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


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#61 Chris Amirault

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 06:34 PM

As promised, a video of my wicked cool new/old Sunbeam Radiant Control AT-W toaster, a marvel at all things toast. As beautiful as it is just sitting there --

Posted Image

-- check it out in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RNuoSkWyes

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#62 andiesenji

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 10:18 PM

It's gorgeous. Nice find Chris.
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#63 robirdstx

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 03:01 PM

Thanks to this topic, I've been thinking about how much I hate the toast I get from my modern toaster oven. I went "antiquing" today and found a Toastmaster toaster (this one was manufactured between Jan. '50 and April '51). I brought it home and have now had the best piece of toast I've had in years! :biggrin:

#64 munchymom

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:24 PM

Excellent toaster, Chris. My parents have one like it that they received as a wedding present and have been using several times a week for the past 43 years. I love how the toast sinks into the toaster and then rises slowly up when it's done. Meanwhile I've bought probably 10 crappy plastic toasters in my adult life. Maybe I'll just wait to inherit theirs.
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#65 Porthos

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:25 PM

We have an Oster model 6309 made by Sunbeam. It was around $30 at Target. I bought it for my wife as a gift (at her request) because it has a copper body. It has perked along for several years and produces toast just the way we want it.

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#66 PetersCreek

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 04:12 PM

Another vote for the Breville Ikon 4-slice model. We've gone through a number of toasters, the last one being an execrable T-fal model we dubbed the toast launcher because it's top was slanted and would indeed launch a slice onto the counter top from time to time. It toasted so unevenly that I had to rotate the bread left-to-right and top-to-bottom. We bought the wide slot 4-slice model because even the high end manufacturers seem stuck on the square slice concept, leaving little-to-no room for wider breads like artisan loaves. The Breville has been the best performer so far, in along line of disappointments.

#67 Luke

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:30 AM

Having not had much success with modern toasters, including purchasing and returning several different types, I was motivated to explore the use of a Toaster-Oven.

I did some research, and settled on this model which received good reviews.

Better still, I beat the retail outlet down from $300 to $230.

Here is a photo
Breville BOV800.jpg

Not sure what to try first - toast or obtaining a brulee on a lemon tart.

Luke

#68 natasha1270

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 10:38 AM

I have a dualit 4-slice and am pretty happy with it. Much happier than it's predecessors from Krups & Kitchenaid although maybe I just have low expectations. There was a brief article in Washington Post home section a few weeks ago on toasters which reminded me of this topic:
http://www.washingto...1022304623.html

"Heating up. The first cycle of a toaster takes the longest. It's sort of like preheating your oven. The second and third cycles won't take as long."

Do most toasters compensate for this? Do you find subsequent toasting to perform better? Thankfully (uh, to my knowledge) I have never experienced the cat/toaster issue?!
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#69 ermintrude

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 01:04 PM

Anyone tried the transparent toaster http://www.magimix.c...id=15903&lg=502 ?

Looks like a good way to see your toast is done how you want it, but it's a bit pricey.
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#70 Alex

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 04:39 PM

Having not had much success with modern toasters, including purchasing and returning several different types, I was motivated to explore the use of a Toaster-Oven.

I did some research, and settled on this model which received good reviews.

Better still, I beat the retail outlet down from $300 to $230.

Here is a photo
Breville BOV800.jpg

Not sure what to try first - toast or obtaining a brulee on a lemon tart.

Luke

Here's my post about this Breville. I'm curious to hear how the toasting works out for you.

P.S. Wouldn't a Dalek-shaped toaster be beyond cool?

Edited by Alex, 06 March 2011 - 04:41 PM.

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#71 Luke

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 04:22 AM

Hi Alex,

Yes - I found the same issue with bars on the underneath side of the toast. Although, I'm not sure I would describe it as "partially cooked", but rather, uneven in browning.

As for solving it, I'm having a think about that one. I can't see it being too difficult, but nor do I find the result annoying. The toast was great, cooked just the way I like it (apart from the bars...)

I have to admit, I am really getting to like this little oven. I made some single serve lemon tarts in it tonight, slowly baked in a water bath. My recipe had not been adjusted for a convection oven, and I really like the full control you have over the settings, like turning the fan off.

You can see the grill with toast waiting
BOV800-1.jpg

You select your desired toast level and number of slices.
BOV800-2.jpg

You hit start, and the display changes colour to indicate it is cooking. 4 minutes is how long it takes, and it switches off automatically (with appropriate warning beeps)
BOV800-3.jpg

There are two elements on the bottom, and three on the top. In the "toast" mode, only two elements on the top and two on the bottom are in action.
BOV800-4.jpg

Toast finished. A very even toast on the top, not that great on the bottom.
BOV800-5.jpg

However, despite the look of the bottom, the actual toast was the best I have had in a long time, far better than anything achieved with my previous two dedicated purchases.

If you want perfect toast, buy a 1960 Sunbeam as suggested (I just watched one of these sell on eBay for $97....ouch!). However, the Breville BOV800 Smart Oven appears to be pretty good for a whole range stuff. I'll put it through it's paces over the next few weeks.

Luke

#72 LetterRip

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 01:32 AM

I'd be curious to know if preheating the toaster/toaster oven solves some of the uniformity and slowness problems. I also wonder how some of them compare in toasting Lender's Bagels, real bagels, grocery store bread (i.e., bread with additives to lengthen shelf life), and homemade bread. Maybe some toasters are better at some of these, and this will give some insight into what QC test they presumably passed in the design process.



Looks like Cooks Illustrated investigated almost what you asked, unfortunately I don't have a subscription so can't find out what the results were.

http://www.cooksillu...asp?docid=17906

#73 MelissaH

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 06:50 AM

Looks like Cooks Illustrated investigated almost what you asked, unfortunately I don't have a subscription so can't find out what the results were.

http://www.cooksillu...asp?docid=17906

The ones they liked: a Kenmore, an Oster, a Cuisinart, and a Black and Decker. The ones they didn't like: a Sunbeam, a Farberware, and a Toastmaster.

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#74 ElsieD

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 05:39 PM

Just a note to say that Kenmore was the favorite of the bunch.

#75 JadeShing

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 11:56 PM

Here is the toaster we use at home right now.. its a Tefal, not as nice looking as some others ive seen, but the good thing is it has a little removable plastic cover on top which i really like!

Posted Image

Posted Image

So far its about 1 year old and no problems, except maybe when we put in pieces of toast that are too thick and get stuck :D
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#76 rooftop1000

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 10:02 AM

Does anyone happen to have any recomendations on a very low profile toaster oven?

My current Black and Decker Countertop Oven works great but at 11 inches tall is only 1 inch below my upper cabinets. The varnish was peeling over where the oven is, and I have just torn the kitchen apart and painted the cabinets. After 2 weeks of stripping sanding and painting I dont want to melt the paint right off. I guess I may just have to go regular toaster for the next one.


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#77 OliverB

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 12:38 PM

I don't toast all that often, but when our cheap junk toaster died (or was killed by my wife, LOL) I started to look around. As I maybe use it once a month I was not tempted to spend a couple hundred on one of those pretty and fancy chrome machines. And I have an issue with the slot size on most of those, they don't fit most of the sliced bread we buy, and I like to toast a nice long slice of a chiabata etc once in a while.

While at Ace for some coals for my BGE I walked past a Hammiltion Beach Toastation which was on sale for $40 and grabbed it. I was intrigued by the long slot which will allow me to toast even a long slice of Bavarian farm bread. And it's a little toaster oven at the same time! You move a lever on top which open or close the toast slot to keep the heat in as oven function.

I'm usually skeptical with multi function things (except swiss army knives) but figured I can always return it, so why not. And you know what? Against all expectations it makes a great toast! I was concerned, since it has just two long "glow sticks" on each side of the bread, and one under the (removable but I leave it in as crumb catcher) tray, and toasters usually have that woven row of "glow threads", but no matter what bread I throw at it, it makes a perfect and even toasted toast. At least by my definition. Golden and crunchy.

I have not yet used the toaster oven function, and since I have the one slot model there's a wider two slot model too) but the tray is big enough for one toast sandwich or a slice of pizza or something like that. Of course, I'd have to sneak into the kitchen at 3am if I intended to just make one slice of pizza, w/o the kids and wife wanting one too.

Reviews on amazon are all over the place, all I can say is that I'm happy. It does not have any fancy sensors, you kind of have to play with the first slice to figure out what setting you'll need for your desired toastyness. No biggie for me.

If you look for something cheap that looks nice and works well, it might be worth looking at this little machine. Oh, and you can watch your toast while it browns through the window! The only toaster that I'm aware of where you can do that is a very expensive designer machine I saw in some catalog.

I have no clue if my toaster would hold up to daily use of a 4 person household, but so far we've had no problems. You have to watch a bit that you set the bread on the riser bar correctly, I guess it could potentially slip off once lowered into the large oven chamber, but that has not happened to me.
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#78 hathor

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 12:55 PM

Toasters are the evil work of the devil. You get seduced, you start to love toast again...and wham! only one side of the damn thing works.
Why????

#79 Moopheus

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 12:01 PM

As promised, a video of my wicked cool new/old Sunbeam Radiant Control AT-W toaster, a marvel at all things toast. As beautiful as it is just sitting there --


Oh man, now I want one of those. I don't make toast very often and we have a serviceable Cuisinart, but even that requires watching and flipping to make even toast. Actually, one of the most frequent uses is to reheat leftover waffles that I have made in my ancient Sunbeam W-2 waffle maker. A toaster that could do that well would be greatly appreciated.
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#80 robirdstx

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 09:41 PM

As promised, a video of my wicked cool new/old Sunbeam Radiant Control AT-W toaster, a marvel at all things toast. As beautiful as it is just sitting there --

Posted Image

-- check it out in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RNuoSkWyes

That orange-red glow is the color of morning joy.


While antiquing today at Granny's Korner in Tomball, TX I saw one of these Sunbeam toasters. I would have bought it if I hadn't already purchased my "new" old Toastmaster just a few months back. If anyone is interested, the price tag was $39.99 and on sale with a 20 percent discount. The dealer initials are PH. I can't comment on the working condition of the toaster but it looked to be in good condition. A link to the shop's web site is here.

#81 andiesenji

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 10:21 AM

Since Williams-Sonoma is offering free shipping today and tomorrow and a 10% discount on all electrics (notice came in an email), and since I have a W-S gift card that has been languishing on my desk for some months, I have decided to add
THIS to my collection of cool toasters.

I placed the order a few minutes ago and will have a few days of anticipation.

I'm sure that, as so often happens, now that I have ordered it, the price will be discounted significantly in the not too distant future but I'll just have to live with it.

As soon as it is in my hot little hands, I will take photos of it in action to see if it lives up to the hype.
Too bad that it is just a single slot. I much prefer toasters with two long slots so will continue to use my Breville for my "regular" toasting agenda or my ancient Sunbeam for regular breads.


I noted a few months ago that the automobile commercial that featured one of these as a "chestnut roaster" in one of their "too, too exclusive" segments, has omitted this toaster. I wonder if there was a complaint from the manufacturer...
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#82 andiesenji

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 03:19 PM

The Magimix Vision toaster arrived today.

Unpacked, set up and tested.

Pros: It is pretty. It toasts fairly rapidly, somewhat faster than the Breville.

I tested it with stollen, probably a mistake because of the sugar in the dough, this may have caused uneven browning.
Magimix2.JPG
Magimix4.JPG
Magimix8.JPG
Magimix11.JPG


Cons: The sides and ends get quite hot. This is NOT a cool-side toaster. It was too hot on the end for me to grasp and move it while it was toasting. The buttons do not get hot but this is not a toaster to have around small children.

It only has the one slot and unless your bread is the standard, store-bought, "regular" sized slices, you can't get two side by side, so are limited to ONE slice at a time.
Granted the slice I toasted was larger than the "standard" but not that much larger.

It's a novelty and I'm pleased to have it for my collection but I doubt I am going to use it much. And I'm very glad I didn't pay full price. If I had, it would be on its way back by now.


The next time I try toasting in it, I'll use my infrared thermometer to record the exterior temps.

Edited by andiesenji, 05 December 2011 - 03:20 PM.

"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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#83 andiesenji

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:43 AM

I've used the Magimix Vision toaster this morning to toast a slice of frozen bread - did okay.
Toasted a split English muffin - did pretty good.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the outside surfaces get hot. I expect this in my vintage toasters, they always got hot, but with a generation growing up with cool side or cool touch toasters, (my Cuisinart, Dualit and Breville), I certainly did not expect this.

Four minutes after removing the last English muffin from the toaster, I directed the infrared thermometer at the metal housing on the front, an inch above the glass panel.
This is what I got.
HPIM4431.JPG

It was hotter neck to the slot on top and directing it at the glass showed higher heat but didn't feel as hot so I think it was reading heat from the coils inside.

That is hot enough to burn so, as I mentioned before, this is not a toaster one should allow children to use.
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#84 ElsieD

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 04:41 PM

So I'm bumping up this topic as I have a question about toasters. I went through the whole topic again and it seems that Breville is preferred by a long shot to the Dualit. We were out again today looking at toasters and the store had a Waring 4 slice toaster on sale for $50 less than the 4 slice Breville. Does anyone have an opinion on the Waring? Thank you.


Edited by ElsieD, 09 June 2012 - 04:41 PM.


#85 runbei

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 10:07 AM

Thank you all for your very interesting discussion and recommendations. Based on what I read here, I abandoned all hope of finding an excellent modern toaster, and instead purchased a 1947-vintage Toastmaster 1B12 in eBAY. This was a Christmas gift for my significant other Mary Ellen, who's long fought with our state-of-the-art Hamilton Beach model POS (acronym) toaster that takes forever and only browns one side.

 

Oh my gosh. The Toastmaster, made 66 years ago (when I was 5) is amazing. It is FAST, toasts evenly, is beautiful, and is sturdily constructed. The eBAY seller inherited it from her great-grandmother, who obviously took very good care of it.

 

Anyways, thank you. I'll recommend vintage toasters to friends.


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#86 gfweb

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 12:20 PM

Good advice!