Few things can top the texture, flavor, and contentment of biting into a perfectly browned slice of toast. Finding a toaster consistently produces such crunchy, warm bliss? That can be less satisfying. The world of toasters has some exciting bells and whistles, but you deserve one that excels at what matters—crisping up bread slices, bagels, and frozen waffles without scorching.
We’ve tested over a dozen top-sellers to find you the best 2 slice toasters at the right price. We’ve endlessly deliberated about the perfect color for toast, searched for the bagel setting, and struggled to grab the small half of an English muffin from toaster slots. Our favorite is the Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster(available at Sur La Table). The Breville doesn’t come cheap, but its even toasting and solid build—plus some special features—make it an absolute pleasure to use.
Made By Design 2 Slice Extra Wide Slot Stainless Steel Toaster
Black and Decker 2-Slice Toaster T2569B
Breville the Toast Select Luxe BTA735SST
Dualit 2 Slice Toaster 380
Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster
The Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster might actually make you say “I love my toaster” in casual conversation. This stainless steel toaster's weight is noticeable right out of the box. Making a product heavier to connote “quality” is an old trick, but the Breville’s quality is also obvious in its top-notch toasting of bread and thick (sliced) bagels.
It’s the little things that make this toaster stand out. The start/cancel button is handier than a traditional lever. The bread lowers and rises in its extra-wide slots with a theatrically slow speed. You select your setting by sliding a button on an LED-lighted control.
Breville did an outstanding job designing an intuitive, accommodating product. Press the “Lift & Lock” button if you want a quick peek. If the toast needs a bit more time, just press the button that’s actually labeled “A Bit More”. You can even adjust or mute the volume on the beep that tells you your toast is done.
Like most Breville products, the electrical cord has a circle behind the prongs that makes it easy to remove from a socket. Even the removable crumb tray that makes this toaster easy to clean was considerately designed. It’s pricey, but we recommend it if you want the best.
Cuisinart toasters are typically very affordable, while still usually landing among the top choices. Despite its rock-bottom price, the Cuisinart 2-Slice Compact is beautifully designed and performs well, making it our best value choice. (Our original best value, the Black + Decker 2-Slice, was discontinued.)
The gray lettering on the controls really pops against the light background, making it easy to choose your setting. It’s also 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 BLTs for a bunch of hungry kids!
While the bagel setting toasted bagels beautifully, a fat New-York style bagel is a tight fit. Neither bagels nor English muffins popped up high enough to grab without raising the lever for an extra lift. In addition to solid toasting, this model offers reheat and defrost settings.
Black stainless steel has a softer, easier-to-clean finish than gleaming stainless steel. If you want to capitalize on the trendy finish 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 to all shades.
When 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.
A newcomer in this world, the Zwilling 2-Slice Toaster is pricey, but it’s worth it if you want evenly-browned toast at every setting, that looks the same every time. It’s wider and higher than typical models, easily accommodating half of a fat New York bagel or a long slice from a country-style loaf. It has defrost, warm-up, and bagel buttons.
The entire top of the unit is plastic and stays cool, although the sides get quite hot to the touch. As the Zwilling is heavy, it’s not the one to choose if you only pull a toaster out on special occasions.
The Revolution Cooking R180 High-Speed 2-Slice Smart Toaster is super expensive, but state of the art. It lives up to its promise to toast quickly and evenly, and its touchscreen controls are fun to use. It’s very heavy and well-designed.
The touch screen lets you select the type of bread and whether it’s fresh, frozen, or to be reheated. The setting numbers are accompanied by a preview of the toast’s shade at that setting. Once you press start, the display shows the progress of heating and browning and counts down the last 10 seconds. A pleasant little tune lets you know when your toast is ready.
And thankfully, all this technology delivers perfectly browned toast! Our only gripe is that there’s no high lift, which becomes problematic when you try to retrieve English muffins.
The R180’s settings menu lets you adjust the time and date, as well the screen brightness and the volume. It offers a lot, but it’s up to you to decide whether great toast is worth this unit’s cost.
Available in glossy red, black, or silver, the KitchenAid 2-Slice Toaster with High Lift Lever is a stunner. It's also sturdy and heavy, with settings that click into place when you turn the dial. We got perfectly even toasting, faster than any other toaster we tested. Useful features include bagel, defrost, reheat, and keep warm.
However, we didn't see much difference between the medium and dark settings. If you're a dark rye lover, you may find yourself giving it an extra cycle. When toasting smaller items like English muffins and bagels, you'll have to use the high lift lever or risk singeing your fingertips.
Talk about no frills! This 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, it’s a darn good toaster, considering it costs less than a movie ticket.
As you’d expect at this price, it’s lightweight, so it might be a good choice if you keep your toaster stashed away most of the time. For storage, you wrap the cord around the side, which isn’t pretty but is easily accomplished.
If you're looking for a conversation piece, the Smeg 2-Slice Toaster is your pick. It comes from the Italian company's '50s Retro Style line. It sports the glamor of a mid-century Maserati and is just as likely to make heads turn.
The finish (available in Red, Pink, Pastel green, Black, White, Cream, and Chrome) is as thick and rich as on a sports car. When you shift a gear—excuse me, a setting—it locks into place firmly. As you would expect for the price, it offers excellent toasting. It includes reheat, defrost, and bagel settings.
Once a toaster powerhouse, GE has returned with a solid performer. It toasts evenly and produces three distinct shades of doneness. It also has “bagel” and “frozen” settings. English muffin fans will need to use the lift lever to raise them high enough to grab them safely.
The Calphalon IntelliCrisp is a well-built, sturdy toaster with a dark gray finish. As it toasts, LED lights around the number settings show you the toasting progress, so you can time the rest of your breakfast prep. There’s a bagel setting, as well as a defrost. If you enjoy fat New York City-style bagels, you may have to give the halves a push to get them down into the slots.
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. Buttons for the bagel, frozen, and warm settings are large and clearly identified.
The GE Café Two-Slice Toaster is a beautiful, solidly-built product that comes in matte white, matte black, or stainless steel, each with copper accents. However, it’s also relatively pricey and requires more countertop space than average. Its regular toast settings take a relatively long time, it doesn’t color bread evenly, and the “light” setting comes out closer to medium. English muffins barely pop up above the slots, but the lever raises them high enough to grab safely.
There's also a unique “Express Finish” setting which toasts exceptionally quickly—under a minute at medium—and toasts fairly evenly. Other settings on the Café include Bagel, Reheat, and Frozen. However, the lights that indicate the settings are so small that we had to squint to see them. Overall, you’re paying for design and sturdy construction, rather than the performance.
If you’re looking for stylish ’50s design without breaking the bank, the sturdy, British Haden Dorset 2-Slice Toaster is for you. It features a rotary dial and an analog display for the settings, plus clearly marked bagel, defrost, and cancel buttons. You can choose red or a beige tone called putty.
While the Dorset browns very evenly, medium-toasted bread came out darker than we expected for the setting. To toast bagels, you insert them with the cut side facing out rather than in—perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Brits drive on the other side of the road?
This toaster from Target’s house brand, Made By Design, sells for an unbeatable price. It’s as utilitarian-looking and lightweight as you’d expect, but 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. The bagel setting extends the toast time, but toasts both sides of the bagel.
The Black and Decker 2-Slice Toaster T2659B really shines at toasting evenly, and showed minimal variation when toasting five batches in a row. Another big plus: this stayed coolest to the touch of all the models we tested, as long as you mind the stainless steel on the top of the slots.
Unfortunately, English muffins don’t rise up to the top of the slots, even using the high-lift lever, so you have to be careful to avoid burning your fingertips. This toaster is on the chunky side, so while it takes up a little more countertop space, it easily handles chubby bagels. Unlike most, the bagel setting toasts both sides.
Breville’s “The Toast Select Luxe” is beautifully made, but its looks are its one strong asset. It comes in sophisticated glossy shades including black truffle, sea salt, smoked hickory, royal champagne, and brushed stainless steel. The dial display is styled like a watch face and includes number settings, as well as specific settings for white, brown, grain, fruit, rye, and crumpets. During toasting, the dial lights up and tracks the toast’s progress.
This toaster also has lots of extras: Lift and Look for taking a sneak peek during toasting, A Bit More to add just a little time, plus reheat and frozen buttons. Handles on the bottom make it easy to lift and move around. While all these fancy features may seem worth the big bucks, the Luxe’s actual toasting disappointed, browning unevenly. And despite the high-lift lever, it was almost impossible to grab half an English muffin out of the slots.
The Dualit NewGen 2-Slice Toaster is solidly built, with an industrial design that made it a home-magazine darling. Unfortunately, its actual toasting and ease-of-use are lacking. It’s considerably higher and wider than your typical two-slice model. There are only two settings on the mechanical timer: “2” and “3.” Setting “3” results in heavy smoking and charred bread, so we suggest you stick with “2.” Once you make one batch of golden brown toast, the toaster gets so hot that the next ones smoke and burn. There’s also no pop-up. You lower and raise your bread with a completely unintuitive lever: Lift it up when you want the bread to go down and press it down to bring toast up.
Perhaps bagels are not a thing in the UK. This Dualit toasts them unevenly, leaves one side cold, and has trouble lowering and raising them. The defrost option thaws, but doesn’t automatically start toasting as it does on all the other toasters we tested.
At least it's colorful. The NewGen is available with side panels in 21 different colors.
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.
We tested 2-slice pop-up electric toasters (see our 4-slice toaster rankings here). Each appliance was rated first and foremost on how well it toasts bread. We looked for a range of toast shades and even toasting on all 4 sides. We also tested for consistency across repeated use, and we checked out the bagel setting.
We also considered user experience, including how easy the controls are to use and whether the special features are actually helpful. All the products got too hot to touch around the slots, so we tested whether English muffins and bagels popped up high enough to grab without burning your fingers.
We also evaluated how well each one was constructed, including wide slot and long slot toasters built to handle 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 kitchen appliance that will almost certainly live on your countertop, taking up space.
What You Should Know About Two-Slice Toasters
How to Make Sure a Two-Slice Toaster Toasts Evenly
Different types of bread require different settings to toast evenly. A slice of white bread might need a lower temperature and less time to toast well, while a thick rye bread might need a higher setting to reach the right crispiness.
Dualit USA’s toasting research found that sweet-tasting breads, such as cinnamon raisin, toast more quickly. Bread may also need different settings as time goes on and the loaf loses moisture.
Meanwhile, Hamilton Beach’s consumer research, showed that most people “clean” their toasters by turning them upside down and shaking out the crumbs instead of emptying the bread tray. This can lead to stray crumbs damaging your toaster’s effectiveness. For best results over time, keep your crumb tray clear and clean.
Learning the settings is also important to get the toast you want. Be patient and let the toaster work properly instead of hitting the cancel button to check it. Stopping the toaster and starting it again is a great way to burn your toast, since the timer starts over, but the bread is nearly done.
Another common mistake is putting bagels into the toaster the wrong way. If your toaster doesn’t have a bagel setting, put the bagel soft side facing in to prevent it from toasting unevenly or burning. Bagels are dense and require more toasting time than a slice of bread, so learn your settings to avoid burning your breakfast.
How to Clean a Toaster
Toasters are prone to gathering dust, lint, and even (disgustingly) bugs. Keeping your appliance clean is important, and requires more than just giving it a shake over your kitchen sink.
First, unplug the toaster so that you won’t electrocute yourself. Then, pull the crumb tray out and gently wash it with warm water and dish soap.
While the crumb tray dries, clean the bread slots with a damp cloth doused in vinegar. Make sure not to wet the toaster too much, because it will take a long time to dry. Wipe the toaster’s insides with a damp cloth to remove any leftover vinegar residue and let it dry upside down, giving it one last shake for good measure. If the idea of dust and bugs in your appliance understandably grosses you out, you can also purchase a cover to protect it from the elements.
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