(Pocket-lint) - It's fair to say that people can be pretty picky about their toast. It's one of those things that's surprisingly personal to every individual — exactly how browned you want yours, with what degree of crispiness and chewiness, all these variables matter.
Despite that, one of the more annoying features of many kitchens is a toaster that doesn't quite toast evenly or is hard to control accurately.
So many of us put up with that sort of foible for too long before accepting that we need a new toaster.
If, though, you've found this guide, chances are that you're on the lookout for some advice about what makes and models are reliable. This list should help you to form an idea of some of the very best devices on the market, at both premium and affordable price points.
Dualit Classic 2-Slot
Dualit's kitchen appliances are near-legendary for their combination of gorgeous, timeless design and brute efficiency. That's a winning combination for a kitchenware brand, and its Classic 2-Slot toaster is no exception to the rule.
Beautifully finished in metal according to your taste, this toaster is hardly minimalistic for two slices of toast, but gets the job done superbly with granular control and quick action. As an added bonus, Dualit makes its devices to be easily repaired, so even if it breaks down you should have yourself a toaster for life here.
KitchenAid Artisan 2-Slice
Another seriously chunky toaster, and another monster on the performance front, is provided by KitchenAid. The Artisan range of appliances is up there with Dualit in how iconic its design is, and if you have the counterspace for this toaster it's sure to attract a great deal of admiration.
It's a Rolls Royce when it comes to browning your bread, and comes in a range of colours, too, but is also seriously pricey. If you've got a KitchenAid mixer or any other appliances, though, it'll fit right in.
We really like the slightly kooky design of this toaster from De'Longhi, and from testing the four-slot version we know that it also delivers very capable results.
You get a nice easy dial to control your level of browning, and can also reheat or defrost bread very easily, alongside a handy button to cancel your toasting at any point. It all works really smoothly and is available in a few stylish colours to really pop on your countertop.
Rounding out the expensive end of our list is this science fiction-looking toaster from Smeg, all rounded edges and reflective metal. It's a great-looking retro appliance and has the added bonus of toasting really well and simply.
Still, though, like the two options above, for the money you might not find yourself too enamoured by the design, in which case it's not one for you.
Bosch Comfort Line Compact
Toasters don't have to be either huge or massively distinctive, though. You might be looking for something a little smaller, with a more reasonable price tag, and Bosch has a great option if so.
The Comfort Line toaster is nice and small and doesn't draw the eye. It's got simple controls and gets the job done nicely and without complications. It might not be a conversation-starter, but not everyone wants that from their toaster anyway, right?
Kenwood True TTP200
Finally, the most affordable toaster on our list is our final pick, the Kenwood True TTP200, a little toaster that offers great performance for the sort of price that you'd expect to net you an own-brand supermarket model or similar.
It's got properly-sized slots for your bread, and toasts evenly despite the price tag, making it a great deal if you're looking not to spend too much and want a solid, reliable option. What more could you want?