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De’Longhi 2-Slice Icona Toaster
This Italian-designed, retro-style, two-slice model has several functions, including defrost to take your toast straight from freezer to toaster. Slots are wide enough to toast bagels, and the tray can be removed for easy cleaning. It offers six levels of browning, so you can precisely control how toasty you’d like your bread. PRO: Rubber nonslip feet make it sturdy on your countertop. CON: Both sides of bread don’t always toast evenly.
Hamilton Beach Classic Chrome 2-Slice Toaster
A solid budget model, this two-slice pop-up has defrost, reheat and bagel settings and a dial to change the level of browning. While it may not have as many features as some of the more expensive toasters, in our testing, we found it toasted bread just as well as many of the other models. Plus, the chrome finish looks nice on your counter. PRO: Toasting of sandwich bread is even and consistent. CON: Although it does have a bagel setting, we had to put our bagels through a couple of times to get that deep golden color we love.
SMEG 4-Slice Toaster
This sleek four-slice model is a staff favorite – and perhaps the best-looking toaster we’ve ever seen. Extra-wide slots fit bagels and thin buns and a removable tray makes for easy cleaning. Comes with four functions including a toast-from-frozen option and handy reheat option – after all, you can’t always get to your toast right away. Choose your preferred level of browning from six settings. PRO: It cleans easily with no streaking. CON: Pops very enthusiastically, so toast sometimes ends up on your countertop. $200, smegusa.com
Breville Smart Oven Pro
More than just a toaster, this model can be used for just about anything you can make in the oven – think cookies, pizza or chicken. With 10 preset functions (including keep-warm and reheat functions – bye bye microwave!) and three optional settings (including convection), this appliance just might make your full-size oven redundant. PRO: It comes with a broiling rack, a baking tray and a pizza pan, and the top doubles as a plate warmer. CON: Can be a little tricky to clean. $270, brevilleusa.com
Cuisinart Toaster Oven Broiler with Convection
With a wide range of functionalities – baking, broiling, toasting and convection – this model has a nice amount of interior space given its moderate footprint. PRO: Tray and interior have a nonstick coating, making cleaning a little easier. CON: Lacks an oven light, which would be useful to gauge the progress of your food. $100, cuisinart.com
Panasonic FlashXpress Toaster Oven with Double Infrared Heating
They didn’t call it “Xpress” for nothing – we baked a frozen pizza in under 12 minutes. So fast, in fact, you have to keep an eye on food so that it doesn’t burn. Its compact size takes up less space, but larger items can’t fit into it. PRO: Faster cooking saves time in the kitchen. CON: Toasting wasn’t so speedy, and it wasn’t as even as other models. $150, panasonic.com