When we hear about smart toasters, our minds immediately go into Jetsons-inspired areas: We imagine a robot arm somehow untwisting the bread bag, placing two slices in the toaster, applying jam, and then flying them over to us in bed on a drone with a nice hot cup of coffee.
That’s not even close to what new smart toasters actually do, but we can dream. It’s breakfast after all.
While looking at all the sophisticated smart toasters on the market, one thing becomes clear: They seem to want to do everything but actually make toast, kind of like an actor who only wants to talk about his new band. Smart toasters tend to have Mach 5 toasting speeds, advanced temperature regulation, accessories that barely relate to toasting, and the ability to handle any rogue bread.
Applying Heat to Bread Never Looked So Good
Consider the Revolution InstaGlo R270, a toaster so advanced it would intimidate every other appliance in your kitchen. It looks like a giant iPhone that can’t fit in your pocket. The Revolution can toast 34 types of bread (I didn’t know 34 types of bread existed), and allows you to select the bread and other toast settings on the touchscreen. There are even accessories for a panini press and a warming rack.
Speedwise, this is not one of those toasters where you go do an errand or take a shower during the toasting process. It crisps your bread in a fraction of the time using temperature sensors and toasting algorithms, claiming that it can sear “the bread without drying it, so it’s crunchy on the outside, yet soft and delicious on the inside.” We’re talking about toast, right?
The Breville Die-Cast Smart Toaster 4 features an LED progress indicator that illuminates as your toast nears completion (my nose does the same thing), and an amusing “Lift and Look” button enables a motorized carriage to automatically raise so you can check the toast without interrupting the delicate toasting process.
For those rare moments when two people with different taste in toasting crispness want breakfast at the same time, the Cuisinart CPT-T40 4-Slice Touchscreen Toaster solves this war-like situation with dual independent toasting controls. Crisis averted.
Are the Toasters Actually Smart?
These toasters are certainly advanced and look fantastic on your countertop, but are they truly smart? None of them have wireless connectivity and the ability to integrate with your phone or smart home assistants, so they can’t be controlled remotely and there are no options for scheduling and such.
Not that you need any of that to make bread crispy. A lighter would do the trick. But it points to a trend in which brands adopt the “smart” label so they can appear more hi-tech and justify the inflated cost. “Smart” is sometimes the gadget world’s version of “artisanal” in the food industry.
So while these toasters are certainly not your grandfather’s toaster, your grandfather’s toaster would still do the trick. They are fun, though, and with a few more creative features they might one day be worth paying a few hundred dollars for.
To be fair, one thing they definitely won’t do is burn your toast. That’s something.