Served table for breakfast with toast and fruit, on blurred background

Best Inexpensive Toaster in 2024

A toaster is just about the most basic piece of equipment in a working kitchen. Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? We expect  the Best Inexpensive toaster to turn out evenly toasted bread, bagels, English muffins, toaster waffles, and perhaps even an occasional grilled cheese sandwich!

Best inexpensive toaster serving up breakfast with toast and fruit, on blurred backgroundWe want this countertop appliance to have a long lifespan without any breakdowns, where one side fails to toast or the toaster stubbornly refuses to pop up. And, of course, it should be affordable. Is this asking too much?

Thankfully it is not asking too much—we can have all these things in a toaster at a very affordable price provided we understand a few things and let go of unreasonable expectations. Now, before we get to the toaster you’ll love, we need to talk reality.

Your toaster will eventually fail

Do you ever wonder why your grandparent’s refrigerator lasted for 40 years and now it’s still going strong, cooling beer in your garage? Or why you had your first toaster for decades and still have it toasting away were it not for that harvest gold color.

The sad truth is that modern appliances are no longer built to last. Get used to it.

The boring truth

The research and technicalities for why toasters are built to fail are long and tedious, but allow me to wrap it up in a few sentences. It’s the heating element.

Vintage toasters (those that lasted for decades and now show up in antique stores, still operable) have heating elements made of nichrome (known initially as Chromel— which is 90% nickel, 10% chromium). It’s strong and conducts heat really well because of the nickel.

Nickel has become a costly raw material, so to cut manufacturing costs, companies use aluminum plus a little iron in its place to make the heating element in a toaster. Why? To reduce the cost.

Vintage chromel is super durable; heating elements using aluminum are more brittle and less ductile. They’re delicate and prone to early failure.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a $180 Breville or a $20 Cuisinart toaster. Your toaster is going to fail you. Consider yourself fortunate if you get five years of regular use out of a new toaster.

The good stuff

Now that we have all that negative information out of the way let’s move along to the good stuff.

There really is a fabulous, inexpensive toaster out there. If you need a replacement, this is the toaster I highly recommend. By the way, I have an early version of this toaster that we use daily. The only difference is that ours is black and silver, and the shade selection dial is slightly different. We’re into year 7 without any problems at all, fingers crossed!

Best Inexpensive Toasters

Our pick for Best Inexpensive Toaster is the Cuisanart Toaster pictured below. It comes in two options: Two slots and four slots. Other than that, the two models thatare the same.

This inexpensive, ordinary-looking toaster browns bread, bagels, English muffins, and even frozen waffles better than most other models I’ve tested.

It has extra-wide slots that accept a wide variety of things to be toasted. Pushing the lever down clamps the item in place, regardless of its width from thin-slice up to 1.5 inches.

This toaster has a very handy defrost feature, which means you can drop in frozen items, press “defrost,” and they will quickly defrost first, then move right into toasting mode.

Set to bagel mode, this toaster heats the bagel for a crispy top and a soft, chewy bottom, the way a bagel should be.

The reheat feature warms a piece of toast that may have cooled, without re-toasting it. The cancel feature is handy should you want to interrupt a setting.

The high lift lever allows you to lift the toast clear out of the unit after it has popped up, for easy removal from the toaster without burning your fingers.

https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.phpThis toaster’s setting knob offers various shades of toasted goodness from 1 to 7.

What about cleaning?

Clean-up is easy with the removable crumb tray. It even has a cord wrap underneath the unit to manage unsightly power cords while not in use.

 

      WALMART $28.99

 

      WALMART $59.09

 


What is EC Best Inexpensive?

The mission in identifying  Everyday Cheapskate’s Best Inexpensive option is not to find the absolutely lowest price tag. On the contrary, it is to match quality with need. We want the lowest price for the level of quality we need, with only the features we will use. And we want products that will serve our needs well for as long as the more expensive options. Is that always achievable? No, but the mission here is to come as close to that standard as humanly possible.


 

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20 replies
Newer Comments »
  1. howard says:

    i heard a lady ask a clerk at my local market where to find bread crumbs. i volunteered, “try your toaster crumb tray”. great pick up line, but you may be asked to leave the store for stalking

    Reply
  2. Donna says:

    We discovered that our inexpensive drawer-type air fryer toasts bread great, both sides, but the topside is usually toastier than the bottom, so you can flip once if you like. One more appliance we don’t need! I think mine are down to my electric pressure multicooker (use as rice cooker, steamer, slow cooker…), and now this air fryer! I also like my waffle maker with changeable plates too: toasted sandwiches, waffles, donuts, and taiyaki (fish shaped waffles!) anyone?? I read somewhere falafel can be waffled, gotta try that too.

    Reply
  3. Pat A Weiser says:

    When I eat toast, it’s only one slice. I wish there was a toaster that would toast both sides of one slice. We have the Cuisinart one Mary shows. I curse it every time I make toast, but just because of that.
    Hey Mary, does anyone make a one slice toaster?

    Reply
  4. Julie says:

    I’m still using the first toaster I bought way back in 1967, and it’s chrome. Works like a charm, even better when I clean out the crumbs from the crumb tray.

    Reply
  5. Sandy says:

    I bought the Cuisinart two slice toaster on a previous recommendation. The heating element lasted 6 weeks. This is the second toaster! So, we now put the bread in, when it pops up, with one side toasted, we turn the bread around and toast the other side–every morning we go thru this nonsense. So discouraging.

    Reply
  6. Ed Smith says:

    I don’t know why but I set my Cuisinart at 2.5 then rotate the toast in a pinwheel direction and toast again. It makes beautiful toast and bagels. Thanks for explaining the bagel button.

    Reply
  7. Lori Leuthardt says:

    We go thru alot of toast / toasters it seems. I would just be happy with one that cleaned itself and didn’t leave the countertop such a mess!!!

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      And it is considered vintage. It’s 47 years old! I’m going to guess its heating element is made with the good stuff 🙂

      Reply
      • Marianne says:

        My 1966 wedding gift toaster works very well. I keep the crumb tray clean, had to replace the cord 20 years ago. It has out lasted 3 kids’ treatment, who now have their own kids and tell me I need to upgrade. Their fancy toasters will burn out before mine. I’m about to turn 80. Haha.!

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