Kitchen Appliances Review: The Best Toaster In India

 , NDTV  |  Updated: July 09, 2015 18:58 IST

Kitchen Appliances Review: The Best Toaster In India
A hot, crisp buttered toast is one of the simplest pleasures in life. Interestingly, the toaster was invented in Scotland back in 1893 and has become a common appliance in almost every kitchen.  At NDTV Food, we set out to explore the best bread winner. You will find three different types of toasters - grill, sandwich makers and the most popular pop-up toasters.

Gone are the days when all that mattered was 'in it goes and up it pops'. With technology progressing faster than lightning, there are a number of factors that you must consider while purchasing a toaster. We are reviewing a pop-up toaster.

What is a pop-up toaster?

A pop-up toaster is a small but essential kitchen appliance that allows you to toast different types of breads. Bread slices are vertically inserted in slots which heats up according to the settings you choose to toast the bread. Once your toast is ready, it pops up out of the slots.
What are the basic features to look out for?

Toaster Slots - The number of slots in a toaster will decide the number of slices that you can toast. Depending on your usage, you can pick ones with two, four or six slice-slots. If you like to experiment, then make sure that your toaster slots are wide and long enough to fit in a variety of breads.

Browning Options - How do you like your toast? Sunburnt and buttered, pale with a hint of gold or soft and smeared with jam - this feature helps you decide the crispness of the crust. It is one of the most important functions of a toaster that gives you the ideal golden slice. So, what makes a toaster a keeper? Two things. Firstly, the control should be simple and handy with no complicated settings. Secondly, whichever level you may choose the bread should brown evenly and consistently.

Automatic Control - This refers to the electronic pop-up feature where the toast springs up once it's done. Moreover, the toaster should switch off automatically as soon as the bread is ready. Besides this some toasters may just require the touch of a button and no lever or regulator settings for toasting the bread. The thermostatic switch or timing device automatically controls the toasting process.

Cancel Button - If you're a control freak or trust your instincts more than the toaster settings, this feature comes in handy. On a sleepy morning if you get the settings wrong, the cancel-button can be your saving grace before the toast goes up in smoke.

Crumb Tray - Crumb trays make it easier to clean the toaster. This is a must; a tray attached at the bottom of the toaster to collect leftover bread crumbs. To make cleaning easy, go for the ones that slide sideways.

Self-Centering Slots - Not every toaster has this feature but it's quite cool. These slots ensure evenly browned breads irrespective of how thick or thin they are. They hold the bread in the center so that it's toasted well on both sides. The slots form a cage around the bread so as to prevent burnt sides from tipping to one side.

Time - For those quick on-the-go breakfasts, you should be able to snatch a toast in a snap. The higher the power, the quicker will be your morning meal served.

Body - Today, a toaster is much more than just a bland looking device that adds to the crispness of your meal. The look, design and portability are some of its important features. There are basically two types of toasters available - plastic-like fiber bodied and ones with a chrome or metallic finish. Irrespective of the style you choose, the toaster should have a shock-proof body.

We recommend the ones made with fibre instead of metallic or the chrome finish. The reason is that they have a cool touch body and are less likely to heat up. The plastic housing ensures the user's safety. Also, your toaster should be light, portable and compact so as to keep your kitchen clutter-free. The metallic ones may look nicer but they are heavier which makes them difficult to carry around. Some toasters come with an anti-slip feet design which consists of a rubber patch attached at the bottom of a toaster that makes it more stable.

Being a very competitive industry, some brands may offer few additional features that make a great toaster even better. These may not form the basis of your purchase but may affect it.

Additional features -

Hi-Lift Feature - This feature allows the bread carriage to go higher than the normal level to allow you to retrieve smaller bread varieties (without burning your fingertips!).
Reheat and Defrost -
Defrost is used to toast frozen bread. The reheat feature is handy if your toast is ready before you. It helps to reheat toasted bread without making the interiors dry or browning the crust way too much.

Progress Indicator - Toasters are becoming savvier these days. Some of them may have digital screens and controls that tell you the amount of time left until your toast is ready. Other models may also show a countdown by the second and start beeping when the toast is ready.

Energy Consumption - Since a toaster is a small appliance you may ignore this. But, you should know that ideally a toaster should have a power of about 700 watts. The higher the power, the more electricity will be consumed. Anything between the range of 650 to 800 watts is good. Also, the ones with higher power toast breads quicker.

Dust Cover - A lid placed over the slots that prevents foreign particles or dust from entering the slots and keeps the toaster clean.

Brand Analysis

If the numerous brands crowding the markets have put you in a dilemma, allow us to help. Here's a comparative analysis that will make life a tad easy for you. We've compared the basic automatic model with two slots and a fibre body across various popular brands -
BrandModelBrowning OptionCancel ButtonCrumb TraySelf Centering SlotsReheat and DefrostHi-Lift FeatureLidWarrantyEnergy (watts)Price (Approx)
SingerPT-22YesYesYesNoDefrost onlyYesNo1 year, no on-site service7501200 INR
SunflameSF-153YesYesYesYesNoNoNo1 year, no on-site service7501350 INR
BajajMajesty ATX 4YesYesYesNoYesNoNo2 years, on-site service5001449 INR
Oster9260-049YesYesYesYesYesYesNo2 years, on-site service6501450 INR
HavellsCrescentYesYesYesNoYesYesNo2 years, no on-site service8701695 INR
InalsaToasti Pro XYesYesYesNoYesNoNo2 years, no on-site service7501795 INR
Morphy RichardsAT-204YesYesYesNoYesYesYes1 year, on-site service8001895 INR
PhillipsDaily Collection ToasterYesYesYesYesYesYesYes2 years, no on-site service8001995 INR
PrestigePop-Up Toaster YellowYesYesYesNoYesNoNo1 year, no on-site service8501995 INR
Print table

Table Summary

The basic features are common to most brands. Since it is a very competitive industry, the difference lies in a few additional features and the customer service that different brands offer.
Bajaj and Singer

The ones between the range of Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1450 - Singer, Sunflame and Bajaj, have the basic features but lack additional features like self-centering slots, hi-lift, dust cover, defrost and reheat options. While Singer is not widely available, the one brand that stood out in this category is Oster (Rs 1450). It has all the features except a dust cover.
Oster (Model: 9260-049)

If you're willing to pay more, you will find most of the above mentioned additional features within the range of Rs. 1695 - Rs. 1995 with brands like Phillips, Morphy Richards, Havells, and Prestige.
Havells and Inalsa

We found that the availability of Inalsa (Rs. 1795) in retail shops was quite low. Moreover, it falls under the high-price category but lacks most additional features. Prestige lacks features like self-centering slots, hi-lift and dust cover and its price is pretty steep. It has an additional bagel feature that allows you to heat one side of the bread (which usually the sliced side of a bagel) but it may not be very useful in Indian households.
Prestige (Model: Pop-Up Yellow Toaster)

On the other hand, Phillips (Rs. 1995) and Morphy Richards (Rs. 1895) have almost all features. If you compare between the two, Phillips has one additional feature - self-centering slots.

This brings us to the most crucial feature which is the customer service. With electricity fluctuations, the heating element in a toaster burns out almost easily. Therefore, prompt after-sale service is a must. In this case, there is much to love about Oster and Morphy Richards. Along with most features that your toaster should have, these brands also offer on-site service. It means that you don't need to carry the product to the service site, their engineers provide home service. Most retailers told us that Morphy Richards offers one of the most reliable customer services. On the contrary, Phillips which is one of the most popular brands fared poorly when it comes to customer service.

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Our Recommendation
Morphy Richards (Model: AT- 204)

If you are price conscious, Oster (Rs 1450) is a more affordable brand with all the basic as well as additional features and on-site service. However, if you are willing to shell more for Morphy Richards (Rs 1895) you get a better brand. Morphy Richards has proven itself in the kitchen appliance segment with other popular products like electric kettles and food processors. It is a more established and reliable brand which is known for providing one of the best customer services.

Always do your own research on products and companies before using a product you choose. NDTV, its affiliates and its management does not claim responsibility for any of the products/ or companies discussed on this site. There may be other toaster models available within the same price range that are not featured in this article.


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