1. Overall Winner
Frigidaire Toaster FPTT02D7MS ($60, amazon.com)
This star performer turned out toast in just over two minutes (faster than average). It browned bread evenly and consistently from batch to batch; its digital controls include a progress display and Bagel, Defrost, and Reheat options.
T-Fal Avanté Icon 2 Slice ($50, amazon.com)
Chronically running late? It took only a minute and a half for this speed demon to take two slices to medium. Angled slots make toast a snap to snatch; Reheat and Bagel settings are handy.
3. Best Value
Oster Designed for Life 2-Slice ($30)
The low price and the five-year warranty make this a hot pick (but at 2½ minutes, toasting took a bit longer than average). Settings: Frozen, 30 Seconds reheat, and Bagel (unlike many, it toasts on both sides).
How We Tested
On 36 models, we used each setting to gauge how evenly they did light, dark, and everything in between. Next: five successive batches to check for consistency. To see how well they fit and how easy they were to retrieve, we popped up English muffins and bagels. Surface temps were also noted.