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Toaster Buying Guide: What You Should Look For

Toaster Buying Guide
Toasters are among the more common kitchen appliances, yet it can be challenging to achieve a successful balance of toastiness on the outside and moisture on the inside. If you’re looking for the best toaster for you, You should look for features such as larger slots, many shade settings, and functions tailored to your toasting needs. Whether you're creating a simple breakfast or a complex spread for brunch, the right toaster can enhance the experience. Additionally, you might have more options than you think. Read our toaster buying guide on types of toasters to easily upgrade this kitchen staple.

Red KitchenAid toaster with bread Red KitchenAid toaster with bread

How To Use a Toaster
Start by placing one bread slice into each slot in your toaster. The next step is to select the level of toasting you desire. When you are ready to toast your bread, you simply press the lever to lower the slices.


Today, the best toaster for you might offer features beyond the fundamentals that may surprise you. Here are some popular features that have solved common toaster problems.

A standard toaster typically has two or four slots, but commercial toasters typically have six slots. One-slot toasters are also available. If you have a large household, 4-slice toasters will help you serve up more toast than 2-slice toasters in fewer batches.

4-slice toaster from KitchenAid 4-slice toaster from KitchenAid

Slots that are longer and wider can toast more than sandwich bread. Thick, artisan bread and homemade bread will also be given a satisfying crunch. For example, KitchenAid® toasters come with slots up to around 1 ½-inches (3.8 cm) wide to accommodate whatever you're toasting—bagels, english muffins, artisan breads, and homemade breads.

KitchenAid toaster with extra long slot KitchenAid toaster with extra long slot

You use the lever to lower the bread into the appliance and remove toast once it's done. However, some older models don't always pop the toast up high enough, so you have to reach into grab it. A high-lift lever lets you raise even small pieces of toast up high enough to grab them easily, protecting your fingers from the heat. Most models, like the KitchenAid® 2 Slice Long Slot Toaster let you use the lever to raise up the bread mid-toast and check its progress.

Every person has a different idea of what a perfect toast should be. With the shade control, you can choose the level of darkness that works best for the meal, yourself, or anyone else. For example, select KitchenAid® toasters come with up to seven shade settings, so you can get light toast, dark toast, and every shade in between.

Toasters may offer settings tailored to a specific food or situation. To make breakfast even better, consider purchasing a toaster with one of these features.

KitchenAid toaster with bagel function KitchenAid toaster with bagel function

Bagel settings. For bagels, some toasters are designed specifically to keep the inside soft and the outside crunch. The KitchenAid® Bagel Function reduces the power on one side of the heating elements by 50% to gently brown the outer side of the bagel while toasting the inside.

Add time settings. Some toasters allow you to add just a few more seconds to reach the perfect brown, just like the handy "add 30 seconds" button on a microwave. 

A defrost setting lets you bring bread straight from the freezer to the toaster. It can defrost a frozen piece of bread, then toast it, sometimes in as little as a minute.

If you have a freshly toasted bagel or piece of bread, crumbs may come into play. Several toasters come with a tray at the bottom of the appliance where crumbs can be caught, slid out, and cleaned easily.

KitchenAid toaster crumb tray KitchenAid toaster crumb tray