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Chris Amirault

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

86 posts in this topic

I know our electrons spin backwards in the Southern Hemisphere and all that, but I can't believe I am reading praise for the Breville Ikon????

I bought one last week. Tried it for at least an hour to get an even toast. Gave up. Packed it up and got my money back. If there are people praising this model then I can only imagine:

(a) their build quality varies widely from unit to unit.

(b) they are different operational characteristics between 240v / 110v units.

Strange.

Luke

Not the Ikon in my case. The die cast.

breville die cast


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Finding a great toaster ( and one that's reasonably priced) is a lifetime quest. Just the idea of being without a working toaster is enough to unbalance me, but then toast is what I have eaten almost every day for breakfast for the last 40 years. My favorite toaster was the Sunbeam Radiant Control. Of course that would be the perfect toaster for Chris's mid-century kitchen. I had several models that were produced in the fifties (see Andiesenji's post above.)

In the sixties and seventies I would haunt the flea markets for them, always making sure I had at least one that operated properly. For a few dollars you could find a decent used one, polish up the chrome and expect it to work for five years and look beautiful. Those days are long gone. The toaster we use now is a Cuisinart, bought new, and it's been pretty reliable; we've had it at least 12 years, which is a very long time in toaster years. They have been redesigned of course since our model, and I wonder if they still make a decent product. Not bad looking, and not unreasonably priced.

The Dualits always look wonderful but in order to spend that kind of money on a toaster I would have to be pretty convinced that it would work perfectly every day for the rest of my life.

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All this talk about toasters has stimulated my collecting "fever" and I think I just have to have one of the Magimix Vision toasters.

I have been waiting for the possibility that they would produce one with two slots but it doesn't look like that will be anytime soon so the single slot is 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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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I think you need to keep your eye out for an old Modern Maid in-wall toaster on eBay and flea markets. It will compliment your Mid Century Kitchen perfectly.

Dan


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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I think you need to keep your eye out for an old Modern Maid in-wall toaster on eBay and flea markets. It will compliment your Mid Century Kitchen perfectly.

Dan

These are attractive and fun but the wiring has to be carefully checked and the toaster interior completely cleaned prior to use. A friend's (Thermador) started a fire because there was residue in the bottom that had apparently been there for years. The fire was rapidly extinguished but the repair involved completely rewiring that entire circuit from the breaker box to the kitchen and replacing all the receptacles (including a GFI so this didn't happen again).

There was a Modern Maid on ebay about a year or so ago. There was a Thermador built-in toaster on Ruby Lane a few months ago but the price was ridiculous.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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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.

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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.


My blog about food in Japan

Foodie Topography

www.foodietopography.com

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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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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:

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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.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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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.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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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.

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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:


"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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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.

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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.

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

Posted from my handheld using the Tapatalk app. Want to use eG Forums on your iPhone, Android or Blackberry? Get started at http://egullet.org/tapatalk


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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 (log)

"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?


*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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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.

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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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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