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The State of Toasters, 2011 -- or, Why Do They Suck So?


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#31 nakji

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 03:48 PM

I have toast every day for breakfast, but I use a toaster oven. Since I'm no good for anything else at that point in the morning, I stand around watching it, until it achieves adequate crisp on one side. Then I flip. Not a solution for large families, but it works for me. I'm not sure I've even seen a toaster for sale in China - although Best Buy probably has insanely expensive DeLonghi ones.

#32 Foodietopo

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:01 PM

I also use a toaster oven, I bought a Zojirushi oven not long after moving to Japan. It might be a good option and it's pretty versatile.
My linhttp://www.zojirushi.co.jp/syohin/kitchenware/ETFA.htmlk

It was dirt cheap and it does a really good job. You can also use to prepare great mini pizza.
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#33 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:08 PM

I'm also a user of the toaster oven. I have a Panasonic with so-called FlashXpress technology, which is a second element that emits infrared. As far as I can tell it's the only actual advance in toaster technology in the past century or so. It has the effect of making the toaster oven very quick and even. Once you find a setting that works for a given bread product, it performs admirably at a later date if you use that setting. All that being said, it is a flimsy piece of junk so I expect to be replacing it every few years.
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#34 plum tart

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 07:29 AM

For years I used a manual toaster - it was the only way I could control the degree of "toastedness". I still have that toaster - they don't wear out. I have never been happy with pop up toasters.

This year however, I felt like a change. I bought a toaster oven - the Cuisinart brick oven model which I now use - it does a good job but I still watch like a hawk.

My favourite way to make toast is to bake the slices of bread in the oven at about 275-300 degrees. I find the flavour of this baked toast is deeper and wheatier. I don't bake toast for breakfast - I usually make it to accompany soup. Sometimes I butter it first. Yummm! :raz:

#35 Peter the eater

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 10:48 AM

I bought a new HomeMax toaster during the Boxing Day sales a few weeks ago. I paid $6.99 CAD plus 15% tax for this 2-slice model made in China. So far so good.
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#36 JAZ

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 11:02 AM

I have a Russell Hobbs toaster, which I bought several years ago. I love it, but it doesn't seem to be made anymore. This is the four-slice version (I have the two-slice), so if you see one on eBay or anywhere else, grab it.

#37 Lindacakes

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 12:40 PM

I hoard Sunbeams.

I have two now.

Get on eBay and get yourself one. They look good, and you look good reflected in it.

Plugging in the cord gives you a sense of comfort and joy. It's a big, thick, fabric-covered cord. When you touch it, you will remember your grandmother's bosom pressed against the side of your face in a big hug.

Hoard everything you love, because they'll stop making it eventually. Like wooden Q-Tips.
I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

#38 andiesenji

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 01:38 PM

I hoard Sunbeams.

I have two now.

Get on eBay and get yourself one. They look good, and you look good reflected in it.

Plugging in the cord gives you a sense of comfort and joy. It's a big, thick, fabric-covered cord. When you touch it, you will remember your grandmother's bosom pressed against the side of your face in a big hug.

Hoard everything you love, because they'll stop making it eventually. Like wooden Q-Tips.



A kindred spirit! :biggrin:
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#39 BarbaraY

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 01:53 PM

Aaah! One of my biggest beefs. I have just about given up on toasters doing what they are supposed to do. When I was a kid my grandma gave my folks a Sunbeam for Christmas. We all loved watching the toast slide down on it's own and then slide back up. Don't recall what happened but the next toaster was old at the time and was one of the flip-flop toasters and worked fine as long as you watched it.
In the 60 0r so years since then I have been searching for a toaster that would actually toast toast. Seems like that wouldn't be a problem but it certainly is.

Several years ago I bought a Krups. Useless! Went back to getting whatever was available at Walmart. Didn't make sense to me to spend money on a higher priced toaster that didn't do the job right. Right now I'm using one that seems to be a Walmart brand. Toast always has to be turned over and reversed to get near to an even browning. The bagel function is a joke because it doesn't make any difference at all.
Sometimes people seem to think I'm weird because I want my toast evenly brown all over. OK, so I'm weird but at least I see from this thread that I'm not alone in my weirdness.

Must check out the E-bay for a Sunbeam. The search continues.

#40 Kent Wang

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 11:44 PM

I'm also a user of the toaster oven. I have a Panasonic with so-called FlashXpress technology, which is a second element that emits infrared. As far as I can tell it's the only actual advance in toaster technology in the past century or so. It has the effect of making the toaster oven very quick and even. Once you find a setting that works for a given bread product, it performs admirably at a later date if you use that setting. All that being said, it is a flimsy piece of junk so I expect to be replacing it every few years.

What model is it? The NB-G100P?

I would also like to get a toaster oven that is good at toasting bread, instead of a dedicated toaster.

#41 Fat Guy

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 06:15 AM

Yes and I have had it since 2004 so despite flimsiness it hangs in there.

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#42 andiesenji

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 09:54 AM

My book club met last evening and as almost all the others are my age or older, I surveyed their ideas on toasters and toaster ovens.

Several live in "senior" apartments where there are meals offered but most prefer to have breakfast in their apartments. The kitchens are minimal so counter space is at a premium.

Three have either purchased or received as a gift the Proctor Silex 4-Slice Toaster Oven/Broiler - Black (31955) - they were on sale at Target - and all report they find the design is nice in that the "door" slides up out of the way and it is easy to see what is going on inside without having to bend over. (An important point for us oldies.)
They especially like the timer and auto shut off. One said, "It looks cool."

Another has a Cuisinart, a gift from a daughter, that has been less than satisfactory and considered to be too expensive to toss.

One has a Maximatic - I'm unfamiliar with this brand - they said it is okay but could be better, takes too long to toast bread unless it is pre-heated.

The others all have old toasters and would like to have something newer and better but are unsure of what to buy.

Edited by andiesenji, 14 January 2011 - 09:56 AM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#43 Katie Meadow

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 05:43 PM

Personally I see no resolution to the toaster vs, toaster oven wars. For years my husband and I have supplied his family's beach house with toasters, since that's what we like. And for years, his mother has been hinting that she prefers a toaster oven. But she is nothing if not frugal, and as long as there was even a barely working toaster at the house she wasn't going to rock the boat. Until finally my FIL almost succeeded in sparking a fire in the toaster that might have burned down the house. Okay, I'm probably exaggerating (although I wasn't there), but it was bad enough for my MIL to declare the toaster hazardous. Her solution was to buy herself a new toaster oven, and then bring her revolting old one up to the beach house as a fait accompli.

Toaster ovens may have their uses, but when it comes to actually producing toast, they have always frustrated me. Most of them seem to cook very slowly, so you have to wait forever, and then, since they cook so slowly, they only dry out the toast and they never even get the toast hot. The heating elements are too far away from the toast, so it's really baked, not toasted. Another problem with toaster ovens is aesthetic. The requirements of its function are such that good design becomes a great challenge. Fallout from the aesthetic issue also results in an object that is virtually impossible to clean and is always unsightly. I'm the first to admit that my fondness for toasters and my distaste for counter-top ovens is not totally rational, but a gleaming chrome toaster with nice curves makes me happy. I can't afford a mid-century Airstream trailer.

My husband decided that the corroded crumb filled toaster oven was unacceptable even for a beach house and after noodling around on line he found this diplomatic alternative: The Toastation. Could they have come up with a sillier name? Actually, they stole the name for my next entrepreneurial venture, the drive-up toast window, where you can have someone make your toast for you while you watch and supervise, or you can make your own at the self-serve station. Anyway, the Toastation is made by Hamilton Beach, and combines a 2-slice toaster (wide enough for bagels!) with a toaster oven. I have no idea yet if it works in either capacity, since we haven't been up to the beach since we delivered it for xmas. It looks about as dopey as you might imagine. Has anyone ever used one? If it doesn't make decent toast at least it was worth a good laugh, and it's clean. At least for now.

#44 Catew

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 06:52 PM

We sprang for the Breville toaster oven about a year ago, and haven't regretted it once. It makes fast, evenly browned toast. A given darkness setting is consistent from batch to batch and for one slice up to six (the max that will fit on the rack, if using store-bought bread).

It is also a marvelous convection oven with a surprisingly large capacity. We use it as a second oven for big feasts and as the main oven in the summertime, since it is faster and much cooler than the oven in our range. Highly recommended.

#45 technophile50

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 09:11 PM

The only toaster that gets high user ratings on consumerrrports.org is the Breville BTA820XL cast aluminum - 4.5 stars. Most everything else gets 2 stars or less; a common comment is "Best Use - doorstop". Another common theme is that the consumer reports lab test ratings are bogus - "while CR rates this toaster high, I would have to agree with all the other reviews... uh... while it lasted."

I've got a Rowenta TO-812 2-Slice Toaster (not CR reviewed) which has worked well since I got it as about the 4th replacement for the 40 year old Sunbeam that finally wore out the pivots on the toast lift mechanism. One of the Faston electrical connectors in the Rowenta failed because it wasn't plugged on to its tab properly & overheated - This was about 6 months after I got it. it may have been bad QC from the factory, or vibrated loose in shipping(stuff happens), but I fixed it myself and the toaster has worked fine ever since, about 6 years. It has bagel & defrost settings that I never use, and looks weird and has hazardous exposed wiring since I never bothered to put all the covers back on.

#46 mrsadm

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:16 AM

Let's face it, if you were a promising young engineer, whether in the U.S. or China, would it be your goal to design toasters?
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#47 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 07:21 AM

I find it hard to justify counter space for a toaster or a microwave so I have a little Sharp Warm and Toasty (or something like that) microwave-toaster, which does anything we need a microwave for, and is a passable toaster, as long as you're willing to ignore the toast settings and just set your toast on the grill-both-sides mode for around ten minutes. The turntable runs while it's toasting, so it's very even, but it's kinda "low and slow" as far as toast goes.

The door is getting a little wonky, so I was just surveying the territory to see if there is a suitable replacement that is no wider than 17.5", and there isn't one particularly. The combo models tend to have a microwave and toaster side by side, instead of in one chamber like my current one (which puts the toasting elements too far from the bread to toast quickly) or stacked. If I have to replace the microwave, I think I'll just toast in the broiler.

#48 Fat Guy

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 07:26 AM

Going back to the list of issues emannths raised, I think another issue is consumer toast ignorance or at least a lack of consensus about what toast should be. I know people who like toast that I consider woefully undercooked and squishy. Meanwhile those same people think the toast I like is dry and overcooked. So as a toaster manufacturer it must be hard to figure what people want.
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#49 Fat Guy

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 07:29 AM

Let's face it, if you were a promising young engineer, whether in the U.S. or China, would it be your goal to design toasters?


Maybe not toasters only, but household appliances in general? Sure. That's a non-ridiculous ambition. Even some of the biggest names like Michael Graves have designed toasters. Though I guess he's a designer not an engineer. Most of the engineering work on toasters was probably finalized in the 1950s.
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#50 andiesenji

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 10:17 AM


Let's face it, if you were a promising young engineer, whether in the U.S. or China, would it be your goal to design toasters?


Maybe not toasters only, but household appliances in general? Sure. That's a non-ridiculous ambition. Even some of the biggest names like Michael Graves have designed toasters. Though I guess he's a designer not an engineer. Most of the engineering work on toasters was probably finalized in the 1950s.



My sentiments exactly! The interior design of toasters has varied little since the 1930s although some of the components have been improved but in some ways the "improvements" have really not worked as well as the engineers touted.
The earlier toasters had the heating wires but also had very thin sheets of isinglas or mica, which efficiently spread and reflected the heat produced by the heating wires. This is the reason these old toasters produced a more evenly toasted product and also toasted more rapidly.

They stopped using this product in toasters, hot plates and space heaters mainly because it became more expensive as demand in other industries increased. I have an old space heater that produces a lot of heat at fairly low wattage and it has the isinglas elements.

The "sensors" that are supposed to determine the degree of toasting in modern toasters are not all that accurate and frankly I think they are just there to jack up the price in the more expensive toasters.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#51 Alex

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 12:59 PM

We sprang for the Breville toaster oven about a year ago, and haven't regretted it once. It makes fast, evenly browned toast. A given darkness setting is consistent from batch to batch and for one slice up to six (the max that will fit on the rack, if using store-bought bread).

It is also a marvelous convection oven with a surprisingly large capacity. We use it as a second oven for big feasts and as the main oven in the summertime, since it is faster and much cooler than the oven in our range. Highly recommended.

Yes, that's what we've been using, after living with (and eventually selling) a smaller DeLonghi and a full-size Krups. I think it works wonderfully for everything except toasting sliced bread. The top of the slice usually is fine, but the bottom is striped (i.e., partially underdone) because of the thick bars of the grating. Does anyone have any ideas how to solve this annoyance?

If I were more mechanically inclined and had the tools (and the time), I'd develop and patent a grating just for toasting, with ultra-thin wires for bars. Anyone who's reading this post may have this idea for free, so long as you send me one or two of your final product.
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#52 Sam Iam

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 03:33 PM

We've been pretty happy with the Kitchen Aid "Pro Line" 4 slot toaster. It was around $99 when Williams Sonoma discontinued handling it a few years ago.

Also, you might want to check out the www.toastercollectors.org web site. They had a national convention in Toledo several years ago. These dudes are serious! I picked up a Sunbeam No. 4.

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#53 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 04:31 PM

A really nice pop-up toaster seems by nature to be a scaled-up, ruggedized, domestic toaster, unlike, say, a "prosumer" espresso machine, which is a scaled down version of the 2, 3, or 4 group cafe machine without the requirement for special plumbing (though that is always an option for people who like plumbed-in ice machines, pot-filling spigots over the range, and blenders built into the counter).

Where is the domestic conveyor toaster? Is there no innovation out there? When is Breville or DeLonghi coming out with the home version of something like this, for people who are serious about their toast:

http://www.zesco.com...0-pz476D023.htm

Edited by David A. Goldfarb, 17 January 2011 - 05:07 PM.


#54 andiesenji

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 05:19 PM

A really nice pop-up toaster seems by nature to be a scaled-up, ruggedized, domestic toaster, unlike, say, a "prosumer" espresso machine, which is a scaled down version of the 2, 3, or 4 group cafe machine without the requirement for special plumbing (though that is always an option for people who like plumbed-in ice machines, pot-filling spigots over the range, and blenders built into the counter).

Where is the domestic conveyor toaster? Is there no innovation out there? When is Breville or DeLonghi coming out with the home version of something like this, for people who are serious about their toast:

http://www.zesco.com...0-pz476D023.htm



Neighbors down the road have one of the Avantco conveyor toasters
They have 11 children, 7 of their own and 4 adopted, plus a mother, grandmother and great aunt living with them. For them it was not a luxury but a necessity!
She is a stay-at-home mom and bakes 6 loaves of bread every day. He is a CHP officer.
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#55 Pierogi

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 10:40 PM

Has anyone considered that the sad state of toasters is a possible result of the litigious nature of the American consumer?

Not to be a PITA, but in reading the comments (and yes, I have a toaster I loathe...) it seems everyone is going back to toasters they used in the past that *gasp* HEATED things and *gasp* got hot !

Why. You could burn yourself on them. Sure can't burn myself on my toaster, my bread barely gets hot enough to melt butter.

Isn't it sort of an ancillary to the Mickey D's coffee, and the tags that say "don't use the blow dryer in the bathtub" and "don't open the Cuisinart while it's running...."

Me thinks they've made products so safe, they can't possibly perform the job they were intended for.
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#56 Chris Amirault

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:54 AM

My Sunbeam arrived. Not only does it look great, but it's just about the coolest thing in the world. I'll take a video and post it here soon.

Oh and the toast? It's fantastic.
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#57 andiesenji

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:35 AM

My Sunbeam arrived. Not only does it look great, but it's just about the coolest thing in the world. I'll take a video and post it here soon.

Oh and the toast? It's fantastic.



Congratulations!

I'm looking forward to seeing the video.
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#58 Kendall Clark

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:53 AM

We're very happy with our 2-slice Dualit. Yes, it's crazy expensive, but we eat a lot of toast (3 yr & 2 yr old--toast w/ butter is one of their favs). I browns evenly, is simple to use, and seems rock solid reliable. It's not very fast, but that's okay.

#59 andiesenji

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 11:04 AM

My experience with Dualits, 1 "classic", 1 "soft-touch" = 2 lemons.

I expected the classic, because of the price, to really produce near-perfect toast. It did a fair job for a couple of years and then the toasting became uneven - mostly untoasted near the bottom. It was packed up and dispatched to a service center, after 3 months returned but the problem persisted and it was immediately sent back. This time it was 4 1/2 months before it was returned and it did work fairly well for about six months and then one slot stopped toasting at all.
I gave up and retired it.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#60 cbread

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:27 PM

I've gone for the toaster oven - watch it brown and flip it - technique. I've never had a toaster that worked well. If I preheat the toaster oven for a half minute on it's broil setting, it works pretty well. I set the shelf as close to the top heating elements as I can, and I watch, flip and extract at the right times. I once tried a Dualit owned by someone else who liked it, and to me it seemed an excellent bread drier.