The Best Toasters for $50 or Less

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CRISP IT

A toaster is a staple in most American homes. After all, what would breakfast be without toast, an English muffin, a bagel, or a toaster pastry? Come lunchtime, is it a BLT without toasted bread? Even an inexpensive toaster can provide perfectly browned results. Cheapism.com sifted through scores of online reviews to identify the best toasters for $50 or less.

Prices and availability subject to change.

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

HAMILTON BEACH PERFECTTOAST 22121

Good 2-Slice Toaster Under $30
Est. Price: $21 | Buy it from Amazon

Pros:
- Good, consistent performance at a modest price, user reviews say.
- Extra-wide 1.5-inch slots with centering guides; auto boost raises small pieces of bread for easy removal.
- Illuminated buttons for frozen toast, frozen bagel, bagel, and cancel; 5 browning levels.
- Automatic shut-off if bread jams.
- Cool-touch housing.
- Removable crumb tray.

Cons:
- Lacks a warm or reheat function.
- Slices from some bakery-size loaves may not fit.
- Scattered complaints about both sides not browning to the same degree.
- Some reports of limited durability.

Takeaway: This Hamilton Beach toaster gets a daily workout in thousands of homes, toasting bread and frozen bagels and waffles to order. Users appreciate the simple controls and overall value. This basic two-slice model serves up the components of a meal or snack without fuss or bother.

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

OSTER TSSTJC5BBK

Good 2-Slice Toaster Under $30
Est. Price: $28 | Buy it from Amazon

Pros:
- Impressively efficient performance for the price, most users say.
- Toast, bagel, frozen, warm, and cancel buttons backlit with LED lights; 7 browning levels.
- Extra-wide 1.3-inch slots with auto-adjusting guides; high-lift lever for retrieving bread that remains inside the slots after the toaster pops.
- Anti-jam function turns off the toaster if something gets stuck.
- Removable, dishwasher-safe crumb tray.

Cons:
- Lacks cool-touch housing.
- Some reviewers complain about uneven browning.
- Scattered reports about various malfunctions, such as the "on" lever not staying down.

Takeaway: For a budget toaster, the two-slice Oster TSSTJC5BBK is loaded with features that users appreciate. Many report that it produces perfect toast, although some grouse that one side or another, or the top or bottom, may not brown to the desired degree. There is also a silver version, model 6594.

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

HAMILTON BEACH MODERN CHROME 24791

Good 4-Slice Toaster Under $50
Est. Price: $30 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- Generally good performance, according to a majority of user reviews, and excellent toasting in tests by consumer product experts.
- Dual controls with defrost, cancel, and bagel settings; 7 browning levels.
- Extra-wide slots with self-adjusting guides; high-lift lever.
- Removable crumb tray.
- Stainless steel housing.

Cons:
- Lacks cool-touch housing and a warm function.
- Cannot accommodate toaster pastries.
- Scattered complaints about uneven browning.
- Some reviews report problems with the lever and heating elements.

Takeaway: A basic and very inexpensive four-slice toaster, the Hamilton Beach 24791 scores particularly well with experts for toasting consistency but garners qualified support from everyday users. Most say it does more than a decent job toasting breads of all types, but some tell of uneven results. A two-slice version (model 22791) is also available at almost the same price.

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

HAMILTON BEACH PERFECTTOAST 24121

Good 4-Slice Toaster Under $50
Est. Price: $30 | Buy it from Home Depot

Pros:
- Produces well-toasted bread and bagels, even from frozen, many reviews say.
- Dual controls with illuminated frozen toast, frozen bagel, bagel, and cancel functions; 5 browning levels.
- Extra-wide 1.5-inch slots; auto boost raises small pieces for easy removal.
- Automatic shut-off if bread jams.
- Cool-touch housing.
- Removable crumb tray.

Cons:
- Lacks a warm or reheat function.
- Some complaints about uneven browning or underdone toast.
- Scattered reports of malfunctioning coils, levers, and settings.

Takeaway: Like its two-slice sibling, the Hamilton Beach PerfectToast 22121, the four-slice PerfectToast 24121 is a budget-friendly toaster that adequately serves the needs of many users. Although some grouse about disappointing results, saying multiple cycles may be needed to reach the desired level of doneness, a majority are pleased with what they get on the first try.

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

OSTER 6332

Best 2-Slice Toaster Under $30 for Overall Value
Est. Price: $19 | Buy it from Best Buy

Pros:
- Does the job well, accurately, and quickly, users say.
- Illuminated bagel and frozen buttons; cancel button; 7 browning levels.
- Extra-wide slots; auto-centering guides; high-lift lever to boost bread that remains inside the slots after the toaster pops.
- Anti-jam function turns off the toaster if something gets stuck.
- Cool-touch housing.
- Removable, dishwasher-safe crumb tray.
- 4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 1,000 reviewers on BestBuy.com.

Cons:
- Lacks a warm/reheat function.
- Some complaints about uneven browning and slots that seem short.
- Some reports of malfunctions and limited durability.

Takeaway: Users consider this Oster toaster a terrific value, citing its simplicity and ability to toast bread, bagels, and muffins properly -- for a true bargain price. Some even say it outperforms pricier toasters. There is also a white version.

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

CUISINART CPT-122

Best 2-Slice Toaster Under $30 for Long Warranty
Est. Price: $23 | Buy it from Home Depot

Pros:
- Above-average performance overall, according to experts and users.
- Bagel/thick bread, defrost, and reheat buttons with indicator lights; cancel button; 7 browning levels.
- Extra-wide 1.5-inch slots; high-lift lever.
- Removable crumb tray; cord storage.
- Stylish white toaster with stainless steel accents.
- Unusually long 3-year warranty.

Cons:
- Lacks cool-touch housing.
- Some reviews describe uneven browning, and toast that's a bit on the dark side even at lower levels.
- Some reports of limited durability.

Takeaway: This two-slice Cuisinart toaster stands out from others in its class with a slick design: white plastic housing with stainless steel accents. Some users dislike the bagel setting, which toasts both sides rather than toasting only the cut side and warming the crust, as most other toasters do. But a strong endorsement from a majority of users for its toasting chops, features, and hard-to-beat price make this model a winner.

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

CUISINART CPT-340

Best Compact 4-Slice Toaster for $50 or Less
Est. Price: $50 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- Applause from most users for performance and build quality.
- Dual controls; bagel (and thick bread), defrost, and reheat buttons with indicator lights; cancel button; 6 browning levels.
- Extra-wide 1.5-inch slots; high-lift lever for smaller items.
- Compact footprint takes up less than 1 square foot of counter space.
- Removable crumb trays.
- Stainless steel and black toaster.
- Unusually long 3-year warranty.
- 4.2 out of 5 stars from more than 400 reviewers on Amazon.

Cons:
- Some users gripe that the bagel setting toasts both sides.
- A few reviews say the shade settings are inaccurate.
- Lacks a cool-touch exterior.

Takeaway: It's hard to argue with the appeal of this budget-priced four-slice toaster from Cuisinart. Its stylish black and stainless steel appearance is just one reason users commend the CPT-340. Others include its comparatively compact footprint, practical features, and a finish on toast and bagels with just the right amount of crunch and color.

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

KRUPS KH734D50

Best 4-Slice Toaster Under $50
Est. Price: $45 | Buy it from Amazon

Pros:
- Toast comes out crispy and soft in all the right places, according to user reviews.
- Illuminated dual controls for cancel, defrost, reheat, and bagel; 6 browning levels.
- Extra-large and deep self-centering slots; high-lift lever.
- Removable crumb tray; cord storage.
- Stainless steel housing for a high-end look.
- 2-year warranty, twice as long as many other cheap toasters.

Cons:
- Neglecting to run the toaster empty several times before putting it to use, per the instruction manual, may allow unpleasant odors to seep into whatever is toasting.
- Some grousing about long toasting cycles.
- Scattered reports of uneven browning and inconsistent temperatures.
- Lacks cool-touch housing.

Takeaway: This four-slice Krups toaster produces all the hallmarks of excellent toast and looks stylishly modern, to boot. Some complain that it's a bit pokey, but others say the end results are worth waiting for.

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

KRUPS KH732D50

Bonus: 2-Slice Toaster Worth a Little Extra
Est. Price: $32 | Buy it from Amazon

Pros:
- Nice, even browning, experts and users report; longer cycles crisp, rather than burn, bread.
- Cancel, defrost, reheat, and bagel settings with illuminated buttons; 6 browning levels.
- Extra-large slots with self-centering guides; high-lift lever.
- Auto shut-off if bread jams in the slots.
- Removable crumb tray; cord storage.
- Stainless steel housing.
- 2-year warranty exceeds the norm.
- Recommended by consumer product experts for consistent toasting, ease of use, and overall performance.
- Top 5 finisher in TechGearLab testing.

Cons:
- Heavier breads may need an extra cycle.
- Occasional inconsistency with regular bread and bagels.
- Scattered reports about disappointing results and malfunctions.
- Neglecting to run the toaster empty several times before putting it to use may allow unpleasant odors to seep into whatever is toasting.
- Lacks cool-touch housing.

Takeaway: The two-slice version of our pick for best four-slice toaster, the Krups KH732D50 earns stars from experts and consumers for notable performance and a solid set of useful features. Users admire its efficiency and good looks, set off by a sleek, brushed stainless steel skin. Tagged a smidge above our $30 cutoff for a two-slice toaster, this well-regarded model might appeal to consumers with a few extra dollars to spare.

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

NOSTALGIA RETRO POP-UP HOT DOG TOASTER

Bonus: Novelty Toaster for Hot Dog Lovers
Est. Price: $15 | Buy it from Amazon

Pros:
- Quickly heats hot dogs and toasts buns, reviewers say.
- Fire-engine-red housing and a retro design add to the appeal of this fun, inexpensive small appliance.
- Adjustable timer; stop button.
- Comes with mini-tongs, a removable hot dog basket, and a crumb tray.
- 4.1 out of 5 stars from more than 150 reviewers on Walmart.com and nearly 500 reviewers on BestBuy.com.

Cons:
- One very limited use.
- Bun edges tend to burn.
- Scattered reports of mediocre heating/cooking.
- Short 90-day warranty.

Takeaway: Tagged at a real budget price, the Nostalgia Retro Pop-Up Hot Dog Toaster exceeds expectations, users report. Although some consider it little more than a gag gift, others tell of happy kids and adults munching away on hot dogs that cook in minutes. Reviewers say the toaster works best with a full load (that is, two regular-size buns and franks).

Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

CUISINART TOUCH TO TOAST CPT-420

Bonus: Mid-Price Leverless Digital Toaster
Est. Price: $58 | Buy it from Amazon

Pros:
- Toasts bread, English muffins, and bagels to desired doneness, most reviews say.
- Leverless design with push-button motorized lift to lower and raise bread.
- Backlit buttons for bagel (1-sided toasting), reheat, and defrost functions; separate cancel and toast buttons; digital controls for 7 shade settings.
- Extra-wide slots with centering guides.
- Countdown timer and end-of-cycle alert.
- Removable crumb tray; cord storage.
- Brushed stainless steel housing.
- Unusually long 3-year warranty.
- 4.1 out of 5 stars from hundreds of reviewers on Amazon.
- Top 5 finisher in TechGearLab testing.

Cons:
- Lacks cool-touch housing.
- Some expert tests report uneven browning.
- Scattered reports of electrical malfunctions.

Takeaway: We encountered some toasters that experts laud while consumers demur, but the leverless Cuisinart Touch to Toast CPT-420 garners plenty of love from both parties. They give this two-slice model two thumbs-up for toasting ability and a rich feature set more often found on higher-priced toasters. The motorized lift operates quietly, reviewers say, and the digital shade settings and countdown timer eliminate guesswork.