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Toaster Buying Guide For 2021
Toasters are really nifty pieces of kit! They are pretty much a staple of British kitchens everywhere. However, they sometimes get labelled as being simpler than they actually are. There are plenty of fantastic toaster models out there which can help you to take greater control of the heating process.
Others are super-easy to clean, while some can cook bread for the whole family at once. There really is no end to the innovation! To that end, shopping around for the best toaster is not always going to be so easy. For that reason, we’ve set up a buying guide to help you on your way.
We’ll take a look at the essentials you’ll need to bear in mind when shopping around, as well as those features which aren’t so essential. Who’d have thought that toaster shopping could be so in-depth? Stick around for the end of our guide, too, where we will take a look at a few commonly asked questions.
Toaster Types in Brief
Toasters can pretty much be split into two or three categories. Basic, traditional models will offer two slots for cooking bread, while others will offer four.
You may even find some that can deliver more toast to you at once! However, one of the major issues people face with more slots is making sure that everything comes out at the same level of brownness. Don’t worry, as we will come to this a little further down in our guide!
You may even wish to look at toasters which are considered ‘long slot’. These models accommodate more slices of bread, but in two long slots as opposed to separate compartments. For many people, this can solve the problem of awkward browning, though some may find this setup to be a little on the clumsy side.
You should also think about deeper slotted toasters, too, if you want to diversify your toasting experience. Fancy a bagel? Wave goodbye to awkward slot-sticking with a toaster model which will comfortably accommodate different thicknesses of bread.
Things to Consider
Now we’ve covered the absolute basics of toaster technology and build, it’s time to consider some of the finer points you may wish to compare.
Very basic toasters will allow you to only slightly adjust the heat of the unit while browning your bread. Others, meanwhile, will give you sensitive control over your bread and will even let you control browning per slot – though this isn’t always a given.
Some toasters come fitted with a defrost mode, which means you can place frozen bread directly into the slots and it will take its time to defrost and warm up your bread. Not everyone needs this functionality, though it is one of the most common features.
Size and Capacity
As mentioned, there are various types of toaster which are grouped in terms of the number of slices they can manage at any one time. Your capacity needs may depend on the size of your family.
Therefore, a smaller two-slot model is never really going to hack it. However, bear in mind that the more slots you buy, the bigger and bulkier your unit is going to be. Do you have space for a long slot toaster?
Ease of Use
Most toasters, if not all, should have some form of cancel feature that will allow you to eject your bread if you need to stop the process. In many cases, you will find this in the form of a manual eject pump, which you can thrust upwards to eject your bread.
However, some models incorporate this clumsily. Look for a toaster which is highly rated in terms of popping and spring action, as some will really go overboard and cast your toast out through the window if you’re not careful!
Peek and Pop
A peek and pop system will let you check your bread midway through the toasting cycle without you having to force a pop, or cancelling the process. This is a great little function which is appearing more and more in upper-end devices.
A timer will give you a lot of control over your toast. If you know exactly how long it will take for your bread to cook, you can set yourself custom programs to measure this exactly. These systems will also let you manage other kitchen duties alongside with ease.
Yes, there are toasters which can connect to the internet. As bizarre as this may seem, there are models out there which can print certain information on your bread.
For example, a popular model is a weather forecast toaster, which asks the internet what the weather will be like in your area for the day, and will print a raincloud on your toast if you can expect a downpour. This is something of a daft little gimmick, but for plenty of people, it’s a real selling point!
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s time to consider some of the more common queries people pose when shopping for toasters for the first time.
How Much Does a Good Toaster Cost?
The great news with toasters is that the very basic models cost very little. You could end up spending as little as £5-£10 for a good, solid model with basic functionality. However, for the biggest brands and the most features – such as that internet connection – be prepared to pay hundreds.
Are Looks Important?
Yes! Think carefully about the look of toaster you’d like for your kitchen. Think about finding a neutral colour or finish, such as silver, if you really don’t want to worry about design too much. If you want to go all out on design, there are some truly wacky looks out there.
Do All Toasters Come Fitted With Crumb Trays?
No! However, for ease of cleaning and general use, we always advise you look for one. There’s nothing more than annoying than having to clean a toaster out – well, it’s up there with the worst, anyway!
Your humble, handy toaster can do more than you give it credit for. Take a look around for toaster types and styles, and always be ready to trust the opinions of those who have bought and are using the models you like the look of. Shop carefully and budget accordingly!