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May 19, 2013 10:38 AM

toaster, not toaster oven

Does anyone have a favorite current model toaster, not a toaster oven. I want something that quickly makes real toast, not warm bread.

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    1. re: Antilope

      Second the Dualit. This thing is a workhorse and will probably out live me. I have a two slice model and wish that I'd opted for the four. Although there are only two of us most mornings, toasting English muffins, etc. requires either the toaster oven or another method since two EMs will not fit in a two slice toaster.

      1. re: Antilope

        I have had a Dualit Classic 2-slice toaster for about 5-years. I bought it as open box special (or slightly damaged box)for $ 140 from Amazon. The toaster its self was perfect.

        I couldn't believe it when I saw a 4-slice Dualit Classic open box special on Amazon for $90 last week. I bought that one also. They both work perfectly.

        1. re: Antilope

          I bought my Dualit 2-slice at a yard sale about 7 years ago for $5. I asked if they were sure, and was told "yes". It works beautifully. No idea how old it is.

        2. re: Antilope

          Gordon Ramsay uses a Dualit toaster in his home kitchen. You can catch a few views of it on the far counter in this YouTube video. He uses it in this scrambled egg video.

        3. Hi, Tim:

          It's not currently offered new, but there are plenty of Sunbeam T-20s still available. Unbelievably advanced for 1950, more so now. For just straight toast, they're coin of the realm. And ultracool. And very safe.


          22 Replies
          1. re: kaleokahu

            Thanks , Kaleo. I certainly respect the good experiences others report with Dualit, but mine didn't play out that way. Years ago I got an old mechanical toner Dualit four slice. One element deteriorated and died. I got tired enough of the fourth slice being toasted on one side that I took it back to WS where I had bought it and asked if they could get a replacement element since Dualit wasn't willing to respond. They said no, so I took it home and lived with until the other side of the fourth slot began to fail. I took it back and they exchanged it for another, but it had a chip sensor in place of the mechanical timer. I hated it. After a year elements began to fail but WS had changed its exchange policy. I just want a toaster with nothing resembling a microchip in it. I shall look for old Sunbeams. Cheers.

            1. re: tim irvine

              Hi, Tim:

              My experience with a Sunbeam T-20 is somewhat unique. It was only last year (7 years after my mom's passing) that I found one, in pristine condition, squirreled away in the family home. This was after I learned here on CH how valued these are, how cool mechanically and aesthetically, and how safe. It was as if Mom presciently left me a *very* cool present. She had bound up the cord with a bakery-bag twisty, and I still can't bring myself to undo the twisty she tightened...


              1. re: tim irvine

                I had the same problem..twice. I was told when I purchased it (WS) that they would guarantee it for life. I made a ruckus with the store mgr and they replaced it a second time but told me next time I was to deal with Dualit. That means mailing it to England. I no longer deal with WS nor will I ever buy another Dualit.
                For them to change the exchange policy after the fact is just wrong!

                1. re: Diving Chef

                  To me the part I have the hardest time with is the idea that if something is broken it needs to be replaced rather than fixed. I tend to favor brands where if a part wears out or breaks, you replace only the part. It is amazing what brand loyalty that engenders. On this site think Weber. I want the things I have to get passed down and be appreciated, like Kaleo's mom's toaster.

                  I assume my old toaster is parked in a land fill, and that is sad. I wish WS had a service department or could at least say "we will get the new element to you in two weeks." Was checking the bay last night and am thinking I will ,snag an old Sunbeam.

                  As regards WS the kitchen shopping options in Austin are limited enough I still go there, as well as to SLT, but I go to those places or sale food items and expendables like tab vegetable peelers and wooden spatulas.

                2. re: tim irvine

                  Ditto with the Dualit.

                  I bought one in London when I worked near Kew Gardens.

                  When my wife first looked at it she asked if it belonged on the hood of a '57 Chevy. Laugh as you may I told her, but it was a well-known British product, and it makes great toast. Her look told me she knew more than I did.

                  One month into the purchase, the heating element and handle gave out at the same time. Back to the store for a replacement, with the wife's " I told you so " look behind me.

                  Then while waiting patiently in the return line ( " queuing up " in the London patois ), a customer two ahead pulls out her new Dualit, also with the same element failure. ( Uh-oh )

                  Listening in, the salesman did his British best to sound shocked and sympathetic, and directed her on for a replacement. My thoughts considered leaving, but I stayed. Too many witnesses.

                  At last I was next in line, and placed by new boxed Dualit on the counter. " And how may I help you Sir ? " I explained the symptoms.

                  " Really ? Oh Dear ! " came the ever so sincere reply, as though it had never, ever happened to be his experience to hear this sad tale of woe before. He should have earned a BAFTA for that and his subsequent " It is a very reliable product " performance. Everything was employed but the term " By Jove."

                  I listened to his oration drone on patiently, but ears were turning red for some reason. I tried to smile, but couldn't make it work. I asked for a refund, and the salesman paused in shock as though I'd interrupted a service at Saint Paul's.

                  We did without toast for a quite awhile after that.

                  1. re: tim irvine

                    I found an old Sunbeam on e-bay. I paid about $70 for it. When it arrived it was disgustingy filthy. I started to clean it, then roach carcasses started falling out. It went out of the house never to return. I am putting up with a Cuisinart toaster. It is very unpredictable. I have to stand over it and watch what is happening. I miss my Breville. Unfortunately it caught fire. That is what started my toaster search,

                    1. re: Candy

                      Whbat started your toaster fire?

                  2. re: kaleokahu

                    I found a 1950 dated T-20 in a thrift store and love it. It was either $5, or $8, and it is the best toaster I have ever used. I know it isn't currently made, but they are on the market in various places. There are even people who restore, and sell them.

                    1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                      Hi, BGD:

                      Good on you. I'm no scholar of the various T-20 iterations, but I did research restoration a bit, and it appears that even the nearly-handy can adjust and restore these very easily, DIY.

                      I despair the disposability aspect of things like modern toasters. A culture that refuses to fix its best tools is always poorer for it.


                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        My Dad told me that Detroit Edison (the power company) used to fix appliances for free, because broken appliances don't need any electricity ;) This was back in the 20's-30's.

                        I also have a few Sunbeam CG-1 waffle irons from 1950 on up, and yes, they are rebuildable with basic mechanical knowledge.

                        I would rather rebuild something than get some POS from China that ends up in a landfill in a couple of years.

                        BTW-if you take the crumb tray loose on a T-20 a date stamp may still be visible underneath the toaster. That is how I dated mine to 1950.

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          Tareo, we're once again on the same page. The old Sunbeams (and I think you're fine with any T until 1970 or so) are cherished for a reason, in much the same way old Acme juicers are--they deliver pretty much forever. The only problem is that boards like this jack up the already outrageous asking prices by boosting demand. :(

                          1. re: MacGuffin

                            Many old toasters had insulation that contained asbestos. I wouldn't want asbestos fibers on my toast. It was in the cord insulation, the interior wiring insulation and the heating elements were often wrapped around material that also contained asbestos.

                            Photos of the interior of this old toaster show the heating elements wrapped around asbestos material and interior wiring coated with asbestos insulation. The white fluff in the power cord, under the cloth covering, is not cotton. It is also asbestos.:






                            1. re: Antilope

                              Do we know that the toasters shown are Sunbeams? Re "good grief, WHY?"--would "they can be relied upon to work" suffice? This asbestos individual probably has useful information to share but the supercilious remarks concerning others' taste are obnoxious, especially considering that, unlike current small appliances, the old stuff still manages to perform.

                              1. re: MacGuffin


                                Frequently used as a fireproofing material until the mid-1970s, asbestos was used primarily as an insulation material around the internal wiring of the toaster. Asbestos was also used in cord sets and in some mid-century toaster elements"

                                The assembly inside that toaster that includes the resistance wire. In most later toasters, the wire is supported by a panel made of mica, asbestos, or other heat-resistant material."


                                About the Sunbeam Toaster T-20 models:

                                "...You're best bet is a T-20B. The T-20A's were short-lived befored the "B" version came about. The "C" version has a temperature control slider as apposed to the "knob" found on the A and B versions. The "C" has quite a bit of asbestos wiring inside, where the A (I'm assuming on the "A") and B only had 1 wire. I removed it from my B version (made in 1953) and installed modern hi-temp appliance wiring...."


                                1. re: Antilope

                                  Hi, Antilope:

                                  I think asbestos in my T-20B is a non-issue. There's no exposed wiring in the cooking space (all shielded by stainless covers), and the nichrome wire is not wrapped around anything that looks like asbestos. And there is no fraying or anything loose in the housing. Actually, no insulation at all in the housing.

                                  It is *friable* asbestos that can be dangerous. Unless fibers can separate from the material and become airborne, there really is no danger. That's why the best asbestos remediation strategy is often to fix and encapsulate in situ. Disposing/recycling would probably create more of an exposure problem than continuing to use it.

                                  If you join the forum at toastercollectors, and learn of someone who got mesothelioma (one of 200 cases a year, and virtually unheard-of outside occupational handlers of asbestos) from a T-20, let me know.

                                  But I'm still going to have my toast this morning...


                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    Just want to give this post a medical stamp of approval. Kaleo is completely accurate with regards to the asbestos issue. I'd be more concerned about folks who worked in the plant that built the toasters.

                                    JW MD

                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      I, too, was wondering about the number of toast-related cases of mesothelioma.

                                      1. re: MacGuffin

                                        "...Simply breathing or swallowing asbestos fibers has been linked to cancers that originate in the throat, esophagus, stomach and colon..."


                                        1. re: Antilope

                                          This might come as a surprise to you but I knew about asbestos and its risks even before being bombarded with TV commercials that advertise the services of ambulance chasers such as the ones to whom you so thoughtfully provided a link. Regardless, I'm with strangemd and Tareo on this one.

                                          1. re: Antilope

                                            Hi, Antilope:

                                            As a lawyer myself, I can assure you that the good folks at Ruck Law Firm would laugh you out of their office if you came to them claiming your vintage toaster's asbestos gave you cancer. Asbestosis in the lungs can be nailed down. The cancers that (theoretically) come asbestos from ingestion are nearly impossible to pin down.

                                            But if you want to avoid asbestos at any cost, great. I just don't think it's quite the Kryptonite-hiding-in-my toaster you make it out to be.


                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                              I agree with Kaleo, I have worked around asbestos in furnaces, and cars (brakes,clutches), and as long as you take proper precautions it is a non issue with me. I feel that most people today don't take the time to research things like this completely. My Dad worked on nuclear submarines, and taught nuclear pipe prepping. I have been exposed to lead for decades in the form of bullets, and fishing sinkers. There is stuff alll around us that with enough, or the right type of exposure, can kill or harm you. Many are wondering about fiberglass insulation now. I weigh the risk of things everyday at work. Making toast in my T-20 , or waffles in my cloth corded CG-1 waffle iron are not even on the radar for risks.

                                              I would hate to see good useable vintage cooking equipment sent to a landfill based on overreaction to loooooow , or no real risks.

                                              I feel that Americans have become a bunch of wimps lately. What happened to the risk takers that made America great? No offense Kaleo, but sometimes I think a bunch less lawyers would be a good start. Yeah, we all hate lawyers -- till we need one ;)

                                              1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                Talofa! For the record, agreed with "wimps," not "surfeit." :)

                        2. Hatco - stainless steel, 4 slice, bagel setting, true commercial, made in USA and 40% less than Dualit


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ATL_Brad

                            I bought this three years ago for $149 and did not notice a made in China sticker on it; so I've assumed all along that it was made in the USA. Now that I've posted about it, I decided to take another look and damn if I didn't find the dreaded made in China sticker. I should have know given that other commercial toasters run $300 and up. Hatco is a long-time leader in conveyor toasters so I doubt they would risk their reputation with an inferior product so, while disappointed, I'm not going to run out and buy something else.

                            It's given me no problems in the time I've had it and I still expect it will the last toaster I ever buy; but I do want to correct my previous post about it.

                          2. I dont know how many toasters we went through in the last several years until I finally sprung for the Dualit. We've had it about 2 years now, and I am still glad we bought it.

                            1. Amazon does have open box specials on Dualit toasters. You can pick up a real bargain sometimes. I did.