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Toasters have been a staple in our kitchens for more than 100 years, but that doesn’t mean you can always rely on them to do their job properly.
We've tested toasters that struggle to fit even standard slices inside the slots, and plenty that produce patchy toast.
Find out to what you need to know when choosing to help you find your perfect toaster.
Our handy video gives a quick overview of what to consider when choosing a new toaster.
These are the most popular and widely available option. Most are fairly compact and are a good choice for small kitchens with limited counter space. Controls are usually on the short end of the toaster.
If you live in a larger household you might want a toaster that can brown four slices at once, though it can be tricky to find one that browns all four slices evenly.
Look out for independent controls that let you brown each pair to different levels, and make sure you've got enough worktop space to accommodate the larger size. Controls are usually on the front face of the toaster.
Long-slot toasters have one or two longer slots, which can accommodate two slices each. They are less common, but are a good compromise for those who want to toast four slices but don’t have room for a bulky appliance, as they have a slimmer profile.
They’re also great at fitting in taller slices or oddly-shaped breads, as you can fit them in on their sides.
Pricier toasters tend to offer more features than standard supermarket models, such as illuminated controls and countdown timers, accessories such as sandwich toasting cages, and special settings for things such as bagels and crumpets.
Paying more doesn't guarantee you'll get glorious golden toast, though. Some expensive models have flunked our tests, producing bread that's barely warm, or horribly uneven, and we've also found some brilliant cheap toasters for less than £20.
These features tend to come as standard on even the very cheapest toasters:
Spending a little more can get you some handy features, such as:
You might not look out for these, but you'll notice their absence:
Designer brand Dualit is a popular choice for a statement toaster, but its classic retro-look toasters can cost more than £100 each. So are they worth the investment?
You can expect premium materials and finishes on a Dualit appliance, but it’s not just looks you’re paying for. Dualit toasters often have extras, such as a bagel setting and a lift-and-look function.
Some are also equipped with ‘perfect toast technology,’ designed to adjust the heat each time for the perfect slice. However, we’ve found that some Dualit toasters are considerably better than others, so it’s worth comparing all our to pick the very best model.
If you’re paying a premium for a toaster you also want it to last. See our round-up of the to see how Dualit shapes up against cheaper brands for how long its toasters last and how satisfied its customers really are.
Depending on how serious the problem is, you may well be able to repair your toaster at home. Some of the most common issues are inconsistent performance and faulty pop-up functions, both of which are very easy fixes that don't require any fiddling with electrics.
Another common toaster fault, however, is a faulty heating element or complete failure of the product. These aren't problems that you should attempt to rectify at home, as you could put yourself in danger. Instead, find a near you and leave the repairs to qualified professional.
According to Recycle Now, around one million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste are generated every year. Every item that has either a plug, a charger, batteries or carries a crossed-out wheelie bin logo can be recycled, and that includes toasters.
If you're giving your kitchen a makeover and your old toaster is still working, you can donate it to a charity shop. Many of them will even come and collect from your home, especially if you have other items you wish to donate.
For toasters that are no longer in working condition, your best bet is to take them to your local recycling centre. Some councils will collect bulky waste items from you, but for smaller items like toasters it's easier (and cheaper) to take them yourself.
Toaster prices vary throughout the year, so keep an eye on your favourite models to see when they’re cheapest.
Retailers such as Currys and Argos often slash their prices in the January sales to make way for new designs, or in September to tempt students heading to university.
It’s also worth looking out for bundled deals. It can be cheaper to buy a kettle and toaster set together than to buy each appliance separately.