In toaster tests, Calphalon pops past Cuisinart

There’s a new model atop Consumer Reports’ toaster Ratings. The Calphalon Stainless Steel two-slot HE200ST, $60, turned out evenly browned results with nearly every batch, beating out the previously top-rated toaster, the Cuisinart CPT-420. Our latest tests of 56 toasters yielded seven recommended models in all, including a CR Best Buy that makes very good toast for just $35. Here are the details.                           

For all the simplicity of toaster design, many models struggle with consistency. Either the toast is too light or too dark or burning occurs after successive batches. But the new Calphalon delivered unsurpassed evenness across all tests, without any of the tiger stripes or cross-hatching that dinged other models. The new Calphalon’s four-slice version performed comparably, sending it to the top of our four-slice toaster Ratings.

The second-best Cuisinart CPT-420, $80, wasn’t quite as consistent, but this sleek-looking toaster is still a leader of innovation, featuring a motorized lift that raises and lowers toast with a push of a button and an LCD countdown feature that shows you how long you have until your toast is done. The Cuisinart’s four-slice version offers the same features and performance.

If you’re looking to spend less, consider the Hamilton Beach Digital 22502, $35. This CR Best Buy performed very well in our toaster tests, and it comes with features common on pricier models, such as defrost and bagel settings and a sleek stainless-steel housing. Then there’s the $15 Rival two-slice 16041 toaster, a Walmart exclusive that delivers solid performance for the price. It’s short on convenience features and has a fairly barebones plastic design, but that might not matter for budget-minded shoppers, including college students who like to eat and run.

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