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DECENT TOASTER? Is there such a thing?

  • t

I am ashamed to admit, that I was once so annoyed over the poor performance of a shoddy toaster, that I smashed it with a sledge hammer. Since then, I have bought two others, both of which are also pieces of junk. Can any of you fellow hounds recommend a decent toaster?

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  1. Dualit 4 toast.

    Didn't even know toast could be that toasty.


    1 Reply
    1. re: AZ

      If anyone's upstate in the area of the Woodbury Commons outlet stores, the Williams Sonoma outlet there does have the Dualit toasters for about $100. I got a red 4-slicer for $129, I think.

      You do have to warm the Dualit up before toasting four slices, which is kind of a drag, but it sure looks cool! I wouldn't pay full price for the thing, but at this price it's not bad at all.

    2. DeLonghi toaster oven (model U-88? not sure). Also bakes a 9" pie very nicely and reheats other baked goods. Self-cleaning interior walls and adjustable shelf. Have had the same one over a decade with no problems. Is one of the lowest price DeLonghi models on the market (about $60).

      7 Replies
      1. re: ScratchBaker

        I agree. I've had my de Longhi for about 8 years and it's very reliable, versatile, and makes excellent toast.

        1. re: P

          richard meier, the architect, was asked in the current departures magazine for the one item he couldn't live without - and he said a toaster oven. though he lamented the poor design and longevity of most.

          i have burned out a delonghi after only about a year. i don't remember which model. literally melted the plastic housing. i love toaster ovens but i find that when an average bread slice is toasty enough on the outside it's too dry on the inside.

          as for the dualits, absolutely beautiful but i'm thoroughly unimpressed with the toasting. especially for the price. for almost 4 hundred bucks - admittedly at the high end - i expect a transcendent toast experience.

          i like my current toaster - a cuisinart with one long wide-ish slot, with a defrost button and a one-sided toasting option. toasts well and consistently and has so far withstood toasting marathons.

          kitchenaid has a similar model. only real differences are design and colours.

          both around 50 bucks.

          1. re: louisa

            I have a Cuisinart too. Mine was closer to a hundred bucks. It's the best toaster I've had, but it's far from perfect.

            I can't predict how it will toast anything so I make a guess on the light side and stand over the second cycle to get it right.

            But, again, it's OK. Just not great.

            1. re: Win (Boston)

              i think you're right about the price. now that i recall i bought mine at bloomingdales during one of their big sales with a coupon, etc.

              and yes, i have the same feelings about my toaster. like not love. decent but still searching for the perfect one.

              remember when we were kids and toasters just toasted? i know i was just as discriminating about my toast back then too.

              now that i think about it some more there is a vintage appliance dealer at the rose bowl flea market in pasadena (california). a hardcore retro friend of mine bought a toaster and blender and says they're great. but i have no first hand knowledge of that. yet. so restored vintage may be a way to go if you don't want the bagel button like i do.

              1. re: louisa

                Why not go retro all the way. I have given up on toasters for toast. Instead, I make mine on a cast iron griddle: dark as I care to and still moist on the inside. And for such things as cinnamon/sugar toast, I can squash it down nice and thin.

                I once lived in a place with a cast iron stove; we made our toast on top of it and I've never gone back to the machines that dry it out all the way through.

          2. re: P

            I got rid of my DeLonhi because it burnt everything, even on the lowest toasting temp. I had to watch it the entire time. Nothing as exciting as watching your breakfast toast toast. I got a Krups Pro Chef and it is even worse. The door won't close and there is no consitency in how the toast turns out.

          3. re: ScratchBaker

            Oooooo....we have NOT had good luck with our Delonghi. We received the "retro" four slice for a wedding present, and it takes well over six irritating minutes to toast a bagel. Even after a full cycle at the highest setting it barely toasts the lightest of breads. Who has time for that in the morning?? It is by far the biggest piece of crap I have ever had in my kitchen.

          4. I SO understand the smashing story.

            You pay a decent amount of money for something with so simple but so essential a purpose: making toast.

            And most toasters....well, suck. Mine does too - a "Toastmaster" (sic).

            It's just maddening. Toasters are so simple. Toasters should work. Your computer is supposed to give you problems, your answering machine's drive belt is supposed to pop, your car and your plumbing and your cholesterol level are supposed to bring you non-stop aggravation, but your toaster, darn it, should spit out reasonable toast slice after slice. Mine specializes in the half-burnt, half-underdone, and cold-in-the-middle-on-both-sides routine. To make things worse, I LOVE toast. I COUNT on toast. But cruel manufacturing forces conspire to deprive me of this pleasure.

            If you can't depend on your toaster.....argh. It's just so demoralizing.

            1. There's some good toasters out there. For example, my very own brother gave an excellent toast at my wedding, and may be available for short speaking engagements.

              He won't be happy to hear that you punish poor performers with a sledgehammer, though.

              1. Personally I jsut have a middle of the road Black and Decker Toaster oven. Nothing special, just does the job, but then again, I rarely make toast.
                I recently found myself in need of replacing everything I wown, and I found epinions.com to be particularly helpful for user ratings of small appliances.

                1. I have to admit I hate toasters. When I was 12 a english muffin curled up somehow and got stuck inside our toaster. It didn't pop up because of this and kept toasting. The toaster just kept toasting and toasting.

                  My sister and I were in the basement playroom and came upstairs to get our toast. Instead we saw rapidly growing flames shooting out of the machine, then explode into a wall of flame engulfing the kitchen. We had to crawl out of the house because the flames were running along the walls and ceiling. I got my little sister outside but my dog wouldn't leave the house. I had to crawl back in drag him out, then run down the street to the local (and very nearby) firehouse with my sister dragged by one hand and a pissed off dog under the other arm. The all brick house was a shell by the time the fire dept got there, literally within two minutes from the first flames. So I hate toasters.

                  Since then I have had a toaster oven. I never seem to find a good one. They over or under toast most of the time. At least my folks had a good one that served them well for many years. (Had is the key word here, I don't know the brand) Last week I was up the road visiting my folks. I walked into their house and smelled smoke. I called out to my folks to see if they were all right. I heard my father called back in a muffled voice from behind some closed door upstairs. My mothers voice rang out from the back garden.

                  I ran into the kitchen to see their toaster oven totally burst into flames, right before my eyes. Memories of when I was 12 flooded back. I stood there in shock for a few seconds. It was the same house, rebuilt since the first fire 20 years ago.

                  This time we had three things in our favor. One, the fire extinguisher that was at the top of the basement stairs 8 feet away. I grabbed that sucker and attacked that blaze, blasting that white powder all over the fire, and the rest of the kitchen. Two, I had rebuilt their kitchen ten years ago and made sure that I used components that were fire resistant or fireproof. Three, I had done a lot of rescue and EMT work over the years and was slightly more aware of how to deal with the situation than as a 12 year old.

                  The results. One very messy kitchen that took all day to clean and repaint. And one completely toasted toaster oven, that I got quite violent with when it cooled off.

                  By the way their new Black and Decker toaster oven is absolutley lousy. As for me, back home in my place. I don't have a toaster or toaster oven any more.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: The Rogue

                    Toasters can be diabolical. It's the one applicance I always made sure to unplug when not in use. I don't have one anymore. Instead, I lightly butter my bread and grill it in my iron frying pan.

                    1. re: The Rogue

                      Wow! What a traumatic experience!

                      You make me glad that I don't own a toaster (I could probably go the rest of my life without eating toast -- I've eaten so much bad toast I've given up).

                      If you could promise me a toaster that could do a good job on English muffins I might change my mind, but that's the only thing that would tempt me.

                    2. A qualifed rec. for Krups:

                      I also had a couple of really bad toasters and then I read a review of toasters somewhere (Times or Cooks Illustrated, maybe?) and I threw out the metal-bodied monstrosity that burned everything, including me, and got the recommended model, a Krups side-by-side with a plastic body.

                      On the plus side, the outside stays cool, the toast slices can be very thick or very thin, the side-by-side format means they can also be very long (you can fit a naan or pita in), and it is fairly consistent.

                      The down side is if you are making a lot of toast (like for bread stuffing), it heats up erratically and you have to be on your toes to make sure you're getting the same result over an extended time.

                      Other than that, it's the best toaster I've had and wasn't very expensive. In fact I remember the review saying to stay away from expensive toasters, as they are a rip.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lucia

                        I can second everything lucia wrote. My Krups toasts well and has lasted for about 3 years and is still going strong. But you do have to keep an eye on it during the long bouts of toasting. But I don't allow myself to make cinammon toast anymore so I rarely have a problem.

                      2. c

                        I know- it's frustrating!

                        I just wanted to share a theory. I belong to another online community for fans of the tv show "The Eastenders." It's the #1 rated show on the BBC for years. There are ongoing discussions of toast there, which originated when there were discussions of how sexy this one good-looking man looked while he regularly ate toast for breakfast. This led to further discussions on how toast is almost a fine art in England. So my theory is that perhaps a British toaster could possibly be the answer. Of course, you'd need an adapter. Any British firms produce toasters for sale in the US? Anyone have one?

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: cypressstylepie

                          I've been searching now for toaster sites, to see if there were any British ones (I know it's sort of ridiculous hunch, but...)

                          Link: http://www.toaster.org/

                          1. re: cypressstylepie

                            I thought Dualit was a British firm....

                            1. re: cypressstylepie

                              I have the British Doalit 2 toaster which works very well. I first saw it at a regular Williams-Sonoma store for $279 which was too expensive. Late last year I found it at their outlet store at the Leesburg, Virginia Outlet Mall for $99 and bought it. Very simple and sturdy with an easily cleaned crumb tray. They suggest a short preheat period prior to inserting the bread for uniform toasting. A four slice model (Dualit 4) is also available there for $129. Prior to this I also threw out every toaster that I ever had.

                              1. re: Joe
                                Wendy Leonard

                                Can the Dualit handle bagels? I have the stainless Cuisinart with two long slots and what's good about it is that it can handle everything--4 slices at a time, long slices from huge artisanal loaves, thick bagels, tortillas, etc. But this is my second one in three years. The first one stopped toasting one side of the bread on one slot. This one is OK, as I said it can handle all sizes, but it doesn't toast perfectly evenly or anything. Before this I had a Krups with the long slots and I think that probably toasted a bit more evenly before it too stopped toasting on one side.

                                1. re: Wendy Leonard

                                  The Dualit can only handle regular slices of bread...no bagels or extra long slices of anything. In this respect it is quite limited. It has a stainless body and is almost retro in design.

                                2. re: Joe

                                  I have a two-slice Dualit that I bought at a W-S outlet for $59, and it's by some distance the best toaster I've ever had. It's true that it can't handle bagels, but then, bagels were never meant to be toasted, so who cares?

                                3. re: cypressstylepie

                                  john thorne wrote a quite wonderful essay on the philosophy of toast in his simple cooking newsletter a couple of years ago.

                                4. After reading through this entire thread with much amusement and occasional alarm (2 fires from toasters in the same kitchen?) I refer everyone to the solution Pat Hammond and I have found independently...stovetop in an iron pan.

                                  good toast
                                  no appliance cluttering the counter
                                  a multi-purpose tool
                                  even if it burns it doesn't start a fire
                                  very inexpensive
                                  never wears out
                                  Even if you take a Hammer to it!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: saucyknave

                                    But Saucyknave: You can only do one slice at a time, unless your iron pan is about 16" in diameter. And you also have to keep an eye on the cooking. The concept of a toaster is great, but for some reason no designer has ever built one that is simple, reliable, consistent and reasonably priced. There is a huge market out there waiting to buy the perfect toaster.

                                  2. I've been looking for one in the UK with a bagel button, thought I'd found one but it just toasts it for a different length of time. Thought I'd found another, it's just a wide slot with the advice to cut the bagel in half and toast it with the slices back together, cut slices out.

                                    Definitely found another on a display shelf, found out the current model no longer has the feature. And the one on the display shelf had the cord removed and they wouldn't sell it.

                                    I think there are wide slot Dualits, but the only advantage I think they have is replaceable parts.


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Doug Weller

                                      Have has a nightmare dealing with Dualit over a defective toaster ( $300.00) they sold me. The toaster toasts only one side of each slice. They tried to repair it and sent it back to me with two new dents. They have utterly refused to honor their warranty. and have been truly nasty to deal with. I think many of the 4-slots are defective. See the amazon.com reviews for this product and do not purchase it unless you can afford to waste three hundred dollars and hours of aggravation.

                                    2. Don't be ashamed, toastyhound. I often smash things that perform poorly, often with a rolling pin (because it's handier than the sledge, typically). Since Jan. '06 I have been using a Sanrio Hello Kitty 2-slot toaster that I picked up off the reduced shelf at Target for $9.99. It's supposed to toast the outline of a Hello Kitty face on the bread, but you have to pretty much burn it to see it. So I had DH remove the kitty face shield and now it toasts like a normal toaster. It also has defrost and bagel settings.
                                      The thing is 90% plastic and I am amazed that it didn't burn out a long time ago--even if it quits tomorrow I feel I've gotten my $9.99's worth out of it.

                                      1. I've been using a the KitchenAid ProLine toaster for a few months now and it is exceptional. I have never had a problem and everything toasts beautifully. http://www.kitchenaid.com/catalog/pro...

                                        1. Don't be ashamed! My husband gets so annoyed with appliances that don't work - toasters, alarm clocks, etc. - that he gleefully (1) throws them in the pool (2) smashes them (3) lobs them onto our roof! As for a toaster, we bought a Waring extra wide 2-slot about 3 years ago. It has worked superbly well until about 2 weeks ago, but, based on previous toaster disasters, we consider 3 years to be an amazing amount of time. I believe it was pricey - at least $80. The upside was that while in Williams-Sonoma, a man returned 2-3 toasters, all costing at least double that, that would not decently toast anything. Give the Waring a chance, and buy it from someone with a return policy and no restocking fee. We liked the Waring so much, we bought their waffle iron (pro version, about the same price as the toaster, with the super cool rotating mechanism that flips the plates and batter for even cooking). Good luck!

                                          1. A late 1940's Toastmaster. If you can find one still in good working order get it. My mother received on as a wedding gift and gave it to me when I got my first apartment. I eventually bought a new toaster at Target, it lasted a year. So I dug the Toastmaster out of the back of the cupboard and were still using it today. It doesn't have any fancy settings or extra wide slots. We can do english muffins or bagels in it but you have to unplug it and nudge the item with a butter knife to get it to pop up. It is consistent and have never broken.

                                            If you are looking for a new one, Linens N Things has either the Krups or Cuisinart retro models dirt cheap about twice a year. I think sometime last November or October was the last time I saw them on sale.

                                            1. I also got fed up with supposed quality toasters and sprang for a Dualit. It's worked fine for several years now (one thing I learned: put in bread topside down for the most even results).

                                              1. Something odd has happened to toasters. I never had a problem with one before 1994, no matter the age or cost. Now none of them seem to work. I think maybe this happened around the advent of toaster ovens or digital parts, but I'm not sure. I am not crazy about Dualit, but they are better than what passes for average these days. Not long ago Dwell had a very informative toaster comparison review, but now I can't find it.

                                                1. I can totally relate. We hate our delonghi. My sister in law's cuisinart burned out after one year, and I am too scared to buy a dualit because I am afraid of being disappointed after spending that much money.
                                                  My beef: I want HOT toast, not the cool stuff you get from electronic toasters. I need a toaster and will wait to see how this discussion plays out.

                                                  1. http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-NB-G1...

                                                    If the link doesn't work, just search for "panasonic toaster" at Amazon.

                                                    This is a toaster oven that actually works. Minor heating differences between the front and the back, so make sure to stick that slice of bread all the way in or pull it out to the front.

                                                    Besides, it's a totally cool light show.

                                                    1. Anyone out there have a dualit toaster and can comment on it? I am looking for hot toast.

                                                      1. Toasty - Have you checked out if Cook's Illustrated or Cosumer Reports have done a rating? Did you buy one yet?

                                                        1. I just bought a $12 all-white plastic Proctor Silex. It's OK, but not great. It does seem to dry out the toast slightly.

                                                          1. West Bend used to have a slide-through unit. My father used mine once and walked off with it - best under $50 Toaster I ever had. The worst toaster I ever had was the Black & Decker see through one (Arise? Arize?)