cheese. Some of the machines we tested had plates that could be removed and either handwashed or put in the dishwasher. Others had rigid plates that needed to be cleaned with a damp cloth. The choice is a personal one.
When it comes to speed, our sample showed a surprising range of preheating times, from a couple of minutes to over five. If you have a very short lunch break – or you’re just plain impatient – this could be a factor. Actual cooking times varied less.
We tested sandwich toasters from £8 to around £70 – read on to discover our pick of the five best machines.
Cuisinart sandwich maker
Best overall sandwich toaster
Solid, sturdy and stylish, this is a sandwich toaster that’s built to last. It comes with clear instructions and a well-designed recipe book. The machine is the only one we tested that allowed us to choose whether to cook our sandwich on 'low', 'medium' or 'high', which is perfect if you're fussy about such things.
We tested the Cuisinart using standard bread and paninis. The sandwich toaster coped well with the deeper fillings and there was no problem securing the latch. The sandwiches were very brown after four minutes on high and really crispy. This is a product that really does cater for all tastes. The plates are easy to remove for cleaning and, joy of joys, fit into the dishwasher to make clearing up quick and easy.
Breville two-slice deep fill sandwich toaster
Best traditional sandwich toaster
Breville is probably the best-known brand of sandwich toaster out there. This is a solid and substantial machine and one you'd expect to last for a long time. Despite the misleading name, it actually makes two sandwiches at a time, making it ideal for a small family.
It comes with detailed instructions and heats up quickly, plus it has a high hinge so you can make deep-filled toasties. It created the perfect sandwich in four minutes – well browned with a good seal.
George Home 3-in-1 sandwich toaster
Best value sandwich toaster
You get an awful lot of kit for your money with this sandwich toaster. The machine itself is sturdy without being too heavy, and the instructions are good, clear and detailed (it even explains how to change the fuse), though it’s a shame there weren't any recipes. It's an unflashy, average-sized machine that goes about its work effectively.
The sandwich toaster comes complete with three sets of interchangeable plates – one for toasties, a second for waffles, and a third flat one for grills. We found that it preheated quickly in just three minutes and 20 seconds and it was clear when it was ready to cook. Our toastie was beautifully brown and crispy after three minutes – well sealed and the filling was melted.
Removing the plates takes a bit of getting used to, but the waffle making function works well, although our waffles did stick slightly.
Tefal snack collection
Most versatile sandwich toaster
The Tefal snack collection aims to single-handedly produce a range of snacks that would normally require several different machines. It comes complete with plates for triangular sandwiches and waffles, and you can buy up to 14 others.
The machine is very solid, which makes the rather flimsy instructions particularly disappointing. Most of the instructions are in the form of diagrams, which might or might not work well, depending how easy you find these to follow. It took four minutes and 20 seconds to preheat – slightly speedier than the five minutes given in the instructions.
Our toastie was brown, crisp and well-sealed after four minutes. After some trial and error with batter quantities, our waffles were well cooked and brown after three minutes, and were very crispy.
VonShef 2-in-1 snack maker
Best sandwich toaster for single-person households
This dinky machine is perfect for cooking for one person, and makes both toasties and waffles very effectively. The instructions say to allow three to six minutes for cooking, and our sandwich was cooked nicely after four. Medium-sliced supermarket bread fitted perfectly and toasted evenly, though the seal could have been a little tighter.
The waffle plates work well, producing golden brown, soft and delicious waffles in just four minutes. The plates can be removed and washed in the sink so you don't have to resort to just wiping it down. Overall, this petite machine would be a perfect gift for a student leaving home for the first time, or for someone with limited workspace in the kitchen.
What we looked for in a sandwich toaster
Ease of use Sandwich toasters are designed to do a simple job. We checked how straightforward each of the machines was to use.
Quality of cooking Toasties should be evenly browned and well sealed, so we rated the machines for this.
Ease of cleaning A sandwich toaster needs to be cleaned after each us, so we looked at how easy this was.
Value We scored each of the sandwich toasters on value for money.
Toastie maker reviews and recipes
Breville two-slice sandwich toaster review
VonShef 2-in-1 snack maker review
Cuisinart sandwich maker review
Tefal snack collection review
George Home 3-in-1 sandwich toaster review
Cheese toastie recipe ideas
5 ways with grilled cheese sandwiches
This review was last updated in June 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you use a toastie maker? We'd love to hear your product suggestions…