Those prone to rushed mornings will know the virtues of a convenient electric toaster all too well. We took to the Good Food Test Kitchen armed with loaves of bread to put popular models to the test.
Find out more about our BBC Good Food reviews.
Magimix vision toaster
Best bits: Innovative glass-sided design by a trusted electronics brand.
Bonus features: Removable crumb tray, defrost setting, lift lever.
When the now legendary Vision toaster popped (sorry) onto the gadget scene, breakfast time was never the same again. Novel idea aside, this is one impressive toaster and created an “amazingly” even piece of toast. The test team watched agog as it worked its magic (we need to get out more) and marvelled over the results for some time. It’s easy to use and comes with plenty of added functions. All in all, an absolute winner.
Best... for kitchen wizards
Sage The Smart Toast™ by Heston Blumenthal
Best bits: ‘Quick Look’ technology that automatically raises your toast for checking.
Bonus features: An unrivalled number of control settings, plus a handy alarm.
At pushing £170, this toaster doesn’t come cheap, but it’s guaranteed to provide a talking point. The chunky appliance, designed with everybody’s favourite gastronaut Heston Blumenthal, has ‘Quick Look’ patented technology that allows your toast to glide upwards so you can check its progress (if you can’t imagine what we mean by this, we demonstrated it on our Instagram account). It has more controls than you’ll ever need, so this toaster-for-the-future is ideal for serious breakfasters.
Best… for small households
Best bits: Choice of colours and simple mechanism.
Bonus features: ‘Peek and View’ function, warming rack.
This two-slice toaster is ideal for those with small families and/or kitchens as it has a dinky kitchen footprint. We love the colourful kMix range as it is, but there’s something about the pleasing, simple shape of the toaster that we particularly like. Kenwood also do larger toasters, but as this is an efficient piece of kit, you’d whizz through several rounds of toast in no time anyway.
Hotpoint Ultimate Collection digital toaster
Best bits: Sandwich function, warming rack and countdown function.
Bonus functions: Great for sandwiches and warming pastries, crumb tray, easy-to-use timers and added bagel function.
For the number of functions you get, this toaster is actually pretty good value for money. It’s a hefty one, so this definitely falls into the ‘family toaster’ category. You’ll need to clear plenty of space on your surface, but it looks good (if modern/futuristic is your thing) so you could leave it out on display if you didn’t want to lug it in and out of the cupboard.
Best… for gifting
Russell Hobbs glass line toaster
Best bits: Dynamic design and a nice long slot.
Bonus functions: Electronic browning control, removable crumb tray.
Where Magimix lead, others follow… Russell Hobbs’ clear-sided toaster is reasonably priced and looks great – it has an unusually long shape so it would fit neatly against a wall. Again, we loved the fact we could gawp at our toast while it cooked. The pricepoint is gifting-friendly, so if you know a couple of toast lovers about to tie the knot, you know where to go for a present.
For all of the products mentioned in this review, various retailers have been suggested by our affiliate partner Monetizer 101 and are not suggested or chosen by BBC Good Food. For more information on how these retailers are selected and the nature of our partnership, please read the Monetizer101 FAQ page.
We like toast cooked on an open flame or under a grill, but toasters can’t be beaten on the convenience front.
What should I buy?
One of the biggest things to consider is the size of your kitchen. Toasters generally come in 2- and 4-slot versions, but look out for ones with excess shell, as slimline is key to preserving space. Our top five toasters are all £50 and over, but you can buy more basic toasters with one simple control function for a lot less. You can pick a toaster to match your kitchen, whether your style is modern, vintage or eclectic.
What we looked for:
Toast quality: We looked for an even brown hue to the finished toast.
Toasting functions: More important than added functions was a decent timer that’s reliable and easy-to-navigate.
A checking function: A lift, preview or pause function that allows you to see the progress of your toast.
A sturdy feel: Lots of people keep toasters tidied away in cupboards. We looked for toasters that could withstand the odd bump.
More advice on buying electronic kit...
The best food processors
The best blenders
The best hand blenders
The best dehydrators
The best kettles
This review was last updated in October 2018. 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.
What toaster do you use? We'd love to hear your product suggestions...