The best toaster browns bread evenly, quickly and with no fuss. However, too many toasters can’t handle a normal slice of bread, never mind a bagel or crumpet. Verum has researched numerous models and found that many available have slots that are simply too small for your average slice. This means bread gets stuck, uneven browning and a soft white top – clearly this isn’t acceptable!
For the perfect toast in 2021, you need the best toaster. Verum has measured slots, compared specifications and scrutinised owner insight. Rather than list 100s – the details below highlight the best toasters available to buy, right now…
Best Cheap Toaster:
Russell Hobbs Inspire 2-slot
The Russell Hobbs Inspire is highly rated by its owners, has good slot dimensions and is powerful enough to make good toast, quickly. As a general rule, more power to the heating element translates to better toast, quicker. Rated at 1050W, this 2-slot makes toast that’s crisp on the outside and fluffy within.
Beyond the basic requirements of good internal measurements and a decent power rating, the Russell Hobbs Inspire gets a number of things right. The ‘lift and look’ feature means you can check on your toast without cancelling the cycle. Usually, you need to either peer into the top and risk singing your eyebrows or press cancel, check on the toast and then push it back down, starting a new cycle – this invariably ends with burnt toast. With this model, you can lift, check and then lower without interfering with timing. Plus, when you want to get the toast, crumpet or alike out, the lift feature means you can extract your toast without getting burnt.
A budget toaster is only a good deal if it lasts. This Russell Hobbs 2-slot has a three-year warranty, which gives security to the purchase and if you’re looking for a quality toaster at a great price, the Russell Hobbs Inspire 2-slot may be the right toaster for you – available in black, cream, grey, red & white.
SLOT LENGTH 14cm | SLOT DEPTH 13cm | SLOT WIDTH 3.5cm | POWER 1050w | WARRANTY 3 Years (on registering purchase) | 5 Colours
Russell Hobbs Inspire 2-slot | Verdict price £30 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Four-Slice Toaster under £50:
Russell Hobbs Inspire 4-slot
Twice as good as the two-slot! High power and decent sized slots mean this toaster will make lots of good toast quickly. Rated at 1800W it’s powerful enough to do the job well and with internal dimensions to match the 2-slot version, it will accept all but the biggest slice.
As you’d expect, the features on the 4-slot match that on the 2-slot. ‘Lift & Look’, high lift, defrost and reheat functions all make sense and are definitely worth having. Plus, while you hopefully won’t need the three-year warranty, it’s good to have. Extended (free) manufacturer warranties are usually a good indicator of how well a product has been made.
If this is the toaster for you, there are five colours to choose from, white, cream, grey, red and black.
SLOT LENGTH 14cm | SLOT DEPTH 13cm | SLOT WIDTH 3.5cm | POWER 1800w | WARRANTY 3 Years (on registering purchase) | 5 Colours
Russell Hobbs Inspire 4-slot | Verdict price £40 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Retro Toaster:
It would be easy to choose this Smeg toaster based purely on looks. But, what’s important here is that beauty is more than skin deep. This toaster comes highly rated by owners & has a decent specification to match.
Crispy on the outside and soft within
Above all else, it makes good toast – crispy on the outside and soft within. Plus, it has numerous useful features. Along with a defrost switch, warm-up setting and 6 browning levels, there’s a bagel button. This will toast your bagel to perfection on one side while warming it on the other. Also, the controls light up. Perfect for late-night toasted snacks!
This SMEG toaster is advertised as having long slots & we’re pleased to confirm that they’re longer than most, however they do lack depth. What’s good to know, is that most bread does fit, although a tall slice is best toasted on its side. The slot width is good and importantly, the bread is clamped centrally. Meaning this toaster is more than capable of handling chunky home-cut bread.
Best Red Toaster*
This toaster isn’t cheap, but if you love the design & can see it looking good in your kitchen, this model from Smeg will not disappoint. You do, however, need to choose a colour. There are ten to choose from. Click the link below to see all options.
SLOT LENGTH 15cm | SLOT DEPTH 11.5cm | SLOT WIDTH 3.5cm | POWER 950w | WARRANTY 2 Year | 10 Colours
* Check out all 10 colours – click the link below
SMEG 2-slot | Verdict price £180 | Check best price on Amazon
Dualit 2-Slot Lite Toaster
Everything about this toaster conveys quality. Not only does it feel well made, but it also ticks the boxes in terms of power, capacity and features. The 2-slot model is rated at 1100W, which translates to quicker warm-up, more heat and therefore faster toasting.
The slot is a decent 14.5mm long, meaning that it will take your standard slice, work with more rustic bread and toast breadmaker slices. The depth is advertised as 12cm, although on measuring it’s actually deeper than this. Happily, with a bigger depth, there’s less chance of the bread sticking out of the top and therefore remaining white. Plus, there’s a ‘peek & pop’ function which means you can check on your toast without stopping or restarting the timer.
Dualit, at its core, is a British toaster company. You will see their iconic classic design in fancy restaurants and cafes. However, the classic model is twice the price of the Dualit Lite. Measured on features and specification, the Dualit 2-Slot Lite is not only cheaper but is also a better bet for your home.
Clamp Your Bread for Even Toasting
The Dualit Classic (more expensive model) unquestionably works well in a commercial kitchen, it’s robust and is designed with minimal moving parts, meaning there’s less to go wrong. This, however, results in a few compromises. Essentially, the Lite model does almost everything that the Classic model offers, but will also clamp your bread in the centre of each slot. This means evenly browned toast – each side of the bread is an equal distance from the heating element. Plus, choose the Dualit 2-Slot Lite Toaster and you get extra-wide slots, perfect for buns and bagels.
Magic Button – Perfect toaster for Bagels
If you like hot cross buns or toasted bagels, this Dualit toaster has the magic button! The perfect hot cross bun is crisp on the cut side, but warm & soft on the other and within. Dualit achieves by a specific setting that allows for one-sided toasting. This simple idea is the difference between the perfect hot cross bun and something terribly disappointing!
There are lots of cheap toasters on the market (and plenty that cost much more). If you want a premium toaster that’s built to last, works quickly and evenly then choose the Dualit 2-Slot Lite Toaster.
SLOT LENGTH 14.5cm | SLOT DEPTH 13cm | SLOT WIDTH 3.6cm | POWER 1100w | WARRANTY 1 Year | 4 Colours
Dualit 2-Slot Lite Toaster | Verdict price £75 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Four-Slice Toaster:
Dualit 4-Slot Lite Toaster
Twice as good as the Dualit 2-slice Lite! As you’d expect, this is similar to the model above but has four slots rather than two. It’s powered at 2000w for quick, quality toast and similar to the 2-slot has bagel and defrost functions.
Dual heat settings, mean that this toaster can be used efficiently for two slices and with the double settings, for four slots, everyone can get what they want. If half the family wants pale toast and half prefers it dark, no problem! Most other four slot machines have a single browning control.
If breakfast means lots of toast quickly, then choose the Dualit 4-Slot Lite Toaster
SLOT LENGTH 14.5cm | SLOT DEPTH 13cm | SLOT WIDTH 3.6cm | POWER 2000w | WARRANTY 1 Years | 4 Colours
Dualit 4-Slot Lite Toaster | Verdict price £84 | Check best price on Amazon
Use Your Loaf – Choose a toaster with big slots
Many toasters are too small for a standard slice. The bread that protrudes from the top of the toaster will never brown evenly. Worse than that, bread that’s too big, gets stuck, burns and jams the whole device.
Whether you prefer Hovis, Kingsmill and Warburtons or opt for your own loaf from a breadmaker, make sure that your next toaster is fit for purpose. All of the recommendations above have a larger than average slot. However, should you prefer a model that isn’t listed above, then it’s worth checking in-store that your purchase will do what you want (most manufacturers don’t publish this info).
Nobody likes burnt toast
A smoke alarm in a kitchen often gives false alerts. It’s annoying enough to burn your toast, but trying to deal with the toaster and simultaneously disarm a blasting siren, is never good.
However, what’s important is that most house fires start in the kitchen. Better than a smoke alarm (for a kitchen) is a heat detector. These cost less £20 and are quick & easy to fit. If you want to know more, take a look at the best smoke alarms & heat detectors.
Recommended Best Buy Toasters
Quality toaster at a great price
Russell Hobbs Inspire 2-slot | Verdict price £30
See price on Amazon
Four slots with a 3-year warranty
Russell Hobbs Inspire 4-slot | Verdict price £40
See price on Amazon
SMEG | Verdict price £180
See price on Amazon
Premium toaster that’s built to last
Dualit 2-Slot Lite Toaster | Verdict price £75
See price on Amazon
Great for the whole family
Dualit 4-Slot Lite Toaster | Verdict price £84
See price on Amazon
Repairable rather than disposable
It’s easy to overspend on a toaster, with the hope that it will toast better and last longer. However, it’s important to see what the extra money buys. There’s little evidence to suggest that additional bells and whistles mean better toast and with plenty of higher-priced devices coming with smaller slots and lower power.
Models such as the Dualit Classic are certainly well-built, have less to go wrong and with available spares, they’re repairable rather than disposable. There are plenty of toasters to choose from, selling at well over one hundred pounds, but if you want the best toaster, choose the well priced Dualit 2-Slot Lite Toaster for around sixty quid.