It’s the little things in life that count so when your toaster just doesn’t do the job then it’s time to invest in a new one! But with so many toasters to choose from it’s hard to know where to start. Take a look at our guide to toasters to learn everything you need to know to pick the perfect toaster.
When you’re deciding which toaster to buy, make sure you’ve taken everything on the following checklist into consideration:
Ease of use
Style and finish
Accessories and features
You can find toasters in a broad price range, from around £5 for a basic model to in excess of £200 for something more state of the art. In general you can pick up an adequate toaster that will last a few years for as little as £20. Many stores offer kettle and toaster sets which work out cheaper than buying the two items separately.
The majority of toasters are large enough for two slices of bread but you can find toasters that can accommodate four, six or even eight slices which can be very useful for large families.
Most two slice toasters are fairly compact so don’t take up much space in a kitchen. If the toaster fits four or more slices of bread then it will be larger, but you can look for slimline models if you want to save space.
Whatever the capacity of your toaster you should always ensure that it is wide enough to fit different thicknesses of bread as often cheaper models will not be able to fit thick slices of bread or other foods such as bagels, muffins or crumpets.
Ease of use
Most people use their toaster on a fairly regular basis so it’s important that it’s quick and easy to use. When buying a toaster, look out for the following:
It should be easy to use buttons, levers and toaster mechanisms
Small items should be easily removed from the bread carriage
All settings should be marked clearly
The tray for crumbs should be easy to remove and clean
Style and finish
Toasters today come in all colours, shapes and sizes but if you don’t want to spend a lot of money then you’re more likely to get a basic looking model. You can find toasters in finishes to match your kitchen units and can also purchase matching kettles and other kitchen accessories.
Accessories and Features
If you want to ensure that your toaster performs all the functions you want it to then look out for the following settings:
Defrost function – to allow you to thaw frozen bread
Pause and check – a new feature that allows you to use the cancel button to check your food and then resume toasting at the same point
Bagel settings – the toaster browns only one side of the bagel
Energy saving – the toaster only heats one slot to save energy if you’re making a single slice
Independent controls – toasters with four or more slices can have independent control for the left and right hand slots
Countdown – where you can see how long you have to wait until the toaster is ready
Bun warmer – a rack that can be attached to the toaster to warm croissants or rolls
The major brands
There are literally hundreds of companies manufacturing toasters but the major brands include Russel Hobbs, Morphy Richards, DeLonghi, Dualit and Breville. The majority of supermarkets also manufacture ‘own brand’ toasters which are usually cheaper than branded toasters but just as effective, although you won’t find as wide a range of features.
What about toaster ovens?
Toaster ovens are gradually gaining popularity in the UK as they are cheaper and quicker to use than a conventional oven. Toaster ovens can be used to cook, toast bread or warm food through. However, they don’t work as well as conventional toasters when toasting bread as they tend to leave stripes on one side of the food and take two to three minutes longer to cook. They’re also more expensive than toasters although you can buy a basic model for around £20.
Types of toaster oven
There are two main types of toaster oven, those that sit on a counter and those that can be mounted underneath. If you haven’t got much space then a counter top toaster oven could be too big, but if you plan to use it regularly it could become more useful than your regular oven.
You can also find toaster ovens that use infrared heat which means they heat up very quickly, which is ideal for saving time. Some models come with broiler functions, non stick pans and an electronic touchpad.
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