Best Red Toaster Picks and Reviews 2017/18

A red toaster makes a great addition to your kitchen, one that is both stylish and functional.  But with so many choices in the market today it is not easy to choose the right one for your needs and budget.  In this article we review the top 3 rated 2 slice red toasters, 4 slice red toasters and red toaster ovens including an unbiased review of the pros and cons of each model, plus details of where to buy at the best prices.

READ NEXT: Best Toaster Ovens Buying Guide and Advice

How to buy the best red toaster for you

Buying a new red toaster can be confusing with so many choices available on the market today, each promising to be the best thing since, pardon the pun, sliced bread.  We have spent hundreds of hours testing toasters and toaster ovens and provide some easy-to-follow buying advice and guidance below to help you understand what are the important features you should be looking for before reading our red toaster reviews.

Should I buy a 2 slice or a 4 slice red toaster?

Unless you live alone, or are very tight on kitchen countertop space, then we would recommend a 4 slice toaster because it gives you greater flexibility, allows you to cook wide bread and generally makes busy breakfast times easier.  That said, there are plenty of great 2 slice red toasters on the market which may better suit your needs hence why we have provided Top 3 reviews for both options below.

The performance of a 2 slice and 4 slice toaster should be similar, however you may find that the controls on the 4 slice option are a little more complex and may include, for example, dual slot controls and timers to allow you to control each pair of slots seperately so you can toast say bagels on one side while toasting bread on the other.

What features should I look out for in a toaster?

Most decent red toasters available today will have a reheat, bagel and defrost function.  Let’s take a look at what each of these does and why they are useful:

  1. Reheat – the reheat button is something we tend not to use as we prefer our toast to be freshly prepared.  It activates a short (e.g. one minute) cycle to heat up your cold toast.  Some toasters have the reheat function marked on the timer dial rather than being a seperate button.
  2. Bagel – if you love bagels as much as we do then this setting is a must have; bagels should only be toasted on the inside and selecting the bagel function disables the outer toasting elements so you can toast on one side only.  Without this function there is no other way to cook your bagel, or indeed English muffin, properly.
  3. Defrost – the defrost button is actually quite a simple one, all it does is add around a minute to the selected timer setting.  Not rocket science but useful nevertheless because it means you don’t have to adjust your timer control from its ideal setting.

How much should I spend on a toaster?

If you intend to use your toaster frequently, are fussy about having perfectly cooked toast with even browning or appreciate having options to check your toast mid-cycle then investing in a more expensive toaster would be a worthwhile investment.  Red toasters vary in price between approximately $20 and $300 depending on the brand, style and features it comes with.

At the upper end of the budget scale are toasters such as the Dualit, which are not only hand-built but come with fully replaceable or repairable parts, and have a unique ejector lever which means you can check your toast mid-cycle without resetting the timer.  The Dualit timer dial also means you can see how long your toast has left to cook, a feature that is unique to this brand.

At the lower end of the budget scale some things to watch out for include toasters which get very hot on the exterior (safety hazard) and do not brown the toast evenly.  That said, there are certainly some buget options reviewed here (e.g. KitchenAid 2 slice red toaster) which perform admirably well and come in at a very reasonable price point.

Should I buy a toaster with a crumb tray?

Yes.  The crumb tray is a very useful feature which allows you to easily dispose of the crumbs.  We recommend looking for a single large crumb tray instead of twin crumb trays because it’s just easier for cleaning.  Also, look for a design where the crumb tray doesn’t get too hot after use to avoid any potential incidents of burning your fingers while tidying up.

Best Red Toaster 4 Slice

Cuisinart 4-Slice Red Toaster (CPT 180 MR)

Red ToasterThe Cuisinart CPT 180 MR is a great toaster for families because it has four 1.5 inch (38mm) and dual controls, which enables independent control of each two-slice set meaning you can adjust browning and choose between toast selections.  Another family-friendly feature is the extra-high lift carriage which ensures no burnt fingers when retrieving toast.  This toaster is expensive, however we feel the high quality finish and reputable brand with a long, reliable history make this a worthwhile investment.

Performance-wise this model really stood out with evenly browned toast, perfectly cooked bagels and easy-to-use control panel.  Our only slight dissapointment was that it didn’t brown as well as expected for English muffins.

Amazon’s Customer Ratings: 4.1 Stars (1,878 customer reviews)

PROS:
  • Dual control panels
  • Variety of toasting options, including reheat and defrost
  • Wide toast slots (1.5 inch) to accommodate thicker cuts of bread
  • Stylish design
  • Pull-out crumb tray makes cleaning very easy

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Toasting wide slices of bread can be slow

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Dualit 4 Slice Red Toaster

Dualit 4 Slice Red Toaster

Hand made in the United Kingdom since the 1950’s, the Dualit toaster is a high-quality product which is designed for heavy commercial use and features fully replaceable or repairable parts.  The award-winning patented ProHeat element ensures toast is cooked evenly and prolongs the life of the appliance.  All this comes at a whopping price of around $300 at the time of writing, in this review we will help you to decide whether that price tag is worth it.

The stainless steel curved body and retro, chunky design gives this toaster a very traditional look and feel.  It has 1 inch (28mm) wide slots which are not as wide as some models tested here although this did not cause us any issues when cooking wide toast or bagels.  Other features include energy efficient 2 or 4 slice toasting option, auto shutoff, an adjustable rear foot to compensate for uneven surfaces and a removable crumb tray.

Unlike the other red toasters tested here, the Dualit has a manual eject lever instead of a pop-up mechanism which is great because the toast remains warm as it is left inside the toaster after cooking (with the heating elements switched off) and then you simply press the eject lever to retrieve your toast when you are ready.  This also means that you can press the lever to check on progress while toasting, without cancelling your toast cycle.

Typical toasting time is around 2 minutes, although you can choose up to 4 minutes based on your preferences.  As with most of the other models tested here, the Dualit has a bagel option and defrost setting.

The Dualit 4 slice red toaster is a luxurious, hand-made toaster which is built to commercial grade quality and the availability of repair parts means that it will last you a long time.  All of this comes at a cost though and ultimately this is likely to be suitable only for the most dedicated toast lovers.

Amazon’s Customer Ratings: 4.1 Stars (476 customer reviews)

PROS:
  • Commercial grade toaster with fully replaceable or repairable parts
  • Stylish design
  • Energy efficient slot selector
  • Made in UK by a reputable brand

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Large size requires additional countertop space

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Kitchenaid 4 Slice Toaster (KMT4116ER)

Red 4 Slice Toaster

KitchenAid are a reputable brand who has been in business since 1919, specialising in making kitchen appliances.  Their 4 slice empire red toaster has sleek aesthetics, and we found its long slot design ideal for cooking sourdough toast and surprisingly good when toasting bagels.

Other neat features include a manual high-lift lever (to prevent burning your fingers), 7 shade settings with defrost, reheat, bagel and keep warm.  Similar to the Cuisinart, this red toaster also comes equipped with 1.5 inch slots allowing you to cook thick bread, bagels or pastries.

In terms of performance we found during testing that the KitchenAid tended to cook the toast unevenly and wasn’t great at handling frozen food either.  For those reasons, we felt that unless you really need a long slot design for cooking food such as sourdough bread you would get better value choosing the Cuisinart instead of this model.  We also note that many Amazon customers complained of similar issues with uneven toasting.

Amazon’s Customer Ratings: 3.8 Stars (617 customer reviews)

PROS:
  • Long slot design is perfect for sourdough toast
  • Variety of toasting options, including reheat and defrost
  • Wide toast slots (1.5 inch) to accommodate thicker cuts of bread
  • High lift lever

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Uneven toasting

Best Red Toaster 2 Slice

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Smeg 2 Slice Red Toaster

Smeg 2 Slice Red ToasterSmeg is renowned for its retro design on larger appliances, so we were really excited to test their 2 slice red toaster (note: the Smeg toaster is also available in 4 slice with longer slots).  The curvaceous styling is very distinct and without doubt this is a great-looking toaster but we were also interested to find out if the toasters performance would meet our expectations too.

The build quality of the Smeg was notably better than the other models tested here, with a sturdy outer casing; powder-coated steel body and robust stainless steel ball lever know which pops up with pleasing force and speed.  Below the lever is a large stop button surrounded by the browning control dial which offers a choice of six browning levels and illuminates to signal the toaster is turned on.

Other features include extra-wide slots, anti-slip feet, stainless steel removable crumb tray (nice touch!), hooks at the bottom to keep the cord neat and 4 built-in functions – defrost, reheat, bagel and cancel.

Once we had spent way too much time admiring the good looks and build quality of the Smeg 2 slice toaster it was time to test out the performance and we’re pleased to say that it didn’t disappoint!  Toast was cooked evenly with all the heating elements evenly lit up during toasting and we found the time to toast to medium brown was faster with the Smeg (about one minute) than other models tested in this review.  The reheat, defrost and bagel functions all performed consistently well too.

While this is the most expensive 2 slice red toaster tested here, we feel the superior build quality; finish and performance definitely justify the extra investment and this toaster deservedly ranked the best 2 slice red toaster.

Amazon’s Customer Ratings: 4.5 Stars (190 customer reviews)

PROS:
  • Beautiful, stylish design
  • Superior build quality
  • Reputable brand
  • Toasts evenly
  • Wide toast slots (1.5 inch) to accommodate thicker cuts of bread

CONS:
  • Expensive

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Hamilton 2 Slice Red Toaster (22623)

Hamilton 2 Slice Red ToasterHamilton is a very reputable brand with a long history of producing quality products and the Hamilton 2 slice toaster is no exception.  Priced at under $20, this is a lightweight, easy to use toaster which performs as expected cooking toast evenly and also works great for bagels too.

Similar to the other red toasters on test here, the Hamilton has wide enough slots to fit thick slices and bagels although the slots are not long enough to cook sourdough bread which you would have to toast sideways.  Some features we particularly appreciated on this model include auto shutoff, toast shade selector (1 to 7 setting) and cool wall sides which eliminate the potential risk of you or your children burning their hands on the side of the toaster while it is toasting.

Overall, a solid buy for under $20 and in our view the Hamilton is a better option than the Black and Decker 2 slice because of the cool wall sides.

Amazon’s Customer Ratings: 3.9 Stars (766 customer reviews)

PROS:
  • Cheap
  • Cool wall sides
  • Reputable brand
  • Toasts evenly
  • Wide toast slots (1.5 inch) to accommodate thicker cuts of bread

CONS:
  • Slots not long enough to cook wide breads

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Black and Decker 2 Slice Red Toaster (TR1278RM)

Red 2 Slice ToasterThe Black and Decker 2 slice red toaster is a lightweight model (weighing only 2.5 pounds) which is medium-sized and fits nicely on narrow countertops yet big enough at the same time for most 2 slice toasting needs.

It comes with a bagel, frozen and cancel function as well as heat setting ranges from 1 to 7.  The 2 bread slots are extra-wide which is ideal for toasting bagels, thick breads and more however we found that the slots were not long enough for cooking sourdough toast or other longer breads.

The Black and Decker 2 slice red toaster performed well, which was impressive given that this red toaster comes in under $20 at the time of writing!  Do note however that it gets really hot while toasting, especially on the top and the crumb tray, which was not a deal breaker for us but worth considering nonetheless.

Overall, we were quite satisfied with this toaster which performed as expected and offers great value for money.  It would be great if it was cool to the touch; however that was not the case and is something you have to live with.

Amazon’s Customer Ratings: 4.1 Stars (1,878 customer reviews)

PROS:
  • Extra wide slots
  • Great value (under $20!)
  • Toasts evenly
  • Great for bagels

CONS:
  • Toaster gets hot when in use
  • Slots could ideally be longer

Best Red Toaster Ovens

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Hamilton Beach 2 Slice Red Toaster Oven

Hamilton Beach Red Toaster OvenFor $30, the Hamilton Beach red toaster oven offers a lot of bang for the buck and it’s no wonder that Amazon customers rated it 4.1 out of 5 stars.

This is a compact 2-in-1 design with 2 wide toaster slots (1.5 inch) on the top and a separate small toaster oven below which is large enough to cook two 16 inch pizza slice, not bad!

Due to its compact size, the Hamilton uses 25% of the energy that a conventional oven uses offering decent savings on your energy bills.

It performed surprisingly well and after a few days of testing the Hamilton really started to grow on us and we found ourselves using it for making toast, heating pizza slices, leftover food and even veggies.  It’s not perfect and doesn’t include, for example, an auto shutoff but hey for $30 that’s something we can definitely live with!

Amazon’s Customer Ratings: 4.1 Stars (2,391 customer reviews)

PROS:
  • Extra wide slots
  • Great value (under $30!)
  • 2 in 1 design
  • Uses minimum kitchen worktop space

CONS:
  • Slots could ideally be longer