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If you’re a frequent toast eater, you probably can’t imagine life without a toaster. They're quicker to heat up than a stovetop, and with coils on both sides—which ovens lack—the toasting is always even. And, of course, you get that satisfying ding!
A humble piece of toast can make other humble foods feel like a satisfying meal, from beans to a poached egg to a kale salad. It transforms soup from a spartan situation to a cozy, delicious dinner. Or, if you’re making toast in the morning for breakfast, you’re probably making it before your coffee. And, we firmly believe no one should have to deal with a frustrating kitchen appliance pre-coffee.
If your household is on the larger side or if you just eat a lot of toast, a 4-slice model may be a better fit than the regular 2-slice models. We sent our top picks, which were chosen for their ease of use, ease of cleaning, and consistency, to our editors to put them to the test. Our staff compared the browning between different types of bread (including frozen), the speed of toasting, extra features such as Keep Warm and Bagel settings, and more. Which toasters were up to the task of browning our editors' sourdough slices, frozen waffles, and toaster pastries just right? To start, Cuisinart's 4-Slice Custom Select Toaster came out on top.
Complete with testing insights, this is our list of the best 4-slice toasters to have on your counter.
Best Overall: Cuisinart CPT-640 4-Slice Custom Select Toaster
Dimensions (LxWxH): 11 x 11 x 7.6 inches | Weight: 5.5 pounds | Wattage: 1800 W
If you’re looking for a 4-slice toaster that always has your back, look no further than the Cuisinart 4-Slice Custom Select Toaster. This stainless-steel beauty will look great on your counter and performs admirably for any toast needs.
Cuisinart designed this with seven browning settings. There’s a “single toast” setting and a dial to specify what you’re toasting: bread, waffles, bagels, pastries, or English muffins. With 1.5-inch wide slots, it can handle whatever you’re hoping to toast. There’s a high-rise carriage for no-burn toast retrieval, and the crumb tray slides out for easy cleaning. In other words, an ideal toaster.
Our Editor in Chief, Emma Christensen, was pleased with how even and consistent the browning was after she established the best setting for her toast. And it was quick, too: She recorded an average of 1 minute and 45 seconds of toasting time.
But what did she like best (and what surprised her most)? The defrost setting. "I was really surprised by how quickly the defrost setting worked. I thought it would take minutes, but the toasting time was almost the same as for a fresh slice of bread," Emma raves. The only thing she would change is the strength of the pop-up spring inside the toaster. "I wish it would lift the bread a little higher. I usually had to use both the Lift feature and also toaster tongs to extract the toast from the toaster slots," she notes.
"I'm impressed by its sleek, eye-pleasing design and by its ability to quickly toast multiple slices of bread to perfection. It's intuitive to use and customize to each family member's personal preferences, and it cleans up easily." — Emma Christensen, Editor in Chief
Best Budget: Oster TSSTTR6330-NP 4-Slice Long-Slot Toaster
Dimensions (LxWxH): 15.2 x 7.3 x 7.4 inches | Weight: 3.5 pounds | Wattage: 1500 W
If you’d like an alternative to the Black+Decker, try the Oster 4-Slice Long-Slot Toaster. For one thing, it has a longer design, meant to accommodate two slices per slot (i.e., it has two slots, but they’re each very long). It's a toaster style Milagro Cruz, our recipe editor, is a fan of because of its sleekness and versatility.
"With its two slots, you're able to fit four pieces of bread in the toaster," she says. Or, you can toast two pieces of baguette or another favorite artisanal bread if you choose. Plus, Milagros likes its relatively small footprint. "It's longer and more compact than a typical four-slot toaster, which can work in your favor if you have limited counter space," she adds.
This doesn't mean Oster has skimped on other features though. It has internal guides to automatically adjust to the thickness of your bread slice and comes with seven shade settings. Milagros tested both a regular piece of white bread at level 4 of the regular toast setting, as well as a frozen waffle at level 4 of the "toast and defrost" setting. She was surprised by how quick the toasting seemed, with both settings clocking a toasting time of fewer than 2 minutes. However, she does note that the toaster browns unevenly. "The piece of bread facing the inside of the toaster gets more browned than the sides that are on the outside. I would almost recommend flipping the toast halfway through so that you can get even toasting," she says.
Finally, Milagros also appreciates the Warm setting for that piece of waffle she occasionally forgets having put in the toaster. The crumb tray is safe to stick in the dishwasher, and the sides stay cool during toasting, protecting everyone's hands.
"I think it's a good toaster, but you do have to be aware of your setting preferences. It might take you a little time to figure out what settings you like and how browned each setting makes your toast." — Milagros Cruz, Recipe Editor
Best Splurge: Breville BTA840XL Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster
Dimensions (LxWxH): 11.9 x 10.9 x 7.7 inches | Weight: 13 pounds | Wattage: 1800 W
We’re solidly in the 21st century now, so why should your toaster be stuck in the 1950s? For a next-level machine that incorporates technology to bring you excellent toasted bread, we recommend the Breville Die-Cast 4-Slice Smart Toaster.
This toaster features an internal smart chip that regulates the heating cycle, ensuring that your toast is perfect every time. It also features a patented Lift and Look feature so you can check on your toast without canceling the toasting cycle. There are bagel and defrost settings, as well as the signature Breville “A Bit More” feature, where you can add another few seconds of toasting.
Phil Gorman, the founder of CaliBagels in San Diego, considers this Breville to be the best choice. "Mechanical toaster technology has been around for 100 years," he says. "While some models try to dress up their outdated technology with sleek designs, Breville significantly raises the bar. The wide slots and motorized lift prevent frustrations like a narrow opening and jammed release spring that sends your bagel flying across the counter." He also appreciates the smart toasting settings and the thoughtfully designed powder cord.
The defrost setting, called Frozen, was a highlight for Taysha Murtaugh, our commerce editorial director. Her frozen slice of bread came out golden and crispy on the outside but soft on the inside (just how she likes it!), which took a little over 3 minutes. "I actually tore the slice apart and ate it without any jam—you would never know it had been frozen," she adds.
The slots are extra-wide at 1.2 inches, and there are five browning settings. It looks great on your counter—Taysha loves its sleek look—and has a removable crumb tray.
"My toaster pastry and sourdough were both evenly browned. ... I loved that I could load my toaster pastry vertically and the toaster lowered it enough to toast the entire rectangle." — Taysha Murtaugh, Commerce Editorial Director
Related: The Best Toasters
Best Wide-Slot: Hamilton Beach 24810 Keep Warm 4-Slice Long Slot Toaster
Dimensions (LxWxH): 15.7 x 7.5 x 7.8 inches | Weight: 13 pounds | Wattage: 1800 W
The Hamilton Beach Keep Warm 4-Slice Long Slot Toaster is another one that is low on frills but solid on design. The slots are 1.5 inches wide and over 5 inches long, meaning there’s plenty of room for your favorite bread, bagels, and beyond.
This option offers several functions, including keep warm (which holds your toast at its temperature for three more minutes without over toasting), defrost and bagel, plus auto shut-off and cancel. There’s an extra lift, so you don’t burn your fingers when you pull out the toast. There’s a very loud beep when your toast is done, which may be obnoxious or great if you tend to get distracted in another room.
Best Design: Smeg Retro 4 Slot Toaster
Dimensions (LxWxH): 13 x 11.75 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 8.4 pounds | Wattage: 1800 W
For those who think that a great kitchen appliance should also be beautiful, there’s Smeg. This Italian brand collaborates with architects and designers for a mid-century retro look without sacrificing utility. Their appliances as delightful to post to your Instagram feed as they are to use.
The 4-slot Smeg toaster, which comes in a range of neutral and vivid colors, makes great toast. One unique feature it offers is independent controls for each set of two slots, meaning you can make four slices of toast with two different brownness settings. It offers six levels of browning, reheat, brown, defrost, and bagel settings, even browning, and removable crumb trays. It’s pricier than our other picks, but it’s a beautiful and effective toaster.
Related: The Best Toaster Ovens
Best for Brunch: KRUPS KH734D Breakfast Set 4-Slot Toaster
Dimensions (LxWxH): 13.5 x 13.3 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 5.2 pounds | Wattage: 1500 W
If your interest was piqued by dual controls and you want something you can show off during brunch gatherings, we really like the Krups Breakfast Set 4-Slice Toaster. Maybe your household has strong opinions on toast levels, or maybe you host a lot of brunches where you like to offer several kinds of toasted bread.
The Krups offers six levels of browning, plus extra-large, self-centering slots, so whichever type of bread or bagel you’re toasting comes out perfectly. It has defrost, reheat, bagel, and cancel functions, a high lift for easy toast retrieval without a burn, and removable crumb trays. And when brunch is over, the cord easily stores away.
Related: The Best Juicers
If you just need a great 4-slice toaster, we stand by the Cuisinart 4-Slice Custom Select Toaster (view at Amazon), which will serve you well. If you’re a bread connoisseur and plan on toasting lots of oblong loaves, the unique design of the Oster 4-Slice Long-Slot Toaster (view at Amazon) will be just the thing.
What to Look for in a 4-Slice Toaster
All toasters share the same goal—to toast your bread and bagels to perfection in terms of color and texture. Certain features can make your morning toasting routine go a little smoother.
Having a variety of settings is a must and is standard on every toaster. Around seven shade settings is average, though some also offer defrosting, reheating, and browning settings. A bagel setting is also standard on most toasters. When you’re done toasting, a "keep warm" setting is a nice touch to prevent your toast from getting cold.
Some premium features include Breville’s patented Lift and Look feature, so you can preview the state of your toast without canceling the remaining toasting time. You can also add a few more seconds with Breville’s “A Bit More” feature.
From fingerprints on the exterior to crumbs on the interior, toasters can get dirty quickly. Since they’re electric appliances, cleaning them isn’t always self-explanatory. Cleaning the outside is simple: Wipe it down with a damp cloth and pat dry. If your toaster is made from stainless steel, use special cleaning wipes to restore its shine.
To clean the inside of your toaster, carefully turn it upside down over a sink or trash bin to empty the contents. Some toasters also have a crumb tray underneath that can be removed to easily dispose of leftover crumbs. Clean out the crumb tray and give it a good rinse once a week if you use your toaster often.
Cleaning the coils of your toaster is more tricky. Make sure your toaster is unplugged, and use a toothbrush or bristle brush to loosen debris stuck on the coils. You can also use a can of compressed air to shake crumbs and debris in the crevices.
Why do toasters only toast one side of bread?
Some toaster slots are designed to reach higher temperatures on one side than the other. This results in your bread or bagel toasting more on one side. You can flip the toast halfway to get even browning or look for a toaster that is more consistent on all sides.
Is the bagel button only for bagels?
The bagel button on your toaster can be used for both bagels and English muffins. Since they are thicker than regular bread, they take longer to toast all the way through. This button adjusts the toasting time accordingly. You can use the bagel button for other types of bread that are thicker than average.
Should you clean a new toaster before using it?
It’s always a good idea to clean new kitchen items that will come into contact with food before using them. That new toaster taste may transfer to the first few pieces of toast, so toasting a few pieces of bread and tossing them is a good option.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Christine Clark is a big fan of her fluffy scrambled eggs and brothy beans, meaning she is also a big toaster fan. She writes about food, wine, and all the kitchen tools that make our lives easier. Christine has a cheese podcast and way too many jars of honey.
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