I have always loved KitchenAid appliances. I have one of their mixers sitting on my counter (it is 30 years old talk about durability) and use it several times a week, so it is no surprise to me that as I was evaluating toasters a KitchenAid product made it into the mix of Best of the Best toasters.
Besides being gorgeous, this contemporary toaster has several stand out features that set it apart from the competition. In this toaster you will find:
- A one touch motorized control that lowers and raises bread
- A very nice bagel function
- Exact toasting levels
- Extra wide slots that self adjust
- Stainless steel exterior
- LCD countdown timer
Table of Contents
What is the most important thing in a toaster?
Toasters should make toast well (there are a surprising number of toasters that dont). Your toast should come out evenly brown, at exactly the doneness you like, and you should never, ever have to reach into a toaster to pull your toast out.
This KitchenAid 4 slice does exactly that. It gives extremely consistent toasting results through low, slow heat. It does take a bit longer to toast than some models that dont toast as evenly, but the results are worth it.
How long will it take to toast?
This toaster has metal heating elements that heat at a lower temperature in order to toast your bread more evenly. The elements dont glow red, but rather heat the entire heating surface to avoid the kind of stripes you can get from cheaper units. Because of this the bread does take a bit longer to toast. For me, the trade off is worth it. I would rather have perfect, somewhat quick toast, than stripey, super quick toast.
- Toast (regular bread) use setting 2 takes 2 and a half minutes
- English muffin use setting 4 takes 4 and a half minutes
What is up with the auto features?
One of the coolest features about this toaster is its auto up and down buttons. It actually has no levers (which makes for a very sleek looking unit).
The buttons operate 2 servo motors which gently and quietly lower and raise your bread (or muffin, or bagel) in and out of the toaster. No need to worry about these motors burning out. One of the thing that KitchenAid always does well is make excellent motors
There are two buttons, so both sides of the toaster work independently. This is a nice feature if you are not always preparing 4 slices of toast.
It also has an LED display on the front of the machine which shows you exactly how long the toast has till its done. Nice for coordinating with other elements of a meal and fun to watch too.
I am happy to report that this toaster works exceptionally well on bagels. It is one of those things you may not think about, but the simple fact is that bagels fully toasted on both sides are yucky. They are just two chewy.
A perfect bagel is toasted in the center and warmed on the outside. This KitchenAid Auto-Lift 4 Slice Toaster does this very well. When you choose the bagel setting this toaster reduces the heat on the outside by 50%, creating a nice warm (but not crispy) exterior, and a perfectly toasted interior. That is bagel heaven.
Sure this toaster can toast, and sure it can do bagels, but what about ooey, gooey toaster strudels? What about them, huh? Actually it does all frozen items well. Just set the toaster to the frozen setting, and it will automatically thaw out your item and toast them to perfection. Now my mouth is watering. I want some toaster strudels.
Homemade Bread and Other Wide Stuff
The extra wide slots in this toaster can handle almost anything (if you slice a loaf of bread in half and try to jam it in there I am not responsible. The widest bagels fit, as do hearty slices of bread. It can even handle Ciabatta bread.
Big deal you say lots of toasters can handle this type of bread. That is true, but often toasters that do well with thicker slices do poorly with the thinner ones. Not so with this toaster. It has centering racks in the slots, which means that no matter the thickness of your bread or bagel it works, everytime.
Prettify Your Kitchen
Ever see a really beautiful product and your mouth started watering you wanted it so much? Maybe that is just me.
This toaster is one of those products. It is sleek and modern. I mean just look at it. With the stainless steel exterior and understated LCD lights what is not to like?
Of course, it looks like a KitchenAid appliance, which is not a bad thing at all. Overall, if you like stainless, than this will go well in your kitchen.
Some people think that the alert tone that the toaster makes when you put the toast down and when it is done is annoying. It is no louder than a standard microwave alert tone, and I dont personally find a problem with it, but if you want to make toast at midnight it could be annoying.
One of the great things about KitchenAid products is that if you do get a lemon (and there arent many) the company is very easy to deal with. They will get you a new product or a replacement part promptly.