Including a smart toaster, a steam toaster, and a toaster with extra-large slots to accommodate homemade bread.

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smeg toaster with breakfast foods
Credit: Courtesy of Smeg

We're all about finding joy in the little things these days, and a perfectly golden-brown slice of toast certainly qualifies. But let's face it: Not all toasters are created equal. Some of them run hot. Some of them run cool. Some of them are just plain hard to clean, with crumbs pooling at the bottom and the residual char (and smell) intensifying with every use. But we believe in a Goldilocks toaster—a Golden-Brownilocks, if you will—that gets the job done just right, every time. And we're here to help you find it—whatever that looks like for you. Here, our five favorite toasters to fulfill every need.

Best Looking

If aesthetics are your number one concern when it comes to appliances—there's no shame in that!—the retro-inspired SMEG toaster ($169.95, crateandbarrel.com), pictured above, makes a fun statement piece. In colors including mint green, bubblegum pink, and cream, its curved mid-century lines evoke a spirit of the good old days, when family dinners and carefree indulgence reigned supreme. With six browning levels and three pre-set programs, it's no slouch in the function department, either. Extra-wide slots make this toaster bagel-friendly, and a removable crumb tray ensures that cleaning is a snap.

steam toaster from balmuda
Credit: Courtesy of Balmuda

Best Multitasker

When it comes to technology, most toasters don't stray too far from the traditional heated coil interior (though some execute it better than others). This new toaster from Balmuda ($329, balmuda.com) raises the standard, using steam technology and precise temperature control to create distinct settings for perfectly browning sandwich bread, artisan bread, pizza, pastries, or even serving as an oven. The quick-heating steam technique toasts the item's surface while keeping its inner moisture and flavor from escaping. It's perfect for the foodie who takes their baked goods very seriously, and its sleek matte black finish looks nice on the counter, too.

oster compact toaster
Credit: Courtesy of Oster

Best for Small Spaces

If you're dealing with limited counter space, this Oster 2-Slice Metropolitan Collection Rose Gold Toaster ($39.99, target.com) measures just 7- x 9-inches at its base and ensures that you won't have to stop living large when it comes to breakfast. Nine unique shade settings help you prepare your toast just the way you like it, including a defrost mode to toast items straight from the freezer and a bagel option that automatically adjusts for the extra thickness. Elegant rose gold accents will blend perfectly with any copper in your kitchen or make a lovely statement all by themselves.

revolution cooking smart toaster
Credit: Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Best for Tech Lovers

Now that we've got smartphones and smart houses, it was only a matter of time until smart toasters made their appearance. The Revolution Cooking 2-Slice High Speed Smart Toaster ($299.95, williams-sonoma.com) ushers in a new age of breakfast with a high-speed touchscreen and smart sensors that customize the heating process based on bread type, voltage level, and toaster temperature. Choose from bread, bagel, waffle, English muffin, or toaster pastry settings, then select your ideal shade and level of crispness. Bonus: The screen doubles as a digital clock on your counter.

wide slot toaster from Breville
Credit: Courtesy of Crate and Barrel

Best for Home Bakers

Anyone who has delighted in baking a crusty artisanal loaf has likely felt frustrated while attempting to squeeze it into a toaster slot made for tiny commercial-grade slices. The folks behind Breville's A Bit More toaster ($99.95, crateandbarrel.com) know the struggle, which is why they've created a toaster with extra-wide, extra-long slots to accommodate large slices of artisanal bread, thick bagels, or dense pastries that require a bit more wiggle room. Settings like "A Bit More" (which adds an extra touch of brownness) and "Lift and Look" ensure that your goodies are prepared just to your liking.

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