Arguably one of the most handy kitchen items to have is a toaster. The toaster has undergone many changes since it's invention in the early 1900s that include alterations to design and slot shape, but its popularity still remains. Toasting can thoroughly heat and warm bread to provide a unique crunch and flavor that makes it taste truly original. Before you begin shopping for a toaster, you need to decide whether you want a pop-up toaster or a toaster oven. The answer to this question comes down to whether or not you want just to toast bagels and sliced breads or if you have loftier ambitions of melting cheese (maybe even with tomato and pesto) or warming Nutella on a hunk of French bread. If square slices and Pop-Tarts are all you plan on toasting, the obvious and cheaper choice is the standard pop-up.
* '''Slots: '''A 2-slot toaster can save space, but 4 slots will save time, especially in a large household. Slots up to 5.5" deep are good for toasting all types of bread, even baguettes.
* '''Settings''': Certain types of toasters have warming settings. If you've toasted your bread and then gone on to do other things in the kitchen, this allows you to re-warm it so it is ready for eating. Also, other settings for specific items like bagels allow you to toast only one side to just the right amount of perfection.
* '''Adjustable Temperature:''' Temperature settings should range from defrost to high to get a variety of toasting speeds and intensities.
* '''Cleaning:''' A sliding crumb tray is an easy way to keep the countertop crumb free. Also, most toasters are made of plastic surfaces that allow you to easily wipe down excess stains on the outside.
* '''Safety''': Automatic shut-off is a standard required safety feature. That being said, make sure you always unplug your toaster after using.
Maybe you want a machine that will effectively toast without taking up too much room. Maybe you only plan on using your toaster once in awhile and want to limit the size and cost of your home appliance. For whatever reason, 2-slice toasters can be very handy in the household.
If you know that you and several other family members use a toaster every morning, then investing in a large scale model is definitely a good idea. The models listed below can toast up to 4 pieces at once and come in a variety of designs and colors. Pick one that goes best with your kitchen.