The toaster is a simple but well-loved kitchen staple. It’s a go-to wedding gift for a reason! Though it’s not the most versatile appliance on your counter, there’s something comforting about popping a slice of bread or bagel in the slots and slathering the toasted results with butter, jam, or cinnamon sugar. Toaster ovens have tried, but the standalone toaster can’t be replaced.
"Having a toaster is a huge time saver. The alternative is either an oven, which requires more time to preheat, or a microwave, which changes the texture of food," says Nicole Pomije, a professional baker and founder of The Cookie Cups outside Minneapolis, Minnesota. "Some criteria I would consider when purchasing a toaster include the size, range of shade settings, and design."
My husband and I use our 2-slice toaster every single day. We’re a household full of bread lovers, and bread just feels more indulgent when it’s toasted and jazzed up with almond butter, avocado, or other toppings. It’s our most-used gadget that we reach for when making bagels, sandwiches, pop-up waffles, and more.
A good toaster should last you around five years, so choosing one isn’t something you should take lightly. Here are the best 2-slice toasters to have on your countertop.
Breville BTA720XL A Bit More 2 Slice Toaster
What We Love: Innovative features, compact size, high wattage
What We Don’t Love: Pricey
If you’re looking for a compact toaster that has wider slots and variable browning control, this Breville model checks all the boxes and then some. It has a sleek, minimalist design with an LED indicator, but it’s as functional as it’s aesthetically pleasing.
This toaster is a crowd-pleaser for its two innovative features: Lift & Look and A Bit More. The former allows you to check on the status of your food without interrupting the cooking time (who doesn’t get curious if their toast is done?). The latter allows you to extend the toasting cycle if needed so your toast gets a smidge darker.
"I’m so pleased with my Breville toaster. It fits perfectly into my morning routine," Pomije says. "The defrost setting has been a huge time-saver since I store my bread in the freezer. With this feature, I can toast my bread straight from the freezer without any hassle. I didn’t think I would need the ‘A Bit More’ feature, but I’ve been happily proven wrong."
Price at time of publish: $120
Dimensions (LxWxH): 11.3 x 7.3 x 8.2 inches | Weight: 4 pounds | Power: 1000 watts
BLACK+DECKER TR1278RM 2-Slice Toaster
What We Love: Lightweight, stainless steel construction, extra-wide slots
What We Don’t Love: Basic design and features
Since they’re single-use appliances, toasters don’t have to be premium machines. If you’re on a budget, this Black+Decker pick costs less than the ingredients required to make a week’s worth of avocado toast.
It offers the basic features you’d expect from a toaster—crumb tray and buttons for bagels, frozen foods, and cancellation—with a few unexpected perks. Five to six shade settings is standard, and this model offers seven. Bagel enthusiasts understand the frustration of thin toaster slots, and this one impressed with its extra-wide slots. Another thoughtful feature is the extra lift lever that lifts toast so your fingers don’t touch the hot wires.
Price at time of publish: $25
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5 x 6.1 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Power: 850 watts
Elite Gourmet ECT-3100 Long Slot Toaster
What We Love: Reasonably priced, fits longer pieces of bread, sleek design
What We Don’t Love: Too springy, large footprint
Bread comes in all shapes and sizes and there may be a time when you come across long slices of toast that don’t fit in your standard-sized toaster. If you run into this problem frequently, add "long slots" to your list of criteria when searching for the best toaster for you. This one fits the bill.
For a 2-slice toaster, the Elite Gourmet model can fit up to four slices of regular-sized bread or two slices of long bread, such as sourdough. The slots measure an extra 1.25 inches in length compared to other toasters, which go a long way (pun intended). It also has six shade settings and a convenient reheat function to keep your toast warm but at a lower temperature so it doesn’t get overcooked.
This model has many pros: metal construction, powerful wattage, easy-to-clean crumb tray, and more. However, it takes up a lot of counter space. Customer reviews also state that toast often goes flying when the time is up due to the springiness of the lever. If you’re not standing nearby to catch it, your breakfast may end up on the floor.
Price at time of publish: $35
Dimensions (LxWxH): 14.7 x 7.1 x 7.7 inches | Weight: 5.4 pounds | Power: 1300 watts
Related: The Best Toasters
ZWILLING Enfinigy Cool Touch 2-Slice Toaster
What We Love: Wide slots, high lift to easily remove bread, auto-shutoff
What We Don’t Love: Pricey
There’s nothing more frustrating than thin slots on a toaster. Bagels, English muffins, and many varieties of bread require ample width to fit comfortably. When the bagel fits snuggly into the slot, it can be difficult to put it in and remove it. That’s where toasters with wide slots come in, and this model by Zwilling takes the cake with its slots that measure 1.5-inches wide.
The sleek black design fits perfectly into any modern kitchen, but there’s more to this toaster than just its good looks. It’s designed to distribute heat evenly, so bread is evenly toasted on both sides. Its high-performance features include a defrost function, high lift to easily remove bread, and auto-shutoff. It also stays cool on the outside.
Price at time of publish: $140
Dimensions (LxWxH): 12.2 x 6.6 x 8.1 inches | Weight: 4.6 pounds | Power: 1000 watts
Cuisinart CPT-122 2-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster
What We Love: 7 shade settings, wide toasting slots, crumb tray
What We Don’t Love: Basic design
If you’re like me, you’ve unintentionally become a collector of small kitchen appliances. You may have even realized it when it’s too late. Whether you have a small amount of storage space or you’re running out of room on your countertops, compact appliances are the solution to this conundrum. Toasters tend to have a smaller footprint than other appliances, but a compact toaster like this one by Cuisinart is even less obtrusive.
This measures 6.5 x 11 x 7.2 inches and weighs less than 3 pounds, making it a small and lightweight option. With 900 watts, it’s also a powerful one. If you’re looking for the essentials—several shade settings, slide-out crumb tray, and wide slots—look no further. As long as the basic design isn’t a dealbreaker, this is a sound choice.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.5 x 11 x 7.2 inches | Weight: 2.6 pounds | Power: 900 watts
Related: The Best 4-Slice Toasters
Revolution InstaGLO R180 Toaster in Stainless Steel
What We Love: Clean crumb tray reminder, stainless steel construction, wide variety of settings
What We Don’t Love: Expensive narrow slots
Some people dream of having a high-tech kitchen, slowly replacing every appliance and gadget with a smart one. If that sounds like you, your vision won’t be complete without a smart toaster. In terms of functionality, the Revolution InstaGLO is a strong contender. It has everything you didn’t know you needed in a toaster, including a touch screen and alert signal that sounds when the toasting cycle is complete.
If you’re someone who's very particular about their toast, this toaster has a wide variety of settings. It offers seven browning levels, five food settings, and three toasting modes. Also, cleaning a toaster doesn’t get easier than this. Not only does this model have a removable crumb tray for easy cleaning, but it also reminds you periodically to empty the tray. These premium features come at a premium price, however. The slots may also be too narrow to comfortably fit bagels and thicker types of bread.
Price at time of publish: $349
Dimensions (LxWxH): 11.6 x 6.1 x 8.4 inches | Weight: 6.3 pounds | Power: 1500 watts
Related: The Best Toaster Ovens
The Breville BTA720XL A Bit More 2 Slice Toaster offers innovative features and gets your toast the perfect shade of gold. Those on a budget will get the most bang for their buck with the extra-wide-slotted BLACK+DECKER TR1278RM 2-Slice Toaster.
What to Look for When Buying a 2-Slice Toaster
A toaster is a relatively simple appliance, but you’d be surprised how many bells and whistles it can have. Even the most basic toasters offer multiple settings. Since the preferred degree of toastiness is unique to each person, most toasters offer at least five toast settings that range from slightly golden to very crispy.
A bagel setting is also usually expected with most models. This can be used for bagels and English muffins, which are usually thicker than most types of bread and require more cooking time. When you press this button, the toaster adjusts the cooking time to be a little bit longer.
Other settings to look for include a defrost or frozen setting, which is convenient for those who keep their bread in the freezer for freshness. This also comes in handy for heating pop-up waffles. Some features that aren’t required for an enjoyable piece of toast, but are nice to have, includes a high lift lever that lifts your toast so you can view its progress or remove it without touching the hot wires.
You may not associate toasters with being the most powerful appliance, but the average toaster is around 1,000 watts. We noticed they range from 850 to 1,500 watts. Higher wattage equates to higher power, so this may be an important deciding factor for those who prefer a faster cooking time.
When you get a new kitchen appliance, it’s so shiny and new that you forget how you will eventually have to clean it. It’s hard to imagine when it’s fresh out of the box, but toasters are notorious for collecting crumbs and pieces of food.
Many people don’t know that most toasters have a crumb tray at the base of the unit. It can usually be accessed from the front or back. Pull the crumb tray out and dump the crumbs in the trash about once per week. Some models may not have this feature, so if easy cleaning is important to you, check for a crumb tray.
What can you cook in a toaster other than bread?
The toaster is generally viewed as a single-purpose appliance. Its main function is to toast bread, bagels, and English muffins. While it’s not the most versatile tool, you can also use your toaster to warm up frozen foods like waffles, hash brown patties, and garlic bread. You can also heat paninis and grilled cheese sandwiches quickly in a toaster. Other uses include reheating leftovers, such as pizza and veggie burgers. For a healthier approach, toss slices of sweet potato in your toaster and make sweet potato toast instead of regular toast.
Why do some breads toast quicker than others?
The sugar and moisture content of bread affects its cook time. Breads that contain more sugar and less water, such as white breads, will toast quickly. Breads that contain more water, such as brown breads, will take longer since water requires more energy to heat.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Lacey Muinos is a food, nutrition, and wellness writer with a growing collection of kitchen appliances and gadgets. Sourdough toast with plant-based butter has been her go-to snack for years. She dreams of upgrading her compact toaster to one with long slots and smart features someday.
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