• Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster

  • Black & Decker TO1303SB

  • How We Tested

  • Other Toaster Ovens Under $50 We Tested

  • Other Toasters Under $50 We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Toasters and Toaster Ovens Under $50 of 2020

  1. Best Affordable 2-Slice Toaster

    Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster

    Pros

    • Very affordable

    • Fast and even toasting

    • Beautifully designed

    Cons

    • Lightweight and narrow

    • Not compatible with thick bagels and muffins

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Affordable Toaster Oven

    Black & Decker TO1303SB

    Pros

    • Inexpensive

    • Compact

    • Even toasting and baking

    Cons

    • No electronic controls

    Skip to the full review below
Cuisinart 2-Slice
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser
Best Affordable 2-Slice Toaster
Best Affordable 2-Slice Toaster
Cuisinart 2 Slice Compact Plastic Toaster

Cuisinart toasters can typically be had on the cheap and still be amongst the best toasters. In spite of its rock-bottom price, the Cuisinart 2-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster is beautifully designed and performs well, making it our best value choice (our original best value, the Black + Decker 2-Slice, was discontinued). We love how the gray lettering on the controls really pops against the light background, making it super easy to choose your setting. It was very fast, serving up dark toast in under 3 minutes. When we toasted five 2-slice batches in a row on medium, we got ten slices of identical toast in about 6 minutes. How great when you’re making BLT’s for a bunch of hungry kids! While it did a beautiful job of toasting a bagel on the bagel setting, we found a fat New-York style bagel fit tightly in the slots and neither bagels or English muffins popped up high enough to grab without raising the lever for an extra lift. There's also reheat and defrost features.

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • Fast and even toasting

  • Beautifully designed

Cons

  • Lightweight and narrow

  • Not compatible with thick bagels and muffins

Best Affordable Toaster Oven
Black & Decker TO1303SB

When it comes to toasting, the Black and Decker does a remarkable job, especially considering its low price, lack of frills, and petite size. This is the perfect model for a small household that primarily wants to make toast or tuna melts and perhaps occasionally broil a couple of chicken breasts for dinner.

It’s not large enough to hold a 12-inch pizza or even a Cornish hen, never mind a whole chicken. While it was much slower at baking crescent rolls and heating frozen pizza than the other toaster ovens we tested, it browned perfectly evenly.

Not much bigger than a pop-up toaster, the Black and Decker is also lightweight so it’s easy to move around or stash away. To operate, you have to set two dials and then activate a timer. It comes with a small baking pan that’s just large enough for two open-face sandwiches.

Pros

  • Inexpensive

  • Compact

  • Even toasting and baking

Cons

  • No electronic controls

How We Tested

The Tester

Hi, I'm Sharon Franke, and I’ve been reviewing kitchen equipment for the past 30 years. In addition to testing and writing about everything from bagels slicers to bread machines, I’m a passionate home cook. Before I became obsessed with cooking appliances and tools of all kinds, I spent seven years working as a professional chef in New York City restaurants. While I’m always on the lookout for the newest recipes and restaurants to try, when I’m cocooning at home, more often than not, it’s a toasted bagel that’s on my plate.

The Tests

We tested 2-slice pop-up electric toasters (we haven't tested 4-slice toasters yet). Each appliance was rated first and foremost on how well it toasts bread. Could it produce a range of shades and toast evenly enough that all 4 sides come out looking the same? When you make batch after batch does each one come out the same or start getting darker? How does it do on the bagel setting?

The best toasters - consistency
Credit: Reviewed / Sharon Franke

Consistency is everything when it comes to testing toasters. We weighted it very highly in our scores.

Of course, we also considered the experience of using the product to find the best toasters, including how easy it was to set the controls and the convenience of the special features. Since all the toasters got too hot to touch around the slots, whether or not English muffins and bagels popped up high enough to grab without burning your fingers was an important factor. We also evaluated how well each toaster was constructed, including wide slot and long-slot toasters that can toaster different types of bread. And while we didn’t include appearance or size in our ratings, we took them into consideration, as this is one appliance that will almost certainly live on your countertop.

Related content

Each toaster oven in this guide was rated first on how well it toasts bread, just like a pop-up toaster. Could it produce a range of shades and toast evenly enough that all 4 sides come out looking the same? Could it evenly toast bagels?

I baked up frozen pizza, refrigerated biscuits and broiled chicken breasts to see if they came out cooked on the inside and nicely browned on the outside in a reasonable amount of time. The convenience of using the product, including how easy it was to set the controls and the helpfulness of the cooking functions, were also an important part of our rating process. I looked at its size, construction, and design of each toaster oven during testing. Is it all stainless, or are there plastic parts? Do the glass doors get dirty easily?


Other Toaster Ovens Under $50 We Tested

Black & Decker 2-Knob 4-Slice Toaster Oven

If price is your number-one consideration, or if you’re really space challenged, the Black and Decker 4-Slice Toaster Oven is for you. Barely bigger than a toaster, you don’t get the functionality of larger, pricier models. However, you can still depend on it for toast, baked goods, and broiled foods. To start heating, you turn a mechanical timer. If you’re cooking something that needs more than the timer’s half-hour limit, you can select a stay-on mode. Just be sure to turn it off when cooking’s finished.

A small lightweight aluminum baking pan comes with the Black and Decker. When I baked refrigerated biscuits, I was only able to fit six, as opposed to the standard eight that come in a package.

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • Compact size

Cons

  • No electronic controls

  • Limited functions

Hamilton Beach 31330D

If you're not looking to spend a lot and primarily want good toast, the Hamilton Beach 6 Slice Toaster Oven will make you happy. It excels at browning bread and bagels evenly and can bake a batch of crescent rolls or biscuits or broil up some chicken breasts but is not designed for roasting a whole chicken.

This oven looks fairly utilitarian and won’t add any pizzaz to your countertop. To use it, you have to set three separate dials and it operates on a mechanical timer so it isn't terribly precise. However, it does what it’s intended to do well and won't put too much of a dent in your budget.

Pros

  • Toasts evenly

  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No electronic controls

Other Toasters Under $50 We Tested

Oster TSSTTRGM2L 2-Slice Toaster

The latest thing in large kitchen appliances is black stainless steel: a softer, easier-to-clean finish than gleaming stainless steel. If you want to capitalize on the trend without swapping out your fridge, consider the Oster Black Stainless Collection 2-Slice Toaster. Naturally, we wouldn't be writing about it here unless it was also great at toasting bread at all shades. When you’re toasting small items like English muffins, you will have to use the toast lift to grab them without risking burnt fingertips. In addition to bagel and frozen bread settings, it has a "Quick 30 Sec" button if you want your toast just a wee bit more well done.

Pros

  • Attractive black stainless steel finish option

  • Even toasting

Cons

  • Struggles to pop up English muffins

Hamilton Beach 22623 2-Slice Toaster

Talk about no frills! The Hamilton Beach has no settings other than cancel. There isn't a removable crumb tray —you pull it open and give it a shake. However, for less than the price of a movie ticket, you get a darn good toaster.

As you would expect at this price, it’s lightweight so it might be a good choice if you keep your toaster stashed away and pull it out on weekends or when you have company.

For storage, you wrap the cord around the side, which isn’t pretty but is easily accomplished.

Pros

  • Even toasting

  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No special settings

  • Crumb tray isn't removable

Oster 2-Slice Toaster

With its rounded retro shape and shiny red finish, the Oster 2-Slice Toaster is cheery looking. If you prefer a more neutral look, you can also buy it in gray.

English muffin lovers should be forewarned that small items don’t pop up very high and can be hard to nab from the slots.

The bagel, frozen, and warm buttons are large and clearly identified.

Pros

  • Fairly even toasting

  • Cheerful design

Cons

  • Struggles to pop up English muffins

Hamilton Beach Keep Warm Toaster

Although it’s not a looker, you can’t beat the price of the Hamilton Beach. And you don’t sacrifice at all when it comes to getting a perfectly browned piece of bread or a bagel.

This was one of the few that was able to turn out five matching batches of toast one after the other. When you’re making a small item like an English muffin you’ll have to remember to use the lever to raise it above the hot slots. Its bagel button, defrost setting and keep warm setting are very well marked so they’re easy to select.

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • Very even toasting

Cons

  • Unattractive design

Made by Design 2 Slice Extra Wide Slot Toaster

Target’s house brand, the Made By Design 2-Slice Extra Wide Slot Stainless Steel Toaster,
sells for an unbeatable price but, as you would expect, it’s utilitarian looking and lightweight.

However, it does a reasonably good job of toasting bread. And surprisingly, it’s one of the only toasters we tested that stays cool enough to touch just about everywhere except the stainless steel on the top of the slots.

On the bagel setting, it extends the time but toasts on both sides of the bagel.

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • Sides stay cool to the touch

Cons

  • Lightweight

Black & Decker T2569B

The Black and Decker 2-Slice Toaster T2659B really shines at toasting evenly. And when we toasted five batches in a row, there wasn’t a lot of variation from one to another.

Another big plus: Of all the models we tested, this one stayed the coolest to the touch. You only have to be careful about the stainless steel on the top of the slots.

Unfortunately, English muffins don’t rise up to the top of the slots, even when you use the high-lift lever, so you have to be careful to avoid burning your fingertips.

This toaster is on the chunky side so it may take up a little more countertop space but will easily handle a chubby bagel. Unlike most, on the bagel setting, it toasts both sides.

Pros

  • Even toasting

  • Sides stay cool to touch

Cons

  • Struggles to pop up English Muffins

AmazonBasics 2 Slice Extra Wide Slot Toaster

The Amazon Basics 2-Slice Extra Wide Slot Toaster is another inexpensive generic-looking toaster with just so-so performance.

It does have frozen and bagel settings and the slots are wide enough to easily hold half of a huge bakery bagel.

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • Easily accommodates a fat bagel

Cons

  • Browns toast unevenly

  • Lightweight

Meet the tester

Sharon Franke

Sharon Franke

Contributor

Sharon has been testing kitchen equipment for the past 30 years. Before becoming a cooking tools maven, she worked as a professional chef in New York City restaurants for seven years.

See all of Sharon Franke's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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