With sophisticated sensors and advanced controls, even the simplest kitchen gadget has grown up. We tested four of the latest models by lining them up, loading them to full capacity, and setting them to all levels so we could compare each model's bread for color, consistency, and texture. We also evaluated each model's independent features and build quality. Here are four we liked best, though, like all appliances, each had its drawbacks.
DeLonghi Two-Slice Toaster
There's a lot to love about this six-level toaster. In addition to standard offerings (defrost, bagel setting, LED display, removable bun warmer), its coolest feature may be that if you fail to grab your toast after eight seconds, the DeLonghi will drop it back down and reheat it until you do. But what we loved most was that it produced the most consistent fare at each setting. If its brushed metal weren't such a fingerprint magnet, it'd be just about perfect. [$80; shopdelonghi.com]